that was, in fact, the final straw.

Remember last week, when I tried to buy exactly the same audio card that 99.99% of the world owns and convince Linux to be able to play two sounds at once? Yeah, turns out, that was the last straw. I bought an iMac, and now I play my music with iTunes.

This took... let me see... just about zero effort. Well, I still have to go buy some longer audio cables, but that's it.

I plugged a mouse with three buttons and a wheel into the Mac, and it just worked without me having to read the man page on xorg.conf or anything. Oh frabjous day.

Go ahead and say "I told you so" if it makes you feel better.

Anyway, this means several things:

  • You shouldn't be holding your breath waiting for a new release of Gronk.
  • I also got to stop using the crapware known as Mozilla Sunbird; now I can use iCal, which Just Works (for example, the alarms actually go off, and it doesn't periodically shit a WAV file into my .ics file.)

  • The future direction of xscreensaver has become... highly ambiguous.

I'm still using my other Linux machine to read mail and run XEmacs, but I'm hoping to wean myself of that eventually, one way or another. If all goes well, then in six months or so, the only Linux machines I'll ever have to touch will have no video or sound cards in them at all.

The only thing I couldn't figure out how to do: compile xscreensaver. It stopped working some time between OSX 10.3 and 10.4 due to some GTK/Fink stupidity where pkgconfig/gobject-2.0.pc never gets installed. I'm trying not to care. That's going quite well.

Dear Slashdot: please don't post about this. Screw you guys.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

241 Responses:

  1. samidha says:


    And, I would have iCal's babies. ;)

  2. zhixel says:

    Now queue the million or so 'one of us! one of us!' replies to this.

  3. strange_eyes says:

    jwz switches, in other news, war continues in middle east, starvation continues in africa...

    Wanna do a commercial?

  4. helixblue says:

    I got tired of fink brokenness and just moved to DarwinPorts. It behaves a lot like a modernized version of FreeBSD ports for OSX, and has many Apple staff members contributing to it regularly.

    Good luck, I highly recommend buying "Mac OS X: The Missing Manual", as it will save you months of learning the little things in OSX. The first thing I did with my Mac was try to turn it into a pure UNIX box, using all of my old UNIX tools, just cause I didn't know any better. After a year of using OSX, I bought the book, and felt like an idiot for the things I had done. The Tiger edition of the book should be out next month according to Amazon.. not that it should really cover all that much more than the previous ones.

  5. node says:

    Carbon XEmacs is almost there. You'll need to compile it, though.

    Have you seen the (new) Common Lisp emacs clone? It's terminal only right now, and barely implemented, but it's relatively portable (runs on cmucl or sbcl with cl-ncurses).

    • packetslave says:

      Alternatively, GNU Emacs is running quite well (as well as GNU possibly can) natively on my Tiger box. I'm running the build from here. Yeah, it's GNU, but it's less annoying than running X (at least until Carbon Xemacs gets there).

      • tsennyipa says:

        I've been running Carbon GNU Emacs for several years at this point and it's very, very nice. You will probably find it intensely frustrating as it won't run any of your specialized xemacs LISP code, but who knows, it might be a fun discipline. :')

    • bpt says:

      LICe is not the only CL emacs clone. Climacs is another Emacs-like editor in Common Lisp. It's a bit different from other Emacsen, though; AFAIK, it's more focused on just text editing, without including mail-readers/browsers/kitchen-sink, because it's CLIM-based and can be easily integrated with other CLIM-based programs.

    • node says:

      I've described my carbon xemacs build here.

  6. ciphergoth says:

    Dear Slashdot: please don't post about this. Screw you guys.

    You'll be lucky. This will be posted to Slashdot within twelve hours. And then again twelve hours after that.

    • sachmet says:

      But the real question is how many Slashdot Linux fanboys will come flood this post with comments about how <lj user="jwz"> "sux cuz he cudnt get a stoopid sound card werkin with linux WHICH R00LZ OMGWTFBBQONEONEONE".

      We could almost make it a betting pool.

    • Nah, I don't think we care enough to post this even once.

    • remonstrare says:

      Knowing the sheer amount of invective and spite that grumbly ol' jwz can generate in those silly enough to worship him, this has been submitted to /. 50 times already just because he said "don't post this on slashdot".

      I mean, what's the big deal? Yes, he wrote the X version of Netscape that that's really, really cool. But he is a grumbling asshole, he freely admits it, and yet the fanboys still consider him some fount of knowledge. He's not. He's just this normal guy who has strong opinions.

      • gths says:

        I haven't looked at Slashdot in years since it turned into the penguinhead equivalent of Free Republic/Democratic Underground?

        • afree87 says:

          It's turned into something that people read until they realize that it's idiotic. Which I suppose it's been all along.

      • ewindisch says:

        I think the hubub is about Xscreensaver .. this is a pretty major package.

        • hallerlake says:

          Obligatory "JWZ has a major package" joke ;-)

        • remonstrare says:

          Hmm. Given the choice between being the instigator of a revolution, bringing the Web to the masses, author of software that millions of people used, or being the packager and occasional writer of some derivative demo effects... I know what I'd put on the resume.

          • ewindisch says:

            Haha. I'm not faulting him. Only noting that the screensavers are necessary and it is one of his largest and most well-known achivements. It is a shame to see that it may now come to an end; as all things, eventually, must.

      • I say neither and a bit of both.

        He has fan boys, yes. I think what draws attention to him is his transition from uber-geek programmer guy into trying to make a living running a nightclub guy.

        Also, reading comments from a highly opinionated person is quite normal I think - thats what makes extremism so succesfull.

        Its the manquin and body parts fascination that kinda spooks me =)

  7. tfofurn says:

    that was, in fact, the final straw.

    I'm sure one of DNA's vendors would be happy to sell you more straws. You could get the bendy ones, the ones with the spoons on the end, the extra-thick ones for milkshakes . . .

    The only thing I couldn't figure out how to do: compile xscreensaver.

    You could always mail yourself a hi-res screen capture of the compile window.

  8. jonxp says:

    You know...sound cards and iTunes just work in Windows too. FYI. Of course, it doesn't have nifty iCal. Maybe Sunbird will be up to snuff someday.

    However xscreensaver is truly a masterpiece that I dread to see fall by the wayside. It ups the cool factor of any linux box by several hundred points, and phosphor + ljlatest provides top notch party entertainment (as does the new RSS aggregator + + phosphor).


    • c0nsumer says:

      If you have a Mac with 10.4 handy, I do suggest installing the dev tools and checking out the nifty screensavers that one can write using Quartz Composer.

    • jwz says:

      Little Billy and Little Stevey may both be jerks, but Little Billy kicked my dog and Little Stevey didn't so I'm not going to play in his yard ever again.

      • taffer says:

        Also, Steve doesn't have an offensive hairstyle. I'd watch that Queer Eye show if Gates was getting a make-over.

    • leonbrooks says:

      Whereas on Linux and most of the other Open OSes you get several bites at the cherry. Macs are the same, except that failure to "just work" is, relatively speaking, a blue-moon event.

  9. equiraptor says:

    I plugged a mouse with three buttons and a wheel into the Mac, and it just worked
    This is exactly why I bought a Mac for my mother. She knows almost nothing about computers, and with Macs, almost everything just works. Only... I used it for a few days (setup, etc.) before giving it to her, and now I want one. They're wonderful machines.

  10. You may already be doing so, but for X11, you may as well go with Apple's. It's kind of a toss up whether you want the dinky window decoration specialness that comes with rootless (the resize widget is... oddly placed) or want to hook a separate rooted window into the Expos&eaccute;. (I do the former.)

    I agree with a previous recommendation of Darwin ports over fink... which I found to behave about like it sounds.

    Beyond that, the Apple version mostly Just Fucking Works, so far as I can tell. I don't so much bother trying to build a lot of software on here, though.

    • Yeah, so I suck on remembering HTML codes for accented characters. I'm suceeding at not caring.

    • kfringe says:

      Darwin Ports may behave better because there were one or two adults who had done this kind of thing before involved in it. Besides: anything that keeps tcl alive is, you know, another thing keeping tcl alive.

  11. mark242 says:

    As your lawyer in this matter, I advise you to pick up a copy of iTerm. Tabbed terminal windows, bookmarks, and some function that is a gigantic workaround for "unset autologout".

  12. drstein says:

    I've been bitching about Sunbird/Lightning/wtf ever they're calling it this week for ages. I'll be very surprised when a usable release comes out.

