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How Apple Killed the Linux Desktop 933

Posted by Soulskill
from the linux-mobile-seeking-vengeance dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Klint Finley discusses Miguel de Icaza's thoughts on how OS X killed Linux on the desktop: 'de Icaza says the desktop wars were already lost to OS X by the time the latest shakeups started happening. And he thinks the real reason Linux lost is that developers started defecting to OS X because the developers behind the toolkits used to build graphical Linux applications didn’t do a good enough job ensuring backward compatibility between different versions of their APIs. "For many years, we broke people’s code," he says. "OS X did a much better job of ensuring backward compatibility."' This, he says, led developers to use OS X as a desktop for server programming. It didn't help that development was 'shifting to the web,' with the need for native applications on the decline."
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How Apple Killed the Linux Desktop

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  • It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravyface (592485) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:15AM (#41164561)
    Because nothing beats Linux for package management. Miss not having a repo of open source at my disposal; the App Store will never touch it.
  • In other Words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:16AM (#41164563)

    Linux killed Linux on the Desktop. "I would be on the Desktop, if it wasn't for those pesky Operating Systems with their fancy backward compatibility!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:17AM (#41164585)

    Sheesh not another fucktard slashdot troll if we say it enough times it must be true post.

    When did slashdot get so fucked up?

    Posted from my perfectly working LINUX Desktop thank you very much.

    bleat bleat linux must be dead OSX, bleat bleat Linux destroyed by Windows 8, bleat bleat APIs will eat you babies and Linux, bleat bleat TUX is a stoopid logo, Apples are better, Linux must be dead bleat bleat.

  • by iCEBaLM (34905) <{icebalm} {at} {icebalm.com}> on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:18AM (#41164593)

    Windows 7 was the nail in the coffin, if Windows 7 wasn't as good as it is, and another Vista stinker was pooped out of Redmond then Linux possibly may have had a chance.

  • De Icasa, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BanHammor (2587175) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:19AM (#41164603)
    I can't manage to notice that Ubuntu or Mageia or Fedora stopped shipping because bam, Linux Desktop is killed by MacOS X. Can you tell us why exactly is Linux dead? (And why would we trust Icasa anyway? It's not like he actually did anything of note or made the right choices in the last 4 years or so.)
  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:20AM (#41164615)

    So, the way I see it, there are 3 competing families of OSs. That is Windows, Linux and Apple. With Linux traditionally installed on about 1% of desktops, I would think that Windows is the big loser here. If OS X is nowadays installed on 6 -7% of desktops (see: TFA), then it's Windows that lost marketshare.

    Sure, it could have been Linux to steal that marketshare. Linux might still benefit from it though... once the market realizes that you can switch without turning your PC into a smoking pile of rubble, they also might try Linux. I still think that Ubuntu is a very decent option.

  • Actually Miguel... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Onymous Hero (910664) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:20AM (#41164617)

    Gnome3 has killed the Linux Desktop. Thanks.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gravyface (592485) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:22AM (#41164653)
    Never found MacPorts to be nearly as friendly/comprehensive as a good ol' Ubuntu apt repository. It's also 3rd-party and at the mercy of Apple and requires a bunch of prerequisites.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:24AM (#41164675)

    I agree with the statement that "OS X killed Linux on the desktop", but it's not because Linux developers "defected" to using Mac OS X instead.

    Rather, I think it's quite the opposite that actually happened. Designers (not developers!) infatuated with the Mac OS X ideology tried to bring that mindset over to Linux desktop environment projects like GNOME, Unity, and to a lesser extent KDE. Even other applications, like Firefox and Chrome, have been stricken by this problem.

    Basically, these designers have done everything in their power to dumb down and otherwise molest the Linux desktop experience. GNOME 3 is the ultimate example of this. While GNOME 2 wasn't perfect by any means (and no software ever is), at least it was usable and predictable. People could use it to get some real work done. Then GNOME 3 came along. It was quickly co-opted and infused with the crap that's commonplace within the Mac OS X and iOS way of doing things.

    Anyone who has tried to seriously use GNOME 3 knows what I'm talking about. Put politely, it's a heaping pile of shit. Usability was completely thrown out the window. The emphasis was put on making it look "pretty" and "trendy", rather than making it into a useful tool. This is, of course, a big reason why it fell flat on its face. It's now going down in history as one of the biggest open source disasters of all time.

    The same has happened to the Firefox UI. It was once sensible, with the traditional menus and toolbars, and a useful status bar. Then Mac OS X started to become popular among the design community, and things went to hell within Firefox's UI. Like with GNOME 3, usability was again thrown out the window in the name of "aesthetics". Now Firefox's UI is quite awful, and requires much reconfiguration and the use of numerous plugins to restore the usability that the Mac OS X-inspired designers decided to throw out for no good reason.

    The Mac OS X and iOS mentality has its place, and that's in low-end (although perhaps unnecessarily expensive), consumer-grade devices meant mainly for consuming pointless social media "content". It does not belong on Linux workstations, especially ones where usability is extremely important, and productivity is a must. But now that it has infected what were once usable desktop environments, many within the Linux community are beginning to really feel the pain of this terrible design ideology.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gagol (583737) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:27AM (#41164703)

    ^ This

    Running on Linux fulltime for 3 years and counting... I find it funny how in so many people's measure the non-commercial linux offering with commercial metrics. Linux fills my niche pretty well, employees at Google would agree with me too. The desktop is a viable alternative, I say it suceeded where it counts, to computer literate people like me and many many other slashdotters.

