By: Mark F.Murphy
Creator of PowerPerl
The Mac community has, many times, been compared to
a religion. Some call us Mac Zealots, Fanatics, Mac
Faithful, Evangelists, etc. Sometimes this comparison is
flattering, at other times it is not.
There's another category in the Mac community which some
call analysts... but let's call them the Prophets, shall we?
After all, it is the analysts... er... I mean these Mac
Prophets which tell us Apple needs to do X, Y, or Z... and
if they don't, that Apple shall surely die.
Now, I'm sure some Mac faithful will surely be angry with
what I have to say... for I seriously question some of these
Mac prophets and their roles as of late.
Let me first give some background on myself so the reader
can rest assured that I am one of the fold (a Mac faithful,
Zealot, etc). I've been programming and using Apple
computers since I was 15 years old. I'm now 32, so I've
spent over half my life using Apples (my first love being
the Apple ][+). I've been a professional
Software developer for 13 years mostly running my
own business. I have done many applications, both custom and
commercial (1). So I speak from a
developer's point of view.
Since most of my company's income is derived from the Mac
market, I also speak from a Mac business point of view. Of
course, these are only my opinions and observations.
Lately, the Mac community has been torn apart with rumors
and misinformation. Some of the rumors are loosly based on
fact. Hysteria has also set into the Mac community. Actions
by Apple Computer or others have created a wave of concern
which has spawned endless streams of prophecies and harsh
words from some of our Mac Prophets.
The Mac Prophets have declared that Apple needs to do X,
Y, or Z or else Apple will be dead. The Mac Prophets declare
users and developers are leaving the platform in droves. The
Mac Prophets have web sites which supposedly dispense news
but instead hand down their official proclamations as if
they are gospel.
Some of these Mac Prophets simply repeat what the other
Mac Prophets are saying. Repeating the same doom and gloom
at web site after web site.
Where's the voice of the Mac user who's not making
such proclamations? Where's the voice of the
developer who's not leaving the platform?
Mac user's and developer's are bombarded with
the gospel of these Mac Prophets yet see no sign (or very
little) or hear no voice which counters such doom and gloom.
Does this mean all is lost? Does this mean perhaps Mac
users and developers really are leaving the platform in
droves as these Mac Prophets predict?
I don't think so.
These Mac Prophets may have loud voices, but in reality
they are operating in the dark just like everyone else.
Worse, they are offering their opinion... not scientific
fact to back up their claims.
As a developer, this scares me.
Doom and gloom is bad for business.
These Mac Prophets, who profess to love the
platform so much, say they are only doing what is right...
they are only telling the truth... that they have some
special skill or insight that enables them to have a
"perspective" on the Mac market which qualifies them to make
such proclamations and predictions. These Mac Prophets say
they must play the role of the inquisitor with repsect to
Apple because it's what Apple needs.
Well from my experience, the consumer does not like bad
press. When a consumer sees doom and gloom, they forgo
purchasing MacOS systems (from Apple or clones) and that
means they forgo purchasing software!
The Mac Prophet's Inquisition is hurting Mac business in
general. It's bad enough we have the regular press to deal
with. Yet we have these Mac Prophets who say they are one of
us, yet from my perspective have been worse than the general
Some Mac Prophets say they are simply giving Apple some
tough love.... or that they care so much that they must
speak out... or that they have a lot invested in the Mac
platform so they are justified in such doom and gloom. It
reminds me of the parent that claims beating their kid is
for their own good. This is gonna hurt me a lot more than
it's going to hurt you (as the saying goes)... Ya
right!...Beating leaves nothing but scars and wounds which
sometimes never heal.
The Mac community is in a hysteria whipped up by these
Mac Prophets which tell us one thing and factionalize the
Mac user base. They ask us to sign petitions and tell us
users have been writing in to support their position.
The bottom line is the Mac platform.
As a software developer, what I care about is the
- Is the
OS getting better?
- Are the features we're asking for getting
- Does Apple have a plan for the future OS?
The answer to these questions is - Yes!
Apple has been delivering system releases on time and
with new features. There's a lot to celebrate within the
Mac community. Yet from our Mac Prophets, you'd never
know it. Their doom and gloom message overshadows any
news that *really* matters.... which is the platform.
Apple's business decisions are going to be what they
are going to be. No Mac Prophet can change that, though
they think they can. Users have legitimate concerns, but
those are best addressed to the company who has the
ability to make the changes... and that's Apple. Apple
has several e-mail addresses to register one's concerns
So what's the result of the Mac Prophet's doom and
Loss of consumer confidence.
The very thing these Mac Prophets supposedly want to do
is support the Mac platform. However, the exact opposite is
occurring. There's *never* a time when negative attitudes
attract customers to your platform.
One Mac Prophet, who previously spread his
doom and gloom, has now seen the light since talking with
the creator himself! He's now "relieved about Apple's
Yet, nothing changed in Apple's plans. Apple is still
doing what it was always doing. The Mac Prophet's words
didn't change Apple's directions. The only difference is
that the Mac Prophet got some insight from the creator. Now,
he no longer has the same doom and gloom outlook.
But if reality didn't change, what does this say about
It says that for all the huffing and puffing the Mac
Prophet did, the reality was a lot different than the Mac
Prophet led everyone to believe.
Because the Mac Prophet in question wasn't
dealing in fact. He was dealing in rumor. He was dealing
from a position of not knowing. So instead of talking about
items from facts, the Mac Prophet came to conlusions and
opinions based on rumors... which got ugly, were doom and
gloom, and were more ammunition to scare consumers away from
What does this lesson teach us?
That the reality of the situation may be far
different than the rumor. It teaches us that the Mac
Prophets don't have any special abilities to predict the
future or tell fortunes. When they say Apple needs to do X,
Y, or Z or else they'll die, they have no special abilities
to make such a claim.
Most of all, it teaches us we must think for ourselves.
If we love the MacOS platform, we must deal in facts... not
rumors. We must understand that the proper place to voice
our concerns about Apple's business decisions is Apple
computer itself. We must be be very aware that if we spout
doom and gloom, that we are actually hurting our platform,
not saving it.
Does this mean we shouldn't be concerned about
directions Apple takes or items of interest which affect us
as consumers and developers?
Of course not! There are valid concerns. Yet
we must always make sure to deal with the facts. We must
always make sure we are taking in *all* considerations, not
just one side. As MacKiDo Master David K. Every puts it, we
must make sure to have balance.
For the record, this developer is *not* leaving the MacOS
platform. I will continue to develop software for it. I also
plan on developing software for Rhapsody (products I
cannot announce yet).
As a consumer and Mac user, I am going to be a lot more
skeptical next time a Mac Prophet tells me something not
based on hard, cold facts, or is not balanced. I'm going to
make sure I think for myself, temper any doom and gloom I am
compelled to repeat, and most of all realize that these Mac
Prophets are just normal, average people like you and I with
an opinion to share... but that's about it. If they ain't
the creator himself, they probably don't have anymore of a
clue than I do.
Personally, it's time we get back to the MacOS and the
NEWS surrounding it. After all, to borrow a phrase,
it's the OS stupid!
~ Mark Murphy
(1) Message from David Every
I have known Mark for many years,
and he is definitely
a Mac Advocate.
Mark has done many custom software
applications for many companies, including; Disney,
Allergan, Quantum Health Care, CareLink, NTC, and others.
He has also done several commercial
applications such as: