Five Benefits of Using Both Windows and OS X

Like many technology enthusiasts, I am surrounded by glowing screens from the moment I want up to the point I shut my eyes at night. It isn’t the healthiest way to go about life, but it is quickly becoming the way things get done in a modern era.

Almost every day, I receive email or stumble across comments in relation to something LockerGnome produces asking if OS X is better than Windows, or iOS is better than Android. This question never fails to present itself whenever anyone here writes about one platform or another. Unfortunately, these questions are all too-often met with a diatribe from members of the community about which operating system is better, and why.

Frankly, I think choosing sides and “fighting the good fight” to inform the public about how great your choice was is silly. Yes, one operating system might have worked better for you than any other, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for everyone involved.

Personally, I live on both OS X and Windows. I find living in both worlds is a benefit rather than a hindrance. As much as I hear people yelling back and forth about Windows being for a particular kind of user or Mac being better for certain projects, I’m really quite sure the majority of these comments are coming from folks that are either repeating the same jargon they’ve been fed or have an active interest in “fitting in” with one group or another.

Frankly, this religious fanaticism about which operating system is “better” is doing more harm to members of both camps than it’s worth. Don’t even get me started with Linux, which itself isn’t actually an operating system but a foundation on which operating systems are made.

Here are five benefits I’ve found to living in both worlds.

To Truly Understand Something, You Must Understand the Competition

I wish I could remember who originated this general thought, but it’s spot on. I write about technology for the majority of my day, and much of what I write comes from a general understanding of how products and services work. I spend most of my day with both Windows and OS X in front of me, each running a variety of programs that help me get my job done.

I believe that by using both Windows and OS X extensively, I’m better prepared to write about the difficulties and/or options available to each platform. After all, if you have nothing to compare your experience to, how are you expected to write about it?

More Software Options

People often use choice as a foundation of their arguments when proclaiming one OS superior to the other. Realistically, what could offer you more choice than multiple operating environments? OS X will never look or work the way Windows does, and Windows will never work the way OS X does. They’re two completely different operating systems built on separate foundations. This difference is clear as you navigate through them both. Still, many software developers port their products to both platforms, each gaining the advantage of that platform’s built-in tools and functionality.

I’m an Adobe Creative Suite subscriber. Because of this, I’m able to enjoy using Adobe Photoshop on both Windows and OS X. Each port of the program is slightly different, and I’ve found some tasks to be slightly easier on one platform than another. Likewise, the opposing platform makes other jobs a little easier. I don’t have to choose between them in this case, which gives me the option to live in either environment.

I’m also a video editor. While I love using Final Cut Pro X for a lot of my video productions, Sony Vegas is also a great editor for those quick and dirty jobs working with AVCHD. Without living in both environments, I wouldn’t be able to choose between these two programs.

Some developers only make software for one platform, and that can be disheartening when you have one text editor you really enjoy using and it doesn’t exist on the same platform as your favorite music player.

More Hardware Options

If I’m looking for a new computer, I don’t have to stick with hardware manufactured by one company or another. I can choose from either a PC manufacturer or Apple, which admittedly produces some of the best hardware on the market today. Oh, and yes, you can install Windows on a Mac. There’s nothing stopping you from doing this.

Less Compatibility Issues

When working with clients, there are times that I am asked to review software or open files that can only be natively opened on one platform. Running a DMG on a PC or an .EXE on a Mac just doesn’t make my job very easy. Being in both worlds, I can handle pretty much anything a client throws my way. In addition, I can troubleshoot issues from a wider scope. I’ve had some instances where a website will load fine on Firefox for Windows and lousy on Firefox for OS X. Without having both platforms at my disposal, I would not have been able to troubleshoot the problem and discover what call didn’t work with a specific platform.

This could also be listed as an advantage of using a Linux-based operating system. There are plenty of applications and files that just work better on the platform for which they were designed.

Anyone that has attempted to use a NTSC hard drive on OS X or an OS X specific drive format on Windows will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Rise Above the Bickering

Frankly, when you’re past the team vs. team nonsense, the time and energy spent deciphering streams filled with bickering don’t matter anymore. People spend so much of their lives proclaiming the superiority of a chunk of 1s and 0s, it’s unreal. How much of that energy and self-righteous fury could instead be spent producing something that would better the world?

Every camp is guilty of this at some level. There are religious Linux fanatics out there and an equal amount of OS X and Windows fanatics chomping at the bit to prove everyone wrong in the great battle of the operating systems.

Frankly, if there ever is a winner in the desktop OS world, it will be the saddest day imaginable for users. Without competition, there can be no innovation. Imagine a world where Microsoft let Apple go out of business. It would look a lot like Internet Explorer 6, abandoned and left to by the side of the road for years until some other company stepped up and built something better.