    Market domination is not the only way to succeed.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:27AM (#41164707)

    Like many other geeks I think I looked at Linux desktops back in the Gnome 1 days and thought "Hey, this thing will be really nice in a couple of years when it's finished." Fast forward a coupe of years, a lot of infighting and a rewrite later and I was still thinking that or would have I hadn't lost all faith that these guys could ever produce anything to rival commercial GUI's. So now I'm a mac user and I get all that UNIX-y goodness and none of the open source drama queen bullshit.

  • Yes, it did help. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neoshroom (324937) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:35AM (#41164769)

    It didn't help that development was 'shifting to the web,' with the need for native applications on the decline.

    Yes, it did help. Web applications definately make switching easier (to Mac or to Linux). He's wrong about the web emphasis hurting Linux.

    I'm also not sold on the idea that it was backward compatibility that was the problem either. Of all the options, Microsoft has the OS with the best backward compatibility.

    First, Mac's consistently break things with each new version, unlike de Icaza states. However, what is brilliant about Apple is every time before they introduce a new feature or break an old feature they have a huge marketing push for it. That marketing push makes the users become interested in that new feature. The developers, who want more users and who may also themselves be excited about the feature, then implement it. This is why we see apps bragging about their Retina graphics on the App Store before Retina machines are even widespread or their notifications or, back in the day, their dashboard widgets. Mountain Lion broke lots. Lion broke lots, but the Mac developers always fix this fast because they are very aware of new software versions due to marketing efforts. Linux has nobody marketing each new feature and edition and focusing both the users and developers in this way.

    Secondly, Linux is too difficult for non-computer-literate users to use. It doesn't have to be and indeed strides have been made, but until you will literally never have to use the terminal and you can put a Windows software disk into your Linux CD-ROM drive (while those still exist) and have it install and automatically use Wine with the correct settings and work on the first try without tweaks, it is too hard for grandma.

    That said, Ubuntu with Cairo-Dock is a dream to run compared to any version of Windows out there and I have no idea why people don't use it more. I love it. It's not my main OS though. That would be OS X. I'm one of those people using OS X as a desktop for programming that de Icaza talks about, but I can tell you it wasn't backward-compatibility that made me choose it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:35AM (#41164777)

    Why didn't Linux Desktop take off when Vista hit the market? The fact is that there's no big company pushing Linux desktop and running expensive ads for it on American TV. It will never be more than a niche player.

  • by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:35AM (#41164785) Homepage Journal

    Refurbished Pentium 4's are a terrible pair of rose tinted glasses to view your computing through. Basing that on your computational future isn't in a good boundary layer.
    While lightweight OSs have a place - its not a be all and end all. New computer equipment is in relative terms cheap.

    As for Linux, Miguel is right. A sea of shifting APIs might be accepted at the edge, but anyone making stuff needs stability and this is what you get on a Windows or OSX platform - to some degree. Its never total.

    Is linux still arguing over the 20 ways to do sound? Still? In 2012?

    Good luck to the steam guys trying to build on this sea of swirling open source maelstrom :)

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:38AM (#41164809) Journal

    Gnome3 has killed the Linux Desktop. Thanks.

    Gnome 3 and Unity collaborated on it (did some MS/Apple plant steer them into uselessness?). A pox on both of them, anyway.
    All of our home PCs have migrated to Xubuntu, because xfce gives an actual working desktop. And with compiz, it's snazzier than OSX or Win7.

  • by garcia (6573) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:40AM (#41164831) Homepage

    Windows is losing marketshare, not Linux. Go to a college campus or local coffee shop and look around at those using their computers to do work. Count how many PCs you see and how many Macs you see. I was honestly shocked to see Macs beating PCs every time at many different study locations I was using.

    Those people using laptops are probably not going to be using Linux to do their work and are either going to choose Mac or Windows. While I continue to use Linux on the server and have solely for the last 10 years (I used it on the desktop prior to 2002), I chose Mac over Windows for my laptop and I know many others who went that direction as well.

    In another thread someone said if Win7 wasn't as good as it is, Linux may have had a chance. I disagree. In fact, using Win7 on my work desktop and hating the quirks it has was what really helped push me to the Mac.

  • Re:The real reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by StefanWiesendanger (687733) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:40AM (#41164833)
    OS X had already killed Linux on the desktop when Ubuntu didn't even exist yet.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:43AM (#41164871)
    For consumers, Linux has never been an option because OEMs don't push it. Enterprises have now accepted Linux as servers and in some cases prefer it over Windows and Unix. Win 8 may or may bot change things. Unlike Vista, OEMs can offer Win 7 as a viable alternative as it is not near EOL that XP was. But MS didn't compete against the partners with Vista as they will with Win 8.
  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:46AM (#41164895)

    Except that OSX "stole" a large part of Linux' target audience (on the desktop side of things) and has thus stunted its potential growth. Mac laptops are quite popular in the developer and sysadmin world.

  • Re:One word: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sidthegeek (626567) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:50AM (#41164927)
    It's a catch-22. Commercial software firms won't write consumer products for Linux because there isn't enough demand. There isn't enough demand for Linux because it doesn't run much commercial software.
  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:50AM (#41164933)
    I doubt that. As bad as Vista was, it drove approximately no one to Linux. If anything, OSX would be the one to pick up the exodus, not Linux. But neither really benefited that much from Vista's blunders, because most users just stayed where they were: on XP, and if Windows 7 turned out to suck, they'd probably still be there today.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:54AM (#41164971)

    With Linux traditionally installed on about 1% of desktops, I would think that Windows is the big loser here. If OS X is nowadays installed on 6 -7% of desktops (see: TFA), then it's Windows that lost marketshare.

