Windows or Mac?

This is in many ways a reply to Failbook: Mac vs PC.

So just before Christmas I went out and treated myself to a new iMac and coincidentally around the same time a friend took their first steps into the world of Mac and bought themselves a Macbook Air.  Now, whilst I am lounging in a blaze of bliss and joy they are feeling a thundering hatred towards Macs.   I feel some sympathy towards my friend  – my first iMac purchase five years ago left me frustrated and eventually I pushed it across desks towards my Mac loving wife.  However five years on and with the benefits of Macbook ownership I am no longer a frustrated Mac immigrant and feel a need to defend Macs against what appears to me as ill-informed hatred.

Computers are my life and if I’m not at school teaching pupils aged 11-18 how Computers (and the Internet) are tools to master in the modern age I am at home developing software and websites for local organizations.  It was during my computing degree that I was first introduced to Unix and it capabilities – I was also subject to a lot of Windows-bashing by my lecturers who were always keen to point out where Microsoft were ‘at the time’ going wrong.  Since then I have typically ran Windows alongside either Mac, Unix or both.

At school we are using Windows on Windows Networks and I have done so for all of my teaching career.  Windows has much improved over the last 5 years, thanks to growing commercial pressure from Mac/Linux variants and legal decisions made in the favor of the competition, so many of the Mac/Windows arguments are somewhat more diluted.

In the beginning Gates and Microsoft generated a lot of the animosity towards themselves and the operating system through their business approach.  They did nothing but upset many within the industry outside of MS by:

  • charging vast amounts for licenses and/or development applications before you could develop true native applications.
  • forking MS versions of popular open source software such as java, sql and HTML in an attempt to MSify it.
  • having a unique interpretation of HTML and CSS, ignoring the work of the w3 consortium, and enuring that web designers struggled with browser compatibility.
  • making it impossible/difficult to dual-boot operating systems alongside Windows.
  • refusing to supply PC manufacturers with Windows software unless every machine shipped with it – thus preventing companies such as Dell from selling bare-bone machines that could be loaded with Unix and/or other operating systems.  (I remember getting my licensed copy of NT4 from a skip outside Natwest where they had new 100 machines installed and because they were using IBM or some other inhouse system they just throw brand new copys of the OS into the bin. If a company like that can’t buy barebone machines who can?)

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