Ultimate OS

My previous windowz fart obviously as it would, started making me thinking about operating systems, and the like. I’ve had a couple of days to mull it over and this is something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while now. Joen talked about why he wasn’t planning on switching in OSX anytime soon, and in fact was/is pretty happier with Microsoft. Whereas he approached things from a usability point of view, I’m going to talk about if from a completely different angle.

I was faced with this decision last year, when I was shopping around for my newest PC. Do I stay with Windows, do I jump ship and go for Macs, or do I go the hard-geek road and opt for Linux. After much thought and deliberation I decided to stay with Windows. I’m not going to state why I stayed, I’m instead going to talk about why I didn’t go for the other two, and hopefully from there lead to where I think operating systems will go, and in certain cases, should go.

Why not Mac?
Do I like the design of the hardware? I absolutely love the metal box, very cool, very hardcore. What about the overall design aesthetics of the company? Damn straight. This is a company that has got the best product designers in the world. I can’t imagine how all these other companies just can’t even compare when it comes to the design aesthetics.

The operating system is said to be extremely stable as it’s been written on a Unix system, compared with the crap Windows is based on. So with all these good things going for it, what’s the problem?

It’s simple, I hate Apple’s marketing strategy. In my humble opinion the company has taken the fact that it has devout followers and decided to rape them for every single penny they’re worth. It’s this incredible cycle where the second they’ve got you in, that’s it you’re stuck. You might be happy there, but I certainly would not be. I’ll try and make some sense. OSX can only be run on an Apple box. That limits you to using only stuff by them. That keeps the price of the box and repairs and whatever under their control. That doesn’t have to be a problem, except I’m not truly keen on putting all my eggs in one basket.

My first and essentially only true Apple experience is my Ipodmini. I do like it but soo many things about it pisses me off like you wouldn’t believe. The main thing that really annoys me is how the accessories are milked to the brim. I also really hate the fact that you pay for the thing and they don’t even have the decency to supply a remote, or docking bay or whatever, and those things are then priced extortionately, or packages with something you really don’t need/want (earphones with the remote for example).

I know they’re a company and that’s what they’re meant to do, milk it for everything it’s worth, however I don’t need to play their game.

If I could buy OSX as a standalone program that operates on another manufacturer’s box, I would probably be one of the first in line to buy it. As it stands, I’m honestly not interested. This might change in the future, but not the immediate one.

I love open source. I really do. I think in many respects it’s the future. However Linux comes across as a complete chore rather than an operating system. It’s only been pretty recently that the guys have copped onto the fact that interface and usability is as important as all the geeky optimization of the system, but it’s just not there for me.

Add to the fact that in order to run many programs I’d have to get a windows emulator, and well, it kind of defeats the object really doesn’t it. I do keep an eye out for new distro releases, and I’m hoping for the ultimate one to come along, but again I’ll have to wait for that one.

Ultimate OS
Which kind of leads me to my final point, what is the ultimate OS in my opinion? One that combines the class of OSX with the freedom of Linux. One that provides me with the software options available to windows, without the loss of performance.

I get the sneaking suspicion that Google will eventually provide us all with the first online operating system. 10 years from now we’ll log in and know that everything has been backed up and double backed up. We’ll each have a terrabit of storage available to us, and we’ll never have the need to argue about this…except that honestly I don’t really trust google, but then again I didn’t trust the internet when it first appeared…


  1. I understand your reasoining re: Apple but speaking as probably the poorest person in our little community I’ve never felt bilked by Apple. I understand that their pricing methods can seem exorbitant but the same is true for a lot of products.

    It’s not as if I’m buying Apple products every day. I’ve a laptop, a mac mini, a cinema display, and an ipod. And, I honestly don’t think I’ll be buying another Apple product again for at least a year.

    Actually, from a money stand point, I think I’ve actually saved money with Apple. When I was a PC guy I would be at Compusa all the time buying video cards or gadgets or whatever the latest nifty thing was. I think it was all an attempt to find that one new gadget that would somehow make me work better. The, “once I have x, y will be possible” scenario. It just never worked.

    Then I got an Apple. Now, not only is y a simple matter but z as well.

    1 Chris
  2. Send a trackback why don’t you!? :)

    I definitely see your point, but I don’t agree entirely. Probably this is due to my being educated in print / advertising, and I simply see the economical benefit of having a zealous audience like Apple does.

