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Why Developers Are Switching To Macs 771

snydeq writes "Programmers are finding themselves increasingly drawn to the Mac as a development platform, in large part due to Apple's decision to move to Intel chips and to embrace virtualization of other OSes, which has turned Mac OS X into a flexible tool for development, InfoWorld reports. The explosion of interest in smartphone development is helping the trend, with iPhone development lock-in to the Mac environment the chief motivating factor for Apple as a platform of choice for mobile development. Yet for many, the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development, with developers citing its virtual memory system's poor performance in paging data in and out of memory and likening use of the default-network file system, AFS, to engaging oneself with 'some kind of passive-aggressive torture.' What remains unclear is whether Apple will lend an ear to this new wave of Mac-based development or continue to develop products that lock out uses programmers expect."
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Why Developers Are Switching To Macs

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  • Strange Complaints (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:21PM (#25792011) Homepage Journal

    Yet for many, the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development, with developers citing its virtual memory system's poor performance in paging data in and out of memory

    As opposed to the Windows paging system? Has the author used a Windows OS lately? Swapping is a *bleeping* killer! Especially when you have more than enough memory not to swap. :-/

    likening use of the default-network file system, AFS, to engaging oneself with 'some kind of passive-aggressive torture.

    So don't use it. Macs support CIFS/SMB pretty darn well these days. I keep hoping that someone will come up with a better replacement, but CIFS/SMB will continue to work until that day comes.

    • by RocketRabbit ( 830691 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:23PM (#25792059)

      It's Infoworld. What do you expect? They are a Windows-centric publication.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:26PM (#25792111)

      Yea it is kinda like saying how bad Dells are because they still have Serial Ports which are so slow compared to modern USB ports that are on Lenovo's

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:37PM (#25792335)

      I was going to weigh in on this, but maybe I'm the anti-first-post guy, there were no comments when I came back from the article and I was trying to compose my thoughts.

      I don't think there's anywhere to go with this other than a biased writer grudgingly writing a story about a platform he hates because he needs to pay the bills this month.

      The article makes me want to go through it with the "wikipedia editing brush" like a schoolmaster grading the entries that appear on the site:

      "Yet for many [who?], the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development [citation?].."

      Move along, nothing to see here folks.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:58PM (#25794715)

        "Yet for many [who?], the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development [citation?].."

        who? Me, for one.

        citation? I agree with that assessment. Mac's are sluggish. There are plenty of theories as to why, from the threading model it uses, to the woeful inadequacies of 'Finder'. Frankly, my gut is that its just the desktop environment and finder itself that suck. Because when you look at benchmarks of optimized applications and servers or big tasks like video encoding etc, OSX tends to hold up just fine... but yet I find every mac I've ever used has always been 'sluggish' to actually use. Its the little things like opening a program, resizing a window, navigating the file system, always feel a bit sluggish... or I'll see the dreaded pinwheel come up and prevent me from doing anything at all time and again for seconds on end.

        There are non-'performance' related mac-ism idiocies too... like having a global menu bar instead of a per 'application menu'. (seriously, with large dual monitors, its pretty retarded when you have a 2x2" window down in the bottom right of the 2nd monitor, and you have to go to the TOP of the OTHER monitor, to access its disembodied file menu. It was fine on a sinle 15" or 17" screen... but its just demented on dual 24" displays. Basic HCI defect at this point, imo.

        There are a lot of things OSX does REALLY well. But at the same time the rigidity of the platform REALLY can get under the skin of a Linux or even Windows guy who wants to be able to do things a certain (non-Apple) way.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anfo ( 3639 )

          Begin Rant

          Buddy, you hit the nail on the head. I manage a network of 20+ macs with 2 mac servers. I'm typing this on a mac. I say this to hopefully demonstrate that I'm not a troll or a windows fanboy.

          Try maximizing a window on a mac. Minimize a window, then alt-tab back to that app. You get the app, with no window! You then get the 'pleasure' of moving the mouse to the menu bar, selecting the window menu, and hopefully finding the window you wanted.

