Platform preference?

Subject: Platform preference?
From: Iain Harrison <iharrison -at- SCT -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 12:59:43 GMT

Eric wrote:
I believe a majority of people use Windows for two reasons: they have to
or they have to. I haven't met anyone in person who's said "I acutally
prefer the MS Windows experience to UNIX, NeXT, OS/2, Macintosh, etc."

OK. Here's one, if not in person! I started out in computers using a
mainframe, using punched cards to enter my badly-written Fortran 4
I left computers for a while, and prepared camera-ready stuff with an IBM
Golfball typewriter, and later a Varityper.
I later used Apple IIs, mostly for word processing.
Later still I started using a Mac SE2/20, running Pagemaker (at first PM2,
I think).
I've used CP/M Windows 1 runtime, 2, 3 , 3.1 and 3.11 as well as NT and 95.
I've used Apple system 6, 7 and 7.5. I've used OS/2 and several flavours of

I actually prefer the Windows 95 experience to all of these - by a long

I have never used NeXT, but it was hardly a commercial success, so
something must have been wrong with it, if only the price.

I always hear someone uses Windows "because" of something. They use it
because it's what their clients use, or because the software package they
like is only available for Windows, or because it's what they learned on,
or because of this or that. It's like they're apologizing.

I prefer Windows 95 'because' of something, yes.

I use it because it has a good user interface, because there are programs
that perform the tasks I want at prices I can afford, because the file
formats are widely supported.

This isn't apologising. It is giving good, cogent reasons for my

I also prefer Windows 95 because it is a pleasant working environment I am
comfortable with and that I understand reasonably well. I like the
essential similarity between applications that allows me to avoid reading
the documentation. I like the lack of absolute constraints that allows the
Windows UI to grow and develop. I like the shape of the 3-D buttons, and
the way that I can customise my desktop.

What reasons would you consider valid ones?

Irrational self-aggrandisement because I use an expensive hardware and
software platform that most people can't/won't afford?
Hard-to-use software that puts its devotees into a self-declared elite?
Obscure operating systems that outperform on one particular benchmark to
the exclusion of useful measures, but look good when quoted?
A dislike of the success that Bill Gates has achieved?
A software platform that reminds you of the old days when gerbils WERE

The 'eat shit, ten million flies can't be wrong' argument isn't always
persuasive, but the reality is that Windows has been a huge success because
it combines the important features that users want.

I'd like to see some real, effective competition for the Microsoft/Intel
empires, but I'm not prepared to pretend there is one when this is not

Iain Harrison
iharrison -at- sct -dot- co -dot- uk

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