Sunday, February 26, 2006

The fun continues

We still haven't recovered from Dvorak's editorial and a Linux fanboy tries to extend the fun. Forget switching to Windows, Apple should switch to Linux!

1992 marked the now famous flame war between Linus Torvalds and Andy Tanenbaum over monolithic vs. microkernel design.
I seem to remember this flame. It ended with Linus apologizing to Tanenbaum.

With the release of Mac OS X for Intel, Apple has essentially closed development of Darwin by not releasing the x86 version.

Hmm, they' ve stopped releasing code. That must be a sign of moving to Linux.

This leaves only Apple's internal team of kernel engineers to improve XNU, making it nearly impossible for Apple to compete with Linux or Microsoft in kernel development.

Oh no, all 3 non-Apple Darwin contributors can't commit code anymore. How is Apple going to compete with Linux and Microsoft now?

The Linux kernel has also been ported to more architectures than any other kernel, which gives Apple a good foundation for embedded devices like iPods.

Great reason to make a fundamental change to Mac OS X.

Apple's users could benefit from having a true enterprise server-class kernel, hundreds of drivers, and cool new features like FUSE or Xen.

Apple should switch to Linux for FUSE? Maybe they could also develop iFS, a fun drag & drop way to create file systems. It could be a part of iLife. And last time I checked Xen was not Linux-only.

But I saved the best for the end... Apple should switch to Linux for its drivers? Now, that was hilarious. Drivers for what? Printers? CUPS is already part of Mac OS X. Scanners? SANE can already be installed on Mac OS X. Various USB or FireWire devices? Mac OS X is miles ahead already anyway. What's left then? Obscure PCI-Express cards for PowerMac. Sure, support for that kind of cards would be a great benefit for Apple's users.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Major league bullshit

Our job, here at Comment Gator ranch, is to comment (duh!) on the imbecilic and generally depraved "opinions" of the IT fanboy crowd. In the main, this crowd consists of spotty, nerdy and drooling teenagers with Atari t-shirts. Due to a severe lack of life, said crowd takes refuge to the various tech sites and online fora, carefully avoiding direct human contact (which is wise). As you can witness from reading Slashdot, OSNews, Mac Daily News, or even this very site, the fanboy mob never ceases to amuse us by producing wonderful monuments of human stupidity. They have, however, an excuse: they are, after all, just uninformed nerds in ther teens. It is a different case altogether when the highest paid journalist in tech, well over forty, provides us with lunatic ravings of such mass stupidity that it curves the space-time continuum.

Commenting on ignorant comments is a dirty job. But today, it's dirtier than usual, for today we are in deep shit. In deep bullshit, to be exact. Here's what I mean:

The idea that Apple would ditch its own OS for Microsoft Windows came to me from Yakov Epstein, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, who wrote to me convinced that the process had already begun. I was amused, but after mulling over various coincidences, I'm convinced he may be right. This would be the most phenomenal turnabout in the history of desktop computing.


Computers made of milk would be the most phenomenal turnabout in the history of desktop computing. The only problem, as with the above theory, is that THERE IS NO F*****N CHANCE IN HELL THIS WILL HAPPEN.

Since fools come in pairs, mr. Dvorak (for this is the writer of the exquisite piece of science fiction journalism you just read), took his lead from a certain Epstein (he's no Einstein), a "professor of psychology at Rutgers University". With university professors as informed as this, who needs kindergarden?

But let's see the basis for Epstein's (he's no Einstein) guess:

Epstein made four observations. The first was that the Apple Switch ad campaign was over, and nobody switched. The second was that the iPod lost its FireWire connector because the PC world was the new target audience. Also, although the iPod was designed to get people to move to the Mac, this didn't happen. And, of course, that Apple had switched to the Intel microprocessor.

Nobody switched? Where does mr. Epstein (he's no Einstein) gets his numbers? Last time I checked, hundrends of thousands of people switched. Furthermore, the switch campaign is not over. Here it is: (Duh!). Except if he meant the tv ad campaings. Well, mr. Epstein (you're no Einstein), tv ad campaigns get stale and new ones take their place. (Duh!).

The second "observation" has nothing to do with the case. First of all, all moderns PCs have firewire. As a matter of fact, most modern PCs have more firewire ports than most Macs do (i.e two). And second, the reason Firewire was dropped was to have a smaller form factor and cut costs. (Duh!)

