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June 14, 2005 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Jamie Zawinskie forsakes Linux. For an Imac.
posted by craniac (71 comments total)

 
NOW WHAT?!?
posted by belling at 5:51 PM on June 14, 2005


iMac. Please.

And who is this, again?
posted by ColdChef at 5:55 PM on June 14, 2005


That's nice. Mac notebooks are very tough too, and have excellent battery life.
posted by jb at 5:55 PM on June 14, 2005


I switched from Windows XP to Mac OS X a few years ago but there wasn't a post about me.
posted by birdherder at 5:56 PM on June 14, 2005


Zawinski is the author of Xscreensaver and Xemacs, among other linux programs. And his description of switching is kinda funny. Oh, and he was one of the original netscapers.

I just saw that slashdot had blogged this, sorry.
posted by craniac at 6:00 PM on June 14, 2005


If he switched to OSX, then he didn't really "forsake" Linux, since OSX is just a very pretty GUI for BSD.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:01 PM on June 14, 2005


BSD isn't Linux.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:01 PM on June 14, 2005


That's such a troll, jesus. must. not

1. BSD isn't linux, either.
2. There's such a fucking shit-ton more to OS X than the BSD bit. It is *not* just unix with a better X and windowmanager.

on preview: what mr_roboto said.
posted by bonaldi at 6:02 PM on June 14, 2005


Jamie Zawinski is was a noted open source programer. Interesting how quickly the Wikipedia article was updated...

I have no idea who Jamie Zawinskie or why we'd care if he got an iMac.
posted by anastasiav at 6:03 PM on June 14, 2005


He's also known for the quote "Linux is only free if your time is worthless." Kind of makes me wonder why it took so long.
posted by hupp at 6:05 PM on June 14, 2005


look, I don't know anything about technology whatsoever and I even hired a butler just to type my post and comments (written with my fountain pen) on a computer. I don't know -- my fault, I admit -- who this gentleman is.

but isn't his blog, like, very ugly? or is it me, that I'm unable to appreciate its secret beauty?
posted by matteo at 6:05 PM on June 14, 2005


Young whippersnappers. He had his own newsgroup once too.

This is like Steve Jobs switching to windows. wait a minute...
posted by craniac at 6:06 PM on June 14, 2005


In other news, I switched to Geico and saved a fortune....
posted by nightchrome at 6:09 PM on June 14, 2005


Wow, so wait... he couldn't get two sounds playing at once? I guess some people have kinda high expectations like that. Incidentally the only machine I have running linux that can do that is an old G3 beige.

I'd say something else, but I think I spend my supply of care on the first part of this message
posted by chibikeandy at 6:20 PM on June 14, 2005


Old XEmacs thread, sort of.
posted by swift at 6:25 PM on June 14, 2005


Dear Slashdot: please don't post about this. Screw you guys.

Ha! Silly linux hacker. Slashdot is for egos.
posted by shmegegge at 6:25 PM on June 14, 2005


Metafilter: Best of the Slashdot?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:34 PM on June 14, 2005


Something is very wrong when MeFites know who the fuck Jason fuckin' Kottke is and they don't know who Jamie Zawinski is.
posted by keswick at 6:38 PM on June 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


Linux heads switch to OSX all the time. I love OSX but I'm sad to see our opensource constelation lose a bright star. It's true that a million methed-out Linux monkies chained to a million AMDs for five years hasn't produced a robust GUI, far less a sonnet. But that doesn't mean we should abandon the opensource platform--which is easy to say when someone else is putting hours and days and years into its development.

For today's young libertarian, Linux is a fine choice. They're doing important work. But while the conservative remain cock-sure and smug, if sluggish, with with Microsoft products, the dreamers are finding that OSX has the tools they want, with few of the barriers that limited Linux. Which is not to say that all Mac users are dreamers; OSX is just a better dreamer's platform.
posted by squirrel at 6:48 PM on June 14, 2005


JWZ has hated X since first contact. He insists on callling it Xwindows, which is wrong, because it is.

