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Google Businesses The Internet Software Utilities (Apple)

Google Gets Serious About Open Source Mac Projects 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the much-more-productive-than-freecell dept.
mjasay sends us a link to a CNet story, which begins: "In the '20 percent time' that Google employees have to work on projects of personal interest, it turns out that an increasing number are spending time writing open-source projects for their Macs. Google has long had a fondness for the Mac, with upwards of 6,000 of its 20,000 current employees opting to use the Mac over Windows. It is in the 20 percent employee development time, however, where this statistic becomes interesting. At Google, development time translates into products. The more Mac-friendly employees, the more Mac-related development. The more Mac-related development, the more Google-sponsored Mac-based open-source code. As Google's Mac Developer Playground demonstrates, some of this code is quite interesting."
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Google Gets Serious About Open Source Mac Projects

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  • by kipman725 (1248126) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:20PM (#23693907)
    To me open source on a non opensource OS (apple has a patchey history with opening bits of OS) has always seemed a little contridictory and defeating the purpose of running a free or opensource system.
    • by FinchWorld (845331) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:26PM (#23693937) Homepage
      Why? Surely if its open source anyone can take it, compile it, and use it on whatever they want. How much propriety software lets you do that? By limiting open source software to only play nice with other open source software (OS, whatever), you become a little bit like Microsoft.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:36PM (#23693991)
        Not true for "open source" OS X software. Developers on this platform are generally opposed to cross platform application development and Apple works hard to ensure that applications written to OS X will not easily be ported to other platforms.

        If you disagree, can you name a single significant open source desktop application that originated on the Mac and is now cross platform (supporting Windows, Mac and Linux at least)?

        This is why I consider the Mac OSS community to be a bunch of leeches. They've ported most open source unix applications to OS X but to date have given nothing useful back. The attitude seems to be that its fine for them to use stuff from BSD or Linux, but if you want to run their software, you should just buy a Mac. And that makes them a lot more like Microsoft than the person who asked the original question.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:59PM (#23694155)

          Not desktop apps, but Apple has a put good effort into OSS server and network apps.

          http://www.macosforge.org/
        • by GalionTheElf (515869) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:02PM (#23694181) Homepage

          If you disagree, can you name a single significant open source desktop application that originated on the Mac and is now cross platform (supporting Windows, Mac and Linux at least)?
          Handbrake. [handbrake.fr]

          Please note though that I'm not particularly up on the politics here, but handbrake is a brilliant, once mac-only, video conversion tool.
        • by cleatsupkeep (1132585) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:22PM (#23694287) Homepage
          Transmission.

          http://www.transmissionbt.com/ [transmissionbt.com]
        • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:30PM (#23694359)
          #include
          main()
          {
                  printf("Hello World");

          }
          -
          Hrm. Seems to work just fine on my Mac and my Debian Box. I guess I foiled apple again.

          Or if you mean Apple has their own language, Cocoa, which isn't ported to XP or Linux. Funny thing is, you're not forced to use it.

          Since we're on the topic of cross plat form stuff, it's not OSS, but it was one of the best selling games ever: Myst.
        • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:33PM (#23694369)
          And i nearly forgot: launchd [wikipedia.org].

          "The launchd daemon is essentially a replacement for init, rc, the init.d and rc.d scripts, SystemStarter (Mac OS X), inetd and xinetd, atd, crond and watchdogd."

          Yeah, it's open source and even written by Apple themselves.
          • Does anything other than Mac OS use launchd?

            • You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

              Apple's contributing back which is what the grand parent was complaining about. If other people don't use Apple's contributions how is that apple's fault?
        • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:16PM (#23694629) Journal
          This is why I consider the Mac OSS community to be a bunch of leeches. They've ported most open source unix applications to OS X but to date have given nothing useful back.

          I think you misunderstand how it works. The original author rarely ports it to a platform he doesn't use. He makes the source available, and someone who is willing and able to make it work on another platform can do that. You even said it yourself - "They've ported." If few Mac open source projects have been ported to a particular platform, blame the users of that platform, not the people who don't use it.

          • by mdwh2 (535323)
            Sure, but:

            He makes the source available

            I think the point is that this is a crucial part of the step. So if it's true that Mac open source software hasn't got ported to other platforms, then it must be that Mac developers tend not to release their software as open source - or the software that does get released as open source isn't good or unique or interesting enough to be worth porting. This is presumably what is meant by "have given nothing useful back".

