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I enjoyed this rant. The bottom line is that this 'experience' isn't about you, its about who you can be sold too. That is because "you" are too cheap to pay what "we" think should be paid for them. It is like a hotel which sells you room for $100 a night if you agree to let them leave a web cam on 24/7 and sell any useful 'snippets' it catches while you are there.

The bulk of the market doesn't buy "computers" they buy "televisions." Think about that for a minute.

The bulk of the market are entertainment 'consumers' for which you can sell access to their eyeballs for real money. Just like TV did before people got digital recorders and started skipping all the ads. Not so with these new fangled TVs, they don't care if you don't look at their advertising they want to know what you did look at, and when, and after what, and then what did you do? Because all of that is much more valuable than putting up a tasty picture of a cheeseburger in front of you, no, they can phone ahead to your local market and tell them to stock up on cheeseburgers because you've been researching them all day and are now at the point where you want to make a purchase.

But the cool thing? It means that the current 'big' players are leaving the market for computers behind. You can tell that by the fact that the computer company no longer sells a product that a developer would care to use. And that means that there is room again at the bottom.

Time to start a 'developers' company that works very much on the same model that Sun Microsystems started on, hardware designed from the ground up to be developed on, open systems so that folks can easily work with it, and a team dedicated to making sure integration and support is there so that folks like you and I can say "Hey this audio doesn't work when you set the sampling rate to 40Khz" and they can fix it and release that fix.

But for that company to exist, you have to pay for the products you use, and to get to that point you have to not be able to get something 'good enough' by hacking and slashing something else into shape.




I think there is a company that does what you suggest. I will probably get down voted for saying it, but Apple. They put in the time to make a pretty darned good user experience for first impressions.

There's no junk, no spyware, nothing to remove. Occasionally you might get a software bundle, like Office, or Quicken, but literally just drop it in the trash and you are done with it. Rarely would you have to find an uninstaller or dig deep to remove something, and if you do, you generally brought it on yourself and should know what you are doing.

But you pay extra for this, most of which people apparently don't want to do, as I always hear "I could have bought computer xyz for 25% cheaper", as they are finishing their 15 hours of cleanup.

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Definitely NOT Apple. Despite their open source site, the most important bits of the OS are closed, and so developers can't dig into the OS to figure out if the bizarre behavior they're seeing is a bug in the OS or not. Worse, they can't submit patches for things they do find. Instead, they have to go submit a radar report, which can't be seen by anyone but themselves. It's so bad that it has become common behavior to copy/paste the report to openradar and then have other developers submit duplicate reports as a way to "upvote" a bug. That is most definitely NOT developer friendly.

And then we have Xcode, the program that has inspired a twitter account dedicated to its severe brokenness.

And let's not forget their terrible provisioning process that always breaks in continuous integration systems, and the asinine limit of 100 test devices. Oh, and their train wreck of a command line tool suite.

And then there's their absolutely bizarre behavior of replacing every internal function name with <redacted>, and disabling stdout on iOS 6.

And then we have the "eat all memory" pager system in OSX that can chew through 8 gigs like candy and bring your system to its knees should you ever try to run more than 5 programs + Xcode.

If there were an iOS development environment + simulator for Ubuntu, I'd wipe this laptop and switch over.

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I'm really enjoying your zen-like calm. If I had to enumerate everything I disliked about their experience for developers I would be foaming at the mouth after three or four bullet points.

Everything you posted is basically an understatement of the truth. Like you forgot to mention that if you do bother going to the trouble of posting a radar, it's probably going to get ignored.

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all this is true if we add "for XCode based development" as a qualifier to "Definitely NOT Apple"

I use an ageing (4yo) 13" macbook as my primary development machine and it works fine. I'm no where near geeky (or whatever term you use) to be even thinking about fiddling with OS internals and I've never hit an OSX bug that bothered me much

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And you upgrade the OS on your Macbook regularly? Isn't there a lot of software that drops support for older releases (10.5, 10.6)? Not to mention newer Apple-tested software running slowly on older Macs? I remember Safari and Mail.app just endlessly hanging and giving me the wheel of death on a 2008 iMac and Macbook Pro.

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accidental downvote - sorry

Edit: Really? Someone downvoted my explanation?!!!

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> Really? Someone downvoted my explanation?!!!

Yeah, but don't let it bother you. Your comment is appreciated, but it's off-topic and doesn't provide conversational value, so I'm going to downvote it. I'm just curating for the next user. :)

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I see you never needed quicktime on windows? Their download page asks you for the email to "Keep me up to date with Apple news, software updates, and the latest information on products and services." Their privacy policy starts with:

"You may be asked to provide your personal information anytime you are in contact with Apple or an Apple affiliated company. Apple and its affiliates may share this personal information with each other and use it consistent with this Privacy Policy. They may also combine it with other information to provide and improve our products, services, content, and advertising."

I don't think they're different from other companies at all.

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Little secret: if you click the download button below without entering your e-mail, it just works.

Apple is very discreet in their e-mail marketing. They send maybe half a dozen emails per year, mostly after product launches or before christmas/school term/black friday/etc.

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Sure, you can workaround those problems in many ways. The point was the same as in the article - this is the default behaviour you get. This is also the behaviour a typical user will accept and have to live with.

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I could never figure out how to turn off the marketing that I got from having an iTunes account. These days anything Apple sends me gets caught by my spam filter and I haven't logged into my iTunes account in years.

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You can get Windows to just work also, with similar workarounds.

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I don't think they're different from other companies at all.

They aren't. Believing they are is the quintessential feature of the fallacies of Apple partisans.

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And there was that one time the iTunes updater installed Safari on my computer. I'm in the habit of reading through the options on installers carefully looking for those sorts of tricks, but not updaters.

