|Home » Learning Curve » Red Hat Diaries
Suddenly it's not cool anymore.
The Jonestown Fanboy Bugle: The Thrill is Gone
An Apple Electronic Kool-Aid Litmus Test
A number of years ago we made what looks today like a fatal mistake. We knew Windows was dead and we knew Unix was the answer but we perceived Apple as leading the vanguard of Unix and open source. We were wrong.
We were aware of how Steve Jobs ran his NeXT corporations and that was very encouraging but what we didn't count on was his doing a complete reversal when given the chance to reclaim the company he'd co-founded.
We'd read about his double crosses against partner Steve Wozniak but that didn't bother us. All those corporate leaders are bastards. And we figured that a company offered a better opportunity for market share than a loosely organised group of so called open source developers.
Almost immediately we saw the error of our ways. Almost immediately we found ourselves writing software for our own use - software that was absolutely essential to make headway onto what was once a brilliant system known as NeXTSTEP. That should have set off the warning lights and it probably did but those lights didn't flash hard enough.
We looked at a scratchy system known as OS X 10.1.5 and thought it had potential - yet at every step of the way we had to devise tools of our own to proceed with software development. The resident file manager stood in a class of its own as the single most inadequate file manager ever seen on any modern GUI platform and in fact holds that less than esteemed position even today and promises to hold it even tomorrow with 10.5 Leopard.
We found cracks all over the place - areas where the supposed once clean interface with the Unix underbody was irreparably broken. We filled the cracks as best we could and we worked on.
But sooner or later you reach certain conclusions. When you see pictures such as this from the school of journalism at the University of Missouri you know the game's up. Luminaries such as Brian Meidell have long said they wouldn't get caught dead with an Apple computer because all Apple do is try to sell you a lifestyle, not a superior product. Owning an Apple computer is cool.
But look at that picture and try to picture yourself sitting there with the rest of them. Do you see anything wrong with that picture?
Think different isn't different anymore - it's same. Everybody's got one. And so it isn't cool anymore.
All of a sudden the attraction is gone. Chick magnets? Hardly. The chicks already have them. Look at that poor girl in the front row with a black MacBook - imagine how bad she must feel when everybody else has a MacBook Pro. Look at the girl in red towards the front and a bit off to the left - hot isn't she? But you don't stand more of a chance than anybody else. They all have Apple boxes too and so does she.
The thrill is gone. And when the thrill dies so does everything else along with it.
Steve Jobs sure has fucked up of late. People who know him better say nothing's new, this is how he's always been, but circumstance suddenly makes him look worse than ever before. Suddenly he's not a genius or a messiah - suddenly he's a klutz of a dictator running a company - and part of an industry - only for his own weird objectives - objectives that have little to do with common or corporate good.
In the five years we've endured this platform we've seen too much. Jaguar was a cool release - but reporters remarked that all the sycophants around Jobs had to learn to mispronounce 'Jaguar' the same way Jobs did. Not a good omen.
But the system was stable and a far sight better than Windows and the open source dream was still alive.
Then came Panther - the upgrade for the sake of an upgrade. Graphics were getting that typically 'Apple busyness' to them - things were taking a turn for the ugly. We saw really ridiculously irrelevant 'features' such as 'Exposé' which are only interesting to retards - in this case retards who can't even keep track of what windows they have open.
We saw John Siracusa go batshit insane because he couldn't get his precious spatiality back - and yet when put to it and after all the insane ranting he'd done he refused to move on it. Instead we saw Icaza try to implement spatiality in GNOME and we shuddered for the awfulness of it all.
We saw wireless attacks against smugly stupid Apple code and we saw the Jim Jones followers escape from their nests like locusts, attacking everyone in sight. We later saw - and got absolute proof - that they were wrong in everything they said but we noticed they never once admitted to a full retraction.
