What OS are you dating?

So after my (somewhat over-the-top) response to “The Mac is a Harsh Mistress” I received a (somewhat) well-deserved reply by the author. My big mistake was using such a harsh title – I sometimes forget how trackbacks work 😉 . Anywho, the only reason I even bitched about it was the implication (well, not so much implied as stated) that Linux desktop users will eventually come to their senses and use something else. The rest of my complaints really weren’t enough to get me energized for a post.

Nevertheless, I brought it up, and was left thinking yesterday about what was my real problem with the analogy. Now many of you may have realized by now that I am not a fan of analogies. They tend to be poorly constructed to prove a one-sided point without really comparing issues properly. However I still find it a challenge to improve upon ones that I see as flawed. You obviously can’t take into account all factors (Macs are white and I’m dating a black girl!), but you can try for some sort of common ground, or consistancy, in compared areas. And that’s where the challenge is.

Personally I wasn’t sold on the whole woman idea. I don’t have any emotional attachment to my computer, merely some of the information I keep on it. I use it for fun and functionality, my life occurs away from it (which would be why my girlfriend wants me to spend less time on it 😀 ). But then it occured to me that the inherent problem with Charles’ take was using the extremes of whore versus lover. Let’s take it all with the same approach he looked at Linux – girlfriends! (Right now is when I’m glad that Lisa doesn’t actually read this 🙂 ). The basic setup is this: Mac = high school sweet heart / Windows = girl in college / Linux = high school girl you find later. Now let’s see if I can make this work:

(I’m going to shorten my comments because this damn post has been waiting in limbo for hours)

We’ll start with Windows, because it’s easy. Windows is the girl you date in college – probably a couple girls. You know the relationship – one you don’t take that seriously, but you don’t want to be alone and you’re just looking to have a good time. It’s a servicable relationship dealing very little with emotion and much more with the physical act of being together (sex, for those who aren’t really following). Maybe this becomes a long term thing, but you’re not that considered with investing heavily.

Macs, on the otherhand, are you’re high school sweetheart. It’s not that they are necessarily the best girl you could find (that’s up for debate), but they’re the one you chose, and are sticking with – through thick and thin. This is the real deal in one form or another – you could hardly imagine dating any other girl. Most likely you’ve found a lifelong companion.

As far as Linux goes – she’s more like that slightly off girl you met in high school, but could never quite make heads or tails of her. Over the years she has developed in more ways than one ( 😉 ). If you’re lucky enough, maybe you meet her again later in life when you’re ready. It could become a real relationship (on the desktop 😉 ), or she could simply become a great friend while you keep screwing Windows…

Ok, this came off way more disturbing than I planned (egged on by glancing at the CD on my desk, Ruby’s Stroking the Full Length). More or less, I think the best way to compare these situation is to look at the relationships, rather than the software itself. If I tried in that comparison Macs would end up as some hot-to-trot knockout with serious money needs that scoffed at anything in jeans, Windows would be some skanky ho shacking up with anything she could get her paws on, and Linux would be the nerdy girl with no real self-respect who convinces herself that the guard at the museum who lets her in for free on Wednesday afternoons is a real friend. Or something like that….

I need a real hobby – and with that a short post will follow…

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