Post by Erik J. Barzeski
In other words (the words of a certain fruit company's retail team, maybe),
what are the drawbacks of using Mac OS X. What must a Windows user give up
to get the many benefits Mac OS X provides? Let's keep the discussion to
10.2, if possible.
So, what can't/don't we (Macs and Mac Users) do?
1. games (we're still pretty far behind here)
2. USB 2 (not from Apple, anyway)
(Many of our former gaps are filled in, either from late third parties
(Palm) or Apple (USB printer sharing, wireless network sharing, etc.)).
With MacOS X's ongoing improvement, I'd agree with your last statement - many of the former drawbacks of the Mac are simply no longer there.
I'd say the barriers for PC users to switch to the Mac are largely psychological. If we're talking about existing PC users looking at MacOS X as opposed to people who are entirely new to computers, then:
People are apprehensive about switching because they're comfortable with what they have and do not know what to expect from a Mac. The Switch campaign is well-targeted, I'd say.
However, this issue of familiarity works both ways. A lot of people who are familiar with how poorly Windows works are more than eager to find an alternative, so perhaps many PC users will be more eager to try MacOS X than anyone. (I know I was. :) I recall news stories from the release of the original iMac that reported a significant number of the purchasers were PC users, so this was true even before OS X was available.
2. Better performance
Macs have fallen behind PCs in terms of raw performance in several areas. For professional users and developers, depending on the nature of their work, this might be a problem.
However, having said that, I would also say that for at *least* 75% of the population, this is not relevant. When all you do is browse web sites, use e-mail and type letters, does it matter whether you have a 1GHz as opposed to a 2.5GHz processor?
As an aside, I would say that any performance I gained by using a PC that was "faster" than a Mac was eaten up by the time I wasted keeping the machine functioning. When I was a student doing C++ development on Windows 95, I reinstalled the operating system sometimes 3 times a week because the compiler, utility programs, and various other applications interacted in so many unexpected ways they quickly took out the OS.
3. More stuff for corporate users
This is a bit of a hodge-podge.
a) A good groupware server application akin to Exchange, along with appropriate client software, would work wonders for the Mac in terms of corporate adoption. Most places I've seen use Exchange server and Outlook and I know of no real alternatives. (Anyone else know of any?)
b) Does XServe support some kind of terminal services? This would also be a boon to some.
c) My previous workplace was full of scientists and engineers who used some fairly sophisticated and expensive design packages. Pro/Engineer, AutoCAD, Mathematica, etc. Getting more of these applications ported to MacOS would obviously be a good thing. (While Mathematica has a MacOS X native version, most of the other packages were available for Windows and UNIX, only. With MacOS X's UNIX foundation, perhaps ports will be a little less daunting.)
You did ask for what people would have to give up in switching to a Mac... :)
That's about all I can come up with at the moment.
As a home computer, the Mac is already viable for a very large number of people; if you're not a gamer, then there's no drawback to the Mac. As far as I'm concerned, it is far superior to even a name-brand PC from Dell or Gateway, which are now made so cheaply that they're little more than junk. (Even if you build your own machines, finding good, reliable hardware in the PC world is becoming increasingly difficult - another reason I switched.)
For corporate use, however, they have a ways to go before they are seriously considered in many work environments. And they do have a lot of momentum to overcome, as well; there are not a lot of companies out there, at least in the US, that use Macs.
I do see Apple making good progress, however. Almost everything I've seen in the last year has been a step forward. Considering MacOS X is essentially a 1.0 release, I'd say they've done a spectacular job in a short period of time. 10.2 looks terrific, but I am just as interested in what comes afterwards.
Matt Penna ***@rit.edu
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"The trouble with computers, of course, is
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