Mac Scope

OS X: Take the Bitter with the Better

Stephen Van Esch - Dec. 20, 2000

Like it or not, OS X will be a reality in a few short months. All of the hand wringing, hair tearing, and general sighs of resignation (along with a few cheers) will be done, and OS X will make its debut.

And it's in your best interest to swallow the medicine (sweet and bright as it is) as soon as possible.

A good chunk of Apple's future success hinges on OS X. And, while the OS may be brand new and the transition may be less than smooth, the critical mass necessary to drive software development is a stark reality that can't be ignored.

There are several people that I've talked to and others that I've corresponded with who are digging in their heels and proclaiming that they will be sticking with 8.6 (or 9 or whatever flavor of the Mac OS gets their juices flowing). In the long run, though, this will probably do more harm than good.

As it is, the Mac market is just big enough to warrant some attention from the big software manufacturers (and many smaller ones). Right now they write programs to run on the (soon to be) old version of the Mac OS. Faced with a decision on whether to develop for OS X, Classic, both or (shudder) none at all, I suspect that several companies will wait to see the reception the new OS receives. If adoption is slower than expected, projects could potentially be delayed or, at the very least, reexamined.

If OS X sales move slowly, development may lag, which could be a problem for the entire Mac community. None of us want to see Apple attacking Classic (in the same way Microsoft is currently attacking Windows 95) to ship the new OS. That sends a negative message at a time when negative messages are not what Apple needs.

Ultimately, I suspect that switching over to the new OS will be like pulling off a bandage - painful for a few seconds, but that's it. Recent reports that some tools originally designed to bring back Classic functionality are being abandoned by users as they get used to the new OS only support this theory.

So, swallow your fear, anger, trepidation, whatever, and snap up the final version of OS X as soon as you get the chance. We'll all be better off.

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