[personal profile] mjg59
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.

The developers I was surrounded by aren't the same developers you'd find at a technical conference 10 years ago. They grew up in an era that's become increasingly focused on user experience, and the idea of migrating to Linux because it's more tweakable is no longer appealing. People who spend their working day making use of free software (and in many cases even contributing or maintaining free software) won't run a free software OS because doing so would require them to compromise on things that they care about. Linux would give them the same terminals and web browser, but Linux's poorer multitouch handling is enough on its own to disrupt their workflow. Moving to Linux would slow them down.

But even if we fixed all those things, why would somebody migrate? The best we'd be offering is a comparable experience with the added freedom to modify more of their software. We can probably assume that this isn't a hugely compelling advantage, because otherwise it'd probably be enough to overcome some of the functional disparity. Perhaps we need to be looking at this differently.

When we've been talking about developer experience we've tended to talk about the experience of people who are writing software targeted at our desktops, not people who are incidentally using Linux to do their development. These people don't need better API documentation. They don't need a nicer IDE. They need a desktop environment that gives them access to the services that they use on a daily basis. Right now if someone opens an issue against one of their bugs, they'll get an email. They'll have to click through that in order to get to a webpage that lets them indicate that they've accepted the bug. If they know that the bug's already fixed in another branch, they'll probably need to switch to github in order to find the commit that contains the bug number that fixed it, switch back to their issue tracker and then paste that in and mark it as a duplicate. It's tedious. It's annoying. It's distracting.

If the desktop had built-in awareness of the issue tracker then they could be presented with relevant information and options without having to click through two separate applications. If git commits were locally indexed, the developer could find the relevant commit without having to move back to a web browser or open a new terminal to find the local checkout. A simple task that currently involves multiple context switches could be made significantly faster.

That's a simple example. The problem goes deeper. The use of web services for managing various parts of the development process removes the need for companies to maintain their own infrastructure, but in the process it tends to force developers to bounce between multiple websites that have different UIs and no straightforward means of sharing information. Time is lost to this. It makes developers unhappy.

A combination of improved desktop polish and spending effort on optimising developer workflows would stand a real chance of luring these developers away from OS X with the promise that they'd spend less time fighting web browsers, leaving them more time to get on with development. It would also help differentiate Linux from proprietary alternatives - Apple and Microsoft may spend significant amounts of effort on improving developer tooling, but they're mostly doing so for developers who are targeting their platforms. A desktop environment that made it easier to perform generic development would be a unique selling point.

I spoke to various people about this during the Summit, and it was heartening to hear that there are people who are already thinking about this and hoping to improve things. I'm looking forward to that, but I also hope that there'll be wider interest in figuring out how we can make things easier for developers without compromising other users. It seems like an interesting challenge.
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Date: 2014-05-20 06:41 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The critical problem is the quality of DE and 3rd party apps. Even if you can ignore the amateurish DE like Ubuntu Unity, often you'll need to fire up something like Skype and that thing really stinks on Linux (it's so fugly, buggy and missing features) and why are 3rd party apps in that condition on Linux that's another story. I guess that's because everything else is clunky.

Date: 2014-05-21 11:23 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You currently can't develop a Linux desktop application, that will run unmodified on a Linux desktop five years from now. A successful application ecosystem like the Android one needs a stable API and stable interfaces. Otherwise you're just reimplementing the same trivial stuff over and over again (How many terminal emulators and Finder clones are there?)

Stable interfaces is something the major Linux players don't want. On the opposite kernel developers implement a DRM to deliberately break third party drivers, because they're just not affected by this on their nifty MacBooks.

The Linux desktop fails, because the people in charge want it to fail. Full stop.