We saw the idiots at MacRumors go absolutely batshit insane over Oompa Loompa where only days earlier they were still claiming their dumb-arse OS was more secure than an IBM mainframe. We saw the likes of David 'The Shredder' try to discount the 'rm my Mac' contest and then almost get sacked from his job at the University of Wisconsin for pulling a typical fanboy stunt. The Shredder was also out early when it came to Opener, dismissing it and offering immediate solutions - none of which worked. Prompting many to wonder how he got a position at a university in the first place. Seemingly it will still take years for those beer guzzling students to have a fair chance to learn anything - and get straight teaching from a straight teacher.
We saw Opener come and go - and we saw Apple wait an incredible eighteen months to fix the design flaw - and not retroactively and only after fumbling through several flawed solutions. And even so we know Apple were alerted to the hole years before things finally hit the fan in October 2003 - and they were always dismissed by the smugly stupid at Apple as 'works as designed'. But if things worked as designed then why fix them for Tiger in April 2005? Why indeed?
We saw Apple's chief of hardware and chief of software up and fucking quit on the same day - demonstratively the day before Apple were to celebrate their thirty year anniversary. The fanboy media ignored the event but the message was there for all to see and we saw it: Rubinstein and Tevanian weren't exactly endorsing Apple or Steve Jobs.
Fanboys like John Gruber come and mouth the same garbage all the time - pompously issue challenges to people they can't touch and defend Apple no matter the cost and the weak willed fanboys follow willingly. And today Gruber does little more than post links to other articles on other sites and the fanboys still pay for those ridiculous Daring Fireball t-shirts. Gruber likes to remind people that his website layout is the best he can do. If that's the best he can do he can do nothing. And what technical background does Gruber have? About the same as Siracusa: he's had five years experience using Quark. And for the fanboys out there who don't know shit: no, that's not a technical merit in any way shape or form - more like a technical embarrassment.
The iPhone was brilliant but no one to this day has bothered pointing out why - not even this site. It was brilliant because of its operating system. The hardware is cool but nothing there is new. The ability to port an OS to another hardware platform like that and to interact with a new hardware user interface is very cool. And if it wasn't obvious before then it should be obvious now, even to Suicide Fanboys: NeXTSTEP runs on any-fucking-thing. And yet it's the most closed operating system in history. And there's no one at Rixstep who has any desire to own an iPhone (or an iPod for that matter) but there's no denying it's cool. And again: the iPhone is cool because of the underbody - because of something Steve Jobs did during the time he wasn't at Apple - when he wasn't behaving as he behaves today.
But the iPhone isn't secure for industry. NASA can't use it; corporations can't either. When that news comes out - what happens? Lynn Fox finds an obscure dimwit ready to say anything for cash and contacts Jim Dalrymple, telling him to write an article about it. 180,000 links to the same lame article in a matter of hours - but did it make any difference? It made no difference at all. Just call NASA and ask.
Charlie Miller comes out with an iPhone exploit and gets hit by the brown shirts and gray shirts. He actually proves what he's talking about and they all shut up. But they're not willing to do the right thing and choke on their own vomit. But Charlie also points out why there was such a hole - and that brings us right back to Rob Braun, former Apple programmer and head of the open source Darwin.
Rob Braun closed down open source Darwin. Why? Because it was a marketing trick and a big lie.
And so forth and so on. Does any of this reach the consumer on the street? The suicide fanboys sleeping out in front of an Apple store to buy an iPhone?
Has everyone in the US lost their god? Is Steve Jobs the new god? Is the iPhone the new god? Or a fetish thereof? Some sociologist ought to look into this. Something perverse is going on here. And it seems like eons since any of this had the slightest to do with serious professional systems development. Or open source.
You can't talk 'systems development' with any Apple users on the street. You'll never find any professionals to speak of. Instead you'll find diseased idiots like Rosnya and Wolf who long back for the old days when Classic was King. Let them have their Classic - no one's stopping them. Those old beige boxes will run like the blazes with that ridiculous stuff.
The beige box was written in Pascal. Pascal was never meant as a production language. C was on the world and widely available years before the Macintosh came out. What did Apple do? They put up multicoloured Pascal associativity charts on their office walls. The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm Sweden where Linus Torvalds won his honorary doctors hat were infamous for years because all the other institutes in Sweden were using C; when they finally made the move it was with a huge sigh of relief.
