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Compare and Contrast: Linux and Apple 205

Posted by Hemos
from the cha-cha-cha-changes dept.
egwene wrote to us with the latest Salon Linux piece regarding Apple and Linux and the passing of the advocacy torch. The article gets into some of the...intense feelings our compatriots have for their operating system.
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Compare and Contrast: Linux and Apple

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  • A question for you (and this is absolutely not a flame)...do you think Macs are so efficient because you 'have been using them your whole life', or by design?

    Using Linux or Windows, I still do a lot of stuff from the command line simply because I am a much faster typist that I am with a mouse. It's probably an illness, but I like the script files much more than searching through menus and hitting
    check boxes.

    Dana
  • "Unix was very important for computing, and so was Apple's GUI."

    Still are. No need for the past tense, here.

    "But in the same way that the Windows GUI is not innovative but rather based on Apple's, isn't Linux based on Unix?"

    A couple of key points need to be asserted here.. 1) Ambiguous usage of the term "based on" can get one into a lot of semantic trouble.. 2) Yeah, the Windows GUI is a MacOS GUI clone AFAIK, but there's a problem.. it was reinvented.. quite poorly..

    To elaborate on point 1: NetBSD is "based on" BSD, which is "based on" Unix. The Windows GUI is a clone of the MacOS GUI, and GNU/Linux is a Unix clone. They are clones and not "based on" because they are not derived from the original source code. They are different implementations that attempt to achieve the same goals as what they are "cloning".

    "Windows market share dwarfs that of the MacOS and it's quite possible that Linux will dwarf the market share of Unix, but Linux will never be innovative in the revolutionary sense that Unix was."

    The idea behind GNU/Linux is /quite/ innovative for this day and age. Your comment basically implies to me that you don't believe GNU/Linux will be any significant change from Unix. I would like to differ. Most operating systems I know of were either created by a company, or derived from one that was. GNU/Linux is neither. And it's turning the software community on its head. Not in the way Java did, either. Java had hype, but no punch. GNU/Linux is a serious sock to your jaw, and doesn't even have a focused marketing campaign.. yet it has caught fire and now everyone's eyes are on it as it edges closer and closer to being friendly enough to Joe Public that he will want to install it on his desktop.

    Besides, GNU/Linux only truly aimed to be compatible with Unix. POSIX helps us to play nice with each other. Now the software being written for GNU/Linux is taking off in every direction imaginable. Soon the differences between Unix and GNU/Linux will dwarf the similarities for many. Most of its base components that were designed as free alternatives to the more traditional ones are already a bit more powerful. GZIP, anyone? Besides, most clones are poor reinventions of the wheel. And stay that way. This one evolves. And never sat still for anyone or anything trying to force it to play the "poor cousin" to anything else, least of all Unix. Personally, I can't wait until Berlin is ready for some serious action.

  • There's a widespread myth that Linux/Unix is hard to use, and conversely that the Macintosh is incredibly user friendly.

    In fact, to some people, those statements might seem self-evident. But they miss an important point -- it's the learning curve.

    Linux/Unix has a steep learning curve; the MacOS has almost none. But once you've mastered the paradigm of each, you'll find that both are extremely simple to use. And the added flexibilty of Unix allows you to more easily do things that you can't even begin to do on a more closed platform.

    Linux isn't hard to use; it just takes more effort to learn. For me, that effort is worth it. For my grandmother (as the cliche goes), it's probably not. But any efforts to "fix" Linux that take away power just to shorten the learning curve are making a mistake.

    --

  • Alot of people like the idea of linux as a server and BeOS for the desktop. IMHO, linux should concentrate on being the best server platform instead of working on cuter icons. Linux needs clustering support for example...lots of things are needed to compete on the server front and if it's trying to be the OS for everyone, the other server platforms will look much more attractive. It's all about focus and building on your strengths.
  • a lot of linux users miss this point -- the mac is still a great machine to hack. any user with a copy of resedit can alter final binaries, down to the text in menus and dialogues because of resources. the mac provides a better hack for most average users than is possible for the average users of unix. sure, it is possible to hack more in linux if you have hours and hours to devote to it, but the fact of the matter is, the mac is easier to hack for the average user in a useful way. if you want to change the menus from english to german for your mother on a final binary -- it is simple on a mac, it is difficult in linux (your mother should never have to do a recompile to get something to run!).

    another point missed here by most is that apple made the mouse & gui as low-level as the mouse and an xterm, but the linux people keep on looking for a lower-level CLI below the GUI, what they don't get is that the macOS is so advanced that the GUI is equally as low-level as the CLI. having a resource database in every file, and only having a graphics-mode for display (and no text mode) is a step up in the evolutionary chain away from the thirty year-old teletype printer terminals. i know a lot of people will say that you don't get as much control with a GUI as you do with a CLI, but that is only because these backwards people have insisted on writing CLI-only commands without writing their equivalent GUI commands. that is the failure of the programmers, not of GUI vs CLI.

    2pesos,
    johnrpenner@earthlink.net

  • KDE has something that I think is similar to what you describe. You right-click on the desktop, and then you can select an option called "Execute Command" or something like that. This will give you a little text-entry field where you type in whatever command you want to use. Unfortunately, I can't get it to display the output in a window, so if I type a command like "ps -A |grep wine" I can't read the output. There may be a way to do this, but I haven't fooled with it enough to figure it out.

    Take care,

    Steve

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You have a point... but try running a graphic design company on Linux. Try creating an effective Linux-based workgroup _without_ an equal number of tech-support types.

    Linux is cool. Definately... BUT, _every_ Linux user I know spends HOURS tweaking their window manager, thier config files, etc... with what result? They may have an OS completely tailored to their needs, but as soon as somebody else tries to use their machine, they have to _conform_ to your style of thinking.

    Extensibility brings with it complexity... it certainly has it's place, but so do standards and well-defined methods for accomplishing goals. It all depends on what you want to do.

  • by johnrpenner (40054) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @09:57AM (#1654160) Homepage
    also, as wonderful as linux is, it does not allow me to do my daily work.
    if i cannot run: framemaker, photoshop, filemaker, acrobat distiller,
    soundedit16pro, cubase, visionDSP, and illustrator on linux -- then
    linux is less than useless for me for getting my work done instead of
    tinkering!

    right now the only daily app that i need for work that linux actually
    provides is NETSCAPE, and say what you like - the GIMP is not photoshop.
    you can not do complex high-quality four colour (CMYK) work for prepress
    on linux! that is simply a fact of the current state of linux.

    so -- during the day, i must use macOS (or windoze) if i want to use my work to actually do something productive. at night, linux (ppc) is fun to tinker with, but still lacking in any consistent elegant ease-of-use or productivity applications. i give it another two years before linux becomes anywhere close to the mac for useful productivity applications. but by that time OS-X should be able run linux binaries anyways... ;-)

  • In closing, I shall quote Stallman one last time: "Friends, free software developers, don't repeat a mistake. If we do not copyleft our software, we put its future at the mercy of anyone equipped with more resources than scruples. With copyleft, we can defend freedom, not just for ourselves, but for our whole community."

    Great Quote! Our battle is not about unrestricted "free" software, it is about software that can never be made proprietary. It is about saying "no". Not the way proprietary saftware says "no", though.

    Actually I agree with you and RMS completely. Everyone should use the GPL, Kaffe is an example why. But everyone won't. Some people just don't want to say no. :) But by doing so, they are hurting themselves, but the only people who benefit from not saying no, are those who don't want to give up the source. They don't want return what they've done for the good of the community.

    Free software, open source, good software, copyleft, they're all fine by me. Everyone should use the GPL. But I have no problems if others choose to use a different license, especially if it's more "free". That's their choice. We should accept diversity, not cut down people who don't agree with us on particulars.

    -Brent
    --
  • I was going to moderate this discussion, but this is too ripe to pass up.

    ...the macOS is so advanced that the GUI is equally as low-level as the CLI...

    This logically must be false. Everything you do in a GUI is some "metaphor" for some "archaic CLI" command. E.g. Lasso & drag to Trash = rm *.foo

    So what would the equivalent GUI metaphor be for:

    list=`find . -name "*.c"`
    for i in `grep junk $list`
    do
    mv $i `echo $i | sed 's/c/junkc/'`
    done

    Now that might not be the prettiest piece of shell-script, but there is no way to do something like that with only a mouse and some icons!

  • To pick a nit...

    I refuse to trust anyone's opinions on Apple vs. Linux vs. anything if they can't figure out the difference between OS X, OS X Server, and Darwin (page three of the article, first paragraph). Why are so many journalists just sloppy? Perhaps because they don't care....
  • Slightly offtopic, but...

    every geek remembers grep means get regular expression

    Actually, it's Global Regular Expression Print. From the ed command g/re/p.

  • by Wee (17189) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @04:52AM (#1654165)
    I think the author had some good points, but he missed a big one: the MacOS still coddles the user in a way that is every bit as bad as any Microsoft OS. MacOS and Windows share the same attitude toward the user in that they claim know what you want so you don't need to worry about the details. It's a very good reason to not use either OS, and why they are roughly equally bad.

    There's just not much real configurability with either OS. And at times, it can be downright insulting. "File extensions? You don't need to bother with those, because you'll only be dealing with other Macs and they'll know what file you're talking about." "Long file names? Sure, Windows has them -- Windows is really 32-bit!" It's ultimately a decision between Sherlock and the paper clip. Either OS lets anybody's mother -- no offense, Mom -- start using the computer as soon as it powers on. And that may be fine for some people. But not for me. I don't need to be insulted by my OS, and I like a learning experience.

    I want an OS that is stable, powerful and configurable (free is good too). I want an OS that lets me tune it and tweak it to just where I want it for just the reasons I want. I want an OS that makes zero attempts at thinking for me. An OS that gives me plenty of tools -- that gives me a fishing pole instead of a fish, so to speak. And an OS that does all that and still lets you peek under the hood at your heart's content is icing on the cake.

    For me, that's Linux. And it's why I've been moving to Linux as my desktop OS for the past couple years ("Linux: It's not just for servers anymore."). Linux is not insulting. Linux doesn't coddle me, or pretend to know what I want. It doesn't try to be everything to everyone, or try to be insultingly cute in the name of "useability" (has anyone got MS Bob to run on NT Server yet?). Sure, FreeBSD fits the bill too; hell, so does OpenDOS for that matter. And if you want to go that direction, more power to you.

    No matter which way you go, you'll start "thinking different" (adverb intentionally ommitted), because you'll actually have to start thinking once you start using. In contrast to the Mac, in which case no thinking -- different or otherwise -- is required at all.

