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01.08.11

Apple’s Mac OS X Catches Up — Poorly — With GNU/Linux Two Decades Later, Windows Relies on Legacy

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Windows at 4:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boy waiting for a baseball

Summary: Catch-up at Apple done the wrong way (with antifeatures or lack of features); Windows the platform one uses when there is no other choice

THE COMPANY of seemingly-infinite hype is failing to impress and it also fails to innovate, except when it sues rivals, including those which use Linux. Apple is actually the one copying from GNU/Linux, not the other way around. Joe Brockmeier, a former employee of Novell who left after about a year there, published a post which contains what lots of people in Ident.ca said in recent days (but in brevity):

But the buzz over the Apple Mac App Store? Meh. Look at the features that Apple touts:

* Install any app with ease
* Keep your apps up to date
* The app you need. When you need it
* Buy, download, and even redownload

Linux folks, sound familiar? We’ve had all of this, modulo “buy”, for a decade at least. The Advanced Package Tool, a.k.a. “APT” for Debian-based systems (that includes Ubuntu), has made all of this possible for years and years. Granted, this has primarily focused on free and open source software, but paid apps are possible too. The Ubuntu folks have had a paid software store since Ubuntu 10.10. (It is, I admit, sparsely populated when it comes to proprietary/paid software.)

But the installation, updating, and such? All very possible with APT — or Yum or Zipper, if you happen to be using an RPM-based distro. (Or APT for RPM, if that’s still being maintained.)

Life Hacker has published “Why the Mac App Store Sucks”:

Apple launched the Mac App Store today, allowing you to browse, search, read reviews, and buy Mac software of all kinds in one streamlined location. And it’s terrible.

Apple is just copying GNU/Linux repositories and Windows is last to implement it (in vapourware), trying to catch up, as usual. “Today I Booted into Windows and Now I’m Mentally Deranged” is the title of this new post:

The problem (and it is a big problem) is that the Garmin update software won’t work on Linux. There are plenty of reports floating around the internet that many people are able to update their Garmin devices using wine. But this won’t work for me.

Therefore, I had to boot into Windows for real. Naturally, the Windows partition is small because it isn’t used for anything.

What is really disturbing is not Windows itself, but the attitude of people who write software for Windows – in particular the writers of the Garmin updater. They seem to operate on the assumption that their users are stupid.

The update file downloaded from Garmin was big – about 8GB. I didn’t have that much space on the Windows partition. If that happens to you, you would normally download it elsewhere right? Do you think Garmin would let you download it and then install it later? No. Do you think Garmin would allow you to select the download directory? No. WHY NOT?

What I had to do, was change the Windows temporary folder to somewhere else (removable USB stick). Once done, the updater worked fine. But why is such stupid mucking about necessary at all?

Garmin, have a little respect for your users. They are not all computer illiterate, virus infested, Explorer-using idiots. In fact, I’d say many people who buy GPS devices are reasonable smart.

Compatibility issues that are the fault of the ISVs rather than GNU/Linux are probably the only remaining inertia factor which keeps Windows relevant. People dislike Windows for problems like viruses that characterise the platform, whereas applications that run on Windows lure/force people in. Disgruntled Windows users should be aware that there are alternatives other than Apple’s. There are more than 2 games in town.

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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    January 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Gravatar

    PJ notes that there are now more Android users than there are iPhone users. That is amazing growth for Linux. if not software freedom.

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