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I am an Apple user, and the Apple experience has jumped off a cliff for developers. What you are talking about is the casual experience for people that don't know how to use a computer.

If you don't know how to use a computer at all, Apple is really awesome. If you are trying to make your own software or sell software (particularly for phones) Apple is awful.

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>I am an Apple user, and the Apple experience has jumped off a cliff for developers.

I was an Apple user and small OS X developer, and I agree completely. Three years ago, I made a living developing shareware. Then Apple decided they wanted total control over the app ecosystem and turned the "put out a good product and wait" business model into an impossibility. VersionTracker's sale to CNET and subsequent mediocritization didn't help, of course.

Now I use Ubuntu and do web development. And maybe some day WebGL and related technologies will get to the point that I can go back to the tightly optimized graphics programming I really crave.

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Yes, this restrictive control over the App Store is the most unfortunate thing they've developed. I would not be surprised if they tried to lock it down entirely by first changing the default security to "App Store only", and then removing the other options.

I guess great minds think alike, because I'll be jumping ship for web development on Linux in short order.

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>I guess great minds think alike, because I'll be jumping ship for web development on Linux in short order.

That's great. It's really not as painful a transition as I feared it might be. It's actually pretty astonishing how far the various linux desktop environments have come as far as usability.

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I've never tried to sell apps, but I don't understand your complaint. Are you saying that people were no longer interested in buying your apps because they weren't in the Mac App Store? I'd think that it would improve discoverability in general, not hurt it, not to mention make the purchase process a lot easier.

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The main problem was that at around the same time that VT became useless, Apple removed the OS X downloads section from their website (in preparation for the Mac App Store). So within a very short time span, most of the resources that small developers had for promoting their work disappeared.

More recent abominations like Gatekeeper are just icing on the cake.

>I'd think that it would improve discoverability in general, not hurt it

Nope. Apple's app stores are abysmal at helping people discover your software. I don't know why they opted to ignore everything that software aggregators like VT and Mac Update had learned over the years, but they did.

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>>More recent abominations like Gatekeeper are just icing on the cake.

I'm sorry, but I just don't understand this line of reasoning. How can security measures like this harm most users, especially given it's something that can easily be turned off.

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Surely you can see that "easily turned off" is relative to a user's experience, and that ease of disabling is not the only issue. If you ask most users to turn off a security feature so that they can run your software, they're going to think you're doing something shady.

And that's pretty shitty. Now a lot of people will say "it's only $99/year; what's the big deal?"

Well, first off, that's $99/year, forever, or your apps stop working. That's quite a commitment for a small developer.

Secondly, $99 is steep if you're developing freeware. You should not have to pay a hundred bucks a year for the privilege of giving your software away without people thinking that you're trying to steal credit card numbers or something.

Finally, $99 is steep for a lot of young people. I started developing freeware and shareware when I was in high school. If I had had to pay $99/year to make my app presentable, it probably would have been a deal stopper.

Now, you might say "Sure, but you're an established shareware developer and none of these things apply to you." But they still affect every shareware developer. Ever notice that nobody seems to be have been successful with shareware on Windows in many many years? Everything on that platform has been "free trials" and sketchy ad ware. The difference is ecosystem.

For many years, there was a thriving freeware and shareware ecosystem for the Mac, and so Mac users expected to be able to find freeware and shareware solutions to their problems. They expected to be able to find a handful of cheap or free programs that did what they wanted, and they'd be able to try out each one until they found one they liked. They expected this because it was true.

And free/shareware developers expected there to be an audience of Mac users looking for a free/shareware app that did what their app did. And they could be reasonably sure that if they fulfilled a real need, did it well, and kept the latest versions up on software aggregators, they'd be able to reach that audience.

But those three points above, along with the decimation of aggregators, and the introduction of the Mac App Store have broken that ecosystem. And let's be clear: Apple didn't merely sit by while the forest burned. They clear cut the damned thing and built their app store there. That thriving ecosystem had helped Apple sell computers, but it didn't profit them directly. So Apple set out to change users' expectations away from "find some cheap/free software out there written by a small developer" to "check the App Store", all so that they could squeeze 30% out of the process.

I do not think Gatekeeper is really about security. I think it is about turning the Mac App Store into the Only Way to release software. It's just a little squirt of agent orange to make sure that the forest doesn't grow back.

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Fair enough. I agree the fee can be steep to some. As a user, a counterpoint:

I hate going to random websites and giving them my credit card and dealing with whatever license key they give me.

I hate trials. Cheaper apps I can buy more liberally are nicer.

I hate crappy software that spews stuff around my system. Even though some apps can never be subject to sandboxing, I think forcing the rest to clean up their interactions with the rest of the system is an advantage of the App Store. (But I am biased in this particular opinion.)

I like having all my updates in one place.

I think the App Store generally has the potential to provide much better discoverability than the combination of Google and some crappy websites. Even considering the fee, I think that if people get used to it, the store can provide a better version of the "find some cheap/free software written by a small developer" concept.

I like that my mom is much more likely to use the App Store than VersionTracker.

I think the Store is only the death of an ecosystem insofar as it replaces it with a slightly different, but mostly just improved ecosystem.

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>I think the Store is only the death of an ecosystem insofar as it replaces it with a slightly different, but mostly just improved ecosystem.

But it's not an ecosystem now. It's a garden. And maybe it seems improved from a user's perspective, but it is completely fucked from a developer's perspective. If we can agree that Apple has made selling outside the App Store nonviable, and that dealing with the App Store is complete hell for developers, then I think we can agree that this is a bad situation for developers.

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They haven't made it non-viable. And please don't comeback with "Yet".

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Because measures such as these are security theatre (aka fearmongering). They are designed not to protect users but to force developers into their walled garden.

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I don't see any part of the agreement that says you cannot develop apps for another ecosystem.

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Apple is still a polished, shiny version of the consumer-focused computer, and not, I think, the developer-focused computer that ChuckMcM is describing. The locked bootloader of the iDevices and the Mac app store are but two pieces of evidence of this.

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Er...what?

The iDevices are completely orthogonal to whether a MBP is a "developer-focused" computer. I use mine for Android development (oh noes! locked bootloaders!), Web development, and Windows development about equally, and everything works pretty much flawlessly, with the tools I need kept close at hand. (Hell, I don't even use Quicksilver anymore, as Spotlight's gotten better and Quicksilver hasn't kept up to date.)

The Mac App Store is entirely optional and none of my developer tools except XCode come through it. MonoDevelop and IntelliJ I get separately, pretty much everything else comes through homebrew. Loads and loads of applications are sold outside of the Mac App Store, too, with absolutely no problems.

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From ChuckMcM's original post: But for that company to exist, you have to pay for the products you use, and to get to that point you have to not be able to get something 'good enough' by hacking and slashing something else into shape.

Based on this and other things he said, I think Macs count as the "something else" that can be hacked into shape, since Apple is not specifically targeting all of your listed use cases.

I'm also not the only one who's extrapolated the recent trend of Macs more closely resembling iDevices to imagine a possible future in which Macs become appliances, and the developer-focused computer ChuckMcM envisions can come into being.

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I agree — if an when Apple locks down OSX so that the only source for software is the App Store, that's when ChuckMcM's company can take off. I think there are enough people who are technically minded (no even necessarily developers) and currently use OSX because its a UNIX system that "just works" and can also run popular commerical software (MS Office and Adobe CS mostly). The day Apple does this I and others will need to buy computers from somewhere else — I think there's room for a company to fill that role.

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This is exactly why I use OS X; thanks for stating it so succinctly.

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I like my MBP for this as well, but the writing is on the wall. The Mac App Store is entirely optional now but I don't have any reason to believe it will continue to be that way. The App Store on iOS is not optional and Apple sees some benefit over Android because of that (well they define it as qualities), installing from 'outside' the Sandbox has only been getting worse.

So how about a development environment for Android in the 'cloud' ? How cool would that be, your files are in iCloud so you know they are safe, your tools are always current and compatible since you're just talking to them over web API, and you can pay for a months worth of access to the compilers and debuggers for cheap instead of wasting all that time to put together an open source environment or spending big bucks for the MSDN Library equivalent service. You can watch movies on your MBP while you are building the Android manifest and running regression tests on that thing in some cloud instance that spun up just for that one task and will go back to idle when its done. Click a button and blam! it's submitted to the App Store.

You may not realize it but that is the vision that is driving moving away from a computer that you hold and do things with, vs a 'viewer' into a service somewhere that is doing the lifting and "adding value" in other ways.

If you read the thread on the Lisp epiphany [1] then this is the same kind of thing. But rather than data is code and code is data the epiphany here is that if you have enough network bandwidth and its available 24/7, then it becomes just another bus on the backplane and where your "computer" is and where your "screen" and "keyboard" are becomes irrelevant. At the office we have folks who put their desktop computer in some room, out of the way, and using X have their 'screens and keyboard' on their actual desk, they do this because the desktop machine is modestly noisy (we have quite cases but its not silent) and really on a gigabit LAN you can't tell that your machine isn't under your desk anyway.

That is coming to the world, faster than you expect, and because it will be insanely more convenient for most people supporting the few people who want to do this 'locally' will fall by the wayside.

Step 1, you figure out how to present a interaction rich UX

Step 2, you figure out how to move most of the data into the network.

Step 3, you create tools that present the UX, process data in the network, and deliver the result.

Google Docs is crushing Microsoft office, services like Box.net, DropBox, and S3 are capturing more and more of the data.

Free startup idea: Github + APT, add a button to a GitHub like service that says "Build this for Ubuntu-x86-64-12.10 and give me the link to the package." Click the button, wait, then post the link to a modified APT

   apt-get install <URL>
All of the pieces for this exist, a couple of weekends coding can put it out into the world. Now if the packages can be built in the cloud, why does your machine need to be a 'computer' again? Build it then 'add this feature with apt' is a pretty powerful thing.

Probably won't happen for a couple of years at least but it will happen, too many people want it too, and too few will demand local compilation to keep it supported.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4765067 - "The Nature of Lisp"

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How cool would that be, your files are in iCloud so you know they are safe

My open-source stuff is on Github, sure, but none of my private code is. I run a Redmine+gitolite instance on a physical box in my house for my private and private collaborative projects (one on-site backup, taken daily and rolled over three days; one off-site backup, stored every week). My code stays local and on machines I control, and the same is the case for many other businesses. It's for that reason that I don't think what you're describing is likely to be so commonplace as to make local development "fall by the wayside" in the near future.

While I get where you're going, I admit I had to restrain an eye-roll at the idea that this will be "the thing" anytime soon if only due to inertia. A development environment for Android in the cloud would be "cool," until it breaks. I have a very overpowering need to control my toolchain and my environment and that doesn't mesh with what you describe. I find the situation you are describing to feel really fucking oppressive. Unsettlingly so.

(I don't see Apple locking down the Mac, by the way. I see Mac sales being cannibalized by iPads, but I do not see Apple, at least in the near future, killing its most attractive feature--flexibility. Both for developers and for consumers. I think Microsoft has a much better chance of offing the traditional desktop/laptop with WinRT, though I'm personally not a fan.)

.

