Windows vs Mac

Olivier Prud’homme decided to respond, at length, to my post on five ways Windows Vista is better than Mac OS X. The operating system wars will never subside, but if we could just stop talking in circles for one moment – maybe we could learn a thing or two about the OSes we choose not to use? Instead of basing opinions on assumptions or second-hand experiences, perhaps we’d be better served in trying different operating systems ourselves. No matter, the following message is completely unedited – so any mistakes made are that of the original author, Olivier. What are your thoughts?

I’ve been watching a few of your videos here and there on YouTube (ever since you talked about going BACK to XP from Vista, actually… a long time ago) and the one where you reply to the article of “Five Ways Vista is better than OS X” really got my attention.

I guess you could classify me as one of those Mac users that you despise. “Fanboys”, I suppose… heck, my email address is a @mac address for crying out loud. But please, hear me out. I’ve actually got a few points where I believe Vista is better than OS X (near the end).

I’ve been a Mac user for as long as I can remember and I’ve been using PCs for almost just as long. My blood boils every single time there’s a discussion about Windows. Considering that this is the information age, it happens quite often. Why am I angry? Why am I so agitated?

It’s mainly because throughout all my life, day after day, I have to deal with people that refuse to believe that a Macintosh might actually be a decent machine. I’m talking about since 5th grade, here. Being ridiculed merely because of the computer I was using at home. It may sound ridiculous, but think about it for a second. When you’re growing up as a kid, being accepted is a huge deal. Some people just have to brag about their stuff and they do it by making fun of other people. I remember asking one of the PC geeks in my school about why that is and I’ll never forget his answer: “Windows is great. I can fix almost any issues and that makes me feel smart.”

I’ve grown into the man that I am today, constantly fighting this STUPID operating system war that never seems to end.

I deal with this kind of stuff every day; even today. A friend of mine just got a new iMac a couple of months ago and he acts like it’s new and amazing… I’ve known him for almost 15 years and he was one of the many that ridiculed me all these years ago. He just wouldn’t accept the Mac as a serious computer… a lot of people don’t. I suppose they associate it with the fact that Macs are easy to use and therefore aren’t as complex as “real” computers should.

We’re in the year 2009 and people still tolerate computers breaking down.

As a computing experience, the Mac hasn’t changed ONE BIT. However, now the Mac is suddenly popular and “acceptable”. I’m tired of saying “I’ve told you so”.

Thinking back, I guess I’m not pompous… I’m just really, extremely bitter. I’m sure others feel the same way too.

I am a power user… and just like you’ve said in previous videos, power users need to open their minds and use all sorts of computing technology.

I’ve shown my interest in the Xbox 360. A gaming system that I have yet to own and most likely never will due to the un-fixable “red ring of death” issue plaguing the console. Typical of Microsoft, if you ask me but I digress.

When Windows Vista was announced, I was genuinely excited. People would talk about all that techno mumbo jumbo that was “new” (I say it in quotes because half the time, they’re features that I’ve seen two to even ten years ago on the mac – another thing that annoys me to no end) and I’ve only retained two key features: “Windows Live” and “the colour system”.

The colour system was something I found interesting as a consumer. I don’t know if the feature actually has a name or not, but it was something that Microsoft announced where Windows Vista would scan your computer and give you a colour based on your hardware. Whenever you would buy a software, instead of looking through a list of system requirements on the box, all you’d have to do is check the colour code and see if it’s supported on your machine. For me, it was a sign that Microsoft actually tried to make things easier for the average consumer… yet, I’ve never seen the colour code on any box.

The Windows Live was a huge disappointed as well. To me, it was a sign that Microsoft was taking care of PC gamers by intertwining XBox Live with Windows. How awesome would that be? I mean, for the general consumer that might not mean much but gaming has always been something mentioned during Mac vs Windows arguments. Having more software (or games) doesn’t make one operating system better than the other, but features like Windows Live and XBox Live would’ve been a nudge in the right direction to build a very strong and UNIQUE community.

None of the features that I thought were important in making the system unique or remotely appealing ever got to fruition.

Anyways, I want to go back to your video discussing about the “five ways Vista is better than OS X” and I actually have an answer for you… coming from an avid Mac user.

This applies to Windows XP as well as Vista: DirectX. I absolutely HATE DirectX but I know performance when I see it. I’ve seen 3D software where a Windows and Mac version would be built simultaneously and even in those circumstances (rare as they might be), the Windows version runs faster even on the same hardware (bootcamp). Yes, it is just a matter of getting the programmers to write more optimized code for the mac so you can’t really blame the OS for that but between OpenGL and DirectX, DirectX seems easier to code and, therefore, is a much more appealing feature that is Windows exclusive.

As a 3D artist and gamer, this is a big deal.

I’d write more, but it’s 5am here and I doubt that I would be any coherent (assuming that I am to begin with). If you want to share any thoughts, ideas or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

32 thoughts on “Windows vs Mac”

  1. I’ve had a 360 since launch, no red rings – it’s a great system – Microsoft or not. Can’t beat a free 3 year warranty either.

  2. I used to have been a Mac basher, but after using OS X, I nearly have fallen in love with it. I couldn’t care for the Mac computer, but I love OS X 10.5. Having been running it on a PC for a while, I know why most Mac users like it so much over Windows. BUT, I’m always going to be a dual-booter. There’s just some things that Mac’s just can’t do (eg. gaming, general computing). I only use OS X when I need to do some photo thing or iPhone thing or something like that.

  3. It seems like this article went from “Win vs Mac” to bash “Let’s just bash Microsoft”.


  4. Personally, I’m so sick and tired of this crap. I’m a Mac user myself and, whenever I try to convince people that the Macs are as good as Windows computers, even better than Windows computers, I always get the thumbs down. What’s more sad is that most of the time I’m right on the matter.

    I look at it this way: Windows people are Windows people and Mac people are Mac people. No use in debating over something that, for some people, it’s looked at like religion or politics.

  5. The “color scheme” is actually a number…not a color. It’s called the Windows Experience Index or WEI Rating. Your computer is given a score from 0 to 5.9 for Vista, and I believe it’s going to be 0 to 7.0 for Windows 7 to account for the latest hardware. There are a handful of subsystems that get scanned for performance such as processor, memory, gaming video, video card and hard drive. The score of your system is based on the weakest link so to speak. If your processor, memory, HDD all score 5.9, but your video card is terrible scoring only say 4.1 than your system rating would be the 4.1. This is the number that was/is to be used when looking at software etc.

    Windows Live – It’s far from being just some gamers community type scenario. It’s in a nutshell…cloud computing. You have access to live apps, blogs, sky drives (where you can store data and files) email and more. It’s up and running for anyone’s use. Of course it’s fully interactive with Windows Live Messenger and can also work in conjunction with a Windows Live toolbar for IE, and Collaboration with Microsoft Outlook.

    For the record…my system scores 5.9 in all areas (Vista) therefore a 5.9 overall. 🙂

  6. It’s also really late here, but I’ve just gotta say personally for me is how terribad Mac hardware is, and how much Apple drives the price up on it. I mean, just a few months ago the 8800GS was being phased out of retailers and going for around $50. Apple was still selling it for $500 (over 200% of original New retail value!).

    I’m PC all the way, and a PC builder. I’m also a gamer…buuuut…I’m also open minded. I own a recent iMac, and I even have an .mac/Mobile Me account. The way I see it though, is Mac OS X is a great idea held back by Apple. I used this analogy in another Mac Vs. PC conversation. Mac OS X is to Apple as Communism is to Stalin. (Don’t take this on a political tangent.) Apple is ultra-state body that decides when you get updates, what software you use, you have to get all your hardware from them and they even jack up the price. (Theres also a fair bit of biased propaganda hehe). Mac OS is tied to this corrupt model, and has little room to grow and become what it really can be, just as Stalin restrained progress with Russia.