    Until then, iCal is a useful piece of work. Have you poked around with iSync at all yet? If you have a cell that it's compatible with (many that aren't on their "official" list work just fine) then it's worth playing around a bit.

    • rpkrajewski says:

      One of the nice things about iCal is that it's a great connector when used with iSync. I've always synch'ed my calendars to my mobile phone, but it's just cool when you subscribe to a new iCal-compatible calendar you found on the web like the "my friends' events" available from, and there it is, in your pocket.

    • jwz says:

      I haven't/don't, but I've been thinking about getting a Treo... do people really use "Palm Desktop" with PalmOS devices, or does iCal sync to them natively?

      • 21cdb says:

        The Palm Desktop is abandonware. iSync speaks to either Palm's conduit (which may just stop working one day) or Missing Sync, which is under active development but also somewhat problematic for some users.

        I use Missing Sync with my T5 and while it's got some iSync related issues (missing category support), it's been very reliable for me.

      • I have no opinion on the syncing thing (yes, I'm a tool, I use Windows and sync to Outlook - the corporate overlords demand that of me), but I'd say a Treo is an excellent investment. The Windows CE devices never really thrilled me, and I've had Palms before and liked them. The Treo is a "just about right" device for me... kind of big for a cell-phone, but convenient enough as a PDA. Having the two tied together works quite nicely - contacts in the PDA are all mappable to speed-dials, for instance.

        The little buttons are a pain at first. Well, actually, they're always a bit of a pain, but what do you want, the thing has to be small to work in any decent way. Can always get an external keyboard if you're going to actually input anything decent-sized.

        Oh, and you can play Monopoly on it! Which came in handy when I had a car breakdown outside of Joshua Tree and had to wait two hours for the repair guy to come. :-)

      • marmoset says:

        I don't know if you carry an iPod or not, but the fact that your contacts and calendars sync to it through iTunes can be useful. No, it's not full PDA functionality, but it's quite useful if you travel everywhere with your audio player like I do.

        • wyndebreaker says:

          It took me a while to notice that iTunes handles iPod contact syncing. I used to Sync my contacts through iSync, but when I got Tiger, I spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out why my iPod was not being detected in iSnyc.

      • drstein says:

        I believe that it depends on the device.

        AFAIK, the Treo syncs up ok without bothering with the Palm Desktop software.

      • pdx6 says:

        iSync doesn't work with the Treo 600 (and most likely 650) out of the box. You'll need to install the Palm Conduits included with Palm Desktop, which is a rather painless process.

      • chetfarmer says:

        The iSync Palm conduits are free from Apple, but not installed by default. Treos still come with the Palm Desktop (or, at least, it came with my 650 a couple months ago), so I'm not certain it's accurate to call it 'abandonware,' but it IS crap compared to iCal and the Address Book app.

        The weak sister is Notepad sync; Apple has no answer there, so many people just keep using the Desktop for just their notes. StickyBrain is a cool tool, and they've added Palm Note syncing support, but they ignore categories -- you get copies of everything on the desktop, but inside SB they're in one big folder. It's better than nothing, but not optimal. However, it *does* mean that PD-free use is possible.

        • fabius says:

          MacNoteTaker is a good way to sync text notes with a Palm:

          Uses plain text files in as deep a directory heirarchy as you like. Has its own notepad app on the palm and plain text files on your Mac. A bit cranky - To delete a note I think you have to do it on both devices. And it won't do anything clever like merge changes, just overwrite the oldest copy with the newest one. But it's nice to be able to just sync text files.

      • resunatrue says:

        If you have more than one Mac, iSync sucks dirty swamp water through a used oil filter. At least it does if you don't like duplicate records.

      • cyberspice says:

        In Tiger the whole iSync, iCal, Address book thing is based upon a sync framework which allows developers to write plug-ins to support any device. You can even create your own data schemas. iSync works fine with my cell (SonyEricsson T610) out of the box.

        It doesn't work with my Zaurus PDA but in between trying to get Linux working properly on a HD DVR set top box (it's my job - Linux will be great when it's finished) I've been reading up about developing a plug-in.

        Like you after ten years as a Linux user I finally decided I just wanted my computer to work and the elderly G3 I use is much preferable on a useability front to my recent PC running XP/Linux which I only have for work purposes. I hardly use it unless I'm having to develop Linux stuff.

      • roadknight says:

        I use it with my Tungsten T3. You need to have both Palm Desktop and iSync installed because iSync acts as a Conduit to Palm Desktop. It pretty much works though.

        I put appointments and to-dos into my T3 and Treo600 and events show up on the two and propagate to my girlfriend <lj user="feorlen">'s iCal and her stuff shows up on the Palm(s) and Bob's basically your Uncle.

        • rzr_grl says:

          Any of y'all doing this under Tiger? It sounds all sweetness and light: tell iSync to enable a Palm OS device, it runs the install script, and wowie-zowie it all works.

          Except iSync keeps hanging on the conduit install, telling me that the Palm stuff isn't installed correctly. Of course, it is. Yes, I did a hotsync with it once (as recommended), which went swimmingly. I reinstalled PD. It's all in the admin user account. I spent hours digging through the useless forums in several sites. Is $35 Missing Sync teh only solution?

          iSync isn't in the conduit list of HotSync Manager, and iSync won't install itself there. What do I do?

          (PD 4.2.1, iSync 2.0, OSX 10.4.1)

      • darkuncle says:

        works just fine, once you get it set up (and since it's not all native OS X, there is some amount of twiddling required at the outset if you want to get Palm Desktop installed and working (required for software installation to the Treo)). Love my Treo650 GSM, and while iCal/iSync doesn't let me insert e.g. new Notes into the Treo from the desktop, it's a minor quibble (I can always fire up PalmDesktop if I really need to do some major typing or cut/paste operations and then sync).

        (boy, that was less comprehensible than usual. And a month late, it looks like. I missed the meme bus, yet again. Oh well.)

        I also strongly recommend and pssh if you happen to acquire a Treo. Good stuff.

  13. dwinsper says:

    I tried Sunbird about six months ago. I tried to like it, I really did, but I just couldn't. It's a shame to see it's still not in a decent state, I really could use a decent calendar. Perhaps I should just install Hula on my server and see what that's like.

  14. mstyne says:

    Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
    Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
    Venkman: Exactly.
    Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
    Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes...
    Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
    Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.

  15. rpkrajewski says:

    I use a Mac at home (since 1993). I've mostly hacked on Windows for most of my professional life, although I've done a lot of server-side Unix in the past five years. And right now I'm typing this on a PC running Red Hat. The current job is mostly about server software written in Java, but I've learned a little about GNOME and other desktop Linux stuff, if only to smooth the development process.

    Anyway, I was going to send you mail about a pretty minor bug which I assume isn't xscreensaver's fault (unhandled message messages just before xscreensaver kicks in, after is enabled in XFree86 4.x).

    I also looked at Gronk (just out of curiosity). I was going to suggest a future direction for it, should anybody take it up, is to turn it into a Icecast/Shoutcast and daap (iTunes remote access) server that doesn't rely on any sound access or locally available player. The main problem with daap (beside the fact that Apple seems to change it any time they want) is that iTunes doesn't play well with very large music libraries accessed over it. But of course you could still use the Gronk web interface if your local player used the Shoutcast stream.

    I would really like to see a first-class non-X graphical Emacs or XEmacs on OS X. (Here on my GNOME desktop, I can't even drag a file from the file browser to Emacs. That works under Windows !) There used to be a NextStep-hacked Emacs, but I never got a chance to use it (I had a NeXT cube at Lotus for a while) and nobody ever bothered bringing it into OS X.

  16. I give it a month.

    • fantasygoat says:

      The only thing I give a month is his still using the Linux box for much of anything. I'm quite surprised it took this long - the frustration was quite palatable over the years.

  17. dormando says:

    Now you have to buy one for your girlfriend, and "accessorize" (I can't spell airhead words) your mac, so it "looks right"! You'll feel metro tendencies soon enough.

    (No, I'm not alluding that linux makes your balls puff up)

  18. how about that whole Apple switching to intel thing?

  19. Every OS sucks... it's just a matter of what sucks for you personally.

    I have a Powerbook work paid for that I love from a hardware perspective, but there are plenty of OS X things that bug me, especially I don't have any urge to run out and get a mini or whatever for home use. I'll stick with Linux, warts and all, 'cos it bugs me less.

  20. korgmeister says:

    This must have been an interesting decision to make.

