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Matthew Garrett: How-To Drive Developers From OS X To Linux

Hardware

Published on 19 May 2014 12:04 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
241 Comments

Linux kernel developer Matthew Garrett is out with a new blog post to end out the weekend. This latest post isn't about Linux UEFI problems or the like, but his observations from the OpenStack Summit about the most popular laptop vendor being Apple even though OpenStack is mostly about Linux deployments...

Matthew wrote, "But what's really interesting is the tools they're using to do so. When I looked over people's shoulders, I saw terminals and a web browser. They're not using Macs because their development tools require them, they're using Macs because of what else they get - an aesthetically pleasing OS, iTunes and what's easily the best trackpad hardware/driver combination on the market. These are people who work on the same laptop that they use at home. They'll use it when they're commuting, either for playing videos or for getting a head start so they can leave early. They use an Apple because they don't want to use different hardware for work and pleasure." As many Phoronix readers know, I also side along those lines for several years of using MacBook Pros and virtualizing Linux to gain better hardware support, a longer battery life, and less headaches while having a great piece of hardware. Only recently I changed from a Retina MBP to a new ASUS Zenbook but it didn't come without some initial regrets.

Matthew's blog post goes on to comment that today's developers are more concerned about the user experience than migrating to Linux for the sake of it being more tweakable and they don't want to compromise on quality. "Linux would give them the same terminals and web browser, but Linux's poorer multitouch handling is enough on its own to disrupt their workflow. Moving to Linux would slow them down."

Matthew then goes on with a desire to see the Linux developer experience improved in new ways to try to attract more developers to actually using Linux as their desktop. "A combination of improved desktop polish and spending effort on optimising developer workflows would stand a real chance of luring these developers away from OS X with the promise that they'd spend less time fighting web browsers, leaving them more time to get on with development. It would also help differentiate Linux from proprietary alternatives - Apple and Microsoft may spend significant amounts of effort on improving developer tooling, but they're mostly doing so for developers who are targeting their platforms. A desktop environment that made it easier to perform generic development would be a unique selling point."

Read more via Matthew's blog.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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