Mac Software, not Apple Software

There have been a number of interesting posts in the last few weeks from folks seriously thinking about what they want from an operating system. John Gruber’s latest post got me thinking about the applications bundled with Mac OS X.

A quick survey of the apps I use and there are only 3 that are included with the OS that I use with any regularity:

  1. Mail
  2. iCal
  3. Address Book

and I occasionally (no more than once a month or so) use iTunes and iMovie.

Clearly, it isn’t the Apple software that makes me a Mac user. I use a number of apps that are direct replacements for apps included with the OS:

  • Path Finder
  • LaunchBar
  • Adium
  • iTerm
  • Camino

The reason I’m a Mac user is because the Mac OS attracts those who believe in the value of elegance.

Building elegant software is harder, takes longer, and is much more a labor of love than building run of the mill software. Mac OS developers, as a whole, build more elegant software than developers on other OSes, and I enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Apple’s decision to go with *nix underpinnings for Mac OS X has opened up Apple’s market to a broader segment of users and developers, and the elegance we’ve seen for so long in Mac applications is spreading into the web, Linux and yes, even Windows.

I’ve long believed that my important data needs to be OS agnostic – one of the reasons I began developing on PHP and MySQL. I don’t like tie-ins to data formats for specific apps, plain text and databases are more my style. I just want to access my data and enjoy the tools I use to do it. I primarily use the Mac OS as my OS tool of choice, but the fact I can increasing do this outside the Mac OS is a good thing.