Why Macintosh?

I find that the war between Macintosh and Windows is at one lev­el rather stu­pid. But that is because in the end, I hate all com­put­ers, I just hate the Macintosh the least. Ok, so I don’t real­ly hate com­put­ers but there are times.… Smile

As to why Macintosh? There are a lot of sub­tle rea­sons, it is what I have used the most so I am most com­fort­able with it, and in the end, it lets me get work done and not work at mak­ing the com­put­er work. When it comes down to it, most of us sim­ply use the com­put­er we have always used. It is like that big com­fy chair that only we can sit in, every­one else hates it. Now I have three com­put­ers under my desks, Mac, Linux, and Windows XP. I use the Mac to do work, the Linux box to do serv­er stuff, and I play games on Windows XP.

There is one dif­fer­ence that for me illus­trates why I pre­fer Mac OS over oth­er OSes. This dif­fer­ence caus­es oth­ers find the Macintosh hard to use. On the Mac, a win­dow is almost always a doc­u­ment (or rep­re­sen­ta­tion of some sort of data). On Windows (and most if not all X11 win­dows man­agers) a win­dow is the appli­ca­tion itself. Software devel­op­ers that move from the Windows world to Macintosh often do not get this dif­fer­ence and write ( or port ) soft­ware for the Mac that is un-Mac-like.

This one dif­fer­ence is seri­ous­ly sig­nif­i­cant! It affects all sorts of sub­tle areas of oper­a­tion. For exam­ple, it dri­ves me crazy that clos­ing the last win­dow also clos­es the appli­ca­tion under Windows — and Windows peo­ple are dri­ven crazy that clos­ing all the win­dows on the Mac doesn’t quit the pro­gram.

To me, the Mac does it right. Just because I close a doc­u­ment up (ana­log: file the piece of paper) doesn’t mean I want to quit the pro­gram (ana­log: put a cov­er on the type­writer and put it away). I like hav­ing the app sit­ting there wait­ing for me to switch back to it to start some more work. I don’t want to wait for the app to relaunch. I fre­quent­ly have 12 or more dif­fer­ent pro­grams run­ning. Terminal, Mail, BBEdit, iTunes, Safari, Firefox, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Skype are almost always sit­ting there, many times with­out any doc­u­ments open. But, I can switch to any of them and start work­ing with a quick cmd-N or cmd-O to make a new doc­u­ment or open an exist­ing one. No wait­ing for the stu­pid pro­gram to launch. ( and I only have 4gb of RAM )

The win­dow as a doc­u­ment as opposed to an appli­caiton is the rea­son the Mac has a sin­gle menu bar. Under Windows, prac­ti­cal­ly every win­dow has a menu bar which dri­ves me crazy cause I am always click­ing on the wrong menu. To frus­trate me even more, many pro­grams on Windows dis­play every­thing inside a sin­gle win­dow. Oh, that brings me to why this even start­ed per­co­lat­ing in my puny brain.

I keep play­ing around with dif­fer­ent IDEs (Integrated Development Envirornment) such as Eclipse (and the mul­ti­ple vari­ants there­of) and Komodo which has recent­ly release a free ver­sion avail­able for Windows, Linux and Mac. It final­ly hit me why I keep switch­ing back to BBEdit, I can’t eas­i­ly use my dual mon­i­tor set­up with them because the whole appli­ca­tion sits inside one win­dow (ok, you can open mul­ti­ple win­dows Eclipse but its like dupli­cat­ing the whole thing and to me gets even more con­fus­ing).

When I am devel­op­ing, not only do I have dif­fer­ent doc­u­ments hang­ing out on two dif­fer­ent mon­i­tors but often sit­ting in dif­fer­ent Spaces, to use the Lepoard term, or desk­tops as most peo­ple would under­stand it. Yeah, that sounds even more con­fus­ing, doc­u­ments thrown every­where. But with Expose on the Mac, I can quick­ly see all the files for a par­tic­u­lar app and switch to it if I can’t find it by just look­ing at the mess. The IDEs make me feel con­fined, restrict­ed, unfree even.

BTW: Komodo Edit is pret­ty good (although every so often it just quits unex­pect­ed like), and I am real tempt­ed to plunk down the mon­ey for the Pro ver­sion (if I ever get the income to do so) even though it doesn’t quite match my way of work­ing. I had been using Eclipse, pri­mar­i­ly for debug­ging, but it has a few per­sis­tent bugs that dri­ve me crazy. Its price, free is great and all so one can put up with the bugs. On the oth­er hand, I beta test­ed the Zend Studio prod­uct based on Eclipse and the base Eclipse prob­lems plus the costs make it a no go.

Anyway, the rea­sons why I use a Macintosh for my pri­ma­ry work­sta­tion are often sub­tle and not even thought out. The Mac OS just works the way I think. Other peo­ple think and work more like Windows does and they are com­fort­able with it and oth­ers real­ly like the way KDE or Gnome works under Linux (or they pre­fer the FLOSS philo­soph­i­cal dif­fer­ence that Linux presents).

To argue which is best is to me a NASCAR race, Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge vs Toyota *sigh*  One of them is going to cross the fin­ish line first on any giv­en Sunday and those of us who are NASCAR fans will cheer for our favorite dri­ver and car make and think, thats why I dri­ve a <insert favorite car here>. But in the end, any car, no mat­ter what the make and mod­el will get us to our des­ti­na­tion, just some will do so in a way we will arrive hap­py.

I get where I want to go using a Macintosh because it makes me hap­pi­est of the major desk­top oper­at­ing sys­tems — not that I am always hap­py. For you know, I hate all com­put­ers, I just hate the Macintosh the least. 🙂

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One thought on “Why Macintosh?

  1. mreveal

    I nev­er real­ly knew all the tech­ni­cal expla­na­tion between the dif­fer­ences. This real­ly helps me under­stand and look at things dif­fer­ent­ly. I used a Mac for years until the busi­ness I worked for changed to PC’s and win­dows. And then they were always less expen­sive.

    The thing about the win­dows being dif­fer­ent real­ly inter­est­ed me. For myself, I always try to just close my doc­u­ment when I know I may use the appli­ca­tion again. But some­times I get click hap­py and close the whole thing. I have always said that a Mac stops you from doing things you don’t want to do most of the time and this is just anoth­er exam­ple of a way it does that. Guess will have to start sav­ing my pen­nies.

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