I'm completely not surprised by this-- he's ranted about the stupid shit he's had to go through to get things to work so he could get on with what he really needs to do. Macs are much better at "Plug that there, and it works" than any other Unix, period.

As to Linux? Linux is a bad joke, and it's getting worse. The decision to start dropping development code into 2.6 shows that while they may like to hack, the Linux kernel hackers have *no* idea on what it takes to make somthing work. I don't mind the distribution stupidities -- I do mind the idea that 2.6.7 *broke working binary drivers.* This may be fine to Open Source Political Agents, but it quickly resulted in my rejecting Linux from my datacenter, and removing it from my home network.

I don't want hackers writing my OS -- and I mean that in the ancient MIT "honorable" sense. At least, I don't want hackers who don't know when to stop hacking and start working on the real problem. Linux is chock full of hackers, and BSD is full of elitist pigs. That's why I use BSD. Because elitist pigs *write better code.* But BSD still sucks as a desktop, because it uses X -- or worse, X.org, or worse still, XFree86.

That's why I also use OS X. It really is the dream OS, in many ways. "Imagine Unix, with a windows system and hardware driver interface that worked..."

Not to say that OS X is perfect. Far from it:

1) FTFF.

2) The reason people keep filing bug reports about the new mail buttons being ugly is this: They're really ugly.

3) Hello? Note how people keep adding back the OS9 features you keep ripping out? McFly?

4) The BSD Kernel->Mach has real issues with context switching and threading. Databases just suck, performance wise, on OS X. They're a bit better on FreeBSD, but this is one point where Linux can claim a real advantage -- it's much faster.

This is a damn shame -- I think that the xServe/xSan combo could be a real killer, but with the lousy performance right now, it ain't, and it won't be until the fix it, and the Mach Interface is very much the problem. Given OS X's roots, it's also not likely to go away.

5) It's very new, and still very bleeding edge. lookupd and launchd are very, very cool, but are still full of holes. The new filesystem attributes have the promise to completely change how we deal with files for the better, but it'll take lots of work -- not hacking, real, boring work -- to bring promise to reality. Apple's doing that work.

And that, right there, is still Open Source's biggest flaw. Everyone will work on the eye candy and the big projects, but nobody's willing to do the drudgery or the deep regression testing needed to make it work. Debian tries -- and gets flamed for the slow release schedule.

6) The documentation isn't in man pages. Oh, they update them in time, but the stick most of the stuff on the website. I hate that. It's worse than info, and you have to work very hard indeed to manage that trick.

But, as a desktop OS, most of that is irrelevant. Which is why I'm moving to it at home, and will seriously consider it for production uses as it matures. And, of course, after they FTFF.
posted by eriko at 7:21 PM on June 14, 2005


Note: JWZ has always been a cranky curmudgeon about Linux. It was nearly a DECADE ago that he coined my favorite Linux saying: "Linux is free oly if your time is worthless".

And for those who didn't follow the Wikipedia link, JWZ wrote Netscape for Unix. He wrote Netscape for Unix. Holy crap.
posted by intermod at 7:24 PM on June 14, 2005


I'm playing sound from mpg321, beep, and mplayer simultaneously, and I don't recall ever having configured anything specifically to do that.

This comment is kind of pointless though since jwz is a million times more hackerly than I am and always will be.

(Eriko: fix the fucking f...? What's FTFF?)
posted by kenko at 7:27 PM on June 14, 2005


I was listening to NPR today as some woman described the troubles with the Bush administration and the war and the degradation of the meanings of "freedom" and "democracy" to "capitalism" and I was feeling right awful about the world.

That was the last straw. I switched to the Republican party. Its so easy, and since the government/media/etc are already conservative, it just works.

I still feel bad for dead iraqi children some days, but I imagine i'll ween myself off it.

