A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blurb about recent vulnerabilities in the security of Mac OS X. I call these vulnerabilities, because none of them were ever exploited by the time Apple released the software updates. In any case, the entire point of that article was to point out the community of Mac users and the way that it exists. I clearly stated, to quote myself, “[these discoveries] just point out how much more a Macintosh is besides ‘just another computer,’ no, because you’re not buying ‘just another computer,’ you’re paying for an experience.”
Now I can rave on and on about the impeccable creation that the Macintosh is, and clearly I do that using this blog. But I have to say, it’s always nice when someone comes along and helps to prove the points I try to make. Of course it’s even nicer when these people can articulate it clearly and concisely.
John Gruber, of whom I hold to a high level of respect, is a fellow Macintosh community member. He recently posted an article that discusses, what he calls, “the billion–dollar question,” which is simply: “Why are Windows users besieged by security exploits, but Mac users are not?” Then proceeds to explain what these exploits are, where they come from, how they work, and why they do not plague the Mac OS. I highly recommend reading it.
The thing that got me, however, was not the usual discussion about the fundamental differences in the two platforms, and the fact that the Windows registry, “an opaque labrynth,” is what Mr. Gruber calls it, but the key point in his article is indeed the previously mentioned, and awesomely powerful Macintosh community. Mac users, as a community, have zero tolerance for these types of malicious software (malware). If, by some chance, a Mac user downloaded a freeware application that turned out to be some form of malware that wreaked havoc on that user’s Macintosh, within days the story would be so abundant within the Mac community, that the software culprit would be immediately discredited. Instructions for the application’s uninstallation would be posted throughout the Mac Web, and thusly any query to Google for help would turn up the torrent of information.
We all benefit from the fact that the Mac community has zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. Not just zero tolerance for security exploits, but zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. In fact, there is zero tolerance in the Mac community for crapware of any kind.
The key here, is that when vulnerabilities are discovered, the community expresses its desire to rid their beloved machines of that vulnerability period. Counter that to most Windows user’s desire of ridding their computers of the already present exploits.
Curious, this is the first time I’ve seen this example used to explain the differences in exploits on the two platforms. Gruber goes on in his article, to compare it to the broken window theory, in which it is assertained that if a window in a building is broken and not fixed immediately it will send the message that vandelism will go unchecked. On the other hand, if that window is immediately repaired, it sends the opposite message. Gruber’s conclusion that zero tolerance as part of the community is the only way to effectively deal with these scenerios. And I vehemently agree.
This very article goes a long way in adding to the proof of that which I preach, in that the Macintosh is far more than a desktop appliance (even if that was the intention of its developers), and somehow, whether this be good or bad has yet to be concluded, engrains itself as a part of your life. You are thus become a member of a flourishing community and the use of your Macintosh is thusly redefined as an experience.
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