Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2004 10:03:57 PM by Tom Pletcher
Why do the "OS wars" persist? Everyone knows they ended a long time ago, somewhere back in the mid-90s. We are a Windows world, and despite Microsoft's endlessly scrutinized business practices and spectacular security problems, that's not entirely a bad thing.
But it's not entirely a good thing, either, which I suppose is why the skirmishes continue.
I myself am a Mac guy. I do most of my work in Windows, but I think I must have contrarian genes--I just prefer the Mac. Just because.
"Just because" was all the rationale I could muster in the bad old days of OS 9. My Mac had all the stability of a feather and I still ... just preferred it.
But things are different now. OS X, the whole range of Big Cat variants, is a completely different animal, and operating system. Smooth, sleek and stable. Superb uptime. As I said, I do most of my work in Windows--don't ask why just now--and I favor W2K because it's pretty stable and doesn't have a lot of XP gunk to get in the way. But I have to reboot my W2K machines every few days to keep them humming. Panther, though, just keeps purring along, whatever I throw at it.
All of this is by way of preface to an article that's making the rounds on Mac sites, and Open Source sites like Slashdot. It's on John Gruber's Mac blog site Daring Fireball, and it's titled "The Art of the Parlay, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Platform Licensing and Market Share".
Gruber's thesis is that the conventional wisdom about Apple blowing a chance to become the monopoly platform is false. He contends that whatever decisions Apple might have made back in the 80s, Microsoft would still have prevailed. I don't know whether I agree, or whether it even matters anymore.
My own take on Apple's market share is simple: I don't care. Is the Mac a niche platform? Sure--it's a luxurious little enclave, well-designed and sophisticated, that's free of bugs and worms. It's the high-style, high-performance, high-rent district.
This may seem an elitist stance, but hey--the Mac has become an elitist platform. OS X is luxury computing, folks. Think about it: where else can you run mainstream apps like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and also run renegade open source apps like Open Office and the GIMP side-by-side? Not to mention thousands of other Linux/Unix apps. And all of this capability is wrapped up in what is hands-down the handsomest GUI on the planet, and an OS that, I would contend, is among the most powerful.
I'm willing to pay more for this experience, and to savor it. So market share be damned. I am one of the Nouveau Niche, and I like it.
Category tags: Mac