Oct 19

So along the same lines of last fortnight’s post, “iPhone, therefore I am“, as well as the very old “OSX > Linux > Windows“, I though I’d tell you why I use Mac.

So I saw this post that was comparing either Android and the G1 vs iPhone and it’s iPhone OS, or Android vs the iPhone OS, or the G1 and the iPhone, or Windows and Mac, or Microsoft and Apple, or any combination of the above. For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume that it’s the comment has been said comparing Android and the iPhone OS.

You can obviously tell that I can’t find the actual article/post that I’m talking about – if I could, I’d show you in a heartbeat. Anyways, what the post (or commenter on the post/article) said was:

“…polished and shiny? As opposed to what? Dull and lacklustre?”

Yeah – you can obviously see how that ties in to comparsions between Android and the iPhone OS, or Windows and OSX.

You can obviously tell that OSX is all polished an shiny, as compared to Windows which is, for the most part, dull and lacklustre. I’m all for Windows when it comes to gaming (damn Steam and they Windows-only stance), but for general productivity and what-have-you, OSX for the win.

I’m going to take another quote here, this time from Slashdot, Chris J’s favourite site in the world. Well, apart from the obligatory…

If someone is happy using, say, Word and Photoshop, what’s attractive in hearing that Linux can’t run Word and Photoshop but they can do pretty much the same things with Openoffice and Gimp, once they take the time to learn how to use them? Why should they do that when they can keep on using Word and Photoshop?

Like I said, i used Linux for ten years. I switched to Apple a few years ago because I wanted wireless to work. Now, I need to buy new hardware. I could easily save a few bucks and run Linux on something. But, why should I? I like Apple software, I’m accustomed to using it. Everything I did in Linux I can do on a Mac, often with greater ease and reliability. Why should I care if Linux allows me to do the same things once I learn how to use it and a bunch of new programs? Where’s the incentive? There are tens of millions of Windows users thinking the same thing.

You know what? I agree totally. People shouldn’t have to change their choice of Operating System just because it’s “the next best thing”, similarly, people are as entitled to their Win-Mo smartphones just as I am to my iPhone. I’m not happy with Windows Mobile, and as a consumer I get some sort of choice over what OS I use on my phone – obviously, I could have chosen between Symbian, Palm, Blackberry, Win-Mo, or the iPhone, or even Android if I was feeling ambitious. However – I like Mac, I use Mac – iPhone OS was the obvious choice.

A little further on, it says:

Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, people coped perfectly well with competing computers and operating systems. Sure, an Amiga was a bit different from an Atari, which was a bit different from a PC, which was a bit different from a Mac, which was a bit different from an Archimedes… but so what? People coped, just like they cope with the way every washing machine or DVD player today has a different interface. When you started using computers, you became computer literate, just like everyone’s more or less washing-machine-literate and DVD-player-literate. And once you’re literate in a technology, you can learn to use any form of it relatively easily.

What the Windows monoculture has done is to destroy computer literacy among most users. Now, instead of learning to use a computer, people are trained to use Microsoft Windows. Instead of learning about launching applications and using word processors, they’re trained to click on the big button at the bottom left of the screen that says “start”, then to click where it says “Microsoft Word”. And so as soon as that button turns into a picture of a foot at the top left of the screen, and the icon they’re looking for says “Word Processor”, they’re left bewildered and uncomfortable.

Of course, this has now bitten Microsoft too: it’s one reason why Vista and Office 2007 are so unpopular.

It’s doesn’t get any better – now you have someone to blame for this mess! Handy, no?


Leaving that aside for a bit, I know nothing is perfect. Certainly freshbytes isn’t (a few more readers wouldn’t go amiss :D ) and neither is Mac OSX, the iPhone, or any beloved Apple creation. The iPhone itself has crippled bluetooth, and it’s battery life isn’t exactly spectacular – not great, better than other 3G smartphones, but still rubbish compared to my old dumbphone(s), Mac OSX has strange quirks which leave some users utterly bewildered as to why it would perform in that apparent non-sensical way, and the iPod, well, it doesn’t have as much codec support as your nearest Rockbox player does. Hell, there are even entire websites devoted to telling the boys at Cupertino about what’s what, and what the end-user would like to see. (Disclaimer – I write for DearCupertino.com – and that was yet another shameless plug…)

I was in the PC lab one day and the same person who asked if the iPhone could text asked a teacher why he was using a Mac in a room filled with PCs. The teacher responded: “It’s because I like to live on the edge.” – GOLD! Now, I’m not suggesting that using a Mac is living on the edge in any sense of the phrase, but at the end of the day, it’s not about which OS is better than the other for whatever intangible reason – it’s about what OS you’re most comfortable using.

