Tergiversator

Jody Whitlock

So, those who have asked my opinion about Apple have always heard one conclusion; Mac OS X is a joke and is worthless.  Well, here I sit, typing this out on an iMac running OS X Yosemite (10.10.4).  So, I will admit some of my opinion has changed at a lower level, but not so much overall if not less harsh than before.

So let me preface this with my previous opinion of Mac OS X.  It is an operating system that owes it’s root to Darwin (the operating system, not the man) and BSD.  It runs a microkernel based on Mach, around other things.  In this, I have some complaints, but those we will leave aside.  What really annoys me is it’s a POSIX compliant system that owe’s a lot of it’s existence to open-source code, but it is very closed source.

By itself, that doesn’t bother me as much as Apple patting themselves on the back touting, along with fanboys, that it’s the best and greatest thing since sliced bread.  Well, I completely disagree and think it’s very much a joke.  Granted, it should be robust with the way the microkernel should work, everything executing in user space, but in reality that is not the case.  So fanboys, sorry to say that it may be a nice OS, it’s not the end all beat all; neither is Windows for that matter, so keep your shouts down please.

So, while the above annoys me, what really makes me shrug away from Mac OS X is Aqua, that often comic looking interface Apple “developed” and tries to sue everyone over.  Well, here’s a pice of news, Apple didn’t invent it, they polished it and added some nifty things, but Cairo has been around a lot longer than Aqua and I bet if one looks at the Aqua code they will find all kinds of GPL stuff in there.

That’s the bottom line of why I have always shied away from OS X in favor of Linux, specifically Ubuntu, and Windows.  But, if I was an unbending piece of steal like Rocky then I wouldn’t be here writing this right now.

So, let’s go to the present and why I am sitting in front of an iMac writing this.  Well, it boils down to one thing; knowledge.  In my job I often need to support Mac OS X systems, and having shied away from it for so long I have little knowledge of it aside from the similarities it has to Ubuntu.  So I got my hands on a used one, slammed more RAM in it (from 1GB to 8GB) and spun up Yosemite.

What’s my verdict now?  It’s not terrible by any means, I leave that to AIX and OS/2.  Being a fan of iOS I appreciate the integration between iOS and OS X, iMessage and FaceTime are nice along with Continuity.  That alone keeps the iMac on my bench consuming power.  I am impressed with the ability for OS X to run on a 256MB integrated GPU with little issues (no 3D animation here!), since I mainly do coding and such.

Which, brings me to my final reason for making the plunge into OS X; I no longer have to decide to code an application for the largest denominator, Windows.  I can now make once and compile everywhere; thanks Microsoft!  I don’t have to learn Xcode, although since I do know C/C++ it turns out to not be a huge leap.  Plus, having a Mac means I can also compile and submit apps into the App stores of Mac and iOS, let loose the dogs of war!

So in conclusion, am I a massive fanboy of OS X?  Not one ounce, but I am impressed and have a new-found admiration for aspects of OS X and can use it.  There’s still a lot of things that can break and Apple has made things very obscure, but navigation is almost child’s play so that’s a bonus.  If they brought the code-base closer to iOS, which I really do like and deeply admire, then I think Windows may start to sit on my shelf collecting dust; the hardware would be running Ubuntu 24/7/365!!!

So, over the next few weeks I’m really going to dig into OS X and see what I can break and fix and tweak and follow-up with my synopses of going to the Dark Side.