Operating systems

Its struck me this morning when I heard that some of the newer Macs had been judged the fastest at running Vista, that I had in my possession a laptop capable of running natively four operating systems. Windows XP & Windows Vista in both 32-bit and 64 bit mode, Linux (in all its wonderful 32-bit and 64-bit flavours), and of course OS/X (32 bit Tiger and 64 bit leopard).

Not only could it run all of these natively (that is, boot em up), it could also run all of those under a number of virtual environments, such as Parallels (high integration with OS/X at the cost of stability), VMWare (hugely stable) and MS Virtual PC. And with BootCamp, you can dual boot OS/X and windows, as well as run that windows partition under parallels.

I for instance am still doing most of my development work in Windows XP under parallels and VMWare, but using the Mac world for straight Notes mail, word processing and presentations. Still desperately awaiting Domino Designer on Eclipse - perhaps after that, we might get multi-platform Domino designer.. Oh. Keynote - the iWork presentation package - is soooooo much nicer than Powerpoint. So dont bother wasting money on an Office license if you swich. Splash £70 for iWork instead (and/or get NeoOffice - openoffice for the mac - for free). The development tools - C, etc - all come free with OS/X, so you dont have to splash a thousand bucks for a Visual Studio lookalike.

So if you have a choice, and are in the market for a high-end machine, then the MacBook and MacBook pros are a good, safe, future-proof bet. (Bear in mind as well as the deskop iMacs, they also do an under-the-desktop quad zenon muscle machine. David Clark has one with 16gb of Ram and a 30" screen for HUGE photoshop work..) Pricewise, Apple have had the reputation of being far more expensive than comparative tin from Dell, Compaq/HP and Lenovo, but I now suspect if you were to compare like-for-like, there wouldnt be that much of a difference anymore. Apple also have had the reputation of being made from less sterner stuff than Dell (that was the party line I used to parrot when I used to buy a million quids worth of Dell a year, some 13 years ago) - though I suspect the difference is now far less. (This from the guy who managed to kill his hard drive within five weeks!).

I guess what I'm getting at is that next time, if you have the choice, then consider Macs as a viable option, and see how far you get. I personally have found it a far less frustrating environment than Windows, and I keep getting nice surprises. My screensaver picking up all my iTunes album artwork was this mornings pleasant surprise.

Personally, I'm very happy I made the leap - even after all these years of slagging them off. Its ironic, as one chap ('Vista-boy', not 'mr Biggleswade') really hates Macs with a passion, and I'm now receiving much of what I used to dole out... Ah.. Karma..

Would this change any future decision that you would make ?