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Nerds Switching from Apple to Ubuntu? 957

Mindpicnic writes "The recent switch of two lifelong Mac nerds to Ubuntu hasn't escaped Tim O'Reilly's radar. He cites Jason Kottke: 'If I were Apple, I'd be worried about this. Two lifelong Mac fans are switching away from Macs to PCs running Ubuntu Linux: first it was Mark Pilgrim and now Cory Doctorow. Nerds are a small demographic, but they can also be the canary in the coal mine with stuff like this.'"
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Nerds Switching from Apple to Ubuntu?

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  • Mac nerds? (Score:5, Funny)

    by linvir ( 970218 ) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:29PM (#15652537)

    Mac nerds? Are they the same sort of people as Windows hackers and Linux gamers?

    • Re:Mac nerds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by linguae ( 763922 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:07PM (#15653137)

      This isn't 1995 anymore. Mac OS X has changed Apple's demographics quite substantially. Most computer geeks wouldn't touch the classic Mac OS with a 10 foot pole. Now half of the CS professors and students that I know own a Mac, solely because of OS X.

      (Spoken by a soon-to-be MacBook user currently using FreeBSD)

      • Re:Mac nerds? (Score:4, Informative)

        by WuphonsReach ( 684551 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:33PM (#15654192)
        This isn't 1995 anymore. Mac OS X has changed Apple's demographics quite substantially. Most computer geeks wouldn't touch the classic Mac OS with a 10 foot pole. Now half of the CS professors and students that I know own a Mac, solely because of OS X.

        I'd be willing to switch now (I find Parallels to be an interesting solution and I like the dual-core Mac laptops) except for 2 things:

        1) I don't care for the keyboard on the MacBook. I was setting up a 13" MacBook on Friday and the keyboard just isn't quite right for extended use. My Tecra 9100 and the ThinkPad keyboards are much nicer. (I don't use external keyboards or mice, so keyboard feel is very important.)

        2) No mouse pointer in the middle of the keyboard like is found on the Thinkpads or the Toshiba Tecra line. For a keyboard-centric user that little pointer is just enough mouse to do the job 99% of the time without having to take my fingers off of the home row. It lets me click on wayward dialog buttons or for drag-n-drop of the occasional item.

        Since I still need to use a laptop as my day-to-day machine those two desires are a deal breaker for me to switch to a Mac. I'm not interested in replacing my dedicated game PC for a Mac and am leery about switching my video editing / development box over to a Mac.
    • by mrbooze ( 49713 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:22PM (#15653619)
      Come on, if they were *real* nerds they'd be switching to Gentoo, not Ubuntu.
    • The tagging system (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Millenniumman ( 924859 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:32PM (#15653665)
      It shows the effectiveness of the tagging system when an article about two people switching to linux is tagged "fud" and "notfud".
  • Two users! (Score:5, Funny)

    by pedantic bore ( 740196 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:32PM (#15652553)
    OMG! That's 0.0004% of their installed user base! In a single week!

    Nerds are a small demographic, but they can also be the canary in the coal mine with stuff like this. Or not. Jeepers. Someone out to FUD Apple this week, or something?

    • by Millenniumman ( 924859 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:44PM (#15652632)
      Closer to .00001%. If that occurred every week, and no one switched to the platform, no one would be using Macs in 20,000 years.
    • Re:Two users! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sporkmonger ( 922923 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:47PM (#15653723) Homepage
      Not really. Mark Pilgrim, Sam Ruby, and Tim Bray all have very strong influences on an extremely important segment of the market. Cory Doctorow has a very strong influence on a slightly different segment of the market. In the former group's case, we're really talking about the fact that the architects of some major systems are switching to Ubuntu. This will ultimately have virtually zero effect on Apple's market share, and honestly, I don't think anyone believes it will. However, it does mean that Apple may start losing PowerBook market share at certain conferences. Instead of 90% PowerBooks at the next RailsConf, we may only see 80% instead.

      At least in my case, I know that ever since Sam and Mark started talking up Ubuntu, I've been wanting to find an excuse to set up an Ubuntu box. I doubt I'll leave Apple for my primary machine, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to explore Ubuntu. But who knows? I might really like it.
  • Oh no. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:33PM (#15652563)
    Cory Doctorow has switched to Ubuntu GNU/Linux?