    On that you are correct. It's not that Linux has lost much in the way of market share - it's kind of difficult to lose what you don't have much of in the first place - but rather it's Mac OS X that has been eating up Microsoft's market share.

    However the story isn't really about who lost market share, but rather who gained it and why. Linux could have been; it could have been right up to the point in time where Apple introduced the x86 version of Mac OS X. Once they did that many geeks lost their desire to run Linux. Mac OS X could bring all the wonderful things about *nix to the desktop in a far more refined form while offering the kind of retail software and media ecosystem that most desktop users take for granted.

    Desktop Linux is still important as a new technology testbed, and of course as the only true free OS (both as in speech and as in beer), but that's about all it has going for it. I for one stopped keeping a desktop Linux installation around after 2008 once I realized that Mac OS X did all of the things I needed (or liked) Linux for. And that's the story TFA is telling: why Mac OS X has drawn away many desktop *nix users, and how the rise of OS-agnostic Web applications has drawn away a lot of the rest.

  • by Xenious (24845) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:03AM (#41165077)

    I promise I'm not trolling. I was very pro Linux as cool new UIs like Enlightenment started coming out. Shortly thereafter OS X really started taking off (albeit fueled by cool hardware design too) and I found that where the Linux UIs were rough and undependable the OS X UI (+look and feel) was sleek, smooth and very polished. On top of that you had all the functionality of the Linux OS underneath it. Aside from a higher cost, it couldn't compete. Temper this with the fact that I'm focusing on client use and not as much on server use.

    Where I see the real value of Linux (and Android) is in embedded systems where GUI design may not be as critical.

  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:04AM (#41165097)

    So your complaint is that you don't know x11 messaging and dbus?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:04AM (#41165103)

    There's a reason that Mac laptops are popular with developers. In a business setting, one may need commercial software like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop. it can't be done on Linux unless one thinks foolishly a user would depend on WINE for this. A Mac is a great platform for web development with Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, etc.

    Macs give you a UNIX OS with commercial and open source apps. Macs also just work. There's no screwing with changing settings so you can actually see your display because the new kernel decided that ACPI video should have the backlight turned off on your POS Toshiba laptop. The sound card works. Crazy stuff like hardware just works on a Mac. Linux could be great and it could get real marketshare if people could only learn to work together. There's so much competition and reinventing ideas in the Linux community. By the time a sound system or video drivers are polished, a new API is out to replace it. It's often not even the kernel that's the problem. There is a benefit to the Linux model, but also a cost. Compatibility isn't all bad. That's why I use BSD and Mac OS X.

    There are some really good, mature Linux developers, but there's also some immature folks working on key projects like Gnome, Ubuntu, etc. that think they can change everything overnight and everyone will follow. It doesn't work like that.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alan Shutko (5101) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:05AM (#41165111) Homepage

    FWIW, I ran Linux full-time from 1994 through 2008. What finally did it for me was power management and the hassle it took to get laptops to work well under Linux. Linux worked well if you picked up a 1-2 year old laptop, because by then you could find support for most of the hardware, but you were in for a world of hurt if you wanted anything new.

    Anecdotally, I know a bunch of people who switched to Mac for the same reason. Get a MacBook, and you had a laptop that could suspend and resume reliably... And you had your shell underneath.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:08AM (#41165147)

    For the average user, not the technical wizz-kid: the average user, Linux was never an option. Id didn't come on their store-bought PC. If didn't "just work" (ever!) and it didn't support most of the peripherals or USB devices that they had or wanted. Blaming Linux's failure to penetrate the average household on anything but it's own lack of marketing, polish, self-discipline, ease of use, support, brand (i.e. not having a million different distros: all the same, but different) or integration is simply an exercise in self-deception.

    OS-X is what Linux could have been if it hadn't fragmented, if it had been properly packaged and supported, if the developers had put some emphasis on ease-of-use instead of "cool features" and obscure options and if it had worked with all the printers, cameras, phones, webcams and scanners that the average user just wants to plug in and have work - immediately and fully.

    If Linux teaches us anything, it's that users will pick integration, polish and design over "free" any day of the week.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:09AM (#41165173) Homepage

    "Agreed. I've been begging my IT department to let me run Linux on my laptop, and run our corporate Windows image in a desktop VM, but they won't let me."

    You just pointed out the only real problem with Linux in a desktop environment: Incompetent IT Departments.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:11AM (#41165195)

    You are an idiot.

    Starting off with an insult, always a good sign.

    Are you saying it belongs on the server, and practically speaking, the smartphone (app stores are essentially package managers, just generally less powerful), but not on the desktop?

    App stores just deliver self-contained app folders [wikipedia.org]. That's about as far from the Linux definition of a package manager you can get.

    Also, while sometimes an app may have a large amount of dependencies, on average, the install is less than the minimal install of other operating systems, and on average, it's a significantly smaller download when you want a single program. You could probably install 2 or 3 DEs with a smaller install size than Windows.

    I dispute this and anyone who has ever installed an app knows how it really goes: you want to upgrade an app and instead of just downloading a small file, you get to upgrade half the gnome packages and assorted libraries along with them. Sure the application itself may be nominally smaller but you have to download a shitton of crap before you can install it.

    Let me put it this way. Windows has "DLL hell", Linux has "dependency hell" and the mac and iOS have ... ?

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:14AM (#41165245) Homepage Journal

    I say it suceeded where it counts, to computer literate people like me and many many other slashdotters.

