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Jamie Zawinski Switches to Mac OS X 1074

iskander writes "After a disappointing experience with sound, Jamie Zawinski has finally given up on desktop Linux and switched to Mac OS X. The future of apps like xscreensaver and Gronk is now ``highly ambiguous''. He has already ditched a free/open platform before, but he seems a lot angrier this time. Indeed, twisted by the Dark Side of the Source, young Zawinski has become."
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Jamie Zawinski Switches to Mac OS X

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  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:1, Informative)

    by DanteLysin ( 829006 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:07AM (#12794427)
    Hardly news worthy.

    Too bad we can't mod the article submission "overrated".
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by bobbis.u ( 703273 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:17AM (#12794489)
    Maybe he just got tired of fucking around with Linux. He got bored of having to trawl through "help" documents, fiddlying with config files and generally wasting time to achieve a second best result. He probably decided his time was worth the cost of buying a professional operating system that works. OK, so maybe he can't now reconfigure the colour of the drop shadow on the mouse pointer, but he clearly doesn't care about that.

    Also, he doesn't really care what the Linux crowd thinks, which is why he posted the remark about Slashdot.

  • by prodangle ( 552537 ) <> on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:19AM (#12794500) Homepage Journal []

    "Back before you had heard of Netscape, I was responsible for the Unix versions of Netscape Navigator through release 1.1."

    "Before Netscape, I was primarily to blame for Lucid Emacs"

    "...I was one of the folks who created and ran the Mozilla Organization during the first year of its life"

    "But now I've taken my leave of that whole sick, navel-gazing mess we called the software industry. Now I'm in a more honest line of work: now I sell beer."

  • Re:From TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by RonnyJ ( 651856 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:41AM (#12794651)
    It's pretty evident that the editor actually managed to read at least some of this article, as the following line shows:

    from the don't-worry-jamie-we-won't-post-it dept.

  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:52AM (#12794727) Homepage
    Hard to hear you say that (I heard this on Slashdot, alas). I heard you had problems with sound cards in Linux. However, I do belive you may have the same problems with MacOS X -- you can't play two sounds at once

    I don't know where you got that notion, but it is wrong. Right now, for example, my OS X system is playing music in iTunes, environmental sounds from World of Warcraft, and my terminal can beep, as can my email program when I receive a mail.

  • Re:Motivation? (Score:2, Informative)

    by online-shopper ( 159186 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:57AM (#12794777)
    That's interesting, I've set it up on an FC2 box following the howto and it works fine, perhaps you want to try to work out your problem?
    Almost every time I've had experiance with JWZ he's been an ass. Abusive, whiney, and generally more concerned about how he shouldn't have to do something and how it was our fault(in #fedora) then he was about fixing whatever problem he was having.
  • Re:Sound (Score:3, Informative)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @11:16AM (#12794905)
    ALSA has dmix which does pretty much this, and it's enabled out of the box for apps that need it in Fedora Core 4 which should be out tomorrow.

    There's still some disagreement on whether dmix is the way forward, but hopefully within a year or two software sound mixing will be like fonts are now - pretty much a solved problem.

  • Get SuSE.
    Get an SB Live! Value or an SB Audigy! Value.
    Get an Nvidia Geforce(1/2/3/4) MX or not video card.
    Use an ACX110/111 802.11g wireless card.


    Hardware audio mixing, all the drivers will auto-install. An almost Mac OS X-like experience, and certainly much easier than Windows.
  • DMIX and You! (Score:3, Informative)

    by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwin@amir[ ]us ['an.' in gap]> on Sunday June 12, 2005 @11:46AM (#12795110) Homepage Journal
    Apparently, both the newest Mandrake (Mandriva?), Fedora Core 4, and SuSE 9.3 feature dmix out of the box for soundcards that do not support hardware mixing.

    So this is now a non-problem.

    Survey says? Stop running Redhat 5. Old linux=PITA. Get a new user-friendly distro.

    Oh, you don't want a dumbed-down OS? Than why are you switching to OS X?

    Note: I have a powerbook G4, running Tiger, and two mac minis running Tiger. I also have several linux desktops and 2 linux servers. I've got plenty of experience with both platforms.