But Apple? Nope. Isolated, insulated, and shunned - with only a mythical 'usability' to defend themselves - they kept on with Pascal. And to understand why Pascal sucks you'd have to be a system adept and the assumption is most fanboys reading this article don't have a clue how many bits are in a byte or what an associativity chart is for that matter. As for those who already know: that's preaching to the choir. The key is: they already know.
The New York Times spelled it out weeks ago. Apple had their golden opportunity now and are totally blowing it. Microsoft really bombed with Vista - and yet what's Apple's market share? The same pathetic 3%. In fact it's so pathetic that Vista's finally overtaken Apple anyway despite being a bomb. And look at the suicide fanboys: first they gloated they had more market share than Vista; now they're saying 'so what'. Fanboys: they're a disease. Somewhat contagious. Beware.
Bottom line? Steve Jobs isn't much of a market guru and the Apple board should look further than charismatic keynotes - they're getting screwed by someone with serious recurring mental aberrations who's undermining their corporation.
Not long ago Steve Jobs made a joke about Microsoft's Zune having only a 2% market share. Is he going to make the same joke about his lacklustre results for his line of computers? Where he's held his company for the past TEN YEARS?
There are three reasons Apple are a fiasco and they all relate to Steve Jobs.
1. The OS X ecosystem is virtually nonexistent. This means there are too few software titles and experienced developers. As Steve Jobs said back in his NeXT days: 'when they stop writing software you're dead'. Apple's OS X is extremely dead. OS X has almost no professional software developers. Instead it has idiots like Rosnya, Gehrman, Panic, Wolf, Shitley, and the rest. Anything but pro class.
2. Corporations perceive it as difficult to migrate from Windows. This is a 'too bad that's the cookies' consideration. Most corporations would give almost anything to get the fuck away from Windows: it's rat infested, it sucks like no industrial hoover ever made, it's way too costly when you think of all the hair pulling and virus battles and wiped out systems and draconian administration measures - but it's also a measure of how bad Apple fucked up: for even with that much incentive to switch away from Windows the corporations are still not doing it - meaning only one thing: that despite the abysmal aura of Windows the Apple alternative still has to look worse.
3. There's no escape strategy. And it isn't just the hardware lockin. Apple don't build their machines for corporate use. Period. Which is awfully strange as they have this huge division turning out gleaming servers and blades - that no one really wants. The Virginia Tech story made a lot of headlines thanks to Lynn Fox but the point is no one else is doing the same thing - no one wants Apple server hardware. Apple build their computers for idiots - 'for the rest of us'. Strangely the fanboys might find out: that means that in the greater world outside they're anything but cool. They're laughed at. And it's been too long since we've all had a big laugh we deserve.
And that's where we are. We're at the lecture at the University of Missouri. School of journalism. And everybody's got one of these machines now. So what do we have?
√ We have a system that resembles Unix but less so for every day.
√ We have a system that needs open source protection but isn't going to get it.
√ We have a system with thousands of cosmetic bugs almost three years after its release.
√ We have a hopelessly flawed mail program where its predecessors were virtually flaw free.
√ We have a desktop search system with serious security and performance considerations.
√ We have a widget system that although flashy is ultimately stupid.
√ We have a file manager - the ultimate personal system administration tool - that can't see or do shit. And drops crap like .DS_Store all over the place. In the University networks too. Unless the users learn how to turn that 'feature' off. And they most likely won't.
The list is endless. And for every bullet on that list the Suicide Fanboy has an answer - be so sure of it. Five years ago the Suicide Fanboys yelped that they didn't give a shit if Unix was under the GUI - they only wanted their famous 'Mac interface'. Presumably with raster graphics. And in sixteen colours. Clue: they never got this back. They're incredibly stupid and they bought the hype.
