updated 09:25 pm EST, Tue February 26, 2008
Oregon State Mac usage
A growing number of professors at Oregon State University are relying on Macs, according to one report. Reasons for the increased Mac usage include PC compatibility, an improved operating system, 'Get a Mac' ads, and better technical support. While Macs don't comprise a majority of the computers at Oregon State -- roughly 150 out of 3,000, or 5 percent -- the number of Macs is rising, according to CIO. "Macs are more friendly to PC users than they used to be," said Tammy Barr, the director of technology services at the school. Apple's Boot Camp software and applications like Parallels Desktop enable PC users to work in their own environment on newer Macs, easing the transition process.
Barr said Macs used to be notorious for 'bomb' system errors, but Mac OS X has changed all that.
"Now Macs have a much more stable operating system," she said, noting that Oregon State currently support Mac OS X 10.4, as well as a few Mac OS X 10.3 clients. The school is also working to transition to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
Apple's popular 'Get a Mac' TV spots are also causing a stir, according to Dave Nevin, IT manager for college community network.
"The Mac vs. PC ads are very compelling marketing; and I think they've had sway," Nevin said.
Technical support stands as a fourth reason the University is relying more on Macs than ever before. Apple's system software relies more and more on Web-based applications, which reduce the importance of the underlying operating system.
"Since I went to a Unix base, it's become easier to find people who are familiar with the core of the Mac OS," Nevin explained. "So support is getting simpler because of that familiarity."
Nevin says Macs are quicker to deploy than PCs, and that training users is a smoother process. The IT manager admitted however that PCs are easier to support overall because updates can be created centrally and released to users automatically. Mac OS X does not yet offer that capability.