            If few Mac open source projects have been ported to
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by slarrg (931336)
          Ruby on Rails
        • Excel and Photoshop come to mind first... but there are numerous others as well....
          • by mdwh2 (535323)
            Excel and Photoshop are open source?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by profplump (309017)
              No, but they started on Mac, you know, the environment that is supposedly intentionally hard to port from, and were then ported to other environments. Moreover they eventually spawn clones like OpenOffice, some of which are open source. I realize that clones aren't strictly ports, but it's still software that originated on a Mac and is now in wide use on a variety of platforms.

              You don't have to like Apple, or use a Mac. But it's ridiculous to claim that Apple intentionally tries to make porting difficult. T
              • by mdwh2 (535323)
                The original question was about open source software - the point being about what have Mac developers given back to the open source community. Do any of these exist, and if not, why not?

                Moreover they eventually spawn clones like OpenOffice, some of which are open source. I realize that clones aren't strictly ports

                What is OpenOffice a clone of? And I think that is scraping the barrel - if I write a closed source commercial piece of software, and then someone writes an open source free software, I hardly get
        • by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @03:44PM (#23695329) Journal

          Apple works hard to ensure that applications written to OS X will not easily be ported to other platforms.

          Just like KDE works hard to ensure that applications written for KDE aren't easily ported to other APIs? And GNOME works hard to ensure that applications written for GTK aren't easily ported to other APIs? And X.org works hard to ensure that applications written for xlib aren't easily ported to other APIs? And Be works hard to ensure that applications written for belib aren't easily ported to other APIs? And Microsoft works hard to ensure that applications written for Win32 aren't easily ported to other APIs? And Sun works hard to ensure that applications written for Swing aren't easily ported to other APIs? And Open Group works hard to ensure that applications written for Motif aren't easily ported to other APIs? And QNX works hard to ensure that applications written for Photon aren't easily ported to other APIs? And Donald Knuth works hard to ensure that documents written for TeX aren't easily ported to other markup languages? And Intel works hard to ensure that x86 assembly code isn't easily ported to other architectures? And Toyota works hard to ensure that gasoline-powered internal combustion engines can't easily run on hydrogen?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Homer1946 (1160395)

          This is why I consider the Mac OSS community to be a bunch of leeches. They've ported most open source unix applications to OS X but to date have given nothing useful back.

          Not that I remotely agree with this statement, but for those in the OSS community that do, why did you choose a license that allows (evil) users to use your code who do not also generate original programs of their own. Why not switch to a license that states that nobody can use your code unless they first release code for their own original project. It would eliminate of large number of those pesky leaches (users).

        • by Brownian Motion (463959) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @05:26PM (#23696117)
          You limit to significant open source programs that have to originate on Mac OS X.

          That's right, let's compare vs. Linux (1991) vs. OS X (2001).

          And, since you said, 'significant', this makes it a bit harder, as to be significant, something generally has to be around for awhile, reducing OS X's ability to produce something.

          And guys like you crack me up, as, a bunch of significant open source programs did not originate on Linux - the Gnu tools, gcc, perl, Apache, X11, python, samba, java, and I'm sure the list goes on.

          I couldn't find out where mysql started. But that's three letters out of LAMP that didn't originate on Linux. Linux could not have originated ON Linux by definition, and I'd have a hard time counting it anyway, since it owes heavily to Unix in design and implementation. (Note: this is not a knock on Linus, or Linux, just if you're getting picky, w/o Minux or UNIX linux would not exist.)

          Apple has made contributions back to open source, the easy example here is KHTML which even ended up changing it's name to WebKit.

          Apple has originated open source projects as well. Take a look at iCal Server, which is an open source, cross platform Calendar server written in python.

          launchd is open source, and I vaugley recall that it inspired some changes in Linux booting.

          Others have noted several user supplied open source projects.

          It's hardly a one way street Open Source -> Apple.

        • by samkass (174571)
          This is why I consider the Mac OSS community to be a bunch of leeches. They've ported most open source unix applications to OS X but to date have given nothing useful back.

