Some comments on the Mac vs PC vs Apple debate

15 04 2005

There was an interesting article posted on Slashdot this morning, pointing to a Windows Guru’s impressions of Mac OSX Tiger, the next version of Apple’s OS for Macs.
In the Slashdot posting, the author says:

In the article, he actually confesses that he has ‘been a Mac fan [his] entire life.’ Interesting, considering some of his criticism of Apple’s work in the past.”

I posted a reply, reproduced here for those not willing to wade into Slashdot’s comments forums – a decision I can totally understand 🙂 :

Very few people can dispute that Apple has made some of the sexiest, most interesting systems that have come down the pike. The Mac was a masterful bit of design at introduction, and even though it was looking a bit long in the tooth as MacOS 8 and MacOS 9 were coming along, you couldn’t argue that the environment set the tone for making GUI’s useable as a primary interface.
OSX is a FANTASTIC piece of software, jumping the Mac platform squarely into Unix land (where we all knew desktop systems should have been all along, right?) while also providing a wonderful desktop experience.
On the other hand, Apple the corporation has made truly painful decisions that have alienated a lot of the ‘apple fans’. The one that comes to mind was the decision to cancel the Newton, just when it was showing promise. Apple has a history of driving new technologies through to maturity, and with the Newton 2100, the platform had just gotten to the point of usefulness when it was cancelled. Did this make me less of a Mac fan? No. Did it make me less of an Apple fan? Absolutely.
I have on my desk a Mac Mini (for my mom), an old iMac (to test Safari pages), a Shuttle box running Windows XP, and my primary platform, an IBM T40 running Debian Linux. Of the 4, the most pleasant to work on is the Mac Mini. The most productive is the Linux Laptop. The best for game playing is the XP machine. The iMac is just there to look cool (as cool as purple gumdrops get).
I’m still a fan of Macs. I’m an okay fan of Apple. The OSX decision was masterful. Will I use it as my primary platform? Probably not, the price point on their proprietary hardware is still too high (Thinkpad T40 used: $800. Powerbook of similar power used: $1800, plus OSX licenses).

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