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Apple's laptops are still the best PCs money can buy at the moment (despite their horribly outdated displays).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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Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

I agree with most of your talking points, but a few things stand out.

The OS looks ok, but default fonts are too small for me and changing them system-wide isn´t as intuitive as it should be.


That's funny, I have the opposite problem: Fonts in OS X seem too big to me, with the exception of the Numbers app. I usually find myself scaling them down, whereas on Windows I'm often scaling them up, especially in web browsers.

Why does maximizing a windows not take over all available area and only restore it to its previous maximum size?


It's not a maximize button, it's a zoom button. The entire concept of maximizing windows is foreign to OS X native apps. When you click zoom, the window grows to the most appropriate size for the content currently displayed. Most third party apps treat the zoom button like a maximize button though.

Open source applications such as LibreOffice and Inkscape are much easier to install and much more stable in Linux, and maybe even on Windows, than on the Mac.I haven´t had a single LibreOffice/OpenOffice crash in years on Linux, but plenty on the Mac


I've never had stability issues with those apps (or other ported GNU/Linux apps) since the switch to Intel, with the exception of early versions of OpenOffice (called NeoOffice on the Mac back then). But this is all anecdotal for both of us. As for ease of installation, what's so difficult about dragging and dropping to the Applications folder, or running a .pkg file? The former is so simple a child could do it, and the latter is no different from running an installation wizard on Windows. Conversely, the last time I installed any of those apps on Slackware Linux, I compiled the packages using Slackbuilds. That's over the heads of most Windows and even Mac users.

Nobody I know uses a Mac for real work unless you are a DJ.


Come on now, that's just straight up flamebait. The rest of your post was insightful and topical, but you had to go and pull out one of the worst cliches of the computing world. If you've owned a Mac (and you make it sound like you have), then you know they are a good fit for just about any task as Windows or GNU/Linux, with a few exceptions. For example, the only reason my company hasn't gone to Macs across the board is because we use Quickbooks, which isn't supported on that platform. This is a vertical channel manufacturer/distributor, not a design house or recording studio.

Reply Parent Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

As for ease of installation, what's so difficult about dragging and dropping to the Applications folder, or running a .pkg file? The former is so simple a child could do it, and the latter is no different from running an installation wizard on Windows. Conversely, the last time I installed any of those apps on Slackware Linux, I compiled the packages using Slackbuilds. That's over the heads of most Windows and even Mac users.


You say that as though your experience on Slackware is representative. Other Linux distros have a one-click install process, so you should either compare with that, or compare your experience on Slackware to the experience of compiling packages for OSX.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

No, I say that as a counter to "GNU/Linux is always easier than OS X", which is what porcel was implying. You can compile to install on any of the three OSes mentioned, or you can use a package manager/installer on any of the them. Using software installation to try to say OS X is crap compared to GNU/Linux or Windows is just plain misleading.

Reply Parent Score: 3

porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

My last comment about who uses a Mac was ment to be a little tongue-in-cheek and I thought it would be taken humorously. But I wake up to find it was not. Next time, I will put a smiley next to it.

I know that there are very good apps that do vector design on the Mac, but inkscape is free in every way and we have been using with amazing results for the last three years and have two designers who have mastered them. We have built our workflow around apps such as inkscape.

So our experiment to switch to a Mac wasn´t succesful at all, among other things because installing inkscape on the Mac is a pain in the ass. First, you need XQuartz, then install X11, then install. Not fun, but once you have done that, the app does not feel as fast or as solid as it does on linux.

Of course, generally speaking, installing apps on the Mac is easy, but my point was that we rely on a lot of open source software whose ports either do not exist or are not as solid on the Mac.

And the reason I want to emphasize this is because I have gotten tired of hearing the same line over the years: Mac OS is just another linux with a prettier interface and nicer multimedia apps: "you see, you have a terminal app on the Mac too".

It is not. And I for one prefer Kmail to Mail, Amarok to iTunes any day of the year; or dolphin to the "finder"; or ktorrent to "transmission" (an open-source app that also runs on linux by the way) and the list goes and on. Not to mention the beautifully written educational apps from KDE's education suite that my two little kids use daily.

I realize that the Mac has its users and it uses, but I take offense to the generalization that Macs simply are better and that linux users such as myself will see the one shining light of truth any day now.

Notice I have focused on usability and never got into the economics of using a Mac vs a PC with Linux in terms of total cost of ownership because that is a thorny and completely different debate.

Reply Parent Score: 9

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

My last comment about who uses a Mac was ment to be a little tongue-in-cheek and I thought it would be taken humorously. But I wake up to find it was not. Next time, I will put a smiley next to it.


Sorry, I should have picked up on that. But the general theme of your post was more and more negative, and to end it with that kind of comment (as you said, without a "smiley") put the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.

So our experiment to switch to a Mac wasn´t succesful at all, among other things because installing inkscape on the Mac is a pain in the ass. First, you need XQuartz, then install X11, then install. Not fun, but once you have done that, the app does not feel as fast or as solid as it does on linux.


The great thing about XQuartz/X11 is that once they are installed, any future apps that depend on them are as easy to install as any native Mac app. If you are only installing them for one app, like Inkscape, I can understand the frustration. Personally, I always install X11 support and Xcode immediately after installing the OS on a Mac. Maybe that's why I never see it as an issue.

And the reason I want to emphasize this is because I have gotten tired of hearing the same line over the years: Mac OS is just another linux with a prettier interface and nicer multimedia apps: "you see, you have a terminal app on the Mac too".


I've always heard it as "Mac OS is UNIX/BSD with a nice GUI and commercial support". The few times someone has said to me that OS X is "just another Linux" I always correct them. Linux (the kernel) is very, very different from the various BSD kernels, to say nothing of the Mac OS Mach microkernel.

It is not. And I for one prefer Kmail to Mail, Amarok to iTunes any day of the year; or dolphin to the "finder"; or ktorrent to "transmission" (an open-source app that also runs on linux by the way) and the list goes and on. Not to mention the beautifully written educational apps from KDE's education suite that my two little kids use daily.


And I prefer OpenBox, Claws Mail, Clementine, Thunar, and RUTorrent to the items on your list. I don't just use a Mac; in fact, it's my least used machine. I do most of my work and play in Crunchbang Linux and Slackware Linux, with some Windows 7 for gaming and the Mac for music creation. That's the beauty of not tying oneself to a single platform. ;)

I realize that the Mac has its users and it uses, but I take offense to the generalization that Macs simply are better and that linux users such as myself will see the one shining light of truth any day now.


You won't hear me say "Macs are simply better". They are great at what they do, and they make excellent general purpose computers. But so do Windows machines, and so do GNU/Linux machines. I spend a lot of time (relatively speaking) on Haiku and BeOS, but you won't hear me say they are good production machines. I like what I like, and use the tool that works best. It's the same for everyone, I'm sure.

Notice I have focused on usability and never got into the economics of using a Mac vs a PC with Linux in terms of total cost of ownership because that is a thorny and completely different debate.


Indeed it is; I'm debating whether I should replace my aging Core Duo Mac mini at the end of this year. I'll have the money, but even as slow as my Mac is, for what I use it for, it's still adequate. And, if I get a Core i5 mini, I'll be tempted to put Windows 7 and Crunchbang on it and triple boot to consolidate all of my work and most of my recreation on it. Or, I could save $600 and just keep chugging along for another year on that old Mac, which reveals how much value you get when you buy one.

Reply Parent Score: 2