So we've had 25 years of GUI Macs, but I for one won't be putting up any bunting or hiring a marching band. Why? Because I hate the things.
The media seems full of stories by journalists reminiscing about the first time they used a Mac, what a revelation they were and how the world is a brighter, sunnier place because Steve Jobs, or in actual fact Steve Wozniak, created such a work of genius.
So, in the interest of balance, and because my esteemed editor knew that I'd kill, or at least seriously maim, to write a piece like this, here is my take on why Macs aren't all they're cracked up to be.
For someone who'd grown up programming Sinclair ZX81s and DOS systems, there was a certain amount of geek awe the first time I encountered a Mac. The GUI made the computer easy for anyone to use, and made it possible for a few people in an office to turn out magazines and handbooks perfectly easily.
But, as time went on, the Mac moved from being a useful tool to something to be loathed. Sure, the GUI looked good but, when you're used to a command line interface and all that you can do with it, the Mac OS has some serious disadvantages.
Firstly, there was software compatibility. Because the prevailing ethos at Apple was 'our way or the highway' the company persisted in using an operating system that couldn't run 90 per cent of the software on the market, and developers had a tough time coding for it and making a living.
Wanted to buy games for your Mac? Well, you had a tiny pool of options and those companies that did convert PC games for the Mac did so after considerable delay most of the time.
Then there was the operating system itself. If you wanted to get into it and change the settings you had to use a tool called ResEdit. Using ResEdit in those days was like trying to repair a nuclear reactor with a stone axe: you had to back up everything before trying because you were almost guaranteed a system crash afterwards.
You needed to use it, however, because the Mac couldn't multitask very well. It wasn't bad at doing one thing well, but try and open up another application and it slowed right down or just hung.
And while we're on the topic of system crashes, there's the 'Sad Mac' feature. When the system went down, taking the day's work with it, it displayed a little sad face and played you the noise of a car crash. Hardly informative to say the least.
The problem is that Apple had decided that consumers were stupid and shouldn't be allowed to actually get into the software to change things. That was an Apple engineer's job and it should be made as hard as possible for anyone else. It's an attitude that has persisted for years.
In the interest of fairness I have to say that this problem has now been largely fixed with the introduction of OS X. At last Mac users have a relatively open operating system that's flexible and functional. Too bad it took 20 odd years to come about, but there you go. However, that still leaves the problem of the hardware.
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