The third observation states: "although the iPod was designed to get people to move to the Mac, this didn't happen". WTF? Haven't this guy heard of the halo effect? Thousands of people came to Macs due to the iPod/iTunes exposure. And

As for Apple switching to the intel architecture, the reasons are already well known and have nothing to do with switching Macs over to Windows (due to new and improved BIOS replacement technology they don't even run Windows as of now!).
As a matter of fact, it is the reverse that might happen in the future: OSX running in generic PCs, taking over Windows.

It's a dirty job, this commenting business, but somebody's got to do it.

Now, do excuse me: I have to take a shower.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who needs UltraSparc specs?

The plot so far: Sun Microsystems fulfilled a pledge Tuesday to release UltraSparc chip details in an effort to make it easier to bring Linux and versions of BSD Unix to its systems.

OSnews readers have of course lots to say about. The first comment is from jjmckay.

Great news! Sun hardware is great and I hope this move helps them sell more of it! Thank you Sun! Keep up the great work. You are winning minds and that has real value. I just hope that it pays for you.

You would expect that this typical content-free fanboy post would get a negative rating, but no, it gets a full 5. The only negative-rated post about this story is from Shaman's reply.

I can only hope you are being paid for this post.

The only sensible reply to jjmckay gets rated -1. But let's not lose faith and see the rest of the comments. Two commentators think that this announcement fulfilled some kind of wet dream for the OpenBSD developers.

Guess Theo and the gangs nagging finally paid off!

OpenBSD developers have been asking for UltraSPARC specifications for years.

Well, Theo de Raadt has actualy stated that they don't need processor docs: "That stuff is trivial. We need *chipset docs*. And those are still not available under Sun's new program. So it is STILL a complete matter of reverse engineering."

I wonder what would it take to make a fork of that(surely there are more knowledgable people aroud here who can tell).

Oh, come on, fork? You are becoming a Linux stereotype.

Sun should thank the people behind Apache, Gnome, KDE, MySQL, X, JBoss rather than sucking Linux kernel developer's you-know-what!

What about thanking the academy?

Linux is not a x86 OS now.

Seriously? Thanks for sharing.

OK the fact that you can run Linux on any processor doesn't mean it's "designed" for that processor. AIX will ALWAYS beat Linux on POWER Solaris will ALWAYS beat Linux on SPARC HPUX will ALWAYS beat Linux on PARISC. Accept this and move on.....I have!

OK, I think I got it.
WINDOWS will ALWAYS beat Linux on x86.
RISC OS will ALWAYS beat Mac OS X on PowerPC.

Reasons why Linux/Intel beat Solaris/Sparc:
1.) Feature, stability, security is very similar
2.) Intel hardware is cheaper and faster than Sparc
3.) Linux is cheaper than Solaris (OpenSolaris nulls this point)
4.) Linux doesn't lock you to 1 vendor, Solaris does
5.) No Linux distributor has Jonathan Swartz as any sort of executive, that guy is crazy (

1) Similar features? ZFS, Zones, DTrace. Shall I say more?
2) And that's a reason why Linux is better than Solaris?
3) I'm glad you realized it yourself.
4) (Open)Solaris can run on any x86 and x86_64 processor, along with the UltraSparc. There is even a PowerPC port.
5) Right, whatever.

>I really can't see how this will have any negative >impact on Linux. It won't, unless no developers are interested and the port stagnates. At which point, Sun will demonize Linux.

There are people interested porting Linux to VAX for crying out loud and you think there will be no interest for UltraSparc?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


February the 13th has to be the blogotherapy day at Ars Technica. Jeff Smykil starts by illustrating his childhood years in rural America.

I grew up in a small city in New England. Many of you would that inhabit cities with more than 5 digits worth of people would probably scoff at this area being depicted as a city. In this city the only real form of public transportation was a bus system that all of three or four people enjoyed a day.

And then he goes on describing us his phobias.