          On some Apple made apps closing the main windows doe

          • by LaskoVortex ( 1153471 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:54PM (#25795443)

            Try maximizing a window on a mac. Minimize a window, then alt-tab back to that app. You get the app, with no window! You then get the 'pleasure' of moving the mouse to the menu bar, selecting the window menu, and hopefully finding the window you wanted.

            I couldn't reproduce this. Which app?

            OSX server (both tiger and leopard) fail in such spectacular manners that it would make your head spin.

            I've been administrating a 10.4 server box for nearly 2.5 years. Setup sucked and I had to reinstall, but after that, it's worked flawlessly ever since. I only need to pay attention to it after power outages. Except for a perfectly defective dhcp server/nat router, I couldn't be happier with it.

            If you install FileMaker server on OSX Server

            There is your problem. I'll hint to the fix: postgresql.

            On some Apple made apps closing the main windows does not close the app, on others (still made by apple) it does.

            Yes, it would be nice if Apple made their admins read the Apple user interface guidelines. I think the cake-taker was netinfo manager.

            As for the sluggishness of Aqua--yup. Four major upgrades later, a tripling of processor speeds, a quintupling of memory, and nearly two orders of magnitude of hard drive sizes later, you still need to wait six minutes to resize a window in Firefox. I don't know whose fault that is, but it needs improvement.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2008 @09:03PM (#25795525)

            First, if you're really using a mac, you wouldn't say "alt-tab." It's Cmd-Tab.

            Second, this has nothing to do with maximizing at all (you rarely ever need to maximize on a mac anyway... it's pretty multi-window friendly). If you minimize a window on OS X, it goes down to the Dock, period. If you want it back, just click on the window in the Dock.

            If you didn't want to really minimize it, you could have hidden the application (Cmd-H), and then Cmd-Tabbing to that application or clicking on its icon in the Dock would bring everything back exactly as it was. Or you could put stuff in different spaces. Or you could use Expose to switch between windows.

            Same with whether or not closing a window closes the application as well. It's pretty simple... if the application only ever uses 1 window and there's nothing to do when the window is closed, closing the window quits the application. Otherwise it stays open. If you don't like it, you can always Cmd-Q quit everything, which would be the same regardless. And seriously... what are you possibly "fighting" with here? It sounds like you're just compiling a list of old rants, rather than saying anything relevant.

            And btw, who seriously installs the update for iTunes on their server? You could just ignore the update (or better yet, delete iTunes from your server... what's it even doing there?)

            If you don't like FileMaker, complain to them, or use something else... they're not Apple (yes, I know it's a subsidiary, but it's independently operated).

            You're simply used to a Windows paradigm, nothing more. Just because you're used to something one way doesn't make a different paradigm wrong.

            Rule of Thumb: 9 times out of 10, if somebody spends their first sentence trying to convince you they're using a specific system they want to criticize, they're probably not using it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            It's harder to get around OS X with just the mouse. The best thing to do is make friends with F3 (10.3 on), Cmd-W, and Cmd-Q.

            You have probably heard it said before, but the Mac desktop is application-oriented, not window-oriented, and anyone who has spent a lot of time in Windows is going to fight with the lack of a taskbar for a while. It can be good and bad. One good part is that you can leave leave slow-to-load apps open (if you've got the RAM for it) while closing all of their windows. If your users inc

          • by countach ( 534280 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @10:58PM (#25796689)

            "You get the app, with no window"

            Right, because an app != a window. What if you alt-tabbed to Safari so you could open a NEW window? It would be damned annoying to have some other window pop up.

            "On some Apple made apps closing the main windows does not close the app, on others (still made by apple) it does."

            Right, and there is a good reason for which one is which. Your point is?

            "I Spend more time in my day fighting the mac interface than I do getting productive work done."

            What a lot of nonsense.

