As computers play critical roles of the lives of the people, choosing the right operating system (OS) for particular uses also become important. The market is currently being dominated by two platforms: Mac and PC. The standing of either OS has become more competitive as more and more people start to discover the advantages of the two; some PC users have converted to Mac whereas some Mac users have also become familiar with PC because of its wider uses. The advantages and disadvantages of Mac and PC have been widely discussed.
Comparable points are the costs, the stability of the system, usability, and speed, among others. For instance, some may argue that the Mac tends to be more stable because so far, it is not as prone to virus attacks as the PC, although there have been recent news on the emergence of new viruses designed to attach Macs. PCs have been also noted to support more programs and has been regarded as the most popular choice in the workplace. However, as Germain (2009) noted, there is the possibility that Macs will also invade the workplace due to the increasing number of people enjoying the system at home.
On one hand, as Germain pointed out, although there may be an increasing number of Mac systems in the office, both Windows and Linux remain to be irreplaceable. Basically, from users’ perspective who have both experienced and well-versed with Mac and PC, it can be found that the difference in terms of experience is not as significantly different. This is to say that a PC user can easily adapt to the wonders of Mac and at the same time, Mac users can easily operate PC.
Problems in file compatibility, on one hand, has created many problems for some people, especially there have been the distinguished Mac users, and those that remain to stick to PC platforms. This therefore reflects the strengths of either platforms: for instance, Mac has been noted for its advantages when it comes to graphics and other media- and artistic-related uses whereas Windows are found to be easier to customize according to the needs of the user without the significant increase in costs as compared to a similar attempt in Mac.
Hence, Mac has been known for its sense of exclusivity, which is to say The wonders of computing, on one hand, has been found to be limited. This is to say that computers have reached the point of disappointing its users. As Brand (2002, 79) discussed: In the last decade personal computers have richly earned our personal mistrust. Once we got a system halfway stable, and learned a requisite minimum of crafty workarounds for the inevitable spate of problems, we went conservative–dubious about adding new programs or even new versions of old programs because they could lead to disaster.
Although computers have greatly evolved in the past years, there remain to divide when it comes to these two main computing platforms. These differences have caused certain problems in the past as applications specifically made for either Mac or PC have been a challenge when opening them in a different system. Compatibility is therefore an important factor in the world of computing, hence, convergence has been regarded as a solution.
Having a Mac system running on PC platforms may be seen as a challenge; as can be seen in the history of the two, the Macs have given the impression that despite the fact that the system is hard to customize from the users’ side, the system has been formulating means to enable ease of utilization of some Windows-based applications. Windows, on one hand, has not established itself as strongly as Mac when it comes to coming up with solutions that would enable some Mac-based applications run on PC.
History In the past years, some discussions as to the possibility of converging the Mac and PC systems have emerged; in a sense, this attempt represents the idea of having the best of both worlds. Furthermore, the convergence would mean convenience between the two platforms, especially when it comes to the issue of compatibility. As some programs only run on Windows-run PC, the tendency is that these files cannot be opened in Mac, and vice-versa.
At the same time, one of the limitations of Mac is that putting together a Mac computer based on customized platforms have yet to really take place; this is the feature that has long made PC having the advantage because of the lesser costs and projected value of having a PC instead of a Mac. This therefore creates many problems, especially in the past when compatibility issues were more critical.
One of the attempts and solutions that came out in the 1990s were utilities that aimed to bridge this problem; an example is the MacLinkPlus Deluxe which allowed Mac platforms “to open, view, decode, decompress and translate files between different programs and platforms” (Kellner, 1999, 9). At that time Windows has not created a means to open files using Mac applications; a third party program MacDrive 98, was an option for Windows users in order to open Mac-created files (Kellner, 98).
However, attempts to converge different operating systems were already present; these were made possible through emulators. Emulators are tools used in computer science and general computing as a means for a program to emulate the function of another program; this is to say that emulators make it possible for a specific program to imitate another. In defining emulation,
“Emulation is best described as imitating a certain computer platform or program on another platform or program. In this manner, it is possible to view documents or run programs on a computer not designed to do so. An emulator is itself a program that creates an extra layer between an existing computer platform (host platform) and the platform to be reproduced (target platform)… ” (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, n. d. ).