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PC vs. Mac - what's all the fuss about?

Ben Schwenk
Operations Manager

I don't enjoy the PC vs. Mac debate and don't frequently participate unless goaded by a friend. However, with the release of UltraEdit Mac edition (and soon UltraCompare), this seemingly irreconcilable issue seems to always be in my periphery.

There is much that can be (and has been) said on either side of this argument, and at this point, it would be needless to reiterate all of that here. I think we're all intimately familiar with the facts of the debate, and I think everyone agrees that both camps make valid claims to support their OS of choice (although the Mac crowd may only begrudingly do so). And lest they feel left out, yes, even the Linux folks have a good argument.

My fascination with the debate isn't so much with the arguments for/against any certain platform, but with how fervently each side lauds its own and belittles any alternative. Most of us have been there - a seemingly innocent conversation amongst friends about the differences between a Mac and PC quickly turns into a passionate debate where the only winners - and victims - are our egos. But why is this the case?

We value and praise diversity, so it strikes me as funny that some cannot live with alternatives when it comes to their operating systems. Oddly enough, as a driver of a Honda vehicle, I don't get a lot of flak from my Chevy or Toyota-driving friends. I have never seen a Pepsi drinker ridicule a Coke drinker (except in Pepsi ads). And while many people I've known only ever pay with cash, they've never criticized me for only carrying a credit/debit card.

Perhaps we don't feel confident enough in our choice of OS, thus we feel the need to espouse the arguments against any alternative. Perhaps we feel our choice is a reflection of our intelligence. Perhaps it's because computing has become very personal and very closely aligned with our personalities and behaviors. Whatever the reasons, I'm sure there's a good psychology lesson in there somewhere. I'll leave the teaching of such a lesson to those more qualified than myself, however it does provide an interesting glimpse into human behavior. Oh, and regardless of what side you fall on, you still can run your favorite editor!

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Dana Whitlow
Guest post
O/S debate
Reply #1 on : Tue August 09, 2011, 09:39:57
If only somebody would design an O/S that got things right, then we could end the debate and all could use the same one. Imagine what a boon that would be!
Guest post
O/S Debate
Reply #2 on : Tue August 09, 2011, 11:12:07
I agree with Ben Schwenk's comments on the OS debate. I have used the Mac version on a trial basis and found it to be well on its way to the success of the Windows version. Please just give it some time. After all, the Windows version of IDM software has been around for a long time. It doesn't surprise me to see that since Macs are becoming more and more popular we are seeing more Mac software everywhere. Competition is what makes America strong. There is no place in the word "competition" for degrading comments. Competition is what makes us good in sports, language, math, sciences and just about everything. Keep up the good work Ben, we are with you all the way!
Guest post
O/S debate
Reply #3 on : Tue August 09, 2011, 21:49:35
I didn't realise that there were Windows users who ***LOVE*** windows.

Many of us use it because it makes sense for our particular kine of work
(like test equipment) but it doesn't mean we love it the way I love the MAC
that I was forced to buy when I got a project developing an iPhone App.

For those olde enough - how about C vs Pascal?

And UE supports both of those too.
Matt Shields
Guest post
Vehicle Debate
Reply #4 on : Wed August 10, 2011, 09:30:33
Since you brought it up. Forget Honda, Toyota or all the others. Jeeps are the best vehicle
John in Missouri
Guest post
I agree wholeheartedly...
Reply #5 on : Wed August 10, 2011, 10:18:33
Mac and Win boxes are equally impressive. I will even go so far as to say there are some things a Mac does well, and there are some things a Win box does well. What I wish both environments would get together and unify, however, is basic UI. I'm not talking about a Mac Finder window versus a Windows Explorer window. I mean Cmd-C versus Ctrl-C. Why the two different protocols? They both copy, so why not make both OSes use the same keystroke. There are plenty other examples where that one came from. The number of times I have switched from Win to Mac (I program on both platforms for a living) and accidentally erased something...well, I don't want to make the air blue so let's leave it at that.

I doubt it will ever happen, but I can fervently hope for something. Perhaps UE could lead the charge by making either keystroke set available on both platforms.
Java Beanz
Guest post
O/S Debate ?
Reply #6 on : Wed August 10, 2011, 11:47:05
I really don't find much debate in it. I made a living fixing broken Windows machines for many years. I have no interest in fixing or using Windows anymore, but I have to use it on occasion. I am just waiting for the multi-platform license for UC now. I much prefer Mac or Linux over Windows, as they are more stable core OSes, less prone to a single program crashing the whole computer.

