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Why Developers Are Switching To Macs

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the because-we-mostly-can-expense-them dept.

771

snydeq writes "Programmers are finding themselves increasingly drawn to the Mac as a development platform, in large part due to Apple's decision to move to Intel chips and to embrace virtualization of other OSes, which has turned Mac OS X into a flexible tool for development, InfoWorld reports. The explosion of interest in smartphone development is helping the trend, with iPhone development lock-in to the Mac environment the chief motivating factor for Apple as a platform of choice for mobile development. Yet for many, the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development, with developers citing its virtual memory system's poor performance in paging data in and out of memory and likening use of the default-network file system, AFS, to engaging oneself with 'some kind of passive-aggressive torture.' What remains unclear is whether Apple will lend an ear to this new wave of Mac-based development or continue to develop products that lock out uses programmers expect."

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771 comments

Strange Complaints (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792011)

Yet for many, the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development, with developers citing its virtual memory system's poor performance in paging data in and out of memory

As opposed to the Windows paging system? Has the author used a Windows OS lately? Swapping is a *bleeping* killer! Especially when you have more than enough memory not to swap. :-/

likening use of the default-network file system, AFS, to engaging oneself with 'some kind of passive-aggressive torture.

So don't use it. Macs support CIFS/SMB pretty darn well these days. I keep hoping that someone will come up with a better replacement, but CIFS/SMB will continue to work until that day comes.

Re:Strange Complaints (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792111)

Yea it is kinda like saying how bad Dells are because they still have Serial Ports which are so slow compared to modern USB ports that are on Lenovo's

Re:Strange Complaints (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792135)

That's because you're using vista, you need to downgrade.

Re:Strange Complaints (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792265)

Ooh, keeping your Unix files on a Windows file system. Fun for the whole family!

NFS would be more to the point. OS X supports it (I guess it would be pretty hard for a BSD-derived OS to avoid supporting it!) but it seems to be kind of an afterthought on all the Apple pages I googled. Perhaps the problem is not with OS X as such, but with Apple's OS-X-based servers. I'm guessing that by default, they serve AFS partitions only. Presumably they can be made to serve NFS as well, but if you already have an AFS network infrastructure in place, converting can be painful.

Re:Strange Complaints (2, Informative)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792343)

We use a standard NAS serving NFS and SMB/CIFS.

All the Macs in the office use NFS, the few windows machine use SMB/CIFS.

Never had any problem using NFS on any of the MacBook Pros or MacPros

Re:Strange Complaints (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792465)

Only because you've never used it at scale (or probably not OSX as a NFS server either). Their NFS performance isn't that hot and I would strongly advise against using OSX as a mission critical NFS server. I'll just leave my comments at that.

Re:Strange Complaints (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792783)

It's pretty unsurprising that OS X would be good with NFS, given its origins. (Good CIFS/SMB support is more impressive.) And I seem to recall seeing some cook network share discovery tools the last time I used a Mac — much better than anything on Windows.

But support for NFS and SMB isn't the issue here. Developers are complaining about the shortcomings of AFS. Obviously they wouldn't be doing that if their networks used NFS or SMB shares. I'm speculating that Apple networks tend to have AFS-only networks because their administrators don't know any better. And one you have a bunch of file servers in place that use a particular network file protocol, it's pretty painful to change.

Re:Strange Complaints (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792331)

> So don't use it. Macs are for cocksuckers. Macs support CIFS/SMB pretty crappily these days. I keep hoping that someone will come up with a better replacement, but CIFS/SMB will continue to work until that day comes.

Hmmm that's harsh, don't you think?

Re:Strange Complaints (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792833)

It is a bit harsh. I like to think of Macs as being the computing platform of choice for homosexual men who, incidentally, perform fellatio on other men.

It's in the delivery, dude. It's the difference between a -1 flamebait and a +3 informative.

Re:Strange Complaints (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792335)

I was going to weigh in on this, but maybe I'm the anti-first-post guy, there were no comments when I came back from the article and I was trying to compose my thoughts.

I don't think there's anywhere to go with this other than a biased writer grudgingly writing a story about a platform he hates because he needs to pay the bills this month.

The article makes me want to go through it with the "wikipedia editing brush" like a schoolmaster grading the entries that appear on the site:

"Yet for many [who?], the Mac remains sluggish and poorly tuned for development [citation?].."

Move along, nothing to see here folks.

Re:Strange Complaints (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792337)

I keep hoping that someone will come up with a better replacement, but CIFS/SMB will continue to work until that day comes.

It's called NFS v4 [nfsv4.org]. Kerberos for authentication, encrypted traffic, lower overhead, no passwords or password hashes sent -- ever.

Re:Strange Complaints (4, Informative)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792743)

Kerberos for authentication, encrypted traffic, lower overhead, no passwords or password hashes sent -- ever.

Kerberos authentication, encrypted traffic, and "no passwords sent" apply also to NFSv2 and NFSv3; that's all done at the ONC RPC layer.

And all of those are supported by Leopard's NFSv2 and NFSv3 [connectathon.org] (krb5 = Kerberos 5 for authentication; krb5i = Kerberos 5 with a signature for integrity checking; krb5p = Kerberos 5 with encryption for privacy).

Re:Strange Complaints (5, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792339)

Hey it was one programmer. And frankly if you are having issues with swap put more ram in.

I have to live this line.
"The sting of ka-ching
While the price of Macintosh hardware continues to be competitive with the best commodity laptops and desktops, Apple offers nothing in the rapidly expanding lower tiers. It's possible to build a quad-core PC running Eclipse and Gimp for less than $400 with refurbished hardware. At the time of this writing, the Mac Pro with one quad-core CPU begins at $2,300. Adding Photoshop and other tools can push the bill closer to $4,000."
Okay guess what folks? You can run GIMP and Eclipse on a Mac!
Not only that but it seems a bit unfair to compare a Mac Pro with a refurbished box!
Heck I a not an Apple fan but this seems very slanted to me.

Why do developers like the MAC?
1. It is Unix so if are doing Unix server work this is a piece of cake.
2. It will run Windows, Linux, BSD, and Mac OS/x so if you are going multi-platform on the PC it is the way to go.
3. It will run the Google Phone development stack and the Iphone/IPod stack.
It is just more flexible. Makes me want to get one now.

Re:Strange Complaints (0, Troll)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792587)

2. It will run Windows, Linux, BSD, and Mac OS/x so if you are going multi-platform on the PC it is the way to go.
3. It will run the Google Phone development stack and the Iphone/IPod stack.

Since when is vendor lock-in a feature?

Re:Strange Complaints (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792815)

If you want to write code for the IPhone or the Mac you will need a development system that supports them.
Simple answer is that it isn't a feature but if you don't like it don't write for the IPhone or the Mac.

Compared to CIFS, AFS is fast, secure and scalable (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792599)

Yes, it is a pain to set up, but once there, you can scale from a workgroup to global filesystem. That is, you'll need a dozen AFS admins compared to 100 CIFS admins in a large organisation. Not only that, with a global filesystem the amount of duplicated data drastically falls, and with that goes storage costs.
 

Re:Strange Complaints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792849)

Sadly noted:
- Finder can't give you path
- Finder doesn't support SVN like tortoiseSVN
- Intenet Explorer (yes, customers :( test needs windows in Parallels)

for the rest: I won't switch back.

So, what would you pick? (1)

theoriginalturtle (248717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792861)

OK, then, what filesystem would we want Apple to make available on their machines? ZFS? After the announcement on MacForge that they'd ported ZFS to OSX, I heard a big fat silence. ReiserFS? Ummmm...

OSX Server supports UFS and ZFS, but for a developer workstation you'd want other options, yes? So, what do you wanna see?

The poor performance may get you down (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792067)

But all that Mac gaming makes up for it.

Re:The poor performance may get you down (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792555)

As a PC fanboy for 20+ years, I have to say...when the games I play work natively on Mac, I'm switching.

Yes, I know I can buy a Mac now, buy Windows, and dual boot. But I don't want to do that, and I don't want to spend $100 on Windows when I just dropped $400 more than I'd pay for a Windows system to begin with.

I've priced it: comparable hardware with OS, the Macbook that meets my specifications is $400 more than the Dell equivalent. I can't justify spending $500 to do exactly what I do now. If I'm going to switch, it's a complete switch or not at all.

Re:The poor performance may get you down (2, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792741)

I went desktop, but the principal is the same. I dualboot into XP to play my Windows games, and for anything serious, I use the Mac side. I have no regrets. I just fine everything more intuitive and stable under OS/X and I can use the native software, or run *nix programs or run an emulator for anything I have to run in Windows under OS/X. I don't think the extra cost was a waste at all, as my 20" Imac at home is a very slick system, and extremely well thought out overall.