    "Hmm, which cadre of bitchy, cultike OS-advocates is it going to be least annoying to have pissed off at me?"

    Still, I can understand the decision. Only reasons I use Linux instead of Mac is spite (I hate Steve Jobs and 99% of mac users) and cheapassness.

    • Wow -- screwing your self out of spite for people who don't give a shit about your empty gesture. That, there, is a real winning strategy.

      • korgmeister says:

        No, it is more of a "I don't want Apple Computers getting my money" thing.

        Besides, being Christian, I already belong to a group of intolerable, self-righteous assholes. I really can't handle membership in a second group.

        • thesurface says:

          Sounds like backpedaling.

        • fraveydank says:

          Well, we're not all intolerable, self-righteous, etc. Those of us who are grown up about these things generally take more of a "whatever the hell works for you" stance (especially those of us who've used all three major platforms extensively). I've actually found (as a Mac and generic UNIX user) that the advanced Windows junkies tend to be the most arrogant (well, after OpenBSD junkies).

          I'll give you points on new Mac users, though. Much like most new Christians (and, unfortunately, a lot of older ones, too, but some mellow with age).

  21. kfringe says:

    I'm actually surprised that you lasted this long with Linux. You haven't hit the really scary part yet: other stuff works too. You will, however, be needing to do one little thing before the box can be satisfying.

    Remap Caps Lock to Control

    • wfaulk says:

      Last I checked, the CapsLock light on Apple keyboards was hardware controlled, so that if you did swap the mapping, every time you pressed the CapsLock keycap to use a Control chord, the lamp toggled, which was very annoying to me. Even more annoying than having to contort my hand to use the control key. Please tell me that that's changed.

      • semiclever says:

        My understanding is that's only the case on ADB keyboards. Not a problem will all external keyboards, even some current mac laptops use ADB internally. Doesn't seem to be a problem on my 15" powerbook.

    • taffer says:

      This ability is built into the system preferences in Tiger... can't remember where though, it's not in Keyboard & Mouse.

  22. kfringe says:

    The other thing that takes just about zero effort is also worthwhile. You probably won't even need those longer cables if you get one.

  23. autopope says:

    This happened to me five years ago.

    I kept dual-booting with Linux for the first year or so, but gradually ran out of energy.

    Two years after that, honesty forced me to admit that I'd switched, and jack in the Linux magazine column. Oh, the ignominy.

    • arafel2 says:

      Oddly enough, I'm actually kind of migrating in the opposite direction. I only keep Windows on here out of a kind of inertia now; I think it's been booted four times since the start of the year.

      But there you go, each to their own. I keep meaning to see what Neal Stephenson is using these days.

    • yep, dancing on two marriages does not work over the long term, I've had the same experience.....

  24. duskwuff says:

    As far as future-direction-of-xscreensaver goes, coding native OS X saver plugins is pretty easy, even if it does involve learning a bit of Objective C.

    • fraveydank says:

      And Objective C is fantastic. I'll take it over that patchwork they call C++ any day (and with Objective C++, you can mix the two, if you're into that sort of thing). It's gotten to the point that I'm using Obj-C on my Linux projects when it's available (even without the STL or NextStep) on the host GCC.

      • kinkoblast says:

        Check out GNUStep. It's not perfect (and it's ugly as sin, if you care) but it's more like NextStep/OpenStep/Cocoa than, well, not useing it.

    • resunatrue says:

      Getting XScreensaver so it'll run as a real saver plugin and still wrap X11 plugins would be great, 'cos you can wrap just about anything into an XScreensaver plugin with just a shell script.

  25. It's for the best.

    I think you and Linux just... wasn't meant to be.


    • nrr says:

      I believe this goes back to his days of being a curmudgeon and refusing to let go of his beloved IRIX box. I have a feeling that he saw it coming.

      In any case, the balance of the universe does feel a little more on center now that he's finally switched over.

    • taiganaut says:

      That's a great icon. I still have a screen with phosphors like that somewhere in my dad's basement.

  26. yekop says:

    I eagerly await the jwz treatment of OS X annoyances.

  27. taiganaut says:

    Are you irritated about the upcoming switch to Intel chips, or worried about your hardware not being supported in the future?

    • kchrist says:

      With a long enough time frame, all hardware becomes unsupported.

      I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of the people making Mac purchases between the time of the Intel announcement and the availability of said machines will be looking into new hardware again before their PPC Mac is no longer supported anyway. Additionally, astoundingly enough, PPC Macs will not magically stop working when Apple EOL's them.

      I know I'm not worried about the new Powerbook I'm planning to buy in the next couple months.

      • taiganaut says:

        The announcement scared me off of buying an iBook, but a number of people whose opinions I respect say that buying a PPC based machine now should not be a problem. "Fat binaries" they say, although Jobs was talking emulation. I'm suspicious by nature.

        I need a laptop last week, though. This is not helping.

        • mmcirvin says:

          I bought one of the first PowerPC Macs back during the previous processor transition, and even though they'd been out for several months by that time, it probably would have been less aggravation for me in the short term to buy a 680x0 Quadra. Most software hadn't been ported yet (including large chunks of the OS itself!), emulation dragged the system down, and certain things like the TCP/IP stack were pretty unstable. It wasn't quite as smooth as modern histories claim it was. Meanwhile, legacy Macs kept working for years.

          Now, this time it might well be different. For one thing, I'd guess the OS is already completely free of emulated code, so that's a leg up right there; and for another, I've heard great things about Transitive's fancy code translator. But I'd guess that for the first six months or so you'll actually have less trouble running fat binaries on your PowerPC Mac than running PowerPC apps under Rosetta emulation on an Intel Mac. And you'll probably be able to find software to satisfy you for some time after that.

          • resunatrue says:

            "I'd guess that for the first six months or so you'll actually have less trouble running fat binaries on your PowerPC Mac than running PowerPC apps under Rosetta emulation on an Intel Mac."

            I'd guess that would be more likely 'for the first few years' because it's gonna take years for processors to get fast enough that x86 is that much faster then PPC, and this time the fat binaries are based on code that's been "just working" since the 68k was cool.

        • whitebird says:

          I'm sorry, but that's just silly. Buy a new iBook if that's what you want. It'll be usable for years to come. The real transition from the 68K Macs to the PowerPC Macs really lasted longer than two years, and that's after the PowerPC machines were shipping.

          Fat/Universal Binaries aren't emulation, they're two different code trees stuck together which run the appropriate side based on what hardware they're currently on. Companies will be shipping software with Universal Binaries for a few years after the last production of PowerPC Macs stop. And by then it's time for a new machine anyways.

        • taffer says:

          Well, I was shocked at first, but my iBook (12" G4) didn't stop working. I've been planning on swapping my wife's machine for a Mini or iMac and (eventually) buying myself a studlier desktop to replace my XP system... I might hold off on buying the desktop Mac, 'cause it'd be best to have both systems (PowerPC and x86) available for development reasons, but I'll still grab a Mac for my wife.

          You see, I babysit her XP system, and I'd really rather do something interesting and/or fun in my spare time.

          Cross-compiling or making a "universal" (ie, fat) binary is pretty trivial using Apple's IDE, so I'm not expecting software to dry up on PowerPC for a long time, or for there to be a derth of x86 software once the hardware is available.

          • Am I being super paranoid, or is there a risk that somewhere in the future their might be Windows for Mac ....

            I think that would defeat the purpose of having the Mac in the first place, and for that reason think it might not happen.

            I guess I was a vistim of the myth that the PowerPC was somehow better/faster then the x86 chip.

    • jwz says:

      I couldn't care less, because I don't hack assembly.

      • taiganaut says:

        Interesting perspective. I assume that means you think application support for PPC hardware will continue in full for the entire time you plan to continue using it?

        • karlshea says:

          Interesting that everyone forgets the same thing happened with 68K and PPC several years ago, and it was as big of a non-issue as this will be.

        • baconmonkey says:

          oh no, he's only got about 2-4 years before PPC native support goes away. That means that about the time his hardware is obsolete, his hardware will be obsolete!
          Oh god, the horor, how will he ever switch in time?

          Has apple even built any x86 prototypes yet?
          There will be a pretty extensive delay in application migration to a new architecture, which will be compounded by a shift from big-endian to little endian architecture.
          Then there's the time it will take Apple to release even a developer's version of the OS before companies can start porting applications.