          WebKit gave a HUGE amount back to the community. So much so that, while it started as a derivative of KHTML, now KHTML syncs to them instead. Darwin Streaming Server... iCal Sever, one of the first good CalDAV implementations... Bonjour... llvm's clang... And Apple's use of open source software for everything from their print services
        • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @01:19AM (#23698423)
          Apple works hard to ensure that applications written to OS X will not easily be ported to other platforms.

          And you have good evidence that this is the reason for the way they have done things, as opposed to making sure that apps written for OS X simply integrate well with the system to provide a good and consistent user experience?

          In a world where most apps are written for Windows, it doesn't really make sense for Apple to try and make it hard to stop people from porting Mac apps to other platforms. Apple aren't stupid.

          This is why I consider the Mac OSS community to be a bunch of leeches. They've ported most open source unix applications to OS X but to date have given nothing useful back. The attitude seems to be that its fine for them to use stuff from BSD or Linux, but if you want to run their software, you should just buy a Mac.

          Or perhaps they are only interesting in creating apps for OS X? I mean, if they take from the OSS community to begin with, then how can they consider it their software? How do you know that they simply don't consider themselves porting software to OS X for the benefit of OS X users? What would they contribute back, anyway? remove all the OS X parts and give back what they took in the first place? You're not making much sense.

          I think you are simply being paranoid or have something against people who use Macs.
        • by cp.tar (871488)

          Not true for "open source" OS X software. Developers on this platform are generally opposed to cross platform application development and Apple works hard to ensure that applications written to OS X will not easily be ported to other platforms. If you disagree, can you name a single significant open source desktop application that originated on the Mac and is now cross platform (supporting Windows, Mac and Linux at least)?

          I don't know whether Transmission works on Windows, but otherwise it fits the profile.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:30PM (#23693955) Homepage

      To me open source on a non opensource OS (apple has a patchey history with opening bits of OS) has always seemed a little contridictory and defeating the purpose of running a free or opensource system.

      That's just plain silly. You don't have to have the source code for every tiny little bit on the computer for source code to be useful. Really, how many people need to dink with the kernel, be it Windows, OS X or Linux?

      Sharing code is useful at the application level. You should re examine your zealotry, son. It's gonna cause you some grief. Mark my words ... You'll grow a beard, be shunned at parties. You will want to put posters of RMS on your wall. Your mother will disown you.

      • by Ilgaz (86384)
        You should have waited for the "how evil is Apple to hide /bin from Finder and how it proves OS X is not open" comment like people doubleclick ls command via GUI on other OS'es which shows it. :)

        One should ask those 20.000 guys/gals who are advanced to work on number 1 technology company why they have chosen OS X rather than some other OS like Linux.

        • by mdwh2 (535323)
          One should ask those 20.000 guys/gals who are advanced to work on number 1 technology company why they have chosen OS X rather than some other OS like Linux.

          Actually, most of them are using Windows.

          Is this proof that Windows is the best, then?
      • by Znork (31774) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:37PM (#23694405)
        Really, how many people need to dink with the kernel, be it Windows, OS X or Linux?

        Well, it's a fair number, but it's not necessarily the number of people, but the _right_ people we need to be dinking around with the kernel. Unfortunately, with proprietary operating systems, it seems the right people are not necessarily doing that.

        I don't personally dink around that much in the kernel (altho I've bypassed a bug or two in drivers), but I certainly want the genius with too much free time and the same hardware that I have who can fix the bugs to have access to the source. I dont want to hack my own paravirtualising hypervisor, but I'm very pleased to use xen technology, which would have been very difficult to implement without open source.

        As a user of programs and operating systems I usually dont need the source. But I do need many improvements made by people with similar interests to me; interests that may overlap very much less with the strategic thinking of a single monolithic corporation.

        Sharing code is useful at the application level.

        Free software is useful at any level you want to have improved. Which is pretty much all of them. Personally I dont have the patience for proprietary products anymore; I find most tend to have issues that would never survive a few iterations in an opensource product. With free software products I know that if it annoys me enough it'll annoy someone else enough to fix it.

        Now go away. I have a beard to tend to.
      • by Eighty7 (1130057) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:24PM (#23694695)

        That's just plain silly. You don't have to have the source code for every tiny little bit on the computer for source code to be useful. Really, how many people need to dink with the kernel, be it Windows, OS X or Linux?
        You really think it's just the kernel? Jobs (goes for ballmer too) has complete control over his platform. Are you going to make all your users pay for 10.5? If he stops supporting Carbon, what can you do?

