The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mac OS X Shines In Comparison With Windows Vista

Here’s an excellent review of OS X from Information Week:

Information Week review article

At the UI level, the human level, Vista is different far more often than it is better. Even so, I think it must be said that Vista is indeed an improvement on Windows XP. Honestly, I think that's the only metric that really counts when you think about it: Is Vista better enough than XP to be worth the upgrade? I'll say yes. This may be more of a comment on how bad XP really is more than how good Vista is.

However, is it significantly, or even slightly better than Mac OS X? Maybe in a couple of low-level ways, like the randomizing memory address usage function, or being able to use USB memory sticks as additional RAM, but at the human level? Not even close.

I've yet to see anything in Vista that blows away the Mac OS, even a version of the Mac OS that's over a year old. Microsoft still can't manage to make something simple and easy to use. Vista reeks of committee and design by massive consensus, while OS X shines from an intense focus on doing things in a simple, clear fashion and design for the user, not the programmer.

Here’s a very insightful synopsis of Microsoft’s competence in the OS development field...

While Vista is indeed a major update to Windows, there's a lot of it that is, quite frankly, just Microsoft making up for lost time. The last non-server release of Windows was in 2001 with Windows XP, with only a single major interim update in service pack 2. In the same time, Apple has been steadily releasing updates to Mac OS X on what was a yearly schedule, now around every 18 months.

This means that while Mac OS X has been steadily evolving through 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4, and is now working towards 10.5, Microsoft was waiting on what would become Vista. When it was obvious the original Longhorn OS wasn't going to happen, they took the Windows Server 2003 code base and used that for the basis of Vista. They also chopped quite a few features out of Vista, most notably the WinFS object-based data storage and management system, which had been promised in various forms since the first blurbs about Cairo in the early 1990s.

So if OS X is already better than Vista, wait until “Leopard” comes out later this year!


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