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rotting Apple

2006-06-07 16:25:15.834044+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Mark Pilgrim: When the Bough Breaks:

And so forth. In fact, I spend the vast majority of my time using these and other open source applications (Carbon Emacs, Colloquy, Audacity, Seashore, Python, and a variety of command-line tools). Why keep running them on an operating system that costs money and restricts my rights and my usage?

Mark talks about why he's dropped the Mac for Ubuntu Linux. Since my Linux[Wiki] laptop died, I've been making do with the Mac, but as I look at installing various applications and go through the hassles of running stuff that isn't official Apple (but should work better, I hate iTunes and I'd far rather have xmms on this box), it's just a pain in the ass to install stuff here. Is it in /usr/bin or /Applications, why is the shipped version of that library so ancient, and on and on.

After the umpteenth time of something not working, and not knowing where to start on fixing it, I too am thinking "why not just work on the platform that all of these apps I'm using were initially developed on and for?".

[ related topics: Free Software Apple Computer Open Source Work, productivity and environment Macintosh ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-07 16:57:38.590446+00 by: mvandewettering

I must admit, I really like Ubuntu. Not only is it a pretty spiffy product, but it has a philosophy that I can actually get behind:

The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Philosophy: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

These freedoms make Ubuntu fundamentally different from traditional proprietary software: not only are the tools you need available free of charge, you have the right to modify your software until it works the way you want it to.

It's just damned spiffy. While I still think that Fedora Core might be just a teeny bit more polished in certain ways, (I had some small difficulties with Dapper Drake as it came out of the box) I like the overall packaging and style of Ubuntu much more.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-07 19:03:52.545132+00 by: Mars Saxman [edit history]

The flip side of that freedom is that you are responsible for making your system work. That's fine if you're a sysadmin and configure things for a living, but as far as I'm concerned all that stuff is tedious and boring. I just want the machine to stay out of my way and let me do what I do.

I've made two serious attempts to switch to Linux, over the course of my career, and each time I've drifted back to Mac OS, wondering why Linux people are still putting up with all that fiddly configuration crap. For ten years I've been hearing about efforts to make Linux easier to manage, and projects to make it look less ugly, but nothing seems to have changed. It looks more like Windows, I guess, but that isn't really a plus in my book. I begin to think that the people who work on Linux actually enjoy all that tedium, or are at least so used to it they don't see it anymore, and aren't actually interested in making it go away.

Then again, I never install anything if I can help it, and Apple's apps don't bother me. I would rather do more work using simple, basic, clean, functional tools than deal with high-powered super-tools that can do everything in a flash but don't make any sense until you've spent a year learning them. I want to drive a jeep, not a sports car, you know? Apple's programs are perfectly serviceable. Safari works, iChat works, Mail.app works, and I've never understood what bothers people about iTunes. I've even started using the ilife apps, after some grumbling: iPhoto, iCal, GarageBand, they all do just what they look like they should do, with no hassle.

So maybe it's hard to find the details under the façla;ade, when you need them, and maybe it's more work to do advanced things. Big deal - at least I'm not spending all weekend installing libraries and downloading crap off cpan and running ./configure scripts and poring through man pages and digging through source files trying to figure out why stuff doesn't build and chasing down the latest versions of various libraries I've never heard of and upgrading this or that shell tool and on and on, just to get some shell script I don't understand to awkwardly kinda solve some problem I could have brute-forced in half the time.

I love the idea of free software, and release everything I write in my free time under the GPL, but Linux is a pain.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-07 19:15:07.711137+00 by: Mars Saxman

ah, I should add: I hate xCode. If I had to stare at that clunky wreck all day I might feel like switching platforms, too.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-08 02:15:38.240954+00 by: markd

I program macs for a living. I just use xcode for managing the projects and setting build systems. Outside of that, I just use emacs and xcodebuild from the command line. Has the nice side-effect of giving me 90% of the same UI whether I'm working on Linux stuff or Mac stuff.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-11 20:15:13.302466+00 by: ebradway

What's really sad about this is I use Audacity and Python under Windows all the time with little issue...

It's been a while since I've really done much in any flavor of *nix, but it seemed that *nix was always at a dangerous precipice of half the apps being developed under one branch of one development environment and the other half developed under others. Every once in a great while, one environment would completely win out over and all apps will get ported.

*nix may appear to provide a common foundation but really, it's lots and lots of commonalities among foundations but no truly complete commonality. And anytime a flavor of *nix goes proprietary, be it OS-X, Irix, Solaris or even Red Hat, you start getting locked into one vein of the commonality.

As someone who has been quickly moving away from "programmer" status to purely "power-user" status, I find the idea of dealing with all these environments frustrating. I end up sticking with one environment, despite it's ills, so I can focus on getting other work done. Sometimes I think programming would benefit from the same...