    -B

  • by jht (5006) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @04:53AM (#1654166) Homepage Journal
    Naw, it's not flamebait as far as I'm concerned - I mainly agree with you. Just keep in mind that there is a big difference between "buzz" between those who have the Geek Nature, and the rest of the world (affectionately known as the "room-temperature" crowd).

    The average non-geek heard about Macs in the '80s as The Cool Thing. That doesn't mean they bought them, mind you, it just means that they were prominent in the culture. Linux occupies that niche in the general culture today. That doesn't necessarily have any bearing on whether Linux will thrive or not, but it does help visibility among the Suits (which, after many years in the biz, I, too, now am). I've been using Linux for one thing or another for about five years, but now that it's on the cultural radar screen, justifying it's use on my network is much easier.

    As far as the core geek community goes, you're completely right. Macs were never truly "cool" - all the "in-the-know" crowd waited eagerly for Amiga or hacked up their Apple II (or anything other than a DOS system). These people have been all over Linux for years, though. That said, a truly heavyweight core of geeks do use Macs, but not as enthusiasts - they just use them as real simple tools to get their net activity and home-based work done. Why? Because it's real easy to turn on a Mac and just Get Stuff Done, without brains required. And for all the people who hack at work and like to hack at home, there's probably an equivalent number of people who want to leave their brains at the office.

    To the truly aware, Linux isn't "hot" or buzz-worthy - Linux just Is.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • Rather doubtful. Changing the world is a silly notion at best. The most you can hope for is changing your own little part of it, or making your own contribution to making it a better place. It's the sum of all of these little contributions from each individual that shapes the future of our world. Everything about each individual shapes this future. Each in their own, very small way, but since we have so many very small contributions to the world, unwitting or not (you simply can't help but affect your surroundings.. even with inaction), the world is constantly evolving. As do all things. And of course the world is more than just the sum of its parts. ;)

    By the way, if everyone contented themselves with whatever, and didn't care about changing the world for the better, the world would change. It would grow steadily worse. Without people to care about the world, the people in it, and how everything affects everything else, just where would we be? Someone has to take on some responsibility. Especially in an age where apathy is a more and more acceptable alternative to the average person every day..

  • "How do you ping something from a mac? erm. there's a COMMERCIAL PACKAGE.."
    snip
    A freeware product called WhatRoute is an excellent GUI tool for pings traces and other cool stuff on the mac

    "The mostly monochrome desktop is far from "elegant" and the interface is too damn illogical."

    As far as elegant goes, so what, it works well, is consistant and works more smoothly than anything out there. Illogical I must argue, controls are in the control panels folder ,Hmmm, one place on the machine to change settings, oh and how novel lets name them according to what they do.

    Personally I would rather walk someone though changing IP settings on a mac than anything out there.

    BTW feel free to change grep to any thing you want, but I am perfectly happy typing grep and will continue to do so even if the name gets changed.
  • by Arkham (10779) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @04:57AM (#1654169)
    1) If a mac isn't doing what you expect then it gives you NO debugging information to "figure out what's wrong with it" - trust me.. I work on a help desk. How do you ping something from a mac? erm. there's a COMMERCIAL PACKAGE that can do it.. sheesh. So if it says "can't connect to mail host smtp.foo.com" I have no idea if it's a DNS problem or a TCP problem or an IP problem, and I'm trying to work this out through some 'kwit down the phone who bought a mac fooled into thinking it would be easy to use.


    Well, there are several dozen freeware and shareware tools to do this as well. I personally use IPNetMonitor and WhatRoute. With MacOS X, there will be a BSD layer underneath that you can force your users to use if you didn't give them the tools they needed to start with. I've been using Macs for 11 years, and I have two friends who do Mac consulting for a living. They don't seem to have these problems. Seems to me the failing is not with Apple, but with your techs or your company.


    The mostly monochrome desktop is far from "elegant" and the interface is too damn illogical


    You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but most people would disagree with you. Believe it or not, Enlightenment with an undulating background and neon translucent windows is not what most people would consider an intuitive interface. The Mac GUI follows a simple set of rules that is consisitent between applications and the Finder. Windows hasn't even gotten this one down yet, let alone Linux.



    how much you configure FVWM to do what you want (you mean you can actually define your OWN button menus? wow!).



    That's just it -- the average user doesn't want to reconfigure their menus. They don't want the menus to vary from computer to computer doing the same tasks either. They want all the things that they need access to already be there for them in a logical fashion.


    Sounds to me like the article was written by a mac advocate trying to get linux users to use macs.


    As a Mac advocate (and a Linux advocate too), I have to disagree. If anything, this article was balanced, leaning towards Linux. Then again, I'm an advocate, not a zealot.


    If Apple shipped a complete development environment with their OS and stopped sueing people I might consider it.


    Well for one thing, the average user doesn't care about devlopment tools. It's just a bunch of useless, scary stuff that they will not be able to use. It does not belong in the distribution of a consumer OS.


    Also, with Apple's server OS, MacOS X Server, Apple does ship a complete set of GNU compilers, linkers, etc. They also include the soure code for the Darwin kernel if you want to look at it.


    Finally, as to Apple suing people, what does that have to do with you? They are just protecting their hard work and technology. Whether you agree with their legal proceedings should not be relevant to your thoughts on the relative merits of the OS. This is just some Apple-bashing you threw in at the end, but it exposes your true character and opinion better than the rest of your message.

  • BSD is what NeXT used, and since there is really no need to change that part of the OS (As opposed to integrating backwards compatibilty, and the dubious shift from an Object C API to a Java one), they stuck with it.

    Last I heard, Apple was sticking with Objective C. When it came down to compiling apps, even a Java-based version of SimpleText was unacceptably slow.

    I believe Apple is integrating both languages now.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The most notable difference between the linux movement in general and the company known as Apple computer is that Apple is controlled by one (slightly egomeniacal) individual while linux is relatively unconstrained by anyone.

    Apple spends millions of dollars that they could be using to develop a better product on advertising. Those ads are not cheap. Apple is a product of marketing, hype, and billboards, while linux is the result of a lot of people's time, hard work, and personal investment.

    The linux mascot, Tux, is about as close to a loudmouth C.E.O. as linux gets. If somebody donated a few million dollars to linux-oriented (OSS) projects, I don't think too much of it would be spent on advertising. In fact, I don't think any of it would.

    The most remarkable thing about the success of linux is that until very recently it went essentially unadvertised. Now, with more and more companies getting involved, more and more people will have encountered the linux meme, and more and more people will have an opinion about linux.

    I like the gui design of MacOS, but I refuse to use an unstable system. It all boils down to trust -- can I trust this system to 'behave' predictably?

    As humans become increasingly dependent upon computers in their daily lives, OS stability, reliability, flexibility, and customizability will become ever more important. People will look for the same qualities in an OS that they look for in a friend. Between you and me, I don't want to spend too much time around someone who, despite being "insanely great" some of the time, has frequent and unexpected breakdowns, often at the worst possible moment.

    *n*x users have had it right all along... it is important to name your computer.

  • People, you need to really go and read this piece. It is the best of its kind I've read.

    That being said:

    I've been using both systems (Linux and MacOS) probably longer than a lot of you here. I find it odd that folks seem to believe that the two are at cross purposes.

    Yes, MacOS is "proprietary"...but so is Coca-Cola. From a functional point of view, this doesn't make MacOS automagically horrible.

    I'll tell you this, and I think Andrew pointed it out as well:

    The best OS I can think of is that Holy Grail: All the power and flexibility of Unix, wrapped in the Straightforward methodology of a MacOs.

    The closest thing to this I've ever seen is what *I* consider (and a hell of a lot of other folks as well) is OpenStep 4.X, with the major flaw there not being based on X Windows.

    Would it be nice if Apple gave away it's 'Unix Wrapper' to the world? Yes. Is it *necessary*?

    No. I've thought long and hard about this. It really isn't. I'll always use Linux where and when I can (my job requires it, and I enjoy for the most part the experience...Documentation OTOH...) but I gotta admit that the combination of a MacOS with UnixPower is a hard one to beat, argue or berate on a *functional* level.

    Now Linux OTOH is powered, in all honesty, by *political* motivation and ideology. This is *not* a particularly bad thing...hell, its none short of amazing.

    ut the thing that continues to break my heart about Linux, the thing that keeps it *away* from that Holy Grail, is the Purity, Truth and Justice for the OSS way.

    In its own may, the Linux world is a victim of Ideology as much as, if not sometimes moreso, the Mac/Apple world.

    But I am confident that one way or another, it will all work out :)

  • Seems like there are an awful lot of people trying to change the world, or thinking they can. Maybe if we had less people trying to change the world, and just selling plastic, or doing whatever it is they do best, then the world would change it's dang self!
  • by jht (5006) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @03:23AM (#1654178) Homepage Journal
    Linux/Open Source advocacy and Apple advocacy are really two different animals. Right now, Linux has the "buzz" that Apple had in the years immediately following Macintosh, but the industry has matured to the point where Apple is part of the Establishment, albeit an interesting part.

    The Linux community of today has more in common with the hardcore computing enthusiasts of days past (the folks who soldered their own mainboards) than they do with the Apple crowd - though, of course, there are obvious overlaps (the anybody-but-Microsoft people, for instance, often have a foot in both camps). What's interesting is what I've noticed among several of the uber-hacker old-timers that I've had the opportunity to meet and converse with over the years: people, there's a lot of Net.gods who fit this:

    At work, they hack Unix, or Linux, or BSD, and produce Open Source code. At home, a lot of them have Macs.

    But there's no urgent need for people to be Mac advocates anymore - Apple is safe and sound and inhabiting a moderate-sized, highly profitable niche in the market. Linux, though, needs their support.

    Not one of my finest posts (for which I apologise), but I just figured I'd toss it out there.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by Hermetic (85784) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @03:29AM (#1654180)
    I have always been confused by the zealots of our geeky little world...
    How can you get that worked up just because someone says that they like to use a Mac? Or Windows? One the one hand you disdain someone that can use an "inferior" program(or OS, whatever, really), and on the other hand expect those products to improve to to suit your own needs and wants.

    My dad uses AOL. I consider it a personal failure on my part. As much as AOL sucks, according to all of us, it does what he wants it to. It doesn't have the power of sendmail. It isn't open source. But it works.

    Any moron can learn HTML. So why are there products like MS Frontpage? That mangle the code into something almost unrecognizable? Because it is easy. Our whole society is based on easy. TV, movies, fast food, and even software. Apple succeeds in the face of obsolecsence because it is easy to use. Windows exists because it's users don't have to know anything to type up a letter and print it out.

