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X vs. XP

X vs. XP is a topic that's recently been discussed on a mailing list to which I subscribe. Someone quickly pointed out X vs. XP the website, a well-designed, simple guide. However, I thought I'd collect the list's responses and organize them for our own little "master list." It's important to take stock of where an OS is, so after the "things it gets right" list, we'll tackle the "vice versa" list: what XP does better than X.

Nearly none of the below are my words, though I have tried to edit to remove duplicates and condense items where possible.

How X Beats out XP

  1. AppleScript. Windows XP has methods of inter-application communication, but nothing quite like AppleScript.
  2. User is expected to do far less hardware/driver configuration and general maintenance.
  3. Easier to learn, more consistent overall user experience.
  4. Can host both consumer apps as well as industrial strength unix software.
  5. Better overall security policies.
  6. Some of the best consumer digital media apps anywhere.
  7. Developer tools are free and fully featured. On Windows, you either have to pay for Visual Studio.NET or CodeWarrior.
  8. Excellent application frameworks. The ease and speed of Cocoa means that tons of people use these underlying unix tools and never even know it, even if they don't know a command-line from a line dance.
  9. Open source core.
  10. No product activation. Windows XP suspects everyone is a pirate until proven otherwise. You don't have to call Apple when you want to install software on a different machine than it was originally installed on.
  11. Superior aesthetics and user interface. Mac OS X has window sheets, window drawers, helpful error messages and alert panels, no MDI, no "maximize to fill the screen" command, standard ways to tell if a document has been modified, a better way of informing the user that an application is loading, etc.
  12. Far_more advanced speech synthesis and text-to-speech abilities than Windows XP out of the box.
  13. No registry. Instead, user defaults are typically saved into individual XML files, and it's actually possible for the average user to guess where a preference key is located and what it does. This is very difficult to do with Windows XP's registry system. Also, some crappy uninstallers over on Windows do not properly delete entries from the registry.
  14. It can be cheaper than Windows. Don't let the "Macs are expensive" crowd fool you. If you need multiprocessor support in Windows XP, you need to pay an extra $100 to buy XP Pro, whereas Mac OS X supports up to 24 (?) processors in the standard release. Also, the $999 OS X Server comes with an unlimited user license, while Windows 2000 Server costs $1,199 for just 10 users. Imagine what you'd have to pay to support more than 10 users on Windows... And that's before we add in any extra TCO costs, like the amount of money required to support Windows users, etc.
  15. Apache. The server versions of Windows ship with IIS, which is sometimes known as the "Insecure Information Server". The client versions of Windows generally don't come with personal Web servers.
  16. Instant access to all those Unix tools. OS X is instantly a "player", and things like sed, awk, grep, emacs, vim, python, perl, etc etc etc are all available, whether you know it or not.
  17. Fewer keystrokes to call up a menu option or perform an operation.
  18. More Mnemonic keyboard shortcuts even in the same industry leading applications (e.g. Adobe, MM products).
  19. An ability to give freely meaningful names to drives and CDs.
  20. More accurate mousing, in Windows it always feels like the click and selection are disjointed.
  21. Better screen fonts and character placement in the Finder, in windows "r" s merge with "n" s to look like "m" s.
  22. More screen real estate through better designed menus, windows and dialog boxes.
  23. Easy viewing of multiple windows in multiple apps at the same time.
  24. Easier application installation (by far).
  25. Less porn, spam, obtrusive commercialism and viruses.
  26. Far superior drag and drop.
  27. Better rendering of fonts on screen for increased legibility
  28. Built in accessibility capabilities right into the OS.
  29. Fewer process to get things done - X is generally more efficient.
  30. Networking is a breeze.
  31. I've never had anyone lust after my hardware or software when using a Windows box.
  32. Altivec - when used Altivec can increase speed of some operations by orders of magnitude, look at the recent macbibble stuff.
  33. iLife/Digital Hub intergration - the simplicity and ease of using all these apps together is amazing, i mean i was able to pull pics off my USB digital camera and order prints from within iphoto and there was no hassle, no driver install or anything.
  34. Lots of little things that make more sense - like you pop a cd in the drive and it mounts on the desktop for you. I still do not understand why it takes 3 or 4 clicks to get to the CD on windows and then it might run an application not let you browse the contents. That is so damn annoying imho.
  35. Bbedit 😉 - Basically X has better quality applications overall. Office v.X beats the pants off of Office 2000.