*sigh*
posted by rubin at 7:29 PM on June 14, 2005


I had Taco Bell Hell earlier and it gave me diarrhea. I knew better but I had it anyway. Tomorrow I will probably eat some soup for lunch or maybe a salad.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:30 PM on June 14, 2005


i'm guessing that FTFF means something like "Fix The Freaking Finder"?
posted by clyde at 7:35 PM on June 14, 2005


Who cares? jwz hasn't been terribly relevant for something like five years now. He runs a nightclub. He's... just this guy, you know?

Which is not to say that I disagree with him. Linux is great, but it can also be a monumental time waster.
posted by Galvatron at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2005


Clyde: Yes. Because it's shit.
posted by bonaldi at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2005


Linux is actually an advertising campaign for Apple.

Just look at how all the Window Managers that used to rip off Windows are now ripping off OS X.

I have this awful zit INSIDE MY EAR.
posted by angry modem at 7:59 PM on June 14, 2005


You sound more like someone switching to XP, rubin. I mean, Windows is the incumbent and hegemonic overlord, is it not? Becoming a neocon in America today puts you in the majority.
posted by squirrel at 8:02 PM on June 14, 2005


I was briefly annoyed by eriko's unfair criticism of Linux, but I then remembered, and I suspect JWZ would agree, that Every OS Sucks. (mp3)
posted by sfenders at 8:10 PM on June 14, 2005


2) The reason people keep filing bug reports about the new mail buttons being ugly is this: They're really ugly.

lmao. It's funny because it's true.

Great assessment of OS X, BTW, eriko.
posted by effwerd at 8:16 PM on June 14, 2005


LOL@keswick.

I too don't get the sound issue. I am running mplayer xmms and some flash animation all outputting sound w/o an issue. Linux can sometimes be a bear to set up, particularly if you have exotic hardware configurations, but it's really developed into a mature desktop OS (freebsd ain't so bad either). 2-3 years ago, i could not have run linux as my only desktop, but now, with firefox, gnumeric, abiword, gaim, acrobat, and mplayer, the only thing i feel like i am missing from the windows or OS X world is visio. Xfig doesn't quite cut it as a replacement :-). When my last windows box crashed and burned, i didn't bother trying to fix it more than once, and I am definitely better off for it. IMO, Linux is way easier to maintain once it's set up (in this age of malware) than a comparable windows box.
posted by jba at 8:20 PM on June 14, 2005


But jwz quit AOL-Netscape when they forked off Mozilla and made it open source, which meant rewriting the whole damn thing; it sounded like he was insulted that they didn't want to keep his code, and that AOL was too greedy to simply make Netscape open source (but I doubt Jamie Z. would've liked that either). And look what happened: the Mozilla line is better than Netscape ever was, and AOL has since decided to kill off the Netscape browser and turn the brand into a cheapie dialup ISP -- in order to confuse and frustrate people who might then sign up for AOL.

As for MacOS X, from a user's perspective what can that multiuser Unix with a flashy GUI do that Linux, X and KDE can't? Besides make it easy for jwz to play two sounds at once, which 'cuz I'm hearing-impaired I don't care much about? Y'also gotta figure that Mac hardware is expensive, and (at least last time I checked) opening up a Mac's case to do anything yourself automatically voids the warranty -- and Mac techs charge for labor too. Not to mention that MacOS bugfixes -- excuse me, upgrades -- cost a bundle too. As long as I'm spending my own money I don't see how any Macintosh's alleged advantages would really be worth a few hundred more bucks; someone wishing to convert me should remember my birthday.

As for BSD, it was my understanding when I last checked into it few years ago that the BSDs have a limited selection of hardware drivers and a hence a smaller "compatibility list"; on the other hand Linux's hacker culture means that, if the hardware makers don't see fit to supply a driver, sooner or later somebody will put out a free GPLed one -- and post it to the Net where I can Google it up. I confess I did use the Linux Hardware Compatibility thing when I wanted a printer/scanner/copier (I got an Epson CX5200), and that my 56k modem (which I hardly ever use) has a proprietary Linux driver (too?), but other than that I've been mindlessly randomly Pluggin'-&-Playin' for five years now. (And hey, jba, Linux has been MY primary desktop since 1996.) Does BSD now accomodate random off-the-shelf hardware I'd find on sale at Best Buy?

