From Exile to X11: A Journey Through Time
Subject:   The article isn't quite as offensive as the summary for the link that brought me here...
Date:   2003-03-15 10:46:20
From:   anonymous2
I clicked on this link in O'Reilly's MacDevcenter e-mailing because the summary was so outrageously stupid. The article is merely naive. (My Mac's have ran X11 since my Quadra 900).

I find this lead-in, from the summary, misleading and stupid:

"How did the Mac evolve to a tool primarily for creative types and anti-geeks to a Unix-based platform with a complete X11 implementation?"

Besides the obvious mistaken 'to' in place of 'from', I take issue with Mac being a tool for 'anti-geeks'. The Mac is and has always been a tool for everybody, and in my mind, especially for geeks. Every geek I know worth his salt is a fan of the Mac UI. The only consistent complaint from the programming types (myself included) has been that it was hard to develop for. None of the tools were free, or even cheap, and Mac toolbox documentation was outrageously priced. For a hobbyist like myself, it was out of the question. I poked around a little with Think C in the late eighties but in the end it wasn't worth my effort when I could get as much Borland C or Pascal info as I needed for practically nothing, and do it on a cheap PC.

The hardware became an issue too, as there wasn't any place within 100 miles anyone could take a Mac for repair, and you couldn't order parts from Apple. I checked into getting authorized as a Mac Service Center (I was fixing everyone's Macs with spit and baling wire anyway) but Apple wanted me to carry ~$65K inventory in parts. Stupid, stupid. Not something I could justify for something I did in my spare time just because I loved the machines. The Mac was my favorite machine (although I also especially loved VAX's) until the introduction of the NeXT cube in 1988. No one was happier when the merger happened. The merge of the two OS's is remarkably well done, though the UI for Mac OS X is in my opinion less functional than either of its predecessor's. They'll get there though. The things we took for granted in classic MacOS were developed over time. If you don't think so, try booting a Mac II into 6.0.5 and see how crippled you feel. I have, recently. It booted in 11 seconds though, which was impressive.

The thing that made the PC king was simply IBM's reputation for building 'serious business machines', which the clone manufacturer's were able to leverage by labeling hardware as 'IBM compatible', and Microsoft was later able to usurp by slowly shifting focus from machine to software platform "IBM compatible" --> "PC compatible" --> "DOS compatible" -->"MS Windows compatible". Idiot magazine writers played up 'IBM compatible", suits read these worthless rags, swallowed it without question, and we end up with Windows PC's all over the place and worthy OS's like OpenStep, VMS, and now MacOS X marginalized. We true geeks had nothing to do with it.

One last issue...the definition of "geek" here is very narrowly defined...there are geeks of every stripe, and it is with those types that the Mac first made inroads...I came to the Mac via HyperCard for a NASA project, later worked in setting up an advertising composing department at a newspaper (very much looked down on by the paste-up oriented types on one end and the IBM mainframe film typesetting types on the other). I trained the woman who later became my wife (and who is definitely not a computer geek) on the Mac, because *I* loved the machine, but also considered it to be the 'right' machine for anybody. I consider myself both a publishing geek and a computer geek. The Mac found traction first with publishing geeks...but it was the LaserWriter and PageMaker that did that.

Lastly, my home network here includes VAXen and an Alpha running VMS, an Alpha running OSF/1, A NeXT, a PMAX running BSD, 2 MacOS X machines, a laptop with W2K on it just for the VPN gateway at work, and my daughter's Mac running OS 9. My daughter has had a Mac since she was 2, and did her first programming (in MicroWorlds Logo) on a IIsi when she was 4. I think she might be a geek :-).

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