Mac Vs Windows: What Do You Use?

Given the surveillance industry's reptutation as being, let's say, conservative, and that most VMSes are developed for Windows only, I am curious what people are using.

Please vote on this poll:

Evening All

Well once again you all have managed to touch upon one of my pet peeves...

I can't understand why our industry still looks upon windows and its related software as the solution to all our needs. I haven't recommended a window based solution in the past 10 years and somehow manage to run a small company using only Mac based solutions.

In fact I think of window based solutions as a nothing more than an "oxymoron" and any thing but secuirty based

Just a through or two...


Houston/San Francisco

I use apple for day to day, emails, word processing, designing advertisements..etc. and run windows in the background when I want to see how software will run on windows or run a program I must have windows for.

Having been the "go to guy" for lots of friends and relatives over many years and lost countless chunks of my life fixing Windows PC's, I finally have my life back as a result of convincing almost all of them to migrate to Apple over the past 5 years. Sure thanks to Parallels and Bootcamp I still run a lot of Windows applications but everything seems to be so much more stable/reliable on a Mac.

From a work point of view, I use a new Mac Pro for almost everything including having a Bootcamp partition of Windows 8.1 for running load tests and shootouts of Milestone. How many of you can throw your Demo Server in the backseat of your car without damaging the leather?

We also run our inhouse Milestone Demo inside a Parallels Partition on a Mac Mini which sits on a bookshelf in our board room.

Unfortunately, Apple places too many restrictions on their development environment to enable any of the major VMS's to migrate any time soon but maybe one day this will all change.

Although I'm a technical guy and like to tinker, I realized a few years back that I have only 90 minutes a day that are truly mine; that don't belong to work, wife or children or sleep. So while I'm certainly capable of troubleshooting why a peripheral device won't work with Windows and suffering through hours of finding the solution, that's not what I wanted to do with my precious daily hour-and-a-half.

After being forced into the Mac world because of a work project, I was surprised how devices that I fought to get to function under Windows seemed to "just work" on Mac. My "main ride" these days is a loaded Mac Pro with VMWare to run about 5 different virtual Windows and Linux instances for development on various projects.

Holy crap you get 90 minutes of "me" time!?!?!? Show off! ;-)

I use a Mac at home, because it's awesome. And I use a PC at work, because I have no power over the IT department's purchasing decisions.

I also have an ancient desktop running Ubuntu, but that's just for fun.

Although not used for VMS, our company (approx 500 people) is getting rid of our laptop/docking station and replacing them with Surface Pro 3s with a docking station. A lot more convenient to pull out the Surface and go to a jobsite or meeting and have use of the pen, camera and USB.

I for one prefer OSX over windows any day. I am an engineer and unfortunately have to work with Windows on a daily basis but I do so by running a VM. From my experience windows works hands down better on my MBP then any windows laptop I have ever used. I am supplied a windows laptop for my job but I still use my personal MBP for work instead. If only VMS companies would broaden their point of view and realize windows is not the answer for everything.

I agree on wishing the VMS companies would broaden their OS selection. I have been in the same situation since 2003. Unfortunately, I think Apple's limited product range, lack of customization, and no real server hardware (XServe is long gone) will prevent this from happening on any high-end VMS. That doesn't explain why so few use Linux...

As a Mac user, I am not complaining, but I am somewhat surprised with how many say they are using Macs. Even the poll results show 55% use Macs either only or with Windows PCs.

Not that surprising considering 95% of Mac users have already replied to a poll like this, PC 'voter turnout' likely much lower.

Apple products are generally made of higher quality components, are easier to use, are way more expensive, way less flexible and considered status symbols by many. Like Chevy vs. Cadillac maybe.

Not just talking sMac either, I use and like both. FWIW, poll at this time, 51% - Both, 49% - PC with 115 votes.

Windows at work and Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu at home.

Alright, #TeamNerd represent!

Honestly if Ubuntu had better sound card and video card drivers, Id have no need for either Windows or Mac at home... #TeamNerd

I use both and work part time at a church as part of a pasion of mine that I can't quite give up. I use a Mac for video editing but use a Windows PC for video presentation software. The software is ProPresenter and was originally designed for Mac. At a conference the company was very snobby and stated that they would never make the software for Windows because no one uses Windows and that Mac was the best.

The software does run better on a Mac but I wanted more functionality for my situation in terms of running video displays. I have two graphics cards for running four displays using a custom build for under $1,400. To get that many displays on a Mac, I would either need to use one of their Mac Pro towers which are very expensive or use a Mac mini with two video outputs and would need to use USB to HDMI converters for the other outputs which can't run any intensive graphics due to limited power.

