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Mac vs. Windows vs. The Other Guy: Think Prophylactics and Full Potential

So this mailing list I’m on is caught up in one of its repeating discussion-obsessions.

The Mac fanatics are arguing the points of the Mac. The Windows users are responding, mostly in terms of how much better Windows is for gaming. I am reading it on my little Linux machine.

Outside my window, I can hear one of those bloody trucks that drives around selling stuff. You don’t have these in most countries. I really wish someone would make it illegal to disturb the peace that way… driving around the back roads and side streets with a loudspeaker attached to your tape deck, a repeating tape saying, “Fresh vegetables! Fresh vegetables! Come and get them, fresh and delicious! Carrots, potatoes, celery, tomatoes! Why not get some… Fresh vegetables! Fresh vegetables! Come and get them, fresh and delicious! Carrots, potatoes, celery, tomatoes! Why not get some…”

(But I won’t get into the noise pollution problems of Korea for today.)

In a way, the discussion of platforms seems to me a bit like the trucks with the loudspeakers. It’s like arguing over which gun one should use when one goes rabbit hunting. In polite society, everyone recognizes that everyone else has a favorite make and model, and doesn’t tell them they should use another. Maybe Farmer Jed likes when his wabbit gets blasted to pieces with one shot.

(I won’t get into cruelty to animals today either.)

People were getting into price comparisons, and I was boggling at what people were willing to pay for PCs, or laptops. Me, I think I’ve said before, my computer cost $899 Canadian, before taxes, and the OS was free. And it mostly works just how I want it to, with only a modicum of tweaking. Certainly, this OS is working better for me than the (yes, early-ish) Mac OS I was using five years ago was. I know OS X is better than OS 7.5.3 (which I was using back then) was. I don’t care because I’m happy enough with what I have. So happy, in fact, with it that the last time I really used Windows XP was in the Japanese airport, because I’d happened to have configured the wireless on the Windows boot but not the Unix boot, and there was unanticipated free wireless in the airport lounge I wanted to use.

The thing is… it’s all about what you want to do with something. Don’t tell me Mac is better. (And it’s almost always Mac users who are trying to evangelise other OS/hardware users.) Mac is better for what? As pointed out, pretty convincingly to me in the discussion, the Mac OS is just not good for gaming. The Widows rules. Unix is pretty poor for gaming too. But I do almost no gaming anyway. Gaming? Nah, I’ll watch a movie, thanks.

(Oh, but Mac is better for movies, too!!!)

I almost wish one’s choice of OS, one’s choice of hardware, would attain the status of one’s choice in prophylactic. The kind of thing one never evangelizes about to others. It’s just so annoying to see these OS wars again and again, always so passionate, always so loud, and all for what?

If computers ever attain their true, full potential, the OSes will be so customized as to be almost beyond platform. People won’t know what you’re running, and won’t be able to tell you which is better, because what’s better is whatever is customized to you. If it’s adequately customized, it’s probably going to transcend its OSness, to the pont where discussions like this will look as dated as discussions over whether sweets and treats, or beatings, or application of ugly women to the genitals, are the best way to treat lovesickness.

(And, yes, back in the days when people in the Maghreb knew more about medicine than Europe, all three of those “treatments for lovesickness” topped the theoretical charts in terms of mainstream medical treatments. And yes, “lovesickness” was considered a medical disorder. And yes, I believe we will someday look that dated and hokey to our descendants, as well.)

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