..... Just some observations
My first 'personal computer' was a Commodore PET which launched in around 1976/77/78 at the same time as the first Apple computer. I picked the PET because the screen, keyboard, tape machine and the motherboard, power supply etc. were a single integrated unit, whereas the Apple consisted of several individual components. Although, the Apple was certainly a better machine.
Previous comment above about PCDOS and MSDOS needs the addition of DRDOS. Throughout the 'DOS period', MS were playing catchup with DRDOS which was always a version ahead and lo-and-behold, the next version of MSDOS would have all the features of the previous DR DOS.
I was told a story about DRDOS and MSDOS. BOTH were in the running to be the first DOS for the new IBM PCs. DRDOS (Digital Research) quoted an honest time until their OS would be ready for market. MS quoted a shorter (but less honest time) and were appointed as the supplier, although failing to make their promised deadline. How true all this is will no doubt be known by those who were involved and if any of them read this, I would love to know ! :)
An interesting thing about running 'Word' on my iMac and MacBookPro, it runs better on an Apple than it EVER ran under 'windows'. Complex formatting always 'changed' between writing it, saving it and reloading it under all versions of 'windows', yet on the Apple, it does as it implies and works well. I have to say that I have dumped MS for anything that happens in my company because glass breaks and I have frequently suffered from shattered windows !!! Like others, I enjoy messing around with various versions of Linux and BSD, but for serious computing where being up-and-running ALL THE TIME is important, as in business, the price of Apple hardware is well justified, as is their OS (Tiger and Leopard) which compared to Micro$oft's 'arm-and-a-leg' pricing, is very reliable and is as cheap as chips !!
If there is something that you can only run under windows, my advice is DO NOT set your Apple up to dual boot. Windows is like Swiss Cheese (full of holes) and will fall over regularly --- leaving you with the task of reinstalling. Better to run VMWare which gives a virtual PC and runs plenty fast enough for most purposes. The advantage is that your windows installation is simply a file, so you can 'install' windows and then copy the file out to a backup drive. When windows falls over (as it will if you use it at all), click/drag/click and you are back with a fresh copy of windows. Also, you can drag-and-drop between windows applications and Apple applications.
I need to get out of here and do some work !! Apple is the longer established of the two, is run by a MUCH nicer guy and employs people who are not just helpful, they are knowledgeable about the products they sell. If I have one complaint it would be that they try too hard to sell me stuff by email. I am already sold, so WHEN I need something new, I will go and buy it from them.
Happy New Year to everyone at the Register. I wish for you everything you would wish for yourselves.