            "If you install FileMaker server on OSX Server it will overwrite your php.ini file with it's own idea of the settings you need."

            And that's Apple's fault I suppose?

            • by Malekin ( 1079147 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:56AM (#25798793)

              "On some Apple made apps closing the main windows does not close the app, on others (still made by apple) it does."

              Right, and there is a good reason for which one is which. Your point is?

              Could you please explain to me the good reasons? Mail, iTunes and iCal don't quit when you close their main window even though these are basically single-window applications. iPhoto, Disk Utility and Calculator do.

              Seriously, I'd like to know. I've been using Apple computers since before there was the Macintosh and the logic of it remains utterly opaque to me.

              Maybe you can then explain to me why when you click on the controls of an application in the background, three different things can happen: with iTunes the controls work but the application stays in the background; with Quicktime Player the controls work and the application pops to the front and with iCal the application pops to the front but doesn't register the action.

          • by EvilIdler ( 21087 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @11:18PM (#25796843)

            Windows only sometimes closing an app? If it's a document-based application, of course it leaves the app running! That's how it is supposed to work. Preferences is not, so it's OK to quit. It only ever has one instance of its window.

            Maximise adjusts the window to allow the contents to fit. I hate that too.

            Minimise puts it in the dock. If you're on a Mac, you use cmd-h to hide all of an app's windows, rather than individually minimising each.

            Every OS has a different interface. Learn it :)

            Filemaker sounds like seriously bad engineering. Makes me want to slap it. I'm glad I don't need it. Have you tried reporting it as a bug?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by protohiro1 ( 590732 )
            Sounds to me like you're a windows admin at heart, and are tying to do everything from the gui. Really, if you want to administer os x you need to get ok with the unix command line. Also you might want to learn a little more about how to run a web server on unix. (hint: you can have more than one php.ini file)
    • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:37PM (#25792337) Homepage Journal

      I keep hoping that someone will come up with a better replacement, but CIFS/SMB will continue to work until that day comes.

      It's called NFS v4 [nfsv4.org]. Kerberos for authentication, encrypted traffic, lower overhead, no passwords or password hashes sent -- ever.

      • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:58PM (#25792743)

        Kerberos for authentication, encrypted traffic, lower overhead, no passwords or password hashes sent -- ever.

        Kerberos authentication, encrypted traffic, and "no passwords sent" apply also to NFSv2 and NFSv3; that's all done at the ONC RPC layer.

        And all of those are supported by Leopard's NFSv2 and NFSv3 [connectathon.org] (krb5 = Kerberos 5 for authentication; krb5i = Kerberos 5 with a signature for integrity checking; krb5p = Kerberos 5 with encryption for privacy).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheVoice900 ( 467327 )

          You're 100% correct. We use krb5p extensively in our organization. The issue is that integration with Linux clients and servers is not quite seamless, since most of the Kerberos stuff is backported from NFS v4, and apparently not that many people are putting effort in to it..

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:37PM (#25792339) Homepage Journal

      Hey it was one programmer. And frankly if you are having issues with swap put more ram in.

      I have to live this line.
      "The sting of ka-ching
      While the price of Macintosh hardware continues to be competitive with the best commodity laptops and desktops, Apple offers nothing in the rapidly expanding lower tiers. It's possible to build a quad-core PC running Eclipse and Gimp for less than $400 with refurbished hardware. At the time of this writing, the Mac Pro with one quad-core CPU begins at $2,300. Adding Photoshop and other tools can push the bill closer to $4,000."
      Okay guess what folks? You can run GIMP and Eclipse on a Mac!
      Not only that but it seems a bit unfair to compare a Mac Pro with a refurbished box!
      Heck I a not an Apple fan but this seems very slanted to me.

      Why do developers like the MAC?
      1. It is Unix so if are doing Unix server work this is a piece of cake.
      2. It will run Windows, Linux, BSD, and Mac OS/x so if you are going multi-platform on the PC it is the way to go.
      3. It will run the Google Phone development stack and the Iphone/IPod stack.
      It is just more flexible. Makes me want to get one now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        "Okay guess what folks? You can run GIMP and Eclipse on a Mac! Not only that but it seems a bit unfair to compare a Mac Pro with a refurbished box!"