    If my last in-office job is any indication, that's just not true. For our job laptops, everybody had their choice of Thinkpad/Ubuntu or Mac. My aging brain has never adapted to the idiosyncrasies of Macs, so I chose Ubuntu. But most of the younger workers — the development engineers, the QA people, tech support — had Macs. And they were all masterfully adept at working with them. The fancy desktop idioms of the Mac platform seem to have been polished to a fine gleam. Ubuntu is still a work in progress; its main merit is that it was closer to what I was used to.

  • by kenh (9056) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:14AM (#41165251) Homepage Journal

    So if I'm reading this right, the way Apple "killed" Linux on the desktop is by offering a quality product, with backward compatability, on solid hardware with just enough *nix plumbing to make most casual shell hackers happy?

    Those bastards!

    Don't they know that, given enough time, the Linux folks could have offered a similar desktop experience if they wanted to but it was more important to create dozens of competing distributions with slight incompatibilities and sublte differences between them for no earthly reason other than the whims of the distribution packagers.

  • KDE vs. Gnome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurisuto (165784) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:15AM (#41165263) Homepage

    In the 1990s, I wanted to get into developing GUI apps for Linux. The single biggest reason why I gave up on it was that the Linux GUI effort fractured into KDE and Gnome camps.

    At the time, I figured that one of the two would win out over the other. There was no telling which might win, and I was reluctant to back what might be the losing horse. This was a serious demotivator. Of course, 15 years later, we've ended up with the worst of both worlds: many Linux installations take up the disk space for both, and we've got two unharmonized APIs continuing to fight for a following.

    With MacOS, there is no question what API you should use. Apple offers a very clear path. For that reason, I feel more confident developing for that platform.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:16AM (#41165277)

    I hate to disabuse you of this notion, but exactly the same thing happens on Windows ; only you have to download all the libraries your application depends on every time, even if you already have them, because they all get rolled into a single installer package.

    In addition, people roll their own install modules of libraries because they are hell to get hold of and there is no central repository of standard modules, so they screw up other peoples installers with conflicts.

    MS had to devote a lot of attention to this in Vista and above, which is why the system folder has become so bloaty with so many versions of the same components all installed in parallel.

    The lack of package management on Windows is painful.. couple it with the Registry and it's a world of hurt. On a Linux system, I can do a fresh install, restore my home folder, do a single apt-get with my previously installed package list, make a cup of tea, and get right back on with my work.

    On Windows, I have to find driver install disks, reboot for each one, find the application downloads, together with their license keys, reboot for each one (and hope that they don't have some maximum-install-count online DRM that's going to lock me out), reconfigure everything. No, re-imaging from a backup is not always an option, because you don't always reinstall on the same hardware, and Windows blows chunks when you change it's hardware (unlike Linux, which I have never seen have any serious issues bar having to reconfigure X11, mostly because of closed-source binary GPU drivers). You can't just install the drivers and then restore the applications from an archive because of all the data they dump into the registry.

    A Windows reinstall leaves the operating system unproductive for a couple of days while you work at making it useful again. A Linux reinstall is something you do in your lunch hour - because of package management. Yes, that includes the commercial packages I use on Linux, which have the sense to store their license keys in your home folder, not in a binary database that also contains a vast amount of crud that is not compatible with your new hardware, etc. Anything else I install in /opt - which usually means restoring an archive and making one soft link.

    Not to mention application updates. A single, standard method of publishing and providing updates, rather than a bunch of silly little applets cluttering up my toolbar and holding onto resources (ironically, update notifier applets are probably responsible for a lot of reboots when you update other applications because they hold onto libraries that Windows can't update in place because of it's choice of file-locking policy).

  • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:18AM (#41165295)

    No matter how much of a Linux zealot someone may be, when the applications and supporting files are considered to be "good enough", even when they are not, than any company with paid software options will win. Don't believe me, let's compare diagram software;

    Gnome: Dia (ugliest stencils known to man, and very few of them)
    KDE: Calligra Flow (very few stencils, bugs all over)
    Windows: Visio (good aesthetics, extensive stencil development community)
    OSX: OmniGraffle (good aesthetics, extensive stencil development community)

    Use Dia or CalligraFlow in your job and see how many customers and peers value your drawings for quality.
    Answer = None.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:25AM (#41165421)

    The most important question to ask is "Does it work for me?". If you answered yes, then why should you care what someone else use?

    I use Linux on the server and OS X on the desktop. I like both.

    I don't know why the Linux fanbois are getting all riled up.

    1) We are talking about Miguel de Icaza's opinion.

    2) Truth is much worse. Linux had its own desktops fucked up by their respective projects. Just look at all the bitching and moaning on Slashdot when someone brings up Unity (the default on Ubuntu), Gnome 3, or even KDE 4. (I think KDE is the least offensive).

    Personally I think the reason this topic raises the noise level on Slashdot is the posers that like to boaster their "credentials" by making derogatory remarks about something they don't understand.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shompol (1690084) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:26AM (#41165435)
    Because all closed code is at the mercy of whatever company owns it. Its support can be dropped at a whim of the management, thus "at the mercy" is an accurate description. In fact, all closed software meets the end of life sooner or later, and then all the users who rely on it are SOL. This is not to say that free software is immortal, but at least we are guaranteed that it will be around as long as someone capable of maintaining needs it.
  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gagol (583737) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:27AM (#41165453)
    The point here is freedom of choice. Some prefer Ubuntu, some prefer Macs, some dont have a clue and use whatever is on the machine. The young engineers may one day choose differently, but now our youth is attarcted to bling, a real blasphemy to the whole performance per watt. Many people are superficial anyway and mostly want peer recognition and blending in, if owning a bligny apple product help them with their self-esteem, good for them. I have evolve beyond that need and prefer something I can run in anyway I see fit.
  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ash-Fox (726320) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:29AM (#41165491)

    If by "works exceptionally well" you mean "segfaults often", then yes, you are correct.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:29AM (#41165495) Journal

    Writing this from a Linux desktop at work (yeah yeah) and doing web development. One company forced me to use a AirBook for it and my got is sucked. Not only was it a very badly designed piece of hardware (rounded soft corners EVERYWHERE EXCEPT where you rest your palms. BRILLIANT! I found it to be a slow piece of crap that couldn't be outfitted with a decent amount of memory, something even AMD netbooks can handle (8GB) and the fucking lack of any kind (even MS half-assed version is better) of focus follows mouse makes development just that much more involved.