  • by bheer ( 633842 ) <rbheer@gm a i l .com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:34PM (#15652570)
    Apple must've been happy that lots of geeks/nerds/whatever switched to Apple and were singing its praises, but you must remember that the Mac was never a geek machine and did great and had terrific fan following -- in fact most geeks stayed away from the classic Mac because of the lack of a command line, stdin and stdout.

    Lots of geeks discovered the joys of Apple hardware with OSX because, well, it was based off Darwin-- but make no mistake, Apple won't even miss these guys-- they have their own rabid contingent who won't switch no matter what. They want the computing analogue of the guys who buy BMWs.

    Also, Mark Pilgrim is running Ubuntu on an Apple machine, so Apple is still getting his money. Cory Doctorcow OTOH has switched to a Lenovo (IIRC).

    • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:16PM (#15652823)
      No but they're leading the pack, and Apple will miss the masses when they do the same. Only the masses will not be going to Linux, they'll be going back to Windows.

      I know a LOT of people who have switched back, including myself. I'd run Linux for ten years as my desktop OS until I switched to OSX, and I've switched back. Why? Not the ease of use of Ubuntu, although its nice to run Linux and not have to worry about things working or not. I switched back because of the horrid quality of Apple hardware the last few years. I've wasted a large number of thousands of dollars on Apple hardware that died immediately out of warranty. (iBook, two iPods, two Mighty Mice, and my old 17" G4 iMac was flaky but still works most of the time).

      Apple is riding a wave of popular hype, but popular trends can switch away from a company as fast as they can switch TO a company. And there's a LOT of people in the last year or two who will start learning about Apple hardware quality as their iPods die, or they talk to people like myself who will be happy to tell them how Apple has such a long history in the 2000's of having known common defects in their hardware and not supporting their owners. (My iBook is dead at 14 months from a failed logic board, a very common problem in all the post-Clamshell iBooks, but Apple has only chosen to support customers when threatened with class action lawsuits)

      • I switched back because of the horrid quality of Apple hardware the last few years.

        And with the build quality of the MacBook family, I won't be surprised if there will be more who jump ship because they cannot find a suitable replacement for their PowerPC machines.

        Right now is the worst possible time to move to a Mac. First of all the MacBooks and MacBook Pros are plagued with many issues as nicely documented here [appledefects.com]. More importantly, Microsoft and Adobe still have not ported their software over along
  • by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:37PM (#15652582)
    I'm starting to see more talk about Ubuntu in non-Linux-related contexts... newbies asking how to do this or that. The message is reaching the masses: Windows is shitware, and Macs are too expensive. Why put up with any of that when you can get the best of all worlds for free?

    I think Firefox might have had some effect in waking people up to Free Software.

  • by Millenniumman ( 924859 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:38PM (#15652587)
    Their reasons for switching are proprietary file formats and DRM. The main issue with proprietary file formats is the iTunes library file, which has an XML file that mirrors it. Apple uses some proprietary formats, but is that any worse than an open format no one has heard of that has no support or documentation. Apple supports most of the important file formats. No one has to deal with the DRM. In Linux, you can't use anything with it.
  • Apple has it coming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by T.Hobbes ( 101603 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:39PM (#15652596)
    MacOS is becoming less refined with every release. The UI changes every time, behavior that was sensible and elegant from the Classic days is being forgotten (try this: open a Finder window, put another app's window over top of it, and then put a new finder window over the app's window. Switch back into the Finder. Close the top Finder window. What should happen? What does happen?*). Simple things, like making the list view (or icon view or column view) standard in all Finder windows is all but impossible. And Apple insists on putting marketing crap (eg iDisk) throughout the system. MacOS isn't what it used to be; I pine for the old days!

    * What should happen is that the app's window comes into the foreground; what does happen is that the 2nd Finder window comes into the foreground

    • by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:53PM (#15652693) Homepage
      The difference is whether you consider each application to be its own layer, and not homogenous with other applications, or whether you consider each window to be its own layer, possibly interlacing different applications.

      I personally prefer the window-layer approach, so I'd agree that this is not the desired behavior, but I don't know what the public in general would expect. In any case, don't expect to get a bunch of replies agreeing with you - as I write this you've already got one person disagreeing. What you have here isn't a Correct Semantics question. It's a Preferred Semantics question.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:59PM (#15652728)

      Apple is also shipping all their Intel-based Macs crippled [blogspot.com] with Trusted Computing hardware DRM... essentially, a Big Brother chip. [cam.ac.uk]. As with all the companies sneakily trying to get this nastiness into their product lines, they desperately don't want to talk about it. Apple fans, naturally, don't want to either.

      Make them.

    • by agent dero ( 680753 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:07PM (#15652765) Homepage
      How in the hell was this modded up?

      MacOS is becoming less refined with every release. The UI changes every time, behavior that was sensible and elegant from the Classic days is being forgotten

      You're right, so switching to a GNOME-based distro, that's fine, if that's your cup of team. What about when you want to run a Qt based application? You've got two different looking widget sets competing and distorting the entire view of things. What about openGL (if you can get it running properly)?

      Simple things, like making the list view (or icon view or column view) standard in all Finder windows is all but impossible

      Again, you're right, because you can't change the Finder preferences (it's only Apple+, like in any other Mac app) or change the View options (Apple+J in finder) to apply to all windows.

      Mac OS X isn't perfect, i've got about 10 open bugs at bugreport.apple.com, but you've absolutely lost your mind to think that things aren't amazingly better than they used to. I remember a time when simple Finder operations would lock up my System 7 machine. Stop spreading FUD, file bug reports; as much as I love bitching on Slashdot. Apple doesn't read slashdot, and they're the ones with the power to change things.
    • MacOS is becoming less refined with every release.

      No kidding. Here's a simple example:

      Click and hold on an icon in the dock. What happens? The Context-Sensitive menu opens.

      Now click and hold on an icon on the desktop. What happens? NOTHING.
  • by nemexi ( 786227 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:42PM (#15652615)
    I have been using Ubuntu for about a year and have now, after purchasing a MacBook, switched to OS X. And I'm quite happy with it so far. I guess Apple's customer base is changing at the moment -- as Macs become more popular with the my-ipod-needs-a-companion crowd, Apple might lose some of its earlier users. That said it _would_ be a smart move by Apple to listen to people like Mark Pilgrim and be more transparent with regard to file formats.
  • by DeadPrez ( 129998 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:43PM (#15652619) Homepage
    I think Mac needs to be solely focused on 'switchers' (Windows to Mac) and getting major "Windows only" programs working under the most efficient and stable method running natively on Intel chipsets allows. Microsoft is tripping over themselves right now and Apple is positioned to capitalize if they move quickly and compete on price (and number of standard mouse buttons :)
  • by kwerle ( 39371 ) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:44PM (#15652629) Homepage Journal
    I installed ubuntu on a PC a couple of months ago. It took me about a day to get the graphics system to work on the machine (X11 - text was fine). And by work, I mean "display at all." I never got the res out of it that I wanted. And once I had some graphics up, I tried to do anything else, and was misserable.

    I cut my teeth on linux back in the .8 and .9 days; I stuck with NeXTSTEP. I revisited back in the late 90's; I stuck with OpenStep. I revisited it around 2000, when MacOS was very much in transition; I stuck with OpenStep and/on Windows. (though my servers were FreeBSD during the 90's and early oughts') And now I've taken a look in '06; I'm still going to stick with OSX (which is now my server).

    It's not there yet. Everything I do on *nix other than OSX feels like pulling teeth. I'll continue to use this expensive OS ($600 machines and $100 OS upgrades every 2 years) for some time, I guess. And while I do, I'll continue to submit bugs and toss a line or 2 of code at various Open Source code/systems I use.

    I have stuff to do, and I don't care to muss with the kernel and video drivers. If you don't have stuff to do, or you DO want to muss with kernels/vid drivers - go for some flavor if linux.
    • You were obviously very unlucky. One thing nearly all Ubuntu newcomers do (and wisely so) is to boot the LiveCD first to find out if their hardware supports Ubuntu before installing it.

      Part of Ubuntu's exponential success is due to so many new users being able to easily install and operate an Ubuntu system. These days it's only really enthusiasts and developers that compile software or recompile their kernel. The widescale success of Ubuntu is itself testimony to this (something accreditable to the fine
      • by shellbeach ( 610559 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:28PM (#15653293)
        You were obviously very unlucky. One thing nearly all Ubuntu newcomers do (and wisely so) is to boot the LiveCD first to find out if their hardware supports Ubuntu before installing it.