Date: 2014-05-20 07:55 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

we are talking about developers right ? the OS/IDE/System/whatever is the tool. Developing happens in the brain, not in the tool. Any Craftsman/developer likes other tools, because of his experience or choices others made for him. That is not the reason for Apple selling that notebooks to developers.
Apple Laptops are sold because they are nice. Thats it. (apart from developing especially for that platform). If you want to use a nice tool, that looks good and feels warm Apple notebooks fit best. that does not mean they are in any kind better for the work you do.
im using openbsd on an thinpad x201 mostly without desktop
when i need graphics i use fvwm2.
the "developing" is done in console with tmux,vi,svn and other not so cool shiny stuff. I hope i am still allowed to call myself a developer while not using xdock,itunes and xcode =)

What you need is better (and nice) Hardware thats works well with Linux/Unix

Re: Tztztz

Date: 2014-05-20 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
What about if I'm writing desktop apps using C++ or Obj-C? I need a desktop for that, else I can't see the results of my writing (although I do plenty of design on paper first).

But I would agree with you - the hardware is nice, plus sleep works on a Macbook (and I have a Mac Pro at work which makes doing most things speedy and silent). Great hardware.

Java developer

Date: 2014-05-20 08:22 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Me and a lot of my coworkers use Ubuntu on random PC boxes. The main problems I have is:
1) no good integration with Microsoft services (Lync (including video conferences) and other MS Office tools for businesses - Outlook, which integrates well with Lync etc)
2) Unstableness - sometimes Ubuntu randomly crashes
3) Weird UI bugs when using client-side Java applications (e.g dialogs are empty inside, though it's probably a compiz bug)
4) No SQL Navigator (by Questfor linux), and some bugs with Oracle SQL developer 4 (e.g dropdowns selection are not visible)

Mostly small stuff that does annoy me - but I generally still like Ubuntu, so I'll try to live with them or find a fix for some once in a while (or just use some stuff in Virtual Box)

Re: Java developer

Date: 2014-05-20 12:56 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The strange thing is that for a long long time, there were no equivalent applications under Mac OSX to meet their Windows counterparts. I first noticed this when moving across to Mac OSX, and found that many of the ones I could find were unfinished Java based ones (that ran alright, but had clearly been written under Windows or Linux and made assumptions about file paths etc.)

Now that Mac OSX has a plethora of applications available for it and an army of developers thanks to the meteoric rise of iOS and Obj-C developers, Linux sticks out even more than it used to with regard to unfinished/missing apps. Having said that, I only use compilers and development tools + a browser on Linux, so I see nothing missing in that regard!

If you're using a Microsoft infrastructure, you'll find that there are many missing parts on both Linux and Mac OSX; a Microsoft infrastructure suits Windows best. I even found with Cisco gear that their Mac OSX applications were a bit feeble and feature-lacking in comparison to their Windows apps, so platforms appear to be playing catch-up alot, with this always being the case for Linux (and it always has been).
From: (Anonymous)
In my opinion the software is only a small portion of the problem. Sure, having a distro that provides a simple means of full disk encryption and other goodies like a notification bar (I love that one on Mac OS) would help.

But I there's one thing that REALLY prevents me from using Linux on a day to day basis: it's the hardware.

When I buy a Mac I just boot it up (okay, normally the first thing I do is to reinstall Mac OS - an old habbit from past Windows days) and am ready to go with state-of-the-art hardware (and hardware support). No fiddling around because I use graphics card that Linux does not support. No hassle because I dare to use a touchpad on a mobile device.

Buying outdated hardware only to be sure to have the necessary hardware support is not an option anymore. If there were some collaboration between a decent hardware vendor and a Linux distributor to push nice hardware onto the market - I guess this would actually help a lot more.

Date: 2014-05-20 10:23 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Using Apple hardware is, in many cases, a 'conspicuous success' statement, like the proverbial salesman who drives a Cadillac. For those who maybe wondering, I use Apples, Windows and Linux (from latest to legacy releases), all day every day. What I really dislike about Apple is that it is needlessly locked to their quite generic, x86 platform, put in a shiny box. Also, installing non-apple developer tools is a PITA. But hey, shiny!

it is really?

Date: 2014-05-20 11:23 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I just got a new MacBook Air last week, downloaded the Oracle JDK and Netbeans IDE install packages directly from the official websites and was ready to go. Sure, I also installed Xcode off the Mac App Store, but it's equally unchallenging.

(no subject)

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-05-20 12:59 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-06-15 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-05-20 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Great article, but dude, review your blog's theme. The text is waaay to wide for it to be readable.

Recognise bug numbers with KDE Klipper

Date: 2014-05-20 01:09 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I've configured Klipper on my KDE desktop to recognise my project's bug number format, e.g. BZ12345. When I highlight text in any application, if it matches the configured regex, then I get a popup menu offering to open the bug in my browser.

This little piece of desktop/bug tracker integration saves me some time everyday.

The arguments also work the other way round

Date: 2014-05-20 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I use Linux on my Sony Vaio Z23A4R laptop, and here is why: because no other OS works well enough for me.

First, here is why not Mac OS X on a Macbook.

I live and work in Russia. During my work (and sometimes this includes "at home"), I have to read and write e-mail, write network-related software in Python and C, debug it (this includes looking at IP packet traces), review patches, package it for Debian and then deploy to our production servers. These activities involve a lot of ssh, so a good terminal emulator is necessary. Due to the general Russian cultural habit of using Norton Commander workalikes, I often run Midnight Commander on remote servers. However, the default Terminal app built into Mac OS X eats all functional keys (such as "F3" to view a file, or "F10" to quit), making mc nearly useless. This is probably solvable by installing a different terminal emulator.

And for examiling packet traces, Wireshark is the king. Unfortunately, the official package sucks terribly (possibly due to the general GTK+ suckage on Mac OS X). It takes several minutes to start up due to the "fc-cache" process. Then, I need to open the capture file and filter it. In order to filter, I need to type some expression like "tcp.port eq 3128", which has Latin letters in the middle. But I can't! If the Russian locale is configured on Mac OS X (and I need that), GTK+ allows only input of Cyrillic letters, completely ignoring the system-wide cmd+space shortcut that switches between Latin and Cyrillic layouts. That's a deal-breaker. Under Windows and Linux, there is no such bug.

And now here is why not Windows.

This laptop has a 1920x1080 13.3" wide-gamut screen. So, in order to get a reasonable font size, the zoom factor needs to be set to 150% (or 144 dpi). And to get reasonable colors for photos (well, not required for work, but still nice), color correction has to be applied. Unfortunately, when the font scale is set to anything >= 120 dpi, Windows renders all applications that don't explicitly declare support for such high-resolution displays (i.e. almost all applications - including Chrome and Adobe Reader) into bitmaps, and upscales these bitmaps. And it doesn't have built-in full-screen color correction. So the whole benefit of having a good laptop screen is wasted. Linux, on the other hand, has no big problem with 144 dpi (especially good are GTK+ based apps), and has two window managers with working color-correction: Compiz 0.8.x (with CompICC) and KWin.

So, currently, Linux is by far the best choice of the OS on this laptop for this kind of work.

-- Alexander E. Patrakov

Date: 2014-05-20 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
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.

I'll confess to having very simple trackpad usage. I'm currently using a Lenovo Thinkpad X220. When I move my finger on either the trackpad or the little nub, the cursor moves with it. Are people really using gestural input on their Macs?

I suspect that conspicuous consumption is at least part of the prevalence.

Touch gestures

Date: 2014-05-24 10:16 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I can asure you that touch gestures like that on Mac is what would be essential to make Linux successfull. Not the only thing, but *extremely* important thing. Using touch gestures on a pad is way more efficient than using touch screen, because the pad is closer to the keyboard than the screen for just one out of several examples. It will save you so much time in comparison that you will not know what to do with it.

Re: Touch gestures

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-06-10 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand

I totally agree

Date: 2014-05-20 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I started with Gentoo Linux approximately 12 years ago. I really enjoyed tinkering with my OS. Especially configuring and "improving" the system with various compiler flags. I think I wasn't really aware what I was doing at that time. But it was fun :) .

At university I started using Ubuntu since I didn't want to wait a week until my OS recompiled itself. I also used XMonad with a custom config for a while.
Then two years ago I got myself a mac because it's the best fusion of both worlds. And I don't have to waste time customising an OS that is constantly changing from release to release: In order to get keyboard shortcut support for Spotify I had to first write a python script that hooks into dbus.

