Open Source vs. Mac vs. Windows

by Francois Joseph de Kermadec

An increasing number of Windows users are running away from Microsoft, feeling threatened, abused or [fill in the blank] by a giant company... This movement is relayed by the general media that publishes increasingly detailed articles about how wonderful all open-source solutions are, as opposed to proprietary operating systems.



I am afraid that, in the excitement, many users are mixing up the company that they try to escape ( Microsoft ) and companies in general, leading to a very confusing and potentially dangerous situation -- and I am not talking about economics here...



Before closing your browser tab and deleting all my articles from your hard drive, allow me to explain myself !



I have nothing against Linux, BSD, Open Source or the people who make these great projects possible ! On the contrary : I think that most of the amazingly great technologies that have emerged lately have roots in the open source movement -- just look at OpenOffice, Mozilla, OpenSSH, the BSD family and many, many more... ! I use open source applications with great pleasure in my daily workflow and would probably never go back to their commercial counterparts.



Unlike some users, though, and unlike what most articles suggest, I am not trying to escape companies by doing that : I use open source software when it is superior to its commercial counterparts.



My computer of choice is a Macintosh with Mac OS X v. 10.3, Panther, loaded with Apple applications. At first sight, some users may think that it is as proprietary as you can get. But if you look closer you will see that I also use OpenOffice, Mozilla Thunderbird, Mozilla Firebird, Camino, KOffice, Chatzilla... and that all of this sits on a standards-based, open source operating system !



Why ? Because I think that open source truly shines when it can be combined with proprietary solutions, in an elegant way.



Indeed, only a company can create a large, unified group of developers, interface designers, marketers, support advisors, resellers... And only a company can work closely with multiple vendors to create perfectly integrated, compatible applications like FinalCut, QuickTime or XGrid.



Even open source projects that try to provide support now have to ask for money -- and isn't this the beginning of what some are trying to escape ? If you need help with a Mozilla product, you will need to pay $39.95, for example. If you become a Mandrake Club platinum member, you are paying for almost a full-price copy of Panther every month -- the "recommended level" would bring you down to a copy of Panther per year.



No open source project -- or company, for that matter -- has released an operating system that matches the elegance and efficiency of Mac OS X -- in terms of appearance, ease of use, and technology.



But, in the same way, only open source movements can guarantee freedom -- since there isn't one company that can decide what it does with the code --, form a group of culturally diverse, talented developers -- since there is no formal office needed --, create great specialized software -- since profit is not a concern --, mix and match various technologies...



By combining the strengths of these two philosophies, we could get the best of both worlds and provide users with solutions that are at the same time polished and free -- as in "not proprietary".



Apple is the first company that works so closely with the open source community, while releasing commercial products on such a scale. The open source community helps Apple and Apple helps it by giving back some code they have developed internally.



Let's take a few examples ! Darwin, a fully open source operating system, is the foundation of Mac OS X, the world's most advanced operating system. Mac OS X server leverages many open source technologies and allows many users who would not know what to do with the raw project files to use them. Best of all, Safari is the result of a true collaboration between Apple and the KHTML team.



I simply wish that more companies could follow this trend that is beneficial for them and for the open source community. Some of them do, of course, but not all, far from it.



I certainly appreciate why someone would want to work with all open-source solutions and in no way am I trying to imply that open source projects should be "integrated" into companies -- since this would negate the "open source" part. But how many users actually take the time to read the source of what they install ? Yes, they could but most of them don't : how could you read millions of lines of code alone ? How cheap is an operating system or server solution that you cannot install or maintain yourself ?



Many of the PC users I know installed a Linux or BSD distribution on their machines, tried to use them and to set them up, only to go back to Windows a few weeks later. Why ? Because they ran into compatibility issues, because they didn't want to read books and post in mailing lists to learn how to use their new OS. That's really a shame since these people are clearly missing something, tons of great open source stuff that they could be using today on their Macs, along with iLife and QuickTime.



In a word, I do not believe in "all proprietary" ( this would be 1984 ;-) but, at the same time, I don't believe in "all open source" either. Both worlds have their strengths and weaknesses and the Mac seems to be at the center of their reunion ! You wouldn't want to miss that, would you ?



Until next time, dear Mac users, enjoy thinking different !


25 Comments

jwenting
2004-02-09 03:45:23
support...
What sets companies aside from the Linux "community" is support.


While there ARE good Linux users, many of the hardcore ones have only utter and complete contempt for those who are less proficient than they themselves.
I believe it's called a god-complex?


When asking for advice on getting something to work at all (let alone properly), the typical answer will be something along the lines of "RTFM, noob", in other words "don't waste our time and go play elsewhere".
Of course the manual referred to is the manpage of the program in question, which is all the documentation the gurus claim is needed for a perfect understanding of the operating system and its concepts.