    2 Joen
  3. You disabled pings? Not a fan of trackback, but I’ll try and chuck it in now :).

    I completely see where Apple are coming from, except I for personnal reasons refuse to conform to their model is all. More power to those that are happy to play by Apple’s rules, I for one don’t want to. It’s an ideological issue rather than anything else.

    3 Khaled
  4. I didn’t disable pings, but I didn’t receive a ping from you either.

    Both pings and trackbacks are moderated though, stops 90% of all spam.

    4 Joen
  5. Ironically, Microsoft envisions a world where you can log on to the Internet and have all your applications online. They’ve had that vision for a while, though they are not the only one to have it (nor are they probably the first one).

    I think it’s a neat concept, but some sort of widespread, miles-wide wireless networking standard needs to come out and stay out in order for this to work. At least for me.

    5 Pat Collins
  6. Apple on proprietary hardware? perhaps you don’t keep up on current news..

    OSX now runs on x86.

    Even your statements on Linux being a chore, are flawed. There are quite a few distros available with the ease and useability of Windows.
    For one, Mandrake (newly dubbed Mandriva) is very Windows-like. Hell, it even has a start button with all your applications. It’s got a very friendly install and even a “first time wizard guide” — just like windows.

    next would be Linspire (formerly Lindows), is a distro aimed at Linux beginners. It’s alot like Mandriva.

    I could go on, but I think i’ll stop here.

    6 kenny
  7. Oh no I’ve hadn’t heard about that. I knew it could be done since OSX is based on freebsd, however I still think it’s something only hardcore hackers can do. If I was given the choice like I said, I’d jump ship asap. This bodes well for me to be honest as I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this (as I have been since macintel was announced).

    As for Linux being a chore, I’m sorry but that is where we disagree right there. It is a chore since it involves a great deal of not using specific programs. I don’t want to use the gimp, I want to use Photoshop. I don’t want to use the linux equivalent of Freehand, I want to use Freehand (although that point is moot since adobe is discontinuing that program which still pisses me off). Why should I not jump ship for two programs? Simply because they’re two programs I base a lot of my work in and around.

    I’d love it if I could use a linux distro without the constraints of reducing proformance to use those particular programs etc. It’s not for lack of trying (well they’re not fully blown efforts but I’ve tried playing around with them, KDE mainly).

    There will come a time when I will probably jump from the windows bandwagon, but sadly and I do wish it was otherwise, that time isn’t now.

    7 Khaled
  8. I’m a recent switcher from PC to Mac and I think it’s actually cheaper to be on a Mac - at least in the long run. I got tired of paying for my firewall/virus protection/spyware protector. I also like doing video editing and guess what? All this stuff is either not needed with a Mac or it comes bundled with it.

    8 Matt
  9. I see your point, no doubt about that. And I must agree that Apple is somewhat on the expensive side and it’s just recently that they’ve turned to the Average Joe-user instead of just the design professionals. It’s first this year that I’ve taken the step to actually buy a Mac. The reason why I’m buying a Mac now is that I’m sick and tired of not being able to have control over my own computer. Or to always receive a warning when I’m trying to open a document or start a program that connects to the Internet.
    And I agree; they’re still on the expensive side, but also on the exclusive side.

    9 Håvard Hvassing
  10. What I find hard to believe is the fact, that you’d jump ship for Photoshop and Freehand. So why haven’t you jumped ship yet? It does run on Mac OSX, and as you already mentioned it ’sits’ atop a BSD subsystem. Now each operating system does have it’s advantages, yes even Windows does, but the statement that Apple sucks money out of it’s customers is rather, well, ridiculus. You may want to ask yourself why Apple customers like to spend the money on Apple products? If you found a product, that you were extremely satisfied with would you buy from the manufacturer again? And if that purchase was as beneficial to you as the previous one, would you keep buying their products? I know I would. From a business standpoint alone. I used to, and still do, have a nice Alienware WinXP machine, but I have switched all my work related ‘business’ to Apple.

    Why? Well, just like Apple, Microsoft cetifies hard- and software [seen the pop-up boxes?], but since Microsoft does not produce the whole computer you buy they cannot guarantee that every bit of hardware that is put into a machine will work as they intend it to. And that is where my problem comes in. Even in my nice on-site-support Alienware workstation I had problems with a non-certified videocard (video-editing hardware), that I was guaranteed would work. The tech-support left me hanging and I solved the problem on my own, which cost me valuable time of work. Long story short, I returned the video hardware. This does not happen with Apple! [In my own experience] Why, you may ask. Because Apple builds each system themsleves, also using third party hardware. But their build process ensures that the machine does run as intended. Now there is third-party hardware that you can modify your Apple computer with, but you cannot buy of the shelf components and build the whole thing yourself. And that to me is worth gold.

