Acoustic Mac

Just Say No to Unfinished Software

Beverly Woods - 2002.08.07 - Tip Jar

Now that the dust is beginning to settle after the announcement of Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2), I thought I'd write a column for all of us Mac users (I hear Apple's figure is 90%) who are still not using OS X.

Actually, I'd like to rant a little bit about the tendency of software makers, including Apple, to leave things unfinished. I have read numerous complaints about this syndrome, so I will just add my own experience here.

A while back I needed a graphic app that would do some things none of my other apps would. I had tried the free download version of CorelDraw 8, so when I found a reasonable deal on a full retail version of CorelDraw 8, I bought it. I liked some of the features in the program, but I found it buggy and prone to crash.

Even when I had installed all available updates, some bugs were not fixed, and it also became apparent that QuickTime 5 was incompatible with CorelDraw 8. No fix for that was available, so I had to go back to QuickTime 4.

Corel appears to be done with CorelDraw 8, and Apple is done with updating OS 9. Never mind that Corel has not produced an update for CorelDraw 8 to make it fully compatible with OS 9. The remaining incompatibilities are supposed to be resolved by buying OS X and CorelDraw 10.

Pardon me if I'm a bit upset by this, but why should I support software makers who never finish anything? If I buy an application that is for OS 9, is it too much to expect full functionality with OS 9 eventually? If I buy a version of OS X that still lacks some essential functionality and a graphics application that isn't really adjusted to OS X (which isn't done yet), then I am merely encouraging businesses to leave their products unfinished.

And here while OS X isn't finished, already we have 10.2. How many customers will be left hanging with software that doesn't really work and told to just go buy the next version of everything?

Of course, this didn't used to be such an issue before OS X. Chances were that software that worked in OS 8 would also work in OS 9. Sometimes I think that Apple underestimated the difficulties and expense - and the change of attitude - necessary for millions of Mac users to say, "Sure, I'll start over from scratch. What the heck?"

That same cantankerous aspect of my personality that probably caused me to become a Mac user is probably the voice in my mind grumbling, "If I have to start over from scratch anyway, why not try Linux?" (Yes, I know this is not really an easy solution. But I keep thinking it.)

Since I have to do without some functionality in either case, clearly the least expensive way for me to proceed for the near future would be not to "upgrade" at all. Better the devil I know than the (expensive) devil I don't.

I know that not everyone has this luxury, but suddenly making do with the "low end" is very appealing. Judging by the 10/10.2 developments, it may be a pretty good deal for a lot of us to just keep running older hardware and software as long as we can, or until we see some evidence that an upgrade really will be cost-effective.

Stick around. Low End Mac may be, more than ever, the place to be. LEM

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