    Linux is great, Linux is good, but it is a niche product (for now) that needs the dreaded "user friendliness" before it will ever become ubiquitous.

  • Well, this is a little off topic. But no two movements/companies typify the split that I see all the time in computing. Ease of Use V. Power.

    Apple is ALL about ease of use/learning (the two aren't always the same). Linux is ALL about power. Microsoft, after having begun in the power camp, is now focusing more on ease of use.

    Which is more important? Well, that's for the market to decide. And the market has. Ease of use is more important. Why is would M$, the marketing genuises, focus on it. The interesting thing about Linux is that it isn't, up until now at least, been market driven, because it's not sold. Unix isn't really either, because even commercial *nix's aren't sold on the mass market.

    Lesson for linux-heads: Want market share of the desktop ("world domination")? Do more ease-of-use stuff. The interesting challenge for linux: Keep the command-line power for those who want it, but a consumer user should NEVER have to see it. Period. End of conversation. My brothers and sisters aren't screwing with a CLI.
  • I simply don't want to see any more splits due to semantic differences. Otherwise I'll just refer to the free software movement as the copylefted software movement and /really/ confuse the media. ;) It is all about choice.. It just seems silly when people who make the same choice also choose to split into two different camps, thus becoming a mostly symbiotic yet mildly parasitic being to one another.

    At least in this case. There really shouldn't have been any reason for a rift to occur in the free software movement, forking off into the open source software movement. People will always have differing opinions, however.. I don't care about all that, though. Not really. I just want to promote understanding. Hence my verbose, rapid-fire arguements against corrupting the use of the term "free software". ;)

    I enjoyed the exchange, however, though I refuse to use the GPL with regards to highly stylized games (generic ones are cool, though). Other than, yeah, the GPL is damn nifty. Hee hee..

  • by Philageros (57698) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @03:39AM (#1654184)
    Unix was very important for computing, and so was Apple's GUI. But in the same way that the Windows GUI is not innovative but rather based on Apple's, isn't Linux based on Unix? Windows market share dwarfs that of the MacOS and it's quite possible that Linux will dwarf the market share of Unix, but Linux will never be innovative in the revolutionary sense that Unix was.
  • When it comes down to it, its all about what you like to use on your computer. Saying your favorite OS is better is trying to make your opinion into a fact. Saying linux is better than Windows is the exact same as saying Windows is better than linux. A good OS in my opinion needs to be fast, stable, as small as possible, and most importantly intuitive and powerful at the same time. Mac OS does a good job at being untuitive and powerful, while you may complain that a GUI doesn't give you much control over the system, that's not the fault of the GUI or OS but due to the programmer not thinking clearly which someone else stated earlier. Linux falls into the catagory of small fast and stable. Windows tries to be a jack of all trades but does none of the jobs effectively. I think when Mac OS and OS X converge which is being worked on right now to give Mac the robustness of unix but friendly enough to slap on an iMac it will be a very good day for Mac and all desktop unicies. Do I think any OS has met my demands to be good? I think one is very close to being a great OS. Palm OS. It's fast, stable (at least I've never seen it crash), small, easy to use yet useful and best of all, transparent. When an application on your Palm runs you're hardly aware of an OS behind everything, you just turn it on and go. I really think thats where everything is heading towards in the PC market, you turn it on and go and not spend any time administering your system unless you absolutely need to.
  • the article mentions that freebsd is linux's "rival" and that some linux users would be angered that apple chose freebsd instead of linux. i don't think a reasonable linux zealot would really think that. i would much rather see any type of unix-like, open source OS than the dreadful regular macOS, in which the GUI is so painstakingly integrated into the OS that it drives me absolutely nuts. even moreso than windows95.

    freebsd is a rival of linux, perhaps, but it's a friendly rivalry or at least it should be.

    also, it was interesting to see good ol' rob referenced in the article. he's becoming quite the open-source geek celebrity.
  • by Zigg (64962) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @03:48AM (#1654188)

    Part of that article struck me -- the apparent disdain of the Linux community for Apple's choice of BSD to base Mac OS X on. But having been a past and present Linux user professionally, and an exclusive FreeBSD user personally, I think I can see where Apple is looking.

    Any professional OS that touts ease of configurability must have a consistent interface to everything underneath. The more I delve into Linux, the more I get confused by the different ways everything has to be done. I think this is a symptom of the "hack it till it just works" mentality.

    I don't exclusively use FreeBSD because of its stability and security (although that was certainly the case when I switched a few years ago; Linux boxes were giving me and others unexplainable random problems left and right that an installation of FreeBSD remedied handily.) I continue to use FreeBSD today because things are done right and consistently. That might mean waiting a little longer for equivalent functionality, but I can trust said functionality.

    The Linux systems I use seem to be able to do more, but I can't always find the correct way to do it. Perhaps that's more due to a lack of documentation, but when I do find the right way, it seems to be a hack that really doesn't fit into any consistent way of doing things. For example, getting my ATAPI CD-RW drive to work meant inserting a LILO flag. It seems to me that functionality should have been found elsewhere, perhaps in a kernel config file or by unloading one module and loading another. FreeBSD doesn't yet have IDE-SCSI support, but I bet when they do, it will be able to be enabled without rebooting and should also be easy to set up.

    All in all, I can see the building of an organized, easily-setup, easily-administrated OS a lot more clearly on top of a BSD kernel. The tests of time have showed BSD to do well in those areas. I think Linux will get there, maybe on the next iteration of the kernel. 2.2 unloaded a lot of nasty old baggage that was around in 2.0, I have faith that 2.4 will be even better.

    Of course, the rest of the story probably involves things like the GPL. Apple and other large companies who derive a huge bottom line from software licenses, I think, will continue to shy away from truly free licenses for some time. I think that is truly a shame for the forces of free software.

    P.S. I have tried to be constructive here instead of being flamebait. I would appreciate replies that are in the same manner.

  • The Salon article makes it out to sound as if Apple might somehow be hoping it's choice of BSD would split the open-source development community, BSD vs. Linux.

    Well, the general fact is that the hard-core BSD developers probably don't work on the Linux kernel, and vice versa (in effect, there is already a split).

    So... I would suggest that Apple's choice of BSD came down to licensing, pure and simple. The BSD license is more "friendly" to use with proprietary software, ie. the Apple GUI.

    However, licensing theories aside, any thoughts on this question: if Apple was choosing the *nix core for Mac OS X today, would it still be BSD, or would it be Linux, taking into account Linux's current popularity?
  • I bought my first Mac (SE) in 1987, when I started university. It had 1MB Ram (later upgraded to 4MB) , 2 floopy drives and (later) an external SCSI hard disk. There was no real multitasking yet but it worked well running 1 program at a time. During my 4 years in university, the Macs freshmen typically bought got progressiveley nicer, had color monitors and some basic (cooperative) multitasking. Mind you, they still crashed quite often, but were nice machines.

    3 years ago I was in SanFrancisco and met up with some old friends from college. One of them had a new PowerPC mac with a nice 17 (or 19) inch monitor. Simply for old times sake, I asked him, 'show me some cool stuff on your Mac. I'd like to see what these machines can do'. So he fired up a new/cool game and the machine hung. We rebooted, tried another game and the machine crashed. We rebooted again, tried another (non-game) application only to have it hang during the application loading/startup. By that time I had been running Linux for a few years and certainly wasn't impressed by his crash-prone Mac with all it's pretty icons. I have never looked at a Mac again (here in Europe they're almost non-existant) and certainly don't miss them.

    The point: I basically consider Macs the ultimate point-and-click box. This is fine when you're just trying to write a letter, but to me it's really annoying. I don't want to be shielded from the computer, I want to have full access to everything, rather than being relegated to clicking on 'OK' when something dies. The fact that the new IMacs are considered a major leap/success for Apple says enough. Why the pretty colors on the box matter is beyond me, but their success proves that Apple is right about the demand for such machines. It's just that by doing so they bascially have painted themselves in the opposite corner that Linux geeks inhabit; a corner I was in more than 10 years ago and don't care to return to ... of course, there is the possibiity that Darwin will be the ultimate power OS with a nice presentation layer, but knowing Apple's history, I don't buy that for one second. Apple could have been Microsoft if they had opened up their products. They missed that chance and I don't see them developing anything of great relevance anymore ... those who come too late are punished by life
  • Also, the BSD license gives Apple more control over when or if they release their source code. If it was the GPL they'd have to release whatevere they changed. Personally, that's one of the Good Things about having so many different licenses. If Apple is more comfortable having that control, good. At least they've released much of their source code.
  • by Kitsune Sushi (87987) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @05:08AM (#1654194)

    "How can you get that worked up just because someone says that they like to use a Mac? Or Windows?"

    Personally, I could care less what anyone uses on their desktop. It's when people involve themselves in a holy war and introduce their slanted views as reasons why, say, Windows is "technically superior" to GNU/Linux that makes me whip out the beating stick (I'd say clue-by-four, but you know, most of those nuts couldn't get a clue if it were a sledgehammer caving in their skull). ;)

    "Any moron can learn HTML."

    Yes and no.. Sure, anyone can learn HTML.. sort of. I've yet to see /any/ Web site that structures HTML as well as I do (and no, I'm not being egotistical.. it's ridiculously easy to make perfectly compliant, legible HTML source.. the point is, few bother to either a) learn how or b) use what they learned effectively). Most "Web designers" think if you throw up a few Active Server Pages, Java applets, and JavaScript crap, you're "studly". I think it's pathetic. Keep it nice, keep it clean. I have, however, seen a few HTML compliant sites that were better than your average corporate or "home page" site (yeah, I lump those together because they usually suck just as bad as the other).

    "Apple succeeds in the face of obsolecsence because it is easy to use. Windows exists because it's users don't have to know anything to type up a letter and print it out."

    As someone pointed out in a previous discussion, these GUIs aren't precisely "intuitive". Sure, they may be a little easier for Joe Public to grasp than other interfaces, but you might be surprised at how many people can't even figure out how to use Windows. At all. Thus do I disagree. You have to know something about it to use it. It's just that many people have been conditioned by it and so /see/ it as being "intuitive".. I wasn't born knowing how to use Windows, I learned it. Of course, some people grasp these things easier than others.. But learn it they still have to do. ;)

  • However, licensing theories aside, any thoughts on this question: if Apple was choosing the *nix core for Mac OS X today, would it still be BSD, or would it be Linux, taking into account Linux's current popularity? I'm not a *nix person, but I will venture a guess anyway. :) I'd say that the BSD code is more mature than Linux. For example, as I understand, Linux doesn't work well in multiprocessor systems.
  • "I love my Macs, but I can easily say that Macs will always be a niche product, and so will Linux."

