Fear and Loathing in Cupertino

September 2006

"We were somewhere outside Silicon Valley, when the marketing message began to take hold. I remember saying something like I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive... And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge lawyers in black turtlenecks, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Cupertino."

I get invited to give lots of talks at conferences; it's part of the job really. I tend to turn down most of them: unless it's something that has a clear connection with Samba, or it's a place I've never been before, or it's somewhere I have to go anyway. This is why I almost always speak at Linux World London in order to get a free trip to see the Sheffield relatives.

So I wasn't too surprised when I got an invitation to speak at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The timing was a little inconvenient. Linux World, which was also in San Francisco, was scheduled for the week after. Due to being the host of the Golden Penguin Bowl quiz show, this is the most stressful part of my year. Creating the costumes and questions is hard. But because it was Apple, and I was asked by an engineering manager there I get on with very well, I decided to do it.

Historically I've had a "love-hate" relationship with Apple. They love themselves and I hate them. But since they've adopted FreeBSD, a Free Software operating system, for the basis of MacOS X and also started to ship Samba as part of their basic software packages, I've had a lot more time for them. I even try and make sure they get notified of any Samba security problems ahead of time so they don't get blindsided if we have to release a security patch.

I negotiated with the manager which one of my current technical talks I was going to give, and he seemed happy enough with the content; even though it was the same talk I was planning to use at Linux World the next week. I was pretty sure I could get away with it as the attendees at an Apple show wouldn't be seen dead slumming it at a Linux conference. All seemed well until I got a strange email message asking me to turn up for a "rehearsal" meeting in Cupertino the next week.

Rehearsals in the technical trade show talk circuit are unheard of. Normally you just turn up on the day, give your talk and then hang out eating the free food in the speaker room. I don't even get a rehearsal slot for the Golden Penguin show, which is another reason it's so damn stressful. I don't get a chance to try out the scripted jokes before I have to do them in front of a live audience (don't tell me you thought I improvised that stuff). Still I try to be cooperative so I agreed to spend the afternoon at the Apple Campus in Cupertino.

I showed up on a beautiful sunny California afternoon, with my laptop in hand. I was feeling quite pleased with myself as I'd just got the new SuSE 3-D OpenGL Linux desktop working on it, and was looking forward to showing off to the Apple engineers with the spinning cube, wobbly windows, built-in zoom function and other pointless eye-candy effects. It's a nice change to have the most attractive looking desktop on a Linux box; previously us poor Linux users used to look hungrily at the feast of Apple desktop effects on display on a Mac.

After introductions I went along to the presentation room where I met the other Apple engineers speaking in the "Network Improvements" section of the show. It was an impressive line up with Brent Callaghan (one of the designers of NFSv3) and Guy Harris, who is also one of the main coders working on the Ethereal network sniffer. They both liked the flashy new OpenGL desktop. But there was a guy sat at the back of the room I wasn't immediately introduced to. He didn't say much, and I soon forgot he was there. Until the presentations began.

I was scheduled last, so got to watch Brent, Guy, and others do their stuff. But they didn't get five minutes into their slides before the chap at the back chimed up. He criticized everything. No detail was too small for him to bring up and request changes, from the font sizes to the exact meanings of the words they'd used on their slides. He was from Apple Marketing. I waited my turn, then stood up, connected my Linux Laptop to the projector and gave my usual spiel. There was a short pause as I awaited the response.

"Very nice, very nice" he cooed. "You've obviously done this before. What does everyone else think ?".

"Well we like it, that's why we asked him", said Brent. Thank you, thank you, I worded silently to myself.

"But you'll have to change all your slides, and run the presentation on a Mac, of course." finished Mr. Marketing.

"I don't think so", I replied.

The temperature in the room dropped several degrees. He fixed me with a glassy-eyed stare. Apple and I were at war.

"Then you won't be allowed to present at our show".

I suddenly realized. He thought they were doing me a favor by allowing me to present there. "So this is what they mean by 'faith-based' marketing", I thought. And with that, the meeting was over.

I should explain that I commonly add bits of movie stills or posters, or photos I've found (and sometimes modified) on the Internet to my slides in order to liven them up for the audience. Technical talks are deadly dull without something to amuse. In my opinion this falls under the "fair use" of Copyright law. Apple had other ideas about that, but then again this is the company that promotes the widest use of "Digital Restrictions Management" (DRM) in the world. Apple revenues depend on copyright lock-down and removal of fair use rights from customers. What else is their iTunes Internet music store but a perfect example of this.

