Just like many other Mac owners, I gave BootCamp a spin this weekend and installed Windows XP on my iMac. It was a very surreal experience cruising Windows on the iMac. I love the idea of being able to run Windows when I need it on my Mac, but in straddling the fence this way, I get it from both sides. Windows users: Why did you break the bank in buying a Mac if you want to run Windows? Mac users: why would you even want to put Windows on a Mac when they already are using the clearly superior OS X?
One reason, and a large driving force behind this desire is games. Sure, I can now boot to windows and do browser testing, or run one or two programs that I can’t run in OS X, but the first thing I did after finishing my Windows install on my Mac was install Firefox, then install Half Life 2. For those of us who use and love our new Intel based Macs but who are also “gamers”, BootCamp means we no longer have to wait a year behind a game’s release for it to come out for the Mac, or even keep a whole separate windows machine dedicated to just playing games. Macs does Windows indeed, and does Windows very well. Half Life 2 runs better on my Mac than it does on my PC! People everywhere are blogging that their programs are running on their Macs as fast as a comparably-priced PC.
But besides all of that, the public now has a choice when they buy a Mac. They can buy a slick-looking, powerful machine and run Windows or OS X. Contrast that to buying a Dell for example and being stuck with Windows. If you give people a choice, most will make the smarter choice. James over at consumermachine.com, in talking about some windows users, cited this problem with his Windows/OS X rant:
The problem is this: these users never really make an educated choice to use Windows. Seriously. Nobody ever tells you “I looked around at various operating systems and decided that Windows XP Pro Media Edition Lite Starter Kit ™ is the best.” This is a common thing you’ll hear amongst the mac-centric: Windows use Windows because they have to, Mac users use a Mac because they choose to. The problem with these Windows users is that they simply get used to something and thus anything that operates differently is stupid. “Macs are stupid because of X, where X is any difference between Windows and Mac OS X. No start menu = stupid. No Media Player = stupid. No viruses = stupid.
People are stuck with Windows because 99% of the world caters to it, leaving people without a choice. Apple has made a superior alternative, but people are so used to Windows that anything different is, well…”stupid”. I for one am a relatively recent convert. I was a big OS 9 hater. I used them all through college and would go home during class just so I could get things done faster on my PC. This was very against the grain for someone in my field of art and design.
When OS X debuted, I didn’t care. In fact, I was one of those people James was talking about–I had a bias against OS X before I had even used it. It wasn’t until I started looking over Brandon’s shoulder and saw how great OS X really was that I started coming over to the light side. I started evangelizing OS X myself even before I myself had a Mac. I wore Daniel down so much that he finally bought a Powerbook (just kidding, I can’t take all the credit).
I don’t hate Windows. I can’t–I work on a Windows machine all day at work–but have come to see how inferior it is compared to OS X. I am excited about Vista and am glad that Microsoft is giving people something that is on par with OS X. But with Vista pushed back to January, the same time that OS 10.5 Leopard comes out, it will be interesting to see what consumers choose. Until then, buy a Mac, load Windows onto it and try both Windows and OS X for a while. Then make an educated choice. I bet I know which one you’ll choose. :)