    I rather doubt GNU/Linux will be relagated to a "niche market". Considering the development model and its growing support, there's nothing it could not theoretically accomplish. However, it's becoming less of a "theory" every day.. What will actually happen is anybody's guess, but I seriously doubt GNU/Linux will incur the intense beating Java did after the hype settled down. ;)

  • If Apple shipped a complete development environment with their OS and stopped sueing people I might consider it.
    Why ship a development environment with a consumer OS? When you buy a play station, to they send you everything you need to write games?
    Anyway, Macintosh Programming Workshop (MPW) is Apple's FREE Programming environment. You can download it from their website, along with hundreds of other useful tools, code snippets, SDKs, and useful stuff. Plus you get MrC, one of the best PPC compilers for PowerPCs.
  • Hey all --

    I think the one point to bear in mind here is that Apple evangelists and Linux mavens are not necessarily diametrically opposed (and in fact have a common competitor on which to focus).

    So.. now that Apple has demonstrated that they're open to the idea of open source (to some extent at least).. do you think we could.. um.. encourage them?

    A saying about honey, vinegar and flies comes to mind...
    -----

  • That still doesn't make MacOS intuitive. More consistent, perhaps.. But what /isn't/ more consistent than Windows? Besides, many Windows people find MacOS confusing, and vice versa. That just goes to show which OS said user is most familiar with, not which is most intuitive.

  • That's exactly what I've been saying for a while - AOL is great at what it does. It is obviously not something intended for techies, so they dislike it. However, for your average person, it's much much better than a "normal" ISP.

    On a normal ISP, if you want to chat online with some people, send email, use an FTP client, and visit webpages, you need to install and configure an email client, ICQ or AIM, an FTP client, and a web browser. With AOL, you don't have to do anything other than install AOL. You click "Write" to send email, AIM is built in, a web browser (IE5) is built in, and FTP is built in at keyword:FTP.
  • It seems to me that the Macintosh was always based on Apple's claim that there 'are' alternatives to PC systems. Therefore, their marketing usage of "Think Different" stems from the idea that a computer user does not have to be the same as everyone else. Its OK that you use a Mac and your friend uses a PC. Why? Because you freely chose not to go along with the crowd because perhaps you saw something worthwile in the Mac and its OS. If Apple plays up that aspect, well, that's their perogative since it is just an extension of the original Mac marketing scheme.
  • Apple doesn't have a Unix history? WTF?
  • No, the author is correct - Mac OS X is based on Mach (v3 instead of v2.5), and while I don't think the BSD layer will be installed by default, it will be available.

    Ian
  • I simply don't want to see any more splits due to semantic differences. Otherwise I'll just refer to the free software movement as the copylefted software movement and /really/ confuse the media. ;) It is all about choice.. It just seems silly when people who make the same choice also choose to split into two different camps, thus becoming a mostly symbiotic yet mildly parasitic being to one another.

    I agree. It's pointless for people to split up over what should be the same same goal. However, I think that we should agree to disagree, in a manner of speaking. We're not quite perfect but we should accept the other side as "one of us". And they should do the same.

    I enjoyed the exchange, however, though I refuse to use the GPL with regards to highly stylized games (generic ones are cool, though). Other than, yeah, the GPL is damn nifty. Hee hee..

    I enjoyed the exchange too. Although I only work on GPL'd code, I'll always understand why people choose the BSD for some things, and accept that.

    Bye now...

    -Brent
    --
  • But you can do it pretty easily in Applescript:

    ------------
    tell application "Sherlock" to set mylist to search alias "Macintosh HD:" for "stuff"


    tell application "Finder"
    repeat with x in mylist
    move x to desktop
    end repeat
    end tell
    -------------

  • So much for it being the exclusive OS of inexperienced teens.

    I don't think the article was suggesting that Linux advocates are mostly inexperienced teens, but rather inexperienced evangelists. At some point over the past couple years (perhaps due to some normalized leadership at Apple), Mac advocates realized that yelling at the top of their lungs at journalists generally doesn't help. Presenting clear, concise cases, and giving credit where credit is due gets you a lot farther. I believe the article was suggesting that a larger percentage of the Linux camp (I'm a hybrid advocate, so I'm allowed to say this :) has not yet figured this out.

    For example, for a long time, there was a sentiment in Mac users that anything from Microsoft sucked and was not to be trusted, end of story. Well, things have changed. Microsoft has delivered quality products to the Mac platform since Macworld '98. So they have redeemed themselves to some degree by doing that.

    However, I've encountered a lot of Linux advocates (many of them Slashdotters), that simply refuse to acknowlodge the fact there there are any redeeming values in the Mac. This doesn't make me think "Oh gee, the Mac sucks. I guess I should be using Linux on my desktop." It just puts a bad taste in my mouth.

    Give credit where credit is due. WindowMaker/Enlightenment/GNOME/KDE are not perfect. The Mac GUI is very polished and quite evolved. There are subtle features that you can't find by using a Mac for one day. Likewise, Linux is worlds more stable than Mac OS is. Linux and the Mac will never improve if we don't acknowledge the pros and cons of each. And members of each group must be able put themselves in another person's shoes and realize the values they hold high in a computer experience may not perfectly match another's. While you may not mind configuring an X server, that is a very distasteful process to others. And NOT always because they are "morons" as one person in the article implies. I'm a systems administartor (Linux), as well as a designer (Mac), but that doesn't mean I want to worry about which version of XFree I'm using when I launch Photoshop.

    - Scott


    ------
    Scott Stevenson

  • I think one of the major problems with tossing around the phrase "easy-to-use" is that no-one ever really defines who is supposed to find it easier.

    Or for that matter defining it in objective terms.

    And let's not forget that the user generally learns about the system as they go. So, what the user once considered a difficult task s/he may come to view as simple, if only through rote repetition. Does the system get out of their way once they've learned these tasks? Or does it force them to continue to use the "easy-to-use" wizards and whatnot?

    The issue has then moved in to the issue of "user friendlyness". Which is often even more poory defined.
    Creating a system which only serves novices is one of the most common problems, however.
  • Wow, I can't believe this is an issue. Are Linux users really out to stifle other OSs?

    Mac OS X is a grandson of NeXTstep, a BSD derivative OS. Under NeXTstep, we (users/developers) were actually pushing NeXT to stay on top of the changes being wrought by BSD 4.4 Lite, to allow the source code and libraries to be free of restrictions and to benefit of improvements.

    So what is wrong with them continuing this trend of working closely with BSD?

    Years ago, I bought a NeXT Colorstation to benefit from an improved Mac like GUI interface, a BSD based Unix with a GNU C compiler, an Object Development system that still impresses me, a Display Postscript environment "because it made sense". And the sum of all parts outweighed the individual pieces.

    Now, those days are gone, but Mac OS X announces itself as a great "user Experience." I still own and use my NeXT and would pay $$$ to simply update the hardware under it to something current. Barring that, an iBook running OS X may just suite me fine.

    My dual-Celeron Linux server, my Cobalt Qube and any other Linux boxes simply never matched the consistency of that old BSD Unix based NeXT. I think that is also the perception of the engineers at Apple (Nue NeXT).
  • "The interesting challenge for linux: Keep the command-line power for those who want it, but a consumer user should NEVER have to see it."

    For one, there already is a lot of drive that has been pushed behind the "user-friendly desktop environment with pretty graphical interfaces and all the other things Joe Public has come to know and love, even point and click!" category. Joe Public will probably never try to custom install an OS on his own. He doesn't even have to do that with Windows. Whenever you buy a Windows computer, it's already pretty much set up and ready to go (well, except for those stupid "registration" things I've been seeing a lot of.. damn those are annoying), and they usually include a little disc that allows you to reinstall.. a real no-brainer reinstall. This would hardly be difficult to do for GNU/Linux. Preconfiguration is Joe Public's best friend. Once the GUI apps become more user-friendly, and the computer companies stop thinking that GNU/Linux is just a "server OS", then this "challenge" will have been accomplished. After all, it's not like you're condemned to spend your entire life in X. You can go to the command-line if you want to. Joe Public probably won't want to. Just like Joe Public doesn't switch out of the Windows GUI and play around in DOS, even though he could. Ha!

  • by semprebon (61779) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @05:23AM (#1654215) Homepage
    Any reduction in MS market share helps Linux, even if it goes to Apple, Palm, etc

    Because porting to additional platforms is much easier after porting to the second, the essential choice for vendors will be between supporting just MicroSoft or supporting multiple platforms. Thus, any reduction in MicroSoft's market share will make it more likely that vendors will support Linux. Linux wins when more people buy iMacs. All users wins when there is greater choice in the OS market.

    Not only that, but a greater number of economically viable platforms will drive more companies to open source. Why? Because most companies can't afford to produce and support binary distributions for a wide range of platforms. While they could contract out such support, moving to Open Source will allow user of even obscure platforms to become customers.


  • I think people are taking themselves too seriously. No matter how many IMacs are sold, or how many times Linux is downloaded, or how opensource MacOSX is, it won't change the world. Its not like the world is plagued (though some will argue) by the fact that people have to pay $100+ dollars to have a copy of Windows installed on their home PC. Society won't change for the better because everyone runs Linux. Kids won't stop shooting each other, smoking pot, or driving drunk because Apple gained a higher market share, or because Linux now has %78 of the server market (this is in the future). They are preferences that people have. You shouldn't do something because it will bring down the evil of the world (Microsoft). You should do something because it is your personal preference.



    It's like apples(Microsoft Windows) and oranges(*BSD,MACOS*,Linux,Beos...). Lets say %90 of fruit baskets are shipped with apples. Since there are so many being shipped and people are demanding constant upgrades, the apples nutritional value is spreading thin. Some of the fruit baskets even have apples with bruises in them. Then one day someone stands up and says "Look people eat oranges! They are better and have more nutritional value! And they aren't all bruised up!". That person and all of his orange eating followers start fighting against the apple eaters. They consider themselves radicals who believe they are changing the world. The hoopla ends and the people who liked apples stayed with apples and the people liked oranges better ate oranges. Nothing changed except peoples personal preference. Their fruit baskets came with oranges instead of apples.



    I could see linux changing the world if Microsoft acutally caused the world strife other than a money. For example, if Hospitals stopped running because NT bluescreened, or FedeX went bankrupt because NTFS fscked up and lost all the tax records and orders. This doesn't happen. When this is all over in 5 years or so, people will run what they want. Its not a "real" revolution. "Real" revolutions happened in 1776.



