Joel Says it more Clearly Than I – original post 2006.08.03

I’m a Mac user. I work on Windows. I have a Linux server. I’ve administered every one of those platforms, plus Solaris, and programmed decent sized apps on all of them as well. I get asked a great deal “Why did you switch to Macintosh?”. Because I can concentrate on using my computer rather than fixing, updating or configuring it. Windows just doesn’t have access to the open source software in the way I like to get at it. Mac does (Fink anyone?). Linux was actually really cool and has a pile of configurable pieces, amazing arrays of doing anything you want, and the ability to swap just about anything out or tweak it just so. Problem is, I spent a lot of time making it “just so” and there wasn’t that much benefit over adapting to a mainstream OS.

The interesting thing is that there is a perception that the Mac has a better UI and is easier to use. It is if you have never used a computer before. If you have, you iwill/i have some unlearning to do. Once you get used to it, there are many things I do find more intuitive on the Mac, and in general I believe the quality of the software on the platform is higher. (I cite Omni on that count primarily, who make some absolutely top-notch software) Drag and drop is really pervasive in so many ways. Windows is coming along for sure, but I still find the Mac a much more creative place to reside on in my personal time, and even for some aspects of my job. I’m comfortable in Windows, and there are a lot of unique strengths and advantages there as well, different from the other two platforms, but personal taste rules personal dollars.

The real point though, is made by Joel Spolsky, which is what you expect. So a long-time Windows user is going to be put off and find the Mac awkward initially, as I did. And anyone that isn’t a Linux buff is going to be downright boggled by the do it yourself nature of the OS until they adapt. I’ve got a friend that has ranted eloquently on that a few times, but the refs are down on his blog at present, so no link. Sorry Norm! At any rate, check out Joel’s shot across the bow on this one: “Usability in One Easy Step (First Draft) – Joel on Software

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