Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 22nd May 2014 18:21 UTC, submitted by Shane
General Development

I was at the OpenStack Summit this week. The overwhelming majority of OpenStack deployments are Linux-based, yet the most popular laptop vendor (by a long way) at the conference was Apple. People are writing code with the intention of deploying it on Linux, but they're doing so under an entirely different OS.

But what's really interesting is the tools they're using to do so. When I looked over people's shoulders, I saw terminals and a web browser. They're not using Macs because their development tools require them, they're using Macs because of what else they get - an aesthetically pleasing OS, iTunes and what's easily the best trackpad hardware/driver combination on the market. These are people who work on the same laptop that they use at home. They'll use it when they're commuting, either for playing videos or for getting a head start so they can leave early. They use an Apple because they don't want to use different hardware for work and pleasure.

Apple's laptops are still the best PCs money can buy at the moment (despite their horribly outdated displays). It's no wonder Linux developers, too, favour them.

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Sure you can do a live fs query thanks to spotlight, but it's not the same as BeOS, since the applications Apple creates use walled-garden databases rather than the _filesystem_ as the database.


OS X is _close_. Very Very Close.

Yes. It is. Tantalizingly.

The other nice feature that modern apps are supporting is the pervasive saving and versioning of documents.

While you will likely lose recent changes with a hard crash (such as power failure or crash of the actual application), it's more difficult to lose work.

A glaring example is my TextEdit, which I use to just make jots and notes, has 40+ "unsaved" files open. And the application has been closed and the machine restarted dozens of times.

While imperfect, I can almost shut down the machine with barely a prompt from an open app, confident that when the machine starts back up, I'm right where I left off.

I don't want the blind, jailed document system of iOS, but a pervasive "document oriented" system where I don't really "care" where the documents are, is attractive. Let Spotlight find it. The Mac is close to making that a realistic option for users, while still having the underlying Unix files and directories.

The laptop environment, with "instant" flash drives, and pervasive battery power, is about as close as you can get to battery backed up RAM on a consumer system. I open the laptop, I use it, I close the laptop, I put it away. When I come back, it's where I left off -- even 6 months later, even if I do lose the battery. It's "always there". It's really nice.

This is a key component to the idea of having apps start and stop seamlessly. Like modern cars that stop the engine at stop lights, press on the gas and the car starts right back up. The Mac is working towards rather than swapping idle apps out to swap, it just kills them off and leave the windows around. When you get back to them, they quickly restart and recover to where you left off, with barely a blip. It's a nice idea.

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