I first thought about getting a Windows laptop and running Linux on a virtual machine. But I really dislike the terminal support on Windows.

On OSX I get
* POSIX support and most of the traditional linux tools (e.g. vim, latex, cmake, clang, git, python, bash, ssh...) are natively supported.
* An OS which is similar to Linux and supports a lot of commercial software (mainly Lightroom, Photoshop, Sourcetree and Keynote) that work better than their OpenSource variants
* An okay window manager.
* Good battery life
* A somewhat stable system (some people might disagree)
* Native desktop apps for a lot of applications.
* Mail.app which is actually a pretty decent email application.
I even accustomed myself to XCode, though I actually prefer QtCreator.

What I actually dislike with a lot of software nowadays is the following:
ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/go/install)"
curl -s https://get.docker.io/ubuntu/ | sudo sh # okay the script is below the installation instruction
so in order to install $software I have to execute a script directly from the net. W.T.F.

Will I ever use Linux on the desktop again? Only if I have to or when it makes sense to use it. I'm currently supporting a Linux deployment (Ubuntu 14.04, managed with puppet). And the desktop gives me constant headaches (ok the problem might be that we installed KDE, Gnome, Xmonad, XFCE). But hey. It's Ubuntu and it's supposed to work (also the Ubuntu stack exchange is horrible).

On the server side it's quite different: I prefer Linux (Debian) to OSX and Windows.

So now that I have gotten that off my chest I'm wondering what you're using.

Basic needs first

Date: 2014-05-20 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl7utHoZKhc1AwohvNs8btpLUtz2QZT958
The developers I was surrounded by aren't the same developers you'd find at a technical conference 10 years ago. They grew up in an era that's become increasingly focused on user experience, and the idea of migrating to Linux because it's more tweakable is no longer appealing.

This a great observation. The keywords here are "user experience".
Unfortunately, the proposed solution goes straight to smoothing the UX of developers, almost forgetting that developers are users first. And as mentioned, work and leisure tasks are done on a single machine nowadays so it is even more important not to forget that.

That's why optimising developer workflows is only going to work to an extent. As another commenter pointed out, it is easy to port the advances made back to OS X.

This post makes me think of a mayor of a distraught city with no culture venues and a poor schooling system competing with an adjacent vibrant city saying "Oh there are a lot more cyclists there, let's create cycle lanes here and surely, they'll come". It may help but a cyclist is an individual first who needs job prospects, school for their children, cultural events to go to, etc. Basic needs, plus a cultural fit that probably pushed those cyclists to move to that other city in the first place.
My advice would be get the basic needs right then create a welcoming culture then the cyclists will come and probably advocate for the cycle lanes themselves.

My basic needs for a Linux desktop and some thoughts on how to achieve them:
- hardware/OS compatibility: pick a laptop and say it's only going to work on that, I don't care, boil down the set up to Language, Keyboard, Wifi - don't bother me with drivers ever. The hardware picked needs to be best in class though.
- run commercial apps: find a solution to wrap existing Win/Mac apps and run them *seamlessly*. Plus, work hard to make commercial vendors feel at home (stable APIs, conferences etc.).
- have an interface that is stylish and geared towards productivity: *work with designers*, there is a huge gap between something that does the job and something that is "designed" well. Any decision that affects what the user is seeing should be made by a designer/UX person, not the maintainer of that particular package. I wanted to cry when I so excitedly opened a link to Haiku and started looking at the screenshots. Ubuntu seems to give design some thought but only to end up with a poor man version of MacOS X.
- add some polish: (notice this comes last) try to create delight.

It is hard! But I really hope something along these lines can be done so I can be a proud Linux/Unix desktop user again. :)

Me: web developer, who has tried various dual-boot/VM configurations of Linux and Windows before switching to Mac in 2008.

Desktop stability and HW support

Date: 2014-05-21 06:42 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
My two cents. IMHO the desktop was solved by Gnome 2, or KDE 3 for the one of us that like Windows derivatives (Gnome is more polished to me). Gnome 3 and Unity fragmented the desktop, were not well received by existing users and let desktop application developer with a new desktop flavor to support, which means more costs and less revenues. Not good.

