APLawrence.com -  Resources for Unix and Linux Systems, Bloggers and the self-employed

Mac OS X shame

© May 2019 Anthony Lawrence

A comment at Mac Pwned touched on something that's been nagging at me for some time now:

Sometimes I have a hard time with the fact that I use OS X, which although uses open source, it still uses a lot of closed source as well. My hats off to the 'pure' GNU Linux diehards. I tend to fall in the middle, a little closed, and a little open.

Mea culpa.

Of course I *do* use Linux too - I have a Linux server here, and I've put many a Linux box into service at customer sites. But every morning when I sit down at my desk, it's the MacBook Pro's keyboard my fingers first touch.

And like the person who left the comment above, I feel a little guilty about that. I love my Mac, I really, really do, but deep down I feel like I'm compromising my own principles, that I've sold out for convenience.. I should be waddling the waddle rather than drinking the Koolaid.

The other odd thing about that is that I suspect that someday I probably will. As I move into retirement, my income will naturally decline and I won't be able to afford two thousand dollar plus computers.. it seems inevitable that at some point I will be using Linux as my ordinary desktop machine.. so why not now?

Aaargh. Because.. because.. because.. all right, dammit I have no good reason. I could use Linux right now and it wouldn't make a bit of difference. I'd lose nothing, give up nothing. There's no denying it.

But here I am, still clicking away at the MacBook.. feeling guilty, but not quite guilty enough to reformat it with Linux.

Got something to add? Send me email.

(OLDER)    <- More Stuff -> (NEWER)    (NEWEST)   

Printer Friendly Version

-> Open source guilt


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

Take Control of iCloud

Take Control of High Sierra

Take Control of Automating Your Mac

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Tue Apr 8 21:55:49 2008: 4006   anonymous

I can't myself see how either shame or guilt come into it. I can see how some people might _like_ to have the source code as well as the object code to everything they use. That's a different matter.

But I can't see how I could possibly have a duty to anyone else to be able to read and, if I were so inclined, alter the source code of every last piece of software I use. And I can't see how anyone could hold me as acting "shamefully" or as being "guilty" if I don't accept these extra conditions of life that whoever it is wants to impose on me. So far as I'm concerned it's none of their damn business, and I resent the implication that anyone can dictate spurious moralities of their own on top of all the normal moral obligations we have in social life. I take the same view of anyone else who thinks they'll impose spurious moral conditions on my life: I eat meat, I drink wine, and if it suited me I'd smoke as well. No one else's business.

I use both OSes; I like both OSes. I'm not interested in ideologies or holy wars.

Tue Apr 8 22:03:31 2008: 4007   TonyLawrence

Well, I certainly understand your point of view, but I feel a responsibility to support open source because I think it's important for society as a whole. Corporate control of software is, IMO, harmful to all of us - I think we would have a better world if all software HAD to be open source, period.

Tue Apr 8 23:40:29 2008: 4008   corky

The "sin" -- if there is one -- is already there in that expensively elegant and proprietary hardware, no matter what software you run on it. Next time find an old, castoff laptop and give it a new life by installing Linux or one of the BSDs on it.

But yeah, I love my little white iBook too. ;-)

Tue Apr 8 23:53:51 2008: 4009   TonyLawrence

A castoff? I don't think I can do that..

Maybe I could start with a new Dell and work my way down?

Wed Apr 9 04:22:39 2008: 4011   corky

Yes, a castoff. As long as you're guilt-tripping yourself, you should be thinking about what happens to the environment when those old machines are thrown away. As a Linux guy, you should be able to get some good use out of them, especially if you do most of your work in textmode!

Seriously. We have GOT to get off the bleeding edge.

Wed Apr 9 04:56:43 2008: 4012   drag

Right now I have 3 laptops. Which is amazing since I never could afford even a _very_ used one a couple years ago.

I recently discovered a new neat little app called Hardinfo. Shows up as 'System Information and benchmark tool' Kinda neat and it provides this sort of information in a central place. So bear with me here.

Dell 1420n:
Intel Core2 Duo T7300. 2x2.00ghz.
2067MB (465MB used)
1400x900 Glossy dipslay.
Intel 965GM IGP display.
160GB 5400RPM SATA drive.
PCIE card slot.
Nice middle of the road 14inch laptop with widscreen display.

Got two batteries for it.. one regular battery that will give about 3 hours or so. Then a extended battery that I am guessing is good for about 5.

Total cost when it was new (bought it about 6-8 months ago) was about between $900-$1000 or so. Got a Dell coupon that said that if I put the price over 1300 dollars it'll take 300 dollars off. Pretty weird, but these coupons are released on a very regular basis.

I pretty much have the all the bells and whistles turned on for this one. I almost try to use up ram. (but not enough to replace Epiphany browser with Firefox or Beagle for Tracker)

Other people may look down on it, but I like it. Video support started off a bit choppy, but updates have made it stable.

The following is 'crapper' my second hand laptop. I can't beleive I got it for free. They had a bunch of these they were essentially going to throw away at work. Such waste.

