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A Support System

Everything leads underground.


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Sherlock Holmes - or rather Arthur Conan Doyle - said something once upon a time about the logical process of deduction.

Something to the effect that 'if you remove all other explanations as impossible, the one explanation you're left with, my dear Watson, and no matter how incongruous it seems, will prove to be true'.

If only Sherlock were here to inspect the debris left after Apple's crack teams got through with Apple's Big Sur.

He need only wander over to their online documentation. And count how many times he finds the red stamp 'DEPRECATED'.

How much stuff is deprecated in IBM's venerable systems? How much in MS-DOS? Microsoft Windows? Not much. Backward compatibility is the name of the game. Microsoft relied on third-party support - on supporting third-party. Even IBM does that - it's often their own third-party, but even so. IBM's dusty decks can fill Pinewood Studios.

Apple doesn't seem to care. They go about ripping up old APIs, all that was left of the NeXT OS that bailed them out, and they're left with what?

Apple have never cared about third-party. On the contrary. They hate them. They don't necessarily undermine them so they can bankrupt them and then buy them out, as both IBM and Microsoft have done. Apple aren't that sophisticated. They just hate them. Theirs is an open system with an invisible sign at the door: 'MEMBERS ONLY'. You can always wander in - they don't mind. Buy some iStuff. At your service.

Apple's never been a company you can trust. From the inside, that is. The outsider's gut reaction is always 'do they really know what they're doing?' They're an abysmal failure in the corporate and government sectors (and they've tried, several times). They got somewhere with schoolmarms, of course, but few others. Fanboys are their staying power. Easily manipulated fanboys. Think Jim Jones on steroids. Consumer reports that consistently rated Apple as a 'leading brand' never bothered mentioning that Apple had Guy Kawasaki, a professed and certified (and certifiable) technophobe, salaried by Apple to 'preach the Macintosh'. Apple had Ridley Scott - they didn't have technology or the assent of the real IT literati. The latter laugh at them.

Acquisition of NeXT was implausible. Two diametrically antipodal companies. But if it worked? Just imagine: the world's biggest Unix vendor, ready to do battle with mighty Microsoft, the leading malware purveyor on the planet.

Apple used NeXT only as long as they needed to get back on their wobbly feet. Steve Jobs thanked Gil Amelio for the chance to return to Apple, then stabbed him in the back. And Apple 'culture' meant that even Steve and his friends from NeXT would have to go. Jon Rubinstein and Avadis Tevanian, heads of hardware and software software respectively, quit Apple on the same day. Coincidence? But the word had gone out: ignore them. No notice was given in the Apple-friendly media. None. Steve Jobs remained of course, withering away, poor sod, but he never controlled Apple, and he knew it and admitted it. And the resentment against being saved by the boss they'd ignored was thick enough to cut with a Mac knife.

Scott Forstall - who may be working with Avie today - was the obvious replacement, but Steve chose another. Fortunes and finances are good. They're worth more than Google, say some, but it's all down to their mobile gadgets - not their base OS.

Very much like their original Macintosh, a pretty box from Frog Design held together on the inside by cheap glue and hemp, Apple don't care what goes on inside their support system. They need it to write their mobile systems. They need to accommodate their major partners outside Cupertino. All else that happens is up to them. Slash and burn all one wants, screw everyone else.

This isn't about finances. It's not about spillt milk. This is about Fred Brooks. And Ken Thompson. And Dennis Ritchie. And Brian Kernighan. And all those who lingered in their sandboxes to dream up and finally build their 'Unics' once upon a time.

It's about the crew at Carnegie-Mellon. The people who dreamt up microkernel architecture. It's about Brad Cox. It's about people who really made a difference - people that Apple shat all over.

It's about, amongst others, Dan Gilmor, who early on praised Apple's merger with NeXT, only to be viciously attacked by the fanboys (and one fanboy in particular). It's about all those very very serious Infosec buffs who warned of shady doings at Apple. It's about Brian Krebs. And countless others.

It's about the thousands of cognoscenti who tried the jump from both Windows and Linux to Apple - including the staff at Slashdot. Apple's new OS was 'the missing link', said Rob Malda. That link is now eroded and disintegrated. There is no link. There is only Apple. Stay in line, fanboy. The cognoscenti have long since wisened up and gone onto other pastures such as Linux and OpenBSD. They saw through the Apple scam.

This is about the individual from Virginia Tech who, completely without fanfare, visited Apple to see what server hardware they had available, then returned home to place an order so ginormous that Apple suddenly had become one of the five top supercomputers in the world.

This is about Rob Braun, who headed the Open-Darwin project, Apple's marketing attempt to fool the world into thinking they were really about open source.

This is about the fools who bought into Apple's dirty trick in the final years of the previous millennium, those fools who loved the NeXT OS and followed along to Apple because Apple promised to continue to support cross-platform compatibility, chiefly with Windows of course, for that's where the money is. Apple kept them on hold only long enough to know they'd burned their bridges and could no longer return to Camp Redmond, then silently dropped the whole thing and left them stranded.

This is about the hounded Apple mobile developers who struggle to eke out a bread-and-water existence, working overtime to jump through all the silly hoops Apple keep setting up for them. This about their constant wailing and gnashing of teeth - they drink more Flavor-Aid than anyone, more than the disciples in Jonestown. Their future holds nothing promising either and they know it.

This is about everyone who really trusted that Apple - unbelievably, yes, Apple of all bizarre companies - would deliver them safely from the clutches of Gates and the BALLMER, that Apple would spearhead a revolution in the Internet age, finally giving people the safe Esperanto they needed - only to be shafted and price-gouged by the most diabolical form of planned obsolescence ever perpetrated on humankind. (Get to know Louis Rossmann.) Apple, a company so bizarre that they had to cut their ties with their PowerPC manufacturers due to their we-dongle-our-OS-please-don't-steal policy.

This is about anyone who visits those documentation pages at apple.com to see what an eyesore their 'OS' has become. That's not a living operating system - that's a 'dead-as-a-doornail' support system, built only to support iPad and iPhone and their watch, borrowing as much as possible back, screw legacy software, fuck the intruders. Apple want their support system to survive only to give their own people what they need to go on developing watchOS or whatever it's called - and if they can sell those same boxes to the fanboys, then great. And they'll still make up to ten billion a year on the suckers signing up for their Mickey Mouse Club.

At the end of the day, IBM, despite all you heard, always kept their integrity. So did Microsoft. Perhaps not at the very top, but certainly in the rank and file. Of that there can be no doubt.

But Apple? At Apple, everything leads inexorably underground.

About Rixstep

Stockholm/London-based Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and support staff from Radsoft Laboratories who tired of Windows vulnerabilities, Linux driver issues, and cursing x86 hardware all day long. Rixstep have many years of experience behind their efforts, with teaching and consulting credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Lloyds TSB, SAAB Defence Systems, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, IBM, Microsoft, and Sony/Ericsson.

Rixstep and Radsoft products are or have been in use by Sweden's Royal Mail, Sony/Ericsson, the US Department of Defense, the offices of the US Supreme Court, the Government of Western Australia, the German Federal Police, Verizon Wireless, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft Corporation, the New York Times, Apple Inc, Oxford University, and hundreds of research institutes around the globe. See here.

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