Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: I do my part to help the Mac

Author:Bruce Hoult
Posted:5/2/1999; 4:32:32 PM
Topic:Linux' wide open spaces
Msg #:5532 (In response to 5524)
Prev/Next:5531 / 5533

I'm not Jeff, but I'd like to answer it anyway :-)

And if you're running it on Unix, but the box says Mac, are you still using a Mac?


When it stopped looking like the all-in-one smiling box on the startup screen it was still a Mac. When it got colour it was still a Mac. When it became portable it was still a Mac. When it moved from 68k to PowerPC it was still a Mac. When it moved form nuBus to PCI it was still a Mac. When it lost the ADB and SCSI and serial ports and got USB and FireWire it was still a Mac.

I'm curious, and it's my birthday, so humor me. Why do you have such a strong allegiance to Apple?

As a programmer: The MacOS is more open and malleable than most other OS's. You can get in there, examine the guts, and often modify it by mechanisms such as "trap patching". Apple's APIs are usually clean and functional (with certain historical exceptions) and when I approach a new area of the APIs I can be pretty confident that things will work as documented. Unlike Windows where nothing ever seems to work without a huge amount of hair pulling. When from time to time I feel the need to dive into assember, both the 68k and PowerPC are rational, understandable and fun to use.

As a power user: apps on the MacOS talk to each other far better than apps on other systems. Mac apps interoperate with other systems better -- for example pretty much every Mac text editor today automatically and transparently copes with and preserves three different line end styles.

As a user: everything is well designed, from the look of the GUI and the consistent way it operates, to the boxes themselves.

As a system administrator: the OS is quick and easy to install, including over a network, it doesn't suffer from bitrot, it talks to pretty much anything, it requires little of my time, and I can afford to let moderately intelligent users install pretty much anything they want on their own systems without worrying that they will destroy things.

As a hardware purchaser: the hardware is extremely reliable, goes forever, retains its resale value, and even very old boxes can be upgraded with heaps of disk and RAM and run quite modern software. 1989 vintage boxes such as IIcx's and SE/30's can take 128 MB of RAM and are still extremely useful machines as low powered servers of various types.

As a software purchaser: pretty much any software that survived the 68000 -> 68020/ColourQD transition (and certainly the '030 -> '040 transition) will still run today on a honking PowerPC box and won't look out of place. I still reguarly use software written in the mid-80's.

Pretty much no matter where Apple goes in the future, as long as they retain some semblence of the old Apple (and NeXT!) aesthetic I'm pretty sure that they will bring the above qualities with them to new hardware and new OS's.

I've spent enough time using and programming on Windows NT and Unix (of various sorts) to be pretty expert at them. I know my way around VC++ and MFC and the emacs and makefiles and xterms. I can install and administer NT and Solaris and Linux. I've sometimes gone a couple of months without touching a Mac, but I keep coming back. Because it's just *nicer* somehow.


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