It's not an operating system, it's a <i>cult</i>

It seems that you can’t trash Macintoshes — or dismiss them as a useful platform for your computing — without legions of idiot fanboys coming out to defend their favorite toy computer. This problem always existed to one extent or another, but now that OS X is basically some kinda Unix, it means that you get the self-righteousness of Mac users coupled with the aggressive advocacy dumbassery of Unix dweebs.

(Funny that these new Unix dweebs don’t seem to see the irony in how they came to their particular Damascus: Their Favorite Toy Hardware Vendor decided to improve their modern hardware product by.. hauling a 35 year-old operating system design out and porting it. Um, yeah. That’s progress. Uh-huh. Yup.)

Philip is finding this out right now. He made some disparaging comments wondering why, if OS X is so great, how come none of the really important software applications from the world’s most innovative software company have been ported to it. (It wasn’t phrased this way, but that’s certainly the thrust of his questioning.) The comments are, predictably, a collection of people attempting to educate Philip on the importance of using a Macintosh. Lots of luck, fellas.

So he follows up on the friggin’ thread, and says this: “Commenters have been talking about how it is worth spending extra $$ to have a Macintosh instead of a Windows machine, or, more likely, in addition to because one still needs the Windows machine. The implication is that money is infinite that there is nothing better to spend it on that a high-style personal computer. So what would I buy in the next month or two instead of the Mac? (We can call this “the straight guy’s dividend” — money that one saves by not having to invest in a fancy wardrobe and an iBook.)” He then lists a whole bunch of cool toys you could buy with the price differential between a PC and a Mac.

As you might have expected, the Macfanboys have found this thread, too, and begun not to offer suggestions about what to buy, but rather to advance their own particular view, which is that there is nothing better to spend it on [than] a high-style personal computer.” The comments crack me up, and I’m sure you’ve ssen them somewhere, but this one just leaves me breathless:

walk up to a mac, open a console window, and type “which python”. Feel free to type “which perl”, “which java”, and try a few others. If you don’t know what any of this means, then the other gizmos will matter more to you. If you do know what that means, then you *might* want the mac more than the other toys. Kind of depends on what floats your boat.

ooh. Bring it, yo. Quothe the Greenspunster:

It is nice that Apple includes these 1960s-style computer languages, thus saving folks who want to run Perl the two minutes that it takes to install Perl on an XP box ( came up from a Google search for “Perl and Windows XP”; maybe if you work at a hedge fund a two-minute savings is worth paying $500 extra). But it would be more interesting if Apple included a good language from the era (Lisp!) or even tried to move its customers into the modern era with Haskell or ML. I found Perl pretty useful back in 1994 when doing a CGI programming project but it was free then and I’m not sure why I would want to pay Apple big $$ to get me back to the tools of 1994…

Oh, snap! He did not! say that. Did he? Oh yes he did. You just got served, fanboy. But wait, as the ads say, there’s more!

By the way, I’m not sure that “perl” is the most pleasing thing about “which perl”. It’s the “which” – that you are working in UNIX (OK, freeBSD) rather than DOS. I agree that it is a sad state of affairs when you’re delighted to pay big bucks to be restored to old tools. But when you’ve taken ten steps back, it’s still gratifying to take a few steps forward, yes?

I’m sorry, but did an OS X fanboy just say that which(1) is the killer example of why OS X will take over the world? which(1)? Good lord. “which(1) means you’re running on Unix!” (Cue the scene from Jurassic Park with that hella cool SGI application.) OK, that’s enough of that. Time for a New Rule. Anyone who says they’re a Unix guru by virtue of using OS X — i.e., anyone who claims to be a Unix guru but never had to cut their teeth on a version of Unix where the GUI was horribly painful to use, and I’m looking at the both of you, GNOME and KDE — gets taken out back and beaten with a hose. By Linux fanboys incensed at Apple’s pilfering.

I want to put my head down and cry, but I’m afraid that if I do I might not get up in the morning.