back to article Pay Jobs due respect - by crushing the empire he created

In all the eulogies dedicated to the remarkable Steve Jobs, people seem to be overlooking his legacy: the push to "think different". Rather than buying into his declaration that we should not "waste [our lives] living someone else's life" – namely, his – we see far too many products that seek to ape Apple, not beat it. In his …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Matt Assay is Mac user?

    "was formerly chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical."

    Not quite sure what to make of that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the key word

      is "formerly"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the key word

        The key word is "reading" the article:

        "being a longtime Mac user"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Mac user

          not OSX user, necessarily?

          No doubt their hardware makes a sharp looking Ubuntu box.

        2. mccp

          Who made up the rule about only using one OS or computer manufacturer your whole life?

          Surely the whole point of the article is that you should avoid believing anyone's dogma and instead use your own brains to be flexible.

          1. Paul RND*1000

            "Who made up the rule about only using one OS or computer manufacturer your whole life?"

            The same idiots who would rather argue endlessly online that "my <insert consumer electronics brand> is better than your <insert other brand>" rather than going out and proving their point by using the damn things to get shit done.

            Too blinded by dogma to see that one size does *not* fit all (what a boring world *that* would be).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "... avoid believing anyone's dogma and instead use your own brains to be flexible."

            Precisely! The problem is...if one is an Apple Lemming...this is not possible.

            Example? The company that makes the sweaters that Boy Wonder wore had its business DOUBLE after his demise. How utterly pathetic.


        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ever heard of Bootcamp?

          I know a few people who primarily use OSs other than OSX on their Mac hardware.

          One friend of mine swears up and down that his MacBook running graphics programs in Windows runs them better/faster/more-responsive than a much beefier workstation that he had put together. Could be a placebo effect... who knows - but if what you need to run doesn't run on OSX you don't have to throw out your nifty Mac hardware.

    2. hillsy

      Canonical use systems other than Ubuntu

      Their design people, for example, have been fairly open about it in the past. Some other areas less so, such as the brochure I got sent that extolled the maturity of Linux on the desktop but was made in InDesign ;-b Maybe it was their design team who did it.

      More on topic, this is the first Matt Asay article in some time that didn't make me want to pull my hair out. Kudos.

      1. rciafardone
        Thumb Up

        Exactly. Canonical embraces open in its true sense. Dogmatically enforcing a style (even your own) is not "open".

    3. alwarming

      So Ubuntu is a religion now ? (And apparently an intolerant, mutually exclusive one).

      Waiting for some fanatical downvotes.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        In reply to all the above comments

        You seem to think or imply that Matt Assay uses Ubuntu on Mac hardware. The article said:

        "I'm not a fan of Windows as a technology, being a longtime Mac user"

        The clear implication there is that he's talking about Microsoft vs Apple operating systems. He's not comparing hardware. This should be obvious enough for anyone that has mastered basic English.

        Let the fanboism and downvoting continue. I am indeed the Spawn of Satan (language comprehension department).

        1. alwarming

          Re: In reply to all the above comments

          You missed a few.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I agree

            I agree with all the comments below.

        2. Yaro

          You know, Apple fans tend to compare OS X and Windows as if they were the actual hardware people use. The "Mac" vs. "PC" ads have always been OS X vs. Windows Vista/7 and barely ever even touched on the actual Mac hardware vs. PC hardware, largely because by the time Apple launched those stupid ads Macs and PCs had virtually identical hardware.

        3. JEDIDIAH

          More nonsense from this guy...

          I find the notion that Windows has had some sort of positive impact on the industry highly laughable. It sounds like the rantings of some Lemming that was always blindly followed the rest of the MS-DOS using pack and largely ignored every other vendor that was using GUIs in the 80s.

          When it come to GUIs and Microsoft, I think of them as last to the party. They are sandbaggers. Windows represents the monopoly power of Microsoft and their unwillingess to adopt new technologies and their apparent immunity from market pressures.

          For a long time it was effectively MacOS vs MS-DOS.

          Then once Windows came in force it was a mis-begotten DOS shell.

          If anything, I would call NeXT a better example of what happens when you allow inventors to copy from each other and build off of each other's work. So are various attempts to clone all or parts of OpenStep.

          So was GEM even. Ironically that was mired in litigation from Apple (things really don't change do they).

          1. rciafardone

            "Do the evolution Baby"

            I am a Ubuntu user. I tried other linux distros but after a couple of days i was installing WIndowse back, because well... i was young and i wanted to play games, dual buttting was anoying. I wanted a system to do all. Nowadays games are way below my scale, and ubuntu has all the tools i need for my daily work so...