I fully agree that something similar will eventually happen for a certain subset of development; there are certainly some developers to whom this no doubt sounds really awesome. But I think that, and I don't say this to be either insulting or patronizing, this may be a bit of projection on your part. This feels like a "Valley bubble" idea, a "wouldn't it be cool if" that ignores a lot of real-world use-cases. Even aside from the "ew, remote" factor for me personally, I think there are enough infrastructural hurdles to make this really difficult to do in the sort of timeframe you're suggesting.

But I am not the target market for such things anyway. I find "always-on" technology overwhelming. I find that my best development time is when I turn off the Internet and go sit outside and write code; I keep local copies of the Python manual, the Java APIs, and the MSDN library for that reason. (And my Mac is silent when I'm doing development work, FWIW.)

Perhaps I am wishcasting, but I don't think so. Here's hoping you're wrong. =)

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"But I am not the target market for such things anyway."

I think we're more alike than you realize. My point is that there is much of what you and I do in our day to day development efforts that depends on the notion of "I own a computer, and I run these tools on it, and I get these results." And we can do that reasonably easily because even though our requirements are outside the mainstream (the target market as you put it) they are enabled because the piece work, the foundational stuff, is required for the target market, for now.

My prediction, fear, belief, what have you, is that the bulk of the 'investment' in terms of time and energy and thought power, will become more and more focussed on that market and worry less and less about what you and I are trying to accomplish.

Here is a milestone which you can look for in order to measure progress toward that future. When you see a GCC release which supports a system or processor where the only way to use it initially is through a remote API to some remote server with source code on some network accessible repository. The rationale will be

"We didn't want to delay releasing it for all the ports to 'catch up', most people can use it like this, installable packages for local OS'es will be available in a few {days/weeks/months}."

That is when you know that it has started changing 'faster' than people are willing to wait for the ports. Then the folks doing the ports will start to drop off because the number of people who use the port is dropping off because all the new kids just use the remote API anyway and you can do it from a command line as if it were running locally so why complain? But that milestone will tell you, to get the feature you want right now you have to use the remote version or wait for a port to come out. Here is a pointer to the source if you want to start porting it yourself.

Except the source will embed various network services which it can 'assume' are there, its the remote version after all, and you will have to code up an equivalent.

I've seen build systems like this, they are very powerful, I will buy you a beer and we can talk about the 'old days' when you could do development without having to be connected to the network. The kids will pity our backward ways. But the beer will be tasty as usual.

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Apple never collect information on the users? They don't use that information for advertising? Its not a asset to the company, possible to be sold if economically useful? please remember that as a public company, they are required by law to maximize stock price.

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> please remember that as a public company, they are required by law to maximize stock price.

While I agree with the rest of your rant, this is simply untrue. The best summary I can find is here:

> Thanks to a legal doctrine called the business judgment rule, corporate directors who refrain from using corporate funds to line their own pockets remain legally free to pursue almost any other objective, including providing secure jobs to employees, quality products for consumers and research and tax revenues to benefit society. The idea that shareholders "own" corporations is another powerful but mistaken myth with no legal basis. Corporations are legal persons that own themselves. Stockholders own only a contract with the company, called a "share of stock," giving them limited rights under limited circumstances.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/02/opinion/la-oe-stout-...

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An opinion article is not really an reliable source. Same law says:

>directors of a corporation ... are clothed with [the] presumption, which the law accords to them, of being [motivated] in their conduct by a bona fide regard for the interests of the corporation whose affairs the stockholders have committed to their charge

what that mean, is up to interpretation, but I thank you for encourage me to read up on it. Its clearly not a clean cut case as I first thought.

(better link: http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/8146/are-u-s-com...)

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Corporations have a duty to act in the interest of their shareholders, but this is broadly defined. There is no requirement to maximize profit.

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>There's no junk, no spyware, nothing to remove. Occasionally you might get a software bundle, like Office, or Quicken, but literally just drop it in the trash and you are done with it

Microsoft does this too, if you buy a PC from them or from a Microsoft Store.

http://signature.microsoft.com/

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It's sad that this exists (or has to), but I'm glad it does. I recently bought a Vizio ultrabook, which is a "Windows Signature" laptop. No crapware, trialware, bloat, etc. It came with a stripped down version of Office, Microsoft Security Essentials and Skype (which I guess could count as bloat, but I don't care).

Vizio seems to get it. A sleek industrial design. Well priced. And Windows Signature. It's hard to believe that OEMs have trouble grasping this given that Apple has done it for years.

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System76 is attempting to do this. I liked the Gazelle Professional. Considering they're not an ODM, the Gazelle was pretty decent for its specs and screen when it was released. There was no bloat aside from vanilla Ubuntu, except a driver to improve the screen brightness buttons.

Still though, you can always throw Ubuntu on a Thinkpad. A small company like System76 can't match the form factor and battery life of products from Lenovo, Apple, Samsung, etc.

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I'll second System76, I've bought laptops from them for a couple years now and never had a bad experience. They only throw in hardware that ubuntu supports and there's absolutely no bloatware. There are still things I have to put up with like Ubuntu's recent decision to use Unity, but gnome3 is a single command away.

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Looked up their web site: https://www.system76.com/home/ pretty nice stuff. They are in the right space for this business model. However they've gone only half-way there. They assemble a system out of off the shelf parts and provide Ubuntu for it.

If they were doing a 'Sun' type model, they would spec the hardware, get the Ubuntu distro and integrate it with some key features. Create an ABI and a DDI [1] that third party vendors could rely on to work for the next few years and when it changed to evolve in a compatible way, and then sell that to end users.