        Sweet! Now just point me to the quad core Mac for $400 and we can do an honest comparison. Oh, one doesn't exist?
        That WAS the point.
    • Yes, it is a pain to set up, but once there, you can scale from a workgroup to global filesystem. That is, you'll need a dozen AFS admins compared to 100 CIFS admins in a large organisation. Not only that, with a global filesystem the amount of duplicated data drastically falls, and with that goes storage costs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_kress ( 99356 )

      Not even a comparison. Windows swapping is medium, but Mac's is Horrific. It would completely shut down the computer when anything interesting happened, and you have no control over it. Try running a .5gig machine with less than a gig of disk space and to ANYTHING. At least on a PC you can fix your swap space.

      Of course, the fix was $99 for 4gig ram--I haven't had a problem since!

      Linux, by the way, is the other end of the spectrum. Smooth, clean swapping that allows you to do just about anything with ve

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      As opposed to the Windows paging system? Has the author used a Windows OS lately?

      Have you?

      Vista's paging system specifically is rather different than XP, with the new memory prioritization mechanisms, so that a big application, background app, or file operation doesn't shove crap to the page file as it did under XP and as other OS notoriously do.

      Shockingly this is one area where Vista's team really did a good job with system architecture and memory handling and the usage of a pagefile when applications do n

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:24PM (#25792067)

    But all that Mac gaming makes up for it.

    • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:48PM (#25792555) Journal

      As a PC fanboy for 20+ years, I have to say...when the games I play work natively on Mac, I'm switching.

      Yes, I know I can buy a Mac now, buy Windows, and dual boot. But I don't want to do that, and I don't want to spend $100 on Windows when I just dropped $400 more than I'd pay for a Windows system to begin with.

      I've priced it: comparable hardware with OS, the Macbook that meets my specifications is $400 more than the Dell equivalent. I can't justify spending $500 to do exactly what I do now. If I'm going to switch, it's a complete switch or not at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Phrogman ( 80473 )

        I went desktop, but the principal is the same. I dualboot into XP to play my Windows games, and for anything serious, I use the Mac side. I have no regrets. I just fine everything more intuitive and stable under OS/X and I can use the native software, or run *nix programs or run an emulator for anything I have to run in Windows under OS/X. I don't think the extra cost was a waste at all, as my 20" Imac at home is a very slick system, and extremely well thought out overall.

        From 1988 until just last year I ra

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:24PM (#25792077)

    OS X is really a good middle ground between Windows and Linux. OS X supports many of the Windows Protocols (a lot better then linux in some ways) as well there is a better selection of high quality closed source applications, then linux has. However being Unix based it it is more stable then Windows and less prone to viruses and other malware. Then combined with virtualization you can run Linux OS X and Windows all at the same time for cross testing your code.

    It has a clean interface and performs well. You are not fussing with simple stuff. all in all it is good for development. (And the Apple keyboards have extended function keys that makes compatibility with old Vax systems much nicer too)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Ok, I usually don't post to correct people but... It's THAN not THEN! You use than in comparasions, for example "the cat is better than the dog" and you use then in situations like "I ran the dog over with my car, then i got the cat too."

      Sorry but it just hurt me to read your post.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )

      OS X supports many of the Windows Protocols (a lot better then linux in some ways)

      Which protocols are you referring to, and how is their support better in OS X than Linux?

      I ask, because in my experience when OS X needs some cross platform functionality, they just port the Linux solution.

  • AFP not AFS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:25PM (#25792087)

    AFS is something else altogether.

  • Macs are UNIX 03 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toe, The ( 545098 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:26PM (#25792107)

    You would think that the fact that OS X is UNIX 03 certified [opengroup.org] might be of some interest to developers as well.

