For perfectly valid reasons, I need to install Linux on my main computer. As this is a bog-standard Intel PC, of course the kernel on the latest “CentOS” distribution is too old to work. Exotica like Intel’s X99 chipset and Intel’s 5930k processor are apparently too weird for CentOS, because, software, I guess? There’s doubtless some stupid song and dance you can do to put an updated kernel on the installer media, but really, at the end of the day, what you get is a RedHat based distribution. If I’m going to wrassle with Unix on my workstation, it’s going to be monkeying around with kexts to get OS X running, instead. I wasn’t looking forward to a RedHat based distribution, anyway, because of the farcically bad nature of dependency management, but it would’ve been nice to have my home machine use the same environment as the work cluster. I understand why there are Linux distributions, but man alive, how I hate the Linux ecosystem. If I could be sure that nVidia’s CUDA compiler worked on FreeBSD, I might take that route, but at the end of the day, I find working with free Unixes to be really, really painful. I am 100% on board with the ethics of free software, but I am increasingly of the opinion that the process as it currently exists is not capable of building software that fulfills my expectations of usability and quality. Too, truly original ideas never survive committee groupthink, and “committee groupthink” is the way that I see free software development methodology. The crazy loner school (Chuck Moore!) produces results that are at the very least interesting. More clones of bad enterprise software from the ’80s? No, thanks. Sigh.
For less valid reasons, mostly having to do with fits of apostate rage over the utter failure that is Siri, I decided to live on Google’s service platform for a month. I signed up for Google Apps, created a Google account, pointed my domain’s MX records at Google, downloaded the iOS apps that provide some of the Android “experience” on my iPhone. After three weeks, I cut the experiment short. I am aware that that’s not long enough to provide Google with sufficient information about my habits to truly envelop me in useful privacy invading creepiness, but there was nothing aside from slightly better POI data in the map client that was actually better than my current SmugMug/Fastmail/iCloud melange. GMail in particular is much worse as a mail service qua mail service if you don’t use the web client. And I’m not going to use the web client – I detest web applications, and try not to use them if possible. I suppose if I were to run the experiment with all restrictions lifted, and buy an Android phone, I might have stayed with it long enough to reap some of the putative benefits, but I’m not trading my 6+, software warts and all.
Worse than being slow, worse than being bad at speech recoginition, Siri betrays its own affordances, and is thus not merely bad, but actively evil.