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They're Not Coming

10.5 = 10.4 Apple.


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The first player to establish a beachhead in 64-bit computing wins, says Eric Raymond. The first company to pass that magical 'tipping point' can become the new Microsoft. And if the game is over right now Apple will win hands down, says Eric Raymond. But guess what?

There's a growing apprehension Leopard's not going to establish anything. And there's further apprehension Apple have reached their peak and can't expand any more. And there's yet more apprehension all the aspirations of getting the heavy names interested in the platform - despite the earlier open source ruse - are now for nought.

After three releases of this abortive system things are looking like Tiger to the power of Apple. 10.5 = 10.4 Apple. Old bugs don't get fixed - they get worse. And reporting them is pointless - they know about them already and nothing ever happens anyway.

Safari's had bugs since 'day one' that still haven't been fixed; the Opener (startup items) 'crater' was arrogantly ignored for years as was the Oompa (input managers) hole. The fanboys keep drinking the Kool-Aid and can be counted on to buy their black iBooks and iPods and iPhones but the big money aren't the least bit curious and the inept Apple marketing have given up even trying.

Rumour has it Apple are now close to shutting down their server hardware division. They'll licence OS X Server on OEM hardware instead. They're simply not interested in marketing something nobody ever sees and few companies want to buy - this despite Xserve being a gleaming product.

Object oriented environment? Who cares! Certainly a system supported by IBM or Sun or Novell is a much smarter bet! Those corporations know the enterprise and know how to support it! All Apple can do is sell single licence toys to people in batik shirts and Birkenstock sandals.

It's been several years since Apple made most money off computers and software. Way over half of their corporate revenues came from the iPod already before the iPhone was introduced. And the iPhone may be an impressive piece of hardware and a fitting demonstration of the power of NeXTSTEP but it's not going to move mountains. Wall Street wizards are now saying Apple have to expand their computer business or eventually collapse. And it was only a matter of time.

Apple aren't a player. They address the same weird single digit demographic despite having previously acquired some of the best technology going anywhere. They pervert it to their own ends and destroy its innate beauty and power. And what do they have today?

Microsoft's latest? V*STA is still a fiasco. Selling way more than Apple can ever hope for given their traditional anal retentive marketing approach but still and all hardly a success by their standards. And neither pretty nor functional. And finally the punters are beginning to grasp that Billy Gates talk about being sorry for the woes caused by Redmond software was phony and the company's eagerness to improve things was a bluff. The entire Windows security industry continue to thrive because nothing ever gets better. And millions upon millions of clueless users - and journalists - continue to believe things are always this way and computers have always been this unstable and unsafe. And those who know better are keeping their mouths shut and checking their numbered bank accounts.

Linux is great on the server but neither GNOME nor KDE are going to win any design awards. Put bluntly: both are utter crap. What's left?

The one company who have a reputation for good design can at best do good design but precious little else - and they're hamstrung by an obsessive CEO who simply will not let the company expand in the right direction and continues to sucker the stockholders and board of directors into supporting his foolish neurotic plan.

The grand design of Apple is to be able to continue to pour out new 'innovative' products to sell to their already over saturated fanboy market. Sooner or later it will fail. Sooner or later they'll come out with a dud.

They have to keep on introducing multiple products in case any of them - as the TV - come up short. If everything they introduce this year falls flat their stock will plummet and their computing platform will die.

The one thing they need to be able to do so as to not be dependent on their current hysteric untenable position is the one thing they by definition cannot do and even do not want to do - play along with the others in the industry.

Instead of playing along they have a history of playing bait and switch: they played it against the NeXT ISVs, against the open sorcerers, and against the iTools fans - something that lost them their good rating amongst consumer groups.

Apple have never been able to demonstrate a prowess at maintaining operating system software and now it's being proven again. All they seem capable of doing is acquiring products like their big Redmond brother and then through a concerted effort 'improving' them until everything starts to fall apart.

NeXTSTEP was a pristine system with a lot going for it but NeXTSTEP is now twenty years old and even if a few NeXT engineers linger on at Apple their system of today is a far cry from the brilliant code they once cared for. Apple spent a whole five years ruining and corrupting NeXTSTEP before they let it out their Apple door; what's surprising is that the system back then was as good as it was.

One good release - and all the rest's been downhill. The slip and slide was gradual - and for some unnoticeable - at first but like an avalanche things inevitably pick up momentum as time wears on.

Apple love to tell customers they have a 'rock solid foundation' but there isn't much to that foundation anymore. In fact even discussing what the F Apple have done to so many good interfaces has become too wearisome: people just don't care anymore.

Ten years down the road the hope was the platform would have spread and caught on. Yet looking who the caretakers are and seeing how they work and seeing how their marketing departments attempt to spread the platform it's pretty obvious things are not going to spread; there are actually higher ups in the company who - gasp - do not want it to spread; and what with the reputation Apple now have for crappy file systems and system software the people who've long used the platform are almost relieved others don't come over and try it out.