The other real problem is hardware support. New laptops are born with Windows in mind and their manufacturers and Microsoft invest in tweaking drivers to make sure everything works at the first boot. That's impossible with Linux unless some Linux company starts working with at least the top manufacturers. The other way is the Apple way of building your own hardware and binding it to your own software. Apparently Canonical could go that way as it hinted with the Ubuntu Phone and other initiatives. Another hope is the Steam platform. The point is that you should be able to buy a laptop, turn it on and start working like with Windows or a Mac.

All the development tools integration this post is about is nonsense to me. I wonder if I'll ever use it over the existing web tools. Probably not, because it will always be one or two steps behind the state of the art, which is anything those web sites deploy on their servers.

Ideals no more

Date: 2014-05-21 10:25 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It saddens me to see the discussion of Linux vs. MacOS X on the desktop put so much of a focus on aesthetics and convenience while they almost seem to disregard ideals and values of freedom as something obsolete.

This is not about mjg's post in any particular way. I have those same discussions among friends and colleagues, many of whom switch from Linux on the desktop/notebook to MacOSX and are full of praise for their new tool.

Don't get me wrong - I am annoyed by the regressions of the Linux desktops (be it GNOME or KDE) and the amount of work one needs to put into a setup in order to get it to work properly. Only to find that stuff breaks and further regresses after the next apt-get dist-upgrade.

This is highly frustrating, no doubt.

But really -- are we ready to put aside the fundamental questions of freedom, self-determination, access to source code, a community of peers, values which are still highly regarded in e.g. the Linux kernel, OpenStack and other more plumbing or server-side oriented projects, on the desktop, "just" for convenience?

What is it about our current time that makes aesthetics and convenience so much more important in driving our decisions than other values, compared to 10 years ago? Maybe everyone is just growing old of the inconveniences after putting up with them for so long?

I have no idea, but I feel that something important is getting lost with hardly any awareness of that loss.

Re: Ideals no more

Date: 2014-05-21 11:33 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Regarding your "ideals" and "freedom" issues I would recommend to read this well written article:

Biography of a Cypherpunk, and How Cryptography Affects Your Life (http://igurublog.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/biography-of-a-cypherpunk-and-how-cryptography-affects-your-life/)

Re: Ideals no more

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-05-21 01:24 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Ideals no more

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-05-21 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Ideals no more

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-06-15 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-05-21 11:59 am (UTC)
damerell: (shopping)
From: [personal profile] damerell
Linux could run on laptops that aren't exorbitantly overpriced. :-)

(Yes, you have a serious point.)

Date: 2014-05-21 12:59 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Linux doesn't run well on notebooks.
From: [personal profile] lucianoloder
Hi Matthew.

Interesting article. Recently I was reading the "debian-reference" manual, provided as a package in debian, and for reporting bugs in it it was suggested to use a command-line tool called "reportbug".

I found a broken link on the documentation, and installed reportbug to reprt it. It is a command-line interface, but it does more or less what you are saying, querying the debian bugzilla for the open bugs on the package I was reporting, and providing the tools to send an e-mail for the developer.

Maybe this package can be used as the starting point for a smooth user experience for reporting bugs, what do you think?


Date: 2014-05-21 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
... What I understood by reading this article is that what makes developers use Apple's OS and Hardware is the fact that they can access their iTunes and all the iCrap on the same machine they use for developing....so.....since Linux does not have built-in support for all the iCrap I don't see how or why they would move to Linux !?!?....
.... the point of this article is to say that what makes Apple attractive for developers are very silly and superficial reasons... not performance and technical reasons.... in conclusion: what fucked up developers are those??? is it serious ???? really ???? ..... So let's just sprinkle some glitter over Linux and that's it!

Give me a fucking break!

Re: Uh????

Date: 2014-05-22 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
A notebook running GNU/Linux is useful for developing Linux and not much else. And it has a shorter battery life, so it's less mobile.

A notebook running OS X is useful for developing Linux and for numerous other tasks, so it's more universal and more useful.

