log in | register | forums
Show:
Go:
Forums
Username:

Password:

User accounts
Register new account
Forgot password
Forum stats
List of members
Search the forums

Advanced search
Recent discussions
- AMCS free versions are live! (Gen:13)
- Elesar releases new version of Prophet (News:)
- NetSurf or Iconbar? (Site:2)
- Orpheus launch crowdfunding campaign (News:4)
- RISC OS ports website (News:3)
- July News round-up (News:)
- State of RISC OS software (Gen:5)
- Lua and RISC OS (Prog:1)
- RiscOSM continues to expand its horizons (News:1)
- Font Directory Pro moves to 3.23 (News:)
Related articles
- RISC OS - the week in comments; episode 2
- The Vigay will never abandon RISC OS [Updated]
- Icon Bar and Acorn Arcade relaunch
- Castle terminate ROL licence
- Voting now open for 2016 RISC OS Awards
- How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Leave RISC OS: 10 Years On
- New bounty scheme launched
- What is the point of RISCOS Ltd?
- RISC OS on OMAP - the future?
- VirtualRiscPC released for Mac OS
Latest postings RSS Feeds
RSS 2.0 | 1.0 | 0.9
Atom 0.3
Misc RDF | CDF
Site Search
 
Article archives
The Icon Bar: News and features: Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac
 

Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac

Posted by Alex Singleton on 20:43, 22/12/2006 | , , , ,
 
Like many readers of The Icon Bar, I started off computing with a BBC Micro. In 1991, I upgraded to an Acorn A3000, which was great because unlike Windows 3.0, you could print to a dot matrix printer and the printout would be just as it appeared on the screen. Then in 1994 I got a Risc PC, shortly after taking up the freelance role of Business Editor of Acorn User which I did for just over a year. Back then there was something about Acorn's RISC OS that made it a really good operating system. But the truth is that for many of us, using RISC OS has not been practical for some years. I loved the neatness of the ANT Internet Suite in 1996 but the internet world has moved on and despite important projects like Peter Naulls' Firefox port, I was a RISC OS user because I like the way how things just worked.

I'm a PV. I'm a Mac.It seems to me that many of the reasons RISC OS users liked Acorn's operating system in the 1990s are reasons why people should consider choosing Mac OS X over Windows. What's more, unlike the RISC OS market these days, the volume in which Macs are selling make serious software development commercially practical: Apple, for example, sold 1.61m Macs last quarter alone, which means the Mac platform is extremely successful attracting the world's leading software developers like Adobe, Avid and MYOB. And of course Microsoft produces Office for the Mac.

I've used Windows extensively, from Windows 2 in 1989 right through to XP. But I chose Macs for where I work because we do not have an IT Department and I didn't want to spend my time fixing computers that have become infested with viruses and spyware, or just where Windows has messed up. We have very bright students who come for a few months to do research fellowships and the nice thing about Macs is that after the students stay with us, you get the computer back and you don't have to do anything with them. But with Windows machines, in the few months they have become slower, you find incomprehensible error messages on start up which you can't obviously remove, and you end up having to waste an hour reinstalling Windows.

The threat of viruses and spyware under Windows is well known. As the person who "knows about computers", I'm often asked by relatives and friends if I will have a look at their computers and one of the things I've concluded is that Windows machines and families with children really don't work well together. The computers quickly get infested. My Mac friends never ask for my help on spyware or viruses - they sometimes ask me what programs I would recommend.

Like RISC OS, the feel of the windowing system in Mac OS is quite 'loose'. In Windows, people tend to use the maximise feature and whatever application you are using fills up the whole screen (apart, normally, from the task bar). People tend to have only one window visible on the screen at any one time - you have Word open full screen, and then you switch to Access full screen and back to Word full screen. But when people use Macs, just as on RISC OS, it's much more common to have multiple overlapping windows. In a world of increasing monitor sizes, especially widescreen ones, I think the Mac approach is more sensible, and one that RISC OS users will find more satisfactory.

What you like in graphical user interfaces is often determined by what you are used to. What would ex-RISC OS users find most familiar? The Mac OS X Dock is more like the RISC OS iconbar than Windows' taskbar - it is application-centric rather than document-centric. In fact, I actually prefer the Mac Dock out of the three of them because it is very customisable - like a RISC OS iconbar on steroids. The Windows taskbar is designed to be document-based - each item on the taskbar represents a different loaded document. The problem is that if you have several programs and windows open, the taskbar quickly runs out of space (especially because each icon has text to its side) and the taskbar groups all of your Word or Excel documents into one icon, effectively switching to an application-centric approach. I also rather like Exposť on Mac OS which lets you press a button and it "instantly tiles all of your open windows, scales them down and neatly arranges them, so you can see what's in every single one". This is the sort of clever user interface design that was once the hallmark of RISC OS, making it easier to navigate programs and documents in Mac OS than under Windows.

