|Home » Learning Curve » Red Hat Diaries
Last Vendor Standing
Brace yourself already today - just in case.
There's no reason no one else can come up with an implementation of Objective-C and NeXTSTEP the way NeXTSTEP did; but it's a fact no one else has.
There's no reason no one else can invent SOS Interface as Jean-Marie Hullot did; but it's a fact no one else has.
Now in the holiday market approaching there's but one player left on the field - the last vendor standing. Microsoft lost big - their abortive new OS was a pancake starting to fall flat last January; the reverberations of Microsoft's mistakes are only growing like ripples in a brook soon to turn into a tidal wave. 'Out of it' publications like Sweden's 'Dina Pengar' ('Your Money') are hailing Google as the new threat to Microsoft - something obvious to the rest of the world years ago. One player remains - the last vendor standing.
And now in October - or so we're told - they plan on releasing their new OS and it arrives right in time for the holiday market. Will it sweep?
Apple currently have 6.6% of the total world PC demographic. This is a yawn to be sure but it's twice what they had only a few years ago. Historically they've never been better than 14% - and that was back in 1984. Can they get better?
We feel Apple could make things better for themselves and the world if they released their OS X across the board so anyone could adopt it. We find it silly not to say childish to hear there are limericks embedded in OS X kernel code begging people to not try to run the OS on hardware not purchased from Apple. This is anal retentive at its worst.
We're not interested in ruminating through the financial considerations around these issues: we merely say we believe both Apple and the world would profit.
We don't care that the source code to the OS X GUI is proprietary: as long as that GUI doesn't try any tricks every user can rely on the kernel underbody of the OS.
And regarding that underbody: we firmly believe there is no alternative but to use and embrace a straight out of the box open source kernel - be it OpenBSD or FreeBSD or Linux. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that the caretakers deal with the security issues correctly and promptly and that the inheritors (Apple or whoever) do not corrupt that code in the slightest on its way out their own doors.
Leopard is approaching. We have screen shots of our own software running on this fully 64-bit platform. It looks very good. The colours are all a bit different and a cursory glance at several types of windows shows in some cases a vast difference.
So far so good.
And many people who've not tried OS X yet may jump on the bandwagon come this silly season. In many ways they'll be as far along as 5 year veterans such as ourselves.
We have several megs of source code now amassed and tweaked over a period of five years. There are lines in that code we know are necessary but no longer understand.
In the four brief months since we've made the move to Tiger we've uncovered - and reported - fifty four (54) system bugs of a varying nature, mostly cosmetic, some rather embarrassing for Apple, and some really serious from a security standpoint.
Most of these bugs have not yet been fixed; at least one dozen were reported to Apple back in the early months of 2005. [Yes you read that right.] And they're not fixed to this day. Many of the bugs are capable of scaring away potential customers checking out the OS in an Apple store.
They all remain.
One wonders of course what Apple have been doing for the past two and one half years. Their current 'Tiger' is the longest lasting single release of OS X they've put out up to now; surely with two and one half years they have time to take care of outright bloopers such as those we've reported to them?
Evidently not. And in such case: what do they do all day?
Apple have a lot of irons in the fire. They produce a lot of software ordinary punters don't think about. Big titles for the multimedia industry. They allocate considerable resources to these projects. Yet with a major OS being the foundation for which everything else must follow you'd think they'd find the time to get the kinks out. But you'd be wrong.
Current estimates are that Apple receive over 5,000 new bug reports every day. This pertains only to the current period and may not reflect the general trend but 5,000 bugs per day is a lot of bugs. Can they possibly deal with them all?
A lot of these bugs can be total nonsense - in theory at least. To file a bug report one has to register as a developer; most punters wouldn't know how to file a report and wouldn't dare try to register.
A lot of these bugs can be reported internally - for all we know Apple's own people are the greatest source. And a lot of these bugs can pertain to Leopard and not the current system Tiger. We have no way of knowing.
But 5,000+ per day is still a lot. And the release is slated for this month.
We're guessing Apple will try for either 24 or 29 October. Something tells us it's 29 October but we may be wrong. We may also be way off. Apple may also delay things further.
But if the release comes this month it's a good guess punters can count on lots of bugs - bugs that perhaps have been reported but bugs no one's had time to look any closer at.
What we're fearing is Apple doing the same thing as Microsoft. Microsoft waited five years; Apple half that. Microsoft came out with a bomb and now Apple can be the last OS vendor standing - but what if they also come out with a bomb? Don't be surprised, OK? It's not a nice thought but just don't be surprised. Brace yourself already today - just in case.