Will Leopard Actually Help Vista By Making it Look Bad?

by Chris Howard Aug 22, 2006

IT managers are a weird bunch. They must be - most of them choose Windows afterall. They’re also conservative. (That’s why I fitted in.) They don’t like to change - especially to something that’s so glitzy as OS X, it’s totally unfamiliar. They want that staid, old, boring Windows look.

If Vista ever comes out they’re in for a shock. In fact we’ll all be pretty shocked if it ever comes out. (Although they will be reluctant to upgrade, whilst their users will be chomping at the bit for it.)

However, by the time Vista does come out, Leopard will be making it look old-fashioned (and then they’ll probably happily upgrade to Vista.)

Leopard is going to come out with more flair, pizzazz and eye-candy than Tiger and Vista put together. But will IT managers find that some how intimidating or scary, and therefore off-putting?

Will IT managers act like the middle-aged dad when his nice daughter starts dating guys?

Up come suitor number one. He looks a little dull, wears a jacket and pants, a white shirt and rather plain tie. And he drives an old Ford. Dad knows he’s no world-beater, but he doesn’t threaten dad’s status.

Up comes suitor number two. Slicked back hair, trendiest clothes, red corvette that burbles up your street. Even the wife is swooning. Dad feels his status is under serious threat.

Likewise, the IT manager feels comfortable with number one (Windows). Sure there’s problems, but he understands him. He’s non-threatening. He doesn’t pose any threat to his authority.

But number two (Leopard)? He’s a threat to everything. With number two around users say “Why can’t we have that?” With number two, the IT manager can see his authority, expertise and whole little kingdom getting eroded. Number two, Leopard, empowers people.

(Now I know some of you are itching to say, no, the windows guys will have several STDs, a snotty nose, blood-shot eyes and so on, but let’s be nice, we don’t have to stoop that low.)

So Mr IT Manager says, “Yeah sure Leopard looks pretty snazzy, but let’s stick with good old Windows. We know all its quirks and you know how to use it. That OS X though? All that glimmer and glitz looks a bit scary. We don’t want that, we want familiarity.”

(Geez, Time Machine would have fried their eye sockets!)

There’s an adage that “familiarity breeds contempt”. That may be so in some circumstances, but in computers and especially among IT managers, “familiarity breeds content”. That is one of the reasons for Microsoft’s success ten years ago with Windows and Office. Microsoft convinced IT managers that if they standardized onto all Microsoft, everything would be nice and familiar.

Mac OS X is about as unfamiliar as you can get. You and I know just how easily Macs could replace many, many workplace PCs, but Mr IT Manager doesn’t want to hear that. That’s his kingdom you’re threatening.

Eye-candy may sell to the average Joes, but their friend of a friend of a friend who’s an IT Manager warns that OS X is a bit scary, it’s too unfamiliar - all that glitz and pizzazz, you can’t trust it.

There’s another adage that says “Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.” It’s that fear of the unknown that they really fear.  The more different OS X looks to Windows, the more eye-candy Apple adds, the more it looks unknown and foreign and the more threatening it becomes to them.

And hence they will stick with the familiar and non-threatening Windows, even Vista eventually.

So is too much eye-candy in Leopard actually going to make Windows (including Vista) more appealing to IT managers by making it look ordinary?



  • I have to agree with Ewan. There is no reason IT departments will not adopt TM if implemented in the Leopard Server with XServe and XServe SAN/RAID. I agree it is a new and powerful metaphor that will take some time to get used to. But if it will save lots of time and $$$ in cases where critical recoveries justifies the system, IT managers will be too ignorant and incompetent not to implement this.

    At this point we can only speculate if TM is a file system level versioning/journaling or an OS level backup solution until Apple details TM machine further when it releases the TM API framework later this year.

    If TM even backs up incremental system files, I must assume that it is file system journaling and versioning must be at work here. The API framework that Apple will release shortly for 3rd party apps will just be the middleman b/w the low-levels and the apps.

