Archive for February 4, 2003

Tuesday, February 4, 2003 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Mac OS X and Unix

Paul Fatula pointed me to a series of great posts in the MacFixIt forums by “thalo.” I don’t agree with everything this guy (or gal) says, but there is a lot of sense there.

That’s the problem with this whole “bleeding edge” in the OpenSource world. We get these bits and pieces, these glimpses and tours-de-force that amount to a grand total of squat for you and me. I applaud the minds that make this crap, but software development, to me, is about conceiving and realizing great ideas and sharing them in such a way that creative people can tap into things computers do well and actually create. Finding a way to bring YOU AND ME to the top of Everest along with those guys who were the geek pioneers. Building the ladder or staircase that gets us there. Not rubbing our faces in merely the fact that god gave these guys juicy chess club brains.


I guess what I’m saying, is that when Apple talks about “putting the power of unix at our command,” I want that to mean something. I want Unix to really BE powerful. I want to unlock its mysteries and find that they are worth unlocking. I don’t want to FINALLY gain access to something like gimp, only to find that Photoshop makes it look like a flint knife. If it turns out that Mac software has ALWAYS been better than Unix software in say, the graphics industry, then why bother making or porting Unix graphics software? If Unix games are primitive compared to Windows games, then why bother making Unix games? We need to find where and how Unix’s power is best deployed in our lives, what it does right, where it is in fact powerful, and then demystify it for every tom dick and thalo out there.

Salon’s New Deal


OK, here’s the deal: Starting today, you can gain access to Salon in either of two ways: You can pay our low subscription price (as little as 5 cents a day) or you can click through a multiple-screen advertisement.

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas is co-author of The Pragmatic Programmer and Programming Ruby. Both books are good. The Pragmatic Programmer is older and very highly regarded. It doesn’t contain any particularly amazing insights, but it’s one-stop shopping (in only 320 pages) for the basics of software development. This is stuff that you must know if you take your craft seriously.

Anyway, the point of this entry is that Thomas now has a blog. In one entry, he relates an amusing example of how hideous DocBook can be:

It seems to me that DocBook is falling in to the same trap as the rest of the XML world, confusing tedious verbosity for semantic information.

In another, he discusses Keynote and how he’s now hooked on the Mac.

And yet despite all this, I’m sticking with it. There’s something about the Mac and its software. Even when it isn’t quite right, there’s some indefinable quality that makes you want to keep using it.


Steven Frank has released the source code to Emila, his pre-release e-mail searching application. I don’t know how Emila will evolve, but there is a definite need for better tools for indexing and searching e-mail.