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  • The Leopard Report: Welcome to the Insane Asylum!

    January 24th, 2007

    As most of you know by now, Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system, Windows Vista, will ship to consumers next week. It is already available for businesses and, in fact, you’ve probably read plenty of reviews about it.

    When Apple finally pulls the wraps off the entire Leopard feature set, you’ll find plenty of comparisons to read, even before the product actually ships. Is it better than Vista? About the same? Inferior? Believe you me, you will see all sorts of comparisons and contrasts.

    Some of those studies will make a lot of sense, some will not, but I’m sure most of the tech pundits who write about the subject are perfectly sincere. If they’re dead wrong, well nobody’s perfect.

    On the other hand, there is one tech writer on the planet who doesn’t care about facts and logic. He wants to push your buttons by saying absolutely crazy things and hoping, I guess, that you’ll send him lots and lots of hate mail. More important, that the hit counts at his publisher’s site will go way, way up so he can, I suppose, ask for a raise or a plaque or whatever lights his fire.

    Now I don’t want to enhance John C. Dvorak’s popularity or cater to his attention-grabbing schemes any more than is necessary to make a point. So I won’t provide any links here. I’m sure you can find the proper site yourself if you really feel inclined to read his latest venture into the ninth dimension, where logic is a concept that does not exist.

    His latest rant claims that, by making Vista more like Mac OS X, Microsoft is playing into the hands of such companies as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Intel, who want to create a standardized Linux distribution. This way, the confusion, incompatibilities and plain headaches that exist now will be things of the past.

    Indeed, Dvorak believes that most people simply hate Macs, so if they perceive Vista to be Mac-like, they will abandon it in droves in favor of Linux!

    Are you with me so far? You see, I’m quite serious here. That’s what the man says. Dvorak believes that “When it comes to the Apple-versus-PC battle, one oft-neglected discussion is that the majority of people do not like Macs. Get over it. It’s true.”

    In other words, the feeling that Apple has the mind-share while Microsoft has the market share is all wrong. People really love Windows, but have strange and queasy thoughts about Macs.

    Dvorak is concerned, for example, about the way a Mac “feels when saving files. I know this is silly, but I’ve never felt comfortable with it. It was mushy in some weird way that always gave me the creeps.”

    Now that comment gives me the creeps, but for a different reason, one obvious to most of you.

    He then goes on to claim that, “something weird happened on a Mac” he wouldn’t be able to recover the file, although the PC wouldn’t cause such a catastrophe, because “with a PC, I could take the hard disk out and easily put it into another machine and then go exploring the drive without worry.”

    Evidently, Dvorak missed the demonstration of the Mac Pro, where you can swap drives in and out in moments, a lot faster than on most PC boxes. But even on the old Mac minitowers, replacing hard drives was no big deal, or maybe he thinks Apple makes only iMacs and Mac minis for desktop use, but the average user of those products isn’t going to want to replace his or her own drive anyway most of the time. Of course, with the proper technical skills involved in opening those boxes, it’s not all that difficult, actually.

    I could go on, of course, but I think you get the point. You see, the Mac OS is the “right-brain” operating system that, horror of horrors, empowers the individual, whereas Dvorak says we should be using a proper “left-brain” system such as Linux. I mean, you don’t really want a computer that just works, when you can spend hours learning how to configure a Unix-based system from the command line or some arcane setup application. And then, take joy in an inconsistent user interface and the inability to run many of your favorite applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, iTunes and Quicken. Don’t you just love it?

    This doesn’t mean Linux can’t become a user-friendly desktop operating system, but if that happens, it’ll no longer be for the left-brain.

    And that, my friends, is when Dvorak will have to return to his Prozac to recover from the mental shock.

    Meantime, if you see more nonsense like that online, have a good laugh and just forget about it.

    I suppose I could invite Dvorak on The Tech Night Owl LIVE and tell him all this to his face, but why?



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