It’s all about Freedom

I am quite a GNU/Linux fan. I work developing apps for GNU systems, I collaborate with the development of some GNU projects, I mainly use free software applications… but last year I bought a Mac Book Pro. My first impression of Mac OS X was great. It’s really a great operating system, it has a nice terminal, great support for GNU tools (gcc, gdb, autotools…), and multiple free software applications available. But, there’s always a but… the world of free software is full of nice apps, and not all those apps (or an equivalent replacement) are available for Mac OS X.

I already have a dual boot in my Mac Book Pro, with Kubuntu GNU/Linux available in a 15GB partition. When I installed it, it was basically because most of the programs I was using for development were not available in Mac OS X (valgrind, electric fence, meld, those are essential!). Then, I realized that I was going back again to the years when I had a dual boot with Windows XP and GNU/Linux. In those years, I needed Windows XP to play games, and for nothing else. So here I am again in th same situation. But… wait… the question is… why do I need Mac OS X now?

This is the list of programs I normally use which are available in both Mac OS X and GNU/Linux:

  • GNU emacs
  • GNU compiler collection (gcc)
  • GNU debugger (gdb)
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • VLC
  • GNU image manipulation program (gimp)
  • CVS, Subversion & GNU Bazaar
  • OpenVPN
  • glib

I also use other programs in Mac OS X which have a perfect replacement in GNU/Linux:

  • iTunes -> Amarok, which is even better, free software, and doesn’t support DRM [1]
  • NetNewsWire (free as in free beer)-> Akregator. An RSS reader, free as in freedom.
  • Colloquy -> Konversation. An IRC client.
  • Adium -> Kopete. An instant messenger.
  • Disk Utility -> K3b. Probably one of the bests CD burning programs.

This is the list of programs I use and which are only available in GNU/Linux:

  • Meld
  • Valgrind (there seems to be a non-complete port of Valgrind for Mac OS X. Didn’t check it) [2]
  • Electric fence
  • Yakuake

This is the list of programs I use and which are only available in Mac OS X:

  • <yes, it’s empty>

This change back to GNU/Linux could be understood as just based on my needs at a given moment, which in part is true, but I also want to use a Free Software operating system, and Free Software programs. At the end, it’s all about Freedom [3].


Posted on September 29, 2008, in Operating Systems and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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