July 24, 2005
In Screwdrivers versus Couture, Ed Stroglio nailed the real difference between PC enthusiasts and Mac enthusiasts:
One might think case modders or overclockers [or developers] in general might be more prone to the Mac outlook, but that's not really so. What such people are proud of is not mere ownership of the equipment, but what they've done to it to make it what it is. It's a much more hands-on sense of accomplishment: what has been done rather than what it was out of the box.
PC enthusiasts are all about the D.I.Y. aspect of the PC. Sure, Dell's designers are laughable, but that's not the point. We make the beige box what we want it to be:
|PC case modifications
|Apple G5 case
I'm not saying one is inherently better or more aesthetically pleasing than the other. They just come from very different places. Apple's G5 systems are the product of a world-class design team and stamped out by the thousands; custom PC builds are the highly individual result of dozens or even hundreds of hours of personal investment.
This same D.I.Y. ethic also extends to PC software. Specifically, open source software. I know there's nothing that ties open source development to the PC platform in particular, but certainly Linux was born on PC hardware and the entire open source ecosystem is built primarily on PC hardware. Isn't building custom software a little bit like hot-rodding your automobile?
I read this [Edmunds] article and was struck by the similarities between this and the open source vs COTS model.
COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software is equivalent to a stock automobile. They're built by professional engineers, and tested as a whole. But you don't get to mess with the system.
On the other hand, open source gives you the ability to join the software equivalent of the tuner/modified market - you can tweak the system to your hearts content. You may make it go faster, but you're not totally sure what it's going to do to the overall quality of the system.
In fact, I constantly read that that's one of the huge benefits of open source - on an open source project, if you don't like how something works, you can just step in and fix it, while with COTS you don't have that ability.
Tinkering and tweaking isn't limited to open source projects; it applies to COTS software, too. I'm a COTS Windows user, but I have a dozen different utilities and tweaks I have to install before I'm happy with my build. I know plenty of users who go even further and retrofit the entire GUI using WindowBlinds.
While I certainly appreciate Apple's ability to box up elegant hardware designs with an elegant UNIX GUI makeover, that just isn't for me. I have more fun when I do it myself.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
Nor did I ever say that. Nor *would* I ever say that.
Reminded me of something I saw awhile ago...
The hardware is the *only* thing a Macintosh user doesn't customize. The OS itself is eminently customizable and there's a long tradition of third-party hacks. Heck, Apple used to offer a program called ResEdit on the classic Macintosh OS where you could customize *every* little bit of the OS if you were so inclined. My Mac OS X install is replete with modifications. And so is every Mac user's I've ever encountered.
On the other side, I've only met one Windows user that was a casemodder. And I've only ever worked with Windows users. Moreover, the ones who install utilities and tweaks are uncommon. I can think of perhaps 10-15 people that I've met that are even remotely power users--none of whom matched any of the Mac users' alterations in my experience. Most people I've met change their wallpaper and screensaver and that's it.
It might be something about having to wipe your Windows box every 6-12 months that discourages laborious customization. :-)
That's a great link-- I've seen it before and definitely apropos here ;)
On the other side, I've only met one Windows user that was a casemodder
True, we're talking about "enthusiasts" on each side here. And statistically speaking, there are probably a lot-- a whole lot-- more enthusiasts on the Mac side. This is something that Wil Shipley (Delicious Library) notes in his presentation:
I believe it. But this isn't to say that PC enthusiasts don't exist!
"I know plenty of users who go even further and retrofit the entire GUI using WindowBlinds."
Funny, doing this in linux (with GNOME/KDE/Xfce), is remarkably easy and part of both of the major GUI toolkits. You can even switch to an entirely different UI look and feel; the Linux OS infrastructure is the only thing you have to keep when you switch.
Don't want to troll, but "retrofitting the entire GUI" doesn't seem like going that far to me.
painimies on January 23, 2007 04:51 AM neither of those pages conatain actual modifcations to the macs hardware, like all mac users you are disgusting scum the lies, you should shot but that would be waste of a bullet , you make me wretch
Wow... that's pretty harsh.
Your comments are what give PC users a bad name. :) I hope you never see the light of the internet again, but that would be a waste of an admin's time.
As said above by Bill, Mac users tend to keep their customization to the software (and we tend to go crazy with it) but it definitely isn't limited to it. Besides the internals (which are kept to Apple's standards for software compatibility and are always high quality) everything else is just as, if not more, customizable. Props to those who customize PCs (I was a hardcore PC modder 2 years ago) but its akin to wrestling Jell-O. :)