Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I still don't get it.

Having recently used a Mac, with the latest Mac OSX installed, on and off over a working week (that be Mon through Fri) and finding that it and myself did not get on well at all, the same old thought came back to haunt me as it has for quite sometime now. That is, why do software people/companies bring stuff out for MS Windows and Mac but never for the Linux platform?

The differences between an MS based client machine and a Mac based client is machine are massive in not only the GUI on offer but also in how the underlaying OS works. A Linux based OS and an MS based OS also differs in the same areas. However, a Mac based OS and a Linux based OS, especially one based on SYSV, do not. Sure the GUI differs but the underlaying OS does not. Well, not in any significant way that stops software people/companies from creating whatever software they create anyway.

I reckon it all comes down to 2 things. One being the openness of the GPL, v2 and 3, and similar licenses or licenses based upon the GPL and the other things being profits or more accurately what a person or company can get a way with charging for their software.

Licenses on the Linux platform almost universally say that the source code should be made available to the softwares users even if no-one ever requests it. On the MS platform one rarely sees source code unless that source code comes from a person or company who adheres by the licensing of the GPL, v2 or 3. Source code is a rare sight on the Mac platform but it does exist, again from those people/companies that license their software offering by the GPL. MS Windows is closed source. Mac OSX is closed source. An OS based on the Linux kernel is not closed source, though some closed source programs exist.

Money. This is where I think the reason lays. While it is not impossible to make money off the back of a freely given away program, most people/companies on the Linux platform simple give their programs away with no strings attached other than those governed by the license used. People/companies that create programs for the MS platform rarely give their programs away for free, sure there is growing market of free MS programs but that market is very small in the world of MS program availability. Mac OSX people/companies that keep the source code away from their users are aplenty.

Having built software on all 3 platforms I can say that of those 3 only one was problematic and that was the MS platform. Money. The root of all evil.

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