    Let me make one last thing clear. Don't flame me for not being a radical. I run Linux because it is my personal preference. I dual boot with windows because I like games. I don't run linux to topple over the heiarchy of evil that is microsoft. I just like it. Please if you have any comments reply to this. I would like some feedback. Even if it is "Hey screw you buddy!".

  • Of course, the rest of the story probably involves things like the GPL. Apple and other large companies who derive a huge bottom line from software licenses, I think, will continue to shy away from truly free licenses for some time. I think that is truly a shame for the forces of free software.

    Actually, the GPL is not a truly free license. A truely free license lets you do anything you want with the source code. You can keep it free, make it non-free, not use it, use it, let others use freely it, or restrict it. The GPL is restrictive, just like a closed source license is. However, while a closed source license prevents you from doing whatever you want with the code, the GPL prevents you from restricting others from doing what they want with the code. They are both restrictive, but they restrict different usage. One is good, the other bad.

    I certainly agree with restricting peoples ability to turn my code into non-free code. And a lot of companies that release free software like the GPL too. It prevents others from taking their code and closing it and competing against them. However, companies like Apple who want more "control" over their software like the BSD license because it is truely free. The code that they are sharing won't cripple they product if others "steal" it. And they don't need to give up code they don't want too.

    No flames here. But the BSD is truely free. I just like the GPL better :)

    -Brent
    --
  • "I think one of the major problems with tossing around the phrase "easy-to-use" is that no-one ever really defines who is supposed to find it easier."

    Too true.

    "Ultimately, if the "ease-of-use" factor strays too far below the user's skill/knowledge level, s/he's going to find the OS getting in their way with too many wizards and "are you sure?" dialogs. If "ease-of-use" was keyed to a more advanced user, the user's going to be intimidated by the system, and may never use it to the fullest."

    I disagree. Having a GUI and a CLI on the same OS is hardly any kind of innovation. And it allows for precisely the paradoxical thing trying to be accomplished.

    "Does the system get out of their way once they've learned these tasks? Or does it force them to continue to use the "easy-to-use" wizards and whatnot?"

    Even in Windows you could switch over to DOS and avoid all that if you knew the system well. :) However, I would like to make a point that while the GNU/Linux overall GUI should make things simpler, it should /never/ be dumbed down to the level of Windows. That's just more annoying than.. useful.

    "The real problem here is that there is no such thing as one-size-fits all. Personally, I think that is misguided and silly to try to do it. Look @ Windows. It tries to be all things to all people, and as a result, isn't. Is that what we want Linux to aspire to? I don't think so..."

    As you pointed out earlier, there's no way for a computer to be immediately usable by someone with no aptitude for computing at all (and no experience). However, you can certainly design a system that allows for advanced users to "get at the computer" (unlike MacOS), yet appeal to those who do not wish to use the more advanced capabilities of their system (like [insert favorite "suck" OS with a pretty GUI here]). Hell, even advanced users find X to be useful as well as entertaining. ;)

    Besides, when you come right down to it, Windows isn't really a good example for much of anything except what a really good marketing campaign will do for sales. There's certainly no true comparison between GNU/Linux and Windows. GNU/Linux is on a much higher level..

  • My love of the Mac has nothing to do with ease of use. I have been using Linux at home and at work for several years, and I desperately want to replace my home machine with a Mac. Why? Because I miss QuickTime, Shockwave, Kensington Turbo Mouse drivers, at least two browsers from which to choose, professional multimedia creation software, and, more than anything else, that warm, fuzzy feeling I get just moving a cursor around. The feel is so very, very different. No amount of tweaking X or GTK or E has even come close. I love getting in front of my friends' Macs and just clicking on stuff. I know many of you have no idea what I'm talking about, and don't really care. That's all right. I think most Mac users understand.
  • by gig (78408)
    > I rather doubt GNU/Linux will be relagated
    > to a "niche market". Considering the
    > development model and its growing support,
    > there's nothing it could not theoretically
    > accomplish. However, it's becoming less of a
    > "theory" every day.. What will actually
    > happen is anybody's guess, but I seriously
    > doubt GNU/Linux will incur the intense
    > beating Java did after the hype settled down.

    This kind of arrogance is exactly what this article is about. It used to be the sole province of the Mac user, but the torch has been passed. Mac users, and Apple themselves, are through trying to take over the world and are happy to play well with others and just improve and use the tools and let their merits speak for themselves. The hype gets in the way of a realistic assessment of weaknesses and strengths.

    You may really dig Linux, say, for technical reasons, but you may not have predicted that for every user the technology wins over, the GPL drives ten away. I'm not saying it does, but it's a possibility. There may be ten more such possibilities that you haven't considered.

    Personally, I think the Linux backlash is already underway. People are getting that Microsoftian bad taste in their mouths when they hear some of the rhetoric. You hear that you should use Linux even if it's not the best technical solution, because it's the wave of the future. Shit, that's Windows. That's the whole reason, the only reason, for using Windows.

    Linux is already successful, though ... why say that it's not? We may look back ten years from now and Linux might not even be in wide use, but we could look up from our various Unix desktops and be thankful that Linux poked a hole in Windows and showed that the Emporer had no clothes. What's wrong with that?

    What's wrong with 10-20% of the market? Windows doesn't have 80% of desktops because it sucks so badly, it sucks so badly because it has 80% of desktops. The current Mac community are about as happy a group of computer users as you could find. 10% is really, really good.

  • Joe Public will probably never try to custom install an OS on his own.[...]Just like Joe Public doesn't switch out of the Windows GUI and play around in DOS, even though he could.

    This is a great misperception. Microsoft was the first to figure out this connection, and only recently has Apple started to catch on (perhaps because of Steve Jobs). The casual users start out as just that: casual users. They want something easy to use, something to just read email on, browse the web, type stuff up. But then they start playing games. They see how cool some of these games look and realize that they need bigger and badder hardware to play these games well.

    Then, when you finish a game, what do you do? Maybe make a quick web page to publish cheats you found in the game? Sure. Launch Frontpage Express. Then you realize you want to put some more interesting stuff on your page, like the current date and a stock ticker. So you learn a bit more HTML and maybe some JavaScript. Then you realize you want to setup a feedback form. What's the next logical step? Something that works well with FrontPage. ASP! (I like PHP, but that's a different story)

    What Microsoft has figured out (and Apple is just starting to remember), is that consumers start out as consumers, but almost universally, start looking for more things to do with their machine. They start tweaking settings, dabbling in scripting, putting up web sites. This futzing eventually turns into programming, system administration and other professions. If Apple or Microsoft come in on the ground floor, and offer more powerful products to consumers as they continue their evolution, each side will continue to work with each other. NT didn't become popular on its technical merits. It was because it was the next logical choice for all the millions of people using Windows 95/98. They think "well, I know Windows, so I can probably use NT". Unix seemed too intimidating.

    Likewise, people that were attracted by the Mac's visual appeal probably had an artist or designer sleeping somewhere inside of them. These people were not interested as much in code and motherboards, as they were expressing themselves in art form. When the time came to let their creativity loose, they simply chose the more powerful version of what they had already used and loved: a PowerMac. People who think the Mac is better for 2D graphics and design, sound, user interface, etc. because of the tools available are mixing up cause and effect. Those tools are present on the platform because the users are attracted by the Mac's presence. Let's face it, Windows is ugly and Linux is... well... Enlightment is interesting.

    If you want the best payoff, you have to invest at the ground floor -- new consumers.

    - Scott
    ------
    Scott Stevenson
  • "Linux is cool. Definately... BUT, _every_ Linux user I know spends HOURS tweaking their window manager, thier config files, etc.. with what result? They may have an OS completely tailored to their needs, but as soon as somebody else tries to use their machine, they have to _conform_ to your style of thinking."

    That is simply not true. Unlike MacOS, which has no concept of multiple users, UNIX allows each user to have a fully customized desktop. When I log into my Linux box I get MY desktop, when my girlfriend logs in, she gets hers. I NEVER have to conform to any users setup.

    One of the main reasons why MacOS is unsuitable for anything but the simplest environments.

    That and the fact that using it gives me a headache.

    domc

  • You're talking app level again. Shortcuts for dialog boxes aren't handled by the OS. Once again, you're talking about just plain common sense code in apps.

    And PLEASE, give me some examples of 'good' Mac shortcuts compared to 'evil' Windows ones. You're just FUDing by giving no examples. And again, shortcuts are mostly app level.
  • What was it that Woz once said? "Computers for every desktop"? "Computers for the home"? Something along those lines. Apple did just that : )

    I could just spew out a big, long, history speach, but because you all know what I'd say (and some of you have said it already), I'll refrain. What I will say is this: Apple's dumbest (spelling? ah well) move EVER - and I don't remember who's responsible, the Pepsi guy? - was firing Steve Jobs. Think of what we could be doing with computers right now if Apple hadn't sat like a lump during the late '80s and most of the '90s! Steve Jobs is the driving force behind Apple, and without him, the company just hangs in ICU, and comes crying to frickin Microsoft. If it wasn't for Steve Jobs, the plans for the Apple ][ would have been passed out by Woz to computer folks in his home town. Don't get me wrong, I love Steve Wozniak, but he needed Jobs as a partner to get the thing off the ground. Apple needs Jobs. Plain and simple.

    I agree with Mr. Jon Katz - we are in Apple's second "era," but if Apple doesn't do anything more than "sell colorful pieces of plastic," we're all going to be mightly dissapointed. Because we damn well know they can do more than that.

    This actually reminds me of a great joke I once heard. Bill Gates is talking to the CEO of General Motors (donno who that is), and Bill says, "If GM had kept up with technology the way Microsoft has, we'd all be driving $25 cars that could get up to 1000mph." The rest isn't important, the GM dude says something like, "Would you really want your car to crash every 5 minutes?" But I hope you see my point. If Apple didn't let Jobs go...hmm...

    I'm done : )

    miyax

    P.S: I don't use an Apple (hehe), but I've used them at school every chance I've gotten, from the Apple ][ up to the G3.
  • You would be right if there were more than two major applications that only run on Macintosh. Even a graphic designer, the Mac's core market, can easily get a Wintel machine and run all the same tools. Whole graphic design shops changed all their machines over in 1996 and 97, once Windows got mature enough to make that an option. That's competition. If you take market share from somebody, you are their competitor. Apple almost went under, and as a result, they've emerged as a much, much, much better company today.

    The only reason to use a Mac is because you like the computer better. Lots of people are buying their first Apple machines lately, but they're running all the same apps that they did on Windows.

