Harry Wolff

You can't escape my laugh.

No Operating System Is Perfect

December 1, 2010
Read time 2 minutes

Often I am asked what is better: Mac or PC? In my earlier years I would stubbornly argue for the PC, spouting off various facts, opinions disguised as facts, and general rhetoric to insure my point was proven.

In 2007 I made the switch to Mac. Now when the question was posed I would argue in favor of Mac, leverage Apple's ad campaigns, rely on hardware aesthetics, and repeat ad nauseum the mantra 'It just works!'

It has taken me a solid amount of time to arrive at an answer that makes me feel comfortable and confident: now when asked, "What's better?" I reply with the wonderfully abstract and accurate answer of: "Depends on the user."

Presently there is no OS that is objectively better than another. Each have their advantages and disadvantages, and those who believe that one's subjective opinion of the quality of their preferred OS as a whole is better than another is naive. For when speaking of 'better-ness' one is dealing in opinion and judgement, a quality that is near impossible to objectively quantify. To assume that one's preference leads to a marked objective improvement in quality is blinding themselves from flaws in the OS that may be reproachable to another.

I can understand the sport to argue who may wear the 'crown' of operating systems - yet a sport is what it must remain. Just as one may argue to another that apple's are better than bananas, anything past sport and play is simple silliness. What must be retained throughout discourse is the shared property of 'fruit' that both an apple and banana share. Same for Mac OS X and Windows 7: they are both operating systems running on Intel CPUs.

In writing this post I do not wish to merely scold but to free as well.

For a long time I have been running a vanilla copy of Snow Leopard, content to use what Apple has provided. I was under the illusion that everything I could need or want has already been included, leaving me free to show concern to other interests.

It is only until late that I realized I should not suffer through the oddities I have found in Snow Leopard that clash with my workflow. The first huge source of friction I would continuously encounter is the behavior of the green 'Zoom' button found on every window. Rather than enlarge the window to use the entire foreground space it would reshape the window to odd sizes, sometimes reducing its size. With a simple search through Google I came upon a freeware utility titled 'Right Zoom' that replaces the behavior of the Zoom button to that which I desire. Now my green Zoom button maximizes the window, increasing my workflow and improving my OS experience.

There is no perfect operating system. One must strive for their own individual optimal operating system experience - be it Windows, Mac, Linux, or other. To blindly state that one is better than another reveals naivety and may lead to a mis-match of OS to user. The best way to answer such a question is to learn about the user and their needs. From there one may suggest an option, and never before.