The OS wars

There was a point in my life when I really, really cared about which operating system was “better.”  I spent so much time discussing the virtues and pitfalls of OS X, Windows, and GNU/Linux on forums back in the day (by which I mean like 6 or 7 years ago).  I guess you could say that my interest in that kind of stuff has waned, but I still follow it all very closely, as it’s important to me, both personally and professionally.

I am subjected to discussions on the subject somewhat often still, and I find it humorous to see how passionate some people are about their love/hate for a company and their products.  It reminds me of those old online debates.  As if a company copying a feature is actually a big deal.  Implementation is what’s most important.  We used to take shots at Microsoft for that so much, while turning a blind eye to the fact that every tech company does it: Apple, Google, and Microsoft included.  This year’s WWDC was a slew of new iOS features, many “copied” from Android, while Google I/O had many new features and design elements “copied” from Apple.

And it’s funny that people are still sitting around, slinging insults back and forth about which is better.  You can go on and on about all of the technical shit you want, but in the end, iOS and Android are pretty much the same thing.  Windows and OS X are pretty much the same thing.  Sorry guys, but unless you’re a developer, it doesn’t really matter if you use iOS or Android since you’ll probably just be browsing the Internet, texting people, making calls, and posting dumb shit to your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.  Both operating systems are exceedingly good at doing this.  And wouldn’t you know, with a few tweaks to that last statement, the same holds true for OS X and Windows.

It’s fun and normal to have preferences, but preferring something doesn’t mean you have to hate/insult its competition.  I prefer OS X, but I use and enjoy Windows (well, maybe not so much Windows 8, but I think that’s getting better now).  Back when everyone was hating on Windows Vista for no good reason, I was defending it and even wrote a column in Tiger Weekly about how it didn’t suck (people are so very quick to blame Microsoft instead of 3rd party developers).  My daily driver phone is an iPhone 5, but I love my Nexus 7 tablet.  I’d even considered getting a OnePlus One or a Nexus 5.  Instead, I’ve decided to wait and check out what the iPhone 6 (or whatever they call it) looks like.

As much as I want a new MacBook Pro, I can’t help but admit that the Surface 3 would be incredibly tempting if it was usable with the type cover in your lap while sitting on the sofa.  I have seen some really nice-looking Windows laptops with touchscreens that are super appealing, and some of them are ridiculously cheap.  It would be stupid of me not to admit there are trade-offs involved with buying a Mac, just as there are with buying anything else.

People just get too caught up in differences.