It is for this reason that I am terrified of any real form of public transportation. Taking the 'T' in Boston is a journey which I would rather avoid. More often than not my 'T' rides are spent staring straight ahead with my mouth shut. Waiting at the platform makes me nervous. Some sort of fear of being pushed in, mugged, being hit by a train, or being electrocuted by that infamous rail that electrocutes people. Then there is the filth. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means a clean freak, my apartment is quite dirty, but that is familiar dirt and grime. It's the unfamiliar dirt and grime that lurk in subway stations and public restrooms that I could do without.

But wait, it gets better. Rodney Quinn steps in.

I guess I just hunger for a little more... humanity from the community. Games like this lose so much purity when the vast majority of players disperse an opaque cloud of leetisms in both global and local chats (even on the RP servers from what I've seen) and any shred of pathos or genuine immersion that one could feel while playing is killed in a tangle of obscure acronyms and stat-mongering. Perhaps it's the materialism of our modern culture carrying over into the digital realms of Azeroth, or maybe it's the way the game is designed.

And then for the great finale.

I dunno. I know that this is what mainstream gaming is all about, but sometimes I look at WoW, and it's like seeing Santa Claus at the mall and realizing he's not really Santa, he's just some dude getting paid. Does this make sense to anyone at all?

We'll be honest with you guys: No, it doesn't.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Who said comedy was dead?

Great comedy never dies. Don't believe me? Just read this hillarious quote from linuxhelp blog:

What makes GNU/Linux such a pleasure to use is the excellent documentation that is included with it for each and every tool bundled with it.

Not convinced? Then:

Just try learning to use iptables without reading the documentation even once, and you will get the idea.

I don't get the idea. But I do get the joke. LOL!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Don't stare

Attention everybody, the 90's have returned! Well, at least on Slashdot. It seems that somewhere between his regular schedule of WoW, sleep and junk food, CmdrTaco had an epiphany:

Let's add some advertisements that people will have to stare for like, 15 minutes and then they will have some kind of bonus. Like unpublished news and stuff.

Fortunately, someone with less burned neurons changed the 15 minutes part to 15 seconds. The result can be seen at the top of the site.

The next Slashdot story is visible early to free day pass visitors; sponsored by Verizon Business.

When you click the link you get a huge flash telling you that yesterday is today (or something like this) and a message ordering you to

Watch this ad for 15 seconds and then enjoy your Day Pass.

Presto! You got access to... slashdot stories under construction. Seriously, this has to be the lamest thing since CmdrTaco's post about Blizzard making him change his WoW alias.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


I love OSNews editorials. They are always flamebaits and their follow-up comments are a great fun to read. Today's editorial is about Unix Security and is written by Thom Holwerda who lives too close to Amsterdam to know what he is talking about.

A hypothetical virus or other malware on a UNIX-like system can only, when it is activated by a normal user, wreak havoc inside that user's /home directory (or whatever other files the user might have access rights to).

No, a hypothetical virus can't do this, only a real virus can. Starting your argument with a hypothetical virus means that you are talking about a hypothetical Operating System, not "Linux/OSX/etc". To put it another way, Chewbacca is a Wookie from planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on planet Endor. That does not make sense!

But wasn't Linux supposed to be secure? So why should they backup?

Linux users backup because a hardware error or a user error may delete some important files. Since ENIAC, only Windows users backup their files out of fear of a virus or a worm.

UNIX might be more secure than Windows, but that only goes for the system itself.

Now that was deep. Unix is more secure than Windows only on the system level. A Unix birthday party video is not more secure than a Windows birthday party video. This raises a question however:

Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dinner Party

About a week ago Microsoft invited for dinner some bloggers and Internet celebrities including Philip Torrone (Make magazine), Beth Goza (Second Life), Tara Hunt (Riya) and Chris Messina (Flock). Jim Allchin (Co-president of Microsoft's Platforms, Products and Services Division) was there also.

So, that sounds like a great group of people and you would bet that they had a very interesting conversation. Indeed, Chris Messina realized it was too good to keep it all for himself and decided to blog about it in a lengthy two part post.

[Jim Allchin] said directly to me, "...even though that might not be as open as you might like, we are learning.

Well, the above quote is actually the only content of his two posts, the rest is just him either repeating how cool the Microsoft guys were, or just being delirious.

Hot on the heels of Chris Messina comes Tara Hunt, who is his girlfriend and apparently is mega-hot.

