Lately I’ve taken note of a dark trend in the Linux world, and looking back it’s one that has been present throughout the history of Linux advocacy. Linux users commonly mention that large corporations spread propaganda about the superiority of their products and FUD about competing products in order to get ahead. This sort of trickery is pretty widely regarded as low on the ladder of civility, but I’ve found it to exist in spades in many open source communities.
Switching to WordPress from iWeb (although I still love iWeb, wordpress has a few nice features I miss). Hopefully a smooth transition!
While reading my regular list of news sites this morning I ran across an article detailing the improbability of Apple releasing a Red Box. To those who are unfamiliar, this is a long-rumored compatibility environment in which Windows applications would run alongside Mac programs, much as Blue Box ran Classic Mac applications within the new MacOS X. As I gave this some thought, I found that a red box environment could be built out of existing technologies with surprisingly little effort.
As I’ve been using Linux I’ve explored many varieties of software and many desktop environments to see which one had the best fit for me. I eventually began to see that the GNOME desktop environment was becoming the dominant player, and would probably represent the mainstream future of open source desktops. GNOME is a great environment to work in. Uncluttered and orderly, it presents the most common tasks available to the user and keeps the less common ones hidden but accessible.
I have to say I’m not optimistic about Apple’s recent decision to support dual-booting their new Macs. That’s the sort of sophomoric corporate blunder that can capsize even the healthiest of businesses. In short, I think it’s going to backfire. Companies aren’t going to spend millions of dollars porting software between two operating systems when Macs can now natively run both. The fiscal bottom line doesn’t care whose widgets are prettier and whose user interface is more pleasant overall.
Since beginning to use Linux I’ve learned to tolerate a lot in the name of free software. Unpolished programs, non-working features, ugly user interfaces - these are the price to pay for freedom from proprietary operating systems designed by corporations. Bit by bit though, I lost patience with Linux. It became obvious that a lot of these shortcomings and lack of polish weren’t a result of software application development being overwhelmingly complex.
Just read an article commenting on the professor who switched one of his labs to Ubuntu Linux; this is something to keep your eye on, as I’m positive within a year if you check back we’ll find the lab has been switched back to proprietary software. Many times people invoke the principles of free software as a good reason to switch from proprietary solutions, not realizing that paid professionals do indeed take the time to make higher quality, more usable desktop and workstation software.
I came across this forum thread in my daily browsing; it details an effort under way to enable virtualization in the open source Qemu emulator using MacOS X as the host operating system. What does this mean? Instead of having to dual boot, this will allow Windows and other Intel based operating systems to run at nearly native speeds within MacOS X itself. This is especially useful for those who still need Windows for those one or two oddball applications they may need to use at work (IT departments are famous for cooking up their own little proprietary things) or in some other setting.
I read an article yesterday advocating desktop Linux, and immediately had issues with the credibility of it. The fact that it bears the word ‘pwns’ in its title is the first sign of trouble, but I decided I’d try and see if the author had valid points to make. A few problems. The article begins with the usual fact that Linux is more secure and less vulnerable to attack than Windows, as proven by several studies and contests.
In the past couple of days the news that Microsoft Windows XP has been made installable on Macintosh computers has been generating a great deal of excitement. In the comments section of every article I’ve read I see at least half the readership asking why this is such a great thing. I’m also asking that question. When you can buy a Dell computer for $299 and run Windows on it, or build a Windows based gaming system for less than you’d pay for a Mac, why would you buy the Mac only to run Windows on it in an unsupported configuration?