you failed

I read the lines
(or, xterm jail term)

I feel like I need to justify my existence when I tell people I use a Mac. "You should use Linux! Macs suck man! Way to drink the koolaid dude!" or some similar refrain is usually what I hear. I do my usual tactful reply of "It's a tool to do a job" which of course falls on deaf ears because that person is just looking for an argument, and has too much time on their hands and I have a job to do and a mortgage to pay so mostly I just put up with it. Or rather I seethe quietly into my coffee.

The long answer is it all comes down to my line of work. I've been into UNIX systems administration since the early 90s, though it'd be another few years before I started my first job in the field. At the time I used Slackware and NetBSD for a period, before moving onto Redhat and OpenBSD for a time. Briefly I dabbled with running Solaris as a desktop on a UltraSparc5 before moving to FreeBSD and then to Fedora Core. Then the MacOS transition to Intel processors happened and I used a Hackintosh for a good couple of years before finally deciding I was tired of building my own hardware and I was more than happy to let someone else make those decisions for me.

Why would I use a Mac when it's just as easy to pop open a terminal in Linux? Basically, I feel like I've done my time with Linux on the desktop.

  • Remember how much fun it was in the early days to get your network card working? That's right, you need to recompile your kernel. This was fun for precisely 5 minutes.

  • Remember dial-up modems? Remember configuring PPP for the first time using nothing but the man page? Eventually I got mine working due to working for a global telecoms company and a developer who worked for the company in Sweden passed on some scripts to me via an internal Usenet group. I think it was around this time I first started hearing the phrase "Linux on the desktop" and how Windows was doomed.

  • Remember how much fun it was when you got a machine with a graphics card that wasn't supported by your distribution? That's right, you need to download and install the right XFree86 binary that supports your graphics card. This was at least back when you could navigate the web with lynx, so wasn't as painful as it could have been.

  • Remember that period of custom kernel modules to support your newly minted graphics card? That kernel module, of course, was tied to a specific version of kernel. Installed some updates? Best hope you downloaded and installed the latest module for your graphics card, because if you didn't X no longer works. This was before 'yum update' was a thing, so there were no handy repositories to save you. At this point trying to navigate the web with lynx was not fun. At all.

  • Remember that period when some developers somewhere decided it'd be a good idea to change how audio worked? And then suddenly it was incredibly hard to get audio working? I live sleep and breathe music, this period was very difficult for me, granted integrated audio had become a thing so no longer did you need your Creative Soundblaster ISA/PCI card anymore but this was beyond the pale. I took this pretty personally.

  • Remember when they came for our wired network cards, wifi was now a thing? Remember how much fun it was to have to download closed source firmware for your wireless card, which of course had to be placed in a particular directory? Oh, and what was that thing where you had native wifi support and then there was a competing wifi scheme and it really wasn't clear which was which?

  • Remember those strange hand held devices, palm pilots, ipaqs, clie, $PDA? Remember how insufferably bad the out of box support was and unless you were following some development branch of $PDA supported software you had zero chance in hell of getting the thing to sync?

  • Remember when the first cell phones that came out that could 'sync'? By 'sync' I mean, lose hours and fail to actually 'sync' anything and even if that did work, the prospect of data loss was high, production ready this stuff was not. And that's before I even start on how many different phones there were and each had it's own esoteric means of achieving data transfer back to your desktop. And, for bonus points, usually only supported one particular contacts application and it wasn't the one you used.

  • Remember the early days of Ubuntu? Finally a distribution that seemed to do the right thing, by do the right thing I mean actually do the right thing and not that other distribution beginning with 'D' that was clearly created for sadists. But wait, what the scuthering hell have you done to X? Why the hell are my xterm fonts twice the height they should be?

I hear what you're saying. All or some of these are no longer an issue because it all works out of the box now, "Linux has come a long way!", "You can't expect Linux to support my 666GB RAM 45 Teraflop AMDIVA LOLZ graphics card that's just been released, even windows doesn't have stable drivers yet!".

I have one thing to say to this. I. Have. Done. My. Time.

I've served my sentence in the Linux desktop mines. Give me the finder bar you can't get rid of. Give me taking away functionality with one release of the OS and then bringing it back the next release like it's new again! Walled garden? BRING IT ON. I'm old, I'm grumpy, get off my lawn and bring me my no foam cappafrappacocoa. Where's my slippers?