          • taiganaut says:

            IIRC, apple is already offering a developer's kit including an Intel-powered prototype running OS X and updated development tools. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

          • gytterberg says:

            They're shipping dev systems already, for $999. There's some writeups about them around... they're pretty much 99% stock PCs. They run Windows just fine.

            And OS X has been running on x86 for five years, secretly. Jobs finally copped to it during the announcement.

        • omnifarious says:

          I suspect he's forgetting that apps can't be just magically recompiled for a new architecture by someone who wants to put together a distribution. You have to wait for the company that owns the source to decide they want to do it for you. Oh, the joys of proprietary software.

          I use barely any proprietary software for my Powerbook aside from what ships with it, so I don't care much either. I guess it'll be disappointing that a few of the games I got will stop working as well. :-/

        • taffer says:

          Dev tools are free and easy to get; whatever software he ends up buying in the next few years isn't going to stop working suddenly.

  28. Go ahead and trap yourself in the proprietary prison of Apple. I'm glad that everything "just works" for you now. Wait a few years, and try and play a normal mp3 without any DRM. I wonder if it will "just work" and play... Already, Apple is moving away from it's media friendly past (Quicktime 7 pro upgrade anyone??) People are sometimes so ungrateful to the developers of open source software. At the very least, open source gives us a viable alternative that helps us keep some sanity in this world of DRM-happy proprietary companies. Apple is no different than Microsoft... they both only care about their bottom lines. If it takes DRM and restricted usage of their software and hardware to do it, so be it.

    I for one will not trade temporary ease of use, for personal computing freedom. Linux will continue improving...

    • jesus_x says:

      "They can take our source code, but they can never take OUR FREEDOM!" And ten thousand RMS fanboys plod along across a feild, running out of breath halfway, while the rest of us compromise a little and live life.

    • mark242 says:

      Your comment would be totally fucking right on, if it weren't for the multitude of GPL software for the Mac. What's that, a GPL mp3 player? Oops!

      But then again, I have been trolled, so...

    • fantasygoat says:

      I for one will not trade temporary ease of use, for personal computing freedom.

      Yeah, the freedom to debug .rc files and figure out arcane compiler errors. Sweet, sweet freedom! Taste the FREEDOM!

    • baldnate says:

      I, for one, welcome our new FUD waving overlords.

    • jlindquist says:

      Linux will continue improving...

      Clearly, in some respects it has not, lest Jamie wouldn't have moved. Sorry.

      Sure, there's been a lot of progress since '94. Unfortunately, media support isn't one of those fields. Gimp has come along nicely, so we have good single image support. Audacity gives us single audio track support. But God forbid you want to put pieces together into a larger production. There has not been a concerted effort to create kernel and API support for broad-based media production.

      I thought that maybe, once I had some free time, I might try to work on that myself. But about the time I cashed out and quit my job, I bought a G4/933 that shipped with OS X. I haven't looked back. I used to KVM back and forth a lot between my OS9 G3 desktop and my Linux box. Now I only do that if the G4 needs to be left alone to burn errorless DVDs. Anything I need to use Linux for can be done through ssh & iTerm.

      (iTerm, I'll note, finally fixed support for dragging selected text to drop elsewhere. I was peeved when I couldn't drag URLs out of IRC anymore.)

      I'd still like to see it. Linux as an alternative media platform would be a constant kick in the pants to the Mac crowd to keep innovating. But I'm not going to be a part of it, I've got higher priorities.

    • yakko says:

      Linux will continue improving...

      And so it will. I've observed GNOME go from a pile of shit to something I can halfway tolerate in the year and a half I've had my own Mac, but there're still fundamental tasks that NEED to be completed, like software sound mixing that doesn't suck fermented ass.

      It all started with me wanting a laptop that wasn't trash, so I bought this PowerBook G4. That was the end of my using Linux as a workstation, for the most part. I've traded one set of gripes (asstastic video problems, brokennes in GNOME, firewire not working in 2.6.x, fighting with ALSA or the kernel, etc) for another set of gripes (USB->serial adapters not supporting the break key, a UI that's blindingly white by default, slow hard drive, Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme breaking at random, etc). Neither set of gripes is insurmountable, but I've found MacOS X to be infinitely less painful in the long run (fink excepted; that's much like putting the pain back, although it does work most of the time).

      Apple is doing a good job of letting me do what I want right now. If they ever stop, I can just continue using Linux or a BSD. It's not like I forgot they were there...

    • mahoganytrim says:

      Do your ass cheeks flap hard enough to make a clapping noise when you talk through them?
      That would be awesome. gcc 4.0 runs great on osx. Maybe if clueless OS biggots like yourself would look into things before opening afore mentioned ass cheeks, you could write some code for osx, keep the source under gpl or whatever your license choice is, and "rage against the machine."

      Regarding you being a marter for the rest of us.... We all took a vote on it and we decided that being a showoff on a blog automatically disqualifies you from the propeller hat drawing. Sorry.

    • ned says:

      it's been this way for years, it's nothing new. QT's core abilities is technically free to anyone, as anyone can write a program that uses "QT pro" abilities. all you are actually paying for is a player. and as I said in my subject line, you can keep an old copy of QT6 player pro and it will work flawlessly with QT7.

    • resunatrue says:

      Wait a few years, and try and play a normal mp3 without any DRM.

      How would a company with an operating system that's basically a proprietary GUI on an open-source kernel prevent you from running any software you want on it? In the worst case, the absolutely worst case, you'd have to port a Linux music player over (or more likely just install it through Darwinports).

      Yes, open source gives you a viable alternative. That's one of the advantages of OS X.

  29. astrange says:

    I've never seen that particular problem with the glib 2.0 packages in Fink, but that part is maintained by our GNOME team, and as far as I can tell none of them have had any spare time for Fink in ages. I'll see if I can reproduce it, though; what version of 'pkgconfig' is installed and which version of 'glib2-dev' does it try to install?

    • jwz says:

      Aha, "glib2-dev" was the missing piece of the puzzle, thanks. After installing that, I was able to play whack-a-mole with the "pkg-config --list-all" error messages and install pango1-xft2-dev, atk, and libxml2, and now it works.

      The pkg-config-related dependencies are clearly broken, though. I think this is not a Fink-specific error, but it's really easy to get errors like:

        % pkg-config --list-all
        Package gobject-2.0 was not found in the pkg-config search path.
        Perhaps you should add the directory containing `gobject-2.0.pc'
        to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
        Package 'gobject-2.0', required by 'GdkPixbuf Xlib', not found

      with no indication of what package is missing or how to fix it. E.g., according to fink/apt, there is no "package" named "gobject".

      And, that accomplished, it's still possible to crash the X server simply by running xscreensaver-demo and clicking on two consecutive GL savers. This is one of nature's little warning signs!

      • fantasygoat says:

        When I tried using the precompiled version it wouldn't display any fonts in the dialog boxes, and it would crash when trying to actually display any of the screensavers. I chalked it up to "wasn't meant to be".

      • kfringe says:

        Seriously: abandon fink now, before your head explodes. I'm not kidding about this. It's only pretending to be useful.

        DarwinPorts is actually useful.

      • taffer says:

        My X server goes down with one GL saver, so it's not just you.

        The 2D ones work fine, although I've been too lazy to go back and fix the configuration so xscreensaver can find fortune.

  30. fantasygoat says:

    I, for one, welcome our OS X natively compiled overlords.

    Did you get the sweet iMac G5 with the 20" display?

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, it's very nice.

      I was thinking of just getting a Mini (since I figured that would be the quietest of all possible options), but they don't have built-in S/PDIF output, and you can't put a disk in them bigger than 60GB (I guess they use tiny laptop drives).

      • fantasygoat says:

        After I posted I was looking at the Apple website and thought of the Mini, and your answers made short work of that question.

        The iMac is the only machine in the lineup with a decent native resolution, plus it's way cheaper than the G5 desktop.

        It's really cool how Shit Just Works, plus you still get a shell and cron and all that other UNIXy goodness. Once you get used to the semi-wacky UI differences it's pretty good - what Linux should have been.

        • fyre_fiend says:

          With 10.4 Apple got rid of cron and is now using something they developed themselves

        • edge_walker says:

          Once you get used to the semi-wacky UI differences it’s pretty good – what Linux should have been.

          You know what’s funny?

          I used a PowerMac with OS 9 for a few months at one of my jobs, a good while before OS X come out. (BBEdit is the only GUIish text editor I can stand to use for protracted periods.) It managed to map a very large part of the system to the GUI, very consistenly. It was the most usable system for non-nerds I’ve ever seen, by far. OS X has broken that in many ways, because… well, it’s Unix. Apple managed to patch a lot of the Classic goodness back in, but… well, it’s Unix.

