Macs

Date: 2014-05-19 10:25 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I am not so sure that people want to tweak things, and that this should be a selling point. I would have to agree with the other commenters on here that although tweaking is nice, eventually you want to just be able to get stuff done. The recent iterations of Linux and reinvention of the desktop has driven me away from it, because I found that of the 20+ years of computer use, they were the most unusable forms of desktop. I could do more with my BBC Micro using a CLI, as it came with a manual (and you knew you were getting a complicated computer, so a manual was a necessity).

Opposite to this, there has been the Great Dumbing Down of desktops to pander to the lowest common denominator of computer user. But it is flawed because they assume that you want computer use to be "fun" and "enjoyable"; instead, they have made it "frustrating" and "enraging" to the 98% of users who are used to the way it used to work. I don't necessarily want to be grinning all day long when using a computer - I want it to let me do things, in the same way that I don't want to feel delighted every time I use a knife or fork.

I don't know who they consider to be the lowest common denominator but my mum got by just fine using Windows XP on a basic level, and has happily moved on to using an iPad as her "computer", due to the fact that she just had to learn to press one big button, and didn't really create anything on a traditional desktop PC, making it redundant. Reinventing the traditional desktop paradigm that has been in use for 20+ years wouldn't magically draw my mum to use Linux, nor would the fact that she can tinker with it - she isn't bothered about that. The maximum amount of "tinkering" she did/does with both her PC and iPad was changing the background picture.

Like the others, I went to buy a Mac after using one for work and being impressed with the build quality (and non-flexing keyboard) and excellent touchpad. The extensive battery life, even on an i7 MacBook, was very impressive. The biggest amount of "tinkering" I have done is install TinkerTool and ShiftIt so I can use the keyboard a bit more, plus I put the Dock on the left, but I do not find that I am lacking in any way. In fact, the most impressive thing about the UI is that it doesn't get in the way, unlike Windows 8 (and Vista+ where popups on the bottom right constantly attempt to inform you of things). I have stuck with Windows 7 for my Windows use, as I am not in kindergarten (and therefore impressed with big square blocks to press) or using a touchscreen device. (Yes, I did use Windows 8 for months but found it confused and a mess). Even Spotlight doesn't get in the way, and that appears to be what the Unity and GNOME3 systems are aiming for with their new way of launching programs, isn't it?

I cannot see a way of pulling users back to Linux with their New Way Of Using Desktops when you have working desktops that aren't particularly frustrating and take very little learning (Mac OSX's window management, sloppy mouse focus model for scrollwheel behaviour etc.; Windows traditional desktop mode). (Converse to this, my brother hates using the Mac and finds it highly frustrating).

Apple's bug tracking system requires use of a web browser, so I do not feel that the lack of integration with bug tracking systems in the OS itself is a problem. I do not feel anger when I cannot report a bug from within the OS.

I still run Linux under a VM but it is running GNOME2 due to the fact that it behaves in a logical manner and doesn't attempt to treat me like an idiot. I thought it was good. For info, I am a software developer and write under Mac OSX and Windows (and iOS and Android) for my day job, and write software under anything else in the evening (with Linux being my main development environment).

Just some thoughts; not meant offensively in the slightest, hopefully nobody misreads this! Apologies in advance if this annoys you.
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Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

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

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