And as far as "intellectual freedom" goes, unlike in 1996, quite a few of the Linux drivers I've had reason to notice in the past few years are closed source, and lots of those that aren't are still developed by employees of say IBM as part of their day jobs; I just can't picture multinational corporations that use Chinese sweatshops as having anything to do with anything "libertarian". (The alternatives to buying those would involve cobbling something together from coconut shells and bamboo, so I hereby apologize to everyone who was exploited so I could have this computer to play with.)

Anyhow. I just got the source to the latest xscreensaver in case that project dies, but now most of the time I just do the blank-to-standby thing so I seldom bother to look at the pretty "hacks" anyway. So yeah, I agree, jwz HAS been pretty irrelevant for quite a while. Then too I suspect he went into "the computer field" for the money, not because it "spoke" to him. As for his nightclub, I know nothing about it -- when I lived in Frisco I couldn't afford to go there and saw no reason to try to; I think I read somewhere that it's very techy-looking though, computerized crap everywhere, but I prefer cheap hot chicks and cheap cold beer. (Speaking of which, it's time to post this and go visit the fridge.)
posted by davy at 9:40 PM on June 14, 2005


Hey eriko, y'mean you can't pop open an xterm and type "info [programname]"? And what advantages does "man" have over HTML anyway? Is this once of those ubergeeky things I ain't bit off enough chickenheads to ken yet?
posted by davy at 9:43 PM on June 14, 2005


Keswick, I've been compiling xscreensaver from source since back when RAM was too expensive for me to run it right. But then I'm "special".
posted by davy at 9:49 PM on June 14, 2005


Galvatron -- define "relevant", in some way that makes clear A) what the fuck it actually is in your mind, and B) why one should care more about someone being it than being right, which you admit he is.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:49 PM on June 14, 2005


Sorry, that was rude. But it's really hard to for me to come up with a definition of relevant in this context that allows it to apply to jwz on this particular topic. Anyway I recently did pretty much the same thing as he did: stopped wasting my time pretending that using Linux as a full time desktop machine was anything but a time-consuming hobby, switched to a Mac for the desktop and relegated the linux machines to headless server mode. I still use some Linux apps via X11 though.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:00 PM on June 14, 2005


(er, allows it to not apply. Or something.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:01 PM on June 14, 2005


Mr. Spiggott, your inability to figure out how to use Linux "as a full time desktop machine" has been noted.
posted by davy at 10:07 PM on June 14, 2005


and (at least last time I checked) opening up a Mac's case to do anything yourself automatically voids the warranty

How is this different than any other namebrand PC?
posted by angry modem at 10:14 PM on June 14, 2005


Does BSD now accomodate random off-the-shelf hardware I'd find on sale at Best Buy?

Depends on what BSD, since there's at least four different variations out there. You might try the compatibility list on their respective websites. FreeBSD's is extremely extensive, compared to most Lunix distributions.
posted by angry modem at 10:17 PM on June 14, 2005


davy, preferring to spend minutes on changes to hardware rather than hours doesn't equate to "inability". Having to dig into the source for the sbp2 drivers to get a firewire drive to work isn't really a good use of my time.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:22 PM on June 14, 2005


Whatever. I use linux, will continue to use it for the foreseeable future, and this announcement means nothing to me.

Oh, except that I'd like to say: Jobs should wipe JWZ's semen off of his chin. It's icky, Steve.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:24 PM on June 14, 2005


I switched to Mac OS 8 years ago. Where's my article?
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:31 PM on June 14, 2005


Me: and (at least last time I checked) opening up a Mac's case to do anything yourself automatically voids the warranty

angry_modem: How is this different than any other namebrand PC?