        And in fact, with Dapper, this is now default: you now actually run the installer from the GNOME desktop on the live CD. You have to use a different iso image to go through the old install process. It's a good thing, too - it takes all the guesswork out of hardware compatibility.

        And the best thing of all - how many distros let you surf the web while you're installing them? I was emailing friends as I installed the system: by far the most pleasant install I've ever done! :)
    • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:52PM (#15653437)
      It took me about a day to get the graphics system to work on the machine (X11 - text was fine). And by work, I mean "display at all."

      And yet OSX won't even install on that same hardware.
  • by thephotoman ( 791574 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:45PM (#15652633) Journal
    Recently, I've made the opposite migration (from Ubuntu to Mac OS X). Now, while I love Ubuntu, and continue to use it on my desktop, I must say that Mac OS X has a lot going for it. There's nothing really wrong with the platform inherently. However, given the particular people in question, Ubuntu seems better suited for their needs than OS X does. Furthermore, with the latest release, things are quite easy to use on most hardware sold for Windows. Of course, the reason I removed Ubuntu from my MacBook is because I'm familiar with GRUB, which doesn't work on EFI. Perhaps I'll dual-boot the MacBook again when they've had time to work out that particular issue. I'd like to have an Ubuntu environment on here that isn't emulated over Parallels, too.

    So honestly, between Ubuntu and OS X, to me, it's an even trade, based on what one needs. If you're doing heavy programming, Ubuntu is the place to be. However, if you're looking for a simple user-oriented Unix-like system, Mac OS X is just fine.
  • Count me in. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greenguy ( 162630 ) <estebandido&gmail,com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:47PM (#15652642) Homepage Journal
    As a long-time Macophile, I played with Linux for years and was never completely happy with it until recently (read: until I installed Ubuntu). I've always had a Mac around as a back-up, but for the last several months, I find myself using it less and less, and getting frustrated with it more and more. The final straw was when I couldn't get the FreeNX client to work on it so I could use Linux on my nice, big flatscreen iMac. Now the only thing standing between me and putting Ubuntu on the iMac is a lack of free time.

    On an off-topic note, it appears to be my Mac background that makes me like Gnome. KDE feels too much like Windows. Cue flames!
  • by Adnans ( 2862 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:51PM (#15652671) Homepage Journal
    Not really, since I'm still using Ubuntu on other laptop (and in Parallels [parallels.com]on OSX for testing) and will always be using it as the main server deployment platform. There's simply nothing better than apt + Ubuntu! I was just in the market for a new laptop and the Macbook Pro [railsguru.com] has been nothing but phenomenal. The Xorg guys should catch up to the Quartz graphics in a couple of months and hopefully GNOME/etc will start incorporating the new GL based capabilities creatively and productively.. cuz the OSX desktop experience is the one to beat!!

  • Since when? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:52PM (#15652686)
    Since when have nerds been a "canary in a coal mine" for any kind of technology? Nerds that I know have been into : laserdisk, betamax, etc. Nerds have been into Linux for a long time, and it still hasn't taken off. I'd say that what nerds choose in terms of consuming is generally the exact opposite of what the general public does.
  • by Logic Bomb ( 122875 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:55PM (#15652700)
    Both of these guys switched because they decided that open file formats are their top priority. Neither switched for any of the things most users care about. (It's also worth noting that most of the file formats Apple uses are industry-standard, like PNG, vCard, and PDF. It's a handful of things like the iPhoto library database and iCal's weird calendar files that seem to bug these guys.) Yes, the opinions of the techno-elite are important and Apple should take their concerns to heart. But this has nothing to do with Apple's pursuit of the larger computing market. Unless these guys start recommending Ubuntu (or some other Linux) over Apple to non-techies, it doesn't hurt Apple's sales.
    • Yeah, and I have to say, I don't really get that. I like and use OS X, but don't really care for iPhoto or iCal, and don't use them. I'm not sure why I would be inclined to switch from OS X just because of how iPhoto or iCal operate. Frankly, even if something happened with iTunes (an app I do use) that bugged me, I'd probably just find an alternative mp3 player/library manager, rather than switch platforms.
  • by hfastedge ( 542013 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:58PM (#15652718) Homepage Journal
    I ran linux at home for over 6 years. On desktops and laptops.

