Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Jul 2006 20:46 UTC, submitted by Bryan
Apple The editors of ResExcellence.com, a popular Macintosh website and longtime Mac enthusiasts, have switched to Linux. "I've been making my living as Mac-specific developer for several years now... I was a true Mac die-hard," stated Bryan, who also runs a Mac software company, on his blog, "but the Macintosh community, with its bad attitudes and diva-esque nature, rained on my parade. Sure there were other reasons why I switched. But that was the tipping point."
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RE[2]: Interesting choice.
by gabrielwalker on Tue 25th Jul 2006 21:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Interesting choice."
gabrielwalker
Member since:
2006-05-30

You make some good points, but pointing to everything being hardware in itself is... limiting your view just a little bit. Now admittedly I may not have the most Linux-friendly system: A Dell Inspiron 6000. But I didn't have any trouble in Ubuntu having the various parts of my system auto-detect and auto-configure for me, at least as best as I can tell. My only real perceived "problem" with hardware was an external USB-enclosed hard disk... because it was formatted in NTFS. I struggled with various NTFS hacks until I finally gave up, backed everything I could up on DVD-R, and just reformatted the drive as FAT-32. Oh, and the minor quibble that for some reason Linux couldn't detect what the max speed for my dvd/cd burner was. But if I picked a speed like 4x for the dvd-r burn, it worked fine. Go figure.

But really, I'm trying to approach it more from the software side. I had two audio mixers, and never knew just quite which one was the 'right' one, because one worked and one didn't, but I thought I was using two multimedia backends. Admittedly my knowledge of Linux is lacking, so I can't really provide better detail.

Now it's true that, from a Windows side, most drivers/hardware are going to see support because of the overwhelming use of Windows as an OS. And with Apple, they were able to close the hardware channel, and thus the OS seems more "stable" because it's written for that specific hardware.

Let's talk about drivers, though. I'm not trying to spread FUD, but I'm not exactly all-knowing, so if I make a mistake in this, please forgive me. (I have no doubt I'll be corrected, though.)

Because of the changing nature of Linux's API (which appears to be debatable), and varying features between kernels, it seems like the majority of drivers under Linux have to be distributed as source code. Or, alternatively, with an open-source 'linker', which calls upon a binary driver... sort of like using a universal power supply with all of your office equipment.

But having to have a source version of the linker also means that certain bits of the binary driver are exposed, and that can be frowned upon by vendors. (I'm not getting into the whole marketshare issue, either.) Having a stable plug-in system, where wholly binary drivers were more usable, might help a bit. When I install drivers on Windows, I'm not hunting around to see if I have "Windows 5.1.2600, build blah blah blah" -- I'm just making sure I have "Windows 2000/XP". But because the Linux kernel is still in major developmental flux, it's not so easy as saying "I have Ubuntu Dapper Drake".

I also have to make sure I have the right build of XOrg, or the right sound daemon installed, etc. Now combine that with the source linker module, and now I have to make sure I have the right compile package installed. The software was written for a specific build of GCC, so I have to make sure I have one that's compatible, because there are differences between GCC 1 and 2. (Or whatever they are... I honestly forget.)

So while many people are confused between download options for "Windows 98/ME" and "Windows 2000/XP"... now all of a sudden you have to make sure all this other software is updated -first-. Now it's true that the vast majority of software can be gotten through, say, Ubuntu-specific repositories, where most other people have taken care of the "OSS" side of things. But that wouldn't appease the vendors, because they have to keep up with the changes in the Linux environment.

Combine that with things like, "Why did you use GTK? You should have used QT!" and as someone else mentioned, "Why use ALSA? Use GStreamer!", etc... and you start to get into nightmare territory. Ideally, when it comes to certain system functionality... there should be -one- standard, guaranteed environment and base API, where things can all be coded for. And frankly that standard should have some level of emulation or compatibility, so I, as someone that doesn't know how to program, won't have to beg - or learn how to program - to continue using older software.

Just as an extended example... something not driver-related, is there's this movie-editing package for Linux, only. I forget what it's called, but it's by "the heroines", or something like that. I fussed for -days- to get a copy to build and install on my local Ubuntu... and then it wouldn't import half the videos I had, despite saying they were supported. And when I did get an import working, sound didn't work... and preview/playback was ungodly slow. ...Evidently, because my specific working environment wasn't "supported".

Maybe in another couple of years, the Linux Standards Base (I think it's called) will be able to cross their arms and smile smugly, knowing they pushed a Good Thing (TM) to the general users of Linux.

I say all this as an intermediate Windows user - not a Power User, though I have customized my install a bit... a Novice Linux user, though I've custom-installed Gnome themes and all that good stuff... and NOT a programmer. It's been years since I programmed anything, and that was in Visual Basic, not in C or C++ or Java or anything else. I just can't wrap my head around it, though I've tried.

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