From 1988 until just last year I ran PCs only and I have no regrets over no longer having to fuck around with system configurations or fight the OS to get it to do what it says its doing, etc. I am glad to be out of the business of constantly incrementally upgrading my system every time MS issued a new version of their OS etc. I am sure I spent far more on all those little transaction than I would have if I had just bout a Mac originally. Now, its true that when I go to upgrade I will need to buy a whole new machine, but the old one will have retained considerably more value than a comparable PC would so the difference should be less than you would think.

At work my company bought me a brand new 24" Imac and its a glorious system to do development on.

I am not a fanboi, just a thorough convert. If games are all thats keeping you from buying a Mac, go buy a Mac and a cheap copy of XP. I think you will be quite happy with the results. After using OS/X for the past year, I now think of Windows as a "Toy" Operating system suitable for games only. Anything else requires a professional and well design OS (Yes, I could be running Linux, and have done so in the past, but OS/X offers me everything I need and is a *nix in any case).

It is a good middle ground. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792077)

OS X is really a good middle ground between Windows and Linux. OS X supports many of the Windows Protocols (a lot better then linux in some ways) as well there is a better selection of high quality closed source applications, then linux has. However being Unix based it it is more stable then Windows and less prone to viruses and other malware. Then combined with virtualization you can run Linux OS X and Windows all at the same time for cross testing your code.

It has a clean interface and performs well. You are not fussing with simple stuff. all in all it is good for development. (And the Apple keyboards have extended function keys that makes compatibility with old Vax systems much nicer too)

Re:It is a good middle ground. (1, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792113)

OS X is really a good middle ground between Windows and Linux.

Yes, you get the worst of both worlds.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (1, Redundant)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792409)

Nice troll there, but hey your account name does say PC fanboy so I suppose it's to be expected. Have you even used a Mac outside of the apple store?

I use OS X and Windows at work on a day to day basis, and I use Linux at home or if I don't need a gui (e.g. on a computing cluster). I can run every program I run in linux on my mac, including kde or e17, using the X11 server app. I can also natively run MS office and other desktop applications natively. I've used cygwin in windows, it's cool and all but you're relegated to a subdirectory for all your work there. I've also run MS office under wine in linux, but wine in general is a hit or miss proposition, maybe the app will work, maybe not. I can honestly say that OS X is a good middle ground between windows and linux. It's not perfect by any stretch, but neither is linux and windows.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792609)

Did you know that a Mac is a PC? Distinguishing them by that name is the mark of a fanboy. Nice try, claim you use the alternatives while missing important details.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792251)

Of course, with the virtualization aspect, you can do the same thing with a Linux box, cheaper. Throw up Ubuntu (which, like Mac OS X, just works (TM) -- most of the time, anyway), install VirtualBox, load that puppy up with enough RAM and you'll be able to run Windows, Linux and OS X all at the same time.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (1, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792351)

You can't legally run OS X by visualization, especially if it is on a non mac. Macs being more expensive then a PC is a myth, it only seems like that is because there are less configuration options. If you thunk Ubuntu just works you probably haven't used an other OS other then Linux or BSD for a while. I tried to replace OS X with Ubuntu for a couple of month. It never worked right. Things wouldn't detect (even after upgrading to 8.10) stuff failed to load after waking up from hibernation, WI-FI Dropping left and right. That is not Just works.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792455)

People always report these sorts of problems, but I have yet to experience any of them. And, yes, I've used Windows XP, Vista and Mac OS X recently. As always, I guess, YMMV.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792565)

You can't legally run OS X by visualization, especially if it is on a non mac.

ITYM virtualization, and YES YOU CAN. Those EULAs aren't worth the paper they're printed on. If I bought it, I can do whatever the heck I want to it in my own home. (Though I don't really like OS X enough for *that*. Heh!)

Re:It is a good middle ground. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792687)

"probably haven't used an other OS other then Linux or BSD for a while."

Then Linux or BSD did what for a while? The word is THAN

Learn it USE IT.
    THEN implies a sequence: FIRST THIS THEN THAT.

THAN implies a choice: Rather this THAN that

I hate it when you otherwise educated guys make yourselves look stupid like this!

Re:It is a good middle ground. (-1, Flamebait)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792419)

It has a clean interface and performs well.

If by "clean" you mean "useless" and by "well" you mean "like it's on heroin", then yes.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (2, Informative)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792509)

Ok, I usually don't post to correct people but... It's THAN not THEN! You use than in comparasions, for example "the cat is better than the dog" and you use then in situations like "I ran the dog over with my car, then i got the cat too."