    I will give you the fact that if you build a Windows machine only with Microsoft certified hard- and software, that the machine will be as stable, but then again look at the price of such a machine. You won’t notice the difference. And I’m not talking about tweaked Dell machines.
    And I haven’t eve begun to touch the subject of open source. But then, to each their own.

    10 Sebastian
  11. I’ve always been an outsider in this discussion: I’m an artist who has happily used Windows and PC hardware for years. I work on both a Mac (my in-house server) and a PC (my design machine) and can say that OS X suffers from every problem you mentioned for Linux. The lack of uniformity within UI is astonishing, especially within commercial apps. The poor integration of the GUI with the underlying UNIX subsystem breaks the functionality of so many things basic to getting work done. Tiger is actually worse in this respect than it’s predescessors.

    I use XP because, unlike every other UNIX based system, the GUI isn’t a shell sitting on top of the subsystem - it’s integrated so tightly with the OS that when your video drivers are bad, the whole OS craps out. When I open up a file permissions dialog, the GUI knows what I can or can’t do and doesn’t have to wait for me to hit “apply” before giving me feedback. The GUI is truly integrated.

    Before OS X, Mac was the benchmark for how to provide users with a simple yet powerful interface for OS interaction. OS X turned all that on it’s ear.

    11 Frazier
  12. And the discussion heats up :). I think somewhere along the line my comments got missed. For a start I didn’t say that I’m not buying into the mac because of money. I think if I spent something like £500 more I’d have the top of the range mac, compared to what I have now. No it’s not really about money, it’s about ideology.

    I can see lots of people claiming that it actually saved them money. It’s different to every person. I’ve had two computers in my life that I can fully claim as my own. Before that it was shared machines and borrowed machines. I never upgrade, and the only additional thing I got for the computer was a wacom pen, but that had nothing to do with the computer itself per say.

    When my previous computer died, I said thank you because I use my PC a lot. If I can get the most out of something before it dies, I’m perfectly content. Would a mac do that? Probably, but I’d have to be buying into the mac culture. People acting like idiots for 4 year old PCs, people queuing outside a store for 3 days, that sort of rubbish I honestly hate. It’s exceptionally fickle and waaaay too materialistic for my sensibilities.

    I’ve been playing around with linux at work more and more since I’ve been using radiance and blender for some daylighting studies, and while I love some great little functionalities, somehow it really doesn’t feel as solid as windows. I can’t explain it, and maybe Frazier hit the nail on the head there, there’s something that doesn’t feel particularly polished right there.

    I’ve been very lucky that the hardware that I’ve bought sings nicely with my software, unlike itunes and my ipod which constantly gives me serious grief every so often. In fact the ipod is a perfect example of the Apple philosophy on things. It’s as if it’s not really your ipod but theirs. I know there are work arounds to changing your battery or whatever, but to the average person they’d rather not do it, and send it off to Apple. Like I said it’s an ideology issue with me.

    If the news above is true and OSX is coming to the PC in the not so distant future I’ll be more up for it I’m sure. Hell if I had the option then I might even buy the apple box believe it or not, but I’d NEVER buy one as it stands because I only have one option.

    I’ve not read this viewpoint else where, but I’m sure (at least I hope so) that I can’t be the only person that feels this way.

    12 Khaled
  13. Well, I did not try to argue the better OS, which hinges on personal preferences (and Windows Vista looks good so far), but the fact that it did save me money. And lots of it. The initial investment might be higher, but support costs are close to zip. Actually they are zip. Even with a fault it took Aplle to repair my Powerbook in four days. I did have a Must-turn-in-Notebook problem before with Toshiba and it took them almost two weeks. Work time lost.

    You mentioned not to buy into the ideology of Apple, but do you not own an iPod? Now, either you bought one, or got one as a present. If you bought it it must have seemed as the best option at the time, since there are a handful of other option, especially in the PC world.

    The battery problem in the iPod is rather simple to argue. It eliminates the user-destruction of hardware. The desicion is very user friendly: “You don’t have to deal with it, but we’ll do it for you”. That way the user pays the same as buying a battery from apple and inserting it themselves. Which also eliminates the possibility that users insert the battery the wrong way. And that does happen! Or destroy something else. Users aren’t always the most clever. The return is a functional product, and no lawsuit, which in the US is a big deal when you produce or sell a product. You and many others out there (I shall include myself here) are tinkerers (that a word?) and are able to do many things ourself, like changing a battery in an iPod, but that is not the majority. I still meet people that don’t know that you can listen your car stereo without turning on the engine (yes, its that sad). So from a usability standpoint I do prefer Apple. At least today.
    BTW, Apple is not coming to the PC world, but will in the future use Intel processors instead of Motorola. The hardware will still be extremely selective and most likely procteted by a ‘authorization’ chip on board. Non-certified hardware is still out the door. Oh and that holds true for the new Windows Vista as well as their hardware requirements climb. Out the the cheapo [in terms of price not quality-price ratio] Dell, HP, etc.

    13 Sebastian
  14. Well if that article on wired is anything to go by, OSX has been hacked albeit it’s a developer’s issue, and they’ll no doubt go back and try and sort things out for it, and effectively make it locked again, the precendence has been set, and as such it’s going to go down the PC route. The technical jargon is actually lost on me, but it does seem to me that OSX on a PC box will become an eventuality whether Apple likes it or not, without the lack of performance.

    If it’s digital, it can be hacked, it can be broken :).

    As for the Ipod, heh, no I didn’t buy it. As I’ve said above, great product designers shitty mentality, at least in my opinion. No I don’t think having the battery sealed, and other things effectively cut off from the consumer a good idea.

    When you buy a mac you become part of a “cult”, hell directly from a comment above:

    And I agree; they�re still on the expensive side, but also on the exclusive side.

    I honestly don’t really care about what I have in my box. I care for usability, reliability and flexibility.I’m not interested in being part of the ‘exclusive club’. I guess I’ve not found what I’m looking for :).

    Vista, hrm would you believe what I’ve seen doesn’t really make me jump with joy and anticipation. It’s been like 6 years or whatever since XP came out, I guess I was expecting a lot more.

    14 Khaled
  15. Using a Mac doesn’t mean you’re part of a cult. It just so happens that Mac users tend to enjoy their computers more than the customers of most PC brands, and they don’t mind saying so. Don’t confuse enthusiasm and satisfaction with religion.

    “I honestly donâ��t really care about what I have in my box. I care for usability, reliability and flexibility.”

    Well, Apple has one advantage no one else has. Their hardware and software are both designed to work together from the ground up, and one company will guarantee the entire platform you. As opposed to the PC world, where Microsoft tells you your crashes are Dell’s fault, and Dell tells you they’re Microsoft’s fault.

    I gave up on Windows over a year ago. There was just way too much crap to put up with, too many worms and trojans to guard against, and so on. I haven’t had a problem since. I can sit down every day and be creative without worrying about the hardware or OS screwing up.

    To be frank, I have no idea what Frazier is talking about. I think he’s either a troll or a Microsoft employee.

    Macs have great resale value - much better than PCs - so if you try one out and don’t like it, you won’t have trouble getting most of your money back.

    15 Paul D
  16. Paul - You make some great points. I’m not part of a cult - hey, I just switched about 4 months ago not enough time yet!

    I was a Mac HATER! However, I got so sick of paying for all the extra stuff I had to have for a PC. Sure, PC’s are a low entry cost, but the money kept coming out of my pocker just to keep the thing running. I started thinking about how riduculous that was… What really put me over the edge was the awesome customer service experiences I was having with Apple for my iPod. My h/d went bad so I called Apple expecting to get someone I couldn’t understand and waiting on the phone forever - it was the exact opposite. It was the best technology related customer service experience of my life.

    16 Matt
  17. I love your idea about the ultimate OS. Perfect! Do we really, truly trust everyone or everything in our lives anyway?

    17 skebrown
  18. Watch out OS/X, Windows and Linux - you are right on track about Google. They are slowly moving into the desktop arena with their somewhat location blurry desktop tools. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google be the monster remote desktop with a form of embedded UNIX/LINUX as the local runtime in the not too distant future.

    Why not? If they know where everyting is, then let them keep track of my information for me. I wonder about Google PDAs, Cell Phones, GPS, POS, etc.

    Will I start getting AdWords-like AdVoice on my Google phone?

    18 Essive