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OS, Interrupted: Old school quality for fee contrasts new mediocrity for free

Top 5 Operating Systems in Moldova as of 18 Ap...

On the last day of 2013 I will be doing housekeeping maintenance on Windows and Mac machines.  The Mac is running Snow Leopard and the Windows PC is on Windows 7. Both computers run fine, do everything their users want and all these folks are seeking is a bit of rejuvenation and giddyup from their machines.

There is the temptation to discuss with them moving to Mavericks on the Mac. It is free and it’s Apple’s latest and greatest operating system. Plus, the Mac will support the upgrade to it. The Windows PC could easily support Windows 8, but there will definitely not be any discussion about Windows 8 upgrading. The client was formerly using Windows Vista and is quite happy with Windows 7.

Both computers are on a shared network that allows them to seamlessly swap files to and from. The Time Machine backup recently went wonky on the Mac and a new external drive was purchased and repurposed as the Time Machine drive. I have read the reports of some external drives going belly up with Mavericks. Of course there are risks when upgrading to new operating systems and if people are satisfied with their computers, especially those with production machines they rely on for their every day business, I am hesitant to heartily endorse new operating systems until some months after initial release.

English: M in blue square (similar to seen on )

Most people would stay with the same machines and operating systems until they bit the dust, provided Microsoft and Apple supported them with security patches. Time is money. Upgrading operating systems takes time out from the business of people making money when using their machines. When Microsoft has to pull the support plug on its venerable Windows XP operating system in order to get folks to move to Windows 7 and 8, it absolutely reflects this mindset. People are hesitant and resistant to change. We always accept the way technology manufacturers dictate our purchasing habits, however, not because we want to, but because we can’t avoid doing so. Of course it’s a pipe dream, but if Microsoft would support XP indefinitely, many small business owners happily running XP would also stay put for the duration.

With Apple giving away Mavericks it is something that Mac-loving holdouts on Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion will eventually consider. But, for those users on even older systems like OS X 10.5.8 Leopard, there is a certain calm and satisfaction that comes with knowing their machines will not have to roll the dice with operating system updates that could jeopardize their livelihoods.

While Microsoft will never give away its OS, I would suggest Apple make all of its operating systems prior to Mavericks free as well. What is the point of charging for any of them? Those prior to Mavericks are old. People running Tiger on PowerPC machines might try upgrading to Leopard. I know these are low(er) numbers of actual users, but why penalize them for clinging to machines that won’t ever run anything greater than Leopard? Why make them pay for that privilege? Doesn’t seem right in lieu of Apple’s switch to the free OS model.

At one point in time Apple urged its base to think different. Apple is not supporting these ancient Motorola and IBM chip Macs. It would be a gesture of good will to make all of its operating systems free. I can’t envision thinking any differently than that. Yes, no lifetime support, but lifetime free OSes? Go Apple!

Apple’s operating systems were quite often referred to as “premium” not because of the cost but because of the quality. People still run Snow Leopard because it performs nimbly, receives regular security updates and does everything they need it to including navigating the modern web efficiently. I’m occasionally asked, “Why is Mavericks free?” as if there is something wrong with it because it is a free download (for those machines that support it). New, free operating systems can be released before they are fully tested as some allege has happened with Mavericks. Snow Leopard is rock solid, has no surprises when it comes to hiccups and speaks of old, XP-esque quality. People know that kind of quality when they see it. Mavericks has a long way to go before demonstrating it will resemble it in the long run.

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1 reply »

  1. A few comments. First is technical. There isn’t a problem with hard disks with Mavericks, there is a problem with drivers supplied for hard disk makers. These same hard disks work fine when the system is upgraded to Mavericks if Apple’s Disk Utility was originally used to format the drives. If the drive formatter supplied by the manufacturer was used then there could be a problem. In this day I always let the OS do the formatting.

    When Snow Leopard came out there was a lot of teeth gnashing about it, people complaining that it was worse than Leopard. I am happy with Mavericks on my 2009 iMac at home (except for Mail stuttering) but am not ready to deploy it at work. Once a few issues are resolved (some, but not all, related to the software we use) I look forward to upgrading all of our work Macs to Mac OS X 10.9.x.

    Mavericks is following the typical path of Mac OS releases. I would rate the first version as ahead of the first version of 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8. That said, I am eager for 10.9.2 (or .3) to be released and quash the remaining major issues.

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