After all the PC is called a universal general-purpose computer. A machine, which has GNU/Linux installed, is very good at very specific tasks, but it fails serving as a general-purpose environment.

In the past, developers worked around that by placing multiple computers on the desk. But in the mobile age, you have to choose which notebook you want to carry around. So the logical choice is to use the more universal and useful device.

Seems to be missing the real reason

Date: 2014-05-24 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
1. Developers who work for many companies, are supplied with Macs from said companies because they are good hardware with good support. Also it is a prestige item that shows that the company thinks highly of their developer.

2. Also if these developers have web development or internet development as part of their work, their company will absolutely want a machine they can legally run OSX on, which is only a Mac, because they absolutely need to test on Safari and also the various IOS emulators, that are much easier to get on OSX. Macs are literally the only machines one can really and unambiguously legally and easily run the latest OSX, Windows and Linux, and Android emulators are easily available cross platform.

3. People tend to buy similar stuff to what they get at work, because less hassle, and they also have experience with both software and hardware.

So one problem is actually Apples ant-competitive practice of bundling, and limiting the legality of usage of virtual machines.


Date: 2014-05-25 03:28 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If I was one in the crowd, you would be wrong in counting me in. I do use a macbook but I run Ubuntu on it. And yeah I use the same trackpad but really it feels much better than on the OSX.

Date: 2014-05-26 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I would actually glagdly switch to Linux if it had all the emacs shortcuts built-in for all native applications as they are in OS X.
I just can't handle not being able to do a C-e/C-a or C-n/C-p in my browser or when I type text in my mail application.
From: [identity profile] 7b01758b-614e-4640-8cee-032902ac267e [openid.stackexchange.com]
I've been asking myself quite similar questions lately. My main concern was "How come we have a free open source OS that is close from being equal quality to their closed paying competitors and it doesn't get any more popular?"

First answer is that if we are 100m close to an OSX quality, this is the hardest montain to climb ever.
A climb that costed Apple all the investments they made in OS R&D...

But then I think another element of thinking is that Apple's computers are very famous for having hardware integrating software perfectly.

That's why I think the best solution to finally get the perfect machine with a FOS OS would be that a company - yes with financial interests etc. - would work on building the perfect laptop that really works for its OS that would be a fork of a popular linux distribution.

Selling their laptop would generate revenues, OS R&D could be invested in there too, and the FOS and Linux world would gain from there as well as the laptop company would.

And of course, their early adopters would be all those would-be-geeky-developpers that went to apple for comfort but whenever a new text editor is released, they immediatly move to it thanks to the trend... And they are numerous!

Someone builds this company or I do it???

it's about personal experience

Date: 2014-06-11 10:34 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Every operating system is imperfect per se. People should be open and find the one that fits best.

Windows and Mac have always strived to get as general as possible and reach all people. They have to make money after all. This is why I agree to the bottom line of this article: Linux could be good for developers if it provided a platform dedicated for a useful development toolbox. The challenge for os developers is to not loose the people who pay their living. Who pays them, by the way?

I think Linux gains the most by staying open, modular and diverse (ie. specific), and thus not (directly) harvest the fields of apple and microsoft.

After all, the system you use is the one you are used to, as the article correctly points out. I recently had to move to Mac because my employer provided it. I struggled hard, really tried to make everything work as I wanted, but couldn't. I now work on my private machine, which is no good situation. This shows me that I am too tuned and dependent, which is bad. One should stay open: CrunchBang, Puppy, Suse, Bodhi, ... even win8 and Mac. All are worth a try if you have a distribution to spare. You might actually learn something.

Finally, as a person who works with a PC and data a lot, I see the casualization of computers with skepticism. It's puzzling to think of the amazing machines people buy for home entertainment - just to distribute pictures of sleeping cats.
For them it might be appealing. And they should do it if that's what they want to do. Why not? However, for me personally the focus on "sharing meaningless stuff" means that I can't use a technically most amazing tablet for anything serious, which is very frustrating and sad. I would rather like to have a real os on it than any "xy touch".
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Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Google. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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