I love IT wars, always have. Back in the day, I was a columnist for a couple of Amiga computer magazines and more than happy to throw my opinion around concerning just why an Atari was such rubbish by comparison. Things have moved on since then, but also stayed much the same. I was there during the web browser wars and lived to tell the tale (many times over, and got paid for the telling.) I have been there as the PC Vs Mac battles have been fought, and survived without too much emotional damage.
Which is why I am quite saddened to see the longest running bit of computing combat coming to an end: I predict that the release of Mac OS X 10.5 or ‘Leopard’ will, once and for all, win the Great OS War, with Microsoft Vista having no option but to admit defeat in the face of a much stronger, much more worthy opponent.
Now, before all the Windows troops start taking aim at me I should come clean and admit that I am a Windows fan, a Windows user and have never actually managed to get along with any of the Macs I have owned over the years. I am also something of a technological masochist, which probably explains why.
So why am I waving the white flag before Leopard has even been released, before Vista has been released for that matter? Simple, in my never at all humble opinion OS X 10.4 Tiger already beats Vista into a cocked hat. Leopard will take that hat, stamp on it and laugh loudly. Want just one bit of fact to back this up? OK, how about the fact that Microsoft is hyping up the improved security of Vista more than just about anything else. How about the fact that Microsoft is proudly implementing a privilege based, almost UNIX like, security system within Vista. How about the fact that Mac OS X has had this level of system safety built in for, well, forever. Feel free to rearrange the following words into something that best describes this particular Microsoft battle attack strategy: foot, own, shoot.
Here is another volley from the Apple lines that should hit home: if you really want to maintain your relationship with Windows applications through Vista, then you can do it on your Intel based Mac anyway. And when you have finished playing, you can get down to serious business in safety back under Mac OS.
So what does Leopard have that makes it even more of a threat to the Windows OS than OS X 10.4? Steve Jobs has demoed full support for fully native 64-bit UI carbon application; then there is the inclusion of Boot Camp, virtual desktops, and a much-improved Spotlight search that will search other networked Macs. Accessibility issues such as Braille and closed caption support have been addressed, VoiceOver provides a truly human sounding text-to-voice translation service, and a Dashboard Webclip function that can turn a web site into a widget in four clicks.
With Vista hit by ever more delays courtesy of stability issues in the Beta 2 release, Apple is taking the time it has been handed to build yet more functionality into Leopard ahead of the scheduled spring 2007 launch.
Getting back to my IT wars analogy, I maintain that the OS wars are over. But that is OK, I will still get my fill by enjoying reading all the comments that this particular brain dump is likely to create. Muhahaha...