    Sadly, Apple makes money from selling their software on their own hardware, so there’s little to no chance of Mac OS X being let free from its bindings of Apple hardware…

  7. I would have to agree. There are so many people that just automatically say Macs are crap when they have never even seen one in action. Also at my school when we did a Mac vs PC project the teacher used old pictures and demos from Mac OS X 10.3 and compared them to Windows vista, which is in now way fair. Lastly, I would have to agree with you when you say that it makes you mad when people are boasting about this new feature that is in Windows and all it is really just something that Microsoft stole from OS X that OS X has had for 3 years. Well I better stop before I stress my self out too bad. Just for some reason when people hate on Macs without ever using one it really pisses me of.

  8. This post is a reminder of the struggles, almost exactly, on how Mac Geeks are treated. Now granted that Macs are becoming more “mainstream” it will take at least three more generations for this perception to be changed to the better.
    The prejudice will always be there. It takes time to shift focus. Sometimes though, for those of us who are passionate enough, it is not soon enough.

  9. I had a hard time listening to anything said in this article after the xbox 360 commentary.
    I too have had a 360 since launch and I have never had issues.
    I have about 4 friends that got their 360s the same day as me and have not had issues as well…
    Sure the problem exists, but when you got people playing for 20 hours straight in a 90 degree room with no air movement I’m sure somethings gonna fizzle out….(that’s an exaggeration I know)

  10. I own both a Mac and numerous machines running Windows. I also dabble in Linux and play around with other things.

    I’ve been using computers since 197venty-something. I’ve had Atari and Commodore machines, oddball off-brand PCs that had their own OS/version of DOS. In school we were taught to use and program PETs in a class for “gifted” kids. I am of an age that the home computer has been around since I have been old enough to use them, but I’ve seen the technology evolve from extremely primitive to the extraordinary BlackBerry that I now use for virtually all my email.

    These stupid debates have been around since then. What is better? My computer is better than yours! Apple, IBM, clones, blah blah, blah.

    The fact is, a certain kind of computer is going to appeal to a certain kind of person. EVERY SINGLE COMPUTER I have ever owned has had glitches at some point or another – and, to quote my favourite engineer, “The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

    I actually enjoy using all computers, I have an affinity for them, so any ‘hate’ I might have for Mac or anything else has to do with how the machines are presented.

    Macs DO crash. Macs DO have a learning curve. However, if you listen to Apple’s marketing department speak, the suggestion is that they don’t. In other words, they lie. And that will ALWAYS be the focal point of any “anti-Mac” argument I have: they feed you a bill of goods, charge you double or more for inferior hardware, and kiss your arse so you feel like you have done something smart.

    Microsoft has their own set of idiosyncrasies and deceptions. I don’t think they are perfect, nor do I blindly worship THEM. I won’t buy an Xbox 360 because I’ve seen too many people have problems with them. But the fact is, MOST – the MAJORITY – of people are using Windows, and that is what my kids need to understand right now, so they need to understand that. They also get time on the Mac. When they are older, I’ll teach them about other alternatives.

    My long-winded point is: there is no “winner”. These debates were lame in 1979, 1989, 1999 and they are still lame in 2009. Use what you like, recommend what you perceive to be best and then, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, shut up about it.

    Kanaye, you weren’t RIGHT except in your own opinion and you lack the objectivity to neutrally evaluate your own opinion. Being a “Mac person” (or any other x-person) is exactly the same as a religion most of the time – you accept, on faith, that what you believe is the truth and give less weight to suggestions to the contrary. That’s simply human nature.

  11. I agree that the OS wars are stupid and pointless. I don’t agree that one system is better than another. You use whatever works for you. It’s a tool, not a lifestyle. A hammer is a hammer, whether it comes from Stanley, Snap-On or Craftsman. Yes, the recoiless model is very nice, but in the end, all I want to do is hammer a nail in the wall to hang a picture.

    1. OS wars are pointless.  I like both Mac and Windows.  To me, they basically are the same with simply a different style.  Get what is best for you.  Really, what matters is this: have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour? Computers will all burn someday anyway.  Why not leave the PC vs. Mac battle and start focusing on getting ready for Christ’s soon coming?  What difference does it make?  This life is 70 years at best.  The next life is eternal.  I appeal to all to get their priorities straight and start preparing for the future. 