    And those who claim macports is a replacement for aptitude need to have head re-examined.

    Yes, a Macbook runs smoother then Windows, then again, what doesn't? But as a replacement for doing webdevelopment for software that will run on Linux servers? Not even close. Especially for the price. Sorry but I don't need USB3. I need a VERY fast SSD, plenty of memory and LOTS of screen space. Lighted keys? I can actually afford ceiling lights thank you very much.

    Wait a minute, that name in the summary. Isn't that the mono retard? The thing that has now been completely dumped? Why should I take anyone who thought mono was a good idea serious?

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:29AM (#41165501)

    Because all closed code is at the mercy of whatever company owns it. Its support can be dropped at a whim of the management, thus "at the mercy" is an accurate description...

    I don't know what you are talking about, but what the rest of us are talking about is MacPorts and Homebrew which are open source package repositories.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kergan (780543) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:40AM (#41165635)

    Market domination isn't a goal of FOSS at all, ir shouldnt be. Software freedom is for those who want it and are willing to trade their own time and effort for it.

    Funny how mindsets have changed over the years...

    Back in the heydays, the rage was all about how and when FOSS would eventually wipe out commercial alternatives. Pundits, flame warriors [hutman.net] and trolls all joined forces in predicting that it was going to be a tsunami. Because Free and Open always wins.

    (Some still do, mind you... eg Noyes [macworld.com].)

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:43AM (#41165697) Homepage Journal

    Because all closed code is at the mercy of whatever company owns it. Its support can be dropped at a whim of the management, thus "at the mercy" is an accurate description...

    I don't know what you are talking about, but what the rest of us are talking about is MacPorts and Homebrew which are open source package repositories.

    ..which are at the mercy of Apple. ALL software running on macs is at the mercy of Apple, if you haven't figured that out I don't think you've been following what Apple has been moving towards the last decade - the Garden Of Apple.

    right now it's still at the mercy in the way that Apple allows code outside of Appstore to run. They could alter the deal.

  • Re:De Icasa, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:45AM (#41165725) Homepage Journal
    From a basic standpoint there were already too many ways of doing things, and everyone seemed to choose a different one. Even before Linux showed up you had two or three widget toolkits and half a dozen window managers and every app you brought up probably looked completely different. Gnome and KDE managed to bring a mostly-similar look and feel to the table, unless you still needed some legacy app which may have been done with C/Motif or TCL/TK or some other ancient thing that some developer had fallen in love with at the time. At the same time they split development resources to solving the same problems. I think in this case, the diversity made development a lot more difficult, and everyone ends up having to have ALL those libraries installed to run the applications they want to run anyway.

    OSX presents a nice face -- It's UNIX and you can get a shell and above all it has a consistent interface. I gave it a try and it was kind of nice but just doesn't feel right. After a couple of decades of Linux, I just don't feel right if I don't have to beat my head against getting all my hardware working correctly for a week and a half.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:48AM (#41165761)
    I put that conspiracy theory in the same category as "Linux makes you a communist".
  • Re:It's too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:52AM (#41165857)

    That's precisely my point. Apt-get ALWAYS works out of the box. Any fresh install of ubuntu/debian/whatever will apt-get into anything happily. Brew, in the other hand, is not supported by apple, has to be manually installed and makes you jump a lot of hoops to get anything done. After several days of suffering to install ImageMagick, I gave up and decided to run my stuff inside an Ubuntu VM.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:54AM (#41165895)
    I've had fantastic success with power management on Thinkpads since about 2006. Anything else is a crapshoot.

    I arrived at the conclusion many years ago that it's the hardware that makes all the difference.
  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:02AM (#41166039) Homepage

    apt-get is more like the official app store.

    It comes with the system. It handles pretty much anything. It can even accommodate 3rd parties.

    So in that respect there's really nothing comparable on a Mac. Just stuff that kind of sort of partially covers what apt-get does.

    Being not-quite-comprehensive kind of defeats the entire point.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:05AM (#41166087) Homepage

    The ease with which Ubuntu supported a random laptop in 2006 is why I switched to Ubuntu at the time.

    It's easy to do well when you restrict yourself to a very limited subset of the available hardware and then get the OS preloaded.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:05AM (#41166089) Homepage

    Market domination isn't a goal of FOSS at all, ir shouldnt be. Software freedom is for those who want it and are willing to trade their own time and effort for it.

    I think you will find a lot of people in the open source community who think Linux should be used by everyone because open source software is superior and not just FLOSSies who'll take substandard software because it's GNU/free. I doubt for example that 99.9% of the Android users care about the that aspect of their phone - which is often locked down anyway.

    How can you do that when anyone can contribute? In FOSS land there is no way to enforce regression testing and when contributes give you whatever they want to make instead of that somebody tells them to make?

