3.1292 Mac affairs, cont. (98)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Tue, 10 Apr 90 19:56:58 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1292. Tuesday, 10 Apr 1990.

(1) Date: Mon, 9 Apr 90 23:06:58 CDT (27 lines)
From: Mark Olsen <mark@gide.uchicago.edu>
Subject: MacWars

(2) Date: Tue, 10 Apr 90 00:57:15 CDT (53 lines)
From: Richard Goerwitz <goer@sophist.uchicago.edu>
Subject: erotica

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 90 23:06:58 CDT
From: Mark Olsen <mark@gide.uchicago.edu>
Subject: MacWars

Well, I just cruised though another 300 lines of people flaming each
other about hardware platforms and operating systems. I find that
in these debates "best" really reflects "what I know" more than
anything else.

I have a couple of IBM MS-DOS machines, Macs, and UNIX machines. I
tend to use each for particular applications and, when working with
other people, try to adopt the most convenient system. I like WordPerfect
on the IBM because I know it, but will use Word on a Mac because it
is also a good product. I think UNIX is a fine operating system,
but I like Sunview -- one of several GUI's for UNIX -- and can
certainly live with MS-DOS or Mac.

All of them are tools, designed to perform some tasks better than
others. Why must we spend this much effort trying to convince others
of the "truth" of any particular tool. I can hardly see the same religious
intensity going into arguments about jackhammers or paint brushes.


(2) --------------------------------------------------------------70----
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 90 00:57:15 CDT
From: Richard Goerwitz <goer@sophist.uchicago.edu>
Subject: erotica

Really, this has nothing to do with erotica. I started writing the
word "exotic," wrote "erotic," and figured "oh, what the hell."

As the originator of this insipid round of "Mac bashing," I would like
to say simply that the Mac is a nice machine, and many aspects of
its design were far ahead of its time when it was first issued. In
fact, the Mac could be said to have initiated a very important turn in
the fate of all computer user-interfaces. Those who were fortunate
enough to have bought Macs early on, especially in cases where ease of
use was more important than ease of programming, were indeed either
very lucky or very far-sighted.

My only quarrel with the Mac is that it is fast becoming only one of
many machines capable of supporting a good graphical user interface.
It is no longer in a class by itself. Apple has lost the initiative.
In order to solve its problems, Apple has turned to the courtroom,
rather than the drawing room. I just don't think that they are worth
the risk at this point.

Note that my original posting did not invoke the word "boycott" -
especially not in the sense of withholding a purchase out of righteous
moral indignation. I only wanted suggest that a dose of cynicism might
be in order here. I also did not suggest that the Mac was a bad
machine, or that the IBM was "better." Neither of the machines in my
household was made by IBM. My operating system of choice is Unix (this
because I need it as a programming environment, not because I hate the
Mac's GUI). All the various GUIs, OSs, and architectures have good
and bad points. The last thing in the world that I wanted to start
was a petty "mine's better than yours" fight or to suggest that we
all all go out and boycott Apple out of some misguided sense of moral-

My real point in making my original, inflammatory posting was to
question the wisdom of buying from a vendor which is no longer at
the forefront of innovation in the area of user interfaces, which
insists on keeping its operating environment proprietary, and which
offers less price/selection options than one finds in the multi-vendor
Unix/MS-DOS world.

If this sounds like an indictment of the Mac itself, or of those who
happen to have bought one of these trend-breaking machines, then read
again. If it sounds like a senseless cry for a "boycott," read again
as well. If it seems like a petty "mine's better" war, then I'll just
throw up my arms in dispair. Don't bother reading again. I give up!
(To those who understood what I was saying, thanks for your patience.)