Mr. Miller talks about the physical book metaphor used by the Mac OS X Address Book and iCal. This is nothing new, though, or confined to Apple. I can well remember using a few different "daily planner" apps back in the late 90s that used the same kind of visual, right down to little metal "rings" in the center of the window.
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Having also lived through this....
Remember, that prior to Minix, Linux or any of the x86 BSDs, the idea of a personal, affordable, up-to-date Unix platform was something of a Holy Grail. The basic options were either expensive (SCO XENIX), loosely compatible (Coherent, PC-Unix) or discontinued surplus (AT&T UnixPC). The stage was set for somebody to take over the world.
In the beginning, you had two choices for running BSD on a 386- BSD/386 or 386BSD. BSD/386 was an expensive commercial product. 386BSD was free, but initially flawed and slow to release updates. It was a project basically under the control of a single person, William Jolitz, and his wife.
Quoting from the Wikipedia entry for 386BSD:
"After the release of 386BSD 0.1, a group of users began collecting bug fixes and enhancements, releasing them as an unofficial patchkit. Due to differences of opinion between the Jolitzes and the patchkit maintainers over the future direction and release schedule of 386BSD, the maintainers of the patchkit founded the FreeBSD project in 1993 to continue their work. Around the same time, the NetBSD project was founded by a different group of 386BSD users, with the aim of unifying 386BSD with other strands of BSD development into one multi-platform system. Both projects continue to this day."
In this case, the issue was not elitism so much as vested self-interest. (The Jolitzes has various ties to Dr. Dobbs Journal and the original 386BSD porting effort was documented in a series of articles.
The AT&T lawsuits did occur at this time, but is has been noted that 386BSD was never party to any of them.
My personal feeling is that the success of Linux was a combination of timing, personality and community response. Had Linus taken a more controlling stance (not a benevolent dictator), things might have gone very different.
Hatred towards Ubuntu seems to be focused on Unity and Gnome.
Unity is the rallying point for much of the hatred, but the core issue is Canonical's (at least Shuttleworth's) attitude of responding to user complaints with an attitude of "We're not changing it, so live with it."
I think the dissent really started when they moved the window control buttons from the right side to the left. At the time, the change was quietly introduced with no forewarning or discussion. It was a choice of the design team that, despite complaints and usability arguments from the community, has remained the default.
The reality is that Ubuntu is a distribution in transition. Like most distributions, it began with a community and a sense of response to the community. With recent releases, we see more of a trend toward a commercial distribution which responds more to factors such as product positioning. Visually, Lucid Lynx began the MacOSX-ification of Ubuntu, but it also began a spiritual change to an Apple-like model where a Jobs-like CEO tells the users what they really need or want, even if they don't know it yet.
Unfortunately, Ubuntu with Unity is Mac OSX 10.0 or 10.1 (Puma), when it really needs to have been 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5 (Leopard).
One thing which I haven't seen mentioned is hobbyist usage, especially on surplus UltraSPARC hardware. I recently acquired a used Ultra 5 on which is now installed Solaris 11 Express. So far, my only issues have been getting a working X configuration and getting a Prism2-based WiFi card to work (PCI, supposedly supported by the pcwl(5) driver).
I'm an old Unix/Linux geek, but my last Solaris exposure was Sol9 on a Sparc 20. It has, so far, been interesting to learn about some of the newer innovations such as ZFS and the new service handling and administration.
This week on MythBusters: 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?'
Cut to shots of a sprint-loaded arm smashing bottles on the head of poor Buster. Quick cut to reaction shot of Cary and Grant.
Later in the show... Adam and Jamie get to the bottom of our navel fluff mystery.
The problem is that you are thinking of it as a general-purpose computer rather than an appliance.
Look at it this way- I go to Best Buy and purchase a particular model of wireless router; it is version 'n' of the hardware and runs a Linux core. The next week, I go to Staples and purchase another of the exact same brand and model of router, only to receive version 'n+1' which now runs VxWorks. Both meet the same functional specifications as outlined on the package and both have the same configuration GUI. Nowhere was I guaranteed that I would get a Linux-based router.
Its the same here. Each Africa may have different internal hardware, but that is all hidden by running different ports of the same OS and applications and only guaranteeing the same minimal functional level. The issue comes when a power user decides to move beyond the installed functionality by adding a software package which is not available for the archtecture of his specific Africa (ever try to find modern CE software for anything other than ARM?), but this is not the target audience of the device.
I'm reminded a bit of the classic WB cartoon where the elves describe mass production to the shoemaker. What people couldn't foresee what the idea of transportation becoming so cheap (or labor remaining so expensive) that you could actually make the product half-way around the world and still sell it cheaper than if you made it in the US.
Similarly, the 1960's cartoon "The Jetsons" envisioned a future with a 3-day work week, most of which involved having to periodically push "the button". By the 1980s, though, we began to see new office technologies such as the fax machine not as the means to decreasing work, but as the means of expanding the work day to having more time to do the same work. The same can be said or the Blackberry which provides such a level of connectivity that one never has to let an employee "stop" working for the day.