    As for the overpriced thing, that's already been done to death here on Slashdot. Compare Apple's prices to similar machines from other first-tier computer makers such as IBM, Compaq and Dell. It's a draw these days.

    This debate is so fucking boring. Don't you have anything better to do than make anti-Apple rants? Aren't you too busy enjoying your own choice of computing technology to look around and piss on other people's choices? I am.
  • KDE does. Alt-F2 gets you a small, quick command-line box.. Most I use it for is running xterm, kpm, or various KDE and Gnome programs that I can remember the name of. I don't beleive it has any sort of filename completion or anything, though. I also've not had any experience with Gnome's mini-commander.

    Rion Wulfe
  • I believe the poster to whom you are replying to mentioned that /FreeBSD/ doesn't run on PPC. Not exactly the same thing as NetBSD. A la:

    "As far as I know, FreeBSD doesn't yet run on PowerPC (a port is underway perhaps?)."

    AFAIK: Unix is simply Unix. Classic. BSD is yet another fork in Unix development. A derivative. NetBSD is a derivative of BSD. FreeBSD and OpenBSD forked off from NetBSD. Thus are there three major flavors of BSD that are "free". Only only is called FreeBSD, however. ;)

  • AAAARGH!!!! Not again...

    I think _everybody_ on this form _understands_ that the GPL means "free" as in: nobody is supposed to make the software it is applied to "non-free", whereas the BSD license means that you can do any damn thing you feel like to the license.

    We _UNDERSTAND_ already - STOP FLOGGING THE HORSE!
  • You write:

    "The Salon article makes it out to sound as if Apple might somehow be hoping its choice of BSD would split the open source community."

    The Salon article actually says:

    "The circumstantial evidence available, however, suggests that Apple's embrace of BSD is part of a natural evolutionary process for Apple, and has little to do with a nefarious plot to undermine Linux."

    Reality check, please.

  • How do you ping something from a mac? erm. there's a COMMERCIAL PACKAGE that can do it.. sheesh.

    First off, how many ordinary end users ever need PING? Definitely less than 5%, possibly less than 1%. I use it, but I'm a web geek & spam hunter.

    Second, you don't know Mac. Among many other freeware options, WhatRoute [ihug.co.nz] does Ping, Query, Whois, Finger & Trace.

    Sounds to me like the article was written by a mac advocate trying to get linux users to use macs.

    Umm...no. The quote you grabbed in order to make that bogus assertion was an interview snip from 'Clif Marsiglio, a musician and self-described "pseudo-geek" who uses both platforms', not from the article's author. Why are you trying to twist words? Sounds to me like you're an irrational Mac hater.

    The point of Linux is that you can customize everything, but at the expense of convenience. The point of MacOS is almost the opposite. The comparison isn't even close to apples & oranges, it really is more like apples & penguins.

  • "How would you ensure profitability by just building the hardware?"

    That's paramount to asking how Dell makes money even though they don't build Windows or Red Hat. Besides, you don't exactly see people buying MacOS. They buy the computer. AFAIK, you are only allowed to put MacOS on a Mac anyway (not that it would be useful/desirable to stick it on a non-Mac in the first place). Thus they aren't really selling the software, they are selling the hardware. How do they make a profit? By not spending money building the software and just make the hardware. Same sales, less money to put up to get them. Perhaps even more sales.

    "Obviously, the goals of free software are going to clash head-on with you if you try to make your hardware work "best" with the software that you're developing in the open."

    Just build good hardware. Don't try to give yourself an "edge" a la Wintel. It's what we all want, anyway. Good hardware.

  • "I'm not a *nix person, but I will venture a guess anyway. :) I'd say that the BSD code is more mature than Linux. For example, as I understand, Linux doesn't work well in multiprocessor systems."

    BSD and its derivatives are direct descendants of the original Unix. Thus they use a lot of tried and true code. However, they also suffer from a lot of really horribly archaic code. The Linux kernel advances a little slower than it could because Torvalds is seriously anal, and doesn't allow for any kind of kludge. In the end, this is going to pay off.. big time. Elegance is not to be underestimated, even if it takes a little time.

  • " "I see Linux as irrelevant from my perspective as an advocate for everyday computer users," says Joe Ragosta, maintainer of the Complete Macintosh Page. "It's a great geek OS for people who want to be cooler than everyone else ... As such, there's no way it can compete for the average user. Heck, I've dealt with enough average users who can't figure out where the 'start' menu is, much less how to install and manage a Linux system. While the newer versions are better in this regard, they're nowhere close to the ease of use of the Mac, or even Windows." "

    This guy is a complete and utter tool (you saw it here first, Kish's first use of "format tags" on Slashdot). Who here actually uses GNU/Linux to be "cool"? And what makes this luser think that GNU/Linux isn't going to swiftly evolve into something for your average hacker /and/ Joe Public? And who else is getting sick of the "easy to use" card? I personally find GNU/Linux a /lot/ easier to use than either Windows or MacOS.. No OS is intuitive, and thus, "easy to use".. Some are simply easier for certain people to learn than others.

  • "Either OS lets anybody's mother -- no offense, Mom -- start using the computer as soon as it powers on. And that may be fine for some people. But not for me. I don't need to be insulted by my OS, and I like a learning experience."

    "No matter which way you go, you'll start "thinking different" (adverb intentionally ommitted), because you'll actually have to start thinking once you start using. In contrast to the Mac, in which case no thinking -- different or otherwise -- is required at all. "

    You know, most people like it that way, not having to think to use the computer, i.e. low learning curve. I don't see how that make MacOS bad.

    Not everyone is inclined to spend a lot of time to learn how to get their computer to work.

    Sure, we are. We love to tinker, fiddle, tweak, hack, etc. But we are not exactly the average computer user either.

    So because MacOS doesn't do what YOU want doesn't mean it's bad. It just mean you should use something else; which you do.

    That's why having a choice is important. The more choice, the better. One size doesn't fit all.
  • For the last time, the open source relese of darwin has little or nothing to do with a desire to proliferate or pose os x server against linix or any other server os really. It is about quicktime. now we all love our respective os's and what not and can go on forever flaming one another abotu our personal prefs and so forth, but the fact is we are all doing it through a website where what os you run don't matter a bit. in the end, if you take a properly internet-centric veiw of all this you can see what all the big ceo's have been saying for years, it's about whose standards are on the web. apple will be a reletivly large niche player for the forseeable future, i work at an ad agency in the creative dept. and i can tell you that these macs aint goin no where in this industry, as in publishing, or anything else where seemless creativity is the goal. apple knows this, it can grow it's consumer base to a cewrtain extent (imacs, etc.) but jobs knows in the end it is quicktime that will make or break apples long term success. so shut up about apple encrouching on linux or the authenticity of thir open source gestures and hurry up and port quicktime streaming server to linux!!
  • I was a little too vague, I imagine. At the time I wrote that post, I was thinking about an article I'd read previously where one of the members of one of the "port Linux to Mac" projects was saying that Apple should just make the hardware and let them make the OS. It would certainly save them time and money since they wouldn't have to develop anything in that area ("they" being Apple).

    "If Apple were to GPL Mac OS X, they would still be the principal developers for, at the very least, quite some time (look at how Mozilla started) and would probably not make money from it."

    At any rate.. Mozilla would have more support if it was GPL'ed rather than MPL'ed. The license sucks. Not as much as the NPL, but enough. So would most any GPL'ed project that had any worth to it at all.

    "OTOH, Dell is not a principal developer of either RH or Windows."

    Of course not. The point being, a lot of people might be more excited about the new PPC chips developed by IBM and Motorola if you could use them in a Mac without being subject to MacOS. I know of a few myself, at the very least. Personally, I'm still waiting for all of the promised architecture support that Debian is slated to have in the hopefully not-so-distant future. ;)

  • "You have to remember that Mac OS X is based off of a lot of NeXTstep code, and also a lot of NetBSD code (or possibly FreeBSD code, I'm not sure)."

    ..I was talking specifically about BSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD. I guess I could have been a little more specific when I said "derivatives", but I was certainly not talking about NeXTstep or anything else, really. I'm not sure why I bothered with any derivatives, however, since the post I replied to only mentioned "BSD". :)

  • by nevets (39138) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @07:12AM (#1654248) Homepage Journal

    Isn't Windows as close to Apple as Apple is close to Xerox's (internal) system.

    So technically, isn't everyone using the Xerox OS?


    Steven Rostedt
  • Well, Gnome's mini-commander is quite a bit better than what discribed, which sound a lot like Windows Run command on the Start button. Mini-Commander has autocompletion and fits in your panel. If you add a prefix with a colon, you can put output in an xterm, open a URL in Lynx or netscape, or whatever else you want.

    --

  • Unix shells are much easier to use than GUI interfaces for all Unix shells are much easier to use than GUI interfaces for all but the most simple operations.

    I was ready to agree with you until I recalled what most people do with computers: Web Browseing, E-mail, Word Processing, Printing, Spreadsheets, and perhaps some kind of checking program. I also have a friend who makes his own Web Page on the internet using some Page wizard thing on Trident.

    I am already to agree with you. Just someone tell me how the command-line would help with the above task.

    --

  • I like configurability, I like free, I hate wizards, and I hate being coddled. But I also hate having to screw around and waste hours of my time installing a toy.

    As do I, which is why the OS I'd like to have would be a free (as in speech) OS that lets me configure stuff and that doesn't require me to screw around and waste hours of my time installing stuff.

    why does everyone seem to think that OS's are mutually exclusive?

    ...and why do people sometimes think "configurable"/"doesn't keep you from getting 'under the hood'" and "doesn't require you to screw around and waste hours of your time installing toys" are mutually exclusive?

  • You don't sound like any IT person who has to hop from desktop to desktop in a large company: in such a place
    consistency is a godsend (unless you're paid by the hour;).

    Then perhaps you want a way of disabling the tweakable knobs and buttons on machines that the IT folks are managing (I have the impression that Windows NT, at least, has ways of doing so, by setting the appropriate, well, knobs in the registry), or, at least, requiring people to forego centralized management if they want to tweak their boxes.

  • We _UNDERSTAND_ already - STOP FLOGGING THE HORSE!

    Someones always got to do their part to point out that both licenses aren't mutually exclusive. The BSD and GPL license' are both 'good'. But they both fit different areas.


    --
  • Unix, BSD, subsequent derivatives.. Their implementations (each one considered individually) would of course be rather consistent due to their heritage, and the fact that relatively small groups work on the OS proper. Thus, being consistent is relatively easy.

    "The more I delve into Linux, the more I get confused by the different ways everything has to be done. I think this is a symptom of the "hack it till it just works" mentality."

    Are you referring to the kernel proper? If so, I'm sure a lot of people would like to point out how incredibly anal Torvalds really is, and just how elegant anything suggested for inclusion in the kernel really has to be in order to "make the grade". ;)

    At any rate, the "hack till it just works" seems to be an increasingly common misconception typically associated with GNU/Linux and its various advocates. Perhaps some day people will think of some more devious FUD to cater to the masses with.

  • I certainly agree with restricting peoples ability to turn my code into non-free code. And a lot of companies that release free software like the GPL too.

    Funny, I notice that those who give code away prefer the GPL license, but those who want the code prefer the BSD license. Your statement is exactly why I fight to release code under GPL, or atleast LGPL for my libraries.

    If you need a function, and you don't want to give your code away, you are happy to have BSD, because you can do that. But if you want to give it away without fear of it being controlled by someone else, then GPL is probably preferred.

    Steven Rostedt
  • Care to point to a good (re: specific) resource which tracks the entire history of BSD to, well, whatever was derived from it? Like Free/Net/Open.. The various project pages sure don't do the most exciting job of doing so. ;)

    However, The History of the NetBSD Project [netbsd.org] might prove to be of some interest to a few.. Specifically the little graphic toward the bottom. Not the most precise thing in the world, but it certainly suggests that NetBSD and FreeBSD aren't based solely on 4.4 Lite..

    It all goes back to that "promote understanding" thing, which I'm all for. I personally don't find tracking the history of *BSD to be the most exciting thing in the world, but it could prove.. useful.. in certain situations.

  • BSD- or X-style licenses are simply one step away from being public domain.

    Yep

    If the GPL were "free" in the way BSD fanatics think of the term, no one would give a damn about "free software"

    Yep

    Because if you don't have the sledgehammer ready in case someone tries to take that free software and make it proprietary, someone is going to do just that. Every time. That's why *BSD isn't nearly as popular. The GPL is certainly less restrictive than most any other license. The BSD license is pretty much pointless. It might as well not even be a license.

    Right, the GPL restricts your rights to guarantee the rights of others. This, IMHO is the best way software can be "free". And you are right, this restriction as to what others can do with *your* code is the reason it is so popular. But I think that "Open Source" is more discriptive of the idea of the GPL then "free" does. The GPL ensures that the code will always be open source. "Free" implies the ability to do anything you want with it. The BSD allows this.

    There are benefits to each. Don't forget that. We need them both. But they *do* serve different purposes.

    -Brent
    --
  • Now the software being written for GNU/Linux is taking off in every direction imaginable.

    ...including being run on other UNIX-flavored OSes (and, in many cases, developed by people working on a variety of UNIX-flavored OSes, including but not limited to Linux).

    Note that the first place the word "Linux" appears on the KDE home page [kde.org] is when it says

    KDE wins "LinuxWorld's Editor Choice" award in "Desktop Environment" category

    Earlier on that page, it says

    KDE is a powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations. It combines ease of use, contemporary functionality and outstanding graphical design with the technological superiority of the Unix operating system.

    Note that "Unix" appears twice in that quote, and "Linux" appears zero times; they should arguably replace "Unix operating system" with "Unix-flavored operating systems", or something such as that, given that there is no single collection of software that is the "Unix operating system", i.e. in that context, "Unix operating system" includes Linux, just as much as it includes {Free,Net,Open}BSD, Solaris, HP-UX, etc..

    Soon the differences between Unix and GNU/Linux will dwarf the similarities for many.

    I'm still waiting.... (When I log into a Linux box here, it feels pretty much like any of the other UNIX boxes; it's not exactly the same as any of the others, but Solaris and Digital UNIX aren't exactly the same, either.)

    Personally, I can't wait until Berlin is ready for some serious action.

    Hmm. Let's take a look at the Berlin Consortium Home Page [berlin-consortium.org]:

    Our long term goal is to produce the most powerful and flexible GUI possible, and to release it on as many hardware platforms and OSs as can be found.

    Nothing on the home page says "this is a windowing system for Linux"; the developers may be working on Linux, but they pretty clearly state that it isn't their intent to make this something just for Linux.

  • by snicker (7648) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @04:01AM (#1654286) Homepage Journal
    The Mac OS has always been for me a tool of maximum efficiency - it's about as clean and fast a GUI as one could hope for, mostly thanks to its carefully thought out placement of icons, menus, buttons and so forth. Linux - tho' I've not been working on it for too long - is efficient as any unixesque system through the CLI (and I'm sure enjoying Enlightenment!)

    I've been working on macs almost my whole life, and love them. But because the sort of work I do has been changing, I've found a text-based interface more efficient. My mac advocacy hasn't slackened though!

    I thought the Salon article made a good point, though - that (and I am paraphrasing cruelly to make my point) people become advocates of the system they find the most efficient. Personally I wish that Alias | Wavefront [sgi.com] would write a window manager - Maya is simply the best ``OS'' [sgi.com] I've ever used. Irix is fun, too.
    *N
  • by redd (17486) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @04:05AM (#1654290)
    I don't think the writer understands at all why we use Linux/UNIX..

    "The design and elegance of the Mac operating system can affordany moron to get work done in an efficient way and, if necessary, figure
    out what's wrong with it. This is contrary to all that the average Linux geek wants ... The geeks look at a computer as a sacred mystical
    tool, and use allegorical and mythical terms to describe it ..."

    1) If a mac isn't doing what you expect then it gives you NO debugging information to "figure out what's wrong with it" - trust me.. I work on a help desk. How do you ping something from a mac? erm. there's a COMMERCIAL PACKAGE that can do it.. sheesh. So if it says "can't connect to mail host smtp.foo.com" I have no idea if it's a DNS problem or a TCP problem or an IP problem, and I'm trying to work this out through some 'kwit down the phone who bought a mac fooled into thinking it would be easy to use. The mostly monochrome desktop is far from "elegant" and the interface is too damn illogical.

    2) The mythical terms stuff is garbage. As a die-hard GNU advocate I'd still be the first person happy to rename 'grep' as 'regexp-filter' or even 'search'.

    I was originally drawn to unix 5 years ago just by seeing a solaris box and how much you configure FVWM to do what you want (you mean you can actually define your OWN button menus? wow!). I have stayed with linux after seeing the power of opensource and its mass ability to protect good technology from being beaten by FUD.

    Sounds to me like the article was written by a mac advocate trying to get linux users to use macs.

    If Apple shipped a complete development environment with their OS and stopped sueing people I might consider it.
  • I don't understand why so many writers seem to think that the power of Linux and "ease of use" are mutually exclusive things? I guess it's because most of them new to the Linux bandwagon. There are a lot of projects that have been, and will continue to improve the ease of use of Linux for newbies.

    Notice I said for newbies. For those who have bothered to learn how to use the keyboard as their primary input device, Unix shells are much easier to use than GUI interfaces for all but the most simple operations.

    A pretty GUI interface simply does not define ease of use for everyone. I'm hoping that during the next year the "ease of use" arguement is going to become a non issue. By that point Linux should at least be caught up to Windows in the "ease of use for newbies" category. The idea that Linux may one day also be touted as "easier to configure and install than Windows" may be here sooner than you think.

    numb

  • BSD- or X-style licenses are simply one step away from being public domain. Saying the GPL isn't free, no matter what else you say, is ludicrous. If the GPL were "free" in the way BSD fanatics think of the term, no one would give a damn about "free software" (or "open source" or whatever other even more ambiguous term you want to use instead of the correct one..).

    Free software is all about making it free for everyone, and making damn sure that it stays that way.. Because if you don't have the sledgehammer ready in case someone tries to take that free software and make it proprietary, someone is going to do just that. Every time. That's why *BSD isn't nearly as popular. The GPL is certainly less restrictive than most any other license. The BSD license is pretty much pointless. It might as well not even be a license.

    I'm not sure what you were aiming to accomplish by reiterating something all of us /should/ know, though you seemed to do a remarkable job of clouding the issue with some very odd semantic takes on things.

  • "Wow, I can't believe this is an issue. Are Linux users really out to stifle other OSs?"

    There are fanatics who use utter deception, outright lies, and other misconceptions on /both/ sides of the *BSD vs. GNU/Linux fence. Personally, I despise them all. I'm all for choice. If you don't like the GPL, fine. Don't use it. If you don't like other licenses, fine, don't use them. If you don't like such and such OS, fine. Don't use it already! Just don't lie about any of the above just to "get more mindshare" as one FreeBSD drone who is a little too able to impress his opinions on the public once told me was ok. Just let the truth be known and let everyone decide for themselves. The free software movement isn't about coddling people, ok? It's about choice. Let's keep it that way.

  • ..at least not on the scale you wrote about. ;) It's simply about choice. Some people seem to think it's just a popularity contest still, however.. It's just about providing an alternative in case someone wants it. It's not supposed to be about forcing that alternative down someone's throat.

  • There's an interesting implied comment here, which goes along the lines of "if no CLI interface exists for a system, then users don't have any power over it". This is due in part by the fact that the Windows and GNU/Linux graphical interfaces do, in fact, provide a limited view of the system and the way it operates. Most win32 and linux hackers root around in the registry and text files (respectively) to get the functionality that they want.

    Part of what made the Mac so revolutionary was the fact that the designers decreed that the only way to interact with the system will be through the GUI. The designers knew that there would be no way to fall back on text configuration files if times got tough, so they were forced to implement GUI interfaces to almost every system function.

    As a result, they managed to duplicate large portions of the functionality afforded by Linux's configuration files in the GUI. /etc/rc has equivalents in the Mac's extensions manager. chmod, in apple's "sharing" window. If the file extensions bug you, try ResEdit. If you feel compelled to build shell scripts, use MPW or AppleScript. Granted, some of these are a bit obscure, but they're certainly available. In fact, I think AppleScript, and it's ability to script lots of different Mac applications, is a place where MacOS has a fairly good lead in terms of flexibilty and power.

    As in almost any OS, the amount of flexibility that you get from it depends in large part on the amount of time that you're willing to commit to learning how it works.
  • by Andrew Leonard (4372) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @07:47AM (#1654309) Homepage
    Many of you already know this -- but I made a pretty stupid error in the Apple/Linux story. I said that Mac OS X is code-named Darwin. As I have been informed by numerous parties this morning, Darwin only refers to certain underlying layers of code in Mac OS X, mainly Mach and BSD. Corrections have been made to the story that bring it, I hope, into line.

    Cheers!
  • Well, the true innovation of Linux is not technical, but that it was the first operating system to be widely available as completely unencumbered free software.

    Apple has truly changed the world of computing, but there is little future opportunity for the company to do so again. By embracing GUI, Microsoft has frozen the state of user interfaces, even dragged it back a few steps.

    The current state of Mac advocacy is sad indeed, reduced to cheering for the survival of a creatively moribund company. It used to be that Mac advocates were strong, even vituperative critics of Mac program user interfaces. This was a lot like the "peer review" we get in open source. Now Mac programs have sprouted all the ugly and redundant UI appendages of windows programs and people are glad simply to be able to run even a Windows-like program on their beloved OS.

    Linux truly is revolutionary, because it cannot be absorbed and corrupted by any private interest. For Microsoft, embracing Linux would be drinking from a poisoned chalice.
  • It is often pointed out that, when everything settled after the whole Mac-Windows jihad, the platform that won (Windows) was:

    The one that ran on the least-expensive hardware

    The cheapest to buy (or steal)

    Preferred by techies

    Eventually, Windows became much easier to use and (perhaps) technically superior to the Mac. This only added to its dominance.

    If Linux vs NT is Jihad II, Linux already has a massive lead on these 4 fronts.

    I guess the biggest piece missing is 3rd-party support -- but that's definitely coming. Life is sweet.

  • by kennylives (27274) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @04:15AM (#1654324) Journal

    Lesson for linux-heads: Want market share of the desktop ("world domination")? Do more ease-of-use stuff.

    I think one of the major problems with tossing around the phrase "easy-to-use" is that no-one ever really defines who is supposed to find it easier.

    Is it the complete neophyte who knows nothing about computers at all? If so, no mainstream OS qualifies. Is it the casual user? Is it the "power" user? Or is it the totally geeked-out hacker type?

    Ultimately, if the "ease-of-use" factor strays too far below the user's skill/knowledge level, s/he's going to find the OS getting in their way with too many wizards and "are you sure?" dialogs. If "ease-of-use" was keyed to a more advanced user, the user's going to be intimidated by the system, and may never use it to the fullest.

    And let's not forget that the user generally learns about the system as they go. So, what the user once considered a difficult task s/he may come to view as simple, if only through rote repetition. Does the system get out of their way once they've learned these tasks? Or does it force them to continue to use the "easy-to-use" wizards and whatnot?

    The real problem here is that there is no such thing as one-size-fits all. Personally, I think that is misguided and silly to try to do it. Look @ Windows. It tries to be all things to all people, and as a result, isn't. Is that what we want Linux to aspire to? I don't think so...

  • by meepzorb (61992) on Tuesday September 28, 1999 @04:26AM (#1654329)
    Professionally, I am primarily a UNIX and VxWorks developer (I have a Linux box on my desk which I use for prototyping) and sysadmin who has used far too many flavors of unix to remain normal. I've also done quite a bit of Macintosh programming.

    At home, I have both an iMac and a linux laptop to play with. Guess which one is used more? The iMac. And no I am not dumbing down off-hours... I do most of my home coding projects on the Mac these days. The Mac is just more fun to use, and when it's MY OWN time, the fun is really all that matters.

    Is Linux "fun to use"? Yes. As a challenging and powerful environment to keep one's unix chops up to snuff. It's also the most pleasant of all the unices I've seen or used over the years.

    Is the Macintosh "fun to use"? Also yes. As a tool that hardly ever gets between me and whatever it is I am trying to do.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that linux is fun in the sense that, say, Rubik's Cube or a challenging puzzle is fun. My Mac is fun in the sense that my guitars are fun. There is plenty of room in my life for both.

    I have as much "unix cred" as almost anyone, and I still have nothing but respect for the general design of the MacOS. It bothers me when (as happens all too often) I hear perfectly competent and intelligent linux advocates flaming MacOS by reflex.

    I'm not really sure why it has to be one or the other. Why not both?

    :Michael
  • ..who are a little lazy. ;)

    Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix [oreilly.com]. While it proves some points previously asserted by others, I'll state simply that even though *BSD has no Unix code left in it, it's still a rework of the Unix code (and members of the Unix family tree). I personally find it to be more elegant to start from scratch than a complete rework. And that's what was meant.

    The rest of the book is pretty good, too, even though I was disappointed that the section on Stallman was a reprint of a page on the GNU site. Yeah, like I haven't read /that/ before.. It's /really/ funny what Torvalds has to say about GNU in his chapter, especially ebout Emacs. ;) Goes to further prove I don't care a whole lot about his views aside from kernel hacking. ;)

  • "Right, the GPL restricts your rights to guarantee the rights of others."

    I'm not sure I follow. Even if this were true (the usual arguement is that the designer is then bereft of their rights, which are then dispersed into the community as a whole), the GPL only restricts what the designer of the software allows it to restrict. GPL'ed software is just as useless to proprietary people as proprietary software is to the rest of us, with regards to a certain point of view.

    "But I think that "Open Source" is more discriptive of the idea of the GPL then "free" does."

    Not really. Open source is an easily corruptible term. In fact, most businesses have already corrupted it (no thanks to people such as ESR and his followers). All open source means is that you get to look at the code. Thus, the NPL and SCSL are both "open source", but come nowhere close to doing what the GPL aims to achieve. Non-believers really should read the Philosophy [gnu.org] section of the GNU Project's Web site.

    For a more eclectic point of view, think about the Alamo. The defenders of the Alamo said they were free. Not free today, yesterday, or even tomorrow, but forever. They would not later be stripped of their freedom, and made into slaves due to someone else's whim. They would fight anyone who sought to take away their freedom. This is the kind of ideal that the GPL and the philosophy behind it represents. Sure, the defenders of the Alamo couldn't make the Mexican Army happy that way, but is that something they really wanted to do..? In order to stay free you have to stand up for yourself. BSD licensing.. does not do this.

    To quote Stallman himself: "Non-copyleft licenses such as the XFree86 and BSD licenses are based on the idea of never saying no to anyone--not even to someone who seeks to use your work as the basis for restricting other people. Non-copyleft licensing does nothing wrong, but it misses the opportunity to actively protect our freedom to change and redistribute software. For that, we need copyleft." So, before you say that the GPL isn't "free", think again about what kind of "freedom" we are really talking about.

    "The GPL ensures that the code will always be open source. "Free" implies the ability to do anything you want with it. The BSD allows this."

    As I said, a usual BSD fanatic point of view. This isn't the kind of "freedom" Richard Stallman is advocating, however. Again, refer to the aforementioned section of the FSF site. And the BSD license does /not/ allow me to do whatever I want with it. The two licenses aren't precisely compatible, so I can't integrate GPL'ed and BSD'ed software freely (that is, mix the code in the same program). That's not entirely "free" based on the way you seem to define the term, now is it?

    "There are benefits to each. Don't forget that. We need them both. But they *do* serve different purposes."

    Yup. Of course not. Nope. Yup.

    I much prefer the LGPL to the BSD flavor of licensing. Much much prefer. Of course, I'd rather the GPL, but sometimes you just /have/ to set a standard by using the LGPL because you need to succeed (and not because you just want to be popular).

    In closing, I shall quote Stallman one last time: "Friends, free software developers, don't repeat a mistake. If we do not copyleft our software, we put its future at the mercy of anyone equipped with more resources than scruples. With copyleft, we can defend freedom, not just for ourselves, but for ourw hole community."

    I shall also cite an example: "The spirit of both licenses is to allow users access to the source code of the programs they are running, so that they can make modifications to suit their needs, and that they can share this code with others. However, while the BSD license only encourages people to share the improvements they make, the GPL requires people to do so if they want to distribute their modifications. Since Tim felt that people were exploiting Kaffe without contributing their improvements back to the main code base, he decided to use the more restrictive GPL for versions of Kaffe that are more recent than 0.9.2." That's from the Kaffe home page.. The licensing FAQ, to be specific.

    The now obligatory cheap shot: In short, there's a big difference between being liberal and being "someone's bitch" just because you want to be popular. ;)

  • This guy says that the average geek wants to "look at a computer as a sacred mystical tool, and use allegorical and mythical terms to describe it." I really don't like it when someone decides he's qualified to testify about what I'm thinking, and then gets it completely wrong. Look at the Jargon File or any slashdot discussion about what "geek" means. One attribute that frequently comes up is that geeks take pride in seeing things as they really are! A computer is a box full of on/off switches, not a mystical tool that only the l33t can use.

    And if using Linux is a way to prove I'm better than everybody else, why do I want more people to use it? Simple: I don't feel threatened by people ascending to my level, but I do think the world will be better off for it. And I cheer the arrival of easier-to-learn tools for installing and using Linux because they are not a threat to my status, but rather are an important step towards a world in which a powerful, stable operating system is ubiquitous.

  • To me, Apple's complaining about MS stealing their look and feel never made sense.

    Just a clarification. It was not so much the look and feel of the OS, as it was the technologies behind that look and feel. If you look at the Macintosh Toolbox API and the Windows API, there are a lot of similarities, including the idea of Regions (invented by Jeff Raskin for the original Mac OS) that allow windows to be updated incrementally.

    If you saw Pirates of Silicon Valley, the general story was pretty much represented the way it actually happened, although Robert X. Cringely's Triumph of the Nerds has a much better account of what happened. Also check out the Nerds Q&A [pbs.org] section for some more info., including a commnet by Jeff Raskin himself.

  • Keep the command-line power for those who want it, but a consumer user should NEVER have to see it. Period

    BeOS already does this. The GUI is very slick too. The multitasking is better than ANY other OS ive ever used (lots of threads and fine grained scheduling)

    BeOS is nowhere close to linux or *nix as a server for one thing it doesn't (yet) have multiuser support, but it rocks as a desktop OS.
    For this reason amongst others you and many other Slashdotters might not want to actually use BeOS, but if you want to see what your goal of a "user friendly linux" might look like take a look at BeOS!
  • Apple's choice of BSD for Mac OS X is entirely a a matter of legacy code. Mac OS X is meant to integrate the technology they acquired from the NeXT buyout into the Mac OS.

    This is not an easy task, and they are trying to do this is fast as they can. BSD is what NeXT used, and since there is really no need to change that part of the OS (As opposed to integrating backwards compatibilty, and the dubious shift from an Object C API to a Java one), they stuck with it.

    NeXT's choice of BSD is again a matter of legacy. When the Mach micorkernel was developed at CMU, they put BSD on top of it to show it off. It worked so well, no one felt the need to do anything else with Mach. NeXT used it as is, because it was the fastest way to get a shipping product.

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