Nevertheless, I poured myself another glass of wine and settled in to what would be a lively and interesting discussion with senior people at Microsoft.

And then she goes on only talking about the Windows Vista demo they had.

Seriously, what's wrong with these people?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Don't be so negative

It seems that OSNews is in a quest against negative numbers. After adding the comments rating feature some time ago, they decided that people should really not vote comments down. When you try it you get a page noting

Please do not use this feature to vote down comments that you merely disagree with, or even ones that contain factual errors or misinformation. Rather, use the reply feature and enlighten us all with your opinion or correct facts.

And then they warn us that

Moderations may be reviewed by site administrators, volunteer moderators, and/or osnews users now or in the future. Moderations deemed unfair may result in adjustment of your comment votes.

Finally, you have to select the reason why you are voting the comment down.

Voting a comment up is instantaneous.

The rating of a comment can vary between -5 and 5 and note that the initial rating is 1, not 0. Of course very few comments are voted down and the obvious outcome is that most comments are rated 1 or more, a very few are rated 0 and there are some obvious trolls that get rated -5. Ratings of -1 to -4 are almost non-existent.

But this number-cooking wasn't enough for the OSNews team. Now they are also removing article ratings, they are renaming them as "recommendations". What is the difference you ask? You can no longer vote an article down, you can either vote it up (recommend it) or not vote at all!

So OSNews does not have good and bad articles anymore, it only has good and regular ones. It does not have good and bad comments, it has good and better comments. A great way to increase the quality of the site!

It's official

Daring Fireball, as of today (2/2/2006) contains more posts about its operation and advertising schemes than actual content.

Or, maybe, it just looks this way to me. Makes you wonder, though, why would one support this site. Just to read about it's new advertising deals and t-shirt designs?

Stop press: spotty teenagers annoyed at Adobe

The plot so far: Adobe announced that current versions of Creative Suite and Macromedia apps won't come out as universal binaries. Instead, they will focus on getting out the next versions of the apps as universal binaries, due out following their standard 18-24 month release cycle, i.e sometime around early 2007, probably even sooner (November 2006).

The following comments are from here.

Yeh heh heh heh hesssss. The drum beat starts. The smart money says, try Aperture. You'll love it.

How is this a solution? The Aperture equivalent by Adobe (Lightroom) will be a universal binary very soon. It's the OTHER TEN (or more) apps that will be missing.

well i think they just dont want to deal with it.why pot out a universal version and give people te cross platform price when they can just be assholes and get the full upgrade price later

Makes sense. As a company, if there was no transition, they would have taken their time and turn out CS3 eventually. Now, just because Apple has choosen to make a transition, Adobe should suddenly change its timeline? (while still in the middle of smoothing out the recent Macromedia acquisition, none the less).

If they would have written good code to begin with and adhered to standards then the re-compile would not be so tedious.

Adobe programs are among the least buggy in the industry, especially the flagship Photoshop. They are LOVED by their users (creative professionals, that is).

I hope Apple squashes them somehow for this. They get too much revenue from the Mac platform to simply walk away, anyhow.

Get 'em, Apple, MAKE 'EM PAY!

They make around 20% of their revenue from Apple. On the other hand, if they go away, Apple is doomed in the professional creative market.

Who cares? CoreImage can do anything that Photoshop can, and it does it faster.

Does this guy even knows what Photoshop is and does?

Good. Maybe this will allow Adobe enough time to fix its CrashWare — specifically InDesign CS2. What an absolute load of crap. Thank god we still use Quark as our primary layout program for design AND mechanicals at the agency where I work.

Is this why InDesign CS2 overtook Quark Xpress in the publishing industry?

This is just stupid! Adobe has known for over a year that Apple would be introducing Intel based Macs in the first half of 2006. A developer kit as been available for over a year!

No, the comment is just stupid. The intel developer kit is available for less than a year: since summer 2005.

Creative professionals won't be buying a new Mac anytime soon if this is true!

They wouldn't anyway. Creative professionals don't upgrade any time a new machine comes out anyway. A lot of them kept using OS9 for a long time. They tend to go after 2nd revision machines and software. They use them professionaly so they don't want to risk "beta-testing" a 1st revision product while on a deadline! Apple knows that: this is why they said the PowerMac line will be the last to go Intel.

