Windows is the most used operating system in the world, but what about at UC Irvine? Take a look around at your next lecture, and you’ll see that Apple’s OS X is the most used operating system at UCI, not Windows. This is not surprising considering that 80 percent of the UCI Computerstore’s profits come from Apple products.
Since the upsurge of OS X users, there has been an increase in animosity toward Windows, which has resulted in the bullying of Windows users. Whenever I talk about computers, people never hesitate to belittle me for using Windows and persist in trying to convince me that Macintosh is superior to any PC. After listening to their arguments, I feel that I must clear up some common misconceptions about Windows and Microsoft.
1) Windows crashes all the time, unlike OS X. Windows does not crash all the time; otherwise, people everywhere would be throwing their Windows machines out of the window. Windows has only crashed on me a couple of times, but it was not the fault of the operating system. There were hardware issues, mostly with memory.
It is true that OS X is stable, but I have also seen Mac users crash their systems, which means that they have been forced to quit numerous programs before they regained control. The moral of the story: No operating system is immune to crashing. People who have no idea what they’re doing will always crash their systems. The bottom line is that there will always be problems with computers and, in many cases, no one will know what’s wrong.
2) Macs can’t get viruses because they are much more secure than Windows. Though OS X is more secure than Windows in some ways, it is not because Macs are somehow immune to viruses. In fact, no operating system is immune to viruses.
It is true that Macs get fewer viruses than Windows machines, but that is because hackers do not want to spend their precious time infecting an operating system that makes up only 2.72 percent of the computer market. A few months ago, a zero-day flaw that allowed hackers to gain full control of the victim’s computer via Wi-Fi was discovered in OS X. Fortunately, Apple promptly released a patch that fixed the issue.
Windows users are in the crosshairs of hackers (the evil ones), and you should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall protection. Also, it is important to be smart, so do not click on sites that look questionable, and do not open attachments unless you trust the sender.
Phishing has also become a major threat to both Windows and OS X users. Phishing is when someone constructs a Web site, that looks identical to a popular site such as MySpace, Facebook, or worse, your bank and steals your user name and password. This is why there are so many comments and bulletin posts advertising porn by people who would never endorse that sort of thing. One tip to spot phishing sites is to look at their addresses. If it looks phishy (forgive the pun), close it immediately.
3) OS X is much nicer-looking than Windows. For a while, this was true. However, now that Windows Vista has been released, a strong case can be made for how aesthetically-pleasing it is. OS X has always looked fluid, with its glossy buttons and transparent effects, but Vista also has these features. In fact, Vista actually looks nicer than OS X in some aspects. The problem is that Vista hogs system resources to produce its beautiful effects.
Although Vista still has a slew of flaws, it is definitely a step in the right direction because it shows that Microsoft is listening to its consumers and giving them the beautiful interface that they have been begging for. There are also a myriad of skinning applications for Windows, such as Windowblinds from Stardock, which allows you to customize the look and feel of the entire operating system.
4) Is your PC having problems? Just switch to a Mac. Mac users, please stop telling people to switch to Macs if they’re having problems with their Windows computers. This is not a solution because they will have to learn a new operating system, not to mention spending thousands of dollars on a new machine. If Windows were truly that horrible, people wouldn’t use it. It is not your job to be missionaries converting Satanist Windows users to the cult of Mac.
5) Microsoft is a despotic and unrelenting monopoly. Windows is as popular as it is today because Microsoft managed to corner the market before Apple. Not many people know this, but Windows was not the most popular operating system when personal computers first appeared. It was actually Apple that created the first personal computer, which touted BASIC instead of other machines’ use of Microsoft’s DOS.
Apple was the first out the door, but it failed to capture the market because it was arrogant. When IBM entered the personal computer market, Apple treated it as insignificant. The Mac operating system almost didn’t make it to production because Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, was heavily opposed to it. Thankfully, he later saw its potential and helped develop the Mac platform into what it is today (though he still can’t code his way out of a paper bag).
Through luck, it was Windows that emerged as the dominant operating system. If OS X had had the opportunity to be the dominant operating system, it would have surely taken it. Apple is just as guilty of monopoly as Microsoft because it locks you into their bubble of products, making competition extremely difficult. Such is the case of OS X’s end user license, which states that OS X must only run on Apple hardware. If Apple wanted to sell more copies of OS X, it would allow OS X to run on Intel PCs. They don’t allow it because they want to force people to buy Apple machines.
In the grand scope of things, it really doesn’t matter whether you choose OS X, Windows or Linux, because there will always be strengths and weaknesses in all operating systems. I am not defending Microsoft’s grip on the computer market, nor am I bashing OS X and Apple. I am merely promoting the fact that people should be able to use whatever computer and operating system they choose without being harassed. Can’t we all get along, at least in the computing world?