Lueg Tech

Bill Lueg’s Tech Blog

Mac vs. Windows: Two Ideologies

with 2 comments

I was reading an article in ars technica today by a programmer about why he switched from being a Windows developer to a Mac. He has only finished two out of three parts of his article so far, but it has been very interesting. One thing that Apple has done that Microsoft refuses to do is to leave the past completely behind and start over again with something new, while maintaining an environment where the old can still work somehow. For example, they have switched processors from the old Motorola 68xxx series to the newer PowerPC processors such as original 601 all the way through what we know as the G5. They switched again a couple of years ago to the Intel chip starting with the Core Duo. 

In the middle of the PowerPC generation of processors, they completely rewrote the operating system from classic (Mac OS “1” through 9) to OS X. OS X (OS ten) had nothing to do whatsoever with Mac OS 9, but they made a virtual engine so that users could use their old software in Classic mode until such time as the developers could rewrite their software. And practically all of them did. 

Then while they were developing OS X for the PowerPC, it turned out that Apple was developing it for Intel concurrently. This was the most painless transition they had ever done. But it took guts for Apple to do these things and it has paid off handsomely.

Meanwhile Microsoft has maintained compatibility with all of their operating systems all the way back to Windows 95 and even 3.1 and it is suffering from bloat and obsolete system calls that make it a truly ugly experience. Anyway, he can say it better than I. Give it a read. 


Written by walueg

June 2, 2008 at 6:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Hey Bill. In case you didn’t know, I’m a Windows developer with the heart of an absolute Mac enthusiast. So, I know what you’re talking about. In fact, I had this exact conversation the other night. It’s always bothered me that Microsoft won’t take the same type of well calculated risks Apple will take for the sake of a better product. Pretty soon, you’ll need a terabyte of free space just for basic instalation of the OS, and 32GBs of RAM just to run a simple app like Windows Mail. Well, at least in the year 2075, I’ll be able to say I have backwards compatibility with Win 3.1. That’s gotta be worth something… right?

    David Welch

    June 5, 2008 at 3:02 pm

  2. Uh, no. 🙂

    That is one thing that’s curious. Windows 3.1 (or DOS 2.1 for that matter) will still run on old hardware. Why be backward compatible for so long? Software is all about being updated to meet current demands. I just don’t get it.


    June 6, 2008 at 3:39 pm

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