11 comments On Five Benefits of Using Both Windows and OS X

  • Agree. I use both Macs and have my own custom build Windows machine for my gaming. I use OSX for my majority computing, programming, general university work, web browsing, irc, etc, but use my Windows machine mostly just for gaming.

    I used to use it for Visual studio too, but I have more larger monitors connected to my OSX machine specifically, so I often just virtualise windows and run Visual studio within that.

    I recognise the differences, and whilst I have a preference for OSX, there are clear advantages that I require when it comes to my PC gaming which ensure I always plan on maintaining a custom build machine for Windows.

  • I have been an avid user of both OS’s for years. One of the insurance companies I work with uses Internet explorer for some of it’s applications exclusively. I have a 27″ iMac running Parallels with Win 7 & Win 8. I have one of the first 17″ MacBook Pro’s running VMWare Fusion and Win 7. For those applications that best are run on Windows I have them covered with both machines. Yep, using them together like this has been a wonderful experience.

  • Myothernamesagoodone

    FEWER Compatibility Issues, dammit!!!

    A nice defence for those of you that have more money than God but the truth is that most of us are faced with a choice of one or the other which we will probably be sticking to for life. Unseemly as the bickering may be it is nevertheless a source of vital information, albeit intemperate and biased, to throw into the decision making pot. It’s all too easy to claim the moral high ground with a reductionist overview of the ‘petty squabbling’ but it is oft the least regarded of things that proves to be the ideal grist for the mill.

    • OS X, Linux, and Windows 7 can all live happily, and natively on the same hardware regardless of your choice to buy Apple hardware or not, although it’s only legal, strictly speaking one of those ways.

      • OS X only “works” within Apple’s experience. That’s intentional, and I don’t see their licensing strategy changing in our lifetimes. Owning a Mac is 2000% different than owning a PC.

  • It still comes down to one stark fact: Despite being on the market for 25+ years, the Mac OS still has a single-digit market share. In a 3 competitor market — Mac OS, Windows, & Linux — that *should* be less than acceptable to Apple management and shareholders. It also should tell users that there is a reason for this.

    What’s the reason? There’s nothing that you can do on a Mac that you cannot do on a PC for less cost. You can talk “elegance”, “coolness”, or “preference” all you want but this is a tool not a religion and 90+ people out of every 100 are making this decision every day.

    • Heh. You’re highlighting one metric and failing to accommodate other (equally as valid) measurements.
      You do realize that Apple is one of the most (if not THE most) personal computer vendors on the planet today? You’re comparing Fords to Bentleys, dude.

      • That is a good point to differentiate between Microsoft being primarily a Software vendor, and Apple selling hardware. I think that apple would gain quite a lot of market share if they were to sell OS X with third party driver support to run on the hardware that windows 7 can. I used to think that Apple was ignorant to not do that, but now that I’ve owned one I can understand the “mac experience” saying. I love the mac for it’s simplicity, stability, and it’s hardware and I love windows for Direct X, software availability, and peripheral compatibility and Linux for running web server apps because of the sudo command and Nautilus. All three flavors are in my opinion the best that they’ve ever been, and I’ve hated all of them equally at different times, well, ok maybe linux causes the most hair pulling, but thats ok.

        not related to Chris’s comment:
        I think that even the gaming aspect is going to change in the next ten years. Gaming software has been falling behind the advancements in hardware in the last few years. with acceptable APU’s coming from AMD, and Intel putting it’s muscle behind it’s graphics efforts for the first time. I think that Microsoft really should be worried, and Apple ought to up it’s efforts to support OpenGL. You can’t ignore how important DirectX has been to Microsoft’s market share.

        • 1. I do most, if not all, of my gaming on my iOS devices. I’m the norm. 😉
          2. Moreover, most software (as we determine our needs) has moved to the web. I’ve found few options lacking on OS X (as much as I’ve found options lacking on Windows).
          3. Yes, The success of Android + iOS = death of D3D

    • Apple’s Mac market share is on the rise while the Windows/PC market share is flat or in decline. And I think what Chris Pirillo was trying to say is that Apple is the most profitable personal computer maker in the world. OS X provides a far better user experience IMHO because they make both the hardware and the OS. Microsoft has figured this out as well. They are going to be making their own tablets rather than relying on the OEM model as they have done for so long with Windows.

  • I very much agree, great article. I too use both Windows and OSX, I run with parallels on mac Mini, and Macbook Pro. works great some when you can use a MS program next to an OSX program.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer

Sliding Sidebar