Today we launch a series of editorials on what Mac OS X means to those of us using the new OS or just waiting for it. Todayis contribution comes from Eolake Stobblehouse, a contributing editor for The Mac Observer and Webmaster for MacCreator.
Okay, Mac OS X is imminent. This has to be one of the most debated new operating systems ever. So what does it mean to each of us? For me... here is the micro version:
Here is a slightly longer version:
**The promise of reliability.**
Here is the long version:
I am a pretty mellow fellow, and few things get me frothing at the mouth. Apart from the state of "support" in the computer industry, one of these things is the instability of computer operating systems. I am a professional user, and when I am surfing, e-mailing, image editing, writing, and doing web design all at once, I am somewhat less than pleased when the computer suddenly crashes, taking it all down with it.
I have had four different Macs, and run systems from 7.5.2 through 8, 8.5, 8.6, 9.0, and 9.1. None of these machines or systems have been stable. When I got the Cube, it did not crash for a week or two, and I was delirious with glee. Then I installed something, and that was it. No matter what I have done since, it has not been fully stable.
Admittedly there has been progress. OS 8 was a *big* step forward from OS 7.5/7.6, and I think actually OS 9.1 may be the most stable I have tried so far. But still, as late as last night, I had a crash that would have cracked the Cube if it was not already. And when I rebooted, twice, Eudora would not start. Eudora (e-mail) is otherwise one of the most stable programs I have, and it is the one thing I use absolutely all the time. So this was not good. I reinstalled. No good. I tried to pull out items one at a time from the Eudora folder in the system folder. Did not help. I still got an "Unexpected Error" message. (Of all the silly messages... I have never seen a dialogue telling me: "we are expecting an error in about 30 seconds, please save your work now".)
I finally found out by looking at what files in the system folder had been modified last, that a couple of *totally* unrelated, and unused system extensions had been modified right about the crash. I pulled them out, and rebooted: Viola (thatis my mom. Voila is her cousin), Eudora started, and I was in contact again.
Now my question is: Why the (insert bad language here) do I have to be such a technical wizard to keep my computer working?
And the bigger question is: Why the (etc.) have computer users accepted computers that crash for so long? Minor errors, OK, but the whole machine suddenly goes down? Give me a break. It is just not good enough, not by a long shot.
And this of course is where OS hex comes in. No matter how much Aqua and the Dock has been debated, one thing has not: it *is* stable! And everything else can be fixed, and will be. This is basic, one of the major reasons for making a whole new system from the bottom: if you keep building on top of something small, the bottom will collapse. If something needs to be big (have you looked at the size of your system folder recently?), then the foundation must be built for it.
The day I will be a truly happy computer user is the day when I will *never* have to know anything about what is happening inside the machine, and the thing just keeps working and working and working, just like me :)