Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:40 UTC, submitted by anonymous
BeOS & Derivatives "As World+Dog gets its head around Windows Vista, lets look back at an operating system that might have been a contender, very nearly becoming Apple's next-generation OS and, but for Linux, almost certainly the key alternative to Windows on x86. Ladies and gentlemen, who remembers BeOS?"
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RE[2]: So so article...
by pcummins on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 03:38 UTC in reply to "RE: So so article..."
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As I was saying, people want to run the programs that they own already (or are familiar with already) and utilise their existing hardware. BeOS didn't really have it on both fronts (people wanted IE rather than NetPositive, MS Office rather than Gobe Productive), neither does GNU/Linux (but it's getting there slowly with Open Office). My experience on BeOS 5 on Intel was "yeah, it's OK. Just don't see average Joe using this, however. No apps. No games. No nothing, really. Oh, and no good support for my GeForce 256 so I run in 16 colours kind of puts me off."

As you surmise, the only way to compete is to provide something that's cool, integrated and it "just works". That's what Apple is proving time and time again. However, don't forget Apple also supports quite a few bits of hardware and software so people can get on with work when they don't need to do their "cool" stuff.

I'm not sure how successful Apple would be if there were no business applications or games like MS Office, Quicken, MYOB or WoW. That was a major complaint against Apple back in the 90's. Nowadays, people are more willing to compromise and learn new applications, but there's still a large number of "indocrinated" users out there that refuse to learn anything that's new (or different) to a large degree. (IT admins are particularly bad, when I think about it).

Ultimately, I think software developers need to provide the existing applications to users, then work on a limited subset application base that "just works" and does what say, the 90% of users want. We've been seeing some of this (Firefox/Thunderbird vs Mozilla/Netscape, AppleWorks vs MS Office, iPhoto vs say, Photoshop, iMovie/iDVD vs AVID/Adobe Premiere) but I don't think it's a formalised objective yet.

Users want simplicity and ease of use. If they don't get that 90% done and need the extra 10%, they can go out and find an application that will do it, but don't try to provide that last 10% at the risk of alienating the 90% of users who just want something that "just works".

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