And Dave, if you want to go back to OLD debates... how about Atari vs Commodore? WWIV vs RBBS? US Robotics vs Hayes ? BASIC vs FORTRAN? Yes, I am that old...
John Charlton
Guest post
O/S Debate
Reply #7 on : Wed August 10, 2011, 17:56:13
A very "brave" blog, Ben, and very fair. I'd like to defend Windows. I've used Windows since 3.11, before that DOS 3.0 onwards, before that Amstrad (CP/M), Sinclair and the like. I've never used a Mac in earnest and have no desire to go thru the learning curve. All O/S's had strengths and weaknesses. Some of MS's (Vista and ME, for example) were dogs. Some, (Win XP and 7) are very solid given their complexity. What I really like about Windows though is the consistency of the UI and the range of tools available, especiallly the free API's such as Visual C# 2008 Express Edition. Great! I'm sure Mac is just as good, but MS must be doing something right to have such a large share of the market. Finally, I think the most important point is choice - so long live variety and competition in O/S's - I don't use Linux or Unix or Macs, but I'm glad a lot of people do - keep it up please!
Peter Medbury
Guest post
O/S Debate
Reply #8 on : Thu August 11, 2011, 09:58:28
Interesting discussion. I love my iMac - the best Windows machine I've had. I run Lion & Win7 on it & I'm really glad I have UE on both. What's better? I've no real idea - when you think about them honestly you have to accept they are both amazing. Especially when you compare them to what went before. What a difference 35 or so years has made! What will the next 35 years deliver? It will be better for sure but we'll still be arguing the toss! Mind you I'll be doing well just to be around to see it.
Tim G
Guest post
OS debate
Reply #9 on : Thu August 11, 2011, 10:25:20
Respectfully, I think you got the wrong read on this subject!

I am a long time Windows user (version 2.1) and I have built pc's for myself for over 20 years. I owned the first IBM pc and operating systems have been a personal hobby since Deskview and OS/2 (version 1.1). I own a slew of Windows machines all on a workgroup and I work the hell out of them. I am a photographer (as well as a webmaster, publisher and other things) and I think the worst thing you can to a pc is ask it to work with and manage image files. It can handle a handful, but not 200,000 images.

I switched to Mac for my main laptop and the time it has given back to me directly flows to my free time. This is a breath of fresh air! This thing is integrated in a way that Windows will never be. If you want to spend lots of time tinkering with operating systems and applications then by all means buy a pc. It will help your learning curve because you will be dealing with all sorts of issues. But when you finally get to the point that you need to do real work and be quick about it, a pc simply cannot compete with a Mac. I still have to spend lots of time with the legacy pc's on my network, but not for long. They are all being replaced with Mac's as soon as the budget cycles around.

The problem is; Windows is broke, plain and simple! Real broke! And my data is simply too important to allow a second rate operating system manage it. As far as a competitive landscape goes, I am quite thankful there are now choices. We are not locked into the Windows platform and if I can change over in the course of three months, then anyone can. Did anyone notice Apple overtook Exxon this week as the most valuable company? Have you noticed Microsoft's stock price has been stagnant for 10 years? Have you ever scanned the Directory and not found errors? Lots of errors? Have you ever ran the Acid 3 test on Internet Explorer versions 4 thru 8?

I don't mean to fan the flames, but Windows is not even close to what the Mac is. In fact the fastest Windows pc I have is the Mac running Parallels! No joke. It is much faster than an equal pc running 64 bit Win 7. And my final point, Windows operating systems ALWAYS break down over time. They are fast for about 30 days and then the little wheel starts spinning and the Registry starts breaking down.

Other people can do what they want and I wish them well, but for me, I am very close to being done with Microsoft. And I won't be back any time soon. Thanks for the chance to contribute to this.
Brian M
Guest post
Trying to answer the question
Reply #10 on : Fri September 23, 2011, 06:10:53
In looking through the previous comments I was surprised to see that nobody attempts to answer the question asked. To summarize the question I see: Why do people so fervently and passionately argue and get emotionally invested in this debate in a way that they do not get invested in whether or not you drink Coke vs Pepsi, or drive a Honda vs Chevy? I think the answer is because the incompatibilities between the systems and the inability to seamlessly jump from one to another. When you choose an operating system, you are making an investment in how you interact with your computer, and what you can do with your computer in a way that is much more permanent than choosing a beverage or even a vehicle. Most families have only one type of operating system across their computers, because most people don't want to have to hassle with learning to "drive" to very different systems, or deal with having to remember which keystrokes to use to copy and paste. Lots of families - especially families with teen drivers - own more than one make of vehicle, so they can derive the benefits from each. If you can drive a Chevy Silverado, you can drive a Toyota Prius - two very different vehicles, but both have the gas pedal on the right and the brake on the left. Most Coke drinker can and will, if grudgingly, drink a Pepsi if Coke is not available, however if a PC user sits down at a Mac or vice versa, it doesn't take long before you see their discomfort. The choice affects the choice of future operating systems, because the investment in software one uses cannot be as easily transferred to a new computer. My choice of which operating system today is a statement about which operating system I anticipate using a few years from now much more than buying a Kia today would inhibit me from buying a Saab a few years from now, or even owning one for my kid and one for me right now.

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