Operating system advocacy

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Operating system advocacy is the practice of attempting to increase the awareness and improve the perception of a computer operating system. The motivation behind this may be to increase the number of users of a system, to assert the superiority of one choice over another or out of brand loyalty, pride in an operating system's abilities, or to persuade software vendors to port specific applications or device drivers to the platform.

Operating system advocacy can vary widely in tone and form, from published comparisons to heated debates on mailing lists and other forums. In its most extreme forms it can veer into zealotry. Advocates are often normal users who devote their spare time to advocacy of their operating system of choice; many have a deep and abiding interest in the use, design and construction of operating systems and an emotional investment in their favourite operating system.

Operating system advocacy can be compared to advocacy in other fields, particularly browser and editor wars, but also advocacy of programming languages and video game consoles.

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Usenet and other advocacy forums

Due to the often emotional nature of advocacy debate and its sometimes narrow appeal to the wider user population, forums for discussion of advocacy are often separate from those for general discussion. For example, the comp.os.ms-windows Usenet hierarchy has a group reserved solely for advocacy—the Guide to the Windows newsgroups exhorts Usenet posters not to "get involved in arguments about Windows vs. OS/2 vs. Macintosh vs. NeXTSTEP except in the comp.os.ms-windows.advocacy group."[1]

Operating system advocacy discussions, on Usenet and elsewhere, have spawned a variety of jargon describing commonly seen behaviour, including "MicroDroid"[2] and "Amiga Persecution Complex".[3] The emotional form and negative characteristics often associated with operating system advocacy have led some to create guidelines explaining what they consider to be positive advocacy, such as the Linux Advocacy Guidelines[4] and the Guidelines for Effective OS/2 Advocacy.[5]

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