    First, linux requires so much configuration on laptops. Neither debian nor ubuntu could support acpi (aka SLEEP) on my laptop. CD-ROM support was annoying as I switched from kernel 2.4-2.6. I had to recompile the kernel so many times and I could never get acpi to work (not even dell supported it, just some hacker in france that never replied to my email bug report). Other annoying things: getting vpn through a windows PPTP server will take you a long as time.

    Linux is a great thing for a desktop though, the hardware is pretty standard and theres less things to worry about.

    Linux is best for a server, and best for a beginning sysadmin to run at home to learn more about the operating system that is run at work.

    And while I will probably buy a macbook for my next computer, I hope to have the resources to also get a windows vista to play around with.
    I really like desktop machines that just work in most cases. I've been running windows xp on my dell laptop for a few months now, and while its not ideal, at least i get easy vpn access, the ability to turn off zeroconf to get my intel wifi card working,although i do miss being able to simply edit my crontab to give me a streaming radio alarm clock that goes off at different times during the week.
  • A Matter of Time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by simpl3x ( 238301 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:59PM (#15652724)
    Isn't it really a matter of time before companies such as Adobe recognize that creating a distribution or partnering, and developing a single application port is more cost effective than a Mac and Windows app? I'm a Mac user and a designer, and have to say that the state of the Mac isn't all that great. Linux is ultimately going to move up scale.

    The other aspect of this discussion is tools. Increasingly, they are web based. Aren't we really witnessing the beginning of the end for the all-purpose OS? Most of what I do is not related to an OS. I use tools and communicate. How this is accomplished matters little.

    Also, most application interfaces suck beyond comprehension. Adobe's various interfaces don't sync between applications. Others, such as Maya, are so radically different from the underlying OS that it is essentially like running a different OS. So why not create one?
  • by mad.frog ( 525085 ) <steven@crinklinP ... minus physicist> on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:10PM (#15652782)
    So Ubuntu 6 got all the great buzz, so I grabbed a copy and installed it on a spare Windows box I had.

    Gee, I think, this looks pretty good. Finally some attention to nice graphic detail. A good installer. Software install that includes "blessed" prebuilt exes.

    But then the rough edges showed up again.

    First... this is an nForce2 machine with built-in video, and the default config refused to let me select a screen-res larger than 1024x768. I know, the nerds out there are saying "just edit your x config file", right? OK, but here's the thing:

    (1) that's an INEXCUSABLY STUPID AND LAZY way to design operating system software
    (2) it's too easy to screw up your x config file and break x (and by "too easy" I mean "remotely possible")

    Second... I discovered that the oh-so-lovely disk partitioner has the added feature that on some systems (including mine) it borks the MBR of the resized Windows partition in such a way that Windows will refuse to boot. Even after uninstalling Ubuntu. And even after applying various fixes via UBCD and friends. (Right now this system is sitting disconnected under my desk because I refuse to reinstall Ubuntu, but reinstalling Windows is a horrible half-day affair on its own...)

    Look, I know I'm gonna get flamed and burn karma for this, but the whole point is that for a system that I want to use mainly for surfing the web and playing games, it has to Just Work.

    Not "mostly work with some crap I have to hand edit", it has to be freakin' bulletproof against a stupid user who neither knows nor cares that "sudo gedit foo" is required for some otherwise-seemingly-trivial configuration options.

    No, this is not an apology for Windows, whose install and configuration is a nightmare of its own, but when you're the underdog, you can't just play catch-up, and you can't make boneheaded mistakes like those listed above.

    • by wild_berry ( 448019 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:48PM (#15653022) Journal
      I'm sorry that Ubuntu borked you MBR. I don't believe that there is a graphical GRUB menu editor that allows you to easily change the line 'root (hdx,y)' to 'rootnoverify (hdx,y)' -- which I figure you must have been recommended to try already -- to make sure that GRUB lets Windows do its thing.

      Your graphics situation may require the installation of nVidia's own graphics driver to loosen up the available resolutions. The alternative would involved using "sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg" to enable higher resolution modes via the configure-at-installation part of Xorg.

