[linux-elitists] Why haven't you switched to MacOS X yet?

Joakim Ziegler joakim@avmaria.com
Wed Jan 8 13:31:41 PST 2003


On Wed, 2003-01-08 at 15:19, Michael Bacarella wrote:
> "After all, it's got all of the benefits of Linux, plus a standardized
> UI and better applications support!"

> I'm getting really sick of that question, and it's becoming more common.

> How do you answer it? My answer:

> It's a closed source system with open source components. The utility of
> Linux is in the community that cooperated to develop it. There is no such
> developer community on MacOS X.  It is proprietary software that picked
> and choosed open source components because even Apple wasn't stupid enough
> to try to spend the thousands of man years duplicating what they could
> get for free today. Them keeping it open source is a convenient marketing
> tool to appeal to geeks, the company has no real interest in open source.

Apple's views on open source seem to be deeply confused. On one hand,
they do stuff like Darwin, and releasing a new browser based on
Konqueror, on the other hand they have all sorts of patents and crap.
But yeah, I believe you when you say they don't have a "real interest",
but then again, very few companies do.

My answer to the question about switching to MacOS X is similar to
yours, plus I usually add something about actually wanting choice when
buying my hardware, the option of assembling my own system, and so on.

Then there's the unmistakable fact that MacOS X still sort of sucks in
several ways. Where I work, there are a lot of Macs, mostly for the
designer and administrative crowd, so I see it up close quite a lot.

It's slow (despite Apple's claims), even on graphics stuff, which is
what it's supposed to excel at. Flash movies on web pages run
ridiculously slowly and choppily, for instance, on my friend's Titanium
Powerbook, while they work just fine on my cheap Intel laptop running
GNU/Linux. 

Then there are the file systems. You can either choose HFS+, which is
non-journalled, slow, and extremely vulnerable (a Mac shop I know of
regularly experience that too early unplugging firewire HDs doesn't just
corrupt the file that was being written at the moment, but actually
trashes the entire filesystem, to the point where not even third-party
commercial recovery programs can do anything to fix it), or you can go
with an ancient version of BSD's UFS, pre-softupdates, which is faster
than HFS+, but has the extra fun feature that lots of software,
including Apple's own, refuses to install on partitions formatted with
it.

It frequently crashes and locks up. Not as frequent as old versions of
Windows, but it seems at least on par with Windows XP. I've seen the
finder "unexpectedly quit", applications that lock up and can't be
terminated, even with the magic key combination that's supposed to do
that, and I've seen the entire machine freeze entirely to the point
where you just have to power cycle it. All this, I've seen personally,
while happening to be in front of a MacOS X machine, and that's not
somewhere I am every day.

Just to make sure: The non-free nature of the system is what keeps me
away from it. But the above arguments might be more convincing than
that, to people who approach the choice of operating systems in a more
utilitarian manner.

-- 
Joakim Ziegler <joakim@avmaria.com>
A/V Maria




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