How similar are OS X and Linux?

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In today's Apple roundup: What are the similarities between OS X and Linux? Plus: Why Apple bought FoundationDB, and reviews of the new 13-inch Macbook Pro with Force Touch

The similarities of Linux and OS X

Linux and OS X are the two primary desktop alternatives to Windows. But how similar are they? Is it easy for an OS X user to try Linux and vice versa? An Apple redditor asked about this and got some very interesting responses.

Cpt_bushwookie just bought the new 12-inch MacBook and wants to know if he should dump OS X for Linux:

I'm a lifelong Linux user, and I just couldn't resist the new 12" MB. How similar are OS X and Linux (take Fedora as an example) in terms of terminal commands, ease of installing software (yum in Fedora) and also the environment (gcc, and vim/emacs). Are all of these present in OS X since they are POSIX compliant? Or would I just be better of wiping OS X and installing Fedora?

More at Reddit

Fellow Apple redditors chimed in with their thoughts:

Geekofweek: "Long time Linux user who switched to the Mac full time a few years back, primarily because it was POSIX compliant with a polished UI and 3rd party software support. (I don't fall in the RMS school of thought on non-open source software). Since my job revolves around every type of OS you could imagine, the Mac was a solid practical choice.

OS X is a BSD descendant[1] , so it is slightly different in that regard. Things will be different, think using Solaris as opposed to Linux... feels familiar but different. Terminal is BASH and many of the same tools are installed by default.

VIM = yes (use it daily)
Emacs = yes
gcc = yes

Package management is a different story as they focus on the UI and Mac App store. You won't find yum or apt-get installed by default.

Macports[2] is a pretty awesome project that attempts to port GNU software to the Mac. Command line based installs and everything.

Wtf_are_my_initials: "I usually recommend homebrew over macports, otherwise I agree with you completely."

Hadees: "Also if you use homebrew you should install homebrew cask[1] so you can use homebrew to install GUI Mac applications such as Google Chrome and Adium."

Tjl73: "I use Homebrew for two reasons. First, it was getting packages updated far faster than Macports (back when I was using it). Second, it tries to use pre-installed software rather than building a separate version. Macports seems to be better now than it was at keeping up to date. I haven't used Fink in about 10 years."

Geralddarden: "Long time Linux user and currently employed as a Linux/Unix admin I can safely say while the user experience is significantly different I love having SSH, VIM, GCC, and BASH built in. I use my rMBP as my daily driver for work and feel ill in the rare event I have to use a windows machine.

Want to build a package from the source? Mac OS X can do it. POSIX compliant? Yep. Want to use something akin to YUM or apt-get? Sure, install homebrew. Native SSH (client and server), Telnet, FTP (client and server), SFTP support? Yep. All while still being able to connect to a Active Directory domain and utilize Microsoft Office.

Currently I work with couple other Unix admins and we all use Macs as out work machines without issue."

More at Reddit

Why Apple purchased FoundationDB

Apple generated a lot of headlines recently with its purchase of FoundationDB. But the acquisition left some folks wondering just what Apple was really up to by buying the company. ReadWrite has an interesting interview with NoSQL executive and Wall Street analyst Peter Goldmacher that sheds some light on Apple's decision.

Matt Asay reports for ReadWrite:

Apple has quietly—and not so quietly—been buying up big data companies over the past few years, most recently acquiring FoundationDB...The intent seems to be to purchase data infrastructure talent—and very particular talent at that.

ReadWrite: Apple bought FoundationDB, but uses quite a bit of Cassandra, MongoDB, Hbase, and Couchbase already. At least as measured by job postings, it's not using FoundationDB (the product). Why do you think they opted to purchase FoundationDB, the company?

Goldmacher: "FoundationDB offers a key value store database akin to what Apple was using with Cassandra, but it runs in memory, which means you can reduce your hardware by about a factor of 8-10x. Said another way, if the company was using 75,000 servers to support the workload as I’ve seen speculated in the press [and on the Cassandra project page], FoundationDB would enable them to get that down to 7,500 servers.

To your question why purchase FoundationDB, I think they loved the technology and figured that if they just bought the company, they’d have the talent in house to continue to innovate and enhance the product and thus their ability to continue to innovate on the product front.

More at ReadWrite

Apple's purchase of FoundationDB has alarmed some in the open source community, however.