          Despite how much of a regression OS X is, it’s still better than anything else.

          OTOH, Linux will eventually get there too. It’ll just take about 10× longer because there’s no dictator saying “this is what we’ll do and I don’t care if you wanted otherwise.” Look at Mozilla vs Firefox.

          • srcosmo says:

            OT: What is the point of using all those <abbr> tags? If anybody will know what OS stands for, it's this crowd...

            • edge_walker says:

              It was too much trouble to get rid of them. No, seriously. I’ve bound a few filters that pipe the clipboard through all or some of Markdown, SmartyPants and an <abbr> inserter to a few key combos. After I wrote that reply I habitually hit the combo to run it through all of them and then I was too lazy to remove all the fluff.

              • weev says:

                These filters? I'd get rid of them. They make you look like an idiot.

                • edge_walker says:

                  What's the alternative? Writing HTML tags manually? That felt geeky for a while until I realized it’s boring. In LJ comments it’s not a big deal, but elsewhere, those filters, they’ve saved me so much tedium, I can forgive them making me look dumb on occasion.

              • srcosmo says:

                Ah, all right. I just have visions of web designer weenies typing all this crap by hand.

      • You can, however, plug in external IEE1394 hard drives. A Mac will happily boot off these, and on a mini, they will apparently be faster than the internal drive (at least if you use a desktop drive with a decent RPM).

        • cvisors says:

          would have to agree with you here, I got a mini a couple of months ago, and running an external firewire dive is quite a bit faster.

          though having a 4200rpm drive is a bit too slow. my powerbook is much nicer :)

          ps, longtime no talk acb. have a word with you soon. sorry about stuff.

          • wyndebreaker says:

            I have an external Firewire enclosure that I use with my Mac, and it works quite well. I plugged a 200GB 7200 RPM ATA133 drive and it worked right away, after setting the jumpers. The only problem I have with this is that the external tends to go to sleep quite a lot, and it always takes a few seconds to spin up once it's asleep. The energy saver settings in OSX only apply to the main boot drive, which you can set to never go to sleep. External drives can't be kept awake indefinitely.

      • Plus, they're dog slow.

        Which you could look at as a kind of twisted nostalgia, really, since that's what my primary memory of my old PowerMac 7200 was -- waiting for the damn watch cursor. Well, the Mini does that a whole heck of a lot too.

      • dzm6 says:

        I really hope that rzr_grl got you an employee discount.

      • solarbird says:

        They do. The Mini is basically a Powerbook backplane, folded in half.

        • jwz says:

          Huh. Well, it's not listed on the spec sheet, anyway.

          • solarbird says:

            Macworld took one apart. They don't make that conclusion themselves, but Apple's mostly using laptop parts and it just looks a lot like Powerbook motherboard cut and half and joined with a miniature backplane. It's not that simple, of course, but, well, honestly, the approach makes sense. If you want something tiny, why not go with the tiny parts you already have?

  31. d1663m says:

    I've been taking a closer look at the Mac platform lately. I'm mostly OS ambivalent. I've been running Windows and Linux for the last 10 years. I'm leaning heavily toward Linux for the flexibility and security. I'm just about completely done with Windows. It's a wonderful gaming platform but I don't trust it to handle much else. Hardware wise I don't know of anything I've thrown at it that it can't handle (personal computing HW only :). The GUI is fragmented and sucky, getting at the internals to beat it into submission and make it do what *I* want it to is not very satisfying.

    Mac looks like the best of both worlds, the clicky goodness of Windows, only better. But with the command line flexibility of Linux/Unix. YAY!

    I seriously want to see how it turns out. What things you find really annoying and what you maybe didn't expect to happen.

    • srattus says:

      I'm with you.

      I have my native amd64 gentoo server, assorted trashboxes for testing and dev, and I've been waiting to pull the trigger on a serious mac workstation.

      I'm getting tired of biding my time though. I've got needs, man! ;)

    • fraveydank says:

      I've been using Macs since 1984, and I was about to give up on them for Linux a few years back (because OS 9 sucked the balls) until OS X came out. I had all the command-line goodness I loved in Linux and all the interface niceties I loved in the Mac, with the protected memory and proper swapping system of a modern OS. I keep a Windows machine around for games and for assorted electronic design applications that just don't exist anywhere else (and aren't that stellar on Windows *coughOrcadcough*), and I keep Linux as a dual-boot option because I do use it on the PC for some things. I run a headless dual Opteron box for my web server. I'd say I spend 95% of my time on my Mac.

      Bottom line: if you liked Linux, you'll *probably* like Mac OS. Real UNIX environment (including X, if you want it), with none of the ridiculous patchwork of windows and little of the arcanity (probably not actually a word) of Linux.

  32. substitute says:

    Just reading about your Linux sound adventures gave me PTSD from the last time I tried to do that, five years ago. My linux box is now a happy headless server without anything interesting plugged into it, and my laptop does sound and USB and firewire and everything like that without the necessity for mad science.

    • leonbrooks says:

      They all run Linux (Mandrake 10.2). The sound works polyphonically out of the box for all of them. One has a cheap but nice Yamaha 744 card, two are crappy i810 clones and one is a random AC'97 PCI card.

  33. srattus says:

    yeah. I'm about there myself.

    I was waiting for dual core g5s to finally get around to being in boxes, but now with the intel thing happening, I'm tempted to make due until the x86s come along.

    • It's hardly ever worth waiting for a new computer... and I don't think that now is any exception. At least not for the desktop range. You'll get probably 2 years out of a new G5 Mac or Dual G5 before the new ones begin to get into their stride.

      I love my G5 :-). They're great machines. You're only waiting because you're scared :-D

      • srattus says:

        yeah. I'll likely just cop out and get an amd64 shuttlepc with a big display card (I need my dual head large geography) and pci-x in the interim.

        not exactly what I had in mind, but it'll be the difference of 3k, so whatever.

  34. kallisti says:

    I Posted to my local LUG that Linux on the Desktop is deaddeaddead. With Mac-on-Intel, I expect that we will see a sub $500 Mac, complete with display & such in under a year. Linux will be excellent for Servers, and Embedded, and probably dominate those markets. It will also have a smaller market for making older systems useful to those who need computing power, and can't afford much.

    Much as I enjoy compiling kernels and fiddling with compile options, I, too, would prefer a computer that just works, and doesn't behave like lab-rats that are genetically pre-disposed to catch any virus that comes withing 20 miles.

    And're dead meat.


  35. baconmonkey says:

    when you mentioned this before, I was worried that you would go batty with nothing to hate about computers when you got one that Just Works. Having read all the goofy replies, I see that my fears were unwarranted. There are still people who use computers, and most of them make themselves worthy of hate. And thus, JWZ's geekological niche of revered curmudgeon is still in tact.

    • Wait till he finds out about the video formats that won't play in OS X.

        • flaterik says:

          WMP3 embedded in AVI. AFAIK it Just Won't Work on OS X. That was the state of things not all that long ago, anyway.

          Can't think of anything else that just Won't Work, but some things are easier than others. Notably, MKV support has gotten better... but all of a sudden VLC has gone wanky-as-fuck on me. Though, really, it hasn't been happy since Tiger came to town. Hopefully that's resolved soon, since in general I adore VLC.

          Luckily for me someone actually released an OS X MPlayer binary that works. Trying to compile it myself was reminiscent of getting X working on debian with a modern ATI video card in 1997. Except that in 1997 I thought it was fun to spend days on that shit.

        • fraveydank says:

          Yeah, AVI's just blow on the Mac (big surprise; it's Microsoft's format). You can run probably about 80% of them in VLC and about 10% of them (a subset of that 80%, not part of the other 20%) in Quicktime. Aside from that, you're probably OK unless you need something way out there.

      • baconmonkey says:

        compared to the list of formats that either won't play on linux, or require a kernel recompile?

        I suspect the new list is a lot shorter than the old list.

        I, for one welcome JWZ to the world of Not-1997

    • resunatrue says:

      1. HFS+ is really fragile next to UFS. And Apple hasn't figured out that making the file system reserve enough space for bookkeeping is a good idea, you can actually irrevocably damage the file system by filling it up too much with heavily fragmented files.

