Saturday, February 20, 2010

One of the things OS/X does right

I'm writing this on a 2008 Macbook Pro that I dual boot between Snow Leopard and Windows 7.  I spend most of my time in Windows but occasionally I pop into SL to test something out or use iMovie to edit some video.  From time to time, when OS/X boots, you get this nice System Update dialog that explains that some installed software on your system needs to be updated.  Here's a shot of the one I just got.

What's interesting to notice is that it is listing non-Apple products as having upgrade available.  My Epson printer drivers and Microsoft provided remote desktop client software are both listed.

Why can't Microsoft do this?  Why do I have to manually check for upgrades for products like this?

Keeping a system fully updated is the easiest way to keep things running smoothly.  Microsoft does a nice job of this with system level patches and hardware components, but it does nothing to help keep my products updated.   Windows 7 gets a lot of things right but this one goes to OS/X.


  1. Microsoft Automatic updates do provide notifications when there are driver updates for 3rd party hardware, etc.

    Though, Microsoft and Apple are quite disparate, in that Apple ensure that the hardware works with their OS, including certifying drivers, etc.

    Microsoft only produce the operating systems & core software components, i.e. all software. This then gets deployed on a gamut of systems and configurations involving millions of combinations of components, etc.

    To keep track of all the program and driver updates would involve some pretty heavy-duty logistics.

    Apple cope because they have a tighter reign on what hardware and, to a certain extent, what software is allowed to be put in and on their systems. Tracking updates is essentially straight-forward because the vendors no doubt submit any updates to them first.

    I am largely speculating and deducing from what I know about Apple. But even still, Microsoft do not have the same incentives to ensure a smoother running system then Apple do, though most people would instantly blame Windows for any incompatibilities of course. Where as with a Mac, Macccers would no doubt point the finger at the nearest program or pisece of hardware to the problem.

    Just my £10.25 worth.

  2. ....and that should have been piece, not pisece. I hate it when other people are sloppy with the keyboard, so I had to correct myself.

  3. You're right about that. And I'm sure that not all software is integrated into the OS/X system update but some are. I still do all my work on Windows but it doesn't stop me from noticing when OS/X gets something right.