Tuesday links

by Giles Turnbull

Michael Amorose has assembled a list of Fun Unix commands. Don’t miss his Refurb-on-tron either.

MacASCIIinvaders is nice, but if I’m honest, Desktop Tower Defense is nicer and much more fun.

Forgedit is a new, free programmer’s editor for OS X. Nice tabbed interface, and customizable keyboard shortcuts for every menu command too. It’s small and lightweight and might come in handy for some of you. Let me know if you find it useful.

Andrew Grygus writes passionately about the failings he sees in Windows Vista, but concludes with this curious statement:

I find it hard to recommend Apple - applications are limited and it’s a closed proprietary environment run by a person of proven greed. It seems like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.


Jochen Wolters
2007-03-20 17:35:35
Don't be surprised by Andrew Grygus's comment about Apple, Giles. If you look at what his company does, you'll agree that it wouldn't make too much sense for him to steer his readers to the nearest Apple store for their next computer purchase. ;)
2007-03-20 17:54:26
From their website:

ForgEdit is free while in beta. Beta versions have an expiration date, please see the README in the downloadable version for the expiration date. Once it is 1.0, a license will cost around $20.

2007-03-20 18:57:26
I think he's partly right - for businesses it would be very much a case of making the same mistake twice. No matter how much better OS X is now, and how much better value in real TCO a Mac is, and how much better Cocoa apps are than Java ones, the fact is that for businesses, being tied to the Win32 APIs has proved a problem.

Moving from Win32 to Cocoa would probably be a worse idea than moving to Java or the subset of .NET supported by Mono - they'd be left in the same position of being tied to a single supplier, and Apple has not always been a well-managed company.

Of course, with many business applications moving towards browser based deployments - because client deployment has always been a big headache - the choice of client machine is becoming less relevant. For businesses focused on cost-cutting, Linux may make sense. Just as buying the cheapest possible chairs and office space makes sense. Other businesses see a value in making their employees feel valued.

Of course, the reality is that businesses will buy new machines with OEM Vista basic, wipe them out and stick XP on them from their corporate licence. Because that's exactly what they did with NT and Windows 2000. And by the time they do upgrade to Vista, compatibility will be good.

2007-03-20 19:29:35
Fun Unix commands?

I'm sorry, but I have to hassle you - every one of those commands has the wrong description and many of them don't exist on Mac.

2007-03-21 06:20:28
I think Andrew Grygus is just saying what he thinks with no hidden agenda. He could hardly have been more damning of Microsoft. But it seems to me that if he hasn't got sucked into the worldview of the Linux--sorry, GNU/Linux--fanboy, he's come close to having been so.

In the quotation given there, "proprietary" is being used not as a neutral label but as a kind of swear word. I think it's good both that the source code for the OS X kernel is available and that much of it is shared with other long-standing projects; I really can't get worked up about the fact that the source code for applications such as Mail or Address Book isn't posted anywhere, and we must make do with the object code.

And "from the frying pan into the fire" really doesn't work. It's not as if you could only count the companies Microsoft has betrayed or stolen from on the fingers of the hand of dreamer in a sawmill. It's happened again and again. It's not just that MS have damaged Netscape and Sun and Apple and Silicon Graphics. Those are only the most well-known victims. You know, you can lose count here. There's nothing comparable that can be pinned on Apple.

And this is weak:

"Microsoft hopes to parlay secure DRM into a monopoly on distribution of so called "premium content". Once they have lured the studios into the deal and established the monopoly they can dictate terms to the studios the way Apple dictated terms to the record companies based on the iPod success, but on a much larger scale."

Apple's "dictated" terms were favourable to the customer: they insisted that if there must be DRM it be relatively generous; they insisted that prices should be pegged low. It's a point worth making. Apple's business model is about offering the customer attractive products and attractive services, so that the customer buys its hardware. Microsoft's business model revolves around software licences and _necessitates_ pushing competitors out by damaging interoperability and tying people up so they have no alternative. There are very real differences here, and those differences have become imperceptible to Grygus.

Today's _Roughly Drafted_ is densely technical but worth a read--one of the most telling comments:

"Baker wrote, 'I can't believe this didn't get dealt with in one of the antitrust suits, as they [Microsoft] now have a near-monopoly on the gaming market. But imagine how different things would be if consumers could choose their platform/hardware and thanks to OpenGL the graphics would just port.' "


I'd say to Grygus, "I'm sure Apple has its faults, but has it tried to kill OpenGL? No, but you know who has and why, and look at the result."