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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

accidental downvote - sorry

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

> 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. :)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

>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.

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.

>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.

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.

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.

>>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.

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.

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.

>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.

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

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.

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

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.


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.

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.

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.

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

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"

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. =)

"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.

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.

> 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.


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...)

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

>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.


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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