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April 27, 2005


Sean Pecor

Safari is based on khtml, the html rendering framework from KDE, arguably the most popular GUI desktop for Linux. From what I understand, when the Apple dev team was reviewing libraries, they were most pleased with khtml's progress (and usage license) and selected it over Mozilla's libraries (which had at the time a more restrictive license). At the time, Mozilla was not very impressive, as it was only in the initial stages of redevelopment. Since Firefox was borne from Mozilla, you've got two different html and javascript engines. And different dynamic html capabilities as well which may explain your experience on It isn't that Safari is weaker than Firefox, it's more, I believe, that support for Safari is not at this point a top priority for web developers. Firefox on the other hand runs on everyone and their mother's platform so it's gotten the attention of the web development community.

I'll preface the next paragraph by stating that Apple is a subject which you're much more familiar with than this Linux / XP developer. From my vantage point, Apple is a good company, though it would appear their desktop market share is continuing to diminish. I don't think they'll wink out of existence in the desktop arena, but I do see them focusing more and more on handheld devices and diversifying into ecommerce and so on. It's a smart move, because their reputation as really the only practical alternative for computer aided graphic design and music production is worn out. Adobe, once an Apple champion, now derives over two thirds of it's revenue from the Windows market and I believe this will grow. More and more of their products are becoming Windows only; especially their consumer and corporate products. Apple's reputation, right or wrong, among geek development circles is an increasingly antagonistic one. I've heard of more than one software development boutique that developed a novel tool for OS X, and enjoyed pleasant sales growth. Then Apple took notice. And rather than buy that software company (like Microsoft would do in a heartbeat), they write their own version and effectively push the boutique business out of the market. I'll go out on a limb with an odd prediction. I think that within five years Apple will be absorbed by a major electronics manufacturer. Maybe Sony, but I wouldn't be surprised if some obscure Korean manufacturer comes from out of nowhere to attempt a takeover with an offer that shareholders might not be able to refuse.

Just the perspective of a Linux eBusiness geek, take it with a grain of salt ;)



I certainly don't disagree with the problems that Apple is facing. I asked two Apple SEs today about the problems with TypePad. Neither could give me an answer other than to if it got better in Tiger. Actually it isn't much of problem for me since I think Firefox is a much better browser. On the developer issue, I still have my Watson tee-shirt. The other problem that often happens is that Apple loses interest in the technology that they have swiped. Watson got regular updates and was a steadily improving product. Sherlock Apple's copy of Watson basically has died on the vine and now Watson is no longer supporting OS X. Somehow that strategy seems a failure. My guess is that Apple will get to about 5% market share and stagnate at that point unless they release OSX for Intel. It is even more likely that Linux will grow much faster than Apple and present a real option to folks. I'm as excited about my SUSE Linux upgrade as I am about the Tiger upgrade. I will be writing about both. If you haven't been to ApplePeels, the site where I thoroughly explore Apple's darker side, you will likely find more than you want to know, but you will definitely see the other side of the shiny Apple image.

Sean Pecor

Linux still has a real issue with usability in some contexts, and I was disappointed when I heard years back that Apple was opting for the BSD kernel instead of the Linux kernel when developing OS X. I know they would have to contend with the GPL had they opted for Linux; however, I think it would have been a wiser move for them over the long term. Linux would have been given a valuable boost in usability from Apple's contributions and Apple would benefit from a global army of uber geeks hacking on and improving the kernel on a daily basis.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I do pro bono work for more than a few schools. I've developed over the years a rather powerful and intuitive CMS engine that I don't know what to do with (don't want to be a cms solutions provider *shudder*), so I donate usage licenses to K12 schools and districts and deploy the CMS for them. So I get to have alot of hands-on with OSX server boxen. I've gotten more familiar with the underpinnings but at times I'm more than a little baffled by the mix and matched nature of the server. Some parts from BSD, some from Linux, and so on. It's quite an interesting server platform. Can't say I love it, but it gets the job done.

I really like SUSE Linux. I worked primarily on a Linux Desktop from '99 (when Outlook borked my .pst file one time too many) until the beginning of this year. I may yet recreate a Linux Desktop and if I do I'll be going with SUSE. I still use Gentoo Linux ( on my in-house server, a distro I still consider the best for Linux professionals. But if you don't want to think too much about what is going on underneath the GUI, then I think SUSE is the absolute best product.

BTW, we closed on our house in Boones Mill on Thursday (finally!) and we are moving in on Monday. I'll need to hit the ground running because the previous owners' two mowers broke down, oh, two weeks ago so I understand at this point I have 5 or more acres of lawn that now look more like a burgeoning hay field :)


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