      But if you're going to forego Ubuntu, don't forget that Windows can be resuscitated with a Win98 boot disk and the "fdisk /mbr" command at its DOS prompt, and the boot disk image can be used to start up the computer from a CD if you've no floppy. If you're keen on keeping your Windows partition after that, you could usse GParted from the Ubuntu Desktop CD (boot it to Ubuntu, select GParted from System -> Administration -> Gnome Partition Editor) to delete your Ubuntu partitions and resize the NTFS or FAT32 partition that Windows uses.
    • First... this is an nForce2 machine with built-in video, and the default config refused to let me select a screen-res larger than 1024x768. I know, the nerds out there are saying "just edit your x config file", right?/p>

      Ubuntu tries to autoconfig everything. Sometimes this doesn't work out, but you don't have to go hacking your configs just yet. If you want to specify your own configuration, just run sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg. This will go through and give you easy configuration options.


  • by Qwavel ( 733416 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:15PM (#15652818)
    Linux and Mac are, in many ways, complete opposites. I'm surprised that people would switch between them.

    The Linux desktop (Ubuntu in this case) is free. It is flexible and is appealling technically and politically, but is quite rough and not ready for the average consumer. It is particularly strong in corporate, third world, and limited use, environments.

    OS X is the opposite. It is high margin, high sytle, and slick. It is perfect for the brand-concious, reasonably wealthy, consumer who wants everything to work together easily.
  • by mattsucks ( 541950 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:20PM (#15652849) Homepage
    Nerds are a small demographic, but they can also be the canary in the coal mine with stuff like this.
    Witness the overwhelming popularity of BeOS these days.
  • by thelost ( 808451 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:28PM (#15652904) Journal
    his reasons for changing have everything to do with his stance on DRM/Copyrights and little to do with Mac os x vs 'nix so using him as a figurehead for the Geek who said No! is a bit misleading.
  • by DynamoJoe ( 879038 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:29PM (#15652911)
    I loved iPhoto until my iPhoto database got corrupted one day
    I loved iTunes until my iTunes database got corrupted, too.

    These two things have never happened to me, and I've been using X since before it went live (exclusively fulltime since 10.1). I'm not sure that he's not the problem and not the mac itself.

    [as I] drooled over the beautiful, beautiful hardware, all I could think was how much work it would take to twiddle with the default settings, install third-party software, and hide all the commercial tie-ins so I could pretend I was in control of my own computer.

    a) you will NEVER have complete control over your computer. Get used to it. Having the source != knowing, comprehending, and understanding all of it.
    b) you are ALWAYS going to twiddle settings, install non-included apps, etc. If you're not doing that, what are you doing with a computer anyway?
    c) who are you, again?

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:31PM (#15652929)
    Ubuntu is going to destroy Apple Computers! It's going to take down the great Mac. Beleive it!

    Uh... wake up dreamers.

    Apple is a solid computer with a long list of great applications. Dont expect Ubuntu to take out Apple when it cant even take out windows.

    Its all about the apps...
    • by rufus t firefly ( 35399 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:08PM (#15653542) Homepage
      Ubuntu is going to destroy Apple Computers! It's going to take down the great Mac. Beleive it!

      Uh... wake up dreamers. Apple is a solid computer with a long list of great applications. Dont expect Ubuntu to take out Apple when it cant even take out windows.
      This doesn't really follow. You're basically saying that Ubuntu should be able to "take on" Apple only if it can defeat Microsoft? Microsoft still has the majority OS share, and Apple is still a niche market.

      I personally use Ubuntu (Dapper right now). I haven't had any problems with any of the four laptops and four or five PCs that I have set this OS up under, with the exception of a well known bug in the Xorg synaptics touchpad driver. It seems as though any time any discussion regarding Linux (in this case Ubuntu in particular) and its ability to perform on the desktop, people either say "it didn't work in an isolated incident, so it must be junk" or the old "Linux is fine in the server room, but leave the desktop to the real OSes" meme. I haven't had to use OS X or Windows anything in a number of years, and don't miss a thing. For every example of bad UI design, bad configuration and bad application concept that comes up for Linux apps, several are also present in Windows and Mac applications, but for some reason Linux apps are lambasted for every problem, no matter how small ...

      Apple is the "Madonna" of computing. It keeps reinventing itself every time that people think its dead. Of course, they aren't really making the majority of their money from software anymore, people think they are making more money from those cute little iDoohickeys now. I never much cared for the Macintosh line of computers ; they seem more toys than anything, but that's just one person's opinion.

