Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

Summary: Only a week after buying my first ever MacBook, it hasn't changed my opinion of Windows. It has though made me realise I am OS agnostic.

SHARE:

Considering I have not spent more than an hour of my life using Mac OS X, jumping about the cultural shift train when my new MacBook Air arrived on Friday should have come as a shock -- considering my own personal admission to an increasingly dependent reliance on Windows.

Truthfully, the transition from Windows to Mac has been relatively easy -- with only a few quirks to learn along the way.

But the one thing -- only half a week later from the arrival of my new beast of a note-slash-netbook, is that I am and always have been agnostic to operating systems. I just never knew it until I forced a change of hand, and I suspect you -- the reader -- may be the same.

(Image via Flickr)

In reality, I have not transitioned at all. I have learned, and subconsciously compared and contrasted, but I have not actively switched from one to the other.

With Windows, one has to be aware of 'Windows rot', database files, caches and the build up of disk space over time, taken over by temporary files and updates that slowly wear away at the system.

Whether or not this truly exists in the Mac world, I have used up only 13% of my 128GB solid state drive, and it has remained as such since the day it arrived, and installed the junk I need to keep my productive life going.

It's a shift I have never taken before. Being used to something old and decrepit, that works but sometimes breaks, and often needs a kick up the backside to get going again was fine, truth be known.

With my Mac, I have to leave many preconceptions and worries at the door. It seems that I do not need to clear my cache files that often, or need to wipe my Internet history or temporary files each week to remove the constant clog of files on my system.

This, as you may have guessed, is the ramblings of someone very much in the 'honeymoon' period; yet to work out the difficulties and set backs that Mac has yet to show, over the Windows operating system that I am so used to.

And on the subject of honesty -- I have not switched on my Windows-running desktop upstairs since my MacBook Air arrived. I simply have had no need to.

Despite the closed 'app-store only' nature of iOS, for newcomers, Mac OS X is not. It doesn't need jail-breaking, nor does it require hacking to get the applications you want to work on it.

For that reason alone, again despite the Windows versus Mac divide, so far all but one application is available on Mac OS X as it is on Windows. The one that isn't, is Paint.NET -- an old version of the popular image editing software, for which I use instead of the overbearing clutter that PhotoShop has to offer.

But already, I feel as though I am cheating on my new MacBook purchase by running virtualisation software, to emulate my Boot Camp partition to run Windows applications within the Mac OS X interface.

While I have my Mac OS X Lion based MacBook running multi-platform software -- like Chrome, Microsoft Office, Skype and Dropbox, there is still a need to at least have the opportunity more than anything to run Windows applications directly from one's MacBook.

Simply having the option there is enough to make me feel all-rounded more comfortable; knowing I have a fall back option ready on my MacBook wherever I am in the world. As a netbook-like solution, my MacBook Air will replace my current netbook and travel the world with me when I next travel.

And this sets me to my point. I am operating system agnostic. It doesn't matter what I use, when it is or how I use it -- whether it is a strand of Linux I have never used, Mac OS X or Windows 3.1 through to Windows 7 -- I'll use it regardless.

I suspect that actually, while most will have their own personal preference, I believe many follow this pattern too. It does not matter which browser, operating system, program or service you use -- it falls down to whether the job can be done or not. If it can, then continue. If not, by all means move on.

No doubt most will agree: video editing software is better on a Mac, whereas productivity and office documents are better for Windows. The Mac vs. PC adverts on the television do highlight a point, and though jocular and with a staunch anti-PC bias, many prefer to be productive to editing videos.

At the end of the day, productivity in itself is relative. Video editing may well be someone's job; what right do we have to disparage? We pick the devices for what we feel is best.

Perhaps I would have woken up to Mac OS X if I were able to run it alongside Windows on a PC. The fact that you can run Windows on a Mac shows more about Apple than it does about Microsoft; yet equally negates the positivity by restricting Mac OS X to a Mac computer.

It's like a Venn diagram out of control; emulating the London 2012 Olympic logo; with jagged edges and overly highlighted spewed-up collage pieces.

Though I am now a proud Mac owner, and still a productive soldier with my desktop and office-based Windows PC sitting in the desktop -- with a brand new desktop PC on its way to replace the ailing model I have -- I am proud to say I am OS agnostic.

