OS Envy Or Sincerest Flattery?

One of the amusing things about people who use operating systems is that even though some of them may confidently claim that the platform they use is better than the competition, there are probably still going to be times when they covet a feature that another OS has. In fact, most of us have probably been in this situation before. Even if it’s not a specific feature, perhaps it’s the look of the platform that we want for ourselves. Windows, OS X, and Linux all have a distinct look and feel, but at the same time, each of these operating systems can be customized, and people go to great lengths to, let’s say, emulate the interface of OS X on Windows.

You might think that this is something hypocritical for an operating system zealot to do, but as long as the underlying platform isn’t affected, they can tweak the appearance all they want and not feel like they’re stepping over the line into enemy territory. Even though you can make your OS resemble another, it’s still not going to actually be the OS that you’re trying to emulate, so these modifications can only go so far.

With that said, OS X seems to be the blueprint, and users of Windows and Linux are always taking on the challenge to see just how close they can come to a perfect visual duplicate of Apple’s operating system, but in my mind, if you want the look of OS X that bad, just go out and buy a Mac. Sure, the challenge of modifying your current OS may be a big part of the appeal, but I have an easier solution that involves your credit card and a wonderful place called The Apple Store.

Aside from other operating systems, users that are running an older version of software from an OS family may wish to “upgrade” to the latest OS without actually upgrading. For example, before Vista was even publicly released, people were developing themes, Windows Sidebar knock-offs, and other elements to help XP look and feel like Vista. We always want the latest, and even if we may not be able to afford or see the benefits of upgrading, we can still have a piece of the action. Companies like Microsoft and Apple sometimes spend years developing certain features throughout their operating systems only to have them imitated by third-party developers in a matter of days or weeks.

I’ve used several of these tools before in my day, and while some of them are good, I’ve found that most of them feel rushed, and I always end up going back to using my normal operating system without any of the added imitation features or skins. For those of you who like to stick with what you have, it’s nice to know that updates continue to be delivered for platforms that might already start to be considered as ancient even though they’re not, and we can see evidence of this with the news that Apple will be releasing the Mac OS X 10.4.10 update despite the fact that Leopard (10.5) is just around the corner.

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[tags]OS upgrade, OS emulator, OS X emulator[/tags]