jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

The Best of What's Around

Marco struck a nerve with his latest post lamenting the declining quality of Apple software. The post was picked up by “analysts” and debated on television by a panel of “experts”. While I understand the frustrations of those affected by more serious bugs than I’ve seen, I can’t help but wonder if they really understand what the alternatives are like.

This whole débâcle reminded me of 2006 when Mark Pilgrim, Cory Doctoro, and Tim Brey left the Mac for Linux. Some of the same reasons were cited then, although for these three I think the openness of Linux meant more than software quality. But, as Daniel Jalkut pointed out, Apple’s software has always had bugs, and people have always been upset about it. It’s easy to look at the past through rose-colored glasses, but the truth is that there were some pretty terrible releases in the past.

We do seem to be at a low point in the ebb and flow of Cupertino software. I use Mail, Safari, Calendar, and iTunes daily, and from time to time I see bugs here and there. My personal pet peeve is that the Dock no longer automatically minimizes when I move a window to full screen mode. Instead, it just obstructs the bottom part of the window. An annoyance, to be sure, but it’s not the end of the world.

Overall Yosemite has been a fantastic release for me. I enjoy the new aesthetic, although I think the transparency could be toned down a bit, and the apps I use daily work great. I haven’t had the kind of problem that forces a reboot once a week, or to see iTunes crash once a day. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, clearly it does, and I’m just one data point, but I just don’t see it.

Apple’s apps aren’t what make the platform great anyway. What makes the Apple ecosystem a great place to work and play is the abundance of very high quality third party apps. OmniGraffle, DEVONthink, Day One, Soulver, Quicksilver, TextExpander, Hazel, the list goes on. It was Apple’s platform and, more importantly, their taste, which encouraged the developers to build their absolute best. No other platform has this. I know, I’ve looked.

Linux is a mess from top to bottom. Windows is a hollow corporate shell trying to be relevant again. FreeBSD? Not a chance. Yes, it’s important to point out the flaws in the Mac and iOS platforms, and yes it’s good to remind Apple to stay on the path of light, but before we all decide to download the latest Ubuntu iso, let’s also take a moment to appreciate how fantastic these machines and their software really are. In comparison, nothing else even comes close.

PS. Apple, fix your bugs. Seriously, some of this is just embarrassing.

apple software quality linux devonthink