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Entry 168, on 2005-05-06 at 15:16:35 (Rating 2, Computers)

I have been using a pre-release version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger for a few months now, and have recently installed the official release version. Its a really worthwhile upgrade for me, and has been totally reliable. Inevitably, there have been comparisons between Tiger and Longhorn, Microsoft's next operating system which won't be released until next year at the earliest. I've contributed several comments on this to various web sites and on-line discussion forums.

In my opinion, Tiger has several advantages over Longhorn. The first, and most obvious advantage, is that it exists! Longhorn is still over a year away, and Microsoft have already dropped key features just so they could get it done in a reasonable time.

Why are they having so much trouble implementing features that Apple have integrated into X much more easily? My theory is its the difficulty in working with the underlying Windows code that Microsoft are forced to work with to ensure backward compatibility. Apple have made two huge transitions: first from the 68K architecture of the original Mac to the PowerPC used today, and second from the original Mac OS (up to version 9) to Mac OS X we use today.

Both of these were revolutions, Apple effectively started again with a totally new processor and operating system. Microsoft have never done that. They still use the same family of processors they used in 1981, and Windows has gradually evolved over many years, instead of making a clean break with a new system like Apple did with Mac OS X.

The only good thing about Windows (at least, in my opinion) is its huge base of software, so Microsoft aren't really in a position to do a major change because they don't want to lose that compatibility. Therefore, it seems they are doomed to continue developing the same buggy, insecure, ugly code base forever. This means they will always take longer to add new features, will always have insecure software, and will always produce an inferior product.


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