RISC OS benefited significantly from its inherent elegance. The modular design of the operating system was good for its reliability and responsiveness. Today's Mac OS has very elegant approach under the bonnet because at its core it is a Unix-based operating system. Apple calls this Unix base Darwin; it is based on FreeBSD. The result is that the Mac is more stable than Windows. It was Acorn's intention to bring pre-emptive multitasking, multithreading and real-time quality of service support (which prioritises programmes that are time-sensitive, like video-conferencing) to its next generation RISC OS, codenamed Galileo. Thanks to the Mac's Unix-based core, the Mac offers these features, making the OS very responsive.

For the RISC OS user looking for another platform, there may be good reasons to go for Windows. But it seems to me that the Mac generally offers a better match. The Mac's user-interface more like RISC OS than Windows: as ex-RISC OS user John Hoare wrote on this site "using it has become pretty much second nature to me, in a way that Windows never did".
 
  Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
 
Jess Hampshire Message #96853, posted by jessh at 17:31, 8/1/2007, in reply to message #96696
Member
Posts: 12
I hope they release it soon.

My brother has just got a MacBook and will certainly abandon RISC OS entirely if VA doesn't come out for it soon.

I also have a friend with a G5 who is slowly migrating to it from his Risc PC, he would certainly buy VA for it.

If I end up needing a laptop, it will be a Mac. I currently use an Iyonix and a G3 at home. I would sooner sacrifice using RISC OS than have to buy a windows machine to use it through.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mike Message #96857, posted by MikeCarter at 18:42, 8/1/2007, in reply to message #96853
MikeCarter

Posts: 401
I hope they release it soon.

My brother has just got a MacBook and will certainly abandon RISC OS entirely if VA doesn't come out for it soon.

I also have a friend with a G5 who is slowly migrating to it from his Risc PC, he would certainly buy VA for it.

If I end up needing a laptop, it will be a Mac. I currently use an Iyonix and a G3 at home. I would sooner sacrifice using RISC OS than have to buy a windows machine to use it through.
Whats wrong with Linux; Preferably Ubuntu?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Poole Message #96867, posted by andypoole at 23:31, 8/1/2007, in reply to message #96857

Posts: 5552
If I end up needing a laptop, it will be a Mac. I currently use an Iyonix and a G3 at home. I would sooner sacrifice using RISC OS than have to buy a windows machine to use it through.
Whats wrong with Linux; Preferably Ubuntu?
Nobody said anything was wrong with Linux, but maybe if he was going to get a laptop, he wants something he's (a) familliar with, and (b) compatible fully with his desktop machine?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jess Hampshire Message #96886, posted by jessh at 14:24, 9/1/2007, in reply to message #96857
Member
Posts: 12

If I end up needing a laptop, it will be a Mac. I currently use an Iyonix and a G3 at home. I would sooner sacrifice using RISC OS than have to buy a windows machine to use it through.
Whats wrong with Linux; Preferably Ubuntu?
Not played with Ubuntu, but I have played with Puppy. It has a bit going for it, (ROX filer helps) but the UI overall isn't wonderful, it is far less consistent than OS X (than windose even). The mac comes with iChatAV and iTunes, decent built in bluetooth, wifi and camera.

It also would provide a known (by me) good reliable platform to run paralllels desktop from, in the even I need to have a PC.

What would be nice would be if there was a version of Linux that had the whole look and feel of RISC OS and the ease of setup of puppy (maybe even a modified distro of puppy).
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gazc Message #97039, posted by gazc at 16:50, 12/1/2007, in reply to message #96796
Member
Posts: 16
Regarding the title of the article, I agree with Alex on OSX being a better alternative than Windows. Apart from the obvious nuances such as application windows that disappear when you click away from them, which obviously doesn't happen in RISCOS, MacOSX can be quite a good system to use.

Having steered clear of Macs for the last ten years, the family finally got one last year after the home PC died and I despite everything I was personally very impressed.

Having used Windows for a number of years and having had many unpleasant experiences using it, I've found MacOSX to be a much more feasible alternative. Obviously, it isn't the be all and end all solution, as there is still software I often need that is Windows only and therefore it's often useful to having a Windows box 'around'. However, as far as OSs go, it's a stable system to use, it can run most software you find on Windows and it is an alternative (alongside RISCOS that is).
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Steve C Message #97044, posted by Steve at 19:01, 12/1/2007, in reply to message #97039
Member
Posts: 93
Regarding the title of the article, I agree with Alex on OSX being a better alternative than Windows.
I agree, - as far as home use is concerned anyway. Network a load of Macs together, and you begin to discover the inconsistencies within Apple's management software. Little things such as locking down the desktop, giving users a common collection of settings etc are either not possible, or require lots of scripts to be created by hand. It'll get there eventually, but at the present time I'm firmly of the opinion that a Windows network is more manageable. (And yes - I do fully expect someone to disagree with me!).
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Pages (2): |< < 2

The Icon Bar: News and features: Why ex-RISC OS users should get a Mac