    Sure, maybe not as much as the reasons stated above, but... it is worth mentioning. And just the fact that it is any flavor of Unix-like OS is attractive to many.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:30PM (#25792189) Homepage Journal

    recently got into Cocoa programming and for the most part absolutely love it, Apple has obviously put a lot of effort into their system and it shows. However, Apple seemingly skimped on one of the most important, but usually easiest to implement parts of their system: good, up to date documentation!

    For instance, in the QTKit documentation is just beyond abysmal. There is little documentation on how to do very common things, such as set your export settings. I had to do a lot of hackery just to figure that one out(and its still far from straightforward), they have typos that have been there for eons, even though I used their feedback form to tell them about it, and perhaps worst of all, they don't even mention many methods that are in the API.

    On multiple occasions I have had to go into the header files just to find out what I could do with various classes. I shouldn't have to do this! Compare this experience with say, Javadocs and its night and day. While Javadocs are far from perfect, they are infinitely better than what Apple puts out.

    Why would Apple do something like this? It costs them almost nothing to create a lot of these docs, and actually updating them once in a while could save developers tons of frustration. I guess maybe the paid ADC accounts are bit better? Thats really a low blow if they are though....

    Furthermore, Apple tends to deprecate APIs without really replacing them with an API with the same functionality. Case in point is QTKit. Its a nice API for what its worth, but there are tons of occasions you either:

    a) have to go down to the old Quicktime C APIs(which means your code won't be able to compile in 64 bit and may not work at all on Snow Leopard) or
    b) Have to come up with some creative hacks to get the functionality you want.

    For instance, in order to get an MPEG-4 formatted to anything but the default size you either have to use an atom container which is 32 bit only, or manually set up a Quicktime export with the settings you want, write some applescript to save that to a file, THEN read that file in as NSData THEN set that to be your export settings(which on Apple's website has the oh so helpful documentation:"Information to come."(That was over a year ago).

    • by butalearner ( 1235200 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:55PM (#25792683)

      Apple seemingly skimped on one of the most important, but usually easiest to implement parts of their system: good, up to date documentation!

      Are you really a developer? :)

  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:31PM (#25792223) Homepage Journal

    I have spent the last 8 years writing visual basic applications in Windows
    At Christmas last year I got myself a Nokia internet tablet - it runs Maemo Linux.

    Surprisingly now, 11 months later I am comfortable back in C, have a nice little library and *know* I have found a better path.

    Its been a kind of torture as well, everything was new and sometimes finding information is a brutal experience.
    If it hadn't been for the great community around maemo.org I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have.

    It was this community element which was missing with other devices and systems when I was looking around.

  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:31PM (#25792227)

    Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini laptop with out a screen in a small box.

    The mac pro is nice but $2300 and only a $30-$50 video card?

    AIO also are not that good.

    Where is the mini tower that can do dual display?

  • by CyberLife ( 63954 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:35PM (#25792283)

    I've been using a Mac as a development platform for years. Never had an issue. Just because it's an Apple system doesn't mean one has to use AFS or write Cocoa apps.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:36PM (#25792309)
    ...when they refer to Apple Filing Protocol as "AFS", and it shows that Infoworld has idiot editors. There's nothing except an anonymous programmer's opinion to back up the claims made.

    AFP is not strange, twisted, or any sort of barrier for programmers. Over the years, I have found AFP performance (to netatalk) out of the box trounces Samba by almost a 1:2 margin on raw file transfer speed, and 10:1 on directory-intensive operations. It supports international character sets without fuss, and folder/file name restrictions are downright amazing compared to the shit that is SMB/CIFS.

    Don't like AFP? Fine. Use SMB (and yes, you can turn off the "annoying dot files".) Or NFSv4. Or SSHFS with MacFusion, making any Unix box you've got a file server with the installation of one package. There are installers for AFS and (I may have this wrong) Coda.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:40PM (#25792379)

    Okay first, about the title: All programmers are developers, but not all developers are programmers. Second, it isn't just developers, it's everybody. Vista exploded on the launch pad. Nobody's upgrading. So for the last several years who's been the only commercial manufacturer to be releasing new spiffy shiny? Apple of course. So, umm, HELLO? Of course people are switching, Apple is the only company offering anything new!

