Blog commenter James pointed out to me that the esteemed Mark Pilgrim has recently moved back to Linux for his desktop OS as well. Since Mark’s blog post doesn’t have to be conformed to fit conventions of a major technical publishing site, the style is more conversational. His take on the faux openness of the Mac platform is insightful. My favorite two paragraphs from the entry are the following:
I would like to point out that it is entirely AppleÃ¢Â€Â™s choice that their operating system does not run on my new Lenovo ThinkCentre. IÃ¢Â€Â™m not saying it was a bad business decision Ã¢Â€Â” they are a hardware company, after all Ã¢Â€Â” but it is particularly galling to realize that if I bought a new Mac, I would be subsidizing the development of an operating system that contains code whose sole purpose is to lock me into a specific hardware platform. I realize that most people donÃ¢Â€Â™t look at it that way, but there it is.
In many ways, the tale of my switch is more of the same old story. Mac OS X was Ã¢Â€Âœfree enoughÃ¢Â€Â to keep me using something that was not in my long-term best interest. But as I stood in the Apple store last weekend and drooled over the beautiful, beautiful hardware, all I could think was how much work it would take to twiddle with the default settings, install third-party software, and hide all the commercial tie-ins so I could pretend I was in control of my own computer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eye Apple isnÃ¢Â€Â™t beautiful anymore. IÃ¢Â€Â™ve worked around it or ignored it for a long time, but eventually the bough breaks.
Spot on, Mark. I still kick myself for thinking it perfectly normal at one time to have to own a PCMCIA network card just to be able to use WLAN with my Aluminum PowerBooks equipped with “Airport Extreme”. Deciding to “switch back” was almost like realizing I was in this relationship with someone who was taking without giving back, and using manipulative schemes to win my allegiance.
Oh yeah, and more Mac zealot whinging in the comments, apparently enough for Mark to have turned off comments on that post.