    Reject the patches? If Linus doesn't like your code, it doesn't go into the Linux kernel period. Maybe the would be contributer gives up, maybe it goes into some kind of test branch or even try for a full fork, but every project is responsible for their own quality. You can't let crap through then complain it's full of shit.

    Of course if you are hardline about that, the community might turn on you and turn the fork into the more popular version but all that'd show is that people care more about the new features than any stability and compatibility. And you can't stop people from aiming the gun at their feet and pulling the trigger.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:09AM (#41166139) Homepage

    > I don't know why the Linux fanbois are getting all riled up.

    It's a story designed to get people riled up.

    They even have a special word for that. Tended to get thrown about quite a bit on Usenet and the old Bulletin Boards.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:10AM (#41166155) Homepage Journal

    But it doesn't discount the fact that TFS (I didn't RTFA, because the premise seems stupid) is just wrong. Apple didn't kill Linux on the desktop. If anything, Linux took a small slice of market share away from Apple by being a second alternative to Windows. Without Linux, anyone who gets disgusted with Windows has no other choice but Apple.

    Secondly, Linux on the desktop is far from dead. Linux is thriving. Nobody killed it.

    Linux was never destined to be the dominant OS desktop no matter how badly many of us wish it were. It's actually cheaper for an OEM tio use Windows instead of Linux because of all the added crapware the OEM is paid to install (AV trials, toolbars, and the other gunk a computer buyer has to clean off). Windows is mostly useable, and has millions in advertising, while few non-nerds have ever heard of Linux. Nobody is going to install Linux until they're just fed up with Windows' behavior or are building a system from scratch.

    Considering that, it's a testament to Linux developers competence and Windows designers and programmers incompetence that Linux has any traction at all. If Linux weren't more stable, hardware fault tolerant, less buggy, has more features and better useability, nobody would bother switching.

    Now, If Apple brought their PC prices down to what a Windows PC cost, that could possibly kill Linux on the desktop, but they haven't and aren't going to.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravyface (592485) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:14AM (#41166229)
    This isn't anti-Apple bullshit, it's the truth: from the MacPorts FAQ:

    Will my MacPorts install continue to work after installing a new major OS release or migrating to a new machine with a different CPU architecture? In general the answer is no. See Migration for how to get things working again.

    Ubuntu:

    do-release-upgrade

    ...

    apt-get install $package

    There's a 99% chance that will Just Work (tm). The other 1%, well, likely something's not right to begin with (wrong apt sources, etc.) or it's an edge case.

    Look, I love my Macbook, but I choose to run VirtualBox with Windows 7 and Ubuntu because I feel that while it does a great job of some things, it's poor at best at other things in comparison to other OSs. One of those things is having a core, reliable package management system: when it's time to release some new code and/or configuration changes for a client, I don't want to get burnt by a 3rd-party package system not working as expected.

  • by leftover (210560) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:20AM (#41166329) Homepage

    OS-X is what Linux could have been if it hadn't fragmented, if it had been properly packaged and supported, if the developers had put some emphasis on ease-of-use instead of "cool features" and obscure options and if it had worked with all the printers, cameras, phones, webcams and scanners that the average user just wants to plug in and have work - immediately and fully.

    If Linux teaches us anything, it's that users will pick integration, polish and design over "free" any day of the week.

    This is the most concise statement of the problem I have seen to date. Slashdotters deride the Apple way: 1 choice, hardware and software and it just works. Also the Microsoft way: 1 choice in software, many in hardware and it mostly just works. Then there is the Linux desktop way: many software options all about 80% complete, any hardware as long as you can write your own drivers and kernel modules. The total amount of effort represented by all the Linux options is more than enough to have completed several options fully equivalent to OSX if that effort had been focused into several efforts instead of being fragmented into dozens. Why does the fragmentation occur? Because too much of the rewards for an OSS project (feel-good stuff like having fun, seeing your own name on a project) come from the first 10% of the work. Something needs to encourage people to complete the next 90%: the hard parts like actually making everything work right, accommodating all the variety in machines and peripherals. Then there is the next 1800% of the job: maintenance. These are the weak links in OSS.

    Projects that work, such as the kernel and Python, have a single person who maintains the vision. This person is able to enlist the help of others to implement the vision. Notice that both of these traits parallel commercial startups. Worker bees in commercial startups are rewarded with wages and stock. What are the rewards for worker bees in OSS projects?

  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:21AM (#41166355) Homepage

    So your complaint is that you don't know x11 messaging and dbus?

    ahh, that's a fatal mistake to mention d-bus where i can hear it being said :) i'll deal with this first, then answer your question directly, ok?

    back in 2005 i did a comparison of the d-bus specification and the DCE/RPC specification. the similarity was... unbelievable. i mean, truly, truly unbelievable. the people who wrote the d-bus specification could *literally* have taken the DCE/RPC specification, substituted different words and then published it as the d-bus specification. let me reiterate that, for emphasis, in a different way. *every* concept that is in d-bus is in DCE/RPC.

    however, what d-bus does *not* have is the higher-level APIs. d-bus is so immature when you compare it to DCE/RPC (and then to DCOM which is built on top of DCE/RPC) that it is a child's toy by comparison. the main thing that d-bus is missing - the main benefit which you get from DCE/RPC and DCOM - is the IDL compiler.

    d-bus expects you to hand-marshal all the data! you get a whole bunch of macros, and you're expected to make your own messages out of them! that's just so fucking shit! you'd actually be better off ripping out d-bus from every single application that has that piece of shit in it, and replacing it with 1500 lines of c code, implementing a unix domain socket, and a bunch of #ifdef macros e.g the SIVAL and SSVAL ones from samba's smb.h header file!

