Switching Back to Desktop Linux
Subject:   Old beef ages well
Date:   2006-06-06 20:55:34
From:   kms-werk
Response to: worst article ever

All I can say is that I've got no quibbles with any of the issues chromatic raises, running a OS X 10.4.6 on a MacBook Pro. I'd toss in a few other bits, among them the inherent limitations in not having independent window management. On OS X as with Windows, busy (or hung) applications' windows can't be managed.

Another is that there are a number of assumptions which become visibly apparent in the Mac visual desktop metaphor which start to fail badly when they're stretched. Most notably are the "infinite hight" menu and distinctions between app and window cycling. You can cycle through apps, or through windows in an app, but not readily through all windows on your desktop, and particularly not through windows on seperate workspaces (as managed by Virtue). There are a few bolt-ons here (eg: Virtue) which I've tried, others which fail notably.

There's a significant list of other gripes I may post later, but suffice it to say:

  • OS X is a significant win over Microsoft's products (though it's ironic that I've got a more Linux-like userland through Cygwin than I have under Darwin / Fink / Darwin Ports).

  • OS X is probably plenty good for a large class of users.

  • OS X isn't Linux, and exhibits numerous shortcomings relative to Linux, which a significant number of technical users may note.

  • A large part of this boils down to the inherent freedom of the system. Linux is open in ways which OS X isn't and likely never will be. I've built a career for myself in technology by steering away from encroaching walls, and I'm seeing them when I'm on a Mac. I prefer open skies.

I'd say chromatic's nailed the issue very, very well. It's also interesting to note that his comparison point is Debian (my own Linux distro of choice), though I suspect Gentoo and/or Ubuntu/Kubuntu (and related) users might feel very similarly.

It would be interesting to know the distros used by folks who've been nonplussed by Linux in the past.

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  1. Old beef ages well
    2006-06-09 20:47:52  chromatic | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

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