By John Rizzo and Matt Lake
OS X is a revolutionary entry in the Mac stable, while Windows 2000 is, at this point, a veritable workhorse: more than two years old and besieged by the imminent arrival of Windows XP. On many levels, however, these two are prime candidates for our third OS death match. Each one is a big, strong, workstation-ready, server-friendly operating system with a curiously consumer-friendly bent. Yeah, we know Microsoft says Windows 2000 is for business, but it has marketed the OS to anybody who ever thinks about, say, printing labels from a home office. Each ships in a powerful server version and includes strong networking tools and business-friendly extras such as multiprocessor and multiuser support. They're also sturdy: In our past tests of each OS, CNET found both to be stable and, bless their little NT and BSD Unix cores, virtually crash-proof.
Into the arena they went. Matt Lake, a longtime CNET contributor and avid Windows user, reprised his snarling role as Microsoft's defender. John Rizzo, publisher of MacWindows and author of CNET's biweekly Mac FAQ, fired back from across the ring for OS X. In a bitter bloodletting that lasted five full rounds, our combatants sparred over installation ease, interface quality, Internet accessibility, and software and hardware compatibility.
Finally, CNET impaneled a jury of software editors, CNET Labs technicians, a Help.com editor, and a software engineer to determine the winner of each round. Neither OS delivered a knockout punch; read on to see how our judges scored the match.
Round 1: Installation
The Mac's traditional one-click installation vs. the alphanumeric installation key required by Windows 2000? Well, the fight's a little more complicated than that.
Round 2: Interface
The redesigned Mac interface boasts crystal-clear graphics and command-line flexibility. But will the tried-and-true Windows recipe prevail?
Round 3: Software compatibility
Windows 2000 runs it all, while the Mac battles its longtime bugaboo in software compatibility. Can the promise of all those future apps lift OS X to victory?
Round 4: Hardware compatibility
Windows stacks the deck with its multitude of hardware options, but our judges must decide whether a Mac-only operating system is simple enough for victory.
Round 5: Internet support
Is Windows playing catch-up in the Internet space? See whether the networking power of Windows 2000 outweighs the built-in Net tools of OS X.
Our panel nearly had its own death match trying to choose a winner. The results will shock and amaze you.
- Want something a little easier than Windows 2000? Try Windows Me
- Don't meet the hardware requirements of OS X? Get a desktop that does
- Use Virtual PC 4.0 to run Windows apps on your Mac
- Find the networking hardware you need
- Find the coolest software for your Mac