big cats, backhanded insults, and the real world

I’m sure people must wonder what I have against Apple sometimes, so it’s great when a perfect example lands in your lap. Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, hits the streets tomorrow, and by all indications it’s going to be a very nice upgrade, eschewing major upgrades in favour of a laundry list of smaller changes. One of those changes is a read-only HFS+ driver for Windows, so that dual-booters can access files from their Mac OS X partition during Windows sessions, and that’s a great little feature, but the description of it is so full of spin that it made me dizzy:

Boot Camp now includes HFS+ read support that enables you to access the files on your Mac OS X partition from Windows. It’s read-only to prevent PC viruses from affecting Mac OS X, but you can easily save your work to your Windows partition and access it later from Mac OS X.

I don’t have a problem with the functionality — even read-only support will be handy — but instead of just listing the limitation and moving on, Apple calls it a “feature”, while simultaneously sending a backhanded insult Microsoft’s way. It’s also insulted the intelligence of anyone that’s able to see through the spin.

Two months ago, when I traded my MacBook Pro for a Dell laptop running Linux, a part of me wondered if I was going to regret that move. I’ve always used Linux at home and work, but taking it on the road presents its own set of challenges, and while I knew a lot had changed since my Linux laptop six years ago, I wasn’t 100% sure that it would be up to the job. After two months in the real world, I don’t regret it at all: sleeping and waking is just as reliable and almost as fast as on my Mac, hooking up projectors and hopping between access points is just as easy, and setting up wireless broadband is actually far easier. My only issue has been the OpenGL bugs, but with the latest Intel driver fixes those will be addressed by the time Ubuntu 9.10 rolls out in October.

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