Moving to the VMS world, we have looked at using Mac Minis hung off the back of monitors for mini self-contained video stations with Wireless KB/Mouse because they are reliable small form factor machines. I think for multi-monitor viewing stations, Mac doesn't seem to have a lot of options.

I personally use Windows for my business work and don't have any problems with Windows 7...Windows 8 (hahah) The problem I have with Mac machines is that they are very good for personal use in business or work but how well do they work in a corporate server environment with a DC? They jumped out of the server world a while ago and make a ton of their money on their phones and tablets.

So I guess the environment would dictate which software to use. If only the Mac OS was allowed to be installed on custom built machines and opened up the lock of their marriage between software and hardware...I understand that this is what makes their whole system reliable.

Most problems I encounter with Windows machines are a result of user interaction. More malware is intended for Windows because they have a much larger market share. I believe their would be more problems with Mac if they had the larger market share.

For a VMS viewing station Mac

For a VMS server, Windows.

As a long time Windows user (since 3.1), I have been tempted by the dark side!

windows 7, windows 8 if I have to, android, linux-debian. not mac. I need a computer I can operate, not a box with one button. if I wanted a computer with one button I'd buy a Nest Thermostat.

and macs are not impervious to attack. all the cool kids writing mac attacks are selling them, not releasing them for free, IMO. also Macs make a good infection vector for PHP, Java, etc. so it's not a security panacea. and their update strategy sucks. and their online services are scandalously insecure (as the norcal locals will tell you when they come back from the job interview for the janky tower of shell scripts on unix that runs the i-cloud...)

besides now that all the obnoxious people at Microsoft have "called in rich" it seems to be populated by more rational employees. while the Cupertino Cult hums along, all in white...

I like things to "just work" so I can do what I need to to. So OS X & iOS devices whenever possible. I do run windows 7 on my macbook pro for the times I need windows (home automation & specialty/limited use software.

With IBM & Apple working together to offer enterprise solutions for iOS, it's just a matter of time before the mac goes deeper in that direction. Of course, for my business & office needs I use Apple's products as well. TCO is actually lower on the mac side. Nobody's perfect for sure, but I don't even think it's even a close comparison when you compare the product, software and ecosystems.

We went 100% Mac ever since Windows Vista was released back in the day. I have one PC running Windows 7 for testing specific software that is Windows only (basically all access control software). All of our servers/DVRs are running Linux. A few years back we switched to using Exacq VMS exclusively because they offer a Mac client and you can use Linux for servers. To my knowledge not a single other VMS company offers a native Mac client, only web-based workarounds.

I would echo the sentiments of others that things just seem to work on a Mac. I too have a limited amount of free time and I am so, so happy to not be spending it cleaning viruses off PC's. Like Jonathan Lawry above, I tell friends and family if they're on a PC they're on their own.

DW Spectrum/NX Witness offers a Mac client and it works great. I have ran it on the Mac I am using to write this post.

Would that be cleaning viruses on your own Windows machine or other's machines? I have used Windows for a long time and can count on a single hand how many Windows machines that I personally use that ever got infected with anything. The most recent is one of my mistakes for clicking the wrong link but I quickly ran a scan and removed it shortly after noticing and its been fine since. Most anti-malware that offers active scanning takes care of most attacks along with being proactively aware of anything you download or install. This goes hand in hand with being consious of the security of the network you connect your machine to. Public WiFi can be questionable if you aren't aware of the security hardware behind that network.

I use both, plus Ubuntu and Mandriva, but think that future belongs to Android.

@Kyle - Oh that would definitely be cleaning other people's Windows machines. Malware started getting so nasty a few years back especially with rootkits etc that I gave up - and I know I'm not alone. If you want to keep up to date on this stuff there's an amazing weekly podcast called Security Now which discusses Internet Security and related topics.

What is DW Spectrum? Something that works with only DW equipment or does it support other brands of IP cameras?

It is made by Network Optix as Nx Witness (previously HD Witness) and resold as Spectrum IPMVS in the USA by Digital Watchdog.

I wish I could purchase direct from Network Optix because that is the only thing we've used from Digital Watchdog. We may look into their multi imager cameras when they are available but that's about it. It works with just about any Onvif or RTSP stream. As far as native support, Arecont and Axis and most likely DW cameras are the only cameras to directly integrate with the system without Onvif. The plus for integrating with Axis would be camera-side motion detection. However, the server-side motion detection works fairly well and doesn't seem to excessively load the server.