It just took a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt -- and a risky credit card payment to prove it to myself -- even if it was by force.

Now, who's up for a crack at Ubuntu?

Related content:

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Hardware, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

133 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

    I'm glad you're enjoying your macbook air. It's a gorgeous device! I'm still jaded about Mac OSX. I'm being called in every other week by my father-in-law to help him with his mac, and I'm simply sick of saying things like, "no, you can't do this," or "yes, you can get this program, it just costs more than similar Windows counterparts." There are also countless things that Apple has done to purposely make Macs different to Windows computers, such as putting the close/resize buttons on the left side, defaulting to single-button mouse behaviour, extensive but ultimately awkward desktop icon arrangement options, etc etc. It's like Apple wants you to get accustomed to its' ways so that if you use a Windows PC it'll feel odd and alien.

    I've built a Hackintosh for myself and tried it, but I still feel uncomfortable using it. Why do I have to hide the dock to full-screen an application? Gargh!

    On a similar vein, I'm obsessed with Ubuntu and its variants. It's an absolutely gorgeous OS, and it's wonderfully easy to use (not to mention boots in 14 seconds). Unfortunately I can't use it as an everyday OS, because it lacks reliable support for the Adobe Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, and video games. While alternatives exist, they just aren't quite as good.
    Imrhien
    • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

      @Imrhien
      Ubuntu is my favourite too. I like the Ubuntu Unity interface (still a work in progress) and it is solid and reliable, and it is pleasing to the eye too. And yes, software availability for program that you are used to is really the only drawback.
      root12
      • Ubuntu is my fave too, but I have many XP, win7 and apple devices running

        Not only does my ubuntu workstation act as my internet-accessible OpenVPN gateway (running as a vm), it's also the family file/backup server - so right off the bat I can say it's a single device that performs the function of three PCs that would have been running not too many years ago.

        My most powerful PC runs Win7 so I can play games with my 2 sons (who still are on XP at the moment, will upgrade to win7 in the near future). My wife is a die-hard Mac fan every since her Bro decided to donate his old macbook to her a few years back, and she has been problem-free. We all have iPhones / iPods / iTouch

        I can definitly a heterogenous mixed network gives you the best of all worlds
        :)
        ~doolittle~
      • Ubuntu / Windows / OSX

        In the office we've got Ubuntu, Win 7 and OSX desktops and laptops. In the datacentre we have Ubuntu (a little CentOS), Server 2008 (mainly Core as it's leaner and more secure), and even some older XServes. To get the best tools for the business heterogeneous networks seem to be the way forward if you can get standard protocols talking.
        Jxbjni
    • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

      @Imrhien
      +1
      pinkfloydhighhopes
    • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

      @Imrhien

      "There are also countless things that Apple has done to purposely make Macs different to Windows computers..."

      I don't wish to flame you, just correct you slightly. I think you will find that things you mentioned as different were done that way by Apple before Windows even existed. See screen shot of Mac OS circa 1984.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_Macintosh_Desktop.png

      Also,Apple for many years shipped a one button mouse, so they of course set the default to one button. Not sure what they do now though. Even so it is just a change of in the Preferences.

      I do however agree the desktop items could have a better ways for arrangement. That said I keep an empty Desktop.

      As for program price differences, what examples can you give?
      A Grain of Salt
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @A Grain of Salt
        Actually for the last five, or six, years Apple haas shipped a four button mouse with All Macs. Even the notebook systems have provisions for more than single click. The one button mouse thing is a Windows fanboy rant, and nothing more.
        Rick_K
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @A Grain of Salt Just to clarify, I said "Single-button BEHAVIOUR" - I've played with clean installs of both Leopard and Snow Leopard and they both default to single-button mode. Yes, you can change it in mouse preferences, but it seems kind of silly to ship a two-button+ mouse and disable one of the buttons.<br><br>Regarding software price differences, I was once called upon to provide software to record a Skype conversation. Immediately I found three great free Skype plugins for that purpose and a further 5 free recording tools that would record the sounds coming from the system (such as Audacity). Then it turned out the job needed to be done on a Mac. I found three recording plugins (priced at $30 and $40 respectively, and the last was a locked-functionality trial), and no free sound-recording tools (Audacity for Mac was not able to record the sound output). For the same person I've also been asked to provide bulk email software, and while I was bombarded with options for Windows, there were only a few for Mac, most which lacked the features required. I recall one of them being fantastic, but the price tag was ridiculous - $300. Sendblaster2 for Windows is currently $129, and that's premium software too - fully featured and bug-free.
        Imrhien
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @A Grain of Salt - the first Mac came out years after the Xerox Star, the real first GUI computer which Apple blatenly copied, screen, icons, mouse and everything.
        cdhanks
    • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