The point of having a managed ABI/DDI is that someone like an AutoCAD would be assured that if they ported AutoCAD to the system it would always work on all systems and if it didn't then System76 would figure out why and fix it. System76 would have to sign up to create a stable set of interfaces that provided all of the required features so that you wouldn't need "autoconf" or "configure" you could just add "#ifdef SYSTEM76" in your code where needed and know it would just work. Now System76 can build that out of existing pieces, they can say for example that "OpenGL will be available, link library is -lgl and include path is <opengl/*.h>" and those kinds of "restrictions" enable someone to maintain a version of their product for a 'small user base' (which rounded to the nearest million users is 0) Those same restrictions are anathema to many in the community ("Why force me to use Unity? I love Gnome/KDE/XFCE...") but they require a federating API if someone wants to code to them and support that code.

The counter argument is "community support has created stuff that runs on everything without restrictions, look at MySQL, or VIM" and that is a good argument, but for 'boring' things it works poorly, and 'boring' usually means tools of interest to a user who isn't interested in quarrying the rock so they smelt the iron to make into a lathe kind of users.

The third argument is that its all going into the cloud and people running computers that they compile on and stuff will be like people who spin fiber into yarn so they can knit their own sweaters, a niche and a small one at that. I can see the merits of that argument as well but hope it doesn't win the day.

[1] ABI - Application Binary Interface, DDI - Device Driver interface

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I'll third that; my Darter Ultra is still running smooth as glass, although I did eventually swap out Ubuntu for plain Debian, due mostly to personal preference.

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Just to provide a counter-anecdote: I bought a Bonobo Pro from System 76 in summer 2011. After about a day of use, it failed to POST. I had to mail it back to a repair center in California. It took over a week to get the RMA information as Sys76's Customer Service has very limited hours and seems stretched pretty thin. I needed the laptop back ASAP, and System76 made me pay $80-some to get overnight shipping labels both ways so that there wouldn't be 1-2 week delays each way.

I got the system back, and it seemed to work, but now I was getting a lot of crashes. I tolerated it for a couple of months as it wasn't so severe to make the system completely unusable, but I eventually got sick of dealing with it. memtest immediately reported some severely damaged RAM, so I emailed System76 and again, after a protracted paperwork/support process, they mailed me replacement parts to install myself (the only alternative to shipping the whole laptop back off to California; the disk is encrypted, but still was not looking forward to the potential of a careless tech wiping it and another $80+ bill to make sure it got back to me within the month).

I installed the new RAM modules (and I'll say that it was quite easy to take apart, only exception being the keyboard ribbon, much better than my old MBP) and things were going better, but I still get full system hangs in 3D games. I am concerned that there is a hardware issue with the GPU. Haven't cared enough to tackle that one seriously yet, as I do most 3D stuff on my desktop, but it's really annoying.

If System76 was better with their support processes, these would not be such a big deal, but with their non-cooperation in getting shipped repairs performed and returned quickly, inability to contract out or reimburse for local repairs, long RMA processes and limited customer service availability (no weekends, hours something like 9a-4:30p Mountain), it's just not worth the hassle.

Next time I will get a powerful Dell most likely. I just wipe them immediately and put Arch on anyway, so no concerns about bloatware/spyware/whatever.

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> ...hardware designed from the ground up to be developed on, open systems so that folks can easily work with it, and a team dedicated to making sure integration and support is there so that folks like you and I can say "Hey this audio doesn't work when you set the sampling rate to 40Khz" and they can fix it and release that fix...

Why would that not describe any major Linux distro?

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"Why would that not describe any major Linux distro?"

Because Linux distros don't build or spec hardware. A hardware company can make a platform that is 100% supported by a software distribution, but it is currently impossible for a software distribution to be 100% compatible with a HW platform which won't release details of its implementation. One of the things I like about the OLPC XO-1 was that everything was documented. Very cool that.

Trendy example, look at the Raspberry Pi. Now look at the graphics blob, now back at the Raspberry Pi. Can't get there from here. So there is an opportunity.

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OK sure, but change the statement to "...any major Linux distro on any major hardware system" and it seems on the money to me. The only place I think Linux is lagging is graphics cards.

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In my experience (and I use Linux at home (Ubuntu 12.x) and at work CenTos) Linux is lagging on Graphics cards, wireless support, USB peripherals, file system stability, disk i/o scheduling, user interface tools, network printing, and document preparation. But other than that, its right up there with MacOS and Windows.

Hmm, that sounds a bit snarky. I wasn't going for snark, that is a list of things that I run into at least one of them and often more every week. My latest was trying to get some sort of drawing tablet support out of Wacom for Linux. They point you here: http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/linuxwacom/index.php?t... What is wrong with that picture?

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It's a chicken and egg problem. Hardware manufacturers won't provide documentation or drivers for Linux because there's not that big user base, and there's no big user base, because most hardware won't work with Linux... although, I have to find the first piece of hardware that didn't work with Ubuntu on bootup, but maybe it is just me because I buy hardware that after some investigation (googling for 10 minutes) I know will work with Linux. It's really easy.

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But in regards to hardware support, the only reason that's really an issue is because people want widespread compatibility. You don't need to start a whole new company to design entirely new hardware; just pick your components with a little care.

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As someone who's spent a lot of time debugging its custom hardware, that's absolutely not true about the OLPC XO-1: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=719048

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Because major Linux distros and the upstream developers like to ignore or mock use cases that deviate from their "brand identity" (witness https://igurublog.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/gnome-et-al-rotti... which recently saw the HN front page).

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The difference is that if you do not like the desktop on most Linux distros, you can go into the package manager, install another desktop, and then log out and back into that one.

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You are both right of course. But in being so right we can see the problem. If I am a third party software package and I try to install I have to know all the possible window systems you may, or may not, have running. And it gets worse for me if I only support one since there will be vocal anti-support for any version I pick.

I really disliked the Windows95 window system which I was thrust into when I left Sun for a startup. But over time I learned its quirks so that I could get stuff done in spite of it and eventually came to appreciate what the developers were going for when they shipped it.