    But SuSE is almost as easy as OS X, and I can run most of my Windows games on SuSE.
  • Re:Sound (Score:4, Informative)

    by dozer ( 30790 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @12:02PM (#12795209)
    Because it adds significant latency. It's pretty much impossible to sync audio and video when the audio is going through artsd. Thank goodness the KDE guys are finally ditching this afwul program. Saves me the trouble of turning it (and esd) off on every new Linux install.
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

    by cahiha ( 873942 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @12:19PM (#12795312)
    Only idiots expect to turn on a computer, slap in a card, run an automated driver install program and expect the thing to work.

    I had to try three 802.11 USB sticks before I found one that actually worked on Windows. I have been through four Bluetooth USB devices, and none of them work correctly.

    Macintosh is even worse: most of the USB hardware I have doesn't even have drivers for Macintosh, so it won't work at all. For supposedly supported hardware, the track record is not much better than on Windows. The only thing that I found works reliably on Macintosh is all-Apple hardware.

    So, please stop spreading FUD: this is a big problem with all current operating systems. The only way you can avoid it is by picking the hardware and software you install very carefully to get the stuff that works. And that's true on all platforms. In fact, its true for most high-tech products we buy in general.
  • by Electrum ( 94638 ) <> on Sunday June 12, 2005 @01:37PM (#12795817) Homepage
    If he has indeed been messing around with Linux for long enough to be prominent in development/maintenance of xscreensaver (I haven't checked this) or XEmacs

    jwz [] wrote xscreensaver, Lucid Emacs, Netscape Mail and News 2.0 to 3.0 and the original UNIX versions of Netscape Navigator.
  • by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @01:48PM (#12795881)
    Get an SB Live! Value or an SB Audigy! Value.

    The only problem with this is that SB Live!s suck ass. I have seen so many people's computers lock up, crash intermittently, or refuse to even boot because they had an SB Live! that didn't want to play nice with the rest of their hardware, and the featureset really isn't all that good even for a budget card.

    Try a Turtle Beach Riviera [] if you need a good budget card.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2005 @02:39PM (#12796214)
    Ah yes, is the the guy who wrote lovingly about programming on Netscape for 20-22 hours per day?

    And is likely the one largely responsible for the complete shit that was Netscape, the crap that crashed so much that I switched to Internet Explorer because "it just worked"?

    I'm just curious, because if it is the same guy he has absolutely NO cause to whine about his example and his Karmic input coming back to bite him on his ass.

    'course if it ain't him, it gets back to the question of just who is he (and why should we care)?
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

    by macwhiz ( 134202 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @03:02PM (#12796368)

    Macintosh is even worse: most of the USB hardware I have doesn't even have drivers for Macintosh, so it won't work at all. For supposedly supported hardware, the track record is not much better than on Windows. The only thing that I found works reliably on Macintosh is all-Apple hardware.

    So, please stop spreading FUD...

    Who's spreading FUD?

    True, Macs work best with Apple hardware... which makes sense, since that means they've been validated to work together from day one.

    Since most Macs sold today already come with 802.11g support built in, and those that don't already have the antennas and only need an AirPort Express card, who needs a USB 802.11 adapter? Why waste the port, have a dongle sticking out of the computer, and deal with the extra overhead?

    One of the ways Macs outshine the low-cost competition is that most of the things you need are standard. Take the iMac: Gigabit ethernet? Standard. Optical audio? Standard. FireWire for your camcorder? Standard. 802.11g and Bluetooth? Standard.

    As for third-party USB hardware, I've not had a problem. My Macs have lots of USB accessories:

    • USB speakers (harmon/kardon SoundSticks
    • Logitech mice
    • Contour ShuttleXpress
    • Belkin Nostromo n52
    • Palm cradle
    • cheapie GE TetraHub from Target
    • Lexar flash media reader
    • HP multifunction device
    • Targus numeric keypad
    • Saitek joystick
    • Gravis gamepad
    • Wacom tablet
    • IOgear KVM
    • Logitech keyboard
    • APC UPS

    The only thing in the list that doesn't work reliably is the Targus keypad, which seems to produce some nonstandard keycodes that confuse OS X 10.4. It's not listed as Mac-compatible. It does work, except that the Num Lock key must be on to type numbers and off to hit Enter. I suspect that's the keypad's fault, not Apple's.

    So what's unreliable? A lot of USB stuff doesn't have Mac drivers because it's not needed -- the Mac has built-in support for much of it. Heck, my APC UPS came with a Mac driver that was unnecessary, because the OS automatically recognizes it and does a better job managing it than the APC software does!