Sorry but it just hurt me to read your post.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792675)

OS X supports many of the Windows Protocols (a lot better then linux in some ways)

Which protocols are you referring to, and how is their support better in OS X than Linux?

I ask, because in my experience when OS X needs some cross platform functionality, they just port the Linux solution.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792857)

It's true that often Apple will start with an open source solution, but they will extend it, make sure it works flawlessly on their hardware and build a decent UI for it.

Re:It is a good middle ground. (1)

einer (459199) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792727)

OSX does NOT support windows protocols any better than Linux... Active Directory in particular is pretty much broken under OSX. Linux supports AD just fine, and integrates LDAP quite nicely. Oddly enough, Linux + Windows = harmony, but throwing OSX in the mix pretty much hoses it all up.

Also, please elaborate on the selection of high quality closed source applications that OSX has that linux does not (or doesn't have an equivalent too). Photoshop is hardly a developer tool.

Virtualization benefits apply to all OS's, so no points for OSX there.

Vax? wtf?

Re:It is a good middle ground. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792847)

then != than

innovative (1, Interesting)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792081)

once again macs seem to be innovating, the dual gpu thing where you have a low power one for run of the mill 2d stuff and high power one for the apps that need it are a good example (i believe this is appearing in pc laptops as well).

my friend just got a shiny new £1800 mac book pro, its faster and has more ram than my main desktop machine, makes me feel sick (that windows xp 32 bit can only address 3.25 GB of ram doesn't help either).

Re:innovative (4, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792145)

once again macs seem to be innovating, the dual gpu thing

You mean the severely limited, non SLI-hydra-whatever GPU thing that requires a restart/logon-off cycle just to switch?

That thing was actually released on a few toshiba laptops (and sony laptops?) long before el-jobso did his magic.

Of course, the (software) inflexibility of that configuration is actually a feature, according to apple. So, I digress.

Re:innovative (0)

Pfhor (40220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792477)

The logout kickstarts the windowing system again, they could rewrite it to make it switch on the fly, but that would probably break something else, and not something you would expect in a 10.5.X release.

Of course, they could write their own MacBook Pro specific windowing / graphics code, and just have that as a 'temporary' solution that supports live switching until 10.6 (where the entire graphics engine is having a major overhaul), but that defeats the whole "write once, use many" design philosophy of Apple's development cycle.

So Apple adopted a slick, bleeding edge tech, but instead of holding back for them to be able to make it work 'as it should' they introduced what could be considered the best practical work around that would involve the least amount of damage. I would hate to have to test any code that uses the graphics engine specifically on the newest macbook pro, because Apple decided to break their own development procedures to provide 'live' switching in a service pack. I'd rather just wait for the code to be in place globally, and have more incentive than "it sometimes breaks on macbook pros" to rework my code. Like being able to utilize a lot of the new low level stuff coming in 10.6.

Re:innovative (1)

admiralfrijole (712311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792539)

You mean the best-in-class, not-trying-to-be-SLI GPU configuration that *right now* you have to log out and back in to change? The "thing", platform really, that didn't officially exist until Apple announced them before NVidia did? Its not like there's a major OS update in the works or anything...

Re:innovative (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792723)

According to Google pound-to-USD ... $2700 for a laptop? And it has more ram than your main desktop machine? I somehow get the feeling that you definitely did *not* spend $2700 on your desktop. I spent roughly $1000 and have 4GB ram, a 512mb 8800, and a quad core cpu. Does his mac book pro have a quad cpu or anything close to the performance of an 8800?

Secondly, the low-power/high-power dual gpu... did that start with Mac? I am not sure it did. I remember reading a slashdot story recently about it and I'm not sure it started with macs.

At any rate.. $2700 for a laptop is way up there. IMO, with Apple, you get less than what you pay for, unless you're interested in the "whoa, you have a mac, you are cool" thing. Personally, I'd rather have $400-$500 extra in my pocket than people thinking I'm hip or whatever. Not to say I don't think the $2700 mac book pro is nice or good or whatever... just I'd prefer to go a much cheaper route for a machine that will be outdated in two years.

AFP not AFS (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792087)

AFS is something else altogether.

Altogether now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792645)

AFS is something else.

Re:Altogether now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792785)

AFS is something.

Macs are UNIX 03 (3, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792107)

You would think that the fact that OS X is UNIX 03 certified [opengroup.org] might be of some interest to developers as well.

Sure, maybe not as much as the reasons stated above, but... it is worth mentioning. And just the fact that it is any flavor of Unix-like OS is attractive to many.

Re:Macs are UNIX 03 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792385)

One should never use the words "attractive" and "Unix" in the same sentence.

Andrew File System??? (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792125)

That doesn't seem to make any sense.
Is there some other AFS [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Andrew File System??? (2, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792217)

I had the same question, and thus hit teh google...

Strangely enough, the answer appears to be "Yes"

http://www.dementia.org/twiki/bin/view/AFSLore/WhatIsAFS [dementia.org]

I was pretty surprised, too. I thought AFS died with the Andrew project.

Surely, though...Leopard must support NFS? It's certainly good enough for dev work.

Re:Andrew File System??? (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792279)

AFS is still in use as a university-wide implementation at Carnegie Mellon, but the usefulness of having it for a single computer implementation doesn't make much sense to me.

Re:Andrew File System??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792423)

It's the Amiga File System.

>'

From the x Department (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792141)

This is the first time I've actually LOL'd at a 'dept' line in a while. Self-employment makes for all sorts of wonderful tax-deductable gadgets.

Mac Trolling as /. Submission ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792155)

Almost as bad as the Ron Paul trolls on Digg.

Well... (2, Insightful)

XTrollX (1398725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792181)

I can think of a few reasons why Macs are becoming more popular (especially in this field). Like the first commenter said, has this guy used Vista? 1. More and more programs are coming Linux. Like today we have Flash. 2. Stable OS/Well built systems. 3. More people are realizing that you don't need windows to read windows files. Just format your junk to FAT instead of NTFS. This is just brushing the surface...

Missing the point? (2, Insightful)

paimin (656338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792185)

Uh...isn't the point that you can run any OS you want on Mac hardware? Isn't that what makes them good development machines? If the paging system or AFS is torture, just boot frickin Windows. These flamebait articles are so tiring.

Re:Missing the point? Maybe you are missing it. (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792503)

isn't the point that you can run any OS you want on Mac hardware? Isn't that what makes them good development machines?

You may be able to run the software of your choice on your Mac, but its a lot harder to run the hardware of your choice on it - at least under OS-X. Want to work on applications for ATI's latest graphics card cuda-equivalent GPU processing then you are likely going to want a 4870 X2 to play with. That may work fine under Windows, but if you can't run OS-X as well with that hardware then you've just bought yourself a very expensive Windows-only machine.

And that's what many developers do. Run specific hardware configurations.

Now if only Apple would update their documentation (4, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792189)

recently got into Cocoa programming and for the most part absolutely love it, Apple has obviously put a lot of effort into their system and it shows. However, Apple seemingly skimped on one of the most important, but usually easiest to implement parts of their system: good, up to date documentation!

For instance, in the QTKit documentation is just beyond abysmal. There is little documentation on how to do very common things, such as set your export settings. I had to do a lot of hackery just to figure that one out(and its still far from straightforward), they have typos that have been there for eons, even though I used their feedback form to tell them about it, and perhaps worst of all, they don't even mention many methods that are in the API.

On multiple occasions I have had to go into the header files just to find out what I could do with various classes. I shouldn't have to do this! Compare this experience with say, Javadocs and its night and day. While Javadocs are far from perfect, they are infinitely better than what Apple puts out.

Why would Apple do something like this? It costs them almost nothing to create a lot of these docs, and actually updating them once in a while could save developers tons of frustration. I guess maybe the paid ADC accounts are bit better? Thats really a low blow if they are though....

Furthermore, Apple tends to deprecate APIs without really replacing them with an API with the same functionality. Case in point is QTKit. Its a nice API for what its worth, but there are tons of occasions you either:

a) have to go down to the old Quicktime C APIs(which means your code won't be able to compile in 64 bit and may not work at all on Snow Leopard) or
b) Have to come up with some creative hacks to get the functionality you want.

For instance, in order to get an MPEG-4 formatted to anything but the default size you either have to use an atom container which is 32 bit only, or manually set up a Quicktime export with the settings you want, write some applescript to save that to a file, THEN read that file in as NSData THEN set that to be your export settings(which on Apple's website has the oh so helpful documentation:"Information to come."(That was over a year ago).

Re:Now if only Apple would update their documentat (2, Informative)

roger6106 (847020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792435)

Quicktime is scheduled to get a large rewrite in Snow Leopard [apple.com]. There have been many complaints about the Quicktime API, but there is hope that Snow Leopard will fix that.