Intel Pentium III Mobile CPU 1133MHz
516MB (325 used)
1024x768 display.
Nvidia Geforce2 Go.

I replaced the drive with a 40GB IDE that I had laying around at work. 5400RPM unit vs the noisy 4500RPM original. Replaced the early 802.11g Broadcom wifi with Ralink a card from a broken tablet PC. Added a couple homemade Wifi antennas to turn the lackluster wifi performance from the onboard antenna and turn the laptop into network-seeking powerhouse.

All in all it's a very nice laptop for essentially $0.00. The only irritating thing is the display's backlight is a bit irregular and the Nvidia drivers do not support xrandr (so no easy hotplugging and resizing displays like I can do on my Intel-only systems)

It's very good for when I want to take a laptop to a place were it may get stolen or stepped on or something like that. Hell I even thought the battery was dead, but leaving it plugged in for a couple days has somehow wiggled about a hour and a half of battery life out of it.

Then I have my Asus EEE, which I mentioned here before.

Of course all of them run Debian Lenny/Sid because I am a total Debian fiend. I try Ubuntu time to time and It's impressive how user friendly and easy they made it. It really is very impressive. But there is always something that kinda pisses me off with it. By the time I get it how I like it it's about the same exact as my other Debian machines. So there isn't any point.

But ya, you should get a Linux desktop. A laptop would be very nice. Trouble is that you need to find a nitch for it. Maybe something cheap you can leave in your car and use as a mobile server or something like that. You can get a 700GB USB harddrive dirt cheap.. about a 100-150 bucks or so. Using that to back up customer's software before working on questionable machines would be something smart to do, I suppose.

Something like that.

I don't know. If you end up changing your mind and want to take a look at a used something-or-other I suggest a late model Pentium 3 mobile or early model Pentium-M system. The Pentium-4 Ms and similar were real turds.

If it wasn't for that then I'd just tell you to take a look at Dell's linux offering.
(link dead, sorry)
A M1330 is about the closest you'd get to a macbook in terms of performance and features. Lots of people seem to like it. Trouble is that you'll never use it. Not with a Macbook around. There is no point of having two peices of hardware with similar form factor and performance. Even if it was very cheap or whatever it would still be a waste. If you wanted to use Linux full time on a laptop you'd better off just getting rid of OS X on your macbook and installing linux on it. Which we know that is not going to happen.

Wed Apr 9 05:11:21 2008: 4013   drag

Wait.. I had a idea.

check out the used Thinkpads. I figure most of them are leased items and had cushy lives sitting on some exec's desk while he picked away at excel spreadsheets.
(link dead, sorry)
I always liked the Pentium-Ms. Get one of those and see if you can throw a Intel 802.11a/b/g card in one and your set.
Or at least make sure to get a model with Intel wifi.

They have a reputation for being very tough and long-lasting. Plus they have 3 button mice which is handy for Linux. And you have a nice resource at (link)
Which you can look through before buying something to see how compatible particular hardware bits and pieces are.

Wed Apr 9 10:03:55 2008: 4014   TonyLawrence

Seriously. We have GOT to get off the bleeding edge.

Yes, I know. Every week when I take out the trash I am disgusted by how much we all waste..

Recycling is difficult, but we're all going to have to bite that bullet. Or die in our own muck.

Sat Apr 12 15:15:54 2008: 4037   Paul

Conflict with OS use causes problems here as well. I like to think that I am a die-hard Linux user, but the fact is that I must used Windows in certain situations. For one, I work as a Systems Software Engineer. While my work is completed on Linux servers, the company uses Windows for all of the client stations. The exception is in the R&D department, where I work, and a few machines in Production ( rollout ), which often also run a second machine(s) using some flavor of Linux.

The second place I am forced to use Windows is when I am taking a class at the University that requires Windows formated assignments. Now while I have worked around many of the requirements using Linux apps, more than a few have dictated a Windows session.

That brings me to the conflict. I have a Windows Server 2003 set up at home. It is a print and file server with a number of applications specifically installed for these minor moments in time wherein I must use Windows. I dont like the compromise much, but the reality is that in the few times that I must engage ( fight with ) MS, it does reduce the time necessary to complete the task. Maybe to my credit, I remote to the box even though I am sitting directly in front of it. Maybe I have simply bowed to some perceived power. Or maybe it is just a necessary evil.

The last 'maybe' sure makes me feel better.


Printer Friendly Version

Have you tried Searching this site?

This is a Unix/Linux resource website. It contains technical articles about Unix, Linux and general computing related subjects, opinion, news, help files, how-to's, tutorials and more.

Contact us

Printer Friendly Version

If we define Futurism as an exploration beyond accepted limits, then the nature of limiting systems becomes the first object of exploration. (Frank Herbert)

Linux posts

Troubleshooting posts

This post tagged:



Unix/Linux Consultants

Skills Tests

Unix/Linux Book Reviews

My Unix/Linux Troubleshooting Book

This site runs on Linode