            Anyway Windows and MS impact cant be denied, is a simple system that made computers easy for most people at a good price. Does it act as a predator devouring anything that puts itself in its way? Yes. But as any biologist will tell you predators are good for the prey (as a species of course, not the sucker who got served as dinner).

            The sick, the old, the stupid and the "unfit" feed the beast and push evolution forward Mac barely survived until it brake away and created (literally) their own ecosystem. Linux is stronger than ever, fragmentation is not bad, is good, is the fucking core element of open systems. People don't use it more ether because they don't know it or don't need it (because the apps they use are not in Linux). I use Ubuntu cause i like it, and it works for me, other use Debian, Mint, freaking ratPoison, cause it is what is works for them.

            If tomorrow Ubuntu fails to deliver (as 11.04 is hinting at, I am still on 10.10 thank you very much). I will go back to Windows or try other distro, Mac is out of the question, it simply not my stile... for now.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mahatma

          I was the one who mentioned bootcamp.

          I have no idea what OS Matt ran (runs?) on his Mac hardware and didn't intend to imply (perhaps unsuccessfully) that he definitely did run Ubuntu on it - all I was trying to get at was that I have seen people exhibit that type of behavior before running, at least, Windows as the primary OS on their Mac hardware.

          I do think it would be somewhat odd for someone who works for Dell, for example, to be carting around an HP laptop just the same as I would think it is odd for someone who works for Ubuntu to do his work on Windows or OSX - that's all.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Mahatma

            "I do think it would be somewhat odd for someone who works for Dell, for example, to be carting around an HP laptop just the same as I would think it is odd for someone who works for Ubuntu to do his work on Windows or OSX - that's all."

            Upon reflection it's not that odd. Back in the early 80s I recall talking to a senior Rank Xerox exec who told me he had a tiny Canon personal photocopier in his office to remind him of how good the competition is. Having said that, he did only have one. Mr Assay has six Macs so my original post stating my puzzlement still stands :-)

      2. Yaro

        I dunno. I have seen how a lot of "hardcore" Ubuntu users behave, and yes, a lot of Ubuntu users seem to think that not only are they the only Linux in town, but that *all* open source and Linux development seems to center around "improving" Ubuntu. This is one of many reasons why a lot of straight up Debian users despise Ubuntu, since arguably the Debian developers do most of the work actually doing the compatibility work and most of what Ubuntu does is rebranding and picking and configuring very specific packages "good" for the desktop.

        Though I'm saying this as a somewhat bitter current Gentoo and former Arch user.

        1. A J Stiles

          Ubuntu is good for one thing

          This here Debian user (also tried Mandriva, Slackware and Gentoo, but keep coming back to Debian) thinks Ubuntu is good for something:

          If something has been made to work with Ubuntu, chances are it will work fine on Debian.

          Also, people are more likely to have heard of Ubuntu. So I can ask "Will this new, shiny widget work with Ubuntu?" and sometimes even get an answer.

          On the downside, the Ubuntu folks don't seem so concerned with Keeping It Free.

        2. alwarming

          You heard it here first.

          Ubuntu is iOS of the Linux Distros.

    4. Archimedes_Circle

      Must have been an interesting night.

      scene: Mark Shuttleworth comes to the office late one night. Knocks on Assay's door and enters.

      S: Mark! I've got some gre.........................MATT, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH ONE OF THOSE.

      A: Oh, ummm.

      S: You're not USING IT, are you?

      scene fades, while it takes Richard Stallman time to travel to Canonical to take part in The Shunning Ritual.

      On a side note: Has there been a single article written about Steve Jobs that did not directly quote, or at least reference, his Stanford speach?

  2. Marty

    far too many products that seek to ape Apple, not beat it.

    "far too many products that seek to ape Apple, not beat it."

    Thats a matter of opinion....

    I see many products that in my opinion out shine apple products... The problem is apple try to litigate it off the shelves....

    ..and that's the problem these days. Who the hell would want to move into a market where the company lawyers need a bigger budget than R&D and Sales departments combined !

    how is someone supposed to come up with a better smartphone design when the current companies have patents on everything from "facility to accept input from one or more fingers" to "method of transfer audio output of a mobile device to the auditory canal of the user, via contraction of the biceps muscle"... ffs, you cant even make a app store and charge for services from within an app these days.... why bother?

    beer please, I wanna drown my sorrows

  3. jake Silver badge

    Someone's confused.