One of the downsides of being invited to give lots of talks at conferences, is that if you're not careful you might start thinking of yourself as someone who has the right to present at conferences, someone who is important. Or as my wife likes to tell me, "you arrogant pig!". I know too many Open Source project leaders who are very smart, but have horrible personality problems (arrogance being one of the most obvious faults). People in this line of work should remember that we're really plumbers, whose work is appreciated best when it's not noticed at all. Because it just works. No one thinks about inviting a plumber until the toilet overflows.

So in that spirit I called the engineering manager at Apple and compromised. "I'll remove the material your marketing people are worried about from the slides, and I'll replace it with something I'll create instead". Sometimes it's handy to be able to use the Gimp (the Gnu Image Manipulation Program). But I didn't want to compromise on running the presentation on my Linux laptop. "It's like this", I explained, "Novell paid for the work I'm talking about, they sponsored all of it by paying me. It doesn't seem right for Apple, who are just using this work for free after all, to require I advertise an Apple product when I present it. Plus, my desktop is much cooler".

"No problem", he said. "I'm sure we'll get this sorted out before the conference. I'll talk to marketing".

It wasn't enough. I ended up going on a customer trip to St. Louis instead, to fix some problems with the Samba integration on the desktop. Good honest plumbing work, the kind I get paid for.

It wasn't until later, giving the same presentation at Linux World that I'd missed giving at the Apple show, that I realized that Apple were scared of the SuSE Linux desktop I was using. They didn't want customers to see anything other than Apple-badged everything at their show. Especially if it was something better. They were scared of their customers even seeing a choice.

There are other companies who behave like this, and thinking about it I understood. Apple is a record company. Just look at iTunes and the iPod and it becomes obvious. They'll be much happier when they can get rid of all this troublesome computer stuff and get down to the core business of record companies, which is suing their own customers.

Now if you'll excuse me I've got to empty the trunk of my car. I never did get to the ether.

Jeremy Allison


Fair and Unfair

DISCLAIMER: I should state here that I own a mac and enjoy using it along with being a Linux user although not for near as long.

Your experience with Apple is worth the article. They were in the wrong and it shows through the situation and how it was handled, but your comments regarding the DRM are unmerited. They don't need DRM and Steve Jobs has stated so in his 'Thoughts on Music' and they have since worked out a deal to deliver non-DRM music with EMI. This is proof that they are at least trying this model. To state that they are a record company waiting to sue their customers is also unfair and appears to be an emotional outlash. I am in no way condoning what happened in that experience, I'm just saying the unprovoked remarks don't seem to be needed and would probably make the article better if removed. It just seems childish.

Not unprovoked, just funny.

They're a joke - lighten up - laugh ! :-) :-). I needed something funny to end the article with, and that seemed a good enough joke to make.


I like jokes

I agree with the comment; it is childish. I like a joke as well, but it needs to be funny. Propagating your "love / hate" crap about Apple in your otherwise good article is not "funny" or a "joke".

Also, your sentence, " Apple is a record company." I am not sure I follow you there or is that a joke too?

i like jokes too

whole article is great!
maybe you're mac user so it's not funny to you :)

I agree

I agree, great work as always Jeremy; I found the article and jokes light-hearted and fun.

We have to remember, there are two types of Apple customers:
1. Apple Product Users (Mac, iPod, iEverythingElse)
2. Steve Jobs worshipers

Apple record company

If I am not mistaken, that was a reference to the spat between Apple "the computer company" and Apple "the Record company." People who do not know about Apple "the record company," think Beatles - or in other words Paul Mc Cartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

See http://news.com.com/Apple+vs.+Apple+Perfect+harmony/2100-1027_3-5378401....

The Beatles' business operation sued Jobs' company a year ago, more than a decade after the computer company paid more than $26 million to settle the first trademark lawsuit with Beatles representatives. That settlement included an agreement that laid out the respective ways each company could use the Apple name. The release of iTunes had violated that agreement, Apple Corps contends.

The DRM criticisms are totally reasonable.

The comments regarding DRM are totally with merit. Jobs' letter, and the selling of non-DRM music are just really, really good marketing ploys. If Jobs wanted to get rid of DRM, then they wouldn't sell DRM-free music at a higher price. Period. They have very good bargaining power with the labels, see fixed price points for music. This is an experiment that was designed to fail, so the music industry could say, see, people don't care about buying DRM-free music, when in fact all they're showing is that most people are using iTunes and an iPod, and so it's not worth it to them to spend 30% more per song, when it will work fine with what they have (just not with anything else). Apple is very, very pro DRM (I heard that Jobs has "some" involvement with Disney too, and that Disney is just a little bit pro DRM, but that's just an aside), and until they do something to show us otherwise, this is a comment with great merit.