    I've tried to get some of this stuff to work on my FreeBSD and Linux boxes. It didn't work, even when it was supposed to work. Open source UNIX-alikes will never gain much market-share so long as the programmers maintain the "it works for me, I don't know why you're so picky/you didn't read the manual/write your own fix" attitude.

  • Re:Sound (Score:3, Informative)

    by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @03:53PM (#12796660)
    Many apps try to use very different systems to get the fonts? Really?

    Uhm... let's see:
    - GTK 2: fontconfig
    - QT 2 and 3: fontconfig
    - Mozilla/Firefox: fontconfig
    - OpenOffice: fontconfig
    The two major toolkits are already using fontconfig, and have been for almost two years now.

    What's that you say? "Motif"? "Other toolkits"? Come on, this is 2005. Apps using any other toolkits are... what? 1% of the total number of available applications?

    So, where is the problem you're talking about?
  • by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @03:58PM (#12796718)
    Two years? How about tomorrow, when FC4 is released with dmix correctly setup out-of-the-box?

    And sound mixing has worked for me since 2003. I setup Alsa and sound mixing Just Worked(tm), no messing with dmix or whatever.
  • by Kesh ( 65890 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @04:49PM (#12797107)
    Guess I'll play the "Apple apologist" for this thread. ;)

    - The dock. What a hideous piece of crap this is. My trash can is on the dock. So are my running applications. So are my non-running applications. But not all of my non-running applications. To get to those, I have to go into the applications folder, which has a nice alias on the desktop that Apple didn't create. Those useful programs that you only use once in a blue moon? Go dig for them... go dig.

    Er. Okay. How is this different from any other OS? And you don't have to dig. Drag the Applications folder to your Dock. Right-click (or control-click, or just hold the mouse button down) on that folder, and you'll get a menu that pops up, listing its contents. Bam.

    Also, any open Finder window should have the Applications folder listed on the left-hand side. Click on it, and scroll through the window.

    - Driver support. I have a cheapo webcam that came with an Earthlink subscription years ago. I plug it into linux and it works. I plug it into my Mac and it does nothing. No drivers available.

    So, cheapo webcam doesn't have drivers. There are Linux drivers. Maybe... I dunno... see if the code is available, and ask someone to port the drivers to OS X? I doubt the Linux drivers came with the cam in the first place. Someone else had to write them, right?

    - Quicktime. It plays 8 seconds of video and stops. Every time. MPlayer for OSX handles the same files fine.

    Let me guess: DivX files, right? Yeah. No one has written decent Quicktime codecs for DivX/XviD/3viX yet. This is Apple's fault?

    - Sleep. It does it whether or not I want it to. Downloading a big file, it'll go to sleep. How the hell does one stop that? Other than that, sleep works great. Or not.

    Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Energy Saver. Configure to your heart's desire.

    - Virtual Desktops. Man, I never thought I'd miss them so much. And even the very good replacement I found, Desktop Manger, has flaws. If I leave the adium buddy list open on one desktop, go to another desktop, and mouse over the where the buddy list is on the non-visible desktop, I see tool tips. Among other bugs, that's the most annoying.

    I can see how those could be useful, yes. In fact, there are a few different virtual desktop managers available for OS X. A quick Google search does wonders, but this appears to be the one most recently updated [].

    - Java apps. Either swallow the menubar for the active window or don't. Don't do it in some cases and not in others. Get your act together. I know I can code to specifically do that, but I shouldn't have to. Write once, run anywhere and all that.

    Would be nice. However, from what I can tell, it's a problem with Swing. Could be wrong on that, but it seems that some Swing apps do it right, some don't, and that's where the discrepancy comes from.

    Overall, most of your complaints could have been solved simply by asking a Mac forum (most of us are quite friendly ;) ), or some Google searches. The rest are just waiting on developers to actually develop solutions for stuff that's already third-party.

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @04:55PM (#12797164) Homepage Journal
    And is likely the one largely responsible for the complete shit that was Netscape, the crap that crashed so much that I switched to Internet Explorer because "it just worked"?

    No, he wasn't responsible for 4.0. And you won't convince me you switched from Netscape 3 Gold to MSIE 3.0 because it "just worked". It didn't.
  • by IllForgetMyNickSoonA ( 748496 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @05:56PM (#12797584)
    I call BS.