Re:Now if only Apple would update their documentat (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792529)

They already introduced supposedly the next generation of the Quicktime API with QTKit when they released Quicktime 7. The problem with QTKit is that its not really complete, and as I have said, not at all documented. So if they want people to start to use QTKit instead of the old quicktime APIs, they better get on the ball. They also really need to cut out the secrecy bullshit and let people who don't fork over tons of cash know what direction the API is going.

Re:Now if only Apple would update their documentat (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792567)

You're not the first, or only one to bring up the lack of documentation.

I tried to get into a little programming as a total newbie, since the Developer Tools came free and it seemed like an interesting thing to try.

It's still something I would like to have a go at, but I got nowhere when I went to look at some parts of the documentation and saw all those gaps.

I should probably start with a simpler language, but the temptation was the tools were right there and I could start making some simple applications for OS X. Not as easy as it looks though!

Re:Now if only Apple would update their documentat (3, Funny)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792683)

Apple seemingly skimped on one of the most important, but usually easiest to implement parts of their system: good, up to date documentation!

Are you really a developer? :)

its the community that matters (3, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792223)

I have spent the last 8 years writing visual basic applications in Windows
At Christmas last year I got myself a Nokia internet tablet - it runs Maemo Linux.

Surprisingly now, 11 months later I am comfortable back in C, have a nice little library and *know* I have found a better path.

Its been a kind of torture as well, everything was new and sometimes finding information is a brutal experience.
If it hadn't been for the great community around maemo.org I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have.

It was this community element which was missing with other devices and systems when I was looking around.

I Like My Mac (1)

syphax (189065) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792225)

Our office started having problems with Thinkpads after years of trouble-free use (oops, Lenovo), so I took the chance to see if we could use Macs. I got a big 17" MacBook Pro.

I run Win XP via Parallels, and will get around to installing Ubuntu as well.

Things work pretty well. Not perfectly, but pretty well. I currently spend ~70% of my time using Windows stuff, but I anticipate that going down to 30% or so as I get smart about doing stuff on the Mac side without losing file compatibility with my peers. It's *really* nice to be able to switch back and forth seamlessly. And though I am by temperament more of a Linux guy, I find myself quite happy with OS X.

I'm not an Apple fan-boi; I don't ignore imperfections in Apple and their products. That said, when my old PC laptop died at home, I found that we were left with 3 Macs- my work Mac, my wife's, and our Mac Mini media center/kid computer/home automation thingy.

I just hope Apple's market share doesn't grow too high (I'm not that worried); competition (plus open standards) is a good thing.

Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini la (5, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792227)

Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini laptop with out a screen in a small box.

The mac pro is nice but $2300 and only a $30-$50 video card?

AIO also are not that good.

Where is the mini tower that can do dual display?

Re:Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini (1)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792291)

A decent headless mini-tower mac at a fair price, and I'd snap one up in a minute.

Re:Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792411)

Is that a developer issue, or just something you want?

Re:Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini (1)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792469)

Desktop imacs are a bit limited for serious stuff (max RAM, only one internal HD, etc). The Mac Pro requires a second mortgage. It's sort of a use issue for those of us who need to do mroe than surf the web.

Re:Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792845)

I vote developer issue.
The low-end mac mini hasn't had an update in years.
If you want to hook up and coming developers, you need a cheap platform to let them experiment on.
A mid tower would fit that much better then their current offerings. Of course, a newer mac mini would be a change in the right direction...

Re:Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini (1, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792449)

Apple needs a mini tower

Sigh, not this one again. Apple will likely not ever make an inexpensive mini tower because the profit margins are too small. Their strategy is to aim at the high end of the market and let Dell and HP fight it out over the market for cheap computers.

Re:Apple needs a mini tower not a over priced mini (5, Insightful)

sa666_666 (924613) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792865)

You may 'sigh' yet again, but the reason this keeps popping up is because it's a valid criticism that hasn't yet been addressed. Perhaps it's true that Apple wouldn't make as much money in that particular market; most people don't care! They just want a certain product at a certain price point, and Apple isn't delivering it. Sigh'ing that someone else is complaining about this oversight won't make the problem go away. Apple systems in general are either too underpowered or too expensive. There's no middle ground, and they're losing a lot of business because of it.

A couple reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792229)

IMO, from what I've seen, one reason is because it's Unixy and there are lots of developers who move to it because it's a top-tier Unixy environment... supported hardware and software from a top-tier company. They other reason is because it's the only legal way to program the iPhone... vendor lockin the likes of which not even Microsoft has dared to try (and couldn't, really, without risk of more lawsuits about being a monopoly).

Perfectly Good Dev Platform (3, Informative)

CyberLife (63954) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792283)

I've been using a Mac as a development platform for years. Never had an issue. Just because it's an Apple system doesn't mean one has to use AFS or write Cocoa apps.

Hard to take someone seriously... (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792309)

...when they refer to Apple Filing Protocol as "AFS", and it shows that Infoworld has idiot editors. There's nothing except an anonymous programmer's opinion to back up the claims made.

AFP is not strange, twisted, or any sort of barrier for programmers. Over the years, I have found AFP performance (to netatalk) out of the box trounces Samba by almost a 1:2 margin on raw file transfer speed, and 10:1 on directory-intensive operations. It supports international character sets without fuss, and folder/file name restrictions are downright amazing compared to the shit that is SMB/CIFS.

Don't like AFP? Fine. Use SMB (and yes, you can turn off the "annoying dot files".) Or NFSv4. Or SSHFS with MacFusion, making any Unix box you've got a file server with the installation of one package. There are installers for AFS and (I may have this wrong) Coda.

OS X does support NFS as well (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792323)

Unlike some operating systems from Redmon, OS X can do NFS right out of the box. Though I guess we can cut Microsoft a little slack, the protocol is only 20 years old after all.

Actually, there is only 1 case where I would actually recommend using AFP over NFS on macs: If you are using Mac OS X Server to provide authentication to other Macs, the AFP is fully kerberized and encrypted over the wire(well it can be) whereas NFS is just plain old NFS.

"embrace virtualization of other OSes" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792327)

Yeah, no other hardware or OS in the world supports virtualization.

If you want to develop for MacOS (and why wouldn't you?) you can either run it natively and run Windows/Linux/FreeBSD virtually, or you can... oh, right, you can't install MacOS in a VM on decent, user-serviceable hardware, because that would cut into Apple's profit margin.

Why Apple beat Microsoft (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792379)

Okay first, about the title: All programmers are developers, but not all developers are programmers. Second, it isn't just developers, it's everybody. Vista exploded on the launch pad. Nobody's upgrading. So for the last several years who's been the only commercial manufacturer to be releasing new spiffy shiny? Apple of course. So, umm, HELLO? Of course people are switching, Apple is the only company offering anything new!

Microsoft wasn't advertising because they had nothing to advertise -- The only major products they've been pushing out are all incremental upgrades for commercial use. Now we see giant billboards about how great Vista is, but please... The media shot and killed that cow, now they're just trying to recoup their investment. As an aside, I've been waiting for this moment since I got into the industry! Now, whatever you want to say about Macintosh as a platform, you can't deny their marketing has been so good it's making history. That, and Apple has at least three batallions of lawyers ready to crush anyone who "Thinks different". And the only personalities Microsoft has is Bill Gates (now retired), and Balmer, better known as the amazing flying monkey boy.

Lastly, if we want to talk about developers, not just programmers -- which would include web and graphic designers, architects, etc., Apple has enjoyed huge market share here for one very simple reason: It's simple and it works. This is an industry where the software on a machine costs several times the cost of a system and people happily pay for it. Apple, and companies who develop for their platform, have made design a priority for years -- usability and simplicity. Everything else has come after that. Well, except for some serious QC issues on their hardware lines lately, for which they have not been publicly flogged enough over. Meanwhile, all the other players in the market are trying to be all things to everyone... Vista's DRM and horrible, horrible driver subsystem comes to mind as an example of "Trying to do it all".

Disclaimer: Not an Apple fangirl (personally, I despise macintoshes), but does work in graphic design and so I deal with it every day.

I've Always Heard... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792391)

I've always heard that Intel Macs were comparable to Intel Windows machines in running similar application. Now suddenly there are complaints about sluggish virtual memory handling and other ills? Where has this been hiding all along now that (pardon) apples-to-Apples comparisons are actually possible?

Re:I've Always Heard... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792641)

Where has this been hiding all along now that (pardon) apples-to-Apples comparisons are actually possible?

Perhaps people running 2 VMs have more memory paging problems :)

MacOSX has awful Java support (1)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792451)

A sizable part of the programming community writes Java code and MacOSX is simply not an option for them.

Applet's JVM is buggy, poorly maintained and totally out of date. Sun plans on putting out Java 1.7 in a few months and Applet has yet to even release Java 1.6.

Re:MacOSX has awful Java support (4, Informative)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792821)

Java 1.6 for OS X, has been available for months now. And JDK 1.7 will not be out in a few months either.

AFS, AFP, what's the difference? (1)

admiralfrijole (712311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792481)

I find it hard to take anyone seriously who is unable to tell the difference between AFS and AFP, or lacks the copyediting skills to catch their mistake.

It would be smart . . . (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792485)

It would be smart for Apple to cater to the needs and desires of developers. Eventually Developers will develop cool apps for the platform they use the most, if that turns out to be OS X, then Apple could win BIG.

Nice platform, but... (5, Informative)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792515)

I really like developing on my Apple machine for the most part, but it has a few issues that make it less appealing to me than Linux.

Currently, most of the development I'm doing is using Django and PostgreSQL. Installing PostgreSQL and the required Python libraries on OS X is tremendously painful. It was painful on Tiger and Leopard has made it more so. Macports tries to make it easier, but it could use a lot of work/testing/more work.

Installing the same tools on Linux is so easy, a Windows user could do it.

Re:Nice platform, but... (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792715)

What would you say is the best python ide? I can't find a good one that suits me :(

short and long answer (-1, Troll)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792563)

The real answer to this, is no. Just no.

Anyone with half a clue who is a developer makes their stuff on something more cross-platform friendly....bsd or unix.

So yes, umm, developers developers developers! Sheesh.

Re:short and long answer (-1, Redundant)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792665)

Anyone with half a clue who is a developer makes their stuff on something more cross-platform friendly....bsd or unix.

That may be, but many of us who have a full clue are developing products for the Mac or the iPhone.

-jcr

maybe in USA (3, Insightful)

papabob (1211684) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792637)

not worldwide. Maybe I shock you, but outside the US apple is a niche market that its only used for graphics design- you know, a heritage of the 80s. In the old Europe you would find much more projects for linux than for OSX (and both are a minimal percentage of the total projects, because everyone still use some version of Windows). Even the ipod is a rare avis in the mp3 market. Of course Apple started an agressive campaing to catch the academic world few years ago, financing laptops for teachers and student, but it's too early to move the trend.

So, no. I work in a mid-size software factory and I can assure you developers aren't going anywhere.

AFP not AFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25792733)

The article probably means AFP is torture. AFP itself isn't that bad, but getting it to work reliably can be very tricky as Apple seem intent on breaking it in interesting new ways with every OS update. Kerberos support in Leopard only works if you use one of the three methods of connecting (and it's the one users are least likely to use). Kerberised AFP seems to have stopped working entirely using 10.4.11 as a server. This is generally true of other Kerberised services on OS X though - Apple Mail in Leopard now does the same dumb non-canonicalisation that Safari on Tiger and Leopard does.

ok. I'm one... (4, Interesting)

nblender (741424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792749)

Why? All the reasons you've heard before... I like it when stuff 'just works'. I develop embedded systems. I write device drivers and other kernel code for various open sores operating systems. That means I spend lots of my time in terminal windows, pouring over datasheets, staring at PCI analyzer output, etc... I have a number of monitors, at least one is in horizontal mode (for mail, web, pdfs, etc) and the other in vertical mode (for editor windows). I can just as easily work on my macbook at a customer site, plugged into one of their extra monitors. When I'm done there, I can close the lid, go to another customer site, or into a meeting room, open the lid and have my desktop automatically resize. I can then plug into a projector to review some code, and have my desktop automatically resize again without restarting xorg...

I have linux boxes at home, I have *BSD boxes at home, I have colocated *BSD boxes around the world for other personal endeavors. I have a fairly extensive MythTV/Zoneminder network at home as well. So I'm not your average Mac weenie... To me, the mac is just a decent portal to all the other Unixy boxes I maintain. I've tried using a Linux desktop on a day to day basis and I've found it just too painful... Ever try getting a bluetooth keyboard working on Ubuntu? It doesn't "just work"; or at least not 6 months ago. It might now... But that's my point... Linux is always improving, but it never does everything I want, when I want it... And yes, I know, "patches welcome"... I contribute plenty to open-source. I can contribute more in my area of specialty and I can do it better sitting in front of a Mac. When I want to relax and watch TV, I don't want to have to hack MythTV to do it. I just want to plunk my fat ass on the couch and be entertained.

Sticking with what I've got (1)

crunch_ca (972937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792771)

Sorry, I'll be sticking with Linux since I can't stand the click-to-focus.

The rest of the OS and developer tools seem ok. But, since I have the choice I'll stick with a window manager I can configure properly. I'm probably in a minority (and yes, I know about mondo-mouse [atomicbird.com]

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