But had there been any way to go back to something like the Sun desktop when I first encountered it, I would have in a heartbeat. The change interfered with my productivity.

Linux gives you that chance, you can stick with what ever window system you want as long as your willing to recompile from source if it stops getting maintained. And maintain all of the packages that go with it, and maintain all of the utilities that adjust it, and maintain all of those 'throwaway' apps that you use from time to time. It wears on one to do so.

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> If I am a third party software package and I try to install I have to know all the possible window systems you may, or may not, have running. And it gets worse for me if I only support one since there will be vocal anti-support for any version I pick.

Most software packages do not need to know what window system you are using, and when they do, it is almost always for non critical conveinces in OS integration.

>Linux gives you that chance, you can stick with what ever window system you want as long as your willing to recompile from source if it stops getting maintained. And maintain all of the packages that go with it, and maintain all of the utilities that adjust it, and maintain all of those 'throwaway' apps that you use from time to time. It wears on one to do so.

That rarely happens with popular software. The most common thing to have happen is your preffered distribution swithces window systems, in which case the actual maintainer of the system will continue to maintain it. Or in the case of Gnome, the old version will get forked and maintained by another group. The only time the problem you describe will happen is if the developers of the window system abandon it, and it is not a highly popular system. This is far less frequent than the OS maintainer deciding that the software is not the one true way.

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I haven't quite seen your hypothetical with hotels yet, but the low-cost airline market in Europe is pretty much converging on selling you a dirt-cheap ticket and then trying to market you to a bunch of other revenue sources.

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> Time to start a 'developers' company that works very much on the same model that Sun Microsystems started on, hardware designed from the ground up to be developed on, open systems so that folks can easily work with it, and a team dedicated to making sure integration and support is there so that folks like you and I can say "Hey this audio doesn't work when you set the sampling rate to 40Khz" and they can fix it and release that fix.

Um. Any company that does that is probably going to go out of business, just like Sun. You know who's a "developer's" company? Microsoft. And if you drink their kool-aid, your Visual Studio-developed desktop apps will run smoothly across all sorts of hardware with a single compiled exe. Microsoft convincingly showed that hardware doesn't matter many years ago, in fact their focus on software over hardware is arguably why they won, and they treat their licensed software devs well regardless of what company they work for. There are many instances of "Hey Microsoft, this doesn't work" and Microsoft responding with a custom piece of software to fix the problem. Some developers are angry about Windows 8 because they perceive that Microsoft is caring about them less, and that's probably true, but Microsoft will learn again that it shouldn't upset its developers if it wants to retain its supremacy.

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I've had a soft spot for Microsoft ever since C# became my primary programming language. The .NET documentation is incredible, and Visual Studio works flawlessly with their languages. I'm loving their Kool-aid.

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>in fact their focus on software over hardware is arguably why they won

nope, it was their business acumen, and willingness to kill off competitors

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> Some developers are angry about Windows 8 because they perceive that Microsoft is caring about them less, and that's probably true

C'mon, Microsoft just handed them an app store for the entire ecosystem. None of their technology stack was designed to do that before surely some stuff had to change.

assuming they survive, that's pretty cool.

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I have been wondering if the tablet market will help us on the way to this. Once 'normal' people stop buying desktops and laptops the market becomes much smaller but more focussed on power users.

This trend towards apps stores may also be pushing in the same direction.

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What you describe sounds like what Dell's "Project Sputnik" is aiming to do.

http://bartongeorge.net/2012/11/06/project-sputnik-profile-t...

Looks like they plan to launch something soon. Hope it turns out well.

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> The bottom line is that this 'experience' isn't about you, its about who you can be sold to

To be honest, I didn't jump from Windows to Linux because of this. I jumped because Windows ME was just that bad. However, this makes me increasingly happy I jumped with each new version of both Windows and MacOS.

> Time to start a 'developers' company that works very much on the same model that Sun Microsystems started on, hardware designed from the ground up to be developed on, open systems so that folks can easily work with it, and a team dedicated to making sure integration and support is there so that folks like you and I can say "Hey this audio doesn't work when you set the sampling rate to 40Khz" and they can fix it and release that fix.

Bits and pieces of this are already here. We need a Wozniak to find the best way to put them together and create the new pieces we need. Too bad that of The Two Steves, Jobs gets the accolades and Wozniak gets ignored.

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>Too bad that of The Two Steves, Jobs gets the accolades and Wozniak gets ignored.

Oh please, not this again. But OK, I'll bite:

Wozniak was given plenty of recognition for his work at Apple.

But he quit in 87, which was 25 years ago. What has he done since? Not that much, really.

Steve Jobs, on the other hand, has brought tremendous contributions to a number of industries.

In the light of this, it makes complete sense that Steve Jobs is a household name, whereas Wozniak isn't (but Wozniak is definitely a "hacker household name", which is what he deserves to be).

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Exactly what contributions did Steve Jobs do beyond opening up markets by design and marketing powers?

It had a large impact on a number of industries, but your statement implied a multiple of contributions.

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Bringing tablet computing, multi-touch, voice control, quality screens (IPS etc), video-calling on phones, small utility software, ubiquitous (real) web access, to mainstream (before someone attacks: yes, all these existed for a long time, but only became common place after Apple pushed them)? Pushing hardware design way past what anyone else was doing in the past half dozen years? Cornering the music industry with a digital distribution model that works?

I can't even begin to enumerate the things you see everyday that are influenced by Apple, besides their own products.

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The singular man acting as CEO did all this, and more! He is smarter than everyone else ever.

Or he just used smart and predatory business practices, and somehow was the only major player to realize eyecandy will win over configuration for everyone that wants just a "tv" into the internet.

