Real Measure

There’s an interesting article on John Gruber’s web site entitled Broken Windows. John makes an excellent case that the best way to compare Windows and Macintosh is not with a new computer, but with a computer that has seen at least six months of use:

While we’re conceding for the sake of argument, let’s address that other popular canard of Windows apologia: that on the whole, Windows XP is just as good, if not better, than Mac OS X. OK, fine. XP is as good as OS X; Windows Movie Maker is as good as iMovie; Photoshop Album is better than iPhoto; etc.

But is it fair to judge Mac-v.-Windows under factory-fresh conditions? Wouldn’t an accurate comparison be better made a few months down the road – after a nice sampling of the hundreds of new Windows viruses discovered each week get a chance to find a home on the Windows box? In the hands of a typical user, a six-month-old Mac is almost certainly in similar working condition as when it left the store; a six-month-old Windows PC, on the other hand, is likely to be infested with multiple instances of crapware. And if it’s not, it’s likely because the poor sap who bought it just got done reinstalling from scratch.

You can argue about why this is so, but you don’t need to. You can’t argue with the facts. Anti-virus software vendor Sophos reported yesterday that it found 959 new viruses, last month alone. How many of those do you think were for Mac OS X? Any at all?

This bears out my own experience: Mac’s simply stay stable longer. I’ve never had an installation of Windows that lasted very long at all before it was polluted or corrupt in some fashion.