      @Imrhien Most people are agnostic until they try to go BACK to Windows ... that is when the bigotry starts ....
      BrentRBrian
    • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

      @Imrhien
      <i><I'm simply sick of saying things like, "no, you can't do this," or "yes, you can get this program, it just costs more than similar Windows counterparts</i>

      Funny I have not run into that problem.

      <i>There are also countless things that Apple has done to purposely make Macs different to Windows computers, such as putting the close/resize buttons on the left side, defaulting to single-button mouse behaviour, extensive but ultimately awkward desktop icon arrangement options, etc etc. </i>

      If you really want the truth, it is Windows that is backwards. The reason being; Windows is a second rate copy of Mac OS. Mac OS debuted in February of 1984, and Windows came out in the summer of 85. It wan?t until Windows NT (mid 90s) that Windows became an actual OS. rather than a file manager that ran on top of DOS.
      Rick_K
      • Fix?

        @Rick_K [/i]
        ye
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @Rick_K That's just fanboism, to coin a phrase. You could just as easily call Mac OSX a second-rate copy of Unix, or BSD, or even OS10. Besides which, who did what first isn't important to this discussion.
        Imrhien
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @Imrhien
        So stating that OS X is inferior to Windows, because Apple does not follow Microsoft design leads, is not fanboyism? OS X is a certified version of Unix. No where did I make any claim that Apple in vented the mouse. They just made it popular. There are currently two schools of thought:
        Windows; Work harder to accomplish the goal
        OS X; Work smarter to accomplish the same goal, and stay out of the users face.
        Rick_K
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @Rick_K Again, I did not state it was inferior, I stated that it appeared intentionally DIFFERENT to Windows. Default Single-Button mouse, window controls being on a different side, and many other choices do seem to be solely chosen just to alienate the OS from users accustomed to Windows, and vice versa. Could be conjecture from my point of view, naturally, but at the end of the day, and in keeping with the purpose of this article, does it stop me from being productive and effective when I change operating systems? Yes. Am I operating system agnostic? No.
        Imrhien
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @Imrhien
        <i> I stated that it appeared intentionally DIFFERENT to Windows</i>

        Again for those, that are a little slow on the uptake. Mac OS came out before Windows. Microsoft copied Mac OS, and not very well. I believe your complaint should be that Microsoft inteintionally did it just to alienate the OS from users accustomed to Mac OS. Like the majority of Mac users, I can use either, I just prefer using OS X over Windows. It allows me to spend more time on what I am doing, instead of worrying about what might go wrong. Granted the latest NT service pack (Windows 7), is better than the previous versions. But through my own personal observations, it is not as fast, and stable as some would have you believe. Is OS X perfect? Not by a mile, but in my opinion it is better than Windows. Apple had the forethought not to weld middleware to the OS. Hiding access to middleware (IE,WMP, etc.) is not the same as the ability to delete said middleware. I also do not like the attitude that Microsoft has , when it comes to IP. Microsoft has no problem stealing other?s IP, but is the first to threaten lawsuits when someone alledgedly uses their IP. Microsoft is more in the ?Protection racket? instead of protecting their IP.
        Rick_K
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @Rick_K Windows 8 will open up a bag of hurt!!!! It is original and goes away from the tired desktop metaphor.
        jatbains
    • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

      @Imrhien I use XUbuntu. I'm definitely happy with it. You could always virtualize windows with VirtualBox, in fact I have Windows 7 virtualized so that I can both boot it and run it directly in VirtualBox (same partition).
      snoop0x7b
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @snoop0x7b Ideally I'd want to have the software running within the same OS, via WINE or natively, ideally, as I find it a bit of a hassle transferring files in and out of a VM. Plus you don't get that nice integrated window management ;)
        Imrhien
      • RE: Are you an operating system agnostic? (Hint: I bet you are)

        @Imrhien In a VM it's possible allocate a shared directory with the host system
        themarty