If it was an experiment

If it was an experiment designed to fail, then they would not have upped the quality level from 128 to 256. They would have just flat out made DRM tracks @ 128 for $0.99 and nonDRM tracks @ 128 for $1.29. I'm sure that EMI probably was unwilling to go non-DRM without uping to price.

It doesn't make logical sense that they are trying to make it fail when they are adding value by increasing the audio fidelity. If they really wanted it to fail, it would be logical to just make the customer choose to pay the extra $0.30 based ENTIRELY on their desire for non-DRM'd tracks. The majority of people would then only buy the DRM'd tracks because they would not see any added value in paying the extra $0.30 because most people don't see the downside of DRM. The only people paying the extra $0.30 would be people with non-iPod mp3 players that support AAC files, and people that care about DRM-vs-non-DRM. Please take the time to think about your arguments before just spouting anti-Apple-anything nonesense.

And that Jobs-Disney thing is laughable. Jobs has "some" involvement at a huge corporation that was pro-DRM before he was ever a part of it. That sure sounds to me like Jobs is spear-heading a movement at Disney to make everything DRM-encumbered!! Give me a break. I'm not saying that Jobs isn't there telling people that DRM is good and they should run with it, but you need better evidence than that.

I got the joke

I love my mac, and I still thought it was funny. I didn't get that he's seriously suggesting either a) Apple is a record company or b) record companies are in the business of suing their customers. But if you were an alien visiting earth for the first time right now, you might be forgiven for getting that impression. Hence, comic tension. Funny.

Fear and Loathing

Apple may have been out of line with their requests, but...

Slamming them on
1) being afraid of Linux (I can well understand that a company would want their products displayed at one of their conferences)
2) DRM, and
3) being a record company looking to sue their customers

is such a childish outburst -- that it makes me wonder why YOU are so upset at not being asked to present.

You said you were busy and implied that presenting at the Apple event didn't really matter to you one way or the other. So what's the real problem? Did they hurt your feelings? Are you disappointd that you can't show off your fancy box to bunch of Apple fans?

There's something that's obviously bugging you that you haven't resolved in your own thoughts and feelings. That's where the REAL PROBLEM is -- not with Apple.

Resolve the issue within yourself (and this is true of all issues) first -- then you can objectively and efficiently help to resolve the real issues. Your article only makes you look like a little whiny-baby. Maybe it's time to grow up! Be responsible not only for your actions -- but also for your thoughts and feelings. If you can'y manage your attitude -- then your attitude (thoughts, feelings, perspectives) will manage you>

Good luck.

Fear and Loathing

Is that you, Steve?

So it really is true.....

Apple fans are the most thin-skinned of bigots :-).

Maybe we should make bashing Apple a hate-crime :-) :-).


It was a fairly well

It was a fairly well reasoned comment, but hey, let's just call him a bigot in response!

Linux users never fail to disappoint.



Yeah, how DARE you criticize Apple in any way! You have no right to make any criticisms, they use your work to help make them money and then expect you to be their bitch, and you refuse??!!! You will be their bitch, and you will like it!

How was that above comment even remotely "well-reasoned"??? He basically just personally attacks Jeremy and calls him "childish" and "a little whiny baby"!! Oh wait... I see, you're joking. Right? Please tell me you're joking.

By the way, I really enjoyed this story -- it was funny and eye-opening. I guess I just assumed Apple was as laid back and hip as they make themselves seem in their ads. Who would've thought that they're just like any other corporation?

Not Really

It wasn't, IMO, a particularly well-reasoned comment. well-spelt, and good grammar, maybe - but the guy basically threw a hissy fit. He accuses the author of having a 'childish outburst', which it wasn't, and then continues to insult and deride for the remainder of the comment.

The article itself was a well written, anecdote/opinion-piece - as for that commenter, perhaps someone should remind him about that glass house he's in.

Sheesh, what is with the

Sheesh, what is with the Apple fanaticism? The author agrees to give a talk, goes out of his way to attend this "rehearsal" and even agrees to make edits to his presentation to remove a bunch of images (thus the relevance of the DRM stuff).

Then the marketing weasels want him to remake the whole presentation on a Mac? If you've never given a talk, then you should know that this is not SOP. Usually you just send your outline or slides ahead of time, show up and do the talk. Now maybe if they had offered to comp him a Macbook ...

Anyway I thought it was a very interesting vignette, thanks for the piece. I don't agree that Apple fears the Linux desktop, which is cludgey and a PITA to get going (I'm a Linux admin but typing his particular comment on my pbook), but they definitely don't have their priorities in order.

Why SuSE?

"of the SuSE Linux desktop I was using"


"Jeremy Allison Has Resigned from Novell to Protest MS Patent Deal"

May I ask why you still use SuSE? Granted, I enjoyed using SuSE for many years, but with the MS/Novell news, I won't use SuSE again.

You do know I wrote this piece...

Whilst I was still working for Novell, right ?

This is from last year. I don't use SuSE now, I've switched completely to Ubuntu.
(Actually I still have one SuSE VM around in order to fix bugs for them in Samba,
but that's because I hate leaving people in the lurch).


Another POV

I definitely see your point about being annoyed about having asked to compromise your choice of OS to do what you need to do. I'm asked to do this a lot and I feel your displeasure in the idea. I myself use Ubuntu primarily for my personal use, Mac for making music/creative stuff and (fixing) Windows for work.

Yes, I know mac fanatics are a bit sensitive when it comes to criticism but so are linux fans. Windows fans I don't care for. I kid. They're sensitive too. My point is, they are all just tools. Big corporations do what they need to, in order to maintain an image in front of their customer base. Microsoft only had a macbook at one of their conferences to demonstrate that anyone can install Vista on it. MS would not show off their slide shows with keynote on a macbook or openoffice presentation or any other app on a linux box. The plain and most obvious fact is that it would just make them look bad in front of their customer base. Hence, I also see why Apple's marketing people would want you to use their product.

Bottomline is that if you were asked to compromise, there should have been a price to pay. I know this is a "whorish" way of looking at things, but consider the fact that they are "freeloading" off of your work, that wouldn't be a bad proposition.

I can't say enough good things about your work. As a systems engineer and a Linux/Mac/Windows user, I thank you for all your work on Samba. You've made my life easier. Keep up the good work.

Losing your way

After reading this article, I'm worried that the importance of promoting Samba, was lost due to the importance of showing your employer's desktop OS.

Do you really think it makes sense to use SuSE, Windows, or RedHat in an OS X Developers Conference??

Developers pay to go to the conference, and if I go to a Samba session in an Apple conference, I will be interested to learn about using Samba with OS X, not SuSe Linux, or Windows, or RedHat.

Novell paid for the development.

Apple was the freeloader here. The talk was about new features in Samba
that were independent of the underlying OS. It didn't matter if you were
running OS/X or Linux.

What mattered was the machine the presentation was running on. I
always present with my own machine. Otherwise I'd end up forever
presenting on Windows boxes (that's the standard presentation box
for most conferences). I always make a point to use Linux wherever
I present - I'm showing people *freedom* - and that's just as important
as the presentation itself.


Looks like somebody is

Looks like somebody is trying to fluff their blog.

Heil, mein Führer!

It's not a blog.

I don't *do* blogs (Wikki wankers as my mate Andrew Orlowski
from the Register calls 'em). It's a *column* and don't you
forget it :-).

You used to have to pay to read it, see :-) :-).


Wankers & Co. Ltd.

Jeremy, please keep showing 'em who is at the helm. Great article on a trifle - revealing, rewarding, exhilarating!

Thx 4 yr stance in favour of Free Software, and lots of good luck. El Reg be it, but you!

Keep fighting the good fight

You sir, are a prince among men. Well done for taking a stand.

Moral of the story; never trust a technology company that employs four marketdroids for every engineer.


The people who attend WWDC are not interested in your personality card and you new fancey car and sun glasses you got for free. People pay money to see/hear/smell and taste everything mac.

Personally I like Linux, however I would always pick mac over anything else regardless of pointless GUI animations and a burning effect when i close a window.

Hold that thought

"The people who attend WWDC are not interested in your personality card and you new fancey car and sun glasses you got for free"

If this really is the case, why does your actual stereotypical Apple supporter always seem to be flashing a cavalcade of such corpulent items at every opportunity.

Oh Dang!


Too many people are quick to point out the flaws of others and slow to realize that they can be (or are) many times worse.

Also posted above, someone said that they would always choose a mac over anything else. That only shows a level of stubborness that does not have a hint of reason to it. If someone were to make a better product, would you continue to choose Apple simply because they are Apple? If you would, then you have to understand that you have a bias and cannot present yourself as if you were a person making a completely objective argument.

"Also posted above, someone

"Also posted above, someone said that they would always choose a mac over anything else. That only shows a level of stubborness that does not have a hint of reason to it. If someone were to make a better product, would you continue to choose Apple simply because they are Apple? If you would, then you have to understand that you have a bias and cannot present yourself as if you were a person making a completely objective argument."


Did you read Jeremy's comments? Sounds like everyone is stubborn around here, including Jeremy.

"Otherwise I'd end up forever presenting on Windows boxes (that's the standard presentation box
for most conferences). I always make a point to use Linux wherever I present - I'm showing people *freedom* - and that's just as important as the presentation itself."


I can understand your wanting to "show people freedom" at a generic developers' conference where there is cross-platform development being discussed. But this was an OSX centric developers' conference. They're not at the conference to learn about the freedom of Linux/Unix. The point of the conference is development on a Mac.

Where do you get off calling them freeloaders? By that state of mind then anyone other than Novell is a freeloader for using Samba. So you should probably remove Ubuntu from your computers if that is really the way you feel about it. In case you hadn't noticed, Samba is released under the GNU GPL, which means it is free for anyone to use, distribute, or modify.

In short, you look like a whiny little brat that didn't want to play by the rules. Instead you wanted to flaunt your shiny new toy in front of everyone at WWDC, in a mine is better than your's pissing contest attitude.

Disclaimer: I use Windows and Linux. I don't even own a Mac, and I must say you are only perpetuating the arrogance that seems so prevalent in the Linux community.

-Colin Huckstep

"Where do you get off

"Where do you get off calling them freeloaders? By that state of mind then anyone other than Novell is a freeloader for using Samba. So you should probably remove Ubuntu from your computers if that is really the way you feel about it. In case you hadn't noticed, Samba is released under the GNU GPL, which means it is free for anyone to use, distribute, or modify."

You're missing the point. Apple isn't selling Free Software. They're selling proprietary software. They're using his work to indirectly make more money for themselves. And, from what I can tell, they're not passing any of this money along to help continue the development of Samba.

Ubuntu, on the other hand (since you brought it up), is Free Software. They are not freeloaders because they aren't using Samba to make any money.


Was true then, not now.

Actually they do help now - they employ James Peach who is on the Samba Team
to do lots of coding. James is a great guy (and a great coder). So the freeloaders
comment no longer really applies (but it did at the time I went there for the
presentation :-).


What Apple and Microsoft have in common

I love the Mac OS as much as I hate Windows (perhaps it's because I have fun with the former and fixing the latter, over and over, is my job). But I use Linux always on my own machine. OSX and Windows -- as different as they seem -- are alike underneath: They're both locked-down, top-to-bottom proprietary. Apple disguises the fact with skill (love their TV commercials), but Apple fans should avoid too much self-congratulation. They're just as much slaves to a closed system as Windows drones are to theirs. Linux is wild and crazy sometimes, but at least it's open, and flexible, and if I have to dump an OS to keep my self-respect (SCO and Novell, are you listening?), then I can do so with very little muss or fuss. And have.

Lets be honest....

Let's be honest. Did the author think that it would be good for Apple to have you running a presentation on stage with Linux software? Apple doesn't have anything against linux. In fact they seek out Linux developers for employment. Apple's marketing department has hundreds of submissions for WWDC every year submitted, why when the conference is all about Apple would you think that they wouldn't use their own computers? When was the last time you went to a Sony keynote that was on Dell?

People who pay good money to attend WWDC would questions Apple's commitment to OS X if they noticed that a presenter was using Linux. People assume that all the sessions at WWDC are "by Apple" and it would make pretty good sense that they would want you to use their OS. Apple would have provided you a laptop had you been willing to convert your slide materials.

How many times have we all laughed because Microsoft was running Apache instead of ISS, or Microsoft using Apple's notebooks for Vista, stuff like this happens all the time, and it makes people wonder.

You seriously can't expect Apple's marketing department to not care about this.

And no offense but Apple is doing you a huge favor by letting you present at WWDC (yes you are doing them one too), but after presenting at WWDC you will get all kinds of offers and lots of job security coming you way. Trust me, many WWDC presenters went on to get hooked up with great projects because of the exposure.

How would YOU FEEL IF someone did a presentation for a LINUX conference showing off Linux 3D but they used Mac OS X on stage?

I wouldn't care.

Many people presenting at Linux conferences use Windows.
Big deal. *No one cares* about this stuff.

Only Apple. They're "different" (*) you see.....

As for the big favor, did you *read* the article ? One thing
I don't need is more offers to present stuff. Sounds arrogant
I know and I apologize for that but it's true :-).

Hey - I'm offended you don't consider helping to run Samba
"getting hooked up with a great project" ! :-).


(*) Or should that be "special" ? Yeah, that fits better.


So you think the developer crowd wouldn't be intelligent enough to understand that Mr. Allison wasn't an Apple employee but rather represent a third party non-Apple technology called Samba, thus it should be alright he wasn't "enlightened yet" to be choosing OS X for his desktop? I bet his planned presentation even mentioned the name of his current employer. And wouldn't the crowd even understand that it was "normal" for him to use his employers software (they would think he just had to suffer with it because of his job, you know)?

I would agree with Jeremy's conclusion: Apple was afraid of the SuSE desktop, afraid that the crowd would see any alternative, not being an Apple product. After all, the OS X customers have always been thinking to have the superior desktop (effects), so this could have spoiled that illusion.


"How would YOU FEEL IF someone did a presentation for a LINUX conference showing off Linux 3D but they used Mac OS X on stage?"

This happens all the time. Many presenters at Linux conferences use Windows and OS X to do their presentations, except the Linux community is mature enough and more importantly, SECURE enough that no one really cares. I find it very telling that Apple and its army of zealots are more concerned about appearances than content. Jeremy was there to do a presentation about Samba, not OS X.

"...I find it very telling

"...I find it very telling that Apple and its army of zealots..."

Actually, I find this much more telling. There's a perverse cycle that goes on with anything relating to the Mac:

  • Someone posts writing that's critical of Apple in some respect. For the purposes of the cycle, it doesn't matter whether the criticism is on-target or not.
  • Somebody pops up to defend Apple. Again, for the purposes of the cycle, it doesn't matter whether the defense is on target or not, either. What we've seen in these two steps could happen with any OS and to some degree with any technology that people are capable of feeling partisan about.
  • Then, the part that's almost unique to this particular scenario: other people pop up to accuse, in effect, all Mac users, Apple employees, iPod owners, people who can find Cupertino on a map, etc., of being mindless zealots. (Before anyone says "army" isn't "all," yes, I know, but it implies "very large number," which is hardly identical to "a few guys on blogs.")

I suppose I shouldn't expect that non-Mac users would actually read Apple blogs, web sites, etc., to understand just how deeply they are speaking out of their ass when they imply (or state openly) that Mac users never have anything bad to say about the platform or the company, but the rote Apple-bashing is tiresome. And while you'll obviously find some Mac users who'll defend this kind of nonsense, you won't find many.

Yes, we got it: Apple is a company that makes marketing-driven decisions, some of which are boneheaded. For the vast majority of us, this is not shattering news. It's not news at all. With all due respect to the people babbling about "marketdroids," anyone who thinks boneheaded decisions are unique to, or even unusually concentrated in, marketing departments has never worked in a large company.

(N.B.: the crabbiness of this post is not, by and large, directed at Mr. Allison. I find his assertion that "Apple revenues depend on copyright lock-down" to be somewhat dubious; the iTunes Store accounts for little of Apple's net sales and, unlike their extremely profitable hardware, the margins are razor thin.)

In reply to that:

Consider that maybe he was referring to Apple's profit margin if you were not forced (by law) to run OSX on hardware considerably marked up and protected by extremely stringent agreements.

You know what I mean? You can't even LOOK at a mac without signing some small part of your legal rights away. Maybe I over exaggerate, but still. Apple designs their PCs to limit the user's depth of knowledge and control over their machine and OS. I know this because I am now attempting to install Ubuntu to an external HDD and boot from it without modifying the host machine, an easy -- indeed a 1hr 30 min task from start to figured on the University's stock Gateways-- and I am now going on 3 days without solution on the Mac. It seems to be fighting me every step of the way, from the vague and unresponsive bootup (and keys to modify such) to the lack of ability to properly hand off control to anything non-apple (GRUB).

It seems to me that Apple has gone out of its way to ensure that the USER has the least amount of control over their system, nevermind that they have paid --overly much to be sure -- for said hardware and software.

It's no longer the Operator and the Machine with Apple. We have been reduced to drivers; ne, 'guidance system' for our machine, at the whim of the entity which created it.


"How would YOU FEEL IF

"How would YOU FEEL IF someone did a presentation for a LINUX conference showing off Linux 3D but they used Mac OS X on stage?"

If the content of the presentation is showing off Linux 3D why should I care what machine is running the presentation?

He already addressed that...

At Linux conferences people show stuff on Windows, Mac, whatever. HINT: freedom -> people show off stuff with whatever they want, this is a good thing. This cannot be said of Apple in this little story.

WTF? It's a technical conference, not CHURCH

One would expect to see your kind of outrageously zealous attitude among the fundamentalist church-goers. It's like someone quoted the Book of Mormon to Catholics or something.

I guess Apple fan-boys are just as insane. It's a slide-show. Get over it.

I can tell you right now that the only reason the Apple marketroid was upset was because Allison's UI outshines OS/X. If he was using some other clunky old POS UI, they probably wouldn't have minded so much.

Thanks for comfirming that a big part of the Apple's appeal to its cult members is more about branding than about a decent value proposition. But we already knew that, didn't we?

O WHat a load

of absolute shite, go to the hardware store, buy some timber, build a bridge

and get over it!

You're a dick...

Haha, always funny to see Linux acolytes fall all over themselves with self righteous diatribes. Simple fact of the matter is that Apple care about the quality of the presentations given at WWDC, going so far as to change or eliminate ones put together by their own engineers, much less some hack off the street. It's obvious your presentation didn't meet those standards, whether good or bad. And to insinuate they were "afraid" of your desktop for some reason is the height of arrogance. It couldn't possibly be because you suck, it has to be because they're afraid.

P.S. Samba sucks.

Self-righteous diatribes??

You just called him "a dick", said "you suck" and "Samba sucks" and you have the arrogance to say that he is falling over himself with a self-righteous diatribe??

You Apple users are seriously nuts!! Why are you so passionate about a corporation that makes you pay for software that is crippled by proprietary technology and DRM??

Someone has dick on the brain...

Seriously. I didn't call him a dick, so I don't know where you got that. Perhaps there's something you should take care of before posting online.

P.S. There's this thing called sarcasm, perhaps you should look it up. While you're at it, the definition of irony might be helpful as well.

It's in the subject line!

Care to look at the subject line of your post? Or perhaps your claim that you didn't say this was also sarcasm?

rotten apples

This is such a shame.

Let me get one thing straight. Linux Drives me flipping mad! I can't stand installing it and it don't give me that good simple get-on-with-it feeling that os x on my imac 20 does.

Yep - I am an apple fanboy and evangelist too. Don't get me wrong. Linux rocks and I think that having apple server's, for me at least, would be just as dumb as having a linux desktop.

All of these things are my opinion, of course.

Point of this is that I'm really ashamed that some people are misrepresenting here. Please don't think all apple fanboys are bigot's and dicks. I agree with a lot of this article - I think saying they were afraid is a little presumptious (linux users seem to think that overbearing, useless eye candy means good design, when clearly less is more) - however, clearly they were acting like dicks.

As someone else said, to expect someone to come give a talk, leave them sitting around, then just jerk them around is not good at all. I think attacking this guys because he's reporting this is incredible. He has a right to let us know that marketing people are dicks. Yes as bill hicks said, "if you're in marketing, do us all a favour: Kill yourself, no really - go and kill yourself" ;-)

Fella's you love your wibbly woblly ott linux 3d desktop, we love our shinye minimalist macs. If we're going to argue, please, let's not argue over the marketing dicks.

And apple fanboys, if you're gonna pick fights, don't pick fights because apple treated them like shit. We need to stamp this kind of crap out, or apple will end up like microsoft before too long.

Besides, there are many, many reasons to have fights about our os`s (if that kind of thing floats your boat, I consider it a waste of time).

So - I'm sad to hear that (sort of) people (marketing) in a company I love gave you a rough ride. Though it probably was because you're operating system had so many useles, tacky cheap effects which don't really look elegant, serve no functional purpose, which you would know doubt whack off about like a 15 year old over a picture of Paris.. Tbh, they probably did you a favour.*

* - yes, let's get back to a proper fight!

Seriously - they were dicks, and personal attacks on you, and your naff opertaing system are just childish.. oops. :)

The man in the mirror

"Or as my wife likes to tell me, 'you arrogant pig!'"
Your wife is trying to get a message across. You should listen.

"I know too many Open Source project leaders who are very smart, but have horrible personality problems (arrogance being one of the most obvious faults)."
And you are wearing your Freudian slippers...

