Mac and OS/X Tiger: The Verdict Is In

Aside from using an Apple ][e for a while in high school, I’ve always been on DOS/Windows. It’s the way I grew up. I learned some UNIX along the way – can certainly find my way around a UNIX box pretty nicely. But I am, as they say, a “Windows guy”, having remained loyal to the Windows/Intel (“Wintel”) platform for nearly 20 years. I used Macs here and there, and understood them, but the business argument for Windows was always sound: flexibility, compatibility, etc. etc. It was truer then than now, certainly, but it’s still fairly true today. If you want nearly unlimited choices on a desktop computing platform, Windows XP makes a bunch of sense.

However, I’d been watching OS/X Tiger with some curiosity and anticipation. It is all built on a 64-bit Unix core. You can change anything you want and/or dare to. It is elegantly designed, efficient, and very stable. For my emerging editorial and fashion photography avocation, it runs Photoshop much better and manages color better than XP. My plan was to buy a new Powerbook (G4, 15″) to see how OS/X Tiger felt. And that’s what I did.

Well, the verdict is in. It feels great. I love my Powerbook and as a personal OS, OS/X Tiger feels superior to Windows XP in every way. I am continually amazed by Apple’s ability to fuse technology and design in a way no other computing manufacturer has. OS/X Tiger has overcome my early, initial complaints about Mac as a platform: cross-platform compatibility is seamless and the system is highly flexible and customizable – you can get at the guts if you wish. Ironically, I’ve found hardly any need to. Dashboard is great. Spotlight is very useful and stunningly fast. Automator is powerful yet easy to use.

I have a couple of minor complaints which will surely be addressed over time. One: Apple really needs to stop putting 5400-rpm drives in their Powerbooks. They are slow and it’s noticable. Two: more choices for OS/X software would be great as well. I think as OS/X gains market share (and I believe it will as more XP users convert) this will make the market more attractive to developers, thus creating more choices.

So, I think this means at some point this year I will be moving to an OS/X desktop at home. One question that will remain is: will I even need a Wintel box there at all?

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