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The Ultimate Personal Computer (PC) is a Mac

A brief comparison of Apple Macintosh versus MS Windows - based personal computers. Created in July 2009 and notes on versions is per this time.

The table should be read from the bottom and up - as a computer is built and functions.

  Apple Macintosh MS Windows PC Comments
General use:
  • Popular with creative people, professionals
  • Popular with corporations
Security, virus...:
  • Few and rare
  • Ridiculously common
  • Lots of choices for any general use
    (web, email, office...)
    • MS Office (2008): Word, Excel, Powerpoint,
         Entourage (email)
    • Adobe Creative Suites (CS4)
  • Strengths in graphical design, for creative people
  • Popular with professionals
  • Lots of choices for any general use
    (web, email, office...)
    • MS Office (2007): Word, Excel, Powerpoint,
         Outlook (email), ...
    • Adobe Creative Suites (CS4)
  • Strengths in industry-specific solutions, ERP, ...
  • Popular with corporations

Notes on runtime platform so far:
(Summary of the below.)

Mac HW and Mac OS X - based on a UNIX BSD kernel - provide an excellent platform for running both OS X- and *NIX applications (lots of open source).

The BSD kernel also allows easy cross-development for web servers on the Internet. The ruling LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python) is quite comparable to MAMP (Mac,...)

Good platform for users who strictly want to run MS Windows - specific applications.

The much more proprietary core MS OS technologies make use of open source - and development in general - harder. Creating a similar comparable LAMP stack include separately loading and configuring a number of add-on packages - Apache, MySQL, and PHP/... - all which are already standard on any Mac OS X system.

OS X is great for both general use and development for the web.
Virtual OSs: MS Win 98, NT, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, ... Diff. Linux distros Solaris, OpenSolaris OpenBSD ... Pretty much the same.
Virtualization (opt): Parallels Desktop VMware Fusion VirtualBox ... Parallels Workstation VMware Workstation VirtualBox ... Essentially comparable.
Operating Systems: Mac OS X (Std) MS Windows (opt) *NIX (opt) MS Windows (std) *NIX (opt) No OS X on Win PCs[3].
Boot Loader: Apple Bootcamp (std) NTLDR, ... Comparable[2].
Hardware: Apple Macintosh Windows PC hardware Basically very similar[1].
[1] Apple hardware and generic 'Windows PC' hardware include many components that are the same - (e.g.) Intel CPUs, memory, harddisk interfaces (e.g. serial ATA).

Apple and Microsoft (plus 3rd parties) offer comparable solutions for booting different operating systems. (Though Apple's Bootcamp may be viewed as easier to use and better integrated. Definitely compared to the older NTLDR (used for XP). Not familiar with the latest boot solution included with MS Vista.

[3] Apple HW can run and even boot into MS Windows directly, just like a Win PC. Win PC can't run Mac OS X. (At least not legally and w/o problems - there are articles out there about people installing and running Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware but these are unsupported and shaky. Not supporting all functionality of hardware and usually does NOT handle automatic software upgrades from Apple. So far functionality of OS often breaks when trying to perform upgrade manually.

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