Jason Verge reports for Data Center Knowledge:

Apple’s recent acquisition of formerly open source FoundationDB has stirred a larger debate. Even before news of the acquisition went public, the startup reportedly turned off software downloads from its website and announced to users that it would no longer provide support for the NoSQL database software, leaving those who were using it and engaged in the open source project in a tight spot. FoundationDB didn’t have many known customers, but the open source world was upset.

The acquisition is a microcosm of what’s going on in the industry at large. To some, open source and proprietary worlds are converging; to others, they are clashing. Open source is now mainstream, and many companies that have historically stuck mainly to proprietary tech have been getting involved in open source projects in meaningful ways or buying smaller players that have built businesses around open source.

More such acquisitions are probably on the horizon. How they will affect open source projects is of great concern. In each of these deals between two companies, there is a third party present: the community.

More at Data Center Knowledge

Apple's purchase of FoundationDB also spawned some passionate responses in a thread in the Programming subreddit:

Ahbraham: "Thank You, Community, for all your help on this. We are now taking the product you helped us build, selling it to Apple, taking the money and see you around!!!"

Kankyo: "You didn't think many seconds about this did you? Apple just buys small actors. If you want to look at some truly nasty company look no further than Oracle. That's just worse by orders of magnitudes."

Sigzero: "It wasn't open source as far as I can tell. So this is just business as usual for a closed source product. I am pretty sure they didn't just leave their current customers high and dry."

Bligbla: "Apple gets the blame for them selling out?"

Logicchains: "It'd be funny if the deal was actually orchestrated by Stallman, so that he'd be able to deliver a gloating "I told you so" to everyone who picked FoundationDB over a less powerful open source alternative..."

More at Reddit

Reviews of the new 13-inch Macbook Pro with Force Touch

Apple's new Force Touch trackpad has been getting lots of attention. Reviews of the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Force Touch have started to come in, and the buzz about it so far seems quite positive. Most reviewers seem enthralled with Force Touch on the 13-inch Macbook Pro.

Michael deAgonia raves about the Force Touch trackpad at Computerworld:

What makes this new trackpad different is that it has been built around four force sensors that detect how much pressure is applied against it. In addition, Force Touch is contextually sensitive and offers different features depending on the application in use.

For instance, a hard press on an icon's text in the Finder allows you to edit its name, while a hard press on the icon itself brings up a window with a preview of the picture, video, or document, information about the file, and the option to open the file in the appropriate app. Another example: In the QuickTime app, the speed at which a video clip rewinds or fast-forwards depends on how hard you press on the trackpad.

Personally, I love the feel of the trackpad; if you're accustomed to Apple trackpads -- which longtime readers know I've advocated over mice and trackballs -- you're going to like Force Touch once you grow accustomed to using it. After experiencing it on the new computer, I've found myself trying to use force presses on my own 15-in. MacBook Pro. The sensitivity of Force Touch can be adjusted in Settings, and for those who don't want it, there is an option to disable the feature -- though I'm not sure why you would want to.

More at Computerworld

Sam Oliver also has a very positive take on Force Touch on the 13-inch Macbook Pro:

In our first look at the new Force Touch trackpad, we said it was "really cool" and that the adjustable haptic feedback reminded us of something out of a science fiction novel. After using it for nearly a week, our opinion has not changed. Futurists have for decades called haptic feedback the way forward for touch interfaces, and now that it's polished and in our hands, we agree.

...the technology quite simply adds a degree of immersion into the user experience that hasn't existed before. We've long judged user interfaces based on what we see and hear; going forward, we'll judge them on what we feel.

Apple's implementation is just better than anything we've ever tried, and it clearly represents the next great leap for Apple's software experience.

More at Apple Insider

Stephen Dean at The Register UK was somewhat less impressed with Force Touch in his review of the 13-inch Macbook Pro:

To be honest, those particular force-click examples didn’t really strike me as particularly innovative or useful. But, after spending some time randomly force-clicking everything in sight, I did discover that force-clicking on Web links or search results gave me a preview of the web page on the other end of the link.

Viewing search results this way was something that I found quite useful, but it’s hardly revolutionary, so maybe it’ll take some time for Apple to come up with a more useful application for this new touch-tech.

More at The Register UK

For more on Force Touch and other features in the 13-inch Macbook Pro, see these additional reviews:

Macworld UK: "Just about the greatest upgrade any mobile computing user could ask for..."

Pocket-lint: "...the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the Apple laptop to opt for."

PC Pro: "...the 13in MacBook Pro with Retina display is as good as it gets."

Gizmag: "...this rMBP is still the workhorse – and possibly the best all-around notebook you can buy today."

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news about Apple.

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