For many of you reading this, that would mean Windows undoubtedly. For many others that would mean Linux exclusively. And then, OSX whole-heartedly. I was once asked to decide which OS was “the best” – and I couldn’t. I’m intelligent enough to see that there are merits to all OSs – not one OS is most suited to any one task, be it productivity, entertainment, business, or otherwise.

In my opinion, Linux should stay on the supercomputers, in the Cicso routers, the embedded devices (and their derivatives), and the web-servers. For those purposes, Linux does an excellent job – an example of this is Wikimedia (and, by extension, Wikipedia) changing their servers over to Ubuntu.

Windows can be relegated to gaming only and the business sector – even though there are more and more businesses changing to Macs, I’d say over 80% of people are most familiar with Windows – and market share goes a long way in determining how popular something is. Internet Explorer is a great example of this – it’s complete rubbish, yet it’s the most-commonly used web-browser in the world, simply because it comes pre-installed on each and every single Windows machine.

Mac OSX, on the other hand – I’m happy for it’s market share to stay roughly where it is. One by one, I’ve seen people turn from the Vista juggernaut, and those basic consumers (who only word-process, access YouTube and MySpace) who are sick of all the viruses, turn to Mac OSX. And I”m fine with that.

You won’t hear me preaching the gospel according to Jobs – similarly, you’ll won’t hear me singing the praises of Ballmer.

However, I reserve the right to cringe everytime I see someone using IE.

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr 17

Yes, after all the time it took for the Linux kernel guys to do some hacking & patching, kernel 2.6.25 was released last night. The last release before this one, 2.6.24, was released back in January.

I’m not sure of the differences in the versions, but I do know that this release includes the ath5k wireless driver. For those not in the know, ath5k is the Open Source Atheros wireless driver. There are many bug fixes in this release, as found when checking through the Changelog.

It is well noted that the Kernel Devs did not use this release as a ‘new feature’ release. Sure, there may be a few little new features, but as far as I know, the next release (2.6.26) is going to have a few new features worth mentioning.

Check it out anyway, either ’cause you want to be up to date or you like checking out really new stuff (or you want a little cred!).

Links to checkout:


The changelog (word of warning: this will take a little while to load)

Once again, enjoy.

written by Chris Jacques \\ tags: ,

Apr 12


Yeah, so the rumours are true. I DO like OSX better then Linux. Before you get all Linus Torvalds on me, just hear me out…

I used to love Linux, I did. Sure, the freeness was really, really, good – as was the security, and the feeling of “Wow, I’m using something that doesn’t contribute to MS”. But like anything, the novelty wore off a bit – suddenly, apt-get was screwing up installs of programs, numerous compatibility issues rose their head(s), and finally, after stuffing around with a binary operating system (I’m looking straight at you, Ubuntu) it was time to go hard-core – and compile things from source.

Enter Gentoo, from the Gentoo Penguin – designed for speed. Well, source code takes ages to compile when you’re running on ancient hardware, and needless to say – Gentoo was a cruel operating system. Sure, after the code compiled, it was (reasonably) fast, and all was good. That is, until the minor issues like USB drives not auto-mounting on insert, doing the deluge of incredible, arcane stuff that you had to get things working “just right” – you know what I mean, like setting the CFLAGS, USE-FLAGS, and the kernel config – just seemed like too much work. Operating systems are supposed to be easy, not a battle of wills between the OS and the user! Far out, at least in Ubuntu, things “just worked”. I didn’t need to install a program/daemon just to get USB sticks automount on insertion! You know there is something wrong when simple things like that just don’t work.

Sure, maybe I was being a bit of a n00b when I installed it. Maybe I didn’t read all the instructions properly. But everything else worked fine! I don’t understand why it has to be that hard to get things to work properly. Anyway, as a direct result of this, I have now given up Linux. Sure, I’d still use it over Windows any day (cept for games – Windows for games) but other than that, Linux is only a tiny blip on the radar of this particular blogger.

Why Mac? Well, it “just works”. No messing about. No fussing with crazy configs, man pages, or anything like that. While those features are still there in OSX, you don’t need to touch them once to become proficient in OSX. No, becuase the GUI is so powerful in OSX, you have Linux command-line tools such as netcat become integrated into an awesome GUI – albeit without the more advanced options so that even novice users can use OSX. In Leopard, FSEvents (derived from yet another Linux command-line tool) has become the background workings to the best backup system available in any OS today – Time Machine. All this just contributes to the awesome power of the GU – flawless, yet so easy to use and advanced enough for the average user.

Windows is only good for games. Enough said.

Comments below, thanks.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , ,