OS X and Ubuntu: Waves of Dissatisfaction

Despite Leopard being new and shiny and wonderful, I’m terribly discontent with it. The biggest reason seems to be the huge amount of Macports breakage. I can’t build Haskell to play with it, but that’s fairly trivial. It’s not like that’s anything but an intellectual curiosity thing. But I also can’t build the GIMP, which is actually something I use with some frequency. It’s because MacPorts had finally, during the extra year and a half that the delayed release of Leopard had given them, gotten everything just singing together. Everything built right and correctly and worked together.

Then Leopard arrives and the breakage begins.

It’s like there’s this wave of “works-right-ness” that ebbs and flows. When a new version of OS X comes out, then much of the cool open source software I love gets broken on it, hopelessly, certainly beyond my ability to fix. At this point, (Ubuntu) Linux looks better because a ton of things work there that don’t on OS X. As time goes on, things get fixed and fixed and fixed on OS X until it’s on an equal footing with regards to open source stuff building correctly, and at this point OS X looks better than Linux because of its general professionalism and ease of use and smoothness.

There’s a second wave in there related to Ubuntu releases but because they happen every 6 months instead of every one to two-and-a-half years, it’s a smaller, less disruptive wave.

UPDATE: They fixed Gimp. (Well, they fixed glib2, which was the source of the problems.) Good-o. :)

Buy Mac Software, Support Child’s Play

ironcoder » Child’s Play Day:

Child’s Play is a Seattle-based charity started in 2003 by the guys at Penny Arcade that helps make the holidays a little nicer for sick kids staying in children’s hospitals by providing toys and games for them to enjoy. Since its inception over a million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash have been collected.

This year a group of independent Mac Developers are teaming up and donating all of the proceeds from sales of their various software titles on Thursday, December 7th to the Child’s Play charity. To participate simply purchase the products as you normally would through the various online stores. Your money will be collected and sent to the charity and you’ll get some great Mac software to enjoy.

Includes some of mph’s favorite software, WebNoteHappy and VoodooPad. (I own the latter and while I don’t do much with it these days it is good software from a great developer.) (Oh, funny — they’ve got the app mph blogged cryptically about just today…)

Looks like a lot of neat stuff. (Guitar Shed especially, not that I’m a guitarist… Oh, and I could pay for Billable if it helped me get around to actually invoicing somebody that I keep forgetting to…)

Happy Holidays Commercial

The holiday commercial for Macs (vs PCs) made me laugh, because it has some nerd cred: one of the things that sucks about programming for PCs is you typically need to do it in C++, whereas on the mac you get to use tasty Objective-C. (Unless you’re me, in which case you are stuck in a C++ API anyway because you use a cross-platform toolkit which happens to be done in C++…)

The embodiment of the PC, by the way, is comedian and author John Hodgman, who uses a Mac.

Aquamacs emacsedit

HollenbackNet – MuttOnMacOs provides a good solution (via this mailing list post) for anyone who wants to use Aquamacs as an editor for a command-line-based application. To wit: don’t use emacsclient directly; create a little script like this:


# script to force Aquamacs to open in front of terminal
open -a Aquamacs\ Emacs
/Applications/Aquamacs\ Emacs.app/Contents/MacOS/bin/emacsclient "$@"
# Now make sure the focus goes back to the terminal when we are done
open -a Terminal

in a file called, say, emacsclienthack.sh, and reference that shell script instead of emacsclient itself. Makes things quite pleasant.