Later when the OS scraps began they retreated to the worn out lie by Apple that they were using a 'rock solid foundation' of Unix. Suddenly Unix was cool - suddenly it wasn't something to scorn anymore.
And they always had their PowerPCs! They'd been told by Apple and Jobs for years how superior PPCs were to Intel junk. And they were told right. Of course they didn't have a clue what anyone was talking about but they never worry about things like that - they rarely understand what they themselves are talking about anyway.
And then what happens? The back story is of course that Steve Jobs promised 3 GHz boxes and IBM refused to deliver in short enough a time so Steve Jobs felt increasingly embarrassed. Of course IBM could make 3 GHz 64-bit PPCs - they've since made 5 GHz 64-bit PPCs and better - but Apple were asking for energy efficient CPUs for use in their laptops. Apple have this four corner hardware market strategy: two professional boxes, two laptop boxes, and so forth. Apple needed faster chips for their laptops. IBM didn't have them.
IBM continue to develop their PowerPC. They've sold hundreds of millions to the games console industry where performance is even more important and losers Intel have of course nothing to put up against them they're so far out of it.
In fact the one reason Apple chose Intel is that Intel are beggars that can't be choosers: any other CPU company would have spit at Steve Jobs.
And the other reason is that Apple at best could offer IBM sales of five or ten million units. Considering the perhaps hundreds of millions in research it might take to develop an energy efficient and cool 64-bit PPC there is no way IBM could finance the operation with Steve Jobs' pathetic 3% market share.
So suddenly PowerPCs were shit, Intels were the greatest - and did a single Suicide Fanboy even break stride? No! They'd never claimed PowerPCs were better! They'd always secretly admired Intel chips! And what a fantastic company to make the change in such a short time!
Actually the transition was to have taken a year. At that it would have been rushed. But Steve Jobs pushed it through even faster. And he was able to do this thanks to his quality control in China.
Remember the stories about sweat shops churning out iPods? Did you ever think as you thumbed your iPod that there were people being held virtually as slaves making that possible for you? That not in their wildest dreams would they ever be able to afford even a battery replacement?
Battery replacements? For the iPod? But Steve! The customers will figure it out sooner or later! So what if they do? Fuck 'em!
Classic Steve Jobs.
And now the new Intel computers were being manufactured in China as well. The Chinese: they sure know about quality control!
Cracking cases, display failures, thermal grease applied by the litre, misaligned cases, improperly sealed cases, DVD drives destroying DVD discs, Bridget Riley lines, other coloured lines on boot, blocked air vents, palmrest discolouration, mooing fan noises, ticking fan noises, random shutdowns, oozing chemicals, burning chemicals, toxic odours, hard drive thuds and clicks, idle CPU noises, keyboard failures, DVD drive noises, failed and blown speakers, kernel panics, faulty trackpads, headphones causing kernel panics, vibrating cases, weak and uneven LCDs, battery failures, static noises and cracking, iSight malfunction, totally DOA units, swollen batteries, exploding batteries, hard drive failures, high pitched squeals, electric shocks, melting power adapters, hissing LCDs, uneven LCDs, white dots on LCDs, scrambled displays, video output failures, underclocked graphics, loose lid hinges, warped casing, corroded casing, wireless drivers causing kernel panics, Wi-Fi signal failures, broken headphone connections, vertical blue lines on displays - the fanboys have a lot to be proud of in their company known for better than average production quality.
In fact the computer industry had never seen the likes of something so ridiculous before. And if that wasn't enough the official reaction from Apple was closer.
1. Deny everything.
2. Monitor the Apple forums and immediately take down all mention of these flaws.
3. Claim everything is 'within spec' and refuse to honour warranties.
Steve Jobs knew the transition was costly and didn't want to risk his own position by lowering his corporate results or admitting mistakes to Apple shareholders. And as a result there are millions of discarded Apple computers out there today - all part of Apple's fabulous 3% market demographic of course.
A number of them are at the University of Missouri school of journalism. Photographed by a Lynn Fox orc.
See the two green signs at the top? See Woz at the one to the left? He's not sticking around either.