    Microsoft wasn't advertising because they had nothing to advertise -- The only major products they've been pushing out are all incremental upgrades for commercial use. Now we see giant billboards about how great Vista is, but please... The media shot and killed that cow, now they're just trying to recoup their investment. As an aside, I've been waiting for this moment since I got into the industry! Now, whatever you want to say about Macintosh as a platform, you can't deny their marketing has been so good it's making history. That, and Apple has at least three batallions of lawyers ready to crush anyone who "Thinks different". And the only personalities Microsoft has is Bill Gates (now retired), and Balmer, better known as the amazing flying monkey boy.

    Lastly, if we want to talk about developers, not just programmers -- which would include web and graphic designers, architects, etc., Apple has enjoyed huge market share here for one very simple reason: It's simple and it works. This is an industry where the software on a machine costs several times the cost of a system and people happily pay for it. Apple, and companies who develop for their platform, have made design a priority for years -- usability and simplicity. Everything else has come after that. Well, except for some serious QC issues on their hardware lines lately, for which they have not been publicly flogged enough over. Meanwhile, all the other players in the market are trying to be all things to everyone... Vista's DRM and horrible, horrible driver subsystem comes to mind as an example of "Trying to do it all".

    Disclaimer: Not an Apple fangirl (personally, I despise macintoshes), but does work in graphic design and so I deal with it every day.

  • by Daimaou ( 97573 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:46PM (#25792515)

    I really like developing on my Apple machine for the most part, but it has a few issues that make it less appealing to me than Linux.

    Currently, most of the development I'm doing is using Django and PostgreSQL. Installing PostgreSQL and the required Python libraries on OS X is tremendously painful. It was painful on Tiger and Leopard has made it more so. Macports tries to make it easier, but it could use a lot of work/testing/more work.

    Installing the same tools on Linux is so easy, a Windows user could do it.

    • by spinkham ( 56603 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @06:06PM (#25792891)
      This is one of the major issues that keeps me on Linux.
      Despite the fact you can get almost anything to run on OS X eventually, for most software it's much much harder to get up to date software versions then "apt-get install fizzbuzz" on Ubuntu or debian testing.

      For my needs, Ubuntu is much closer to the "just works" ideal then OS X.
  • maybe in USA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by papabob ( 1211684 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:52PM (#25792637)
    not worldwide. Maybe I shock you, but outside the US apple is a niche market that its only used for graphics design- you know, a heritage of the 80s. In the old Europe you would find much more projects for linux than for OSX (and both are a minimal percentage of the total projects, because everyone still use some version of Windows). Even the ipod is a rare avis in the mp3 market. Of course Apple started an agressive campaing to catch the academic world few years ago, financing laptops for teachers and student, but it's too early to move the trend.

    So, no. I work in a mid-size software factory and I can assure you developers aren't going anywhere.
    • by Tibor the Hun ( 143056 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @06:48PM (#25793641)

      Not to be a jackass, but outside of the USA, "people walking on the moon" is also a niche market.

      What happens here technologically, propagates to the rest of the world in its due time.

  • ok. I'm one... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nblender ( 741424 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @05:58PM (#25792749)
    Why? All the reasons you've heard before... I like it when stuff 'just works'. I develop embedded systems. I write device drivers and other kernel code for various open sores operating systems. That means I spend lots of my time in terminal windows, pouring over datasheets, staring at PCI analyzer output, etc... I have a number of monitors, at least one is in horizontal mode (for mail, web, pdfs, etc) and the other in vertical mode (for editor windows). I can just as easily work on my macbook at a customer site, plugged into one of their extra monitors. When I'm done there, I can close the lid, go to another customer site, or into a meeting room, open the lid and have my desktop automatically resize. I can then plug into a projector to review some code, and have my desktop automatically resize again without restarting xorg...

    I have linux boxes at home, I have *BSD boxes at home, I have colocated *BSD boxes around the world for other personal endeavors. I have a fairly extensive MythTV/Zoneminder network at home as well. So I'm not your average Mac weenie... To me, the mac is just a decent portal to all the other Unixy boxes I maintain. I've tried using a Linux desktop on a day to day basis and I've found it just too painful... Ever try getting a bluetooth keyboard working on Ubuntu? It doesn't "just work"; or at least not 6 months ago. It might now... But that's my point... Linux is always improving, but it never does everything I want, when I want it... And yes, I know, "patches welcome"... I contribute plenty to open-source. I can contribute more in my area of specialty and I can do it better sitting in front of a Mac. When I want to relax and watch TV, I don't want to have to hack MythTV to do it. I just want to plunk my fat ass on the couch and be entertained.

  • by jrothwell97 ( 968062 ) <jonathan@notrosw ... m minus math_god> on Monday November 17, 2008 @06:14PM (#25793023) Homepage Journal

    These are the three reasons why I enjoy developing on the Mac:

    1. Xcode: it's a complete IDE which is simple to learn, not fiddly, and Interface Builder etc makes it possible to quickly create the UI and front faÃade, and then get on, quickly, to writing the guts of the program. It also supports distcc and (to some extent) SCM.
    2. UNIX 03 compatible: it's relatively easy to port CLI apps to other systems. True, that's true of most *nixes, but it's further simplified on OS X.
    3. Cocoa: I actually like Cocoa. I just find it to be a very good API: maybe that's just a matter of taste.
  • by caywen ( 942955 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @06:43PM (#25793553)


    That's the carrot. The stick, of course, is that development on Microsoft's platforms is no longer interesting. Desktop is dead, both on Windows and Mac, so WPF, Cocoa, etc - those are boring. I don't care about database applications with cool graphics. I don't care about awesome list view widgets, XML UI, etc. Those are just nuts and bolts which are pointless unless there's something compelling to build. The potential of iPhone is compelling.

    That said, and this is totally biased from this Windows dev, to me Xcode doesn't compare to Visual Studio. I find VS's debugging, editing, and pretty much everything else to be slicker and more stable (at least, in VS2008sp1). I find getting a quick-and-dirty Windows app to be faster to slap together than an equivalent Cocoa app (eg. creating a quick game level editor). I also prefer the single-window IDE, and VS.NET works better in that layout. The IDE morphs to be a good debugger IDE when debugging. I find STL debugging easier, as well. MSDN documentation is a library of congress compared to Xcode's docs. But again, a more experienced Xcode dev will kick my ass on these points.

    Little extras: I love having a real command line. I love not having installers be its own entire dev cycle.

  • by bgspence ( 155914 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:15PM (#25794079)

    It's not the swapping that gets me.


    Who uses development tools you cant skin?

    Sad, so so sad...

  • by Kairos21 ( 674835 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:22PM (#25794197)
    "The explosion of interest in smartphone development is helping the trend, with iPhone development lock-in to the Mac environment the chief motivating factor for Apple as a platform of choice for mobile development."

    This is why Apple is retarded. They miss out on developers by restricting the platform/IDE and not supporting Java or Mono. Then they place absurd restrictions on iPhone applications. Anyone who is thinking of getting a mac just so they can develop on the iPhone should ask themselves this question.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You're right. Apple are obviously stupid. Just look at how unsuccessful the iPhone app store has been.

      You can rant about the openness of the iPhone all you want, and I'd actually agree with you on many points. But to say Apple is stupid for doing it is pretty silly, since they seem to be doing incredibly well with it.

  • by logicassasin ( 318009 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:39PM (#25794447)

    Not one developer I interact with on a daily basis uses a Mac or has expressed an interest in using one for his or her "real work". If they own one, it's for lesiure purposes; casual browsing and iTunes. For development of apps that we use at work, it's Win32 or Linux. While the vast majority of development is in Win32, most long for linux adoption for dev work, not MacOS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by riceboy50 ( 631755 )
      Anecdotal evidence is fun! I know a lot of devs that use Macs. This just in, the network of people you are connected to have things in common with you.
  • Not really (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icepick72 ( 834363 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:52PM (#25795419)
    After reading the first part of TFA I realized he's developing in a Microsoft environment running on a virtual machine on the Mac. So yes he's developing "on" the Mac, but not necessarily for the Mac. His Mac is basically being used as a web browser for testing.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @09:56PM (#25796123) Homepage Journal
    and none of us seem to have received this shitty memo, or even heard of it.

    this article is absurd out of the scales. just check how belong sentences compare to each other :

    "scientists now agree that evolution does not exist", as voiced by various creationist propaganda sources


    "Programmers are finding themselves increasingly drawn to the Mac as a development platform", as voiced by the shitty article we are being made read. in its summary at least ...
  • by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Monday November 17, 2008 @10:18PM (#25796345) Homepage

    I was skeptical of Macs for ages. The switch to OS X intruiged me. The switch to Intel won me over (heck, if it doesn't work, it'll make a good Linux or windows box). But I never boot it into Windows or Linux, it just works so well.

    I do most of my development these days in Python (or Perl or Ruby or Java). It all works as expected on OS X.

    And Virtualization? Man, does it support virtualization.

    Right now, I am running simultaneously (among other things):

    - A virtual copy of CentOS, which is serving up SunRay sessions to two SunRay terminals (a test for some thin client pitch I'll be doing)
    - A virtual of Windows XP, so I can do some verification/validation on a windows .NET app I've been contracted to port to a Web application
    - Several development apps (Komodo, iTerm's)
    - Messenger, Word, Excel, Acrobat
    - Azureus (to ummm, errr., download some Linux distributions)
    - A bootcamp virtual session with Parallels

    And I'm doing this with my MacBook dual display (hooked to a 24" 1680x1050 screen); actually triple-screened, since I'm running a SunRay session next to it (from that virtual CentOS session), linking my mouse/keyboard with Synergy.

    It all just works too well... You'll want lots of memory, but that's cheap. I just bumped up to 4g for $100 last week.

    I've become a Mac Fanboi, yes. But when I pitch it to someone, it's not out of ego. I don't think it's out of pure fanboi-ism. I honestly want people to know that they can be more productive, they can achieve more with their time, than fighting with the limitations of windows. It sometimes come across as Mac elitism, and I try to fight that.

    I did a Mac vs. PC talk last year, well after having been won over. Prior to the talk, the PC guys were fussing with the projector, making sure it would work with their laptops. They politely asked if I would like to try out my Mac before the presentation. I honestly (without trying to be smug) told them it wouldn't be necessary. I've never once experienced a situation where plugging in a projector external monitor hasn't immediately worked, and as expected. It just wasn't necessary to test. And that's a bit symbolic of how things (generally) work on OS X.

    There are some drawbacks. Some stuff just won't compile/work under OS X. X window support feels (and is) tacked on. Python/Tkinter is a bit painful natively. Leopard had some growing pains, and some apps (mostly old games) won't work. I find the odd bit of grief like that here and there; but people are working on those things. And if something really sucks, I just fire up a virtual box with Linux, and do my thing from there. (It's quite rare I have to do that, but I have, on occasion.)

    At the end of the day, I don't *care* what people use from an idological standpoint. Hell, Apple's been pulling some MS-like anticompetitive boners lately (shutting down iPhone apps, among others). But the fact is, I work *better* in this environment, and I kind of like to share with my fellow men (and women) developers, how much better they too could be working. If they think I'm just a fanboi freak, fine; their loss, really.

    But I think most serious developers would benefit from checking it out.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky