Isn’t that about time to start kindergarten?
John Siracusa has a nice look at five years of OS X on Ars Technica today.
A side-by-side test-drive of Mac OS X 10.0 and 10.4 is shocking. The eternal debate is whether this gap exists because 10.4 is so good, or because 10.0 was so, so bad. That said, Apple’s ability to plan and execute its OS strategy is not open for debate. In five short years, Apple has essentially created an entirely new platform. Oh, I know, it’s really just the foundation of NeXT combined with the wreckage of classic Mac OS, but I think that makes it even more impressive. Two failing, marginalized platforms have combined to become the platform for the alpha geeks in the new century.
Today’s Mac users span a much wider range than those of the past. Mac OS X’s Unix-like core reached out to the beard-and-suspenders crowd (and the newer source-code-and-a-dream crowd) while the luscious Aqua user interface pulled all the touchy-feely aesthetes from the other direction. In the middle were the refugees from the Mac-That-Was, but they aren’t the story here. Mac OS X is about new blood and new ideas—some good, some bad, but all vibrant. The Mac is alive again!
After spending half my life watching smart, talented people ignore the Mac for reasons of circumstance or prejudice, it’s incredibly gratifying to live in a post-Mac OS X world. When I encounter a tech-world luminary or up-and-coming geek today, I just assume that he or she uses a Mac. Most of the time, I’m right. Even those with a conflicting affiliation (e.g., Linux enthusiasts) often use Apple laptops, if not the OS.