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Well, just 20 minutes ago I was using my "TV" and it's nice unix shell to develop a cross-platform multiplayer game. And you could say it's usability and experience over configuration, not eye-candy (remember Aero Glass? KDE Plasma?), althought nice-looking interfaces can help with both.

No, he didn't do all this himself, but he was captaining the ship. Has Sergey Brin changed the way people use the internet?

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"Has Sergey Brin changed the way people use the internet?"

Let me Google that for you.

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You could just as easily alta-vista, or yahoo that because people used those search engines originally, and they existed way before Google did.

Google however turned a better product and has therefore captured the lion's share of the market. But they Google search engine is pretty much a copy in functionality of previous ones that came before.

Of course Google have brought other things to the internet (maps comes to mind), but the search engine didn't change how people used the internet - we were searching long before Google.

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The same exact accusations could be (and have been) leveled at Apple. The fact of the matter is that Apple is a very, very good marketing company; as for revolutionary technology and being innovators, not so much.

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Apple's innovations are myriad and subtle, particularly on the software side. Almost all of these things have been copied by the various Linux environments:

- Sub-second reconnection to wifi when resuming from sleep, using past remembered networks and IPs

- Bonjour zero-configuration service discovery for printers, network speakers, etc.

- Exposé window management and the GPU-accelerated desktop in general, not to mention just-in-time-compiled GPU accelerated image and video manipulation with CoreImage / CoreVideo.

- Spotlight indexed desktop search that's actually usable for real world filetypes

- Quicklook instant previews, not to mention native PDF support not involving Adobe Reader

- A mail program that autoconfigures based on just the email address, just by trying the obvious options

etc

Add in the fact that Apple is still the only company to have multi-touch work properly on a desktop, that their hardware has been dominating geek conferences for years because of its travel-friendlyness, and there is plenty of innovation to go around.

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While I started this comment thread, I do think Apple has done a lot of good putting quality back into hardware in many regards. It really pains me that I'm going to have them to thank for getting us out of the low PPI dark ages, but it is almost exclusively due to their market pressure for high pixel displays that will finally end the last decade of pixelated nonsense.

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still does more in a year than Woz has in his entire career

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Opening up a market is a contribution (singular) to the community, but this is a thin line to call "tremendous contributor". Wallmart was one of the major players in pushing USB drives and 3g modems to the public. Does this mean that Wallmart is a tremendous contributor to USB?

In what way has multi-touch been pushed way past what anyone has done in the past? (say, compared to Sears et al work from 1990?) Actually, any of the technologies on that list, in what way were they pushed way past what anyone else was doing in the past? Cornering the music industry (legally) was an achievement indeed, but a tremendous contribution? My thought goes back to Wallmart and any product that they was first to successfully sell.

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When disagreeing, it would benefit if the person who downvote would say what the contributions are instead of silently downvote.

Hacker news arent a poll of "do you like Steve Jobs" with simple yes/no, and i am honestly interested to hear what those contributions are.

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I didn't downvote because I disagreed (or agreed), but because your question seemed very accusatory and asked in bad faith, so it does not contribute to the discussion. A reworded question that made it clear you were honestly inquiring still might not get answered, but I wouldn't downvote.

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That's because the question was rhetoric and its purpose was to state an opinion. Specifically, the opinion that Steve Jobs did not have significant contributions to computer industry.

So I think you downvoted an opinion.

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Really? Seems like a legitimate question to me.

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yeah well his contributions have been discussed numerous times, followed by people saying he didn't really have much to do with those things. This part of HN is so repetitive.

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Its useful to reiterate the discussion in case new facts or concept can be brought forth. mostly, I ask the question to confirm (or disprove) my own opinion. If a person states disproven facts, one should always allow the person the back his statements up.

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He brought design sense to the company, making -- in my opinion -- the first computers ever made that did not look like shit.

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It's even worse than that, as Woz effectively left Apple after his plane crash in 1981. He continued to officially be an employee, but didn't contribute a whole lot after that point. Quitting in 1987 was more of a formality than anything.

The last Apple computer Woz had a direct hand in designing was either the Apple II or the II+ (I can't quite figure out which), over three decades ago. Woz was a genius when it came to minimal and effective designs and it's certain that he played a key role in getting Apple off the ground, but he has had no real impact on the company or anything the company does for nearly as long as I've been alive.

Woz helped build Apple into a successful company, but the scale isn't even remotely the same. The Apple that Jobs subsequently built decades later now sells more hardware in a month (or so) than Woz's Apple sold during his entire tenure.

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Thanks to both you and the parent for thoughtfully laying out the history. Saying the "two Steves" as if they are parallel doesn't make sense.

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I wonder if this trope would ever come up if one of them were named Bob instead.

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I'm sure Woz continued to be an influence on Jobs for quite some time though.

I guess if you have seen somebody build one of the worlds first affordable computers out of some bits in garage it probably seems like anything is possible when you have a few billion $.

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Woz designed Apple Desktop Bus, first used in the Apple IIGS and then in Macintoshes until the switch to USB.

But your point remains; Woz hasn't done anything at Apple since 1987.

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Yet his biography is called "iWoz", why have people let him ride the fame train on other peoples work for so long.

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Well known inventors aren't well known because of their great inventions. They're well known because there's a corporate PR department promoting the legend. Ever heard of Thomas Edison? He founded a company named General Electric. Heard of Alexander Graham Bell? AT&T.

The reason fewer people have heard of Wozniak is because he left the company 25 years ago. He doesn't get the same PR treatment from the Apple marketing fund.

Now, here are some bonus questions: You all know who invented the transistor at Bell Labs, but who invented the LASER? How about the microwave oven? FM radio?

