Communist design

I was recently watching TV and there was a Mac vs. PC commercial on. The commercial was a therapy session where the therapist was telling PC that it “Wasn’t his fault.” Mac explained that due to the fact the Windows tries to make itself available¬† to so many types of hardware and Mac only makes it’s computers from specific hardware that Mac approves that Windows can’t help but have problems. This has long been Mac’s policy but it really made me think about that concept that I want to explore a little bit more. I call it “Communist design.”

I refer to it as communist design because it reminds me of the Russian automobile industry of the 80’s.¬† During the cold war communist Russia only allowed their people certain choices. The government decided what it thought you needed and gave you choices in colors of basically black or white. Now, granted, if Apple was the government of cold war Russia then they would still have less choices but have been really stylish ones.

The good part about this is that Apple really knows their hardware like the back of their hand before they build anything on that platform. It allows them to integrate all the parts together well without worry of a quirk (for the most part). This is a good idea in one way of thinking but has its flaws to me. First, what I like about it is that Apple has it’s people focused in order to knock out a problem.

The problem with this concept is that part that troubles me the most. Totalitarian decision making. Steve Jobs need only have a beef with one company, say Nvidia, and decide not to use any of their cards. This really stops the user from having all the choices he wants. This is one of the problems with Linux on the desktop but only for a short while as the drivers are soon developed as the product becomes more mature. This also hurts Apple for the discerning user due to the fact that Macs are always more expensive than their counterparts.

Apple I’ve got your solution so give me the credit (and a check). Put more eyes on the problem because they’d love to help. The way you do this is by contributing to the BSD and Linux effort to your benefit (as well as theirs). Stick to the design that makes you so famous. People love the look and feel of a Mac. However, throw your hardware guys into the open source driver development arena. They get and give with their code. This allows Macs to be able to take on more devices internally and Unix variants to do the same. Why do this? Even if Mac doesn’t like Linux their core is developed by using the Mach kernel that comes from BSD (Linux’s cousin). Helping your cousin ends up helping you at the same time it hurts your enemy (Windows).

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