I have no idea: I don't buy namebrand PCs, I piece my own together from parts I buy. Imagine a tower case from a garage sale, a knockoff motherboard and an Athlon CPU off eBay, whatever RAM's on sale at Best Buy, hand-me-down hard drives.... Not a Mac kind of thing, is it? (Who buys namebrand PCs anyway, and why?)
posted by davy at 10:40 PM on June 14, 2005


George_Spiggott, I was practicing being a dick. Someday I'll fit in around here.
posted by davy at 11:08 PM on June 14, 2005


Opening up a Mac to put your own drives or ram in does not void the warranty. For that matter, Apple has a "do-it-yourself parts & service" program.
posted by D.C. at 11:18 PM on June 14, 2005


i always liked JWZ. He was the man back in the day, i frequently found his insights both interesting and funny. imagine my surprise when i found one of my web pages linked to from jwz.org (back in '97 when that meant something ;)

That said, i started on Apples, moved to Macs (around OS 6), switched to Windows (for work), switched to Linux (for work), switched to BSD (for work, but more because i was curious) now i think i have it sorted. i use Windows for convenience and games, Macs for productivity, and Linux and BSD interchangeably as headless servers.

All operating systems suck, some just suck less than others for certain things. Anyone who is a zealot for one operating system ignores the real and tangible benefits that other systems have.
posted by quin at 11:19 PM on June 14, 2005


Imagine a tower case from a garage sale, a knockoff motherboard and an Athlon CPU off eBay, whatever RAM's on sale at Best Buy, hand-me-down hard drives....

So I'm confused davy, where do you get the warranty for this?
posted by fleacircus at 11:21 PM on June 14, 2005


Sigh.
posted by cytherea at 11:25 PM on June 14, 2005


And to stave off any snark with regard to the convenience of Windows, i'll just name one program. UltraEdit 32. until i can find it's equivalent on another system i will continue to use windows for, at least, certain applications.

Yes, i know that emacs/vi/jed come close, but not close enough in my opinion.
posted by quin at 11:30 PM on June 14, 2005


(Who buys namebrand PCs anyway, and why?)

That would be the other 90% of the market that are not nerds. Because they don't care how their computer works.

I know, I know, it seems unfathomable that someone could buy a computer for some reason other than to appreciate its fine technical qualities, but, y'know, this isn't the early '80s anymore.
posted by kindall at 11:39 PM on June 14, 2005


How long has Apple been allowing DIY? I remember seeing tape on the back you'd have to remove or cut to get the case open and labels telling you that unless you're a qualified Mac-certified tech person (whatever they're called) messing with the tape voided the warranty. It was analogous to being required to take your car into the shop to replace a spark plug wire, while paying extra for the privilege.

And fleacircus, I didn't say anything about a warranty on my homebuilt rigs, but there are warrantees for those individual parts bought new, or for those used parts that weren't marked "AS IS". For the whole system, that depends on how the warranty is written, like some video card warrantees say that if the card makes your system burn up you're simply SOL, while others will replace the card, and some say they'll replace everything that caught fire.

On brand-name systems the warranty would be an inducement to spend four times as much a ready-rolled package, especially one that mates proprietary software to proprietary hardware as closely as Apple does. That I do without, see, because it's cheaper this way.

And kindall, I'm no nerd, I'm a guy on a budget who wants lots of bang for my wee buck. If that means learning how to Froogle up the best video card I can afford and do the upgrade all by myself, so be it. Calling me a tech nerd is like calling somebody an auto mechanic for pumping her own gas. As for how the damn thing works, who cares?
posted by davy at 12:12 AM on June 15, 2005


How long has Apple been allowing DIY?