Actually, I don't know why few people know who invented the microwave oven, since the inventor was a big-wig at Raytheon. I guess Raytheon doesn't have much of a PR department.

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So bored of people still giving Woz the spotlight.

He hasn't done anything worthwhile but trundle around on a segway since leaving Apple

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The pieces are all there already, but you can't pull it off with dis-associated independent groups. Canonical comes close, as does Redhat, either could do this is they started making their own hardware, or contracting out a HW 'spec.'

But you need a 'real' company to say to someone like an Atheros that you'll design in their wireless chip only if they will commit to driver support for it on your OS. That sort of thing doesn't happen between a company and an 'interested third party' sadly.

The other thing folks will have to come to realize that you won't be able to combine your "TV" and your "computer" much longer. The demands of content producers are reaching a point that 'general purpose computing' on devices that can show their content are made increasingly more difficult and eventually they won't legally exist. Secure boot, HDCP, all of these things are manifestations of externally exerted control over the platform.

The good news is that computers will go back to being computers. It is going to feel a bit weird for a while though.

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> To be honest, I didn't jump from Windows to Linux because of this. I jumped because Windows ME was just that bad. However, this makes me increasingly happy I jumped with each new version of both Windows and MacOS.

Yup, every time I use someone else's computer I'm astounded by the sorts of things they put up with. A simple example - after years of using AdBlock and FlashBlock, I simply don't have any tolerance for ads on the web. I don't have the ability to ignore them.

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"Now that Norton was gone, I personally happen to like Comodo firewall. So I go to download it, but the installer nicely tells me that this doesn't work on Windows 8, and I need to download another file instead. However, this is their pro product, which basically means it's filled with crap. It's a good thing I noticed the tiny Customize Installer button because otherwise it would have: Changed my home page, subscribed me to something called GeekBuddy, enrolled me to their cloud program, change my DNS servers, and sent information about each scan it does to the company. The same was true with many of the applications I installed, like Adobe Reader trying to install McAfee, or QuickTime trying to sign me up for offers."

I hope Mark Shuttleworth might read and understand this paragraph before he continues to reduce the trust of Ubuntu users. The crucial difference between users of Windows/Apple on the one hand and GNU/Linux on the other is that Linux users have choices at the distribution level. A secondary advantage for GNU/Linux users is that once a distribution has been chosen, application software is packaged centrally with some degree of oversight so this kind of bait and switch by software vendors becomes harder.

The Ubuntunaughts at Canonical seem to be heading in the direction of selecting hardware which they can ensure will 'just work'.

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Its hard for Shuttleworth because he has burned millions and millions on Canonical and it is now clear that the company is going to fail. People simply will not pay for linux desktop support and there really is no other model. So all this crap they are doing, it is their death throes and they should be pitied and not mocked.

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It is not clear that Canonical is going to fail, just that their support model for making desktop linux profitable failed. We are seeing them change their profit model with the Amazon links in unity, and their attempt to get into the android/desktop linux hybrid market. It remains to be seen how these play out.

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"People simply will not pay for linux desktop support and there really is no other model"

RHEL need no competitors at all then?

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RHEL is a server product, I guess I don't follow your comment. Do they even sell desktop support?

If you are suggesting Ubuntu should focus on the server market - well they have put a lot into that too but they cannot get the market share required to sustain their business from that. RHEL is far too entrenched.

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RedHat quit the desktop market years ago exactly because they found it to be unprofitable.

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https://www.redhat.com/apps/store/desktop/

Red Hat seem to be selling a Desktop support package still, but minus the support! I assume this is a cost for the installer and updates.

I've donated the sterling equivalent of $49 to Ubuntu, and would do that on a yearly basis if it meant a cruft free system.

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Canocial doesn't select hardware to work, they certify that hardware does work.

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> Bits and pieces of this are already here. We need a Wozniak to find the best way to put them together and create the new pieces we need.

No Wozniak required. Aren't there already companies that sell Linux laptops that "just work?" Really, the big challenges are in organization, distribution, and marketing.

How about this? http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/11/zareason-ultralap-430...

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And also these guys https://www.system76.com/.

I have bought two laptops from ZaReason, with mixed results. They mostly "just work".

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IMHO you also need a Jobs who wanders around (a) selling the thing to normal humans and (b) being a relentless advocate for the user experience, with the power to delay releases if something is broken.

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> being a relentless advocate for the user experience

The dark side of this is why I hate MacOS: There are things in MacOS I consider broken that I cannot fix, because Apple is dedicated to One Apple Way. Great for the Mac Fan, lousy for someone who has their own workflow.

Apple only has room for one Jobs, one person to dictate how the experience is. Anyone else has to bow to Jobs or GTFO.

The solution is good defaults with configurability maintained as a first-class citizen. Ubuntu has this, mostly to the extent it keeps non-Unity window managers and desktop environments in the Ubuntu package repos. I can still use all of the Ubuntu stuff except the tiny amount that really does depend on Unity, which wouldn't make sense with my workflow anyway.

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> ... lousy for someone who has their own workflow.

"You're holding it wrong," indeed.

Your comment makes me want to try Ubuntu again on my MacBook. What I liked about it last time was that everything worked--just like on OS X. I guess the hardware premium and hardware monoculture are helpful even in the open source community.

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> the hardware premium and hardware monoculture

... the culture of hardware developers that isn't focused on 'It works on Windows', the culture of driver developers that aren't (apparently) seen as loss-centers by the hardware makers, and a number of other things that slip my mind, I'm sure.

The only thing better is something like Stallman's current laptop, which was built ground-up to be Free and Open. Given Stallman's track record with 'crazy' predictions like 'The Right To Read', I fully expect to eventually end up on something like that as my primary machine.

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> you have to not be able to get something 'good enough'

So true. so true. My applauses sir.

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