    why is that?

    because d-bus gives you the *expectation* that it's solving a problem, when in fact it's doing nothing of the sort. at least 1500 lines of c code and a few macros leaves you under no illusions that you still have a hell of a lot of work to do. .... which finally provides some context which allows me to answer your question. d-bus DOES NOT provide a means to make it easy to do backwards-compatible interfaces. it doesn't even make it easy to make *one* interface, so of *course* developers go and change the API and throw out all backwards-compatibility.

    what i'm saying is: you've entirely missed the point of what miguel is getting at, and what i am also emphasising. perhaps this is due to a lack of concrete examples. so let's make one, ok?

    what do you imagine would happen if you took some component - say... a gnome "clock" widget that plugs into the taskbar - and by that i mean you took the *binary* not the source code - from Gnome 1.0 (whenever it was written - when was it - 15 years ago, now?) and tried to use it in Gnome 3.0?

    what would happen? it would utterly, utterly fail, wouldn't it?

    now, what miguel's pointing out is that even if you took code from *six months ago*, you have the same problem! and that the consequences of this, over the 15+ years in which linux desktop software has been developing - have burdened both the developers, the users and the gnu/linux distros - with constant problems that they're just getting fed up with.

    contrast this with the fact - the FACT - that if you grabbed a random 20-year-old Microsoft OLE (COM) / Active-X (COM) DLL from anywhere off the internet (assuming you can find it), and you tried dropping that Active-X component into I.E. 10 or into the absolute latest-and-greatest version of microsoft office, guess what will happen? IT WILL FUCKING WELL WORK. ... does that drive the point home? do you understand now that saying "you don't know how x11 messaging or d-bus work" is a) failing to appreciate that i know a fuck of a lot about inter-process communication b) entirely missing the point.

    x11 messaging only works because it hasn't really changed significantly. even if you use x11 messaging for general-purpose communications, you *still* have to create backwards-compatible APIs, and i don't imagine that x11 messaging offers any significant assistance in doing that (otherwise i would have heard about it, a looong time ago).

    backwards-compatibl

  • Re:The real reason (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:26AM (#41166453) Homepage

    Nope. This is just more of the same nonsense where Apple fanboys try to pretend they and their platform are more significant than they really are. They are the same underappreciated road kill that we are. No amount of kidding themselves will change that.

    Their platform lost and is now pretty much abandoned even by Apple. Even Apple has moved on to the next thing where they have a prayer of being successful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:29AM (#41166513)

    I should dig up my old Slashdot account so I can mod you up. This is one of the most insightful reactions to this I've read, and is dead on.

    OSX and many of the other Apple UIs are vastly overrated in my opinion, and they're infiltrating everything.

    It's not just Linux, either: Windows 8 is a mess because of it. Even Windows 7 introduced some of these elements, in the taskbar for example (I do not like OSX-style docking where everything gets thrown into a single icon/widget regardless of function--it takes extra steps to perform tasks related to that program).

    Design as a field suffers from what I'd call the "cleverness" problem: the tendency to value cleverness over practicality or utility. So you end up with products that are aesthetically pleasing and seem clever in some way, but in actual use are completely impractical or more difficult to use than traditional designs that are seen as less innovative. Chairs are the quintessential example: you have lots of beautiful clever modern chairs you'd never want to sit on, because they'd be uncomfortable as hell or fall apart after three uses.

    Apple suffers from many of these same problems in many of their products. I'm not saying all the ideas aren't worthwhile, but people become enamored of the "elegance" of the ideas without actually thinking of whether they're actually useful or not. So, for example, you have people reinventing the keyboard as iPad covers because they've discovered that having a keyboard is useful. Apple mice historically are another example of this: "let's reduce everything to one button!" For me personally, I never stopped hating the iPod controls, where everything is on a single UI element and you have to pay more attention to what you're doing. It's like people think they're more sophisticated because they can figure out how to control the volume and position on the same dial, rather than being irritated as hell that something as basic as the volume is being controlled by the same thing that controls the fast forward and rewind, and have to pay more attention to it as a result.

    Apple makes good products, obviously, but every time I use them I cringe because they inherit all the problems of the design field as a whole. It's infecting everything else, and has become irritating because it combines with this faux-status crap.

    To be honest, at this stage, I don't see much difference between Windows (7), OSX, and Linux. Each of them have their advantages and disadvantages. I like Linux because it's free and fun for me. I can choose the hardware I want, without having it picked for me, and don't have to deal with feeling controlled by Windows or Apple in some way. I'm fine with the fact that some people couldn't handle some of the (mild) complexity of Linux. It's not a superiority thing, it's just there's different needs for different people.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:31AM (#41166547) Homepage

    Linux made the world safe for Unix again. What seemed like an inevitable take over of the server room by Microsoft was blunted. Commercial Unixen continue to thrive and Linux also thrives in the same capacity.

    If you need serious work done, there is a serious alternative. We don't have the nightmare scenario of the amatuers from Microsoft being in control of everything.

    All around, Microsoft is a lot less menacing than it used to be.

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:40AM (#41166719)

    I can't speak for others, but I just wanted to personally refute what you're saying. I myself was a big linux fan, until I realized that Mac did everything I wanted that was *nix-y, but in a stable platform that could run commercial software. So I get to have my command line terminal AND run microsoft office on the same box without having to jump through hoops.

