Friday, April 7, 2006

Thinking really different

Back when Windows95 came out, there was a joke floating around among Mac users:

Windows95 = Macintosh87

For years Apple has stood as an alternative to Microsoft. But Macs rarely rose to more than the high single digits among PC users, with fears that essential programs couldn't be run on a Mac holding back would-be buyers.

Only belatedly did Apple, taking advantage of the fact that Microsoft itself started making software capable of producing cross-format files at the behest of Steve Jobs, start pointing out to prospective Mac users how easy it would be to
make the switch.

Well, that just got
even easier: Apple said Wednesday that it would offer users of its latest models a simple way to run the Microsoft Windows operating system as well as Mac OS, a free program called "BootCamp" to be distributed with Panther, version 10.5 of Mac OS.

As the New York Times reports, that means a single Apple computer will run programs written for either the Mac or Windows, though it will have to shut down one system to start the other. Apple says it is not planning to sell or service Windows, but is offering this as an enhancement to Mac users and an enticement to would-be Mac buyers currently using Windows.

BootCamp is now available as a
download, provided you are running 10.4.6 or later and have 10 GB of space to use. My nearly five-year-old Mac is running 10.3, though my recently upgraded hard drive (now 80 GB) could handle the new software.

This all works because Steve Jobs broke away from his alliance with IBM and reworked Macintoshes to run on advanced Intel* microprocessors. And thus ended another long-time favorite Mac user joke about PCs: while pointing to the "Intel Inside" written on most PCs, say: "Warning label."

For me, there are very few reasons to run Windows. Well, only one, really: HWP, Hangul Word Processor. There is a Mac version, but it is from 1997 and goes painfully slow. The Windows versions are from last year, and zippy on a PC. A lot of the Korean side of the work I do is with HWP files sent by Korean writers who don't realize that Microsoft Word is just as good—if not better—than HWP for most Korean and English writing.

In fact, at this apartment-cum-office, I broke down and added a PC to the array of three Macintoshes already here just to use HWP.

And of course, this isn't just advantageous to Mac users who need one or two PC programs; now Windows users can realize the joy of owning a computer that doesn't break down and crash all the time.

Yeah, I still have Macintosh religion.

* The same Intel that uses images hinting at soft interracial lesbian librarian porn to hock its wares.

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