In the past couple of days the news that Microsoft Windows XP has been made installable on Macintosh computers has been generating a great deal of excitement. In the comments section of every article I’ve read I see at least half the readership asking why this is such a great thing. I’m also asking that question.
When you can buy a Dell computer for $299 and run Windows on it, or build a Windows based gaming system for less than you’d pay for a Mac, why would you buy the Mac only to run Windows on it in an unsupported configuration? Even if you did need to run Windows it would be more cost effective and sensible in the long run to maintain a separate system for legacy Windows applications requiring high-performance. Don’t gamers enjoy building and enhancing their own computers anyway? A self-built computer is far more tweakable than a Mac, which is finely tuned to work only within the parameters in which it was built.
Or wait a bit and run Windows within a virtual machine. It’s highly likely Microsoft will release an Intel version of Virtual PC for Mac, which will allow the user to run Windows at full speed (less perhaps graphics acceleration, but maybe this too is possible) within the context of MacOS X.
Which brings us to MacOS X itself. Practically the point of the entire exercise. The operating system designed for the computer on which it runs. The computer in turn designed to run the operating system as well as it can. And the selection of software that lets someone using it not have a need for anything else. I think this is something that’s not getting nearly enough attention. The beauty of the whole thing is the operating system. The user interface. The way all applications fit together almost perfectly, even though they come from many different vendors. It would be sad to see people forget about this uniqueness.
Except for games. Go buy an XBox 360. Or, you know, build a PC. Everybody’s doing it!