Saying 'OS X is utter crap' a year ago would have been met with silence; today it's heard everywhere.

And it didn't have to be. The only reason things are this bad is because the company let it happen. And because Apple wouldn't intentionally undermine their own best interests it becomes obvious they lack the talent on several levels to stop it from happening.

Apple are traditionally a joke in the IT sector; people were starting to take a second look there for a while. They got a lot of legs with their iPod. Microsoft helped immeasurably with their insecure products, with the proliferation of spam and malware; fanboys kept chanting the mantra 'Macs are cool' so everybody heard it; after all this time nothing's made a difference. Apple are back to being a joke again.

Yet just because an IT department don't migrate to OS X doesn't mean individual programmers can't get a Mac and try the system out - yet even this hasn't happened. Professional engineers - the kind the OS X platform desperately needs - have looked from afar. And they don't like what they see. No matter one tells them what a space age environment NeXTSTEP/Cocoa is - they still don't want to test the waters. For in their eyes the platform simply doesn't have a future.


1.
The unprofessionalism of the software market. Certainly all markets have their share of boobs but no platform has such a high concentration as Apple. On OS X it's all one sees. And the fact some of the worst of these products come from former Apple developers only makes the outsider professionals even more fearful. But above all it's the deluge of really dumb, totally irrelevant, and irretrievably shoddy products - using things like AppleScript to take but one extremely painful example - that leaves a distinct impression on the outsider professional. Space age environment? NeXTSTEP? This is brilliant? Where? What's brilliant about it? Are these software titles brilliant? Looking at what's available they simply can't believe the platform is to be taken seriously. And who can blame them?

If it were possible to find just one relevant product. One enterprise product. One product that - for a change - had something to do with the world of finance instead of the monotonous repugnant world of fonts and images. Just one. But it's not there.

If it were possible to find just one professionally written and packaged product. Just one. But it's not there.

If it were possible to find just one bug free product. Just one. But it's not there.

Steve Wozniak says the worst software he uses comes from Apple. What kind of reference is that?

2.
A simply unamenable hardware market. If your needs can't be fitted into one of Apple's four inflexible product lines you won't get what you need. Period. Couple with that the staggering scandal at the time of the Intel transition and you have a lot of potentially influential people who will stay away because quite simply they are afraid of getting burned on crappy Chinese hardware sold by an unsympathetic supplier who will do anything to get out of honouring their warrantees.

They see as well how Apple first provide discussion forums and then patrol the forums, removing negative comments or reports of hardware or software issues. It's fairly obvious to anyone not addicted to the Kool-Aid that Apple are trying to keep news of failing production lines from reaching other 'burned' customers.

Above all it's obvious to these Kool-Aid teetotalers that Apple are not a company who respect their customers. Just drink the Kool-Aid and wash it down with a cup of Shut the F Up and leave your banking details with us Macs are cool.

And the outsiders aren't going to fall for that.

But all the above pales in comparison to the final reason.


3.
The fanboys. Yes these insufferable illiterate ignorant idiots are actually scaring the good people away. The web is an open neighbourhood and they see what's going on - and what incredibly unpleasant and stupid people roam around in the world of the Mac. People like John Siracusa, John Gruber, John C Welch, Jeffrey J Barbozo, Buzz Andersen, Daniel 'Punkass' Jalkut, Jonathan Wight - and perhaps the most unpleasant and stupid of them all: 'Scott' Anguish.

These people - universally acknowledged as a sort of social disease - are acknowledged as such by the outsiders as well. No one wants in on a market - or a 'world' - where psychopaths like this are allowed to roam range free.

Outsiders see the Apple 'cosmos' for what it is: sick. 'Sick' as in really truly 101% pathologically diseased. Like something you just know you don't want to get near to. As in never. And it doesn't matter how good Objective-C is; it doesn't matter how fantastic the NeXTSTEP classes at least used to be; nothing's worth that much.

Ten years down the line with OS X and Apple - outside the strained world of the fanboys - are merely an object of ridicule. And now with Leopard: hate. People are tired of being fucked over by bad hardware and increasingly crappy software and systemware and they'll absolutely not tolerate these sick fucking zealots polluting the Internet with their uneducated and illiterate crap. They simply won't come.

Given that Windows is so insecure, so wobbly, so third rate, and so unequivocally doomed it takes a lot to stop someone from migrating. But Apple and their fundamentalist idiots are doing an admirable job of it.

And with no chance some of the more enlightened minds will take a look at OS X there's little opportunity for the word about the platform and its potential to get out. No matter how much you try to convince them 'this is a good platform and can be a lot better' they won't dare. And if they don't look they can't pass the good news onto anyone else. And in such case Apple remain a single digit joke in the world of IT. And the rest of the world - for the above adolescent unforgivable reasons - continue to suffer.

Avie! Come home! All is forgiven!
 - Steve

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