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Paul Thurrott reviews Mac OS X "Tiger"
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 4/15/2005 08:08:00 PM.

Allow me to make a confession that may surprise you. I've been a Mac fan my entire life. Back in 1987, when my house burned down after a Christmas tree mishap I'd rather not detail at the moment, I needed to replace my crispy Commodore 64 set up with a more modern system. I originally wanted an Amiga, but alas, the local Commodore dealer didn't offer financing. The local Apple dealer did, however, and after figuring out how much I wanted to spend (an exorbitant amount even by today's standards), I arrived at two choices: An Apple IIGS with a color display, 768 KB (not MB) of RAM, one 5.25-inch floppy drive, one 3.5-inch floppy drive, and an Image Writer II printer, or a black-and-white Mac Plus with 1 MB of RAM.

Yep, I bought the IIGS.

I know, I know. But I really wanted the color screen, and the IIGS did feature a Mac-like user interface. More important, the IIGS hardware was simply elegant. It was a work of beauty, allowing the Apple II line to go out on a high note, even as the company basically abandoned the product. In any event, I often wondered what might have been had I adopted the Mac 20 years ago. Would I have stuck with it?

Well, we'll never know for sure. What did happen was that I eventually moved to various Amiga systems and then, faced with Commodore biting the Big One in the early 1990's, I moved, unhappily, to the PC. I did everything I could to avoid Microsoft for two years, opting for IBM's doomed OS/2 for a while. But with Windows 95, Microsoft finally got its act together, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Speaking of history, I've always been interested in the computer industry and have devoured every computer industry book and news report that's been published over the past 20 years. I followed Steve Jobs' horrible flop at NeXT, but was amazed by the software that company created and then supplied only to the very rich. I followed John Sculley's rise and awful fall at Apple. And then I watched, shocked, as Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

Back in 1996, I wouldn't have chosen Jobs and NeXT for Apple. Indeed, I had hoped that the fascinating Be OS and its enigmatic leader, John-Louis Gassée, would lead Apple into the 21st century. My initial opinion of this situation, however, was wrong: Jobs brought both his software--which became Mac OS X after a few fits and starts--and himself to Apple, and both have proven irreplaceable to the company's recent successes.


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