A plus for DW is they did rework their support to connect to someone via phone that knows abouyt the system. I have called three times and they have helped. Network Optix lists a phone number but they should remove it because getting an unavailable message that doesn't even mention the company name isn't very good.

Hi Kyle - good point about the phone number. Per your request, we've taken it off the website.

Regarding any technical or sales questions customers are encourages to head to our support portal.

I know this is getting a bit off-topic, but I really don't see why anyone would use a VMS other than Exacq. Native client support for Mac, Windows and Linux. Servers can run on Windows or Linux. Support every brand and model of IP camera imaginable. Mobile clients for all platforms. Camera-side motion detection. What more could you possibly ask for?

I just found more and more of our customers were asking for Mac support - that's why we switched to using Exacq.

What more could you possibly ask for?

Server-side motion detection.

Well, I was just looking at all the features of Exacq and I saw your post update. I guess that's one reason why some may not use it. Camera-side motion is nice but do you configure the motion through the camera interface or through the Exacq interface. For being a newer software package, Network Optix seems to cover many things including a phone app on all platforms. It can also run on Linux, Windows, and Mac.

One thing I do like is that I don't have to look at a feature matrix to decide which version is right for me. In its present state there is one full-featured version.

I was looking at all the versions of Office 365, and it made my head hurt. Not only is there work and home versions but so many variations of each with an option to see even more versions.

The motion configuration is done through the Exacq client software but saved on the camera. In my opinion this is the best of both worlds :

#1 - the server is not burdened with motion detection and the camera is doing all the motion-detection work.

#2 - no need to log into each camera to do motion detection configuration - all done through the same Exacq client

#3 - swapping out a server is extremely quick and easy. A lot of the configuration stays on the camera, no need to re-set up each camera.

I realize that I'm totally hijacking this thread which is supposed to be about Mac vs. Windows. I may start a new thread entitled "Why would you use any other VMS besides Exacq?" because I would honestly like to know if there's anything better out there. I get that there's a few improvements Exacq could make, but looking at the big picture I don't see a better choice. Yes Exacq has 3 versions, but if you know the limitations it's extremely simple to choose between Start or Pro. And if you don't like thinking or don't care about costs, just always choose Pro.

This is very off topic. If you want to start a new thread a better title would be "Pros / Cons of Exacq VMS" unless you want to make it very polarizing (i.e., "Why would you use any other VMS besides Exacq?").

In the interests of not hijacking this thread - I've posted a new thread here : Why Would You Use Any Other VMS Besides Exacq?

What more? How about a product not owned by a competitor integrator...? "let's sign up accounts for our competition!!"

Also how about a client interface that looks like it was designed in the last decade?

Almost forgot about that. That's a very good reason.

The ability to set the timezone to something besides GMT-0 for their embedded VMS.

Haha that made me laugh - yes their Edge platform is a bit lacking, but it is cool that it exists. Also, the client design is another good point.

I'm really starting to wonder what on earth you are all doing on your PC's that you apperently need to 'fix' things constantly ?

I am with you there. My favorite comment on Mac/Windwos threads is always something like, "I replaced my 5 year old Windows machine with a new Mac and it is just awesome!!". Of course it is, it is 5 years newer.

Mac is a good thing. I use it at home, but professionally it just does not meet our requirements.

Like many has said, on the server side Apple has ditched it's customers. But even on the client side it's problematic for us. The specifications for the Apple HW is not adequate in an industrial environment. The Mac Mini could be nice to use in many situations, but it is limited to an Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C). In many of our projects +45 is required and in some oil and gass +55 is requiered.

With 170+ votes in, 25% say they use Macs only, 50% say Windows only, 25% say both.

So, the majority use Windows at least part of the time, yet most of the comments seem to be from people who prefer Macs. So the stereotype of Mac users being unable to shut up about how awesome Macs are holds true. Awesome.

With all the flaming going on bashing PCs, I just wanted to chime in with my experience, and give PCs some credit. I do get asked by customers (schools, small businesses, etc.) if brand X has a mac client. For the manufacturers I have worked for, the answer is no. Most customers are used to this. I offer virtual PC options and mobile clients. Most times, this is not a deal breaker. They are used to is. Most software packages (not just security) has this.

