Jackass of the Week: Paul Thurrott

Paul Thurrott has published a price comparison between the Mac Pro and Dell Precision workstations, with the goal of configuring “two nearly identical systems as cheaply as possible”. His original post, now corrected, showed the Dell coming out cheaper, but he inexplicably configured the Dell with a cheaper processor in that comparison. In the updated post, with both systems configured with 3.0 GHz Xeon CPUs, the Mac Pro comes out $500 cheaper. But even still, he has configured the Dell as a (cheaper) 32-bit system, justifying it thusly:

Note: A number of readers suggested I configure the Dell as a 64-bit workstation. While that’s possible, that’s not exactly a mainstream configuration these days on the Windows side.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t quite be enough to garner Jackass of the Week honors (especially since Tiger, the shipping version of Mac OS X, only offers 64-bit support at the POSIX layer). What puts Thurrott over the top is the hypocrisy of his “64-bit isn’t mainstream on Windows” justification. Last week, regarding the vastly improved 64-bit support in Mac OS X 10.5 announced at WWDC, Thurrott himself wrote:

Thanks to the 64-bit Xeon chip that will be shipping in the new Mac Pro systems, Leopard will be fully 64-bit enabled (unlike Tiger, which is only partially 64-bit and then only on certain Power PC [sic] systems). That means that OS X will finally do what Windows XP x64 Edition did last year: Run 32-bit and 64-bit applications natively, side-by-side. Good for them.

So when the feature was announced at WWDC, it was a catch-up feature that Thurrott claims put Apple two years behind Microsoft. But when it would have made Dell look even worse in a side-by-side pricing comparison, it’s “not exactly a mainstream configuration”.

Jackass.

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