        My biggest gripe is with repositories. It would be absolutely trivial for MS to set up a repository & kill off 90% of the malware. Apple supposedly cares for its users - an add-remove button like ubuntu's would go a long way towards providing quality applications. I'm sure it's possible to add a repository afterwards, but it's nowhere as easy (popular) as ubuntu's default. When you find yourself having to explain to yet another person that legal, free, world class software actually exists -- remember that you're doing it because you're on someone else's platform & they want to make it difficult because they're in the business of selling proprietary software.
        • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @05:00PM (#23695931)

          My biggest gripe is with repositories. It would be absolutely trivial for MS to set up a repository & kill off 90% of the malware. Apple supposedly cares for its users - an add-remove button like ubuntu's would go a long way towards providing quality applications.

          I think what you're talking about is centralized package management. I agree Apple should add it into OS X, as they are doing with the iPhone. There is even some indication they might be planning to do so in the future.

          I'm not sure, however, that this is a one sided argument. Package managers are great and useful, in some cases, but all the current ones fail miserably for other workflows, sometimes in ways Apple has already solved. Package managers on Linux suck for commercial software developers and as a result are pretty much ignored by commercial developers. They also suck for installing software on remote drives for access by multiple systems, installing on removable media, easily moving installed applications to other systems, and installing from a Web page.

          Right now I'd say Apple has about 50% of the solution we all want, while Ubuntu has the other 50% and neither has gone and integrated the half the other vendor got right. Apple has their half right because they have one, centralized authority willing to make hard decisions and break compatibility with others when needed to make a real advancement. Ubuntu has the other half right because they have diverse contributors and a somewhat democratic, mob like way of making decisions that work for most people. That said, want to bet that Ubuntu gets drag and drop installs and all the other benefits they could get from GNUStep before Apple adds a centralized package manager and repository to OS X?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Eighty7 (1130057)

            I think what you're talking about is centralized package management. I agree Apple should add it into OS X, as they are doing with the iPhone. There is even some indication they might be planning to do so in the future.

            Honestly, I'm not holding my breath. Did you see what apple made of the iphone attempt [slashdot.org]? And it costs $99 to get a cert? I've seen devs on ubuntuforums.org get approached by maintainers wanting to package some minor app for the repository. Apple certainly isn't poor. There's a conflict of i

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Honestly, I'm not holding my breath. Did you see what apple made of the iphone attempt [slashdot.org]? And it costs $99 to get a cert?

              Actually, $99 i pretty low for development fees for cell phones, actually really low. It would be nice if Apple did not charge at all, but I'm not upset either.

              Package managers on Linux suck for commercial software developers and as a result are pretty much ignored by commercial developers.

              You ask most ubuntu people they'll probably tell you it's working as intended. If it's not free it's not GPL & probably not OSS either. Chances are it's a binary blob & that opens up a host of issues. Is it "zealotry" to actually want control over your own computer?

              I'm of the opinion that trying to make things hard to do as a security measure, is asinine. People can and still do install "binary blobs" on Linux. They just don't get automated updates to those blobs, so they are more likely to be insecure. They also get people in the habit of running binary installers, which are less secure than a "drag and d

              • Yeah, there are numerous solutions, but no standard and nothing implemented by multiple distros (who can't even standardize on a package format I might mention).

                Actually there is a standardized package format, RPM (or more specificially a restricted supset of RPM that is gauranteed to work with alien) which is compatible with all major distros.

                So far the most common workflow for installing software (research on Web then install based upon the info found) is still pretty mythical. A few developers have Web pages that will allow for fairly easy installation, if you happen to be using the right distro, otherwise, it's worse than Windows.

                Almost all developers offer both a tar and source, if you cant install software from one of those two your doing it wrong. Most developers also host a RPM or a deb too, i dont know if RPM bassed distros can handle debs but for debian based systems you have 4 different ways of installing it in no more than 3 commands. OFC us

                • Actually there is a standardized package format, RPM (or more specificially a restricted supset of RPM that is gauranteed to work with alien) which is compatible with all major distros.

                  I don't think a program to convert between package formats qualifies as distros supporting that format. In reality, a lot of software comes as Deb or RPM, but not both and that really sucks for end users and developers trying to reach general Linux users.