Now, if the system were as userfriendly in its installation and use as is Windows or MacOS (for the average user) there would be little problem with such an attitude (how many people call Microsoft tech support asking how to get their printer to work?) but Linux is anything BUT that simple.
I spent 5 months (from september last year to january this year inclusive) attempting to get my laptop set up with Linux.
After about 3 weeks I stumbled upon a website that gave me some crucial hints which got it working, sorta.
I still had no network and the video was unstable, but at least I got a prompt where I could type the reboot commands when things went bad again.
Then I found out that the source for my troubles: the network, USB and video modules I needed depended on incompatible versions of core libraries AND were broken in different versions of the kernel.
In other words, there would be no way whatsoever to get the machine working at any time.


I decided to pull the plug at that moment and reinstall Windows 2000.
Not needing any support from anyone I had the machine installed, running, and fully updated with all needed servicepacks in under 2 hours (most of which was spent waiting while it copied data from the installation CD or the internet).


I've been working professionally in IT since 1997 (and as a hobbyist and student since the late 1980s), and I can't get a simple machine (no ultramodern hardware, it's 4-5 years old) working despite knowing my way around the only source of information available: the internet (and that with a second machine running Windows to access that information, remember one of the problems I had was with networking...).
How is someone who has no other computer connected to the net, no experience with arcane command prompts (mind, I like command prompts but many people have never seen them and don't want to), and not versed in the spitting inside sourcecode and logfiles going to get even as far as I did?
If they give up in frustration after a day or two I can perfectly understand that.

boud
2004-02-09 06:07:10
Support
Of course, JWenting is either ranting or being deliberately obtuse. If he'd plonked down some cash for a box with SUSE, he'd have had the commercial support he craves. SUSE's support is pretty good; I've used it myself.
jinjelsnaps
2004-02-09 09:00:20
support...
Thank God I'm not the only one who's had those same issues with Linux. To be fair to Linux fans, I don't believe I've ever heard a distro to be touted as "easy to use," or at least "easier to use that MacOS or Windows."


I've been working in IT since '99, and have gone the "Windows has crashed on me for the last time!" frustrations and tried to go to Linux...only to have it crash more often than Windows did. And that was on a basic, "let Red Hat take over the disk and do it for me" type of setup!


Also, they tend to claim Linux will run really well on old hardware...which I guess is true if you're not going to run a GUI. Most of my attempts to run KDE or Gnome have been...issue-prone, at best, when the same hardware will run Win98 or Win2k just fine.


Oh well. I like the author's attitude about where Open Source should "fit in" in "corporate environments." I wish more people would see the benefits of a best-of-both-worlds kind of blending...

cascadefx
2004-02-09 11:49:15
support...
There are distributions that work, and work well, right out of the box. I use SUSE Linux daily as my primary (sole except for rebooting into windows to walk users through solutions to their problems) desktop.


It is rock-solid. It never crashes. It comes with a ton of software (multiple office suites, multiple browsers, tons of games, great email applications, and chat programs that talk to EVERY email client out there -check out gaim and kopete). AND it is pretty easy to use and more powerful than any proprietary OS out there.


Maybe it is because I have a few years on you as I have been working in IT since 95, but with a little reading (in the early days), I could get a barebones Slackware system up and running in about an hour. My SUSE install took 30 minutes before I had a login screen and I could do my initial online updates and keep working without having to reboot. That includes installing all the software that I use on a daily basis (office suites, email, chat, etc). Windows, Mac OS, and all of their accompanying apps take hours... and you generally have to reboot when done.


While not all distributions and windowing systems will run on really old hardware, there exist MANY that do. If you have old hardware, run Fluxbox of Xcfe as the window manager and you will go far. You can't do that with Windows.


I don't think you have to go all or nothing. Open Office and Mozilla run on Windows, as do Cygwin, Abiword, the GIMP, and a host of other apps. However, you get the full power of the Open Source design and philosophy running the entire suite of applications and OSes that exist under that mantel.


While it is erroneous for me to say, "Because I could do it, it is not impossible." It is equally erroneous for your failures to forbode doom for others.


Linux/BSD is powerful and increasingly easy to use. Most time invented will pay off. That is a promise that I can make.