  12. I’m a Mac user at home, a PC user at work. I prefer Mac hardware and the Mac OS and the Mac experience by far, but…you know, each to his own. Arguing which is “better” is simply arguing taste, and there’s no arguing that.

    I will say that I hear lots of people championing PCs because they’re better for gaming. Well…so what? Believe it or not, there are many computer users, of whom I am one, who aren’t in the least interested in gaming. This is a niche market, and if it’s true that PCs are better for gaming than Macs, that’s a reason to recommend PCs for gamers. Again, each to his own, but I just wanted to point out that pc gaming is of interest to a particular market, and is not a universal interest of computer buyers.

  13. I usually find the 2 camps are split this way.

    PC peeps keep going on about how much faster their hardware is and how cheap they can buy it. They can make a machine to run some game or other really fast for less than a basic Mac. Great, play your games and enjoy them. I play games with my son on the Wii, not on my Mac. I’m happy too.

    Mac people like me go on about the fact I can be creative in many areas on ONE computer with no instability, meaning I spend more time being productive than I could on a PC. My MacBook has all the power I need, without the crashes 300+ apps ready to run on one PC brings. While you spend huge time getting the PC to behave, or have to have a second one rigged solely for music for example, I’ll do everything on one machine and not use up my valuable time just trying to make it work. That’s the point of a Mac. I can also do all my general computing in the same machine (where did that nonsense comment come from about Macs being no good for ‘general computing’??) with no fear of a virus getting into my work machine.

    How expensive is my one Mac? Not at all. Pay yourself a couple of dollars or pounds an hour for your wasted time making loads of software run, or waiting for scans to clear the odd virus or 7, or pay for several computers, and you work it out.

    For me it has to be a Mac, for a 3D gamer, it has to be either a PC or a console, and other decisions inbetween. I have built PCs and solved PC problems for over 10 years too. There isn’t one answer for everyone, but the Macs are expensive thing isn’t always right either.

  14. Chris: “As a computing experience, the Mac hasn’t changed ONE BIT. However, now the Mac is suddenly popular and “acceptable”. I’m tired of saying “I’ve told you so”.”

    Of course it has. Os Classic had no real multitasking when windows had. OS Classic had no support for multi-cpu configurations when windows had. Apple had serious issues with backwards compability and Windows users could use their old software on new computers.

    For a long time Apple was a totally inferior to a pc running windows for these reasons, and the mac experience could only be described as such compared to a windows platform. That’s not even considering the economic issues.

    2 things changed this for apple in some market segments, OsX being the most radical change. A beautiful, but very efficient and modern OS. The other being Apple’s change to use the Intel cpu. Thus making it able to compete with the price of PC’s in some segments.

    As an IT proffessional who lived and worked both plattforms, and others for almost 25 years, it’s always been about the right tool for the spesific job. For the business market there generally is no viable alternative to the “wintel” plattform still. Sure I use a mac at home, I have a mac laptop, I enjoy these products very much, they are now some of the best on the marked. But the mac experience has changed, it has changed alot since when it didn’t even multitask.

  15. I love macs, i adore them they are very cool and are easy to use. I have an imac and love it, however, i am a web developer (html, css etc) and i have now just bought my first laptop and it is a pc. Why because i need to test my sites in a 100’s of different browsers, i also love adobe web premium as there isnt a better free product that can beat the power of photoshop and dreamweaver. The adobe products run alot slower on the mac. So i will be developing on a pc and testing it on all browsers, which seems a better and faster solution than running parralels on a mac and testing the sites on there. I will be keeping my mac for all its fun media, ilife and front row etc as its very slick.

    In conclusion, you have to decide what you are using the machines for and for my purpose i need a pc.

  16. I just have to say, “to each their own.” If you like Windows, use Windows. If you like Mac, use a Mac. If you like Linux, by all means, use Linux.

    Whatever OS you use, there are ups and downs. People should use what works best for them, but be considerate of those who don’t.

  17. I am on nearly a year since I have moved largely away from PCs and towards Mac (desktop and laptop… the whole switch) and I am very, very happy with it (although I keep a Vista PC on the KVM for some projects… Office on the Mac sucks… I much prefer OpenOffice and iWork on the Mac for overall user experience). I must disagree the notion that the Mac user experience has always been great. OS9 was *awful* and frankly, the OS X hasn’t been great until Leopard. I found Ubuntu Linux to be a best overall user experience until Leopard was released.

    I would also say that the only reason why Mac is a reality for me is that now that I can afford Macs… I couldn’t at all earlier in my computing days.

    Something Windows is going to have to come to grips with: the reason why Mac is even competitive today is the critical decision they made to dump OS9 and go for a completely new OS. Windows7 is nice but it remains from a UI and core standpoint similar to Windows 2000. They are going to need to scrap the code and build from the ground up, sacrificing backwards compatibility, to make a run at shocking dominance. If not, I see the numbers of alternative OSs continuing to rise….

  18. I’ve been working with computers since I got a Commodore VIC 20 in 1983.

    I didn’t switch to the Mac World until 2007. Why?!

    You can literally build a PC piece by piece, until it’s all put together. That makes owning a computer much easier if you don’t have much money.

    Over the years I was also concerned whether there was a Macintosh version of any particular software title I used.

    In 2007 I took some time to do research and ask questions. I was happy to know there were Mac versions of all my desired software titles.

    I’ve been incredibly happy with my 24″ iMac.

    I still have a couple PCs around for various reasons.

    But they get very little use.

    I’ll probably sell my HP notebook and save money for a MacBook.

  19. I agree. I hate people on websites like YouTube that feel that making fun of Macs if perfectly acceptable, yet if someone makes fun of Windows or a PC, all hell breaks loose! It’s like racism. IMO, the only good PCs are desktops. Mac laptops have way more advantages over PC laptops, such as battery life, coolness (lower temperature), looks, better keyboards, features such as sudden motion sensors and backlight keyboards, etc. Most features on modern PC laptops had been taken from older Mac laptops, such as the 1998 PowerBook’s LED battery level indicator. After this, the PC companies used it later in the future, and some haven’t even caught on! It seems Macs are focused towards realism and usability, and PCs are focused towards cheapness and specs. Sure, Macs may be more expensive, but in the long run, they are cheaper. Don’t say they can’t be upgraded because most laptops anyway can’t be upgraded. I think that places that use Macs, such as schools and offices, give most Macs a bad name. Most of them are old, under maintained, and abused. The ignorant people that use them think “Oh, this 1998 iMac can’t use MySpace, so a 2008 MacBook can’t.” And for Patrick, there is a very easy way to run Internet Explorer with ActiveX on a Mac, natively, without windows. You obviously didn’t look hard enough. Too bad you got a PC, you really missed out. Maybe it’s not too late to return in 🙂 Anyway, this ends my comment, or rambling… whatever you interpret it as.

  20. I still think that PCs are more complex, but also that macs are easy to use. and if Xbox is so bad, why is it popular? And guess who published the ever-popular Halo 3?

  21. also, macs have a major gaming problem. They may be able to handle it becuase of the generally high memory and fast GPU in the computer, but not as many games are made for mac as for pc’s. this is obviously because of the market share that pc’s have. some games are made for mac, but the same game will probably be made for pc, too. (Mac & PC; yes, PC; yes, just Mac, not very often)

  22. “There’s just some things that Mac’s just can’t do (eg. gaming, general computing).”

    That’s a completely false statement. Macs can run game software and can perform “general computing”.

    Macs may not be as good for gaming, but that doesn’t mean they “can’t” do it. I don’t know what you mean by “general computing”, but to say that Macs can’t do that is simply asinine.

    I like my iMac and think it is a far superior machine to any equivalent Windows computer. However, I would never say that Windows computers can’t do graphic design or photo editing. That’s just silly.

  23. Your bias shows through your “article”….which is fine. As a previous commenter stated, Windows at one point could have been easily seen as the superior OS before OS X. Microsoft does a lot in pioneering new technologies but all that gets lost in the Apple love-fest. That being said, I have to admit, Apple makes some great products and I can easily see the value in the products they push out. However, the tone of your article comes off is very much like those whom you criticize.

    When Apple lost it’s market share after Steve Jobs left Apple the first time Windows began to stagnate. Then, Apple, to compete with Windows, came out with OS X; which is now pushing Microsoft to up the ante.

    Everyone should view the OS Wars as something positive. To hope for the failure of either Microsoft or Apple is the worst thing that can happen. The two, competing with each other, will create great strides in technology that we will all benefit from.

  24. In every situation where there are competing brands there are cheerleaders for each side. Battles rage over who is best, but at the end of the day it is up to the individual to choose.

    In my experience I’ve dealt with Windows machines almost exclusively. I’ve worked desktop support on both hardware and software, I’ve tested software for developers, and now do data recovery and forensic work. However, I just bought my wife a white Macbook (just before the hardware refresh >_< ).

    Am I a traitor? No. I simply purchased a system to fit a user’s particular needs. All her friends and most of her professors use Macs so naturally she wanted one. She also had a tendency to completely ruin XP, no matter what preventative measures I took, within weeks of a fresh install.). So far she hasn’t blown up the Mac, though I’ll admit I setup the TimeMachine backups myself to hopefully ensure she wouldn’t lose data if she does sink the OS. Her existing hardware was old and slow, and lacked some audio capabilities available on the Macbook (optical in/out, etc.
    These are just a few points that pushed us toward the Mac.

    I suppose my point here is that conditions, requirements, and preferences are all different. At the end of the day a computer is just a tool. The ultimate multi-tool but still a tool. I’ll personally grab a Mac for myself when I get a chance just to learn it because hey, it’s a new gadget! However, even if I fall in love I will likely always play in both sandboxes simply because both can fit my needs, and I enjoy learning and experimenting with them.

  25. Macs aren’t very great. for $700, you can get a Dell laptop with 4 gb RAM, like 500 gb hard drive, and a very fast processor, but you can’t get an apple laptop for that price. Most apps you would ever use are on Windows

  26. I think Windows is still the most appropriate operating system for me. I used Windows since i was 10 yrs old until now and i felt comfortable with its ease of use, software availability, and the gaming factor of course…Apple products are also quite convincing but I’m just not used to the typography and the design of the products.

  27. Ive used pc windows for years, hated win 9x, loved win2k and win xp, hated vista, loved 7. However ive been a gamer for around 6 years and now ive grown up a bit, ive decided im going to transition to macs, influenced by one thing, my iphone 3g purchased recently. Quality and mac os ive tested macs in mac store, awsome comes to mind. I grew up using out dated g3 imacs in school, not great. Osx and apple have come a long way since then, i used to bash macs due to mterrible experiances but their 2009 product range is fantastic im moving to a mac pro 13″ upper spec machine as my main comp laptop and desktop. Ill use my 360 for gaming now. Win7 is a great os too, microsoft have really sorted out the mistake that was vista. Thanks x

  28. 1] “…my blood boils.” Ever hear of “sticks and stones…”!? Say all us PC’ers are 100% dead wrong, that we’re all flabby suits [like in those God’s-on-our-side-so-we’re-entitled-to-sneer Apple ads]. So what? Get a life! Furious Mac fanboys do as much damage to Apple’s image as their Dark Lord, Steve Jobs.
    2] For years now I’ve made a point of asking tech support [of dual platform software and peripherals] the following question, “Do either your Mac or Windows users have fewer problems?”.
    And the answer is… neither. “They just have fewer problems”.
    They’re both more or less equal cr*p!

    Why are computers like the old testament God? Lots of rules and very unforgiving! -Joseph Campbell

  29. I has a macintosh its one of the best things ive ever used. I know why the mac lovers are what they are. however i just think for the mere variety and possibilities with PC its just a lot more potential at your hands. thats why im kinda on the edge using both and we all know there’s a lot of ppl with similar cases like mine

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