Windows vs Mac – can’t we all just get along?

 In the spring of 1992 I lived in Los Angeles, Ca. Not long after the riots commenced Rodney King, the man beaten by LAPD officers and the incident that proved the flash point for the riots, made the now famous plea "Can’t we all just get along?"

 

It simply amazes me how people become so religious about a particular topic, especially the now painfully tired Windows vs Mac debate. Both platforms have advantages and disadvantages. I used to hate Mac – mainly because it was yet another platform I had to support as a developer. I would spend extraordinary amounts of time to craft a great application, only to have a vocal minority of the population complain that it wouldn’t work on their Macs.

 
When that happened I did what any other normal, rational person would do. I ignored them. They didn’t represent enough of a financial opportunity for me to even consider developing there.
 
The emergence of the web as an application platform nullified that debate to a large degree, at least for developers. It wasn’t that long ago that commercial Windows developers were more consumed with variations of Windows installations (16 vs 32 bit, COM libraries, ComCtrl.dll versions, etc., etc). In the space of a few short years the web stopped being a high level presentation medium and became a platform for building very capable applications.
 
I know this – I built a successful business on the Windows client model and had to experience that painful transition to the web firsthand.
 
All of a sudden the developers that I knew stopped caring about Windows implementations and started worrying about HTML compliance, browser versions, JavaScript and DHTML. Just when my fellow Windows developers had mastered the Windows platform and had highly advanced tools to make it really easy to knock out killer applications, they became somewhat irrelevant.  Everyone I knew was telling me that client applications were dead and that it was all about the web as a platform.
 
It took me a really long time to accept this. It’s because I’m stubborn and I had invested so much in Windows development already. I didn’t want to take a huge step back and have to learn a whole new tool set. In the end I decided I’d better embrace the future and accept the web as a great model for building real applications, otherwise I may become a COBOL programmer waiting for a Y2K event to give me something to do.
 
Change is really friggin hard. Most people hate it and I’m like most people.
 
I tell you this because when I decided to look at the Mac as a personal computing solution I did so in part because I wanted to see what everyone was talking about. I had made the change from a custom client model to a web model and I guess it had broken down my resistance for exploring new technology.
 
As you may be able to tell from my other blog posts, I really like my Mac. That doesn’t mean I hate Windows; I still use my XP machine every day. Doesn’t mean I hate Linux; I have a wonderful little Ubuntu machine right behind me that I use occasionally.
 
Can a Mac get a virus? Sure it can – there just aren’t any out there yet that I’m aware of. Trust me when I tell you that it is possible to build a virus for any programmable computer. It may not be able to wreak serious havoc and reproduce at will but it can do damage in other ways. Can a Windows machine get a virus? Sure it can – and you need to run anti-virus software OR be very aware of what you do in order to avoid them. Linux is in the same boat as Mac. These are simple facts.
 
That said, I’m going to go back to writing about the cool things I’ve discovered for my Mac. I’ll also be writing about starting a technology business from scratch – something I’m doing again now. If you find this stuff interesting I encourage you to jump in and sign up for my RSS feed.

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