      (This is, by the way, not to detract from putting idiots who keep telling everyone how much Linux or Ubuntu or whatever is going to pwn every other OS in their place. That is the kind of thing that gives OSS advocates a bad name.)

  • by WombatControl ( 74685 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:37PM (#15652963)

    I use both a Mac and Ubuntu. I have an iBook G4 (soon to be a MacBook) and an iMac Core Duo. My home server is an Athlon system running Ubuntu, and it also serves as a development workstation. I've a decently useful application under Linux [sourceforge.net], and I work with Linux daily. I've got feet in both worlds.

    Ubuntu is hands down the best Linux distro I've ever used. It's definitely moving in the right direction. It has a great packaging system, it's got much more polish than other distros, and it can even be loaded with some decent eye candy. Of all the Linux distros I've used, it's the best by quite a distance.

    That being said, Linux just isn't ready for the desktop. It's closer than before, but there are a lot of things necessary to make it work. Apple has a reputation for having things Just Work. Linux has a reptutation for having things work once you've futzed around with the config files, recompiled your kernel, read a few HOWTOs and smashed your head against the wall. Is it getting better? Absolutely. Is it there yet, no?

    APT is a wonderful piece of technology. It's great for updating your system, but installing third-party software doesn't always go so smoothly. OS X's app bundles are much easier for the average Joe or Jane to understand. Again, NeXTSTEP had this years ago, but Linux doesn't have this.

    XGL is nice. It's still not as nice as Apple's GUI. A lot of what differentiates Apple from the rest is the sense of polish. Technologies like XGL and Cairo rendering provide the right infrastructure - but there isn't a distro that puts them all together in an attractive and polished way.

    Open file formats? There's nothing preventing you from backing up your music to plain old MP3, and your photos are still JPEGS. There's also nothing preventing someone from using non-Apple software. The only DRM you have to use with Apple is the DRM that protects the OS, and that's nowhere near as harmful as Microsoft's WGA malware.

    Apple is skyrocketing now because they have the right mix of hardware and software to create a well-polished and functional user experience. The Ubuntu team is doing a great job of moving Ubuntu in the right direction, and each new release makes progress.

    What's important to note is that competition makes everyone stronger. Ubuntu is trying to play catch-up with OS X. Apple is using some great open-source technologies. Apple probably isn't worried about a handful of geeks, but if it inspires Apple to be more open and Ubuntu to be more polished we all win.

    (As a side note I currently develop for Ubuntu by running it under Parallels on OS X - it it's really quite responsive. The reason why I'm investing so much in Apple hardware is because I can run Windows, Ubuntu, Solaris, or damn near any x86 OS on the same hardware with relative ease. Virtualization is a killer app for Apple right now, and Parallels was worth every cent.)

  • by BlueStraggler ( 765543 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:15PM (#15653193)

    What's really happening is that Mac "nerds" are becoming versed enough in Unixisms because of OS X that they can take a walk on the wild side with Linux and not get completely freaked out. They have just enough street smarts to take a walk through the OS inner city with the tough nerds, and not get shot or beat up. And they've discovered that, hey, wow there's a lot of cool shit happening on the mean streets of Linuxville.

    But what they don't know is that downtown Linuxville hasn't been a rough a place for a few years now. It still clings to its tough reputation, but it's all college kids and coffee bars now. The place is gentrifying, and has a bit of that yuppie stench to it these days. It's not yet all Wonderbread and Wal-mart, like Windowsland, up the highway, but the Windowsland folks are moving in, and it's starting to get that feel.

    The old-timers who gave Linux the frightening reputation that it carries, have long since settled down, had kids, and moved out to the leafy lanes and plush lawns of Mactown, to get away from the plastic Windowsland people. As a result, the Mactown folks have realized those Linux guys aren't so scary after all, beards and sandles notwithstanding. Maybe, some of the Mactown folks think, we could get a condo in Linuxville, and try some of that inner city living. Just on weekends for a start.