bhuot
2004-02-09 12:24:56
my experience
I used Linux in 1999-2001 for graphical web design and found it easier than Windows. Linux is much more logical and its design makes much more sense. But before I switch from OS X back to Linux, there will have to be much better commercial support as I don't enjoy being insulted when I ask questions and I definitely won't be running it on Intel or AMD hardware.
boud
2004-02-09 12:37:43
my experience
Have you ever been insulted when calling SUSE's support line?
klinux
2004-02-09 15:04:52
Linux support...
The point that many of these people are making is not that they couldn't ever under any circumstances get Linux or BSD to work, but rather, that it wasn't worth the time required, when they could quite simply reload Windows or Mac OS. I know that myself. I had lots of fun running the early LinuxPPC distros and also fooling around with BeOS in the 90's. However, when it came time to actually get work done on my computer, I switched back over to the Mac OS. You see, I'm not a programmer or a network guy. I'm largely involved in photography, some small web stuff, and research. I find that it is much easier to get that work done on a Mac than on Linux. If I want to tinker and have fun, I pull up the Terminal and get out my Unix manuals. I enjoy that, but when I need to get the job done, I want the computer to get out of my way, or maybe even assist me in my tasks. I expect the computer to understand certain things about the way I work, and work with me on them. This I get from many proprietary software packages from Apple and other companies, and I don't get from the Open Source side as much. Open Source is improving, and one of the best things happening right now, is when the developers get recompensed somehow. I wish that more Open Source projects would go the Shareware route. Then there is a little more incentive on the developers to make it user friendly, and they get something back for their hard work as well.
But in the meantime, those of us who want a computer that seems to understand us, and doesn't always try to make us understand it, will continue to use Macs.
sequitur
2004-02-10 03:12:30
support...
I'm sorry, but this really looks like utter BS to me.


What sets companies aside from the Linux "community" is support.


I have an open source project (Quanta Plus) with a mailing list. On it are developers and over 200 users who typically respond to user questions in a matter of minutes. Developer answers are rarely more than a few hours away and if a problem is not readily resolved it becomes a priority to fix. Please tell me a commercially supported project with an average of 10 bugs or less open at any given time where you can talk directly with the developer and get a response besides "reboot and reinstall" from a telephone in less than 10 minutes. What are you smoking?


I've been working on computers since before the microprocessor and I watched the rise of MS. They reject the "goto" statement in code but that is all their manuals are. This is to get you to buy books from MS Press. But when you call them what do you get? Wait, run around, condescending treatment. Everything from the little nagging wizards to the obfuscated install procedures is all designed to insult your intelligence and make you feel stupid.


When asking for advice on getting something to work at all (let alone properly), the typical answer will be something along the lines of "RTFM, noob", in other words "don't waste our time and go play elsewhere".


We have probably well over a million users of our software. We also have a very good and through manual for our program which answers most questions. Since you didn't pay me for it can you explain to me how I can answer questions for several thousand new users this week who are too lazy to take step one and read the docs? Kiss the project goodbye, as well as my having time to put a roof over my head. Some developers may lack a little tact but I should point out that there is nothing wrong with being a n00b. Only someone with ego problems intent on leading a boring life considers ever being noticed as a neophyte at something again to be an insult. I'd rather be a green growing new sprout than a petrified stuffed shirt.


I spent 5 months (from september last year to january this year inclusive) attempting to get my laptop set up with Linux.


I'm guessing you didn't do much reading before either. I've installed Linux on dozens of PCs from 1999 on and had very few problems. Nothing really out of the ordinary that wasn't resolved in a day or two. I know a lot of people who've put it on laptops too. However there are some very non standard systems out there. For some time newer ATI video boards just weren't supported and a friend of mine was unable to get it to run, but fortunately ATI has taken a turn for the more enlightened and now they are much better supported. This is pretty standard, though some companies insist on using one off weird hardware that is not supported they are fewer and fewer.


You can't blame an operating system kernel (which is what Linux is) or volunteer developers for not supporting what companies refuse to make available to them.


I've been working professionally in IT since 1997 (and as a hobbyist and student since the late 1980s), and I can't get a simple machine (no ultramodern hardware, it's 4-5 years old) working despite knowing my way around the only source of information available: the internet (and that with a second machine running Windows to access that information, remember one of the problems I had was with networking...).


I'm going to recommend that if you see any news items talking about the relative levels of software expertise between *nix and Windows admins that you just pass it by. Pay it no attention. It's got to be as difficult to believe as you and I talking about the same software. There is a reason that all those yellow "for dummies" books sold so well... Using MS software seems to somehow gum up your cognitive processes.


My guess is that your IT postion must be supporting people having problems with windows continuously breaking. My up times generally run between kernel upgrades and have exceeded a year. I don't get windows viruses. I only use the command line when I feel like it because I have KDE and webmin. I also don't make a point of saying bad things about others because I lacked the common sense to do a little bit of up from compatibility research. Something is supported or it isn't. Considering you can download and burn Knoppix on a CD, load it in your system and boot and see exactly where your support level is and try out Linux without touching your hard drive it's a real head scratcher how someone would torment themselves for five months without their notebook. At least it gives you something to rant about. Make sure not to rant to anyone with a cluestick handy though.

sequitur
2004-02-10 03:44:48
support...
To be fair to Linux fans, I don't believe I've ever heard a distro to be touted as "easy to use," or at least "easier to use that MacOS or Windows."


Mandrake and some other distros like Xandros and Lindows would like to assert that. In reality there are variables that could make it more or less true. If you had to learn the computer without knowing either and you had needs the installed software would fulfill I think you might be surprised that it would be very close. If you really know a piece of software it could be lousy but you would prefer it for a period of time even if you suspected the other was better.


I've been working in IT since '99, and have gone the "Windows has crashed on me for the last time!" frustrations and tried to go to Linux...only to have it crash more often than Windows did. And that was on a basic, "let Red Hat take over the disk and do it for me" type of setup!


Gee whiz. What crashed? Your GNOME desktop? I switched from OS/2 to Red Hat in 1999 and was mortified by the desktop crashing. Then I switched from GNOME to KDE (in fairness GNOME has gotten better since then) which was much better and showed promise. Then tried other distros and it got good. I use Gentoo now which is all from source, however I liked Mandrake a little better than SUSE. Note that the CEO of Red Hat said recently Linux was not ready for the desktop and they have since dropped their desktop distribution in favor of a community developed project... Translation... Red Hat said they came to the desktop at version 8.0 and left it after 9.0. They never really cared for the desktop and were the worst solution for the desktop.


Also, they tend to claim Linux will run really well on old hardware...which I guess is true if you're not going to run a GUI. Most of my attempts to run KDE or Gnome have been...issue-prone, at best, when the same hardware will run Win98 or Win2k just fine.


Come on... win98 and W2K don't have anywhere near the same hardware requirements. KDE 2 used a little more resources than KDE 1. You needed 64 MB of RAM. (Processor is secondary for speed until 644-128 MB) KDE 3 was faster using less resources as was 3.1. 3.2 is noted for being so fast that it is supposed to be faster than lightweight desktops like XFCE. I've seen people say they were happy with it on 500 MHz systems even with low RAM. You can run win98 with 64 MB fin but try W2K without 256 MB.


Note also that speed will be affected by how your kernel is configured (everything under the sun makes anything slow), processor optimizations (Red Hat is actually compiled for 386 believe it or not), running processes and daemons, compiler version (gcc 3x is faster than 2x) and a variety of other factors. Gentoo rus several times faster than my previous distribution because it's tweeked for speed. Try doing that with W2k. (When IBM licensed windows for OS/2 their initial version ran 10% faster than MS' because they used a Lattice compiler which was more efficient than the garbage MS was producting.)


Oh well. I like the author's attitude about where Open Source should "fit in" in "corporate environments." I wish more people would see the benefits of a best-of-both-worlds kind of blending..


There's nothing "best" about a company that refuses to ship their software with macros turned off by default and request user confirmation on executing certain actions, or any actions generated by software that has just been downloaded. On Linux it would have it's executable bit unset and the current directory would not be on the path so the user would have to want to execute it. Not so in Windows land, and this brings us tons o' spam to harvest email addresses and choke mail servers. Gates has an answer he says. Who wants to bet it's a proprietary system that requires their software, locks out everybody else and exposes your private information to them like Passport?


There are some companies you just can't live with because they just can't stop their criminal abuses.

starbuckzero
2004-02-10 09:57:13
I'm out with both open and close
As a Linux user for over three years I'm okay with open source and close / proprietary software. As a Programmer / Web Developer it doesn't hurt me to use the best tool for the job. I run Linux at home but I use an emulator to run Windows software. The main ones I care about are both Kazaa and Macromedia Flash MX. Everything I have works under Linux due to the fact I research my hardware first before going out and buying it. I did the same when I first started using Windows 2K and it would be the same for any new Microsoft OS. There are close source apps that I use under Linux the Emulator Win4Lin is one of them, I also paid for WineX and Linux games in the past.


My computer 400Mhz is getting kind of old and it's time for me to upgrade. I'm still installing Linux on my new PC because well my girlfriend loves Linux and loves the fact we haven't lost any of our data over the years. I have family and friends that come over all the time that use my computer to check there e-mail, burn CDs or chat online with a friend. Even my sister wants a computer with Linux on it. The computer is well over four years of age and I think it will make a great server for my website development.


Linux is a great platform you just have to understand that it's different. My friends, family and girlfriend now understand that. If you start using Linux with the mindset of a Mac or Windows user you will hate it before you even finish the install. I'm not telling anyone to try Linux I could care less. I like the fact that there are people out there using different platforms. With me when it comes to getting work done I use Linux for my back-end stuff and Flash/HTML (Windows) for my front-end stuff.

hinoiri
2004-02-10 15:16:44
my 2
i tried Linux about 5 or 6 years ago, it wasn't ready for me and i was not ready for it, i did not waste time on it i just dabbled lightly in it until both me and Linux progressed, now i run MEPIS and Linux as hole is only getting better, if MS really does wait as long as they say for their next release and Apple keeps doing its “thing” than Linux really will start taking real bites out of the desktop market.
proprietary and open source hybrids have to be judged by results, i do not count running some open source apps on a Mac a hybrid anymore than i would running Open Office on WinXP, just because a company has win win deals with open source projects does not make them open source, makes them more friendly than MS but open source is a legal definition not a point of view!
you compared Mandrakes various membership and extra resource plans to a copy of Panther? if you pay for and support Mandrake you are supporting a true open source product, if you pay and support Apple you get.. what? it is not MS so thats great but its not real open source either, i guess you are just some one that loves to sit on fences and write about how the fence is digging into your nether regions?


for the record anyone that is using Mac hardware (IBM) and is not running a 'nix needs to get their head checked, IMHO.


oh and your closing line and Mac mantra “think different” i prefer better design and philosophy to simply different, different is what idiots think piercings, hair coloring and overpriced cloths makes them.

techcynic
2004-02-10 21:08:07
support...
Linux is a great, robust and fun operating system to use. However, your arguments are indicative of why the Linux community as a whole doesn't get it. I understand why you hate Microsoft. They own the desktop and Linux never will!. This is not a issue regarding theology. It is an issue of support (desktop support) from business professionals, which you obviously are not - even though you claim to be. Attitude reflects reality in all cases, including yours.


Then again, we OS X users scoff at both Windows and Linux users. Our operating system actually works, is built on a killer Unix/BSD kernel (which is open source), runs apache and other open source applications, and has better office and desktop applications. Excuse me while I turn up my iPod...


albertfuller
2004-02-11 06:30:23
mac vs linux
Well I am glad you are enjoying your Mac OSX, and yes we know it is a Unix derivative and so you have opensource programs running happily. Ok! On my Windows 2000, at work, I have cygwin and I run the KDE desktop from inside of windows. But do I think Bill is the greatest thing since slice bread? No. You have opensource inside OSX, but what you have is not the holy grail. Now let me say that I recognize that apple offers a fantastic user interface experience and certainly opensource developers have to take note; but are you really saying that apart from the glitz of apple, which is themable in opensource, that OSX interface is more powerful than KDE deskop?
.
Before you tout apple, consider Knoppix. I have a Knoppix installation with about 3000 packages. I maintain it with a single command line instruction to upgrade all software; I am attached also attached to a online database of about 16,000 packages (in about 6GB of space); I have about 15 servers running; and I often watch a DVD while burning a 700mb iso-file.
.
A major linux distribution installation today is trivial, and that is a fact, period. And as you see regarding software, do you have the same Debian-type experience of a three-word-command updates every program, excluding your kernel, if required to the latest version? Please compare apples and apples; not apples and penguins; but if you must then make an effort to be comprehensive and specific. Say something worth saying that has some meat on it, or for those watching there figure, please cut to the core.
.
I found your article opiniated, but without substance (ie. specifics) Did you see the news that ReiserFS 4.0 soon to be released (in about a month, not 2 years away like Billy) will be two to four times faster than 3.0; or have you looked at what the new Linux 2.6 kernel offers in comparison to the apple kernel. Now tell me about those things and I would desperately want to hear what you have to say.
.
Take Care
musnat
2004-02-20 20:25:10
Another pro-Mac article without any substance
The author tries to answer the little moral question inside many number of people. Is it morally ok to use Apple software when you praise the open source itself?


It first starts with attacking Microsoft and depicting it as an evil company. Later on though the big question still remains, why use Apple when you have open source which is better than Apple's own software cause Apple's Aqua etc... are all closed. You see when people compare open source with Microsoft software they claim that open source is better because it is open. So that question remains with the Apple.


To answer the question the author shifts the position of the open source itself, instead of putting open source as a target, now the author claims that open source is not good for the sake of it, but it is good when you use it with closed source apps. He tries to hit the jackpot there, except the fact that his whole idea is based on making Apple look nice in open source.


There is no question that, you can enjoy open source on windows as much as you enjoy them on mac os x.


The article also begins with the false assumptions (or lies) about the migration of windows users. I wonder which scientific survey does the author depend on to make that claim? News.com? Register.com? Slashdot?

F.J.
2004-02-21 09:06:02
Thanks ! :-)
Hi !


First of all, thanks for taking the time to send me your feedback, I really do appreciate it !


The goal of this blog is not to ask wether it is "morally ok" to use Apple software. As I wrote above, what I am trying to explain is that, most of the time, Open Source truly shines when it can be elegantly combined with some proprietary solutions.


I am afraid that our points of view differ on what makes Open Source software better or not. If I understand your message well you think Open Source is better because it is open. What I am trying to explain is that Open Source is not better because it is open but that there are lots of great Open Source applications that are inherently better than their commercial counterparts -- and that would remain true even if the commercial software were open sourced.


I myself support the Open Source movement and, as I write, use many Open Source applications on a daily basis. I appreciate the openness of Mac OS X and of its underlying foundation, Darwin. Apple works very closely with the Open Source world and both sides benefit greatly of this ongoing cooperation.


Since I cannot go into detail here, may I suggest that you have a look at the ADC pages for yourself ? You should find answers to the questions you raise.


I am sorry you feel that the beginning of this blog is a "lie". Migration of Windows users to various other platforms is now widely acknowledged as a fact.


Again thank you very much for submitting your feedback. I am always glad to discuss the current issues that affect our computing world :-)


F.J.

musnat
2004-02-22 05:51:44
Thanks ! :-)
Thanks for your kind reply. Since you seem to be a sensible person to discuss with here are my points.


First of all, I asked for a proof that people are migrating from Windows to other platforms. You either didn't or couldn't give any. Stating that it is well acknowledged doesn't say anything. It just means that either knowingly or without knowing you repeat the same lie or an assumption that is not true. That's usually the motivation behind so many number of anti-Microsoft bashing. I like open source and support it, but I find it outrageous to make up lies and accusations against Microsoft, and over the long run it is going to hurt open source very badly.


Related with the above issue, my point is that, your own argument for some reason apply only to Apple. If one should make a point that open source is good with commercial applications, then his/her argument should apply equally to windows and Microsoft. You simply omit windows here, and focus on Apple, which hurts your own arguments, because that is simply not honest. If you were honest, you would make one single argument and apply it to all commercial applications out there, not just Apple itself.


For example:
"solutions that are at the same time polished and free -- as in "not proprietary"."
How come Aqua on Darwin along with iTunes, iDVD, and so on are not proprietary? If you have proprietary program in your solution, your solution can not be free. You can't have both at the same time. You can argue it is the best if you mix them, but please don't say that by mixing them you still have free solutions.



I don't believe that Apple is helping open source community and sees a trend here. Apple is helping open source, because 1) the licensing requires them to 2) they want the help of developers to fix bugs etc.. in their core os code or server programs. This doesn't look like a general trend, this looks more like a company takind advantage of certain things going around them, which is clever and right thing to do so for the company itself. By the nature of the things it is also good for the open source. But open source doesn't need more improvements to the kernel, servers, etc... we need more improvements at the user level apps, like KDE, Gnome, Office, iTunes, iVideo, iChat, etc.. and the only thing that Apple is doing at that space for open source community is KHTML and that's because of the license. You can't expect Adobe to open source its photoshop, or contribute to gimp, can you?


Another issue is that, if you tell people it is best to use open source with Apple's products, then you automatically limit the improvements in the open source user space applications. That means an end to the dream of a usable open source desktop. I don't care whether you support open source or not, but that argument is not good for open source. My initial point was that, you don't apply your argument to every os vendor out there, second as a supporter for the open source, I believe that open source shouldn't give up the hope of building a true open source desktop. I see that this will hurt Apple, and that's why you may be trying to convince us that server and os stuff for open source is enough.

F.J.
2004-02-22 14:13:23
Thanks ! :-)
Hi again !


While it is difficult for me to provide you with pages of statistics on the TalkBacks, may I suggest that you have a look at some excellent MacDevCenter and O'Reilly Network articles about switching ? Many authors have expressed their point of view on the question -- on both sides -- and their articles are a good source for links and information on the question. This is of course not the only source of information and you could look at the recent surveys conducted about the OS landscape -- in terms of users, market share, mind share, etc...


I focused on the Mac world for two main reasons. First of all, I am a Mac user and know the Mac world in more detail than the Windows world. Then, Apple has recently worked very closely with the Open Source community when developing Mac OS X, probably more than Microsoft when developing Windows. I am sure there are many interesting articles to write on the relationship between operating systems in general and the Open Source world and I always read such pieces with the greatest interest. This was not my point here, though.


I am afraid that your reaction is mainly based on an unfortunate misapprehension of the goal of this page. As I stated in one of my previous blogs ( The power of the Mac community ), we Mac users are always glad to discuss computing issues with other OS users. I am in now way trying to start an "operating system war" that wouldn't lead to any positive results.


What I am trying to say about mixing proprietary and commercial solutions is pretty simple. Would you work with the proprietary format X, that is only read by application X, you are locked into a solution. When I use Keynote, the resulting file can be read by other applications. When I use iTunes to create an AAC file, I am not dependent from the application I use and remain free to switch if I wanted to since many applications can read the standard AAC format -- even when the applications in themselves are not open source.


I do not think that Apple is helping the Open Source community "because the license requires them to". Indeed, although some licenses may require commercial users to give back the code they may have written, this not always the case -- far from it. Furthermore, in most cases, Apple works closely with the development teams and this serves as the basis for a true cooperation -- much more than a law-induced exchange of code.


