Apple’s “Boot Camp“. The modern day apocalypse of a Windows OS running natively on a Mac. Will miracles never cease?!
I can’t resist.
I started on computers when you had to walk inside of them in order to make a repair (well almost) and I’ve been working on them ever since. With that said…
Back in 1984 I owned a small but very successful sound production company and I remember once standing in the sound studio we were associated with looking at a compact beige box with a small screen displaying a set of graphics (graphics?) and asking what that weird looking thing was laying on a pad next to the keyboard with a cord hanging out the back end of it . My friend who owned this strange device said it was a mouse (mouse?). Then he pointed at a thing on the screen and said that was the “pointer” (pointer?) that was controlled by the mouse and to go ahead and play. What I was “playing” with (and if I had known what it had cost I wouldn’t have gotten near it) was the first MAC born from the ashes of the Apple Lisa project (I used an “Apple II E-Enhanced” for my business BTW). Why do I relate this bit of trivia? Because I knew right then that this wonderful box with it’s revolutionary idea of an OS was never going to be mainstream. If Apple (this is 1984 remember and Apple had been mainstream at that point) turned away from it’s Apple II series in favor of this Macintosh GUI OS then they would lose their spot in the limelight. Simple reason…along with the high price, the majority of people just plain preferred to fiddle with things and as it has been said before many times, a Mac won’t let you do that, hence MS’s increased popularity with their clunky old DOS 3.1 which came about in November of 1984. Heck, Windows 3.1 upgrade from 3.0 (the only viable Windows program back then. The previous ones were just stupid) didn’t even hit the streets until April of 1992 and still the people gradually migrated to a command line MS DOS vs Mac’s GUI.
Now, all these years later MS has gone the next step and is finally divorcing itself from the Old Win95 (another bad joke) way of doing things as far as the user interface end of things goes and coming out with Windows “Vista” due out somewhere around January, 2007 and guess what? It resembles OS X (!) cry the MAC users. Well, the resemblance is only skin deep I assure you. I mean really. Just how far can do you think you take the evolution of an OS GUI before they all start looking the same? A MAC is a beautiful thing indeed. Always has been. It’s the only mainstream computer that can be turned on year after year and it just works…period! And that’s fine for people who like their PC to “just work” however like I said before, people just like to fiddle. They want to customize, dress up, make it faster, make it do something it wasn’t designed to do, upgrade the pieces-parts, over-clock till it burns up and do it all cheaply and let’s remember back wards compatability which has always been MS’s biggest “bloat” problem. Trying to get their OS to work with everything! But that’s another matter.
So here comes Windows Vista. Now Apple has a problem. An OS X style OS that not only can be fiddled with but has the majority of the 3rd party software market busily writing software for the thing, the WWW folks rewriting their web sites to work with it as well and it’s (shudder) back wards compatible! Aaarrrgh!! Now comes “BootCamp”. Run Windows XP on your MAC…natively no less! And less than a year before Vista hits the streets. Almost a better late than never scenario or is it? I mean why wait until Vista hits the streets to go to Boot Camp when the better comparison for Apple is XP vs OS X? Anyway, time will tell.
So here’s my idea:
Back in the 1980’s old Billy G. made a statement (‘scuse the paraphrasing). He had 3 goals:
1. Standardize the PC hardware industry.
2. Standardize the PC software industry.
3. Make all communication free for the general public.
I agreed with all. I knew the PC for what it (would) become: A tool. The next generation telephone you might say and TV and radio etc. etc. all rolled into one. Apple’s move to introduce Windows users to the Macintosh and that wonderful OS X of theirs may be a day late and a dollar short in some peoples eyes but for us, the average user, it’s right on time. Once the Window people get a bite of the forbidden fruit, it’s a fairly sure bet that Apple will, sometime in the very near future, license their OS to run on other than Apple machinery so for the first time in PC history the average user will finally have a true choice of the 2 most popular OS’s available without having to buy the associated machinery required to run it properly. OS X and it’s next generation OS for those people who want their PC to “just work” and Vista and it’s next generation OS for the ones who like to fiddle. There is also the matter of the user simply having a choice of OS without all the fuss and bother of having to purchase 2 different hardware packages. The future all this is fairly plain to see. Bill Gates may come to find that 2 out of 3 of his initial goals have been achieved.
There is no way once Apple licenses their OS for things other than Apple that Vista and OS X can remain separate entities for too long. I’d say less than 5 years max. Giving the end users a choice of OS versions such as the way MS is going to offer up Vista is a good thing but sooner or later the PC is going to have to be standardized once and for all and at the rate things are going it’s probably going to be sooner. Now how MS and Apple handle things at that point is too early for conjecture or for that matter, how to handle melding an operating system like MS’s Vista (or whatever comes next) and a UNIX based OS X (like I said previously) into one big beautiful OS that can be run on readily available industry standard hardware much like buying Windows PC’s are today.
All hail the user!
Justification for all this is as close as your phone (Cell type not included), TV or radio. Take your phone (any standard house/business phone), plug it into any live phone jack and it works. Take your TV and plug anything into it that generates television signals and it works. Take your $20.00 AM/FM radio anywhere in the world and if there’s a signal around you’ll be able to listen to it. Today’s PC nearly does all that now to one extent or another and improvement is right around the corner. A simple matter of days in some cases. With MS now supporting Linux and Apple allowing Windows to run on their machines it seems like things are already rapidly on their way towards making a PC what it was supposed to be in the first place: A tool used to get things done.
So hang on to your hats folks. Looks like it’s going to be a one heck of ride!
And Bill. Keep working on that third goal of yours ok? Thanks!