    So they get a luxury condo in Linuxville, right on Ubuntu Street, which was built by a big-name property developer who saw that all the starving artists were living in the area, building cool lofts and studios from the abandoned tenements and factories of old Unixville. So he bottled up that artsy mojo and built a condo development with new appliances, and hardwood floors, and put in a Starbucks on the ground floor, and marketed it heavily to Mactown and Windowsland people looking for a change. Come to Linuxville! Not as scary as you think! But every bit as edgy! Now with taskbars! Sometimes you get contemptuous looks from the mean looking men who still hang out on Slackware Road, but it's best not to go down there if you can help it. If you can avoid them (and ignore the snotty punks on Gentoo Avenue), then it's all terrifically edgy and artsy, and just so-o-o-o nerdy cool in that certain je-ne-sais-quoi kind of way. It feels like they're right on the cutting edge, where the culture is created, where everything happens, just like they read in Wired Magazine in 1996.

  • Until... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by weez75 ( 34298 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:29PM (#15653926) Homepage
    No offense to Cory, Mark, Tim, or anyone else who switches but these guys are crusaders. Cory particularly bashes anything mainstream--rejects it because others have embraced it.

    Here's why Ubuntu and any other Linux distribution is inferior to my OSX install:
    • Lack of cohesive or consistent user interface conventions: ever notice every Linux app looks and behaves differently? Not all OSX apps are perfect, but largely they are more consistent than Linux. Not only that, but I rarely have to install any additional libraries to make something work.
    • Lack of easy installation packages: yeah I hear the arguments coming. Still, I shouldn't have to search far and wide for compatible packages with all the required libraries or packages for my distribution. Better yet, I shouldn't have to compile anything!
    • I can still run *NIX apps I feel like playing around with. I wanted to try Ruby on Rails...so I did. Does that mean I want to compile my own Office app or tinker around trying to get a music player to work like I expect? Hell no! Experiments are one thing. Office apps are another.

    Now Cory can moan all he wants about DRM and his precious EFF but iTunes works well for me. I don't mind paying $10 for an album I would otherwise pay $15 at a store to purchase. I don't mind being restricted to sharing it among 5 friends or only playing it on an iPod. I didn't by universal rights to the music. I bought it for reasonable personal use. I understood that when I bought it. I didn't buy it and expect my computer to work differently than anyone else's computer.

    Contrary to popular belief, the personal decisions these pundits make really may not matter one ounce to most of us.
    • Re:Until... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:54PM (#15654040)
      Have you used a recent Ubuntu? Your comments are quite outmoded.

      1) Ubuntu's GNOME desktop is extremely cohesive in both look and behavior. OS X probably still has an edge in integration, but because of Apple's constant theme-changing, GNOME probably has an edge in visual consistency. Of course, both suffer when running non-native apps, but I can't say Matlab on OS X looks any less hideous than Matlab in GNOME.

      2) You're not supposed to install packages. You're supposed to use the repository. Just like OS X's installation method is different from Windows's, Ubuntu's is different from both.

      3) Ubuntu comes with binary packages of pretty much everything. I haven't had to compile anything in Ubuntu that I haven't also had to compile in OS X (namely, research projects like LLVM or my own code).

      I'm typing this from a Macbook, btw. I use both OS X and Ubuntu all the time, and while I still prefer OS X for some reasons (better Lisp compilers, better composited desktop), the two are definitely in the same league.
  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @05:18AM (#15655289) Homepage

    I've been thinking about Pilgrim's reason for switching, and for the love of God I can't figure it out. Basically, his argument is that he wants to get away from proprietary formats. I understand that. I want that too. And I have it for most formats. I'm using OpenOffice, my mail is stored in mbox files, my images are PNGs, my music is AAC (not exactly open, but a standard).

    And I'm using a Mac.

    There's a problem, though: if I make a movie, it's locked in iMovie's format. If I burn a DVD, it's locked in iDVD's format. If I make music, it's in Garage Band's proprietary format. If I buy music, it's DRM'd. What to do? Switch to Ubuntu?

    Guess what, I do have an Ubuntu box in my living room. Problem is: There's no iMovie for Ubuntu. There's no iDVD for Ubuntu. There's no Garage Band for Ubuntu. You can't buy music from major labels on Ubuntu unless you use questionable russian sites. Sure, I could switch to Ubuntu. That would get rid of the remaining proprietary formats. It would do that because it would get rid of my ability to make movies, DVDs and sound.

    Yes, there are appliations which run on Ubuntu which allow you to do that stuff. No, you can't compare them to Apple's stuff. I know it because I've tried. Pilgrim himself says the same.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI