posted by Scot Hacker on Mon 17th Dec 2001 17:34 UTC


Hang out on some of the BeOS mailing lists for a while and you'll notice something interesting: There is a larger concentration of intelligent and friendly users in BeOS-land than in any computing community I've ever stumbled across. There's just something about the system that attracts sophisticated, articulate users with high standards (present writer excluded, of course). You almost never see the kind of rudeness and arrogance in BeOS-land that you see in Windows or Linux communities (Linux especially), and while there are always BeOS newbies, there are seldom computing newbies hanging out on BeOS lists. Over the years, I've hooked up with dozens of people whom I now count as genuine friends.

The Mac communities are much better than the Windows and Linux communities as far as signal/noise ratio goes, but suffer from a different kind of problem: Stubborn-ness. There seem to be endless armies of Mac users who feel that the old ways are the best. Who kick and moan and bitch about OS X and its cursed Unix underbelly and how evil the command line is and how Apple is off its rocker. These people would rather keep using a slow, crashy, OS with no remote administration and no appeal to command-line power users and no position in the server niche than be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world.

Granted, these voices seem to grow a little less loud and a little less prolific with every passing month. But they're still there, and the fact that they're clinging to OS9 for reasons mostly beyond my comprehension are bad for us all. App vendors who haven't yet ported point to a lack of wide-scale adoption of OS X. And whose fault is that? The very Macintosh userbase those app vendors are here to support! Note to the stubborn ones: You're a drag on us all. Get on board.

Aside from the highly vocal nay sayers, the Mac community has about the same level of friendliness, if not the same level of technical savvy as the BeOS community.

Point: BeOS, by a narrow margin.

On the community note: As I began to pick up steam on OS X, I decided to create a site similar to, but for OS X users. But when I discovered that already had a database of nearly 1,000 tips and tricks for OS X users, I gave up that idea. The site's founder Rob Griffiths and I started corresponding, and soon listed each other as "sister sites." I even helped Rob to edit his excellent OS X Power Guide, which I highly recommed to anyone looking for ways to get more productive in OS X quickly.

  • Happiness Quotient
  • So. I'm using this OS that provides a great experience. Everywhere I turn, things are integrated, smooth, composed, designed, fluid, beautiful to look at, a joy to use. I'm pretty much convinced that OS X is the best consumer OS on the market, with none of the compromises of BeOS (compromises that result not from bad design, but from lack of industry momentum -- unfinished apps and an OS vendor that's been close to bankruptcy for years, not to mention the hassles of dealing with hardware and software vendors who won't give you the time of day until you can guarantee them a big userbase / chunk of change). I've got world-class stability, pretty good multitasking, true memory protection, all kinds of open source networking software, and a Unix command line.

    I know I'm not alone in finding OS X a happy campground for the despairing BeOS refugee. This LiveJournal comment from Balatro mirrors my own experiences pretty accurately:

    I suffered with OS9 for a while, it was usable but crash prone. Then OS X came out (Which I had been waiting for months). It was a dream come true (though slow as hell on the iBooks 66Mhz bus). Finally I bought the bullet and bought a Titanium 400.

    OS X 10.1 is the only OS other than BeOS that I truly ENJOY working with. Windows is just "there." It offers me no joy -- only compatibility. Linux/Unix is like pulling teeth, and has a horrible appearance no matter how hard you try to dress it up. OS X is a beautiful marriage of elegance and power.

    Table of contents
    1. "Out of the Frying Pan..."
    2. "... And Into the Fire..."
    3. "Smells Like Home Cookin"
    4. "A Lot To Like, First Impressions"
    5. "Networking Nirvana"
    6. "CD Burning, Disk Images"
    7. "Applications"
    8. "iMovie, iDVD"
    9. "Browsers and E-Mail"
    10. "Power Editors"
    11. "Community"
    12. "The Bad and The Ugly"
    13. "File System Shoot-Out"
    14. "Application-Binding Policies"
    15. "Alien Filesystems"
    16. "Miscellaneous Moans and Groans"
    17. "All Told, Life Is Good"
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