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

Rich Bodo rsb@ostel.com
Wed Jan 8 19:04:56 PST 2003

We talked about aqua at the last consultant's luncheon.  OSX has some
appeal to me, even though I almost never use a GUI.  When I do, tho, I
make heavy use of virtual desktops.  Each desktop is a bunch of
related stuff I'm working on.  How do you get by without them on OSX?
I didn' see an equivalent when I explored it.


Rich "Top-Poster" Bodo | rsb@ostel.com | 650-964-4678

On Thu, 9 Jan 2003, Andy Bastien wrote:

> We have reason to believe that on Wed Jan 08 Joakim Ziegler wrote:
> > Subject: Re: [linux-elitists] Why haven't you switched to MacOS X yet?
> > From: Joakim Ziegler <joakim@avmaria.com>
> > To: linux-elitists@zgp.org
> > Date: 08 Jan 2003 15:31:41 -0600
> >
> > 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.
> They have as much interest as any company; they like open source as
> long as it helps them make money.  The only companies that will
> support open source software to the point of letting their support
> cause them to lose money are those that have no other options.  Few of
> those companies last very long.  Redhat is an obvious exception, but
> there is the counter-example of Ximian, who needs to sell closed
> source software to support themselves.
> But I think Apple honestly does appreciate the value of open source,
> that they have contributed much more than they would need to just
> present a veneer of supporting open source, and have enough of a
> commitment now that it would be very difficult for them to stop their
> support.
> > 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.
> Fair enough, but when was the last time you assembled your own laptop?
> > 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
> The interface is certainly slower that Linux on any given hardware,
> but that's mostly because it's doing a lot more than Linux.  Let's not
> forget how incredibly ugly Linux is by comparison (KDE3 included).
> It's a trade off; a well-designed, attractive, but slower interface
> compared to an ugly, inconsistent ball of kludges that is somewhat
> faster.  (When I have to use a Linux desktop I use WindowMaker if
> possible.  It might not have all of the geegaws that Gnome and KDE do,
> but at least it isn't constantly getting in my way and doesn't take
> several minutes to start up, and that's about the most I expect from a
> Linux desktop.)
> > 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.
> That's not much of a proof.  For all of the information you provide,
> the Tibook is a 400 MHz box running several other apps in the
> background and the Intel laptop is a 1 Ghz+ P3 doing nothing else.
> Here's a specific example: right now I'm using my iBook 700 Mhz G3 to
> display two copies of a website ( http://www.enviromission.com ) with
> two flash movies on high quality in the background (that's four flash
> movies total) in Safari while I'm writing this in Mail.app and my CPU
> utilization is about 50% (and, since the iBook automatically throttles
> the speed of the CPU, it may actually be running at 400 Mhz...I don't
> know what the speed is currently and I don't really care).  Oh, did I
> mention the battery in real life usage lasts 3 - 5 hours?  And did I
> also mention that I can just close the lid and the laptop goes to
> sleep, and when I open it i can start working immediately from where I
> left off?  From what I've seen with Linux, you can count yourself
> lucky if you can suspend a laptop and bring it back up.
> > 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.
> HFS+ can be journalled, and is faster than UFS.  Hardly anyone
> actually uses UFS on OSX (it's the case sensitivity that screws up old
> MacOS apps, unlike those old versions of Quark for Linux which run
> just great on the new Linux filesystems).  As far as Firewire drives
> being trashed, don't unplug them when the light's on and all you need
> to do to unmount one is drag the drive icon over the eject icon on the
> dock.  Stupid behavior is stupid behavior on any OS.
> > 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.
> It should be obvious that this is not typical behavior (and as much as
> I detest Windows XP, I'll freely admit that it is also untrue that it
> crashes often).  I'd say there's a good chance that your friend has
> bad hardware, or that he's done some ill-advised surgery on his OS.  I
> have three Macs running OSX.  All of them get used fairly intensively.
> In the past six months I've had one crash, and I have never
> experienced an application that couldn't be killed.  I also know and
> know of many other people who use OSX and I've never heard any
> complaints similar to yours or seen any systems that have any such
> problems.  (As far as unkillable apps go, I have seen it happen many
> times under Linux with filesystems mounted over the network during
> network problems...it's euphemistically called an uninterruptible
> sleep.)
> Having said that, Finder does have it's share of problems.  When it
> crashes it does come right back up, and all you lose is a few seconds
> of your time while it restarts.  But, of course, we all know that
> Nautilus never ever crashes.
> > 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.
> It's perfectly valid to not like OSX because it isn't free.  But I
> think you've made the judgment that you don't want to like it and are
> looking for excuses to justify that judgment.
> I like Linux, and I own at rough count five boxes that all run Debian
> (one of which is a PowerMac 9500, btw), I also have a Linux
> workstation at work and have done a serious amount of Linux admin
> professionally (although all of the servers that I take care of
> currently are running Solaris), but after using OSX for some time I
> find using a Linux desktop every bit as infuriating as using Windows.
> OSX certainly is not perfect, but it's whole lot better on the desktop
> than anything else I've ever used and my (admittedly biased) opinion
> that anyone who uses it without preconceptions would come to feel the
> same way.
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