Free Software: Better on OS X?
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Free Software: Better on OS X?
by Mike Gunderloy - May. 23, 2008Comments (6)
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Ivan Krstić, once the Director of Security Architecture for the OLPC project, has written a rather pointed blog entry about the disarray that project has fallen into. While it serves as an excellent coda for the story (which we previously covered), that's not what caught my eye. Rather, I'm interested in his perspective - as a bonafide kernel hacker - in switching from Linux to OS X for his primary laptop. Linux doesn't come off all that well in the story.Here's some of what Krstić had to say:I switched to OS X and find it to be an overwhelmingly more enjoyable computing experience. I still have my free software UNIX shell, my free software programming language, my free software ports system, my free software editor, and I run a bunch of free software Linux virtual machines. The vast, near-total majority of computer users aren't programmers. Of the programmers, a vast, near-total majority don't dare in the Land o' Kernel tread. As one of the people who actually can hack my kernel to suit, I find that I don't miss the ability in the least. There, I said it. Hang me for treason.Well, if they're going to hang him, I guess I'd best line up too - along with many, many other developers. We've previously looked at reasons why some development communities (like the one centered on Rails) gravitate to the Mac. Ivan also points out that the security community is largely Mac-based - and there are others out there beyond those two.I think one of the real splits in the development community is not so much between those who favor open source and those who don't, but between those who want to be open source purists and those who prefer to choose the best tool for the job. Krstić suggests that "technical people, especially when younger, get a particular thrill out of dicking around with their software." I'm not aware of any good studies of the demographics of the open source community, but it wouldn't be surprising if many of us mellow with age; that happens in politics as well. Personally, I'm happy to have some folks out there trying to change the world, even though I'm past that point in my life and just want software that works - whatever operating system it happens to run on.
mac os x
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by Peter on May. 24, 2008Wish these folks would just admit that free software sucks, and expensive, proprietary software actually works.
But what do I know - i'm a Mac user.
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by Ricardo Proença on May. 24, 2008Sorry, but did you read the same Krstić blog entry that I did?
When you say:
"Rather, I'm interested in his perspective - as a bonafide kernel hacker - in switching from Linux to OS X for his primary laptop. Linux doesn't come off all that well in the story."
You give the idea that Krstić bashed Linux for not being a good OS - Well that is not true.
Why? Because you forgot to quote other part of Krstić blog entry that says:
"After 12 years of almost exclusive use of free software, I switched to Mac OS X. And you know, shitty power management and many other hassles aren't Linux's fault. The fault lies with needlessly secretive vendors not releasing documentation that would make it possible for Linux to play well with their hardware."
Well, although it states that Linux has problems, their aren't related with the design of OS but with vendors not releasing drivers that play well with it, whether they are open source or not.
You can rest assure that I'm "not going to hang you".
Although you're post imposes a question.
If it is evident, for everyone that really read Krstić blog entry, that the core discussion was about:
1. OLPC structure and education goals;
2. Sugar interface and components design decisions (decoupling UI, porting to other OS besides XO, etc.);
3. Open source software, free software, purist visions and pratical ones;
Why did you choose to transform his blog entry in a statement about the, worse, quality of Linux in relation to OSX, when, clearly, he never says that?
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by an anonymous user on May. 25, 2008Please preface non-journalistic entries with a warning header saying so.
You're saying that you're mature, yet you've written a blog entry on this?
If somebody wants to use Mac OS X, then that's that. If a large portion of the Ruby on Rails community wants to use Mac OS X, good for them. But why the f**k are you trying to depict this as something tabooed?
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by an anonymous user on May. 27, 2008As a jumping off point between the "purists" and the "less pure" ones in FLOSS that's been there for some time.
RMS is a "purist" and he's getting older and not at all less of one. Linus has always been results oriented-make it just work so he's one of the "less pure".
What you're seeing is maturity in FLOSS not just two camps appearing. Both groups have overlapping interests and goals.
They differ, importantly in RMS's worldview", in how to coexist with other software ecosystems out there.
Both still differ from Microsoft, for example, in how they approach the world. FLOSS welcomes a diverse software ecosystem from "scratch the itch" development to big system stuff. Linux excels at both. Apple has profited (though not necessarily in the monetary sense) from FLOSS. Microsoft prefers moncultures which has led us to the overweight, unstable Vista.
FLOSS needs it's purists, it also needs the developers who are less pure (the large majority I expect) in order to move into the future. It's better off and richer for both.
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by El Molito on May. 27, 2008Everything is better on OS X! :)
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by Strypey on Jun. 23, 2009This was also a fairly important part of the article that your blog post fails to mention:
"Now, pay close attention: while I’m unequivocally enthusiastic about Sugar being ported to every OS out there, I’m absolutely opposed to Windows as the single OS that OLPC offers for the XO. The two matters are completely orthogonal..."
I note too that Krstić completely misses the point of Stallman's comparison between Windows and hard drugs. Yes, Windows can't harm or kill you, and drugs can, but so can jumping out of a plane with a parachute on. The crucial difference is that jumping remains a choice each time you do it (let's not complicate the comparison by factoring in adrenaline addiction). Physically addictive drugs, like using Windows, lock you into continuing to use them, making it more and more difficult to switch to alternatives each time you use.
Giving children in the developing world the choice between Windows and a free software OS is like giving them a choice between lollies and fruit trees. The former ties them into a dependence on an external supplier for more product, reinforcing an inequal power relationship reminiscent of colonialism. The latter will continue to give them product without any new inputs, and they can clone or cultivate more trees to share with their neighbours. Unfortunately, because the trees might take some time, and care, to fruit, the lollies will be tempting. Krstić is right that this is a political issue, not a technical one, and is outside of his area of expertise.
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