Mac vs The Rest

Mike Dallwitz miked at ENTO.CSIRO.AU
Mon Jun 6 12:02:06 CDT 1994


                                                                    6 June 1994



    > How long will it take before MS-DOSiphiles at the very least cease being
    Macophobes?

It should be obvious to anyone who has been following this discussion on which
side the paranoia lies. I could find only two statements that could be
construed as critical of the Mac or favourable to MS-DOS:

    > In my case, the advent of the PAUP & McClade phylogenetics software on
    the Mac forced me to drop my distaste for gooey electronic rodentia and get
    a Macintosh to run them.

    > I have encountered this dichotomy between programmers/system
    administrators and users over and over again. Those that write the programs
    and run the systems prefer IBM PC/DOS and those of us that use the programs
    and systems seem to prefer the Macintosh. Go figure.

The reason that some computer professionals and other frequent users prefer a
command-line interface to a GUI is the inherent clumsiness of the latter. It's
like trying to carry on a conversation by pointing to a phrase book. (No need
to tell me that phrase books have their advantages - I know it.)

The current INTKEY for MS-DOS has a (keyboard-based) menu system as well as a
command line, thus giving the user the best of both worlds. Both systems are
available at all times, and can be used together: for example, the user can
enter the first word of a command, then complete it via the menus. Even when
operations are carried out entirely via the menus, the equivalent command is
displayed, providing a painless way of becoming familiar with the commands. The
MS-Windows version will, of course, be operable via the mouse, but will also
have easy and intuitive keyboard operation of the menus (unlike most Windows
and Mac applications), and will retain the command-line interface.

I still doubt whether the expressed preferences of Taxacom subscribers say much
about the potential market for the DELTA programs, partly because they may be
an unrepresentative group, and partly because of the fervour of Mac users. But
perhaps I am quibbling. After all, one corresponded considered that the top 50
Macintosh-using academic institutions in America, as published in MacWEEK,
constituted a valid sample.

We would certainly like to produce Mac versions of our programs, but at the
moment the bottom line is that we can't afford to do so.

Mike Dallwitz                                  Internet md at ento.csiro.au
CSIRO Division of Entomology                   Fax +61 6 246 4000
GPO Box 1700, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia     Phone +61 6 246 4075




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