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By jrandol
Published: Mar 11 2011 / 03:21

Apple had about 2.06 percent of the US desktop market in 2003. By 2010, OS X had about 10.9% of the market.1 There’s a slew of reasons for this growth, but I think a large part of it is the migration of software developers from Windows to OS X starting in the early 2000’s. Attracted by the reasonable UNIX toolchain and the straightforward usability approach, more and more geeks adopted OS X as their primary machines, saw it also doubled as a decent computer for non-techies, and its popularity grew from their recommendations.
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hartsock replied ago:

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What will be interesting is which of Zach's three scenarios happen, or what variation of them happens and what the real world consequences are. Does developer happiness matter? We will find out.

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eggbert replied ago:

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Dave Newton replied ago:

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Because it's a substantially better option than most everything out there. You *are* a Mac basher, because thousands of people do real work on it every day, and seem to get along with it pretty well.

What's your actual *reasons* you believe it to be so useless?

(I do most everything on Linux, so don't start with stupid fanboy comments. Up until about a year ago I did Ruby and JVM ecosystem development on OS X at home, Windows at work.)

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prpatel replied ago:

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@eggbert I'm not a mac fanboy, really, but doing real work (coding or otherwise) on OSX is far more productive than Windows or Linux at this point in time. If that changes next year, I'll be the first to switch to [insert next gen uber-OS here]. And yes, I have (and do) developed on all 3 platforms, sometimes if circumstance dictates, on the same day!

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hartsock replied ago:

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I have to agree with @prpatel that OSX is currently one of the best developer's platforms out there right now. On one level the platform is still very developer friendly. I don't think this will remain true for long at this point.

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zynasis replied ago:

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how is it any better than a PC with linux?

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hartsock replied ago:

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I had been on Linux 100% of the time from 1996 to 2008 I spent two years on Mac OSX and I currently have returned to Linux (Ubuntu 10.10) full time in the last few months. My observations about the deficiencies between Linux desktop experience and Mac OSX are as follows...

* multi-monitor support is better on Mac OS X, the Linux machine has trouble "seeing" new monitors on occasion
* a larger number of projectors work well, I've had trouble getting the Linux machine to seek some projectors (this was never a problem on OSX)
* multi-touch trackpad support actually works and works well. My Linux drivers for this feature caused my X11 to lock forcing constant restarts of X11. (Note: HP Pavilion dv7)
* hardware integrations are cleaner on OSX for example:
* battery life indicators
* lid events and dedicated buttons just work
* wifi management is easier and more cleanly controlled on OSX (for example it is very difficult to permanently FORGET a wifi hotspot when I accidentally connect to one)
* OSX keyboard mappings never flaked out, on Linux my number pad will sometimes top acting as a number pad
* random IDE render flakiness on Linux: my IDE's screens will sometime render solid grey and force a restart of X11
* updates fill /boot partition on Linux forcing me to manually clean my /boot partition of old kernels

In short, there are lots of small system administration tasks I have to perform, troubleshooting I have to deal with, etc. On a Mac OSX machine I merely developed and for the most part got to ignore the health of the machine.

On the flip side:

My GNU tool chain is far happier on my Linux laptop than it ever was on Mac OSX. The complaints I have are about using the Linux machine as a "laptop" but I can't complain on its performance as a development environment. My political disdain over several moves Apple has made recently keep me motivated to suffer through this transition. To ignore that these user experience problems exist however is to lie to everyone.

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devent replied ago:

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4.5GB for Xcode? What are they doing in 4.5GB, my whole Linux distribution is 4.5GB and that includes every possible language out there (gcc, Java, Ruby, Php, Python, you name it).

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stimpy77 replied ago:

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GUI bits, plus it rolls in iOS support, which in turn requires virtual machines for the iPhone simulator etc.

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Huperniketes replied ago:

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The iOS simulators for iPhone and iPad are just that: simulators. They are not like the development toolsets for Android, Palm and RIM which have emulators. They don't need virtual machines.

The bulk is made up of Intel versions of the iOS runtime libraries for the simulator, the native libraries for iOS and several versions of MOX (Leopard and Snow Leopard, Possibly Tiger), the headers thereof and the documentation thereof.

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