Tuesday, January 3, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Finding an Alternative to Mac OS X

Wesley Moore (Hacker News):

I deeply value the consistency, versatility, reliability and integration of Mac OS X and the excellent quality hardware it runs on. However the current state of the Mac has me considering whether it’s still the right platform for me.

[…]

At the end of November motivated by the lacklustre MacBook Pro updates I installed a bunch of different OSes to see if I could find one that met my requirements. These are what I tried[…]

If Apple drops the ball with the Mac, I doubt we’ll ever see anything like it again.

Update (2017-01-04): John Siracusa:

The last time Mac users were seriously passing around articles like this was during the transition from Mac OS to Mac OS X.

John Gruber (tweet):

The truth is, for most of us, there is no good alternative to MacOS. Nothing. And it took so long — not years but decades — for MacOS to get to where it is that I don’t think any other OS could ever catch up. That’s what’s driving the arguably paranoid fear that Apple is abandoning the Mac. It’s not so much the evidence (lack of updates to Mac Pro and Mac Mini, and concerns about software quality) as the high stakes: if the Mac goes away, the world will be left without a Mac-quality desktop OS.

I think a lot of the hardware issues are temporary, and Apple could change course relatively quickly if motivated. The software quality is a more serious concern. Apple is one of the richest companies in the world, but it has built up a staggering amount of technical debt. I see no signs that this is being addressed. The best case—that Apple recognizes the problem and decides to do something—would probably take at least five years to pay it down.

Update (2017-01-05): Billy Chitkin (via Chuq Von Rospach):

The prospect of changing over to a new software ecosystem is scary. We totally get it, switching out the platform that you pay your bills with is a big deal, and certainly not a decision to take lightly. You’ve grown comfortable over the years with the OS that you love and the ecosystem around it, but now the future of Motion Design on the Mac looks a bit uncertain. We know that you have a lot of questions about making the switch, so let’s take a look at some of the bigger ones and see if we can’t ease some of those concerns.

Update (2017-01-26): Tony Heupel:

So, hedging my bets and moving away from Apple products and putting my money where my mouth is, I have come to this conclusion: while I’m VERY, VERY concerned for Apple and it’s impacts on me as a developer and therefore on my family, I simply think Apple has made the best tradeoffs when it comes to these devices I use every day, all day.

Update (2017-01-29): Wesley Moore:

The next frontier is Linux on my MacBook. I think that will be more of a test, particularly with hardware support (especially WiFi and trackpad).

This experiment has consumed days of my time at this point and the result is not in any way as polished as macOS. For the type of work I do and how I like to do it, it is still a productive environment though. Plus there is the added benefit of access to much more up-to-date, varied hardware than Apple is offering at the moment.

6 Comments

"If Apple drops the ball with the Mac, I doubt we’ll ever see anything like it again."

We can always switch to BeOS. It's multithreaded!

(But seriously, yeah. OS X was a miracle.)

Windows is coming.

Which is more worrisome:

1) Apple knows about their software problems

2) Apple doesn't know about their software problems

I have been an Apple fanboy since 1980 (!). While I thought it could never happen, I find myself recently looking into alternate operating systems as well as hackintoshes. The problem is, most medical software only runs on Windows (we use Fusion VM). We also have a deep investment in a custom FileMaker Pro database, which does not run on any of the Linux variations, as far as I have been able to find out. So what am I to do? I am extremely angry at, and disappointed in, Apple. Thus, at this time I cannot recommend ANYTHING of theirs.

I am really starting to believe that Apple doesn't understand (or is too arrogant to care) how critical the multiplier effect is, to a commercial product's growth curve. Since 1980 I have been directly responsible for converting several hundreds of individuals and some companies to the Apple ecosystem. And some of these converts certainly influenced the conversion of others. Its effect is geometric (as opposed to exponential, I think).

While I do not have formal economics training, I suspect that this personal reinforcement is the most critical component of a company's long term success.

Apple may feel a little paralysed, at least for the moment, by a lack of good cannibalisation options.

iPad sales continue to fall, and Panic dropped Status Board for want of sustainable overlap between iOS and "pro" use.
https://panic.com/blog/the-future-of-status-board/

Money spent on Mac may be looking like money spent against an already ailing iPad.

Another option some adventurous Mac lovers are experimenting with is building a "hackintosh", and those who do so successfully are less likely to spend money in the Apple ecosystem when and if an updated Mac Pro appears.

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