    "but the personal computer industry (and later servers) is founded upon the strength of Windows"

    Uh ... no.

    Most of the computing power that runs the world never saw the inside of Redmond. Or Cupertino, for that matter.

    That toy on your desk? Or in your pocket/on your belt? Immaterial. Really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but the personal computer industry is founded upon the strength of Windows"

      Neither "most of the computing power that runs the world is founded upon the strength of Windows" nor "the strength of the current personal computer industry is because of the strength of windows".

      I believe you are the only one who is confused...

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 12:58; I'm not certain here ...

        Are you commenting on mine (where I was quoting the original author, thus the `"` marks), or the OA's? Someone's certainly confused ...

    2. John 104

      Joke Alert

      haha, thats a funny one.

      Have a look here:

      Based on front end, linux looks to have the majority. But that doesn't tell the whole story. Based on sales, its hands down a Windows Server world.

      We run both here at work. At the end of the day, I'd prefer Server 2008 over any of the distros we have running portions of our back end infrastructure. Easier to admin, and uptime is fantastic. It's not without problems, but neither is nix...

      1. Andy 68

        Seriously..?? "Based on sales"???

        Are you being deliberately obtuse? In two sentences you've managed to say exactly the opposite of what you're trying to say : that Linux is both more used and is significantly cheaper.

        (and no, I haven't even looked at your 'evidence')

        1. Stuart Castle

          How many large scale enterprise server deployment are based on software that is totally free? I'd suspect you'll find it's very few.

          The reason? Simple. When you download copies of Ubuntu, Debian etc, or any of the free OSes, you have no contract with the supplier. If you are deploying potentially hundreds of machines all with the same OS, and something goes wrong, you want something that will compel the supplier to fix it. A contract does that. Even if you don't have a specific contract, the fact you have paid for it brings you extra protection in law.

          So, yes, Sales can be a good indicator. Just not necessarily sales of the OS itself. For them to be a good indicator, you may need to take into account the number of support contracts bought.

          I am no fan of one particular OS over any other. They all have strengths, and weaknesses. I like (and use) Windows, OSX and Ubuntu Linux.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @John 104

        Oh-kay ...

        And how many of your toys run COBOL and/or Fortran code 24/7/365.25?

        Sales numbers of Windows Server don't equal "awesome", rather they equal "idiots in charge of purchasing decisions" ...

        Uptime of "fantastic"? What's that? A couple months? My personal email system has been up and running since Flag Day ...

        1. Marty

          not sure

          "Uptime of "fantastic"? What's that? A couple months? My personal email system has been up and running since Flag Day ..."

          I can beat that......

          My email server has been up so long that I forgot where I put it....

          I found it in a old wardrobe in at the back of the basement along with a FTP/samba server !!

          I believe it has an uptime of over 2 years.... although it is bitching about an out of date clamAV...

          1. jake Silver badge


            Flag Day, in this context, refers to the NCP to TCP/IP switchover date.

            That was January 1, 1983.

            My email system had already been running for a number of years, and probably would have survived the change, but I chose to reboot everything, just to come up from scratch.

            Note I said "system" ... it's multi-homed, multi-OS, multi-hardware, multi MTA, and etc. ... redundancy is fitted in everywhere I can fit it. It started as a Thesis platform when I was at Uni (three locations: at SAIL, under Bryant Street in Palo Alto, and at MAEWest), and now is spread out on six continents.

            Over-kill for a home system? Absolutely. But as a research platform, she's mostly tax deductible :-)

            1. rciafardone

              I call BS in your definition of UPTIME

              IF you are not talking about a single machine that has been up and running the same system sis 1983 then that date is irrelevant.


              1. jake Silver badge


                I clearly said "system uptime" ... Single point of failure is not an option in enterprise systems. At least not the systems designed by me.

                Hint: Quoting Wiki isn't valid at any accredited university that I'm aware of ...

                ::sighs:: Kids these days ... They think it all should fit in a pocket.

                1. Tom 13

                  Then by your own definition,

                  MS systems can attain the same uptime even if individual servers themselves need to be rebooted once a week to clear memory leakages. That they haven't is merely an accident.

                  Not that I think *nixes aren't better systems, just pointing out the idiocy of your argument.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    @Tom 13

                    Show me a corporate Windows system that has been up since 1983.

                    Or even 2003.

