Feeds

Windows 7 versus Snow Leopard — The poison taste test

Abandon ye rhetoric

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Mac fish, Windows pond

What about a Mac in a Microsoft environment? Snow Leopard introduces enhanced Exchange support, based on Exchange Web Services rather than IMAP, which enables deep integration with Mail and iCal.

There are several disappointments though. You need Exchange 2007 SP1, and even then it is not feature complete. You cannot access public folders, or use multiple sending addresses, or get delegated access to other mailboxes. I also found it somewhat fragile, and from time to time had to re-start Mail to resume send and receive. Outlook on Windows is a superior Exchange client, for all its many faults.

Another point of interest is support for Microsoft's Office 2007 document formats, such as .docx and .xlsx. Apple has support for opening these in iWork 09, and even TextEdit can open .docx, but I found Mac Office 2008 necessary for reliable fidelity. Support for the classic Office formats is much better. Microsoft's Open XML is best avoided in mixed environments.

docx problem

Apple Pages, right, scrambled the diagram in this Word .docx document

Overall it is not that hard to run Snow Leopard alongside Windows, and there is always virtualised Windows as a fallback. That said, Microsoft has an array of network management and group policy tools that make Windows standardisation attractive to admins, and this is unlikely to change soon. Migration to web-based applications, making the local operating system less relevant, may well come sooner.

Software developers have a lot to like in Snow Leopard. Xcode is a fantastic IDE that comes for free and that has new static analysis and profiling tools. Apple has also simplified concurrent programming by building thread management into the operating system, in a feature called Grand Central Dispatch. OS X is also a more comfortable environment than Windows for working with cross-platform code, thanks to its Unix family compatibility.

On the other hand, there is nothing to match Visual Studio for rapid development of business applications with .NET languages. There is no clear winner, as the two platforms address different needs.

In the end you have to choose your poison. Snow Leopard continues the Mac tradition: it is fast, elegant and powerful. Further, Mac OS X has a capacity to delight the user that is lacking in Windows, thanks to design excellence. Against it is the higher price of entry and restricted choice of hardware from a single vendor.

Windows 7 is the mass-market choice, benefits from countless applications along with mature network management tools, and performs well. I doubt many who switched from Windows Vista to OS X will return, but Windows 7 may stem the tide. ®

Updated on 9/3 at 10:00 a.m. PDT to add configurability information about Mac OS X's Spaces feature.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.