Apples and Oranges

Thanks to my very generous employer, I am now happily typing a blog post on this:

(my apologies for the crappy picture, which really doesn’t do it justice)

I believe there is a lot we can learn from Apple, and I’m not (just) talking about the software. I don’t think the future of Free Software lies in generic operating systems and applications, which we ask our users to install on their random hardware. We are already seeing Free Software being used on many small devices, and only Free Software allows the hardware vendor to create a unique and tightly integrated experience (even Apple requires the foundation of OSS). I think this is the best way to make users happy, and something we should be focusing on.

Today, our phones have comparable power to our high-end desktop computers from not too long ago. “Laptops” are shrinking to the size of Netbooks, and high-end Notebooks are now considered by many to be perfect desktop replacements. Devices are getting smaller, more integrated, more portable, and Free Software is right there with it. I believe that this is where exciting things happen, and what we should focus on. Not so much how to make a Linux distribution 5% easier to install, or how to make the generic desktop a little bit more acceptable for everybody.

Anyway… πŸ™‚ Last weekend I finally worked on Scratchpad again, mainly porting it to use gtksourceview-2 and replacing some GnomeVFS functions with gio (though it doesn’t use it for file loading yet). It was a shock to me, that the last ChangeLog entry was almost exactly two years ago. Many thanks to Juerg Billeter for keeping the source at least somewhat compatible to Vala SVN.

Working on Scratchpad often gets me thinking about the irony of writing software which essentially only allows me to more efficiently write software. I think we often tend to get caught up in this loop, writing software just for the heck of it, and writing interfaces for developers so they can write better interfaces for developers… Then I need to pinch myself and remind myself about the actual goal: Writing software that makes peoples life more enjoyable (or easier, healthier, …) than they would have been in a time before computers were invented.

That should be enough rambling for now, maybe next time I will actually manage to find a clear topic to write about.

I am happy to note that a Macbook can be used quite comfortably on the lap after all. Not that I would mind some heat, in the months to come. πŸ™‚


6 responses to “Apples and Oranges

  1. I do hope that the display seen on the picture doesn’t stay that way, but will have a GNOME running on it for the majority of time instead πŸ˜‰

  2. Totally agree. I’ve called it the “appliancising of Free software.” We need OEMs (and other manufacturers) to make their devices as user-friendly as possible while still being unique and recognizable. That benefits everyone.

  3. Hi,
    ‘bufferlist.vala’ is missing in Scratchpad SVN.

  4. Thanks, I added the missing files. I also committed some other changes accidentally though, so it might be a bit messy right now (I really need to learn how to use SVN tags properly :)).

  5. Oh, and very nice blog, other-Daniel. πŸ™‚

  6. Congrats to your shiny new macbook.
    [grumbling mode on]
    So does it mean no more worn out hardware stuff for me?
    Bad times coming… 😦
    [/grumbling mode still lasting]

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