I cannot comment on Adobe's policy and will let them reply. About Apple, I can only invite you to have a closer look at the Apple Developer Connection site where you will find more links to answer your questions. Would you not trust the ADC -- for any reason --, you can always browse the Open Source sites by yourself -- FreeBSD, KDE, Apache...


I think that the Open Source community can benefit from any help -- as we all can. Kernel and servers are not to be neglected, even if there is a new focus on desktop applications.


I do not believe either that the Open Source community should stop developing an Open Source desktop -- as I already state in my blog : the creation of new projects always benefits everyone. I am simply saying that, nowadays, Mac OS X is my platform of choice as well as the platform of choice of many -- former or not -- UNIX, Windows and Linux users. Again, I do not think that this will "hurt Apple" either : every solution has its strengths and its place in the computing world.


F.J.

musnat
2004-02-23 01:39:57
Thanks ! :-)
The latest surveys I have seen show that Apple's market share is shrinking. (OsNews). Articles are full of ranting, you can't base your arguments on articles. Everybody is making something up, in fact just press someone to back up his/her claims, you will quickly see that he/she has to cut it out somewhere, because the person has no idea exactly where a "fact" as she/he strongly believes in come from, as I did in this case.


If you don't know anything about windows, then why do you comment about the windows world. You say you only know macs, but you are claiming that users are trying to escape from Microsoft. It is not me that claims that you can't comment on windows, it is your own comments that say this. You suggest that you can't comment on windows, but you do comment on windows, you just don't comment fairly and honestly about it.


" The power of the Mac community ), we Mac users are always glad to discuss computing issues with other OS users"
What is this, a new race? A superior one? You buy a mac and you suddenly switch to this superior race? I found that quite embarassing and disgusting quite frankly. If you employ a person, you look if the person is also a mac user? If not, you don't like him? If you position yourself as part of a cult or a race and see other people as inferior, then I don't know what to say about it other than the fact that it is totally wrong to do so, especially morally.


"Would you work with the proprietary format X, that is only read by application X,"
What is the point of saying that to me? Did I say something against that? Of course you are locked in if you buy proprietary format X. You are also locked in when you buy hardware which is only supported by Apple. This is something I totally agree, open format is always good.


"Apple works closely with the development teams and this serves as the basis for a true cooperation -- much more than a law-induced exchange of code"
If you didn't notice this, I didn't dispute the cooperation. If Apple is willing to employ full time developers, then why shouldn't KDE team cooperate with them to incorporate the improvements. But that doesn't change the fact that Apple is not helping open source community, they are fullfilling their obligations. Being cooperative is only to be expected, ohterwise you would discourage open source developers from working on the project you just decided to use in your commercial products. That's a no brainer move. But again, Apple didn't contribute anything to video editing, sound editing, photo editing open source projects.


"Would you not trust the ADC -- for any reason --, you can always browse the Open Source sites by yourself -- FreeBSD, KDE, Apache..."
I don't know the point you are trying to make here. I have seen all the sites, even downloaded darwin streaming server from ADC for a test. What are you trying to say, I have no clue. Apple is open sourcing some underlying os components, one server software everybody knows that. There is not much interesting things there. Most of them are boring for open source projects, everybody knows how to build servers, operating systems now. We have code for that, what we don't have is user space programs.


Certainly, many people go with diffent platforms. For example most of the people prefer Windows XP, like me. But being honest in your arguments has nothing to do with the platform choice. If you say only Apple has the right to stay proprietary, then I would dispute it as I did. Anyway, my last comment, thanks for the discussion.

fline
2004-02-29 07:56:20
mac vs linux
How many people here who so strongly defend Linux's superiority have actually used OS X? There seems to be a great number of the Linux community with such blind (almost rabid) devotion that they can't see past their command line.


Several posts describe F.J.'s article as having no substance. However, I find that it is Linux fanatics' arguments that have no substance.


Staunch adherence to open source philosophy is fine. But the majority of computer users just want to get their work done. Many in the hardcore Linux community don't seem to understand that to most people, a computer is a business tool, not a religion.


At the risk of sounding like an Apple ad, OS X allows me to get on with my work quicker and more efficiently than Linux. My work can be editing a video documentary; retouching images; writing a report; compiling C code; writing a Java servlet; or running a web-based application using PHP and MySQL. I am even using my Mac to write an MS Access database application using VBA for a client.


I'm doing all of this on OS X. I wouldn't even dream of trying to do it on Linux.


Linux does have its place in this world. For me, it's place is on a seven year-old Pentium hidden away in a cupboard. I built this Linux box to be my firewall that separates my internal network from my (semi-public) wireless LAN.


But Linux will almost certainly never conquer the desktop. The fanatics have spent too much time in the trenches. There were not enough generals looking at the bigger picture.


