I’ve had a smidge of blogger’s block lately, and from experience, I know nothing gets people talking like a discussion about operating systems.
With Windows 7 RC on the horizon, Snow Leopard due later this year, and Jaunty already in RC and ready to drop any day, the next year or so will be full of head-to-heads, feature posts and chest-thumping. Nothing stirs the pot like swearing your allegiance to an O/S and calling the others names, just ask friend of the ‘Lab Michael Krigsman.
Earlier this week, Paul and I were chatting about ZFS for no particular reason, its inclusion in Snow Leopard (Server version) and how getting a new O/S used to be like getting a brand new computer.
Interesting observation and totally true. The last time I got that feeling was when I actually bought a new computer, my Macbook, despite the fact that I’ve gone through several O/S upgrades with Ubuntu and OS X, and dumped Windows entirely.
I’m not an Apple fanboi by any means, keep that in mind.
The most common thing you hear from people who switch to Macs from Windows is that everything just works.
Sure, the UI is pretty and the corners are rounded, but the lasting takeaway is the just works bit.
Just works means different things to different people, but for me, it’s most recently been about the native features that OS X includes that, on Windows, require additional software.
Like a lot of Mac users, I run Windows VMs because I have no choice. If you need a stark reminder of how bare-bones Windows is (XP anyway), install a VM from scratch and try to do basic things like open a pdf file or take a screen shot.
This was the case yesterday, when during a conference call, I wanted to open a pdf from my XP VM.
Oops, Windows XP didn’t come with Acrobat Reader or any other application to view pdf files.
OS X does, Preview. When I first got my Mac, I installed Acrobat Reader (conditioned by years of Windows use) before using Preview. A friend asked why and told me I’d never use it because Preview was fine. He was right, and it is.
Not just fine, but much faster to open and compatible with many types of files, not just pdfs.
Oh, and Preview can combine pdf pages and files by dragging and dropping.
To do that on XP, I had to buy the Acrobat full license, and it definitely wasn’t that easy. While we’re on the subject of pdfs, OS X also includes the ability to create a pdf version of *any* file using the Print-PDF dialog. Another feature that required Acrobat on Windows and only worked from Microsoft Office.
But wait, there’s more.
OS X has several built-in screenshot capabilities. Windows XP has Print Screen and active window capture, but no capability to capture a custom area and no way to create image files automagically from a capture.
This is the basis for more software purchases like HyperSnap. There are tools like Jing and Skitch that offer network capabilities, but from a native O/S perspective, the OS X commands are the way to go. Once you learn them, they just work.
I know there are other Easter Egg features out there, or maybe they’re documented somewhere. I’m not much of a manual reader so I find these by happy accident and throw searching.
I’ve changed my behavior over the last year or so. Now, I expect that OS X does things like merge pdfs, whereas in the past, I would search for software to install instead.
For me, just working boils down to what’s included.
Ever had to switch computers? Maybe yours died or you got a hardware upgrade. One of the first things you do if you’re a Windows user is list all the software you’ll need to install to get functional again. I went through that many times with Windows, inventorying what I needed, finding license emails and install packages. What a pain.
I’m not saying there’s none of this with Macs, but it’s much less.
Maybe things have changed with Vista and Windows 7. I honestly don’t know, since I haven’t run either of those.
What do you think? Like Macs, hate Macs? What does just works mean to you?
Flame on in the comments.