    1. If it is true that you have never ever had a single problem with an MS product, why you'd be hating it?

    2. Nobody has ever had to recompile the kernel in order to change the screen resolution in X.

    3. Wanna see XP BSOD? Try putting the following code on a web page:
    <IMG SRC="./sweetydead.jpg" width="9999999" height="9999999">
    and take a look at it with IE. Of course, the picture has to be there. It can take up to 2-3 minutes until BSOD and reboot. Successfully tested on three different "XP Professional" computers with 512M RAM. Check this link [] for details.

    While I don't think that the parent's experience is a typical one for the Windows world, your claims are even less convincing.
  • by Crazy Eight ( 673088 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @06:10PM (#12797669)
    He was the guy who slandered the mozilla foundation and called them names and then quit in a hissy fit.

    That's a gross misinterpretation. He created quite literally when he registered the domain. Read the commentary that's been on his site for ages (You'll find a direct link in the article summary). He seems justifiably proud of initiating an open source browser and the ancillary tools created to develop it. The grandparent was referring to xscreensaver anyway.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

    by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @08:07PM (#12798299) Homepage
    Who's spreading FUD?

    Well apparently you are. The grandparent was pointing out that all platforms - including Windows and OSX - sometimes have problems working with various pieces of hardware. Your response is to start spouting techno bibblety-babble about how many accessories you own.

    Here's one for you. I've got a Mac here which doesn't support a PCI TV Tuner card or a USB TV Tuner dongle. Both pieces work in Windows XP and in Linux (Debian). Now if I was to do a JWZ (JWZ being a verb for having a pretentious hissy fit) then I'd write a scathing blog about how crappy OSX is and how I'm switching to Linux.

    Or the more reasonable person that I am would say that sometimes you should check the supported hardware list before blaming the OS for not supporting some obscure piece of hardware.

  • by pboulang ( 16954 ) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:12PM (#12799173)
    Fantastic. However, you didn't read all that well. I know it works, I know it works well. But how can I tell it to not have my computer go to sleep if I'm not actually using it but it is doing processing in the background. Such as, maybe, downloading files.

    yeah, please don't miss the point that there is a *never* go to sleep option. It takes all of five seconds to get to and setup for when you have background processing going on? Turn off monitor, sleep disks if possible, but don't sleep is a perfectly valid option and you are picking a fight, not being reasonable.

    Regarding virtual desktops, that is one of the things you need to learn/unlearn when moving to OS X. A) you don't make applications full screen. That drove me nuts initially, but I finally got used to it. Correllary to that is B) You have different ways of switching between apps be it cmd-tab, expose, or clicking on the dock. I commonly run 15-20 applications concurrently on the same screen because I no longer have the "different desktop, different type of application" mindset. Of course, you would like to work the same way you used to and the current evolution of desktop switching isn't to your standards.. and you have to run mplayer instead of quicktime to run divx files (big whoop, dude, really.. you have a perfectly workable solution..give off on that one)

    What were you looking for when you tried OS X? The same thing you saw in Linux? That's a normal mistake that people make.. OS X is more like windows in that it limits you on how far you can customize the interface, but I've found that with some extra like Quicksilver (free) you get a level of efficiency that isn't as easily found on other platforms.

    Side note on quicksilver: I use it to launch everything, I use it to search my address book.. it is fast, and it blends in so well with the OS X look and feel that I forget that it isn't native. I had initially thought that Spotlight in Tiger would try and replace it, but no chance.

  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <> on Sunday June 12, 2005 @10:28PM (#12799264) Homepage
    In general:

    Multimedia installation: Install these applications in this order, using an automated installer such as yum, apt-get (preferably with synaptic GUI), or the urpmi mandrake installer: mplayer + components.


    1. mplayer
    2. mplayer-plugin
    3. skins
    4. w32codecs
    5. xine
    6. xine-lib-devel
    7. realplayer
    8. flash
    Start playing things back and enjoy. For Fedora Core 2, follow the procedure in my article Painless Multimedia For Linux [], but use the yum.conf file posted in Build a Linux Appliance, Part 2--The Extras [], not the one that's posted as part of the multimedia article. (the multimedia article should be updated to refer people to the "appliance article" URL, I need to contact the editor about this)
  • it's here [].

    You can find all my Linux how-to pieces here []. They're more or less FC2 specific, but the procedures I should describe should work on just about anything, with minor distro-specific mods (like apt-get instead of yum, for instance)

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken