Mac or PC ?

Tim Cutts tjrc1 at cus.cam.ac.uk
Mon Nov 21 13:43:13 EST 1994


krasel at alf.biochem.mpg.de (Cornelius Krasel) writes:

>Tim Cutts (tjrc1 at cus.cam.ac.uk) wrote:
>> dehais at next9.lirmm.fr (Patrice DEHAIS) writes:

>> >I work in a laboratory specialized in genetics. We have to change all  
>> >our old personal computers (old PC running DOS) and buy new machines. 

>[In favour of PCs:]

>> Unix is available quite cheaply these days
>> (even for free, in some cases, like Linux or FreeBSD), and there is a
>> lot of genetics analysis software for Unix, such as the GCG and Staden
>> packages.

>But I doubt that GCG for Unix is supported for Linux (and I'm not willing
>to spend $3000 to try out :-).

Yeah, OK, but Linux now supports a lot of SCO software.  I'm running
SCO WordPerfect 6.0 under Linux this very second.  :-)

>> I think the PC is also superior for connectivity.  Networking
>> macintoshes is expensive, unless you buy an expensive macintosh with
>> built-in ethernet.  If you will need to connect to remote hosts (for
>> example, my groups use an SGI machine running the Staden and GCG
>> packages), the PC stands out.  I can use my PC as a dedicated
>> X-terminal to the remote machine.  My fellow lab workers on their
>> macintoshes cannot.  There are X servers for Macs, but they are
>> supposed to be awful.  After all, X requires three mouse buttons, so
>> you're onto a loser from the word go...

>In my experiences, PCs are much harder to network than are Macs. Especially
>with the new PowerMacs which come with built-in Ethernet, it's just
>plug'n play. MacTCP is for sure some of the most unreliable software
>you can get on a Mac but compared to Windows or DOS, it's still out-
>standing.

I use OS/2 and Linux, for precisely that reason... :-)

>On the other hand, there is really no decent X server for Mac. I have
>some experience with MacX, and I found it slow and clumsy. You can get
>around the one-button-mice problem by buying three-button-mice from
>third-hand parties, but accessing a workstation by X is still much nicer
>on a fast PC with eXceed for Windows (or the like).

Or real genuine MIT X11R6 under Linux :-) (just kidding, eXceed is
pretty good, and much easier to maintain than a Unix X server).

>> Also, other software.  Microsoft is now the established king of the
>> applications software world.  They obviously push their own system
>> first, so all their Mac software is usually lagging a bit behind the
>> Windows version.  Just something to consider.

>I'd like to add the following rumour: Microsoft Word for Windows is reported
>to be faster on a PowerMac running SoftWindows than Microsoft Word for Mac
>(both version 6). Makes one think :-)

And both are painfully slow anyway ;-)

>In addition, I think a DOS-/Windows-based environment needs some more
>administration than a Mac-based environment (which still needs to much
>of this :-).

Yes, but I think from the administrator's point of view they're easier
to fix than Macs when things do go wrong.  I worked on a help desk for
Cambridge University for a year, and found that I could solve most PC
problems, but Macintosh ones I wasn't so successful with, and this was
not necessarily due to a lack of knowledge, but the idiot proofing
(and hence also expert-proofing) of the Mac interface.

Tim.
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