It is an unfortunate truth that the glory days of platform trolling
are behind us. Where once we had an enormous variety of targets with their many foibles—the legendary user-friendliness and rich capabilities of MS DOS, Apple's infamous low prices, Windows NT's svelte size and minimal hardware demands, IBM's memorable and effective OS/2 marketing campaigns, BeOS's rich selection of software, Linux's top-notch hardware support—the computing world of today is so much more boring.
Those features that were once so important to the platform wars—preemptive multitasking, protected memory, and multiuser security, to name a few—are now taken for granted. No mainstream operating system goes without.
Things really took a dive with Apple's 2005 decision to make the switch to Intel processors. The company's long history of claiming, in spite of all objective data, that its PowerPC-based systems were not just as fast as x86 machines but substantially OMG-faster
came to an end. The glory days of Photoshop bake-offs, those exciting demonstrations where Steve Jobs would strut around on stage and run a specially chosen set of Photoshop filters to show that the hardware he was hawking wasn't actually
godawful, were at an end. After Thinking Different(ly) for so long, Macs were relegated to plain old PCs.
The combination of everyone getting operating systems that weren't completely horrid
and everyone using the same hardware has, therefore, taken a lot of the passion out of the traditional platform wars. Platform warriors have not gone away—they've just moved on to the greener pastures of bitching about other people's smartphone choice: it's just unthinkable that someone would even consider getting a phone that is and/or isn't the latest iPhone/Android handset.
This hasn't stopped Microsoft or Apple from trying to stoke the fires of the platform wars. Apple's recently ended Mac versus PC campaign went to lengths to paint PCs as buggy, insecure, and just plain dull—albeit harmless and likeable—while for some unfathomable reason choosing to portray Macs as, well, complete asshats. Smug, arrogant, hipster asshats
. Honestly, did anyone like
Mac? Didn't you just want to slap him for being a jerk and give PC a great big hug? It was an interesting campaign choice.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has fought back with websites
and Facebook pages
dedicated to extolling the virtues of Windows PCs and denigrating the Mac OS X opposition, with a healthy mix of truth and BS.
So it's against this backdrop that we felt it was time to get back to basics in the platform wars. The truth of the matter is, there's plenty that sucks on both sides of the fence. For all you Ravens
out there, we're going to kick off with a guide to the things that continue to make the world of PCs irredeemably awful, leaving Macs as the only sensible choice. Tomorrow, we'll tell you why Macs are wretched and overpriced, and Windows is the only realistic alternative if you want to get anything done.