Choosing an operating system for your particular use is an important choice. Here is some ideas of when to use a particular one and why one may or may not want to use a particular one.
This page does not include mobile operating systems. My quick answer to that is use Android if you want something widely supported, but if you want something a little less involved with Google, either strip Android of the Google Play Services (install an AOSP-based project) or use something like a Librem 5.
Linux Based Systems
Arch Linux is the operating system that I choose for my own systems. I choose it because it's a no nonsense operating system that doesn't go out of its way to be a "friendly" operating system.
The main draws to Arch:
- pacman: The best packaging system I've used. It combines the simplicity of a full binary packaging system with a sane build system that only requires basic shell knowledge to use. This simplicity also makes using applications like pip unnecessary.
- Developer files included: No more cursing at the fact that you forgot to install some *-dev package to get the header files for a library, it just comes with the base package.
- AUR: The Arch User Repository has a lot of PKGBUILDs that make installation of practically every piece of useful software easily obtainable to be packaged directly for use with pacman.
- Simplicity: There's not a lot of features that automatically configure your system or do maintenance tasks, not much gets in the way of use of your computer.
- Community: There's a lot of Arch users (like me) that are very open to helping others with weird issues. The forums, IRC channels, and wiki are hands down the best place to find information about many commonly used software and common issues. Just remember to try to RTFM before asking a question.
- Rolling release: You have quick access to the most current releases of software and often don't require compiling or adding repositories to get access to backported software like in other operating systems.
The main drawbacks to Arch:
- Not "user friendly": Arch is designed to be used by power users and is unapologetic about it. Installation is done straight from a regular run of the mill ZSH shell and once completed, all you have is a kernel, a boot loader, and all the necessary things to just have it run. No desktop included, no SSH server, nothing.
- Rolling release: I wouldn't call Arch unstable by any means, but any full system upgrade runs the risk of breaking something that may prevent boot, stop X from working, break your database systems, etc. You must be aware of what is being upgraded and you should check the main site to see if there's a known issue first to prevent headaches.
Other Unix-like Systems
There's nothing of value in macOS for most computer users. Have a serious look at what exactly you need and evaluate if Linux or even Windows would suffice. The hardware is not worth the asking price and the operating system is not special in the slightest. If you need a Mac for a piece of software you must have to do your job, go for it, but otherwise, I'd advise avoiding it.
Owning a Mac also includes dealing with Apple, and they are not too helpful if something goes wrong.
It's a solid system, but for most applications, Linux is just better and more widely supported.
Other Non-Unix-Like Systems
Windows should only be used in a case where you have no other reasonable choice or I guess if you just like it.
Reasons one may use it may include:
- That one piece of software that only runs on Windows and will not run in Wine/Proton.