Forwarding Address: OS X

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

On the theme of migration, I thought I'd post about an unexpected, probably temporary, migration I made this afternoon -- I'm posting this from the Konqueror web browser, on a machine running KDE on FreeBSD on Intel hardware.

My first-gen PowerBook G4 (500MHz) has served me incredibly well, but it is nearing the end of its service life, with vertical lines on the display and freezes galore. Yes, I should have bought AppleCare :P Today I just couldn't take one more freeze. I dragged the FreeBSD machine, which had been a headless development box, over here to my desk and plugged it into my monitor.

I know this probably isn't going to last. For one thing, I hate desktops, and love laptops. If I made this a longer-term adventure I'd be looking to get me a nice sub-4-pound wintel laptop on eBay. But for now (i.e. while I deal with selling my old PowerBook and buying its replacement), I'm enthused and I think it's going to be very interesting.

I in terms of bang for the buck my "new" machine is quite tremendous. Apple can't touch that. The OS, desktop environment, and all the apps I'm using are free -- and quite current -- and the 333MHz/128M/10GB/CD-R Pentium II tower cost me $60 at a yard sale.

One irony that strikes me is that I never would have done this if I hadn't been using OS X for the past 2+ years. Apple did a tremendous job of making the OS perfectly usable and tidy while leaving the Unix clockwork there for inquisitive souls to play with. So now I know enough to really be dangerous. I've been using FreeBSD on web servers for years, but this is my first foray into the non-OS X Unix desktop world.

Random notes: There is a mind-blowing selection of software out there. The ports system is fantastic. I'm using mostly stock KDE apps right now because that's what I have installed, but plan to move to Firebird for browsing and Thunderbird for mail. Being a web developer, I'm very intrigued by the Quanta Plus development environment, which looks like BBEdit on [insert drug of emphasis here]. My Kensington Expert Mouse Pro USB is plug-n-playing just fine, in left-handed mode no less. I like this old-style tactile feedback keyboard. I like the "Klipper" multiple clipboard. I miss Quartz, especially the text. I miss the Keychain, imperfect though it may be. I miss Launchbar bad. Really bad.

Finally, while the feel of the UI is of course not as nice as Apple's in most respects, the mood is very fine -- and by that I mean that nothing on this machine is trying to sell me something else. I like that. A lot. I'm not being endlessly pestered to upgrade to Quicktime 17, or get a .mac account, or open my MSN Wallet, or pay my shareware fees. I'm free, baby, and it feels good. Discuss

Monday, September 29, 2003

Cocoatech has released a Finder replacement as partially as open source payware under a BSD license. It's interesting watching the traditionally Macintosh shareware world collide with the traditionally open source Unix world.

[via Ranchero]

Update: Neil Lee from Cocoatech wrote in to politely let me know that I didn't read closely enough. Only certain frameworks and other applications have been open sourced. Regardless, I think seeing more open source in the Mac world can only help everybody.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

In looking for OS X tidbits to add to my lazysearch script, I came across /usr/share/calendar, which is full of "today in history" type stuff. This is already there in every stock OS X install, one of the weird bits of BSD detritus. Anyway, I added the following line to my .login file (actually, ~/Library/init/tcsh/login.mine if you must know):
cat /usr/share/calendar/* | grep `date +"%m/%d"`
Note the backticks around the date command, which tell the shell to actually use the output of that command as an argument for grep. Today's output (you can see there are a few rough edges):
09/20   Upton (Beall) Sinclair born, 1878
09/20   Harlan Herrick runs first FORTRAN program, 1954
09/20   Equal Rights Party nominates Belva Lockwood for President, 1884
09/20   First meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of
09/20   First meeting of the National Research Council, 1916
09/20   Magellan leaves Spain on the first Round the World passage, 1519
09/20   The Roxy Theater opens in Hollywood, 1973
09/20*  First Day of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish Lunar New Year; 5741 == 1980;
09/20   Jim Croce dies in a plane crash, 1973
Have fun!

Friday, September 05, 2003

I've started a page that catalogues applications that use or require MySQL to operate: OS X Apps that Use MySQL. I'd really like Apple to include MySQL as part of the default install (I'm sure they can come to an agreement with MySQL AB over licensing if they really wanted to) but until that time it's up to the end-user to do it for themselves.

My thinking is: the more quality reasons to do it, the more likely users are to make the effort to get it done. If you've got an OS X app that uses MySQL, drop me a line and I'll add it to the page. Discuss