Thoughts on Software Developers

One reason why I like the Mac platform as a whole is that Mac developers communicate properly.


In the open source world, if you have a software problem, you go into the land of mailing lists or forums and try to ask someone who happens to know anything for an answer. 50% of the time the project has gone dead and no one's around to reply to your messages. The other 25% of the time the developers are "too busy" to help with support, or they are just a bit on the snobby side. You also end up with tutorials and FAQs that are completely overtechnical or underwritten and hard to follow. You end up with nothing but trying to figure out the problem yourself, which, can happen, but not always. Not to downplay OSS, I use it daily and love it, but "support" can be an issue.


Most "proprietary" or freeware !OSS software are explained insanely elaborately. For example, video converters (mostly shareware) are all ducked up with 5 paragraph long explanations of functions in some humongous Windows help file. It takes you 10 minutes to find the help article you were looking for, and then you have to spend 10 minutes readnig the whole thing only to find out "oh, it's in the TOOLS menu" or something of the like. Overdocumented.


On the Mac however, it's more or less shareware-esque companies. They understand Apple KISS philosophy and explain things as straightforwardly as possible. Help files are clear, and if you DO ever have a problem you can email them and they'll send you a friendly reply. If you bought the software, you get what you pay for.

I just noticed this after a few issues with GNU screen. I wanted some information on how to use it and the GNU Homepage about it is laughable. It gives this weird technical explanation for it and then the "more information" link leads you to some random GNU-Land page that was clearly written by an Open Source evangelist. Your best hope is to find a random blogger who wrote a GNU screen primer about it, which I did.

I've used Windows and have been baffled by some freebies out there. Either there's absolutely NO documentation or way too much, and on the Mac I've had few complaints.