All This Talk About OSX…

I’m a Mac user.

Actually, I’m a UNIX user, who came from the brave GNU world in the late 90s, and never looked back. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved Macs since the early 90s when I was introduced to them, but not coming from a family with money enough to even have a computer, I certainly didn’t have a Mac. When I finally saved enough money to buy my first PC, I had to learn enough about it before I could take the GNU plunge, but when I did boy was it refreshing.

But, In today’s GNU world, the abundance of different distributions of GNU is way too overwhelming. In my opinion, it’s actually hurting the adoption of GNU, it certainly turned me away (I now use FreeBSD for my left over PCs, though I try to install and use the GNU stuff I’ve become acustomed to over the years). When I had the chance, and my bank statement said I could, I purchased a Powerbook. Now, I’m not going to say that I’m unhappy with my Powerbook (it’s the best computer I’ve ever owned), but I am unhappy with lots of things related to it.

For one, OSX really isn’t built on FreeBSD like everyone claims. What really happened is that MacOS Developers decided to do something the HURD people couldn’t ever get right, use the Mach microkernel. They then built a FreeBSD compatibility layer on top of it, but most of the system calls that a programmer makes are not what FreeBSD would really do. And of course this has to be true. Most resources in OSX are managed by Mach, not the FreeBSD layer.

Sorry to mislead you, but the real reason for unhappiness, isn’t FreeBSD related, it’s X11 related. Apple, I’m sorry to say this, but X11 integrates extremely poorly with OSX, and I’m not sure how anyone can use it daily along side of Aqua. My biggest complaint by far is the fact that CMD-Q kills all of my X applications. Now, in defense of Apple, they provide you a confirmation box, which stops me most of the time from my habitual CMD-Q routine, but it’s not enough.

I’m aware of the technical hurdles that would need to be overcome to even get CMD-Q to work on the application level, but I’m sure that the engineers hired to build OSX could also come up with a solution to the problem.

What’s more, QuartzWM is poor. Sure, it displays windows, but really does nothing more. I suppose this is the main purpose of a window manager (display windows), but it’s helpful in no other way. I have to launch a terminal and then xkill to destroy a window and it’s subprocesses (when something breaks, Apple did a good job of making the (x) work). Now, surely I can put that in the applications menu, but I’d rather use the Applications menu for things like Applications, not something the window manager should give me support for!

Apple, please hear my cries and do something to seemlessly integrate the X protocol into Aqua. Ok? Thanks!

UPDATE April 25, 2006 I think it’s finally about time to build the search and something to automatically add archive information to the sidebar.


— 2006-04-25