Why Do I Use A Mac?
After reading Miguel de Icaza's post on switching to Mac I thought about why I've been a Mac user forever.
I actually bought an early Apple ][+ around 1979, worked on an Apple III and had a Lisa on my desk in late 1983 and finally bought a Mac 128 in late 1984. Since then I have always had some kind of Mac.
It's not that I haven't owned and worked with other systems over the years. I had a PC/XT as well in 1984 and tested a bunch of early Unix desktops. For 10 years I always had a Windows PC working with NeXT and then Apple's WebObjects and then Java for years. I've worked with HP/UX, Solaris and since then mostly Linux for serverside software (including this blog). But always a Mac at home.
I think I've probably owned at least 20 different Mac models both in my two startups and then later at home and currently at my job. Some of them were awesome and some sucked like clams. For a couple years I used a prototype Mac II that didn't even have a case. I got to publicly demo one of the first color Mac applications on TV (Computer Chronicles episode on Excel and Trapeze). Even today I can't imagine not using a Mac.
Why? Unlike Guy Kawasaki, whom I met back in 1985 I think, I can't flush the Apple juice from my veins and suddenly go elsewhere. Maybe that's where his money is or something. For me, I've used every OS version since 1.0 and after you invest so much history it doesn't make sense to leave. I worked with every option except Linux desktops, but none of them every appealed to me as anything other than fragmented attempts to be more like Apple.
I guess some people would say I lack imagination, but that's like saying people who stay married for 50+ years have none either. What I won't argue is that people should have comfort in whatever they choose. In the sad days of Apple (like when I worked there briefly as we lost $750,000,000 in a quarter) it sure didn't seem to make much sense to stick with a dying Fruit. Today with Apple worth gazillions of dollars it sure doesn't any more sense to move on. I like what I work with. It's just less effort than anything else I've ever worked with. I can do the stuff I need to do and for the most part it rarely gets in the way.
It doesn't mean everything Apple does and OSX is is perfect. Apple makes dumb decisions sometimes, XCode can really suck bigtime, and I am sure I've spent a fortune I didn't have on Apple products over the years but I can say for sure I am content in what I have and the opportunities I had over the many years as a programmer that Apple has allowed me.
I think the true test of whatever you invest your passion in is does it last, does it drive your forward, and does it make a difference in your life. Sure, a choice of what OS or hardware you pick isn't a matter of life and death, but in today's computer, device and net driven world it's still a big part of your everyday life. The whole point of these things is to use them to do work, fun and whatever makes life worth it with a minimum of fuss.
Over the years being a Mac and Apple product user has been my choice in life and I'm happy for it. It may not be yours at all but I hope you feel as happy about your choice as I do about mine. After all, we are programmers and without a computer we'd be out of a job and damned unhappy!