A Few Thoughts About Linux and OS X
Matthew Garrett had a fascinating post on why he thinks so many Linux developers use OS X. I’ve noticed this too, and have also wondered about it. Garrett proposes embedding tools, like bug tracking, into a Linux desktop, to lure developers away from OS X. It’s a great post that’s worth reading.
Fast Company looks at OS X and wonders if it’s been neglected for too long. I don’t think Apple is the only company guilty of ignoring desktop for mobile and I think it’s very short-sighted. Tablets and mobile are great, but there are still an awful lot of people who need to sit down in front of a keyboard and get serious work done for hours at a time. It might be a shrinking market, but it’s still pretty big. If the existing players continue to ignore desktop, someone is going to swoop in and grab market share. I’m hoping that someone is a Linux-based company.
The Linux Setup - Benjamin Kerensa, Firefox Developer
I use the expression “I/we live in the world” fairly often to express the idea that although we might have an idealized way of thinking about a concept, often the realities of external forces make it difficult to execute in that idealized way. My use of the expression isn’t about surrendering to the whims of the world — it’s just a reminder that sometimes concessions need to be made. I mention this because Benjamin discusses using both a MacBook and OS X tools, and that often sets off alarms for some readers. Benjamin does a great job explaining why he uses and prefers Linux, but, like so many of us, he lives in the world, and so he must sometimes choose the most effective tool, rather than the tool that best represents his technological and political views. This isn’t an excuse or a rationalization — it’s just an acknowledgement that as with so many other things, sometimes choice is more than just a binary.
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Benjamin Kerensa and I’m a freelance IT consultant. I’m also on the Firefox Release Management Team, where I work on the Nightly release channel.
Why do you use Linux?
Linux is just one operating system I use. I also have started using Mac OS X for many of my Mozilla projects since some software has better support on Mac OS X than it does on Linux. If I could choose one OS though, Ubuntu Linux would be it, and I think that will someday be a reality.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Actually my main laptop is a MacBook Pro Retina (late 2013), but I also have a Dell Inspiron 14z which runs the latest Development Release of Ubuntu and I do all of my Ubuntu work there and also do some QA to ensure Firefox is working solidly for our Linux users.
When I find myself with only my Macbook I have a cloud instance I can use for development on the go.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I use the Unity desktop environment and although for a few cycles I did stay with GNOME (fallback), I have found Unity to increase my productivity and workflow. I have also been concerned that features like the Unity Scopes impact user privacy and that Ubuntu users would benefit from being able to opt-in versus this feature being a default.
Much of the discussion by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was a result of discussions I had with both organizations in private and I am happy they agreed with the concerns I raised.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ubuntu recently announced they are changing the Scopes default that was showing online results (including Amazon-recommended ones) along with local files to an opt-in
What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
Firefox. I spend an uncountable amount of hours in the web browser working with bugs and looking and commit logs. Firefox is built by a community of contributors on every continent with a goal of advocating for an open web and to me, that’s precious.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
A Dell Inspiron 14z with a “Powered by Ubuntu” Sticker.
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted January 27, 2014