      2. Finder is a mutant merge of the NeXT file manager and the pre-BSD Finder, it doesn't know about UNIX permissions and execute bits, and it sometimes thinks "/Users/Peter" is spelled "Apple HD : Users : peter".

      3. NO TAPE DRIVE SUPPORT. Oh, OK, it supports whatever classic API Dantz uses for Retrospect, but any UNIX software that expects to talk to /dev/nrmt0 or something is out of luck, so I call that "no support".

      4. I'd like something in between "standard UNIX console noise" and "a shiny blue progress bar that doesn't mean anything" when it boots. The old Apple boot process was both shiny and informative.

      5. No xscreensaver!

  36. crazyfrench says:

    You gave me the only reason to be somewhat proud to have worked on iCal... Oh wait, I'm not, but whatever. Good luck.

    (why am I banned from posting ?)

    • jwz says:

      I don't know, who are you? The answer is almost certainly: because you thought it'd be funny to scream "get a mac! ha ha ha" when I asked a specific question about something.

  37. By longer audio cables, do you mean AirPort Express and maybe Airfoil?

    Yes, OS X is nicer than Linux, nicer even in many of the ways Linux is nice.

  38. anne_thrope says:

    jeremy zawodny added this in his high subscribership blog with a link to your post


    • gths says:

      The comments on that are, well, not that amusing, but predictable...
      JWZ - hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people can play sounds in their linux boxes right now. maybe you aren't as smart as people think. if you weren't so arrogant you could post to a newsgroup or forum and get some help, but you'd rather whine in your blog. go back to your disco club.

    • zhixel says:

      It's great to know that JWZ finally doesn't matter much anymore.

      Wait, what?

    • jzawodn says:

      Hey, I'm no Slashdot!

  39. buz says:

    ...pry my Kaypro from my cold dead desk!

    Actually.... my mom junked it years ago.
    • leonbrooks says:

      ...but I once wrote some screen handling code for this in Z80 assembler.

      The screen RAM had 8 bits, and a 7-bit character set, so they used the top bit for an attribute: blink. Beat Netscape to it by over a decade.

  40. p3rlm0nk says:

    I've been a long-time Unix user (mostly Linux post-99 or so), and picked
    up a 12" PowerBook this spring because I'd had it with making PCMCIA bullshit
    work on my Linux laptop. Overall I've had a pretty good time with it,
    and it seems like it's not an uncommon transition.

    Anyway, I didn't see these mentioned in the thread and they might be
    useful (as a keyboard junkie, if you only look at one thing here,
    look at Quicksilver):

    • -- software search engine / update lister / etc.
      kind of handy if you're wondering "what tools exist for $foo?" and
      want something to supplement el google.
    • Quicksilver -- sort of a program launcher / spotlight-ish thing that is
      hard to describe but real easy to use; freeware. Using it cuts down on the necessity
      of mousing dramatically. (e.g. cmd-space to bring it up, "fi" completes to
      "firefox", the default action (open/run) is enter)
    • Romeo -- if your mac has bluetooth and you've got a compatible
      bluetooth phone, it lets you use your phone as a remote control. free, lots
      of plugins. A payware analog is Sailing Clicker, which also has a ton of plugins,
      maybe more device (phone/pda) support. Either of these plus
      iTunes/audion/DVD Player/VLC make for much lazy media enjoyment.
    • Audion -- if you want something to play mp3s and such that's a bit lighter
      than iTunes (they've stopped dev on it, and it does have some minor
      irritants but for me, being used to winamp/xmms it's less annoying
      than iTunes, ymmv of course). "free" with provided reg code on dev's site
    • Adium -- functionally equivalent to GAIM or Trillian. freeware
    • Meteorologist -- a little weather forecast dingus for your menubar; freeware

    Other than that I find myself spending most of my time using Firefox and
    Terminal. There are a number of nice Carbon/Cocoa-ized clients for things
    like IRC/SFTP out there, but mostly I end up spawning a terminal for those
    things. (I do find myself using Fugu when I get tired of escaping
    bizarrely named files during sftp interactions.) There's plenty of
    scientific software out there if that's your thing (I use this guy's
    Octave build frequently). Basically to me it's a nicely integrated portable
    Unix environment that requires nearly zero configuration hassles, so my usage
    patterns are probably different than other folks' (e.g. graphics people).

    Good luck with your new machine!

    • grouch says:

      don't forget growl!

      i recently moved from using butler as my launcher/itunes controller/etc to using spotlight as my launcher, growl as my message popup thingy, and synergy for controlling itunes.

  41. transiit says:

    See, now that's pretty impressive.

    You dealt with not being able to find a Linux-friedly sound card that supported coax by dropping 1800 bones on a machine that obsoletes your own work, gives you a whole new universe of problems to discover, and still doesn't support coax audio output.

  42. I tried for about 4 hours (over a span of 2 days) to try to get xscreensaver to work on my mac, and it.just.wouldn' I got something going, but it wouldn't actually work as a screensaver, nor did 80% of the modules work.

    Other than that, welcome to the recently-made dark side. Don't forget Desktop Manager for all your multi-tasking needs.

    • taffer says:

      I managed to build it in less than four hours (hey, I've got a 12" iBook... slllloooooowwww disk in there, and I had to install all of the support packages)... I must've gotten lucky with Fink packages being in a working state at the time.

  43. nailer says:

    Hrm, what Linux distro were you using?

    Almost anything that's remotely user focused will notice a wheel mouse as soon as its plugged in. Fedora would be an example. Syntax for xorg.conf's become irrelevant these days unless you've got a particularly strange display that doesn't support DDC probing.

    Sunbird's a beta. If you want calendaring, use Evo.

    I plug my iPod into OSX on my new Mini and iTunes asks me to delete all my music before I can use it. New icons keep appearing halfway under the dock. Changing what program opens a file is done by 'Get Info' and this makes absolutely no sense. Software update wants me to reboot every time it does anything.

    So horses for courses.

  44. benediktus says:

    no ellen feiss quote by now?

  45. georgiew says:

    Hi there

    you might want to read my brother's blog, where he wrote about the things that were new and weird on osx after moving from linux.



  46. xeger says:

    Oh dear, oh yes.

    I'm in the middle of building a useable linux desk/laptop for work[0], and it's such a screaming pain compared to my sweet albook at home. How many dependancies can I chase today? -Is- there even a way to do what I want to do at all? Why do I have to shave an army of yaks before getting what I want to do, done?

    [0] All things considered I'd still prefer to run the company approved linux build over the company approved windows build.

    • leonbrooks says:

      The rest of it pretty much falls into line after that. Let the package manager chase the dependencies. Just like Mac OS X, only earlier.

      Good luck finding a working equivalent under MS-Windows.

      • xeger says:

        I'd be happy to hear your suggestions about a decent package management system.

        This latest time involved wrestling with apt/apt4rpm. Previous iterations have involved wrestling with rpm. Ports, which isn't an option in this case[0] worked sanely for me, and the one time I needed to send in a fix, the maintainer was responsive.

        As far as windows goes, I think you misread me - I'd still rather wrestle with linux, and use vmware for those things that simply aren't available, than use MS-Windows as my base OS.

        [0] Re: Attempting to adhere to the corporate standard

        • leonbrooks says:

          Being a slacker, I normally use URPMI. Between Mandrake's reasonably large package selection and the Penguin Liberation Front's little extras, I very rarely have to chase a dependency (and I administer Linux boxes doing a broad spectrum of things). When I do have to chase, I find a .src.rpm (even if not Mandrake) and rebuild it on the target system, which is generally trivial.

          The most cantankerous I've run into this year was adapting the QMail-Toaster RPMs (which apparently hadn't been rebuilt since Mandrake 9.2) to work with 10.1 and 10.2/LE2005, which required copying a chunk of .spec file, modifying it, doing 8 identical mods in the sections below it and another one-liner a dozen lines below those. Which reminds me, I should send back the .spec file patches for the benefit of others.

          I don't normally use Debian, but when I have I've had great success with apt. As well as the more-than-ten-thousand (17? some extreme number of) packages in the main repositories, there are small (down to one-file) apt repositories around for damn near everything, and a rebuild-from-source is if anything less difficult than with Mandrake's dialect of the RPM system.

          I don't normally use Red Hat or SuSE, and when I have I've not done anything "fringe" with them, but I have watched other admins get good results from yum and YAST.

          I'm not brilliant, there's nothing exceptional (well, not exceptionally good, anyway :-) in my package wrangling skills, so if you haven't had this much luck yourself, perhaps you need to throw away the rabbit's foot and try something more effective? (-:

  47. taffer says:

    I've done native Cocoa ports of Rorschach, Vines (because it was trivial), and Noof.

