Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home, Linux, Windows 2003, Longhorn, Windows 98, MAC OS/X, operating systems, what a mess. So are you confused by what is the operating system to get on your computer today. If you are happy and accomplishing what you want to do with your computer I would not suggest you change operating systems. If you are buying a new computer then the operating system becomes more important.
What is an operating system? It is the software that runs your computer. Without it, the computer will not start and run basically. So operating systems are vital.
There are basically two types of computers, servers and clients. Servers supply information for a number of machines and basically today they use Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Linux or Unix. Clients are essentially the computers you use as an individual whether a laptop or desktop model.
Macintosh computers must use MAC OS. Windows 98 will work on an older machine, but I would not suggest on a new machine. You may use Windows 2000 or XP on a client. Linux may be used on a client but for now basically by computer pros.
If you are buying a new computer as a client I would suggest Windows XP today. If you will not be using it as an office machine on a network then Windows XP Home will probably work fine for you. If you will be using in an office on a network then you probably need Windows XP Professional, which is designed to use with networks. It also costs more.
Longhorn is the next version of Windows that is due in 2006. Until then you as a user should not worry about it, but Microsoft promises a jump in technology similar to when we went from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. The name of Longhorn when it comes out will probably be Windows 2006 or 2007.
So for today, if you are using Windows XP or Windows 98 you will find you are in the majority of home users and they should met your need. If you have specific questions you are welcome to write me at email@example.com
Check out the new Georgia Kiwanis website. You should find it easier to navigate.