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And back again.

In my experience, Mac OS 9/8 was less stable than a comparably configured Windows 98/2000 box. By a long shot. Of course, Mac OS 9/8 are about 10x more pleasant visually and intuitively than any form of Windows and I could live with the instabilities in the name of not becoming nauseous any time I looked at the screen.

I don't think I claimed overall system stability was better in X. Especially while programming, I did have to restart my Mac multiple times an hour sometimes. There is no protection. In general use, I restarted my Mac under OS 9 every few hours to a day, depending on how lucky I was.

I don't run into any goofy memory problems

Just yesterday my OS X machine decided to fill up memory. I still don't know what the problem was, only that my Mac got slower and slower, I couldn't interact with anything, the music skipped and stopped playing, eventually it ran out of swap space and… boom. Had to hit the reset button.

I can print pages 459 to 578 of the 600 page, graphic riddled, book manuscript I'm editing from OS X.

Printing, along with the Finder, is another area in which Mac OS X is very weak (though it's getting better). For example, I still have to remember to choose “Custom” from the “Presets” menu otherwise my printer doesn't print double-sided. For many versions of OS X, changing to the Custom setting meant that you could no longer specify a page range because the range got saved in the Custom preset! (This was later fixed in a halfway manner by removing the ability of the Print dialog box to show the available page range). The “Save as Default” mechanism that's been around since at least the LaserWriter 5.0 series drivers was dropped from OS X, in favor of this cumbersome mechanism (and the preset is called “Custom Setting” in one place and “Preset” in the other). That's just poor design.

I value ease of use, thoughtful design, consistency and speed while the computer wasn't crashed, over a system that doesn't crash as much, and can do more, but does each individual thing poorly.

In any case, it is quite likely that your firmware revision is different than the one Apple wrote the driver against and, as such, Apple may never have seen the crashes you are experiencing.

Indeed. I recently upgraded the firmware in my MP3 player to see if it helped, and in fact wrote about it here (it didn't).

There's a bunch more in the post, and I generally agree with most of it. No question that my working style has changed because I'm able to run server software—such as Frontier and Radio—in the background on my Mac. But I had a perhaps irrational hope that “the power of Unix with the ease of use of the Macintosh” would deliver on both promises. Right now OS X comes much closer to the former.

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