                  Almost all developers offer both a tar and source, if you cant install software from one of those two your doing it wrong.

                  It's not easy enough. Sure I can do it. I do it regularly and it even works, most of the time. As a developer, however, it's a shitty way to get software to normal users, since many can't build and install it without help.

                  OFC using tars means you lose out on package management but you dont even get that on windows.

                  So if you lose out on packa

      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday June 07, 2008 @04:55PM (#23695885)

        Really, how many people need to dink with the kernel... Sharing code is useful at the application level.

        That's a bad example to use in this case, because for Mac OS the kernel is actually one of the Free Software bits! In fact, it is the application-level libraries (e.g. Cocoa) that are not Free.

    • The point is (Score:3, Interesting)

      by G3ckoG33k (647276)
      Share the code that will hurt your worst opponent most! Pull the rug under him! :D
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tranzistors (1180307)

      Operating systems seem to come with culture. Linux comes with "free" culture, and if one uses Linux (forgive me, RMS), one tends to adapt the culture and consider free soft natural state of things.

      On MacOS, however, the culture goes like "you pay for everything". Apps are crippled and if you need something good - you pay. In this environment you consider being paid for software natural state of things.

      Note, I have never in my life used MacOS. What I have just said is more like theoretical observation.

      O

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        On MacOS, however, the culture goes like "you pay for everything". Apps are crippled and if you need something good - you pay. In this environment you consider being paid for software natural state of things. Note, I have never in my life used MacOS. What I have just said is more like theoretical observation.

        From my perspective (I use OS X, Linux, and Windows desktops daily) the freeware community for OS X is just as diverse as on other OS's. I just did a search for freeware titles on my favorite OS X application tracking site. It came up with 7800 links to free software applications for download on OS X. This does not include CLI applications, where there are plenty more. Some of that software is very high quality. In comparison, it came up with 7900 links to payware.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323)
      Agreed, and why don't we see anything in the article about Google employees spending time on open source projects for other platforms? That might be an interesting story, far more so than what platform they happen to write for, but it seems to be yet another case of giving a free advertisement just for Apple.

      Of course, I'd expect MacWorld to focus on the Apple products, but this has misled CNET into thinking that Google has a special focus on the Mac, just because it can list a handful of pet open source pr
    • Weak. Running an open source OS on closed source hardware is defeating the purpose of running an open source system. Call me back when your BIOS is open and the design of the CPU and every other chip on the motherboard is made available for tweaking.
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:34PM (#23693979) Homepage
    When you write a story about open source and Google on Mac, you don't miss QuickSilver.app which is a record breaking download which turned to open source and Alcor, the developer is a Google employee.

    See the numbers just at its versiontracker page
    http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/22549 [versiontracker.com]

    Also here is its source along with various Alcor programs:
    http://code.google.com/p/blacktree-alchemy/ [google.com]

    There is no chance you miss a 200.000 downloaded (just a single site!), used by newbie to advanced developer profile utility. Unless you have never used Mac regularly and sit there and write a story about Google and Mac code of course. Another thing to include in that story is the fiasco of Google Desktop search which seriously made everyone paranoid with its method of install, method of running and the idea of shipping that Windows wonder to an OS which invented dynamic/extended search in its core.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:37PM (#23694397)
    If Google is so big on the Mac, where is the Mac version of Picasa? It's been rumored for months. iPhoto's interface is poor by comparison.
  • GCal Sync (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:41PM (#23694425)
    Give me a damn google calendar sync. The free one (gcaldaemon) broke under Leopard and hasn't been updated. There are a few but the one I looked at sent the data to their servers and then used that to sync.
    • by eggstone (957547)
      Good point. I wish Google offers a free calendar syncing app between iCal and google calendar. The current solutions are so expensive.
    • by forand (530402)
      I just wish they would use standard WebCAL which anyone can use.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I just wish they would use standard WebCAL which anyone can use

        Just to be pedantic, the protocol specification is caldav, and yes I wish this too. I actually looked into what it would take to do this in Java, though the biggest hurdle is trying to understand the basic WebDAV architecture, and the lack of time to be able to truly commit. If there is anyone out the who has started such a project, or has a good understanding of webDAV, I would certainly consider getting back into this.
    • by amake (673443)

      There is gSync [macness.com], which works flawlessly for me and doesn't use a 3rd party server.