      3. foo_bar_baz

        Based on sales

        Sales is the most ridiculous way to compare server OS usage. How many Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS server licenses are sold each year? Oh yeah, none. How does that fit in with their wide usage as evidenced in web server surveys etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Most servers aren't supplied with an OS. MS can use sales to indicate installation, although this doesn't cover enterprise licence agreements, and Linux vendors can include support, but this doesn't include random servers which aren't required to be supported.

          1. Dr Insanity


            There seems to be a lot of discussion about servers which is missing the point of the original statement "but the personal computer industry (and later servers) is founded upon the strength of Windows and Microsoft's inclusive partner vision. "

            Yes servers came along later, but primarilty what Matt appears to be saying is that the PERSONAL computer industry is founded on windows, and truely, if it weren't for the partnership of MS-DOS and IBM in the early years, the PC wouldn't be the ubiquotous home electronic device it is today.

            From the server perspective, they might not necessarily be the most reliable, or market leaders, or anything... fact remains that MS Operating systems are a massive influence on the servers running today, whether it be that they are running Windows Server themselves, or that they contain features inspired by MS AD server arcitecture, or even if they meerly have to interface with other systems running MS... your web server can be running any OS it likes, it would be pretty useless if if didn't cater for MS Internet explorer alongside all the other browsers!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        @John - You'll notice that the figures you quoted are for publicly visible servers, an area Linux does particularly well in, and MS particularly poorly. Then by OSes supplied with servers, as most servers I've ever purchased don't come with an OS, again this is a rather poor metric.

      5. JEDIDIAH

        Joke alert...

        Sales versus usage...

        You know how the saying from Disraeli goes.

        You can twist the numbers to suit any bias you want to present. Linux is big in server rooms but it isn't necessarily the most expensive option. Commercial Unix oddly enough might not seem to be the most expensive option. Either will tend to require fewer machines for a given task or be able to support more tasks with a single machine.

        The fact that you need to multiply your NT boxes is not necessarily something to brag about.

        Serious operating systems still dominate "real work".

        Linux is just the tip of the iceberg there.

  4. LPF

    Well it only applies to those countries in which those patents are valid....

    I'm no fan of software patents, but in an industry plauged with people who do jack all but wait for someone to come up with a good idea and then copy it, without ever doing any RnD I can see the need.

    The majority of sucessfully touch screen phones I see are ones that have decided to give up and trey to get as close to a copy of the iPhone without getting sued.

    In the case of samsung, you have the tocco models which look nothing like the iPhone and were also rans an then you have the Galaxy series , which are just blant ripoffs, you see the like Ebay all the time from small chinese Manufacturers!

    Of course you will have the apple haters come in and say one tinytiny difference proves they are not alike, when you look at the TV advert its only right at the end that they mention is a samsung, They are hoping to ride on iPhone marketing and everyone knows it!!

    1. RightPaddock

      If patent lawyers had been as abundant a century ago as they are now, then Ford could have sued Chrysler for making cars with four doors, a trunk/boot and a bonnet/hood.

    2. Derek Currie Bronze badge

      Samsung is soooo screwed!

      "They are hoping to ride on iPhone marketing and everyone knows it!!"

      Well, almost everybody: Sorry naysayers, but Samsung have very little innovation to offer in the also-ran market versus Apple. Samsung have been and will continue to lose the lawsuits with Apple. Their countersuits against Apple have proven to be merely childish. IMHO Samsung are incredibly screwed and they deserve it.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Premature eulogies...

        Samsung is in no great danger from Apple.

        Unlike Apple, they are not some one trick pony.

        Samsung also has their own home market that they are very strong in.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    by the same token

    if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    disruptive technologies and change agents work best when they change broken things for the better

    the last thing we all need is a load of clueless imbeciles with levels of self-esteem that far outweigh their intellect and capabilities, charging around, spuriously rejecting everything and proposing vacuous and ill-conceived solutions to non-problems.

    1. Ru

      You've got that already

      All you have to do is to wait a little while for them to plummet into financial oblivion. Truly awful products can't succeed; they'll always lose out to less awful alternatives.

      Note: the fact that you don't personally like something does not make it truly awful.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Every respectable (and most unrespectable) consumer reporting publications agreed the iPhone for was truly awful, but it succeeded just fine.

        Anon because of the fanbois.

    2. ian 22

      In the end we are all but followers

      Have you attempted to reinvent the wheel? No? Don't delay! Invent a better wheel and the world + dog will beat a path to your door. Otherwise you are simply standing on the shoulders of giants.

      My point being that there are some things that ARE perfect and cannot be improved upon. There are also definitions of creativity that do not define minor changes to existing solutions as creative. A tablet with a larger/smaller screen than the iPad is an example.


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