Software ‘community’ … Mac vs. PC

For those that don’t know, I’ve used Mac, PC, and Linux interchangeably for a long time.  Having one of each at home for a while.  However; my main machine has been a windows box the whole time.   I recently moved to using a MacBook Pro as my main machine for work.

It’s made me get ‘deep’ into the system instead of just using it for specific things or testing.

I will post some other thoughts later, but one thing that just came up to me again this weekend has prompted this post.

I’m really amazed at the difference between software available.   On Windows, the open source community had really embraced the platform, and not only could you find any open source software that you wanted in a pre-compiled binary for Windows.   But there was also just a ton of free software just for Windows out there as well.

On the Mac, it seems that the open source community has abandoned it.  While the Mac is BSD at it’s core, the X-system is subpar, as it doesn’t fully integrate into the OS unless the application has been ‘aqua-fied’.  But very few projects have bothered to do this, like they have for Windows.   Which leaves you using fink or macports to compile the software natively, and having a very bad UI experience.

At the same time, there is a ton of Mac specific software out there to be had, but it feels to me like the Windows community 15 years ago, where everything is shareware, instead of freeware.

Shareware on the PC really died off in favor of open source, or straight freeware.  Yet on the Mac it reigns supreme, with any potential software I want to use costing me $10-15

It really boggles my mind, simply because the Mac ever since OS/X has really been embraced by the programming/technical community as ‘the desktop machine to have’ … yet it doesn’t have an according philosophy with the applications that run on it.


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