In other words, Adobe dragged their fat lazy feet and didn't switch to XCode when Jobs warned all developers they should. (This was well before the announcement of the Intel transition, BTW.)

They cannot do it that easily. Remember they also develop for Windows (80% of their revenue), where there is no Xcode. The code had to be modularized specifically in order to allow this. And why spend manpower and to do it for a version that is already out there and most people that WOULD have bought it, have it already for their G4/5 machines? Just for the early iMac/MacBook Pro adopters?

MacGIMP Has Been Built Cross-Platform with XCode 2.2

How is this a solution? There are over 10 Adobe/Macromedia apps that are missing, not just Photoshop. Besides, GIMP is not an alternative to Photoshop for professional publishing work. A lot of esoteric yet essential publishing features are just not there.

iSteve, Sounds like you could use GraphicConverter. It's a universal binary today and you can set up automatic resizing of images. It's more than a poor man's PhotoShop.

No, it's just that.


This is bigtime bad news. And who thought it was good that Adobe bought up Macromedia? Yeah, Adobe is officially a monopoly and they are being real dicks about it. Fsck 'em. I am officially going to use all the non-adobe software from here on out.

Great, you aren't one of the customers that need Adobe products anyway. Probably just a spotty teenager (or spotty student). Real professionals who use Adobe software will wait.

Adobe is sitting out on a limb. The only reason they have survived so far is the stranded investments in dollars, training, and experience their customers have accumulated in their software.

Erm, and the plain fact that no real alternative exists that is as powerful. Even apperture is not a Photoshop alternative, it catters to a different market.

Hmmm, as a professional photographer, long-time user of Photoshop, and someone who's been waiting to upgrade laptops and desktops for some time, I'm very disappointed with Adobe's decision. This just reeks of a lack of foresight on Adobe's part.

Yes, We can see that. The real question though is HOW MANY of your kind are there? If NOT THAT MANY, then it makes sense not to rush out a CS2 UB.

I don't have Photoshop, but CoreImage keeps getting more and more attractive. Maybe it's the sound of obsolesence beating at the door with OS X built-in features for free instead of Photoshop's outdated rendering lag?

Does this guy even know what Photoshop is or does?

Last year I was in the running for a job at Adobe - part of a division that worked on imaging products. My experience didn't quite match up with what they were after, but they liked me enough to interview me twice. Anyway, here's what I learnt.

For Adobe cross platform is very important. Their entire code-base is also written in C++ and they make use of an extensive set of libraries they have developed for cross platform support - some of which have been released as open source. There is only one set of source code for Photoshop which is used to produce both the Mac and Windows versions. (This is in contrast to Microsoft's approach, where the Mac and Windows versions of Office are separate developments.)

Their compiler of choice has been CodeWarrior, since it allowed them to build apps for both platforms.

CodeWarrior has not been updated for Intel Macs, and nor is this planned. Not too surprising, since CodeWarrior is owned by FreeScale these days. The only way to build apps for Intel Macs is Apple's XCode. Moving an application suite as large and extensive as Adobe's from CodeWarrior to XCode is a complex task requiring a lot of effort. It is nowhere near as simple as just importing the files and setting up build rules.

Adobe have clearly decided that this transition should be done only for the next generation of apps. Performing this transition for the current generation of apps would nearly double the amount of work required and distract developers from the real work of building the new app versions.

Finally, the voice of reason. The funny part is you don't even need insider information to be able to deduct this, yet very few seem able to.

Generally I'm a troll, I admit it. But this is just reinforcing my idea that we need an open source page layout apps and page imaging model. I'm going to start on it this weekend. Anyone interested please contact me through my email.

Good luck.

Looks like other competitors can now take marketshare away from Adobe since they have no interest. I see this as a dumb move by Adobe.

Other competitors. Like?

And CoreImage (which is part of the OS, not an app with a UI), Graphic Converter, and Gimp, separately or combined, are no match for Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, all automated through AppleScript. Sure, hobbyists won't be so affected. Hell, even the pros won't be so bothered.

Another voice of reason.

Adobe's programmers have been sub-par for about 10 years now, their interface needlessly complicated and ease-of-use cumbersome. I say pump more development into iLife and render Adobe meaningless.

Does this guy even know what Adobe pro apps are and what iLife is?