ZDNet commentator wonders if Wintel has finally caught up to Macintosh after 20 years

“Twenty years ago this week, during the year of Big Brother, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak introduced the Apple Macintosh. Although the seminal advert (which you can view on Apple’s Website here) sticks in everyone’s minds, it’s easy to forget just how revolutionary that little beige, boxy, Mac was,” Matt Loney writes for ZDNet UK.

“At the time, Windows version 1 was still a year away, and overlapping windows and icons on the PC would not appear for another three years, in the form of Windows 2–later to be renamed Windows 286. And of course all those early versions of Windows ran on top of the DOS command-line operating system,”Loney writes.

“It was not just the graphical user interface that set the Apple Mac apart from the competition: it was the whole ease-of-use thing. While PC owners were getting tied up with conflicting IRQs and DMAs every time they tried to plug or unplug something, on the Mac everything just, well, worked. That PCs did not work was not necessarily Microsoft’s fault, and nor was it necessarily IBM’s fault. It was simply a symptom of multiple companies, industry groups and interests haggling over every layer of the PC’s architecture, from the system bus to the operating system,” Loney writes.

“Apple never had that to cope with. By refusing to let its products become a commodity, Apple ensured they would become an icon of cohesive design, produced by a company that controlled almost every aspect of the operating system and the hardware, and so could ensure that the two worked together in relative harmony,” Loney writes. “…Twenty years on then, it looks as though the PC has finally grown up: the Mac was simply born mature.”

Full article here.

26 Comments

  1. The Mac (OS 9 and prior) DID have viruses (around 40 in all). OS X , on the other hand, has had none so far (knock on wood).

    But you’re right, we do have a lot of catching up to do ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  2. My friend emailed me the other day, in a panic. My PC got this virus, you had better be careful! Of I didn’t have to look far to find that the Mac was not vulnerable to the viruus. I sent hima quick link to an article and highlighted the part where Macs were unaffected. Well, his entire system is trashed, (He’s a pro website designer), and he took it as a sign to buy a new computer. What did he buy? Another PC of course! Some people just don’t get it – they need to look up the word “value” in the dictionary again…

  3. XP Pro is the best version of Windows yet:
    1) It’s almost HALF as stable as OS9.
    2) It’s only half as ugly as WinMe/2k
    3) It causes you to pull out only half of your hair.
    4) It works, as advertised, about half of the time.
    Truly a half-baked platform.

  4. When you buy an Apple-Mac: Apple should offer a free PC to Mac program, and offer 45 minutes free content transfer assistance.
    And advertise this loud and clear.
    I know enough people that considered a Mac, but stayed with a PC.

  5. I remember back when the first Macs came out. I can still hear the pontificating DOS bozos, poo pooing the mouse and the GUI, saying with their typical arrogance that the COMMAND LINE interface was the ONLY real way to use a personal computer!

    Fast forward to 2004 and you will find many of those same idiots poo pooing the Macintoshes of today,a nd claiming that OS X and the Mac offer no advantages over Windows XP.

    You see, some people are simply born with ZERO credibility. These fools will NEVER choose the superior products because they are simply too stupid and/or arrogant to know the difference.

  6. How soon we forget.

    From 1984 – 1995 The Mac OS was basically cooler, simpler, and much more of a pleasure to use than anything on the MS/Intel side. Nonetheless, the venerable Mac OS was beginning to show its age. It was unstable, crashed LOTS, and the biggest saving grace was how easy it was to re-install.

    Then in 1995 MS introduced Windows 95. After years of laughing at Windows 3.x, even I had to admit that MS had come far and Win 95 offered Intel users much of the same functionality as the Mac OS. It was the first time I began to look askance at the Intel boxes.

    Meanwhile, the mess at Apple seemed to be getting… no make that IT WAS getting worse. Management shakeups, an unclear OS roadmap… will it be Copeland, will it be the BeOS, what do you mean they just bought NeXT?

    In 1996 I experienced WindowsNT for the first time. A friend of mine (Dave Cutler) from my days with Digital Equipment Corporation was largely responsible for the development of NT. NT was a copy of Digital’s VAX/VMS… (another Dave Cutler project) and an OS I still regard as the finest I’ve ever used.

    NT was solid, it ran endlessly without crashing, it had protected-memory, preemtive multitasking, and much of the basic stuff that OS X now sorta claims as its own. All that stuff, protected-memory, true multitasking, true multiuser, security models, true virtual memory, etc. is older than most of the people using OS X. We had it with UNIX, and it’s what made VAX/VMS and it’s bastard child, WindowsNT so stable. I was starting to use NT more and more in mission critical applications or for users who had little or no tolerance for crashes on their personal machines.

    From 1997 on something strange happened. MS turned NT into a big mess full of more holes than front grill of a G5. Meanwhile Apple got itself straightened out, largely due to the infusion of NeXT (how ironic is that anyway?), and cranked out OS X. I first used it in 2000 and finally the first release version about Feb of 2001.

    Underneath I was home again. The UNIX core gave me the power I needed from an OS to handle just about any chore from development to network management to security to whatever… meanwhile I had all the normal everyday productivity stuff I needed.

    Since Jaguar, I can honestly say that I have no need for Windows anymore.

    My biggest complaint about Panther is the &&**&&*&^ f**((king Network Browser. It just plain doesn’t work. How could Apple release that thing?

  7. PS PS

    When I say, “… NT was a copy of Digital’s VAX/VMS… (another Dave Cutler project) and an OS I still regard as the finest I’ve ever used…”

    I mean VAX/VMS was the finest OS I’ve ever used.

  8. “My biggest complaint about Panther is the &&**&&*&^ f**((king Network Browser. It just plain doesn’t work. How could Apple release that thing?”

    it’s worked flawlessly for me.

  9. theloniusMac,

    I agree with you that VMS was pretty good. (While my favorite will always be TOPS-20, unlike VMS it wasn’t particularly crash-proof. But the user interface, for a CLI, was sweet). But even VMS started to suffer from bloat after V3.

    NT was reasonably secure, before internet usage became widespread. But, in typical Microsoft fashion, they only belatedly realized that.

    In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of a single, decent, Microsoft application (compare, for example, MS Fortran, or C, or Pascal with Turbo-Pascal (all in 64 K!) or Turbo-C). Only Excel, with VBA included, is a pretty useful tool in my life.

    Like you, I too am home now on OS X. All I need now is a Tops-20 emulator for running as a shell ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  10. bjh

    I second on Tops-20 being the finest OS ever. The OS must had AI correcting all my mistakes. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  11. AppleGuy,

    Can you describe the networks you’re using it in? First of all, it seems on PowerBooks, if I open the Go menu, choose “Connect to Server,” then click on the Browse menu, the darn thing doesn’t open. Sometimes restarting the PowerBook makes it work properly.

    If I open a Finder Window and click on the Network icon, choose a server and connect, it’s a crap shoot as to what happens next. Sometimes I connect to the server, then when I try to access it I get complaints that the server no longer exists, or I watch it vanish before my eyes, all sorts of weird stuff.

    Seems if I go get the IP address and use the Connect To Server option under the Go menu, everything works ok, I even get an icon on the desktop, but I have to get the IP address.

    I miss the old Go menu. Sniff sniff.

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