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2010-02-07 13:27 (UTC)
Note that when I say Macs are restrictive I am referring to the Mac I knew, which is certainly not today's Macintosh. It is the the MacOS 6 and MacOS 7 environment, which is long dead and unlamented.
I was not familiar with Stephenson's commentary on operating systems until now. (I found his fiction unreadable and haven't paid much attention to him.) I looked up the essay and found at least the beginning of it on the web. Certainly what he has to say at the beginning is in agreement with my own subjective experience. My derision for Apple is built of many factors, but there are three elements that I find repellent. One is the "hermetically sealed mechanism" as he puts it, another is the absurdly high price in actual dollars, and the ultimate coffin nail is the emphasis on a point and click environment that I despise, one that was originally forced upon me with no alternative at all other than to deal with it on its own terms. This is rather like being dumped into a world in which one must speak Inuit in order to survive after having spent a number of years becoming fluent in six other languages, all of which are much more widely spoken and understood.
Ultimately I have chosen to use Linux for the past ten years, not because it is lacking in warts but because it does what I want and is affordable. Apple products are not cost effective to my way of thinking, and Microsoft products are too unreliable to contemplate. I am forced daily to support users who know only Microsoft's paradigm and understand that only dimly, along with the occasional Apple user who is convinced that everything else is so inferior as to be unworthy of their notice. This has done nothing to improve my opinion of either environment.
The ease with which I personally use Linux stems no doubt from a background in managing Unix-based systems and particularly IBM's AIX. I understand why people say it's not for them, and though Ubuntu has gone a long way toward making Linux actually competitive with OS X and Windows, in doing so it has acquired many of the same qualities I dislike most intensely.
Yes, I'm a curmudgeon. I drive a manual transmission car, which most people seem to consider an alien or antiquated concept. I prepare and eat food from fresh ingredients and do not use frozen convenience products or buy restaurant fast food meals. I do not have digital television (or watch television, for that matter) and though I have a cell phone it spends at least 99% of its time turned off.
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