Several times this week, I heard people ask, "what is it about (OS) users?" or "Why (OS)?". Well, I actually have an answer; the answer is simple, and is below the asterisks in this post, but first a little computer history.
In a time when computers were known to take up entire buildings and required a crew of PHD holding technicians to operate, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had an ambition to provide computers to "normal people". They simplified the operation of the super-computers of the time that could mimic their purpose on a level that did not require 8 years of college to understand, because business people and college students were beginning to see the usefulness of computers, but few could were in a financial or knowledgeable position to use one.
An analogy of this simplification, is that they sold TV dinners to people who didn't know how to cook, but couldn't afford to go out to eat. Nice and prepackaged with instructions easy enough to follow. When home computer companies realized they needed to hold the user's hand to get them to be unafraid of the computer, a lot was held back so that the user could not make a mistake that would take one of those PHD holding technicians to fix.
Apples cost a lot of money and competitors often popped up with cheaper alternatives, Microsoft was the most successful of them with the Windows OS. Being a quick and dirty alternative to Apple, Windows didn't have much support aimed at it's users, but to it's hardware compatibility, so users of Windows bought the computer/OS reasoning that if/when they needed another hardware component they would be able to have access to it where as other alternatives such as the TI-99/4A had hardware that came and went, and therefore not a reliable investment. However, MS was a quick and dirty fix to Apple, so users who bought the cheaper computer/OS had to understand their computer closer to the hardware and software to make it work in ways that were seamless to Apple users.
In analogy world, it would look something like: The Apple user goes to their refrigerator, gets a TV dinner, throws it in the oven, sets the timer on the oven, and enjoys. The Windows user who has hooked up a generator to their refrigerator, puts the TV dinner into the oven, goes outside, calibrates the amount of gas that goes to their oven, then comes back inside, lights the oven, and watches a sundial until it's finished. Drop jawed, most Apple users would say, "Why would you put up with that? Windows is horrible!", but to the long time Windows user, this is just the way of life, and to some, they believe they know their OS better than Apple users because of it.
Like a testament to evolution, Linux happened in 1991. It came into popular use because of the internet later. PC users had grown to understand more and more about what their computer could do, if only the OS would allow for it. College students were learning about UNIX systems which were basically the only systems capable of hosting internet sites at the time. Apple and Windows were setup to restrict users to the point where they could explore their computers without damaging them, but Linux allowed the user full access to everything, with the draw back that the user had to make it all work. To pioneering web hosts, programmers, and power-users this was an acceptable cost to do what they wanted to do.
In analogy world, both the Apple and Windows users stare drop jawed at the person who takes a month to build a combo refrigerator-oven from a kit that has so many buttons it looks like it requires a PHD to use, but when used correctly right pops out meals that look like they came from a fancy restaurant.
Each were created to fulfill specific needs, but since then they developed into a back-and-forth game of fixing the problem of "but (a different system) has (some unique feature)!", which has basically made each OS as capable as the other two for most tasks. I will state as a fact that high end gaming works better for Apples and Windows than it does for Linux.
I have used all three systems as my main desktop at different times, because I needed to know why everyone seemed to want to argue one over the others. What I discovered was that each has its merits and each has it's flaws. If you happen to be a computer god, then working with any of them is not a set back, but a mere mortal may have a set of priorities they need to address which is more readily available on one system than another, and/or feel that they have invested too much time, effort, and or money into a system to make the change worth it.
To people asking, "What's with (OS)?", I would like to say, why not try the system out and answer that question for yourself? Apple users can run all three, and Windows/Linux users can check out Apples at Apple Stores or Best Buys, and run which ever they are not using. The information to use any of them is freely available online.
Now, it may be that some people asking why are actually trying to belittle others into using their system of choice only because they do not see any other system as being worthy, and to those people, I would like to say: get over yourselves.