OS X… unworthy of respect?

Jorge had an interesting post today about OS X and open source advocates. It got me thinking, and when that happens, well… stuff like this shows up.

Yeah, OS X users do get a “Get Out of Jail Free” card in comparison to Windows users. I started wondering why this was, and here’s what I came up with:

  • For the technically capable, OS X is a choice that says, “I looked and decided this was the best choice for me.” Windows though, well… I’m just going to assume that you’re one 31337 k1dd13.
  • Open Source kernel. Flame the, “BSD underpinnings” remarks if you will, but the kernel is open.
  • Availability of open source utilities. OS X has stuff built in (openldap, gcc, etc) and it has plenty more easily available to it. Running them isn’t like getting Cygwin on Windows.
  • Command line… Windows doesn’t have a fully functioning command line. I’m sorry, but if I need to do something important, I want a command line with a text based login. Who knows where I’ll be and whether or not I’ll have the bandwidth to use a fancy GUI remote use package (RDP, terminal services, whatever)..
  • Security, OS X has it by default. Viruses, what are those?
  • Stability.
    elayne:~ kyle$ uptime
    23:31 up 28 days, 54 mins, 2 users, load averages: 0.44 0.37 0.53

    My laptop has been up a month… enough said.

  • Sane application installs. Hey look, the program is all in one file as far as the user is concerned. Granted, this is really only an advantage over Windows, I prefer Linux package management via apt. Then, I don’t even have to care where something gets installed to.
  • So, why don’t OS X users get ostracized like Windows users? An operating system is ultimately about choice. At ~5% of the market share, OS X is a choice, Windows is a default. Also, while Jorge says the goal wasn’t originally, “Linux on the Desktop,” maybe, just maybe it should be. Maybe people want usability out of their machine. I know that is where Ubuntu is headed and I sure as hell like what that group is using.

    My name is Kyle, I use both OS X and Ubuntu Linux; I believe the goal of Linux should be making it usable as a Desktop.

    6 thoughts on “OS X… unworthy of respect?

    1. Okay, not to be a little picky about this, but I feel that comparing OS X to linux is not something that should be lightly done. Yes, the BSD kernel is open source, but, the entire rest of the operating system, which makes OS X, OSX and not purely BSD, is not open source. Apple has the awesome tendency of developing is operating system to be very friend to both inexperience users and highly experienced users. Linux has the other side by being purely open source. Like Kyle, I do use Ubuntu-linux on my desktop and have an Apple laptop, and love it.
      Yet I have run into more trouble with Ubuntu (including more recently, as in yesterday) which is avoidable, but there’s the downside of having no one at linux tech support (without paying for additional services, which I know you have to pay for more from Apple and Micro$haft, but with Apple you do receive a year’s services free). This is not to say that one can not get good support for linux, it’s just that most of the problems (true problems) I’ve had are incredulously strange and rarely “old”/solved problems.

    2. I didn’t mean to imply that the rest of the OS was open. My point was that Apple is willing to take a good idea, use it, change it and rerelease it back to the community. I’m sure that if the rest of the OS was open source, Finder wouldn’t blow as much ass. But then again, were it open, Apple wouldn’t exist as we know it.

      To be honest, I wasn’t trying to compare Linux and OS X, rather I was trying to explain why, in my opinion, OS X users are welcome at geek conferences while Windows users are often ridiculed.

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    4. The main problem with the original post was the privileging of ‘the open source desktop’ above all other kinds of open source, because that’s what the original poster decided was most important to him. Other people have pointed out that Ubuntu isn’t 100% free (flash etc.) but then neither is the software powering most people’s phones, music collections, the servers of the web services they use, their cars, PVR’s etc. Very few people seem to be willing to make those sacrifices (though good luck to those that do).

      Saying that you must use an ‘open’ desktop/laptop, and that it doesn’t ‘count’ if like, for example, the creator of Ruby on Rails you’re using a proprietary text editor on a proprietary OS to produce an open source web framework using an open source language (in fact an entire open source ecosystem of tools) and providing an open source alternative for web development that appears to be making headway in the enterprise is just rank hypocrisy. I’m sure anyone here could name a variety of people who work for, or with the tools of, proprietary software companies (Google, say) who have made far greater contributions to Free/Libre/Open Source software. Writing these people off, or worse pissing these people off, can only have negative impacts on the future of FLOSS.

      The exact phrase for this kind of behaviour is ‘acting holier-than-thou’ and it’s been annoying for a long while, even before it began giving free software zealotry a bad name. So long in fact that people were still using ‘thou’.

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