Things Macintosh

Politically Correct Mac OS

I have a dream - what if Apple discontinues OS X and announces OS PC (Politically Correct)?

Rodney O. Lain - 2000.06.21

"Whosoever readeth, let him understand." (The Bible, Matthew 24:15)

First Reporter: Hey, Sherry, what do you think Jobs will announce today? Their PR reps made a big fuss over it, saying that it would be bigger than Windows 95.

Second Reporter: Who knows with Jobs? [laughing] He may just want to stand there and obsess over that so-called "genie effect" with OS X like he did last time. Oh, I know! He wants to....

First Reporter: Shhh! Here he comes now!

Jobs walks up to the edge of the stage and gives a characteristic smile that's a cross between a smirk and cheese-eating grin.

"I want to thank all of you for coming today," he begins, nodding towards the audience. "I am sure that you are wondering why we invited you here."

He points his wireless remote at the blank screen behind him and it lights up with the words "Mac OS X" emblazoned in what is now known as "Aqua blue."

"For the last year, we've given you bits and pieces of what we call our next-generation operating system. We said that we want to rebuild the Mac OS from the ground up, not only by revamping the surface of the OS, but also by breathing new breath into the Mac OS's underpinnings."

He points and clicks at the screen behind him again, and the words "The next generation" appears under the words "Mac OS X."

"Everything you've been told," Jobs says, "has been a lie."

He points and clicks once more, and "The next generation" disappears, while the word "Not" appears after "Mac OS X."

A few of the reporters in the audience look surprised, while others merely look on, knowing that Jobs always gives his public announcements with a showman's panache.

"You see, OS X was a ruse,a ploy, a stratagem, a sleight-of-hand to buy us time while we finished our true next-generation OS."

He points and clicks, switching the screen to a shot of the Mac OS desktop. It appears to be a combination of OS 9 and Mac OS X's Aqua interface. At first no notices the subtle differences between what they are being shown and what they knew as OS X before this day.

Jobs knows this and takes on a professorial tone as he explains.

"You won't notice any differences, unless you are a true Macintosh aficionado," he continues. "As you can see, the interface elements we've called Aqua are still intact. But what you may not notice is that we've integrated the elements that we introduced as Mac OS 8 and 9: popup folders, contextual menus, Apple Data Detectors, Sherlock 2.

"What will probably be most notable is that we've included some things that are tried an true with Macintosh users: the Apple Menu, for example [he aims a red-beamed pointer at the Aqua-blue Apple in the leftmost part of the main menu]. We all know that people in the Western World read from left to right, from top to bottom. So that dictated that we leave the Apple Menu as is. But problems remained...."

He points and clicks, and the screen changes to a picture of the Earth.

"We live in a global village, a global economy. Isn't it about time that we created products that reflected this? Imagine being in a country, a culture, that doesn't read and write in the manner that we do? We read from left to right, from top to bottom. But suppose your native language is read and written boustrophedontically...."

He clicks once more, and an animation begins on the screen which shows text typing in a word processor in an unknown language. The first line types from left to right; the next line types from right to left. the lines alternate between left to right and right to left, acting out the definition of a boustrophedontical language.

"Once again, we live in a global village. We tend to forget this when we write our programs and design our hardware. Sure, some software is ported to other languages, but they don't always keep the culture in mind. Just changing the words to, say, Japanese does the trick. We have done the trick, though."

He clicks, and the screen flashes "Mac OS PC."

"Welcome to the future of computing. We have remade OS in your image, regardless of your nationality or ethnic origin. The Mac OS will redefine the term 'running native.'"

On the screen flashes different versions of the Mac OS running under a variety of languages, each one changed to match the native language in which it is intended.

"We Americans can't appreciate the nuances that we've incorporated, so we've also created a few versions of the English Mac OS. For example, in our Canadian version, instead of saying 'Open,' dialogue windows will now say 'Open, eh?' and so on.

"To show that we embrace the diversity of our American heritage, we inaugurate OS PC with the first native American version: Mac OS PC Ebonics."

The screen flashes "Mac OS PC Ebonics," with the words "Whassup!!" appearing below it.

"For those of you who are early adopters, you can install the code that inspired this version, created Ned Holbrook and Jorg Brown, team leaders of our newly acquired Innovation Division, formerly known as Mac Hack. The Mac-Hacked beta version of Mac OS PC Ebonics can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.machack.com/Hacks99/MacJive.sit.bin. For our British users, the Mac OS PC Cockney will be released simultaneously with the Ebonics version. Thank your for coming today. We will have our media representatives come forward now to field your questions.

"In the immortal words of Bartles and Jaymes: 'Thank you for your support.'"

Note: thanks to "Lucky Boy," "Patrick Answer," Dawn, and the other wage slaves at Power On Software

Rodney O. Lain (1968-2002) called himself a fashion victim: He liked wearing socks with his sandals. When he wasn't dispensing fashion advice, Rodney wrote for Low End Mac, The Mac Observer, Applelinks, and many other websites. Rodney lived in Minnesota. His own website was iBrotha.com, and we have collected as much of his writing that has since disappeared from the Web as possible in The Rodney O. Lain Archive.

The most widely read Things Macintosh columns:

  1. Apple is a company, 10/4/1999
  2. The main difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, 1/17/2000
  3. The $600 iMac, 12/24/1999
  4. Apple will rule the computer world, 11/17/1999
  5. I'm not paying $20 for my OS X upgrade, 2001.07.25.
  6. A Mac is like Prozac, 10/13/1999
  7. I'm a drop the funk bomb on ya: Milking the Macintosh for all it's worth, 2001.03.20.
  8. More links and links to memorial articles in the Things Macintosh index.

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