How XP Beats out X

  1. XP can use a CD as a removable disk, copy files to it, eject, reinsert, add more etc.
  2. XP has better connectivity with PIMs and external devices.
  3. It feels faster. It may not actually be faster, but it feels it.
  4. Switching logins without quitting all running apps.
  5. Free or Cheap ways to deal with creating VCD/SVCD/DIVX. Utilities like TMPEGEnc and Virtual Dub are common on windows.
  6. Open/Save dialogs present different views than just column view in X.

Okay, the list is a Mac OS X list. What did you expect?

P.S. Please note that many things did not make this list because they are platform issues, not OS issues. "Wintellian systems" have more games, for example, than Apple-based systems. The distinction between OS and platform is often tough, but in many cases, it's fairly straightforward.

10 Responses to "X vs. XP"

  1. You can login as another user(s) with Mac OS X. GO to Terminal. Type login whatever, traverse paths.

  2. Uh, far from being what is wanted. I could easily add "terminal services" too.

  3. Well... your right, it IS a OS X list so we can't expect it to be completely unbiased 🙂

    I'll add some:

    Remote Desktop is built in and dramatically faster than the X protocol over broadband and dialup lines for remote control and help desk applications.

    Much cheaper and faster commodity hardware. The cost of the OS is irrelvant when you can ger a $399 machine WITH the OS in it that is as fast as Mac systems costing about $1000.

    The WinNT/WinXP security model is every bit as secure as the unix/linux/bsd model as well as being more flexible.

    Multiple vendors for hardware and much wider range of hardware support make for a much more flexible server environment for large scale applications.

    Full unix/bsd like command line environment available for free... including the vast majority of unix utilities.

    Freely available development environments. Perl, C++ (GNU), PHP, C#, VB.NET Python and so on make the system every bit as flexible for free development as OS X. All those languages have free development environments.

    Significantly wider choice of high end software IS an OS advantage issue. In every area one might want a machien there are more choices on Windows... and they always include the top programs in the field.

    Ah well, you get the idea 🙂

    OH - WPA (activation) has indeed proven itself to be an absolute non issue while lowering the level of Windows piracy. This is a good thing. Apple doesn't bother because the entire Mac is a dongle - not because they trust anyone.

  4. Hello,

    > soulhuntre said : "The WinNT/WinXP security model is every bit as secure as the unix/linux/bsd model as well as being more flexible."

    Lol, very nice dream I think.

    How can you call Wint/WinXp a security model ? Did you know that Microsoft Compagny run their servers under unix systems ?

  5. Significantly wider choice of high end software IS an OS advantage issue. In every area one might want a machien there are more choices on Windows... and they always include the top programs in the field.

    Interesting. So exactly when was Final Cut Pro released for Windows.

    It hasn't been? Never will be, you say? Oh.

    More choice doesn't mean better choices. Mac users have an excellent selection of both low and high end software. We have quality software. There isn't a need for other shitty "choices."

  6. The fact is that for an average everyday user there really isn't much difference between the two operating systems. Mac OS X has some stuff that is better than it's equivilant in xp and vise versa. This debate is outdated. Both operating systems are excellent. The choice between them depends on what you're going to use your computer for and how much money you have (Windows based systems are cheaper than their equivilant Mac OS based computers)

  7. Don't let the "Macs are not expensive" crowd fool you. When you have less than ten users, Macs are almost always more expensive. My 160 GB, 512 MB RAM eMachines with XP is great, and it cost me only $600. Find me a comparable Mac for anywhere near that price.

  8. My hard disk only cost EUR40, try to find any comparable Windows computer!

    (Never mind that a hard disk alone can never do the same stuff that windows box could do)

  9. I hate it when people say macs are more flexible. Completely the opposite. Have you ever changed a mac to look and feel like a pc by replacing dlls? You couldn't if you wanted to. More accurate mousing? I can wave my mouse across the screen and hit targets along the way. Comparing autorun of CDs is comparing apples to oranges. Windows autoruns because the CD developer thinks that's appropriate. Hold shift to override it. To browse the cd click my computer, right click the cd drive, choose browse. "no 'maximize to fill the screen' command." This is something I want. Why let the computer decide how much screen real estate I want to use for a particular application. If I want less I'll manually resize it. Apache, download and install it. Better fonts? They both do the excact same thing with the sub-pixel rendering stuff on lcds. The r and n thing is halfway true, but I never noticed until you pointed it out.

    Despite all this I still think macs are superior only in that the apple people have bundled the most useful technologies together. I think windows is more flexible and powerful but there just isn't a central driving force to perfect it. If that happens I think apple is screwed, because most of the apple "innovations" are nothing more than common sense conclusions. Any company can do that but microsoft is too internally-disorganized.

  10. Haha, shouldn't you be chranigg for that kind of knowledge?!