Mac vs Windows 1

At work, at least among the IT staff, I’m known as one of two Apple fiends. I’ve developed this reputation mostly because I own a Mac and I know how to use it. Most of the rest of the IT Staff- at least the members that have been around a while – have the 90s attitude towards Apple thinking it’s just a crappy cute competitor to PC. Of course since the advent of OS X in 2001 and the comeback of Steve Jobs, Apple has changed considerably.

So, realizing the changes and enjoying the usability of OS X, I’ve been accused of being a fanboy. While this may have been true briefly at various points, I wouldn’t say that it is true in general. I think OS X’s greatest virtue is its Unix base. Before various linux geeks I know explode, I do think linux and in particular Ubuntu is awesome, but it still lacks the polish and compatibility of OS X. As much as I want to support open source, there are still some closed source apps I consider irreplaceable, at least for now.

In general my perceived Apply fanboyism comes down to think Unix is cool and that OS X blends that with compatibility that other *nxs don’t have. I’m not here to start one of those Internet thread holy wars, but, as usual, I just want people to be reasonable and admit there are some good features to the Mac platform. There are certainly some bad ones too, and I won’t dispute that: vendor lock-in, lack of hardware compatibility, and required kool-aid drinking are serious issues. So, coming from your local Mac expert, be reasonable.

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One thought on “Mac vs Windows

  • clara

    What are your favorite closed-source apps?

    The thing about OS X is that it is a great operating system with polish and compatibility in part BECAUSE of the kool-aid/lock-in; everything is integrated, stable, and works totally smoothly — as long as you stick to doing things Apple wants you to do. Which is a good business model if your company is good at guessing what people will want to do and providing a reasonable range of options — and Apple is! So so far, a great operating system for many purposes.

    The problem, though, is that if you ever change your mind about sticking to things Apple wants you to do, you run into issues. My biggest gripe about that is media formatting. I have .ogg files and an iPod, but I have to install a new OS on the iPod to play my music (and if I had a later-generation iPod I wouldn’t even be able to install the needed OS). When I was still using iTunes, I put a fair amount of money into purchasing seasons of Lost — but when I stopped using iTunes, I had no option to keep the media I had purchased in a format I could continue to use.

    So the problem is that you basically have to trust Apple to continue doing stuff you want, because if you want to keep your data, once you’ve started living the Apple lifestyle you’re committed. And so far they seem to be continuing to try to improve and continue the good products they put out — but there’s always the possibility that they will fold/turn evil/whatever and then everyone who depends on them will be screwed. To me, whether or not Apple systems are good depends in large part on your time horizon — in the short term, they are great, but in the (undefined) long term, there is a higher likelihood that your computing needs will change in an incompatible way or that Apple will change their practices to impact you in a negative way. The unanswered question is how long of a term that is!