Progressive politics, ideas & culture


And what, exactly, is personal about PCs?

This Magazine Staff

Taking a spin through some of my favourite blogs recently in order to get propeller‘s blogroll up to date, I came across Double Plus Ungood’s faux-prickly post about Macs, which links to a pointed Guardian rant on the same topic. Essentially, the argument is that Macs are nothing more than toys for grown-ups, and Mac users are vain, immature fiddlers who wouldn’t know proper computing if it crashed their operating system (unlikely, but hey…).
I’m a Mac user, and the process of relaunching propeller has helped reinforce my sense that Macs, for all their flaws in encouraging commodity fetishism, are pretty great tools for a democratic internet. I’ve been deep in the world of WordPress lately, and all its plugins and widgets are a lesson in how an enthusiastic open-source community can make computing easier for users and promote independent media by providing a pleasant blog-reading experience.
I know there is nothing inherently “Mac” about WordPress or open-source development, but I do believe the growing power of open-source would be impossible without the release of Mac OS X in 2001. With its Unix-based infrastructure, OS X allowed Mac geeks to easily develop and release software to a decent-sized market of users. More than five years on, the result is a worldwide group of computer users who are also developers, and the blurring of audience/creator lines has spilled over to news media and popular culture.
So keep your “personal” computer with its complicated hardware and software, its unstable operating system and its vulnerability to viruses. I’ll be over here with my Mac, doing my part to keep the internet vibrating.

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