Since at least before 1993? At least, there was nothing contractually stopping me from opening them up back then.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:17 AM on June 15, 2005


> And to stave off any snark with regard to the convenience
> of Windows, i'll just name one program. UltraEdit 32

I'm a relatively recent switcher from Macs to Windows. I'd used Macs exclusively from OS6 to OS9.2 or 3, when the crash factor just got too great, and I grew tired of paying the Jobs tax for underpowered machines.

Haven't gone all the way though -- my laptop is still a Powerbook.

But the single app that I miss most in Windows is BBEdit, which IMO is much nicer than UltraEdit.

Of course, whether it's the additional $160 is a different issue -- in fact, it's precisely the issue that led me to switch in the first place.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:27 AM on June 15, 2005


Linux has lost it's way. For about the last six years (or more) I've been in a cycle...3 months trying out the latest, greatest Linux distro...3 months going back to Windows because I feel like writing some music or playing some games...3 months on the next big linux distro.

But I've kind of stopped doing that about a year ago. I still have Mandrake 10 on a partition, but I can't remember when I last booted to it.

Over the past six years I noticed incredible improvements in Linux. But, somehow, it all stopped. The same old problems kept cropping up. Every application still gives you a different File Open... dialogue. Installing software from binaries is still a pain in the ass. Too much software is still, for ideological reasons, source only. Cutting and pasting between applications is unpredictable and illogical. There's still no working, simple, complete way to set my screen resolution on the fly. Oh, sure, KDE offers a utility, but it never shows me the complete list of resolutions available that Windows does without even having the manufacturer's driver.

Linux (and, of course, FreeBSD etc.) can only really move forward if, firstly, some culling takes place. We don't need half a dozen different desktop environments. I wish all but one (my preference is KDE, but it doesn't really matter) would die. Same goes for sound systems. Same goes for handling printing. Same goes for goddamn text editors. Same goes for binary packaging. I know choice is supposed to be the whole point, but it's holding the whole operating system back.

The other thing Linux (well, open source software in general) needs is to encourage non-programmers to get involved in the development. There's a reason why the best open source software (Apache, Mozilla, MySQL, the kernel) is so good - it's geek software. Trying to get open-source programmers to produce a quality, beautiful looking music package (a la Fruity Loops) is futile. For that you need artists, musicians, audio engineers on the team, not just geeks who know C++. Open source programmers spend their time writing "a user interface for consolidating ETTK (Emerging Technologies Toolkit) packages within the Eclipse IDE", rather than a cute little photo editing program my auntie can use. Windows has thousands of cute little photo editing programs. I guess that's why she uses Windows.
posted by Jimbob at 3:38 AM on June 15, 2005


But the single app that I miss most in Windows is BBEdit, which IMO is much nicer than UltraEdit. -PeterMcDermott

Clearly this is one of those 'opinions vary' moments. i used BBedit for many years and for a long time felt that it was a clear demonstration of why Mac software was superior to Windows. It was when a friend turned me on to UltraEdit 32 as an alternative that i realized that not only did windows not suck, in some cases it was better than Macs for software.

i guess we are just going to have to disagree on this one :)
posted by quin at 3:41 AM on June 15, 2005


Multifinder!
posted by squirrel at 4:31 AM on June 15, 2005


And what advantages does "man" have over HTML anyway?

What advantages does HTML have over "man"? I didn't boot no frickin' GUI don't make me launch lynx to read the damn man file!
posted by dabitch at 4:53 AM on June 15, 2005


Why not read it with lynx? HTML is good!
posted by squirrel at 6:23 AM on June 15, 2005


The problem with info is that it somebody decided that putting the emacs "interface" on the system documentation was a good idea. That might be fine for hackers who live in emacs -- but, you know, we have enough problems with them.

At least current versions of info accept q as "quit."

Every application still gives you a different File Open... dialogue.

