My Turn

Make Mine OS Nine

John C. Foster

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Call me a sentimentalist. Call me loyal. Heck, even call me a traditionalist, but I am not switching to OS X any time soon.

I must admit that I thought about purchasing the beta version. I even felt myself getting excited about the March 24th release. I read the rants, raves, and reviews about OS X. I stopped by the local Mac vendors and played with the iMacs running OS X. I docked with the Mother Ship (hit the Apple website) and searched for the available applications to get an idea of what I could look forward to. I even went so far as to repartition my hard drive with a section for OS X. Yet I can't take the final step of coughing up $129 for OS X knowing that I will have to continue spending more money.

Spending $129 for OS X is just the start of the continuous parade of expenditures. I don't want to run my substantial library of software in emulation ("Classic") mode. I went through all of that when I ran the first PPC applications on a PPC-upgraded 68k Mac years ago. Any of you long term Mac users know what I am talking about. Constant upgrades that never stop: CPU upgrade, more RAM, larger hard drive, new software that is native for the new OS, new interface cards, "patch" type drivers, and video upgrades, all running through a system bus that is quickly becoming outdated. Looking back, I should have saved my money while waiting another six months for a new computer that included all of the upgrades and operated on a system that had the bugs resolved.

The old Mac OS was a milestone in history. It was one of the most significant impacts on modern mankind. It revolutionized computing and introduced millions to desktop publishing, the Internet, video editing, networking, Web publishing, graphics, and sound editing.

All of this was done in a "Think Different" type mode, almost an attitude, that developed a loyal customer base that is the envy of many a business, even after all of these years. The Mac OS was always years ahead of the Wintel world and has been paid the highest form of flattery known to man - imitation. They copied the Mac goodies to make their generic boxes more personable and more fun. They know it, and we know it, but they don't like to talk about it.

Many of us identify with our Macs. In a strange way they give us a sense of self worth and confidence. Maybe it is a "man" thing, like cars. A bigger engine, louder exhaust, wider tires, and fancy paint job make you feel better about yourself in a certain way. Certainly there is pride felt in owning the latest and greatest Mac that is maxed out on RAM and CPU speed, but what about all of these other Macs that I have?

Should I abandon my bevy of SE/30s, Quadras, PowerBooks, and my beige G3? My family uses them constantly with much satisfaction. I have the configurations worked out so that they are all operating well, performing all of the tasks that we require.

I truly enjoy using older Macs to do many things that people think require a G3 or G4. Truth be known, email, web surfing, word processing, faxing, spreadsheets, and general computing can be done with machines that cost much less than a new $3000 G4.

We all must deal with change in our daily lives. The Mac computer is changing, and it is in a big way.

When I am at work, being forced to use a Windows NT box, I often scream out loud "I want my Mac!" because I am so spoiled by the Mac OS. Now I see myself screaming "I want my Mac" when I use OS X.

I don't care if the Unix geeks will become Mac users or not. I grew up, so to speak, using the Classic Mac operating system, and I am resisting the culture switch to OS X.

Maybe I am just a Mac dinosaur in the making. Loyal to the 68k machines, loyal to the PPC machines and the Classic Mac OS, resistant to the new regime. I know in time I will be bypassed by OS X in all of its glory.

In time, plenty of applications will be available, or maybe even some upgrades to the applications that I currently have. But for now, when I discuss the operating system for my Macs, I have to say: Make Mine OS Nine.

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