At one time I thought Linux had a chance. Then Apple released OS X.

justinamy
2004-04-08 09:26:36
the author is correct...
OS X 10.3 is the best of both worlds.. It's ability to combine well made commercial software and open source projects is un-matched by any other *nix or MS OS. A useable, secure, and stable Unix environment that can cater to all users.


sincerely,
a Switcher (for solaris 9, HP/ux11i, AIX 5.2, and Redhat 7-9, MS dos 5 to Win XP)

xxsevenxx
2004-12-11 11:36:09
windows = junk
i totally agree i have panther and its the best from what i can gather. i had been working on pcs running windows for a while. final summerization of all microsoft products; JUNK. completely unreliable, cheaply made, an absolute waste of money. for instance, it takes at least 5 cds on a windows program to burn 1 cd that works, and this is on most pcs that it does this. i have yet to find a problem with os x. all i can come up with is how much more reliable, easier to use, and better quality os x is. if you want to get something that's stable linux is good, os x is better, and windows (all) is a waste of money.
pakkman781
2004-12-19 14:55:15
Yes!
I agree with everything you said! Open Source stuff is great!!! I use OSX, and have always used Macs(Microsoft crap has always made me sick!), and am starting to get into the Open Source apps. I am currently setting up a computer to dual-boot OSX and Darwin.


BTW, I never have liked opendarwin.org that much, so here is Apple's Darwin site, where you can Download the Darwin Bootable Install CD image.

y0n
2005-04-18 13:27:15
os x vs win vs Linux
well noboy seems to argue that win oses are the consuiderably poor in quality compared to either osx or linux as for linux vs osx ..

here's a reply for the linux vs mac question ... i found it on linuxquestions.org ..


posted by a user under he name caase1984

Macs are great computers, and OSX.2 is their best operating system yet. OSX is completrly different from OSX.2 (jaguar). Your friend probably has Jaguar running if he bought his computer recently. I have to point out that both OSX and Jaguar are Unix based - I just think it's funny. As for which is better (Linux or Mac), it depends what kind of person you are. I personally have a PC and a Linux box, and I will not be happy until I get a mac also.

If you want to get involved with open source (either for philosophical reasons or because you want to help or get a better job), then go with Linux. As far as closed source, Apple is worse than Micro$oft. Not only do they not let you have the code, but they set it up so that their code only runs on their hardware. You have to buy their machine if you like the OS.

As far as the cool factor, with both you get some of that special rebel feeling. If you are looking for community, you will find it with both. Macs are damn pretty (those TiBooks and the new 17/21 inch flat screens are the sexiest things to come along since, well, imacs). Linux machines usually run on older pentium/AMD machines, and aren't much to look at.

If you are looking for performance, go with linux. Mac hardware usually follows (at a great distance) pentium/AMD hardware. And, even when they get the speed close, actual real world tests aren't that close.

If you are looking for a computer that is easy to use, will not crash if you treat it right, and is backed by a company that will treat you right, go with mac.

I know you wrote "besides price," but it has to be a consideration. I built my Linux server for $40 total. New, good PCs are really cheap right now, but Macs are still expensive.



I hope this helps.



I forgot - if you are at all involved in design (graphic arts, etc) get a Mac. Most design programs (adobe/macromedia/quark) are designed for the mac, and then ported to the PC. I think it will be a long time before you see something similar on a linux machine.

heyitsme
2006-01-12 18:48:27
Windows verses MAC
OK let's cut to the chase! As far as I am concerned most anti microsoft comments I see are based on a very narrow view. I keep hearing or seeing the statement "The most advanced operating system in the world" Usually applied to OSX. Whe nreally it is just liek Wine. If you like it and it wokrs for you it's the best. Let's not get into the BS about speed because it really depends on the task and how the processor works. MAC OS by some could be considered a bunch of fluff. By others they swear by it. Most who make these rigid statements ahve NOT used the other platform for large ongoing tasks to make an honset judgement. BAck to the Wine. I know a great wine when I like it. If I don't like it it is NOT a good wine. That is all there is to it PERIOD! I use both MAC and windows for most tasks my PC will kick the butt off any mac. Get rid of the fluff and give me raw speed, blow the animated windows away and use the processor power to do real work. If you like MACS power to ya! IF you like PCs Ditto. It's a matter of preference, END OF STORY!
lkj
2006-05-15 05:31:03
KDE is an extremely well built GUI, it' better looking and performing than WindowsXP GUI
How do you compare KDE with windows 98 GUI?
What is wrong with you?


There are other desktops and window managers for slow hardware, you'll probably like IceWM, my favorite is fluxbox


While fluxbox runs on old hardware, that windows 98 runs on, it can be customized to look better than windows xp. Transparancy, skins, colors. etc.


That's also one of the best things about linux, you don't have to be stuck to the desktop they give you, you choose your own, what ever you're most comfrotable with!