Anything you can do I can also do

Recently at my job at any one time there’d be up to four different operating systems in just one room. There’d be Windows XP, which was on most of the computers, Windows Vista, which I used to dual boot, Ubuntu, my OS of choice and Mac OS X. I’d often have chats with one of my collegues about the differences between each operating system, and they’d always proclaim that Mac’s are superior to everything else. When asked why they’re so much better he could never give me an answer.

He’d show me his shiny interface, dock full of cracked Adobe software and impressively pointless window transitions. Then, I’d load up Compiz and do exactly the same. “That’s just copying Mac”, he’d say. So what? Mac weren’t the inventors of modern interface design y’know. I’d then show him the rotating desktop cube and one of the many other Compiz settings available. He was quite impressed and asked me how he could get those effects for his Mac. Wait, your precious Mac doesn’t have these features? What a shame. I paid only £500 for my laptop and can have more ponies amazingly kewl effects.

A few days later we had some visitors and he kept saying that Mac’s are better because they don’t get viruses. What a load of bull. As the popularity of Mac grows so too will the desire for crackers to write malicious code. Also, are Mac’s in a worse position than Windows when it comes to viruses? Mac users have rarely had to worry about viruses, so maybe its users are more inclined to just click on anything. At least Windows users are constantly being reminded of virus threats. This, of course, doesn’t equate to a more secure system but at least it educates users that the moment you put any personal or precious data onto a computer you are at its mercy and should take caution.

Linux will soon be in a similar position. As it yet isn’t big or attractive enough to crackers we’ve yet to see if the collective efforts of 1000s of coders is more effective than Norton, AVG et al.

This post isn’t a jab at Apple either. In fact, if I could afford to I’d probably buy a Mac laptop and just load Ubuntu on to it, not because it’s a better operating system but because, after using all three for awhile I’ve found Linux systems to do what I need it to and offer me a level of customisation to satisfy my needs. Oh, and it’s free. The Mac laptop is just a well designed piece of hardware and I could see why anyone would want that.

I’ve discussed my disliking for Operating System superiority complex on Twitter before. My argument was that all three major operating systems can do what the other can. After some great feedback regarding this I’d like to change that and say that all operating systems can do what the other can, the difference is just how you do it and how much effort is involved.