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Comment on "Simple Truths About Cross-Platform Apps"
by Jacob Rus — Mar 22
I think that may be a good general principle: the only way to make a really good application is to use it yourself, and most of the people who make free/open source software are hackers, not artists, or office workers, or photographers, or movie producers, or DJs, or motivational speakers, or whatever.

So what ends up happening is that the professionals in those fields go out and buy the best app they can, because it improves their productivity, and they can easily earn back the price. Those pros really push the apps to their limits, and they talk back to the software companies about what they like and don't.

On the other hand, the things software hackers really push to their limits are things like web browsers (which everyone needs, and hackers, having more internet time than most, and requiring quick information lookups online, etc. really use a lot), text editors (for obvious reasons), web servers, core development frameworks, etc. The only GUI tool most hackers really need is a web browser. For most other things, emacs/mutt/remind/whatever in a terminal is sufficient.

So what happens is that the F/OSS hackers really put a lot of energy and effort into those hacker-centric tools, or at least the sheer quantity of interested hackers overwhelms, and those types of open-source apps get improved quickly. That's why Linux, Python, Emacs, and Firefox are all really great.

On the other hand, for photo/movie/sound editing software, presentation software, apps which integrate with all the super-expensive tools like high-definition RAW-taking cameras, high-end audio gear, etc., and are used to push non-hacker limits, the corporate software just blows away the offerings from free software developers. This makes sense: the F/OSS guys are doing it as a weekend project, while Adobe and Apple and other corporate developers are making lots of cash selling software, and have large teams of well-paid engineers. The side project guys, many of whom are using linux, don't have the time or energy to make Mac native apps, or even to really do adequate Mac testing, oftentimes. So when their software has buggy, nonstandard behavior, it's not really a surprise.
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