    Robomac had this to say on Aug 26, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t imagine “eye candy” is a real selling point to corporations. -Bbx

    It isn’t but does IT departments have a choice? Vista and Leopard will come with a bagful of eye candies. So do many Linux distros such as Ubuntu or Suse. If corporations’ IT folks shy away from so called “eye candies” then why are we not using DOS version 10 or Unix terminals? These are pretty powerful way to interact with the underlying OS.

    It is recommended to review your UI history to learn that “eye candies” do matter both in home users and corporations because “eye candies” gave REAL value to CIOs everywhere - they saved time and $$$. And this will continue to be true.

    If you are a cynic of UI development and “eye candies” in general, then I can’t change that and no one will. Stay in your box because that is where you belong - a static world where your very expectations will always prove true.

    Robomac had this to say on Aug 26, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Ewan said: Time Machine users will typically have 50-100GB of archive data EACH - what sort of removable media did you have in mind? No it will be on a Terabyte SAN and nightly synced offsite.

    heheh. I knew someone would pick me up on the “removable media” comment. I did mean it very generally. i.e. not just CDs or DVDs, but anything that can be unplugged from your system

    Myself I use a 30GB iPod. It backs up each morning at 8am using SuperDuper!, and then I put it in my pocket and it goes wherever I go. Thus if the house burnt down, or I was burgled while away, I’d have a complete backup of my data - offsite as such.

    Currently I have an external 200GB HDD which would be nice for Time Machine, is useful for keeping a system backup using SD!, but is not practical for offsite backup.

    The most important things on my system are photos and my writings. The writing is easily backed up online, and the photos fit on DVD each month. (both are also on the iPod backup)

    The home user has no way of backing up 50-100GB nightly to offsite storage. And business with multiple users managing that sort of data volume each, would probably have backup systems way in advance of anything Apple can offer.

    I also see the developer of SD! has responded to questions about the threat of Time Machine, and not surprisingly, sees no threat, even welcoming TM.


    Chris Howard had this to say on Aug 27, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • Here’s a question: If the case of flooding, would you rather have your backups on a hard drive or CD/DVD?

    I also heard that 200GB DVDs have been developed. Now that might sound big, but it’s only 40 times bigger than current DVDs, and about 280 times bigger than CDs.

    Bear in mind that CDs were over 400 times higer capacity than floppies, and DVDs a whopping 3300 times greater capacity.

    So the leap to 200GB is nothing.

    And that will then mean you can backup movies or anything with disks again.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Sep 03, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • Bear in mind that CDs were over 400 times higer capacity than floppies, and DVDs a whopping 3300 times greater capacity.

    So the leap to 200GB is nothing.

    Rubbish, the generational leap was from CDs to DVDs, not floppies to DVDs. This represents an ~10x increase in storage. The difference from 8 or so GB on a dual-layer disk to the 100s of GBs range is an impressive generational change. Indeed, it would be a game-changing technology, enabling home users to back up their entire systems once more on just one or two optical disks. But of course, this technology won’t be available to the general public for a long time.

    I do not agree that Time Machine is useless for corporations. The perceived problem appears to be around the fact that it backs up to a removable device and cannot compete with the allegedly far superior backup systems employed by major corporations.

    According to John Siracusa Time Machine backs up in a file-incremental fashion. In order for corporations to have a backup system superior in terms of minimizing data retention, they would have to be backing up on a block-incremental fashion, which is most unlikely.

    It seems to me entirely possible to use Time Machine to back up corporate machines to NAS. Furthermore it would be trivial to schedule full backups of the backups to other, remote or nearby locations.

    Additionally, Time Machine would bring unique ease-of-use for employees needing to restore their files, which could be a time and cost saver.

    Or have I missed the point?

    Benji had this to say on Sep 04, 2006 Posts: 927
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