Cartoon by Holly McCoach/Staff Cartoonist
Moises Fuertes/Contributing Writer
Walking around campus, I can’t help but notice that the vast majority of FIU students use Apple computers.
It is this increase in the usage of the Mac operating system (OS X) which I see as a slight issue for students today.
By primarily using Macs, students at FIU are losing their knowledge and level of comfort with the operating system found in most computers throughout the world: the Microsoft Windows OS.
I remember that around four years ago, most people used computers that housed the Windows OS. Even in businesses, computers that housed the Windows OS were primarily used over Macs simply because of a lack in software found in Macs.
That is drastically changing today.
In the multimedia production courses offered by FIU, the labs are populated with Macs. Similarly, all the equipment used in these labs have to be compatible with Macs.
Apple has received an almost worship-like following through their different technologies. At the same time, Macs are also great for business today. In many ways, Macs are starting to be as efficient as computers running on the Windows OS.
This remains the case, even as Apple continues to gain more profit on its own through Macs than the rest of the PC industry combined.
The success of Apple has been in their genius simplification of the computing world. Using a Mac, iPhone, or iPad is extremely user friendly and easy. Add that to the stability housed in these devices and we can see why Apple has become so successful.
There is, however, a certain beauty in the Windows OS. Since Apple decided to close itself to any tweaking of its devices, computers housing the Windows OS or the less popular Linux OS are the only computers that can be tweaked by the user, with Linux being the only open source operating system between the three.
One of the most attractive things I find in computers housing Windows is that I can build them myself. I can purchase each hardware component on the Internet and put it together, such as the CPU, GPU, motherboard, or Ram. In many ways this makes the computer feel completely mine in ways that a Mac will never be. To me, a Mac will always be the property of Apple, even after it is purchased.
It is here where I see the issue for a lot of FIU students.
As I stated earlier, a lot of us carry around Macs. I fear the oversimplification of the OS X will spoil many of us and can end up hurting us when we go out there into the competitive job market, finding ourselves unable to properly use Windows-based systems when required to do so.
While it might be the more expensive choice, I think students should go out of their way to learn how to properly use both operating systems. I think of the OS X and Windows OS as two different languages. Using this analogy, those of us that speak both languages will have a clear advantage over those who don’t.
A way students at FIU with a Mac can do this is by partitioning their hard drive and running Boot Camp on one of the partitions. Boot Camp assists users in installing Windows on the partitioned hard drive, thus enabling them to run both OS X and Windows.
It is my belief that through this mixture of understanding both operating systems, students at FIU will be in a better position for the competitive job market upon graduation.
1. “Macs dig in as standard business PCs,” via InfoWorld
2. “Mac Makes More Profit Than the Entire PC Industry,” via Slate
In the middle of your opinion article, you referred to Windows and Linux as “today’s open source operating systems.” When an operating system or piece of software is “open source” it means that the source code used to compile the software is publicly available for anyone to study or further develop.
It is common knowledge (at least among IT staff and programmers) that Windows is closed-source and proprietary. In other words, the source code of all versions of Windows is a trade secret of Microsoft Corporation. The general public does NOT have access to Windows source code, so it is incorrect to say that Windows is open source. However, you are correct in your assertion that Windows is more flexible to configure and install on a variety of different PC hardware setups. You are also correct about Linux being open source. Apple is closed source, proprietary, and hardware restricted, which explains why Apple is the worst among the top 3 operating systems available today in the context of customization.
For the record, I am a Windows user and probably always will be in the future. I prefer Android-based smartphones due to some of the flexibility reasons you mentioned about Windows. Although I am not a computer science or IT major, I am relatively tech-savvy and I have some programming experience.
You are indeed correct, I apologize for the misunderstanding. I meant to create the comparison that in contrast to Macs, computers using the Windows OS or the Linux OS are the only two which can be tweaked by the user, with Linux being the only one that is open source.
Thank you for pointing out the error and for your interest in reading my article.
Microsoft and Apple have both shown themselves wanting to be in control of what users can do.
It really is just a matter of which master you want to serve. The only way to be truly free is to run Linux. The problem of course is that desktop Linux lacks many of the applications that we want to run on a daily basis. This has always been its primary weakness.
As far as which master to serve, I prefer Apple hardware because, despite the proprietary nature of the hardware, they use more open standards than Microsoft, and they are extremely UNIX friendly. Being a UNIX person, Mac OS X is a much more comfortable environment for me than Windows.
I don’t think anyone is denying themselves anything by using Mac OS X *or* Windows. The simple truth is once you’re familiar with using a computer, moving to a different system is not that hard. The concepts are the same, only the execution is different. I’ve used numerous computing platforms throughout my life and have never had trouble transitioning between them.