Free At Last!!!

Another OS X advantage over Windows: because (most) OS X applications are not “installed” in the same sense as in Windows, that is, by depositing various .dll, .exe., config, and other files all over the file system, not to mention writing copious amounts of information into a registry, there’s a greater sense of freedom in trying out new applications.

In many (most?) cases, installing an application in OS X is merely a matter of copying it to the “Applications” folder. Uninstalling it is as easy (and complete) as deleting it, and even if some files are left behind in other directories, they aren’t affecting the system’s performance and can simply be deleted as well.

In Windows, of course, the opposite is true: the more applications one installs, the worse the system performs. It’s so bad that immediately after reinstalling a Windows system (likely to get rid of the detritus of a handful of application installations), one often finds oneself purposefully avoiding installing new software because of its potentially deleterious affect.

I remember reading once why Microsoft uses this model. There’s supposed to be an advantage to it, but at the moment (as I conduct a Windows reinstallation because of a buggy software install), I honestly can’t imagine what it might be.

Update: I’ve since discovered that this isn’t really true. Some applications do leave behind components that run on startup, and they do take up real resources. And, they’re not that easy to get rid of–it’s maybe a little bit easier than in Windows, but not by much. What’s perhaps worse is that it’s very inconsistent from one application to another. The advantage remains with OS X, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

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