Wednesday, March 30, 2005

When Alpha Geeks disagree...

In his latest essay Paul Graham is predicting the "Return of the Mac". But recently I've seen a couple of posts from people who've been there and are now thinking about switching back or moving away from the Mac platform...

Like Paul I've seen the growth in the number of Macs at conferences like OSCON. So when Brad finally persuaded people that he really, really, needed a Mac and I finally got to play with one properly, I was convinced. I managed to extort one out of the management at the first opportunity, and haven't looked back...

While the hardware is nice enough, what I was after was Mac OS X. The phrase you hear most often from a new Mac user when asked by a Windows, or even Linux, using colleague how they got onto the conference wireless network is "I don't know, it just worked". Actually you hear that a lot from Mac users, and after using Mac OS X for a while now, I agree. Generally it just works.

Of course the good thing is underneath the pretty eye candy Mac OS X is BSD Unix. When it stops just working you can actually lift the hood and fix things, unlike Windows, where if things stop working there is very little you can do except reinstall, or Linux, which despite UI improvements usually comes without the hood in the first place.

It surprises me to hear that some alpha geeks might be switching back. Although I do understand some of their complaints about Safari, iCal and Mail.app I'm hoping that forthcoming Tiger release will fix most (all?) of the problems. But if not, well, nothing's perfect...

Update: The Unofficial Apple Weblog has also picked up Paul's piece.

Update: They've also now picked up Tim Bray's post about switching away from the Mac platform.

Update: Tim Bray has written a post in response to the interesting feedback that his orginal post, about switching away from the Mac, generated.