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.