    Add to that the fact that everything 'just works', and I'm ecstatic. I don't have to cross my fingers and hope that suspend/resume works. I don't have to carve up windows drivers and use fwcutter to get my wifi working. I got to the point where I really just wanted to get my job done, and linux was getting in my way more than it was helping me. That was several years ago. I switched to OSX, and haven't looked back.

    I have parallels installed for when I have to run the occasional Windows app, and almost every linux app I could want is runnable on my mac.

    And I'm not saying this because I'm a fanboi (fangrrl?). I'm saying this because I'm pragmatic. I use the tools I feel are best for the job. At work I ended up switching to a Windows 7 box because I was doing enough windows-dependent development that using OSX as my primary OS was a pain.

    All that being said, I've seen how linux has been making some big strides recently. But now I have the enertia of having everything as Mac, and unless Apple does something unforgivably stupid like outright restrict what applications I can install on my computer (which I can't imagine them doing...), I'm probably not going to change anytime soon.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:45AM (#41166813) Homepage Journal

    ^ This

    Running on Linux fulltime for 3 years and counting... I find it funny how in so many people's measure the non-commercial linux offering with commercial metrics. Linux fills my niche pretty well, employees at Google would agree with me too. The desktop is a viable alternative, I say it suceeded where it counts, to computer literate people like me and many many other slashdotters.

    Market domination is not the only way to succeed.

    Linux has been my desktop/laptop OS since 1999, until about a year and a half ago when I got a MacBook from my employer. OS X has been quite decent, and it's actually been nice to be able to get more commercial software for it, but I find I miss many things from Linux as well. I'm still using Linux as my desktop OS.

    My irritation with Apple's courtroom antics reached a threshold last week, though, and I've decided that when my two-year laptop refresh cycle is up I'm going to switch back to a ThinkPad running Linux. I'll miss some aspects of OS X, but it'll be a relief to get back to a proper window manager with usable virtual desktops, focus-follows-mouse, etc., and a machine which doesn't hide so much of its operation from me.

    The excursion into OS X land was pleasant, but it won't bother me in the slightest to go back.

  • Re:It's too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bitingduck (810730) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @10:12AM (#41167247) Homepage

    Until OS X Lion I would have disagreed, but with Lion they're making it harder and harder to use a mac as a dev machine for anything other than apple products. The command line tools are no longer even automatically installed with XCode, and they're less well behaved than they were in Snow Leopard. I'll probably still have to have a mac for some things that I'm working on, but I'm leaning towards switching to linux for non-mac development with my next machine.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @01:46PM (#41170163) Homepage Journal

    For the average user, not the technical wizz-kid: the average user, Linux was never an option. Id didn't come on their store-bought PC.

    So far so good.

    If didn't "just work" (ever!) and it didn't support most of the peripherals or USB devices that they had or wanted.

    Fail. Linux does "just work" and it supports every perepheral and USB device I've plugged into it. Take my Bluetooth USB dongle: drivers and install program for Windows and Mac, but nothing for Linux. Surprise, plug it in and it works. No programs to install, no drivers to install, no reboots, just plug it in and shoot pics to it from your camera or phone. Windows? Install program, reboot, install drivers, reboot, fiddle with it... and it sorta kinda works.

    Blaming Linux's failure to penetrate the average household on anything but it's own lack of marketing

    Indeed, that's the kicker. Most non-nerds haven't ever even heard of it.

    polish

    If you mean "pretty" you have a point. If you mean "well written and well behaved" you're wrong. For example, hardware fault-tolerance. Linux will work on flaky hardware when Windows won't even boot. And it seems that there are bug fix notifications almost every day on my W7 box, seldom on my Linux box.

    self-discipline

    I have no idea what you're discussing here. Whose self-discipline?

    ease of use

    Wrong again. Linux is far easier to use (unless you're using the wrong distro for the job, don't expect to play MP3s from a server distro). In Windows, almost every update, bug fix, driver fix, and every single software install requires at least one reboot and often more. Linux? No boots needed unless you're replacing the kernel or hardware. Shut your two computers down for the night, the next morning your turn them both on. In the Windows box, you have to log on (unless you stupidly left it without a password), then open each and every program and document you had open when you shut it down. Meanwhile, all you had to do with the Linux box is press the on button, it's sitting there like it was when you shut it off.

    Installing a new program? In Linux, open package manager, enter sudo password, find app, click, done. Windows? Search for it on the web, download, double click the install exe, click "yes" to half a dozen UACs, then reboot... and probably reboot again, which of course means opening all your apps and documents all over again. How in the hell is that more user-friendly?

    How is Windows more useable in any way whatever? Remember, I've been using Windows for over fifteen years and Linux for ten; I know the strengths and weaknesses of both. No way is Windows even close to Linux in useability. What Windows takes ten clicks for, Linux usually takes two.

    support

    True, the Geek Squad doesn't work on Linux computers. But a Linux computer, not having much of a malware threat, and lacking that god damned registry, seldom needs any support at all. It just works.

    brand (i.e. not having a million different distros: all the same, but different)

    That's only detrimental to someone too stupid to eat at any reataraunt but fast food, because OMFG THAEAR IS TOO MANY CHOICES!!!! You would rather Ford only carried Fusions, because having to choose between an F110 or an F150 or any one of the many sedans, or any of the many SUVs is just too much for your tiny little mind? This is the stupidest argument you Windows apologists use, and it's embarrasing on a supposed nerd site.

    or integration

    I prefer interoperability and industry standards to vendor lock-in. Again, that's a stupid argument.

    If your comment teaches us anything, it's that Wndows is only for the learning impaired.

    Now go tell Steve to throw another chair, I'm sure his office is only a few floors from yours.

    Sheesh.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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