Are Mac lovers dumb?

If you read the comments on “when the bough breaks” one might come to this conclusion. The think that formats like PSD an H.264 are free open file formats, which they are definitely not. They do not get the point and they insist that their Macs “just work”.

This is the result of an oversimplification in Apples marketing strategy. Although they sure have some fine people inventing new hardware Apple continuously betrayed users, locked them in and mistrusted them. And if Apple does not trust you, how come you trust Apple?

Some people coming from Windows may think switching to a Mac might be good idea – ans also some Unix geeks think that a Mac saves them time. Well: it is not. This is true if you are a real simple user that just needs a computer to tank your iPod – and it is only true if you are willing to pay a price. The price is the loss of your freedom and you can also count it by your expenses. Better have a credit card right by your side if you use a Mac. The Mac is just selling “it just works”. Why else did I have to help a Mac user hours and hours to get things working that I could do with my Linux box within a few minutes? Ah yes it is easy if your Mac dealer lives around the corner and you pay him for every help you get.

The truth is that there is no such computer that “just works”! Said but true. I am using GNOME on Linux. GNOME also has Human Interface Guidelines like Apple has and it also tries to make things simpler. But I would not say that it “just works” – but it often works much better than a Mac. The only argument pro Mac I accept is if you have an application you need and that only runs on a Mac. Than you HAVE to use it, poor guy/girl. 🙂

The concept of Linux and Free Software in general advocates the freedom instead of simplicity. It includes the possibility to develop applications that are easy to use, while Macs philosophy does not include freedom. So it might be easier at some points – but if it is more complicated you do not have the freedom to make it easier. Even if you could.

You might now say that the Mac also is able to use free software. True, but really a Mac that tries to use free software is much more complicated to use than a Linux that is build upon free software. I could not get Gimp-Print to work on a Mac, even though I use it for years on Linux. On a Mac many things are hidden because Apple thinks you are stupid. I admit GNOME is also hiding more things than KDE because it also thinks users are stupid. But in the end it is free! What is hidden is up for discussion. You can send in bug reports and it even might get changed in the next release or you can apply a patch and have what you want in only hours.

So Apple is only as far interested in its users as they are paying for their products. Apple really does not care about you! Apple wants your money, therefore it makes nice looking and working products. They don’t do it because they want to help you. In GNOME and KDE users and developers are one family that help each other and try to understand each others needs, even if they do not agree every time.

If you like freedom throw away your Mac-Os and install some decent and trustworthy OS. If you are rich and have people that help you in handling your Mac, keep using it you do not want or need freedom.


Filed under Free Software

9 responses to “Are Mac lovers dumb?

  1. The tragedy here is that, unlike during the UNIX wars, the battlefield is even more narrow. The hardware spectrum is a constant so system performance is barely an issue: nobody measures whether Slackware is faster than OpenBSD and if someone did, nobody’d care anyhow. So the battle in the free UNIX space is entirely over command line options, system administration paradigms, installation packaging, and 3D GUI features. I’ve got news for you: Real Programmers Don’t Care about that garbage.

    Has it managed to completely escape the attention of the “open source” movement that Adobe, Macromedia, Corel, and so forth have blithely continued to remain virtually Windows-and-Mac-only while waiting for the dust to settle? Only now they have realized that it won’t settle and oh-so-quietly the rush of announcements of support for Linux has not translated into a rush of quality applications.

    Let me make a prediction for you: The open source movement is not going to hurt Apple to any significant degree. But it’ll put Sun out of business. Good move, guys!

    Is it too late to save the situation? Yes, I think it is. At this point there are too many adherents and investment in “not invented here syndrome” in the various free UNIX flavors that nobody is going to come to their senses until there is only one man left standing. But that’s not going to happen because, with free software, it doesn’t cost very much to remain standing forever. It’s an issue of ego, not technology, so don’t expect sense or sanity to kick in. We all know the strategem, divide and conquer, but, honestly, Apple didn’t even need to take that initiative. They just sat back and watched free UNIX fail to become a credible threat because, well, frankly, it was in the hands of egotistical, detail-oriented amateurs. Any of us who’ve worked with the various free-nixes out there have run across the “vanity versions” and their related politics: so-and-so won’t work with so-and-so-else, let’s start a whole new operating system development tree! Wow. Grow up.

    Who’s left that can compete with Apple? The place to look for alternatives is wherever there is a consistent software experience. If you want a high-impact platform that doesn’t come from Jobs look to what the grown-ups at Sony are producing for their Playstation 2 network. The platforms are consistent and won’t fragment into competing versions because they are proprietary and the folks producing them are in business to make money, not for their personal gratification and lust for limelight. Today, if you want a consistent software experience, you have little choice but to go with Mac–or Windows. Remember: Real Programmers Don’t Care.

  2. I do agree on some of your points. I do think that there have beein some errors on free Unices. You are also right that Linux took over old Unix markets on the first place. But OTOH many people thought Linux was just something not to take seriously. The power of Linux is the chaotic development. Only the best software survives. No other software vendors did manage to form such dynamic communities. Like the Red Hat CEO I really do not think that the fragementation is really a long term problem. The quick rise of Ubuntu has shown that Linux that is marketed differently can make a difference. It is true that Linux now does not have an important market share, but free software in general does (like Firefox), and that shows that free software can indeed break monopolies. Apple did built its MacOS X on great parts from open source BSD, Windows TCP stack also comes from BSD. Also the Internet came from Unix & Linux and Apple , AOL and Microsoft did not have success with their network concepts (lock in users). So I rather see that free software is changing markets and the rules. And I do not think that Apple and Microsoft will be able to follow. They have a huge user base, but the development costs of proprietary software are immense. And on Linux many different companies are working collaboratively to solve problems. I expect a huge shift in market share when coountries like China and India want desktop PCs. They will save many billions of dollars yearly if they use Linux instead. And the growing Linux base will also produce new Linux developers. Linux has not even started to take off,

  3. Linux is a free software, that said, it won’t cost much for Linux to remain standing forever. But it won’t hurt the Microsoft / Apple market significantly. I’m not bashing free-nixes here. Infact, I also run Ubuntu (dual boot with Windows on my PC). Macs are expensive and Windows is bug-ridden and unsecured but they will remain in the market simply because top of the line sofwares run only on those flatforms and they provide consistent software experience. I support open-source but I also know that it’s never bringing either Microsoft or Apple down.

  4. You are thinking too static. The computer market will see many revolutions in the future. For Windows the big question is ho many users really will switch to Windows Vista. My guess is that the percentage will be far less than with the switch from Windows 98 to XP. I think Linux will take over much of the percentage of XP on this switch. I think Mac will not be as affected because Mac followers are more religious and loayl to their OS. BTW, thats one thing i like about Windows … very few people really love it, its just that many ppl do not know an alternative. The power of free desktops will only come through if somebody manages to combine the powers like those of KDE and GNOME (via, so that development moves in similar direction and that the progress is beginning to get much faster. The desktop market on Linux is much more split than it ever was at the web servers and energies did go in different directions. That did not help very much, so right now there is till much redundancy. For Microsoft only a few loss of percentages will be tragic. If they do loose their abolute monopole on the desktop the whole system will break down. There need not to be much loss but if it is possible for more companies to survive developing for Linux only more installations will switch. To think that things will keep the way it is , is a bit naive. Microsoft has a monopole that is very old now and it is unlikely that they will be able to defend it much longer. Linux will get better every year and Microsoft will not be able to fight it on every layer/market. The thing is also that every company can try its own way to make a success with Linux, but no failure is a Linux failure, only for a company. If Apple or Microsoft fail it will be the end of the OS, too. Apple already was near its breakdown some years ago (before Jobs took over again), so I don’t think that change is impossible, we have seen this so often with CP/M, Basic and other technologies. Linux already has eliminated many of its former disadvantages. You see I am an optimist and I also think that Linux development is very exciting.

  5. You misunderstood me. I support the open-source movement and the Linux revolution. I find it exciting, too. (Maybe the same way users did during the UNIX war.) What I’m saying is just that whatever the result of this revolution may be, Apple and Microsoft will remain standing (just Sun did after the UNIX war). The thing is, majority of the users still want flatforms off the shelf. Free-nixes are too personalized. Like what they usually say in the open source community, “To each his/her own.” The biggest hindrance in bringing down Microsoft / Apple is the lack of knowledge of most computer users. Lets face it, the time it takes to configure Linux is twice what it takes to configure Windows XP.

    And, yes, it will be harder to sway Mac user that Windows users in switching to Linux. Why? Beacuse Apple software engineers are improving usability while Microsoft software engineers are fixing bugs. But at the end of the day, people will open their wallets for these companies simply beacuse their products are off the shelf and beacuse not everyone understands the difference between the different free-nixes “vanity versions”.

  6. I don’t agree. On Linux you get all on board. On WIndows and Mac you have to either search the web and download (mostly shareware or adware) or you have to go to a shop and buy software. On Linux you get many software for free by just installing. This is way more easy than on Win/Mac. And things like importing pictures from a digicam is also very easy. Linux main problem is lacking hardware support on some points, so for wireless and some printers, still. I do not see the argument that Linux needs more application as, like I said most software a user may need already comes with Linux without that he has to install it. I think it is a widespread misconception that linux is more complicated. I find it often much easier to handle. And to the Mac: I really think the MacOS 7 and 8 had much better usability than MacOS today, I rather have the feeling that MacOS gets filled wih features and blinking and bumping stuff (thats very much more like Windows XP). That’s not real usability. Old MacOS always had the “less is more concept” – it does not have that any more, i see that more often on GNOMEs approach, thats why I feed more home there as a old Mac user.

  7. Don’t forget that people like Andy Hertzfeld ( have been working on GNOME software!

  8. You bitch! Mac lovers are not dumb!

  9. Harry

    Actually they dont have a brain at all to be using a MAC!!!

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