    I started on GLMatrix but got distracted.

    The "holy shit, it just works"-ness of my iBook has convinced me to replace the XP boxes (yeah, I know...) in my house with OS X boxes of some sort.

    • jwz says:

      I think the thing to do is write a small Xlib-syntax shim that adds a Cocoa backend for the hacks; that way, minimal changes to the majority of the source should be needed, and maybe there could still be a cross-platform base. Actually, maybe most of that shim should translate Xlib to OpenGL, since 3D acceleration gets more love than 2D acceleration these days.

      • taffer says:

        Yup, a decent project for someone who doesn't have anything better to do for a couple of months (any students reading here?).

        I went "native" with those to get some Cocoa experience, since I still have these fantasies about writing useful software and having suckerspeople send me money so I can stop being a technical writer.

  48. harmione says:

    I just can't help wondering if your conversion has anything to do with your  "nakedness-related
    program activities"

  49. tboucher says:

    While not a huge linux hacker I did the same thing a few years ago, got tired of things that didn't Just Work and bought an iMac.

    Great OS, Great machine regardless of the technology

  50. wybnormal says:

    You and I are in the same boat, sort of speaking. I have a iMac G5 that just works.. which is more than I can say about my Windows boxes or even my beloved Linux boxes. For my day to day reseaching, writing and email, the Mac has taken over completely. In fact, even the video just works. I just cranked out ripping and making a short piece from a dozen different DVDs and it all just worked.. Windows never was able to make it through one clip without crashing at least once.. but my sound cards did work :) Even under Linux

    You can read about my misadventures at

    Enjoy your newfound freedom from bluescreens, crashes, freezes and other troubles.


  51. strredwolf says:

    Hard to hear you say that (I heard this on Slashdot, alas). I heard you had problems with sound cards in Linux. However, I do belive you may have the same problems with MacOS X -- you can't play two sounds at once.

    Why? Most sound cards don't support it in the hardware. Ether you need a sucky ALSA plugin (dmix), sucky sound servers (ESD/ARTS/JACK), or... a sound card which has a hardware mixer and natively supports it.

    I still have an old Creative Audio PCI card, an es1371 based card. It had two sound ports (dsp0 and dsp1). I would slap ESD/ARTS/whatever on dsp1 and let XMMS/VMWare/whatever have dsp0. I now have a Soundblaster Live! card, which under ALSA has only one sound port that can be opened fifty ways to San Diego at the same time, and it doesn't even jam.

    Yes, Soundblaster Live. It just works.

    I'd still keep the Mac. I'd slap Linux PPC on it and run MacOnLinux to keep MacOS X on it.

    • garote says:

      However, I do belive you may have the same problems with MacOS X -- you can't play two sounds at once. Why? Most sound cards don't support it in the hardware

      Really? There's an Apple machine out there, capable of running OS X, with sound hardware that crappy? Let me guess - it's that Macintosh PowerPC G3, in the old grey case?

      • So what you're saying is that he just paid well over a thousand dollars for a $30 sound card?

      • strredwolf says:

        Nope, most common hardware's like that, including on-board audio on modern systems. Ether you buy a better card (Soundblaster Live!) or you work it in software.

        A comment (that's still hidden when I wrote this) said that MacOS X has a software audio mixer (which hopefully doesn't suck like ESD or ARTS, and is more full featured than ALSA's dmix plugin). That'll aleviate things but it's no subsitute for doing it in hardware.

        • garote says:

          Wow, that sucks!! Perhaps Apple should start a wee dialogue with the folks over at Creative.

        • Hey dude, I'm gonna let you in on a secret.

          Windows and Macintosh have had this problem solved for a long time now. Seriously!

        • wyrd_sane says:

          Having multiple sounds playing at once is very standard in Windoze--it has been for at least a couple or three years now. Probably they're using DirectSound, and maybe they're doing it all in software not hardware, I don't know--it "Just Works". ;-P

          Yeah, I might swith to Mac one of these days, they're just so price-y.

    • cfs_calif says:

      Well, for what it appears jwz wants to use it for (play mp3 + flash at the same time), it will work fine. Mac OS provides software audio mixing automatically using the AudioKit framework.

      If he wants to use a non-Cocoa or Carbon application (e.g., mpg123), he'll have to link in the AudioKit framework and write glue around them, some work, but not impossible.

      I mean a software audio mixer should just be in the kernel on Linux, I can't believe in the decade since PC's had audio cards, it just hasn't been done. It doesn't seem like hard problem to solve.

      I suspect just no one cares to put in the resources to make it happen.


    • marmoset says:

      I do belive you may have the same problems with MacOS X -- you can't play two sounds at once.

      Um, no.

      Hell, classic MacOS supported OS-level sound mixing as far back as the Sound Manager, which shipped in the 1980's.

  52. frodomorris says:

    I'm still using my other Linux machine to read mail and run XEmacs, but I'm hoping to wean myself of that eventually, one way or another

    Have a look at Carbon XEmacs patch if you like your Emacs to be graphical. I'm using a Carbon version of GNU Emacs, myself.

  53. cfs_calif says:

    They've gone and done it. Clearly Slashdot has taken the JWZ fuck you challenge: "Jamie Zawinski Switches to Mac OS X"

    Let the flames begin!


  54. gaijin1975 says:

    If nothing mac os x has such delicious programs like
    iCal, KoolClip,
    and so much more.

    With linux, it was fun too .. especially making the most basic stuff
    work after breaking sweat for a few hours (shudder at the thought of
    each new gadget that I connected to linux ...)

    But with OSX its just delicious ...

  55. ozone42 says:

    Just made the switch myself, well almost. My iMac is sitting somewhere between here and orlando, but tomorow... ohhh yeah.

    I understand your frustration completely. I had a lot of friends look at me like I was crazy when I told them. Friends that had been using linux as long as I have (93-94ish?) The windows users I know seem to sympathize a lot more.

  56. gribbler says:

    Wow. It's funny, I've been saying to all my *nix buds for 2 years that OSX is pretty cool, some mind numbing annoying things, but with each release I've seen mainly a step forward in a positive direction.. I think it's interesting that /. posts that jwz is switching; I consider it not a large defection more a move by someone who's grown frustrated with the limitations of Linux. I work in a production studio that has nearly 350 linux machines, and I get 'tsk tsk'd by the guys I work with when I say linux is a horrible POS because it's all over the place in its development, there's no clear control and oversight like you do with my fave free OS, FreeBSD. I've used OSX a lot, and like it a fair bit, my biggest complaint are that trying to get it to mount NFS home directories without editing the NetInfo DB, AND get them to mount on startup, and not on login. Pain in the ass, I've yet to see anyone get that working without a hack. But that's cool I'm not too bothered as we have so few Macs and it was just me hacking to get the server to work. Anyways, I guess I said a schite load more than I wanted to, I just wanted to say hey jwz, i got your back. Ha. like you need it. ;)

    p.s. - it's funny as I was recently introducing a bunch of admins to jwz, who he is, what he's done and, about 10 days ago, so it's fitting that there's a ref to him on /. - Thanks jwz for years and years of insight and commentary.

  57. alioth1 says:

    Please don't abandon xscreensaver. It's bloody brilliant.

  58. kagatolnx says:

    Thanks for xscreensaver and gronk.

    Good luck with your Mac.

    I understand your need for a complete experience. Many of use don't appreciate the time lost using incomplete software. Sure, it can be made to work, but if "it just works", well, it just works. Weeks of your life saved, I'm sure.

    Just because Slashdot would happily sacrifice mixed SPDIF output doesn't mean you should.

    That said, I do feel that you should place your anger firmly where it belongs, with the sound card vendors. The fact of the matter is that if they are willing to play the game, it is not difficult to develop and get a get a good driver included in the Linux kernel (certainly not as hard as getting something in a certain unnamed BSD).

    As for the "experience", well, Apple has that going for it. They're focused, they're not afraid of bucking the trends. They are unwilling to compromise on the end product--even to the point of massive development expense and unilateral ignoring of what everyone else is doing. That's the right way to do it. I just wish that someone could do it and keep it open. When I have to full source (and my right to use/modify it) to OS/X, maybe I'll feel differently.

    Apple is playing well now, I just have a difficulty trusting anyone with money and shareholders. I hate to say it, but the design of modern corporations is intended to seperate the funding from the control of the company. It serves to provide a barrier which allows the management to commit the sins and the shareholders to ignorantly reap the profits. The only checks on that are the shareholder (a lost cause in my opinion, because they are never accountable) and the customer (see divide and conquer). Given Apple's direction in the DRM particularly, I'm worried that the enlightened user may eventaully be swept up in a more corporate desire to herd the cattle. Call me paranoid.

    • darkengobot says:

      That said, I do feel that you should place your anger firmly where it belongs, with the sound card vendors.

      I don't follow you. How is the the hardware's fault? Because they don't support Linux? Why should they? It works under Windows just fine. Why cater to a crowd of perennially grumpy nerds?

      (Don't tell me that all they have to do is provide details on the hardware, or the BIOS, or the gribblefronk. They don't. They don't for some reason, and it's probably not because they simply want to screw you Linux folks. Maybe it's technical, maybe it's an IP thing. Oops, I just said a bad word, "Intellectual Property". Forget I said it.)

      Linux is shit on the desktop. Hey, no biggie. It makes a decently nice server. Well, it did: I use FreeBSD now because it runs better on older hardware, the kind of stuff I have laying around.

      Anyway, I hope jwz enjoys his Mac. I think he will, and somehow he'll continue to sleep at night, even though he doesn't have the source to Mac OS X.

      • kagatolnx says:

        No, lack of support is the vendor's fault. If anyone wants to be unhappy for incomplete, proprietary hardware, they should be unhappy at the hardware vendor. The only one who can make it work is the hardware vendor. This realization is not rocket science. People unhappy with proprietary hardware should be unhappy with the proprietary hardware vendor because the hardware vendor has the sole ability to make it work (by their own choice of a proprietary driver model).

        I don't think a hardware vendor needs to look much farther than, say, 3COM NIC chip market share to see the truth of this. Right now the market is dominated by cheap Realtek chips and the like--not 3COM chips. The only other major competitor, Intel, took it upon themselves to make a good driver so their chips could compete. When hardware is open, it sells itself. There's no good reason for people (and also importantly businesses) not to use it. Licensing and support issues only deter someone from buying your product. Now there are regulatory issues with things like ISDN and wireless, but that doesn't apply here.

        I don't know what your problem is. I'm a customer, my vendor doesn't support me, they don't make a pretense to. I don't like it. It's my right not to like it. That doesn't make me a perennially grumpy nerd. That makes me a neglected customer. Look to Apple to understand why neglecting your customers is bad for Microsoft.

        Yes. They don't provide the details. I don't understand why I have to like that? Why do I have to blindly accept what the hardware vendor decides is his business decision? It's their right to make it and my right to complain about it. Well, it's also my right not to buy their stuff anymore.

        At what point does someone's "right to choose their own licensing/support scheme" outweigh my right to say I don't like it. I believe, well, at no point. Of course, maybe you're not that keen on free speech. After watching enough politics, I can't say I don't agree sometimes.

        As for "Linux is shit on the desktop", well, I have users on it. Not systems programmers, telemarketers. If they can use it anyone can. And you know what? Most of them DON'T KNOW IT'S NOT WINDOWS! These people are NORMAL!

        I hate to say it, but the "you're the minority, I'm within 1 standard deviation of the norm" flame-game just doesn't work. If you know enough to argue this point, you're just as bad off as I am. Welcome to the "perenially grumy nerd" club.

        Again, I hope JWZ enjoys his Mac. I hope he learns very intimately why he likes it. At least he'll have something to work on when he ends up on the wrong end of the proprietary boot again.

        • effbot says:

          "I have users on it. Not systems programmers, telemarketers. If they can use it anyone can."

          Telemarketers doing system administration on their own boxes? Wow. I have a Linux box that needs some reconfiguration, and no time to figure out how to do it. Can I borrow one of your marketers?

          • kagatolnx says:

            Ummm, no. They're using Linux on the Desktop. You know. For Desktop stuff. They don't have problems. Indicating that "Linux is shit on the desktop" might be a bit of an overstatement if not a fallacy. Not indicating that I have the worlds smartest telemarketers under my thumb (believe me, their not, that's the point).

            • effbot says:

              Uhuh. So where exactly did you get the impression that JWZ had trouble *using* stuff that were already installed, configured, and tested by someone else?

              • kagatolnx says:

                I didn't get that impression. This post's parent's parent's parent's parent (or something like that) cited Linux being "shit on the desktop" as a good reason to make the "Switch". While I do believe that Apple is quite ahead of Linux on the desktop, I think that their statement was perhaps a bit heavyhanded. I felt the urge to dissent.

                At any rate, I suspect this is how threads get off topic.

                P.S. If your initials are FL, Ben Last is apparently a jerk. Just my two cents on that situation.

  59. scooterphish says:

    I'd used Linux for the last 8-9 years as my full time OS. Years ago, thru an employer, I got Mac OS X training (pre-public beta Mac OS X 10.0 training, to boot).
    I finally went out and purchased a Mac.
    The unix tools under the hood (I still always have a terminal window open - you can't beat command line tools, no matter how pretty the OS is. Old habits die hard), the 'shit just works' Mac applications and hardware.
    This is the way Linux/Unix is supposed to be.

  60. lypanov says:

    ex-kde devel here... made the switch to osx about 6 months ago.

    key thing is learning not to care. i've wasted most of the last 6
    years fixing other peoples shit when i really just wanted to work
    on my own stuff.

    enough with the tangents, nows the time to just code :)


  61. mattbot says:

    Welcome to the fold. Your stickers, t-shirts, yarn iMac cosy and swag are in the mail. We can start a MUG at DNA so get ready to meet all your new graphic designer friends. It's going to be so much fun! Shiny, shiny buttons 4 ever!

  62. shadowborn78 says:

    There is something about this I find very amazing.

    Once, in a galaxy far far away, I was a Windows sucker. I converted to Linux and BSD long ago for most of my daily needs (mostly servers though, cause thats where it really rocks), and keep the Evil Empire(tm) boxes only arround for one thing: Games.

    Though I'm quite fit on Linux by now, some things are more inconvinient than just using the Windows equavilent. Not because they are worse (quite the contrary) but because they either require some re-learning time (like switching from MS Office (painfully known for the job) to OpenOffice) or because you want to do things "just right" (like spending countless hours in compiling Gentoo to squeeze out a saved CPU cycle every 20 minutes or so).

    I for one go happily through all associated pains because Linux gives me the ability to read sources, to tweak what I want, it gives me _choice_, freedom from DRM, timely patches, < insert about a billion other Eric Raymond quotes here >

    Now the amazing thing is this: Along comes Apple, and while I never owned one, I read a lot about it and worked briefly with some (fixing basic things for total n00bs).

    With Apple comes a (admittedly) nice OS with maybe the best GUI ever seen, a solid CPU design (okay, thats a thing of the past, enter Intel) and a lot of nice apps. Granted. But also with a similar lock-in you'd get by being a minion of Bill of Redmond?

    Someone please enlighten me (me being a Mac n00b): If Apple inserts DRM in the near future, or something like Microsofts Palladium *Rest in Piece for now* and I sincerely believe they will (protecting their iTunes Shop investments and safeguarding from countless retailers offering OS X on sleek stylish and probably cheaper Intel boxes) - whats the backup plan? Is there an Open Source OS X I overlooked? Will one run YellowDog or whatever its called on the Mac box (or by the time its x86, Gentoo/Fedora/Suse/Debian/name any)? Or just bite the teeth together and pay any price Steve Jobs decides to determine, using a trusty dice, for software and media?


    • marmoset says:

      Well, if your nightmare scenario comes to pass, the fact that I'm over thirty means that I'll be on the run to Sanctuary with Sandmen on my tail, so I probably won't care much.

      In the meantime, I'll be using a nice, integrated Unix box with strong apps, a great GUI, and that allows me to hear my IM notifications while I play music, all without having to toggle kernel modules. I call that a fair tradeoff.

  63. opacity says:

    I completely agree with you! I just switched from Debian to os 10.4. I got tired of spending days upon days of jacking with poorly written non working software that has purely random behavior. In is 10.4 Bluetooth(works) ical (works) my mail doesnt disappear etc...

    I have been getting shit from people about not using linux and being l33t. They may be l33t but I now have more free time and am much much more organized :)

  64. gorgonous says:

    I was searching for resources on the Linux -> Mac switch from the developer/high-end user perspective, and your post is #1 for, "switching from linux to mac".