I use PCs. I have always used PCs. Everywhere I go - offices, universities, etc., that is what I see everywhere - offices full of PCs, not macs. Yes, there are a few macs here and there, but PCs have been the workhorse of the business world for a few decades. Lets give them some credit.

In the corporate world, with AD, LDAP, full productivity suites, corporate mandated software, etc., there is no comparison. A Mac is limited. Yes, it gets the latest video editing software, but now let's talk about the bulk of the machines that make up large companies...

No OS is perfect. Yes, we had to play around with Windows 98 drivers and XP driver and Vista drivers when it first came out. Yes ME sucked. However, I can take a 10 year old scanner and plug it in to a PC and get it working pretty quickly. Most Macs have a very short life span becasue the user always wants the newest one. Back in the day, the only way to get hardware - scanners, printers, etc. was from Apple for a nice price tag.

It ubiquity of USB devices, etc is from the PC world. Mac tried using firewire, SCSI, etc., to keep their proprietary. They keep holding to their own "standards" to look special. They are the only phone that refuses to adopt micro-USB - until the EU stepped in forcing their hand. All other manufacturers adopted since the 2009 Mobile World Congress.

FWIW, I took a 10 year old PC, and installed Windows 7 last week. The install was so quick - I was amazed. The performance for an old PC was amazing.

I started a related topic: Your Laptop: Flash Storage Or Hard Drive? Please vote on that. Thanks.

To help Windows out a little as well. I have been using Windows since Win95 and that was the 1st computer I have ever bought. Since, I have moved to win98, winxXP, and win7. I also play with and use a little of Ubuntu, just to be familiar.

The other part of my business is IT Services for small-medium size businesses. I'm no expert. I have several clients that have MACs and for the most part they do work and tech support is good, but it seems that when they decide to take a crap, it's all over. If I can talk the client in to letting me build their system, I don't have any issues after that. I use free a Firewall suite with AV and so on. The only issues I have with my machines that I build are when a hard drive decides it doesn't want to play nice any more.

I design and build my VMS machines using Exacq and Milestone. The only issues I have are video drive failure. All of my machines with the exception of a few are running win7. WinXP on 2 and Ubuntu on 2. I don't have any OS issues, virus issues, or any other real hardware issues.

Last year, one of my large clients, which is an international web/tech corporation had decided to take a run at my Exacq system I built and installed for them. My contact with them works in their IT Security and had claimed my machine was causing their firewall to "go nuts". When I got on-site to check it out, someone in their department had logged in to the system successfully, logged out, then attacked it in attempts to break in. They never gained access beyond what they have perssion to. The combination of Exacq and Firewall logs told me exactly what they were trying to do and which IP was doing it. I submitted my report to my contact with all of the data. Crickets on his end.

So, I'm still Windows. I don't like win8, but following MS track record for OS deployment, win10 should be good because it seems every other OS they release, since XP, is good. I would use more Ubuntu, but I'm still waiting for some other back-end software that I use to come out for Ubuntu.

On the mobile side, Android all the way. I'm constantly giving my wife and other family members hell about their iPhones. Any time they call me to talk about any problem, tech related or not, I stop them and tell them it's because they have an iPhone. Some of the software features that my wife was touting about the iPhone 6, I told her I have as stock on my Galaxy S3 (Rooted and Cyanogen Mod 11). I asked her what size Micro SD can she put in her iPhone 6 and where's the micro-USB port. Does she still have to use the ultra-invasive iTunes to manage everything too. Yep. Total cutting edge innovation. Haha.

Just my 2 cent to help out the Windows crowd.

My workplace is pc with windows 7 and virtualboxed ubuntu(s). And thats fine.
And i am using macbook retina as a portable computer for home and trips, and it perfectly well when it comes to hardware. As for sw, in a couple of my typical scenarios mac is a more pain than windows, so i am using bootcamped windows 8.1 (works excellent), and a few ubuntu in parallels.
In general, no plans for changes with the exeption that i want to avoid time capsule as i have no benefits from it strong points and its weaknesses are REALLY painfull.

OS/X doesn't have to mean overpriced. Reverse bootcamp. Save $2100?

P.S. I can just hear the contemptous chortling of 100 Mac owners, and I'm proud to be one of them.

$2800 gets you the top of the line 27" 5K display iMac -with an external disc drive/same RAM,HD- so the numbers don't really add up. $2300 gets you the "standard screen" (more than HD) 27" iMac with a much better display. And $1600 gets you the 21.5" iMac with similar general specs. So when you factor in your time, the lesser quality parts/fit&finish, the lack of real support & warranty, AND the software, you'll probably end up paying more for less. Not to mention all the "intangibles" that make an Apple product what it is...

Spec for spec, and for the overall package and experience, the pricing is actually more than fair. I can see where if you already have the PC or if you have parts and are building a purpose specific machine, that would be the way to go.

Most will stick with what they're comfortable with if it works. I use windows 7 on an Apple laptop ONLY when it's not available as a native OS X product. Everything else is run on my laptop (now 7 years old and it still is a workhorse). For single purpose machines with native software, a windows PC is just fine and actually cost saving. It all depends on the need and the application.

As mentioned above, Network Optix has a Mac client for managing the Nx Witness system.

Personally I'm a Mac user and use the client when doing screenshots.

A question for everyone on the thread - Would a Mac server also be a useful feature? Does anyone have clients requesting the ability to install the entire security system on Mac hardware?

Tony, if you want to ask an off topic question (e.g., Mac Server), that's fine, but create a new discussion for it.

John - not sure how it's off-topic. Thought this thread about was about Mac vs. Windows and the uses of both?

Tony, if you want to debate this with me, email at

But think about it. The topic is: "Mac Vs Windows: What Do You Use?" and the poll question is "For your desktop or laptop, what do you use?"

Now, you want to talk about whether people are interested in VMS software running on Macs? That's clearly a different topic.

Also, I am trying to help you. If you start a new topic, for sure, you will get more responses than by posting it at the end of a long discussion that we are finished promoting.

No problem, John. Just wanted clarification about how it was off topic and your explanation makes that clear. I'm new to the discussion boards here, so I may make a gaff every once in a while. Thanks!

I use a Mac desktop whenever possible and wish there was more available in the security industry for its use. Using Bootcamp with Windows 7 and XP on different boot drives has been a good option for me. Also, I have recently been testing Mac Security Spy surveillance software and been very pleased with it. It has worked flawlessly with various ONVIF cameras I have tested.

I'm using a Mac Pro tower, single processor, 2.26Ghz, 20GB memory and PCIx SSD hard drives. Used Mac Pros run $400-800 and planning on getting another one to run as a surveillnace server. Many people have used Mac Minis and would like to test these in the future as well.

I started using Macs in 1984. I still have my original 128K Mac on my desk at work as a decorative/conversation piece. I used Macs exclusively through the late 80’s in the university environment where I worked when at that time Macs were well supported by Apple and academia. I used a lot of Unix (and SunOS) as well as some NeXT—which to us made sense as the perfect desktop if they weren’t so expensive—it had the BSD kernel and a well integrated and elegant UI.

I had to give up on the Mac when Apple lost their way in the mid 90’s. The Mac’s had horrific networking support (implemented at the application layer rather than in the kernel in MacOS) just as networking was becoming a huge factor in the computing environment. PowerPC was struggling to keep up with Intel CPUs and MacOS had been played out. I fully converted to Windows NT for some time as it was a serious rearchitecture of Windows and the PC hardware was hard to beat for the price. All along I continued to use Unix and eventually Linux on the server-side, but my desktop/productivity PC was Windows for several years.

When OSX came along it changed everything. It took a few years but Jobs eventually overlaid the NeXT vision onto the Mac and got to at least a competitive price to bring me back into the fold. I remember getting my wife a PowerBook and ssh’ing into it from the other end of the couch and my jaw dropping at the ‘real’ computer that was under the simple UI. Since then I’ve enjoyed MacBooks and iMacs as they “just work” while still being useful machines on the command line. The hardware is well designed and competitive price-wise with other high end PCs.

In the engineering culture these days it is split about 60-40 PCs and Macs. We were lucky in that our IT staff had a strong core that came from Apple and so the company was Mac friendly up until the acquisition—and it’s stuck pretty well since. Many in engineering like using a Mac if they can, but some are either programming for Windows or prefer Windows. IT supports Windows but most in Engineering who prefer Macs don’t really want or need ITs help anyway.

As for what’s “better” I still have a healthy respect for PC hardware (Mac is just a PC afterall) but like the elegant design and build quality in Macs more so than most (but not all) PCs. Windows and OSX are probably comparable in terms of the underlying system architecture. UI-wise I think OSX is probably as good as it’s going to get while Windows has nowhere to go but up given what a disaster Windows 8 has been. I wish MS all the best with Windows 10 given that as others have pointed out most of the world uses Windows and we’re all going to have to deal with it sometimes so I hope it’s more useful in the future..