Why did a Debian developer switch to a Mac?

In today's open source roundup: A Debian developer switches to a Mac. Plus: Chromebooks are burning up the sales charts, and the KDE Plasma 5 desktop arrives

Apple's products have generally never been held in high regard by many Linux users. So it came as a big shock to some that a Debian developer recently switched to a Mac. Why would someone involved with Debian move toward Apple's OS X and away from Linux? The Click blog took a look at this and tried to figure out what motivated this move by the developer.

According to Click:

What can I say? With the Apple Macintosh seemingly being left for dead as iPhone and iPad shovel in the revenue, Mac laptops have quietly become the platform of choice for developers everywhere.

Fragmentation in the Linux desktop space and what appears to be not just a lack of attention to detail but a willful rejection of same — both of these haven’t helped. But I can see how developers who aren’t Linux distro developers want to go for what’s “easy,” if not at all cheap.

More at Click
Debian developer switches to Mac

The developer in question also posted on his own blog about, and shared his thoughts about why he made the move to a Mac:

According to Jmtd:

It appears I have switched for good. I've been meaning to write about this for some time, but I couldn't quite get the words right. I doubted I could express my frustrations in a constructive, helpful way, even if I think that my experiences are useful and my discoveries valuable, perhaps I would put them across in a way that seemed inciteful rather than insightful. I wasn't sure anyone cared. Certainly the GNOME community doesn't seem interested in feedback.

I turns out that one person that doesn't care is me: I didn't realise just how broken the F/OSS desktop is. The straw that broke the camel's back was the file manager replacing type-ahead find with a search but (to seemlessly switch metaphor) it turns out I'd been cut a thousand times already. I'm not just on the other side of the fence, I'm several fields away.

More at Jmtd

While this move by the developer has gotten some media coverage, I don't think it's all that big of a deal. I think it's less of a reflection on the Linux desktop and more a case of one user finding something that worked better for him. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, more power to the developer if a Mac is what he wants to use.

There are still plenty of folks out there who prefer the Linux desktop to OS X, and I don't see that changing simply because one developer makes a different choice. It also remains to be seen if the developer will actually stay with the Mac as time goes by. Apple does things their way, and at some point they may do something that irritates the developer to the point where he switches back to a Linux-based computer.

So I think all of this is much ado about nothing. The Linux desktop will survive, and it will continue to get better and better over time. It will always be another valid choice alongside OS X, Windows, Chrome OS and other options. And people having choices is what really matters in the grand scheme of things, not what choice a particular individual makes in the short term.

Chromebook sales through the roof

ITworld notes that Chromebook sales skyrocketed in the first half of this year.

According to ITworld:

Tablets may be all the rage, but there's a significant turf war brewing in the U.S. PC market. Between January and May, Chromebook sales to U.S. businesses and other large institutions rose by more than 250 percent compared to the same time last year, according to a new report from market research firm NPD Group.

That metric by itself doesn't mean much, since 250 percent growth tells you little if you only sold a few hundred Chromebooks the year before. But get a load of this: Chromebooks accounted for 35 percent of all commercial laptop sales in the U.S. between January and May, according to NPD. Windows notebooks, meanwhile, remained flat.

More at ITworld

Chromebooks have been on fire for a while now, they are all over Amazon's list of best-selling laptop computers. I counted at least five (there may be more as I just did a quick count) Chromebooks on just the first page of Amazon's list. There are probably more on subsequent pages but you get the idea.

The article also notes that Microsoft and others are supposedly coming out with "chromebook killers" but I'll believe that when I see it. I can't see any Windows-based laptop killing off Chromebooks since one of the big appeals of Chromebooks is that they don't run Windows. Nor do I see how Microsoft and the rest of the Windows-based vendors will be able to compete for long on price with Chromebooks.

KDE Plasma 5 desktop released

ZDNet reports that the KDE Plasma 5 desktop has been released, and seems to like the changes in this version.

According to ZDNet:

What really struck me about this new desktop is how fast it is. KDE's developers have clearly been hard at work tuning the desktop for maximum performance. The speed boost starts at a very low level. The desktop is based on a new, full hardware-accelerated graphics stack using an OpenGL ES scenegraph, with Plasma itself using Qt 5 and KDE's recently released Frameworks 5 libraries.

I found this new KDE Plasma 5 to be a good, solid desktop. Unlike GNOME 3, which disappointed users so much that its release led to numerous GNOME desktop forks such as Ubuntu's Unity, Mint's Cinammon, and MATE, KDE users will be pleased with this new model KDE.

More at ZDNet
KDE Plasma 5 desktop
Image credit: ZDNet

I haven't had a chance to check out the KDE Plasma 5 desktop yet, but you can get it for Arch, openSUSE, Gentoo, Kubuntu and others on the KDE Community Wiki. You can also grab the source code if you want.

If you're curious to see what people think of the new KDE, check out this thread on Reddit. The folks on the Linux subreddit are never shy about sharing their thoughts and opinions.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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