      You might complain that it's not free or open source. That's true; however, it does work quietly in the background when you use iSync or sync an iPod in iTunes, and never nags you as far as I can tell (unless you sync from the app itself). So you could use it for free. It's certainly not open source though.

    • by rathehun (818491)

      If you're using leopard, Address Book syncs with your gmail account for free.



      See: this article on Lifehacker [lifehacker.com].

  • Google has long had a fondness for the Mac, with upwards of 6,000 of its 20,000 current employees opting to use the Mac over Windows.
    So the choice is between Mac and Windows? What happened to Goobuntu? I thought most Google employees were on Linux desktops.
  • If google are going to start using Macs throughout their company I might start using Live.com







    Only joking!
  • Incorrect summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by sentientbrendan (316150) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @03:35PM (#23695231)
    >with upwards of 6,000 of its 20,000 current
    >employees opting to use the Mac over Windows.

    Actually, Google developers have *Linux* boxes by default, so many of these people are opting for Mac over *Linux*.

    Currently, there are way more development tools available for the mac than Linux. Things like textmate, araxis merge, DTrace, etc. Thus a lot of people, inside google and out, use mac workstations to develop software that gets deployed to linux servers.
    • Re:Incorrect summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2008 @04:05PM (#23695499)
      Incorrect summary and incorrect correction. I work at google and we get to choose twice: on the desktop and on the laptop. Most developers choose a linux desktop and mac laptop. A few choose a windows laptop, but end up installing linux on it as well.

      Also, nothing in the company is 'by default'. If it involves how you work, you get asked how you want to do it. If it's not something completely insane, it's usually approved, since forcing you to go work in a way that you're not used to causes loss of productivity until you get used to the new way.
    • by toddestan (632714)
      Besides, who's to say that those Macs are actually running Mac OS? I know of a few people who bought Macs to run Linux, though granted that was the PPC days, nowadays you might as well buy something cheaper since it's all x86.
    • by LauraW (662560) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @10:07PM (#23697655)

      >Actually, Google developers have *Linux* boxes by default,

      True, on the desktop.

      >so many of these people are opting for Mac over *Linux*.

      Not true, mostly. Most developers have Linux desktops, since most of us work on server-side applications. (Many of us have more than one, actually. I have an extra one that runs my group's continuous builds and tests.) But engineers who are working on Windows or Mac apps have a desktop box running one of those. Or maybe more than one if they work on multiple platforms. All of us also get a laptop if we want one. We can choose between a Mac or PC laptop. Most of the folks with PCs run XP on them, but some run various flavors of Linux. (I have an XP laptop because that's what I still use at home, mostly due to Photoshop and Lightroom. I dumped the Mach for NT 4.0 back in the days when Macs had no protected memory or hardware multitasking and crashed all the time. Next time I upgrade my home machine I may switch both back to the Mac.)

      The reason I said "mostly" is that some people I know run their main monitors off of their Mac laptops and do remote X sessions on their Linux boxes so that they get the best of both worlds: the Mac UI and all the development tools on Linux.

      One thing I love about working at Google is that they give us all the tools we need to do our jobs. You get all the computers you need, and primary workstations come with a 30" monitor or two 24" ones (your choice) and a ton of RAM. If you need another software package (say, an IDE) or more RAM, you just file a "ticket" asking for it, and it shows up on your desk a few days later. Most items don't need approval. I just asked for an 8 Gb RAM upgrade for one of my workstations recently (for analyzing insanely large heap dumps) and got it with no questions asked.

      -- Laura

    • Re:Incorrect summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @12:13AM (#23698187) Homepage
      I work at Google. Most full-time engineering developers have both a Linux desktop and a Windows or Mac laptop. It's a great combination, since all of Google's web backend stuff runs on Linux, but it's often nice to have a Windows or Mac box around too, and they tend to be better choices for laptops.

      There are lots of exceptions, of course - Mac desktops, Linux laptops, etc. - plus of course everyone whose full-time job at Google is to write Windows or Mac client software.

      I don't have any statistics, but my observation is that even more than 30% of laptops are Macs - probably close to 50%. Desktops are 90% Linux.

      Anyway, when you consider that most Google developers use Linux as their development machine and they're trying to decide between a Mac or Windows laptop as a second machine, the article is accurate.

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