That's not Linux, that's X, which revels in the fact that it refuses to do anything but draw lines and dots on screens. People have tried to bolt real functionality onto X for twenty years. They're still trying. Of course, they can't decide what functional is, so we have broken file dialogs, but applets that will help you brew tea. This is the Hacker Ethos explained in a nutshell. Good file dialogs are hard, and nobody thinks they're cool. A tea applet, however, is trivial, and everyone thinks it is cool. Never mind that all you really need is "sleep 120; echo "done^g"

JMZ, paraphrased: The only things that really work on X are xterm, xclock, and xeyes. Funny, the only apps that the first versions of X had were....

The reason the OS X interface is as functional as it is is simply this: There are a few people doing the boring work to make it so. The reason it isn't better is that they're getting caught up in looking new, and forgetting lessons that they've learned.

The reason that FTFF! is such a mantra (and yes, it's Fix The Fucking Finder!) is this -- we can all point at exactly what the finder should be -- it's called, well, Finder, and you'll find it on OS9. The fact that OS X doesn't have really useful things like tabs and windowshades is really sad -- they know how to do them, we have proof. Instead, we get the Dock, which is just a fucking joke, and, as an outright insult, they ported the NextStep file dialog, and tried to bolt Finder-like features onto it. Nexties hated that fucking dialog -- hell, I think the only person in the world who likes it is Steve Jobs -- it's the only logical explanation why it still exists.

Thus: FTFF! really means "Take all those lovely and useful interface ideas you have in OS9, and get them working on OSX, so we can count on them being there, and get rid of those lame file dialogs and browsers. Hell, just fucking port the OS9 finder to 10, and we'll be happy."

Instead, we get the Ever Moving Trash Can, and bouncing in the dock. Great. My open window interface acts like a five year old in a hotel room.

And so on. It's not so much the bad, but the fact that we *know* that there are better answers, and they were in the last version!

Others, above, are right. Every Operating System Sucks.

On Spell-Check: For emacs, it suggests Macs. Hear that, JMZ? Even the spell checker agrees!
posted by eriko at 6:48 AM on June 15, 2005


And kindall, I'm no nerd, I'm a guy on a budget who wants lots of bang for my wee buck. If that means learning how to Froogle up the best video card I can afford and do the upgrade all by myself, so be it. Calling me a tech nerd is like calling somebody an auto mechanic for pumping her own gas. As for how the damn thing works, who cares?

Comparing opening up a computer and upgrading the video card to pumping gas is almost comical. Surely you can do better than that.
posted by justgary at 9:04 AM on June 15, 2005


Me: How long has Apple been allowing DIY?

AlexReynolds: Since at least before 1993? At least, there was nothing contractually stopping me from opening them up back then.

So those tapes and "do not open" stickers on the cases were lies? Huh. Why'd they bother putting them there then? Maybe it was the particular "Authorized Reseller" doing that, not Apple Inc.?

Anyway, in my case it's pretty much mooted by the high price of Mac hardware and software -- though the former might change since Jobs has undercut the Mac zealots by admitting PowerPCs really ain't better than x86 CPUs. Eventually I might assemble my own Mac-branded box and run Windows 3.1 on it!

And on preview, justgary just wrote at me: Comparing opening up a computer and upgrading the video card to pumping gas is almost comical. Surely you can do better than that.

Would 'replacing a rusty battery cable' do it? If not, why don't you suggest something?

And before I forget, Jimbob wrote:

Linux (and, of course, FreeBSD etc.) can only really move forward if, firstly, some culling takes place. We don't need half a dozen different desktop environments. I wish all but one (my preference is KDE, but it doesn't really matter) would die. Same goes for sound systems. Same goes for handling printing. Same goes for goddamn text editors. Same goes for binary packaging. I know choice is supposed to be the whole point, but it's holding the whole operating system back.

So what you're really saying is Linux should be just like Windows. Why not forget Linux and run Windows then? Alternatively, you could delete all those Linux choices: keep one desktop environment, one word processor, one freecell game, one clock....
posted by davy at 9:17 AM on June 15, 2005


Instead, we get the Ever Moving Trash Can, and bouncing in the dock. Great. My open window interface acts like a five year old in a hotel room.

hil-fucking-larious!
posted by Fezboy! at 10:27 AM on June 15, 2005


keep one desktop environment, one word processor, one freecell game, one clock....

