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April 1st, 1997

    What Shall We Do?
    April 1, 1997

by: Bryan Chaffin (bchaffin@webintosh.com)

The day is coming, the signs are apparent everywhere we look. Rhapsody is likely to be a big success. John Carmack (of id Software fame) offers a perfect example with his recent comments to the effect that he would "...give my Win32 machines the cold shoulder" if Apple would simply add support for OpenGL hardware acceleration, among other smaller things. Can you imagine the effect that one of the most popular gaming houses in the known universe would have on the rest of the development world if they were to switch development to Rhapsody? Where go the games, so go the kids and their parents (Are you listening to me Apple?).

Mr. Carmack is just a part of it though; Apple seems to have made an excellent choice with Rhapsody. Just talk to any other developer who has worked with NeXTstep and they will almost all say that they love it (id developed Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake on NeXTstep). With the option of recompiling the same code for implementation on Wintel boxes after having developed that code on the easiest to use platform, Rhapsody, there is likely to be a greater abundance of Mac software. More software than we have ever known. Entire shelves and even rows of shelves will be devoted to Mac (Rhapsody) software.

If this scenario occurs, consumers are likely to start buying Macs. Lots of consumers. Droves of consumers. Ordinary consumers.

No longer will the Mac be the platform of "Artists and Desktop Publishers." You will be able to go to your classmate's house to print that term paper. Your office's network administrator won't fight to have those last three Macs thrown away. You won't be the only person on your street with an Apple sticker on all of your cars and on every window facing the street. Before you know it, sales clerks in retail stores will start knowing what the Finder is.

If this happens, what will we do? We who have known for so long that we are indeed using technology that is substantially better than that which the unwashed masses embrace in their ignorant bliss. When we are no longer a member of "The Few, The Proud, The Elite...The Mac User," what will we do?

For a long time, we Mac users have been a (sometimes self-perceived) persecuted lot. We use terms like "evangelized" and "converted" when we refer to having convinced a PC user to make "The Switch." All these terms and attitudes are generally well deserved. The Mac is better and PC people have the nerve to think that PC's are better, or even worse, to not know (or care) which is better. Macs are easier to use, and PC users have the audacity to not even notice that installation instructions for Macs are usually 5 to 7 steps shorter than PC instructions for the same title.

Yet despite their "ignorance", PC people don't usually think in terms that are usually reserved for the religiously fanatic. Yes, I know that is yet more evidence of the inherent inferiority of their platform, I am a member after all, but part of this difference also comes from the fact that they are not oppressed. They are normal.

So I ask, what happens when we are normal? When the jihad is over and the Mac is normal, the platform of choice for lots of normal people, what then? Perhaps then we will see how much better Be is?

Let's hope that today's Mac user survives the survival of Apple.



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