Should amateur radio operators be taking the Intel-Mac more seriously?

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Tue Jan 17 08:51:57 CST 2006

In a recent email exchange, the subject was:

  How will Apple likely fare in convincing customers to transition  
to the new Intel-based Macs?

This question was also raised:
  How will Microsoft likely fare in convincing customers to move to  
its new operating system, Vista?

Here is a copy of my reply to the latter this morning:

There is a new posting by one of my favorite gurus on the Washington  
Apple Pi's message board that addressed the subject.  He was  
motivated to write based on an opinion piece found here:


I'll quote from that URL, beginning with:  "…when people start  
thinking about their options when Windows Vista comes to market…:
Since it's going to be the "largest upgrade since Windows '95,"  
according to Microsoft, that likely means a big hardware upgrade for  
nearly everything that was produced before July 1, 2005.

People are going to go down to their Big Box store, look at the  
expensive, still-ugly PCs and the nice-looking Macs, compare the two  
side-by-side. They'll take a cursory look at the user interfaces  
between Vista and the Mac and see, well, they look pretty much alike  
and they have the same chips in them and the Mac can run PC software  
in emulation (and maybe later more directly in some fashion) but the  
PC can't run Mac-ware.
A lot of people are going to realize they are going to hang onto  
their hardware for four to five years, so they might be willing to  
shell out a little more cash up front and buy the better looking Mac- 
intelatosh. After all, the two boxes use the same chips, cost about  
the same, and their operating system looks about the same. And, oh,  
by the way, the Mac-intelatosh can run Windows software in emulation.  
Of course, they'll be gobs of people who are sticking to pure WinTel,  
including the hardware builders and the extreme gamers, but they're a  
small percentage of the vast majority of home buyers.


This elicited a longer response by my guru at the Pi, but of the  
points he made, the key ones I'll summarize this way:

The nature of the pain suffered by Windows users upgrading to Vista  
will depend on how much Microsoft has weaned itself from its older  
operating system in order to build an operating system from the  
ground up with security and reliability in mind.   As he put it, it  
will either be:

   - "a new stable, secure platform based on "managed code" and C#  
so that buffer exploits can't lead to viruses/worms,
   - "a nice overdue upgrade to the same old trusty horse that runs  
all my existing software without upgrades, but adds lots of purty new  

It can't be both.  Consequently, "there will be incompatibility pain  
or there will be compatible viruses."

He opines that:

"The -conservative- move, then, will be to buy a Mac.  Even if the  
intention is to run Windows: so long as it will do so, and barring  
truly dramatic price cutting from Dell and others -- having a proven,  
stable machine that runs all three operating systems (plus of course  
Linux) will be the -safe- consumer bet."

By all three operating systems, I'm sure he means:  Mac OS X, Unix  
(BSD), and Windows.  Which version of Windows will depend on whether  
it is being run on top of the Mac OS as in Virtual PC or by booting  
directly into Windows.

Dick Rucker, KM4ML

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