I know it feels normal when you're used to it, but it's actually quite puzzling to ship an OS with a buncha clocks. From the GNOME Usability Project:


"[These names] don't mean anything to me." (P2)
"These clock titles are confusing." (P3)
"The descriptions of the clocks aren't very good." (P5)
"I don't know what 'Afterstep' is...what 'Clock and Mail Check' is. These [names] are not clear." (P2, P7, P8)
"You could probably do better [naming the clocks]." (P11)


Point being, it's the little things that count… having lots of choices for everything out of the box is not getting out of the user's way. It's almost harassing them.
posted by Firas at 10:49 AM on June 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


Jimbob: Well, gee, I have had very different experiences. But part of the problem is a basic confusion in your post. (Not helped by a lot of sloppy conversation out there.)

Linux is not KDE.

Linix is not Gnome.

Linux has nothing to do with what Open File dialog box you have.

Linux is simply a base on which you can build something like SuSE, Debian, Knoppix, and Mandrake.

We don't need half a dozen different desktop environments. I wish all but one (my preference is KDE, but it doesn't really matter) would die.

Well, actually, we do. I use hardware that is sluggish with both KDE and WindowsXP. However, something like XfCE runs like a charm. It is quite nice to have software that fits my hardware, (especially since most of what I do does not demand much in the way of CPU) rather than needing to drop 500-1,000 on new hardware to fit the software.

Same goes for goddamn text editors.

The last I checked, there were dozens of text editors for Windows and Macintosh, some open source, some shareware, and some bundled with the system, all with their own little quirks.

I think I've compiled two programs from source since switching from FreeBSD to Debian earlier this year.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:31 PM on June 15, 2005


Galvatron -- define "relevant", in some way that makes clear A) what the fuck it actually is in your mind, and B) why one should care more about someone being it than being right, which you admit he is.

By "relevant," I meant something like "relevant to (Unix hackers | the open source movement | various hackerly subcultures)." My point is that the guy hasn't done much worthy of interest lately, and all he seems to do is bitch. I haven't paid much attention to his opinion for several years now, except to note that it's generally negative about pretty much everything.

It's fine that he's more or less "right;" that's not the heart of my complaint. I just don't feel that his rants are particularly worthy of attention. Call me when some of the freedesktop.org folks give up on open source platforms. At that point I may start to care, because those people will probably have some impact on the future of my computing experience. jwz probably won't.
posted by Galvatron at 3:14 PM on June 15, 2005


"These clock titles are confusing."

And that's why we need more than one desktop environment for Linux. One for the people who are confused by having more than one clock available, and another one for me.
posted by sfenders at 4:41 PM on June 15, 2005


And that's why we need more than one desktop environment for Linux. One for the people who are confused by having more than one clock available, and another one for me.

Are you kidding or is this an unintended parody?
posted by Firas at 12:35 PM on June 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


Oh, I was at least half serious. I really don't care what the clock looks like. But I gave up on using Gnome when in the name of simplifying everything, they took away some options that I did care about, primarily window focus behaviour. They made it quite difficult to configure things so that you can focus a window without raising it. I was glad there were alternatives.
posted by sfenders at 1:39 PM on June 16, 2005


So those tapes and "do not open" stickers on the cases were lies?

So far as I know, Apple never put "do not open" on their computers' cases. The original Mac cases did require a special tool to open them (basically a really really long hex driver) but those were quick to come onto the market. I used to open up an SE/30 fairly regularly.

Trying to keep users out of the all-in-one Macs was not a bad idea because they had monitors in them, and those can be deadly for the uninitiated.

(And yes, davy, if you have ever opened your computer for any reason, rather than taking it to a service center to have stuf installed like normal people do, you qualify as a nerd.)
posted by kindall at 5:35 PM on June 17, 2005


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