How Does Open Source Software Stack Up on the Mac?
Subject:   Why reinvent the wheel?
Date:   2006-07-26 04:25:51
From:   ptwobrussell
Response to: Why reinvent the wheel?

Apple certainly does to a nice job on UI. Still, I can't imagine how you can reason that not having more choice ("inferior" -- in your own words -- or not) can't be a good thing. You sound as though OSS just junks up the internet like litter along side the road or something. My main point is that even if you dont' like *any* of the OSS alternatives out there that just the sheer fact that there are alternatives to the status quo is a good thing because it forces Apple to adapt in ways it might not otherwise adapt, and (perfect interface or not) it shifts the power a little bit. (Slightly off topic, but you realize Darwin, the base of OS X, is OSS, right?)

As for the tabs with Chax -- I don't think tabs are an idea that you can "steal", at least not in the sense of the way we use them in our browsers, the way Adium uses them in chats, etc. Tabs are more of a UI feature that are generic enough that virtually any app could make use of them. i.e. I don't think comparing Apple incorporating tabs into iChat is comparable with Apple incorporating DashBoard into their latest OS.

In fact, I think that Apple's credibility depends on having apps like DashBoard ship with OS X, incorporating tabs into iChat and otherwise staying on top of their game -- not because of something specific about DashBoard or iChat, per se, but because they need to stay on par with what other apps offer in terms of features in an out-of-the-box configuration. Otherwise, they're going to be peddling outdated software that actually depends on (potentially unsupported) 3rd party components to be competitive.

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  • Why reinvent the wheel?
    2006-07-30 12:36:42  dogzilla [View]

    You are reframing my post as an OSS vs. the world debate, which I'm frankly not interested in having. You should always shy away from phrases like "You sound as if..". And yes, I'm quite aware that Darwin is the underlying core of OSX. Are you aware of the current hits Apple is taking from OSS advocates / Tom Yager on the supposed closing of Darwin?

    Thinking that OSS is what drives Apple to innovate seems a bit specious to me. Apple was driving innovations in the computer market well before the concept of Open Source had any kind of widespread traction. I feel pretty confident in stating that if every OSX open-source app dropped off the radar tomorrow, Apple would continue improving it's home-grown apps. Perhaps even adding tabs to iChat.

    While I disagree that simply having alternatives does anything to affect a given market (eg: having Yugos available does nothing for the innovations in Minis, even though they're both compact cars), that wasn't the point of my post in the first place. My point was: why include all of these me-too OSS projects that are doing little or nothing to drive their particular categories forward while glossing over the large number of OSS apps and tools that provide unique functionality readers may not even know are available.

    As for tabs being a unique feature: I think an argument could be made there, but again, that wasn't really my point. My point was that there is already a 3rd-party solution from a small developer that offers this. Apple may be making a conscious decision to *not* include them and crush the small 3rd-party developer. Especially since they've been accused of doing just that in the past. Ultimately Apple doesn't really need to continue updating programs like iChat, iPhoto, et. al. to be cutting edge tools. These tools are designed to be given away, remember.