Funny stories

Beep beep beep--who cares? What a load of tripe.

Usually you'd be right.

But not this time :-). I offered to change the presentation
as they wished. The only thing I wouldn't compromise on
was the choice of presentation platform.

At every other conf. no one cares what you present on.
I'd never been to an Apple conf. before, their closed
platform doesn't interest me (except for the part
running my software) so didn't realize how they
were about these sorts of things.

You see it's "Apple's way or *no* way". And I really
won't be dictated to like that. The amusing thing
in most of these responses is how much of an
honor people seem to think it is to present there.

It was just another conference for me (and quite a chore
at the time) so I was quite relieved not to have to do it :-).


Right on, Jeremy

I'd have done something similar. "The Cult of Mac" does not dictate which computer platform that I choose to use, at any time. They are so arrogant! Everybody there, including that marketing jerk, should've been honored to have you there at all. And your engineering friend there must be kind of embarrassed at Apple's conduct toward you...or at least, he should be.

This message was, BTW, written on GNU/Linux--specifically, the Slackware distribution.

Like, WTF wants to know you

Like, WTF wants to know you wrote that message using Slackware?!? Jeez.

Re: Right on, Jeremy

I am running on x86 and even developing a MIPS port of Slackware too!

What Apple doesn't seem to understand is that there are several
types of customers:

- There are of course the people that want an easy to use desktop/notebook.
- Then there are the artists who need a Mac for their music/video/graphics creation either at amateur or professional level.
- Then there are the business people who want stable, secure and reasonably easy to use solutions.
- Developers who create services/applications and need a stable development environment.

What the Apple fans here don't seem to understand is that an Apple Developers' Conference doesn't primarily cater to the first two groups but mostly to the fourth. So how could developers at such a conference ever be so embarrassed by someone carrying a laptop running SUSE, Windows or any other operating system?

Mac OS X is not very stable and very slow compared to the other Unix and GNU/Linux operating systems, so it isn't perfect, but the other operating systems aren't either. Each has its pros and cons.

The only reason I can think of is that they want to shoehorn customers and surprisingly also highly technical developers into this idea that the Mac is superior and that anything else doesn't cut it. You would only do this if you feel insecure that something else might be better than your own and in this respect they are not any better than Microsoft.

Every group has to work on his weaknesses and stress his strengths. The various Unix, BSD and Linux distributions are doing this at their own pace and Apple could take a page out of this book, if they want to stay relevant. But instead they seem to follow in Microsoft's steps ignoring reality and instill the faith in themselves that they're fine and are wondering why anyone would ever want to run such an "inelegant" and "user-unfriendly" operating system like SUSE.

And it seems to work. I am unable to implement Mac OS X as a business desktop platform until it has native OpenOffice.org and works as stable as Slackware or Solaris even though I would love to be able to do so if only as another choice for the customer. Businesses don't need shiny tools but platforms they can depend on and in this respect Mac OS X falls short. At least it outcompetes Microsoft now, especially since Vista came out :-)

Sun have taken the beatings over the years and are improving Solaris now up to the point that it is becoming as userfriendly as and runs faster than SUSE and other distributions. I run and develop mainly on Slackware and run Solaris and the BSDs in virtual machines on my x86 boxes. I would however never preclude someone running another operating system such as Windows or Mac OS X from a meeting or developers' conference where all should know better than to bash each others operating system.

Well done.

Great article, and well done. I applaud and support your principles.


I'm really impressed by the cool reason and logic
employed by these Apple users.

Really good article, and a really good read IMHO

I'm quite surprised to see

I'm quite surprised to see such apparent animosity from people who use two different variants of Unix. I'd expect to see this more from Windows folks. I've seen Jeremy give a talk on Samba. I was impressed with his ability to hold the interest of those in attendance. It didn't matter which OS was resident, Samba was the subject.
It's fair for Apple to want everyone to use Apple stuff. It's not fair to invite someone who is known to use other stuff, and then tell him to bugger off if he won't switch to theirs.
I'd have thought, obviously incorrectly, that developers would have wanted to see more than one similar platform, as long as it related to their work. And I'd say OpenBSD and Linux have a lot in common, both being Unix based. But I guess developers can be just as short sighted as politicians.

Arrogance for everyone

Sadly, arrogance is not only a problem for OpenSource colaborators only... aparently it also affects almost all Mac users.

Come on... Apple has great and cool products, but that's all they are. Quit living Apple/Mac as a life style or a religion, it won't get you far.

Totally agree with the DRM thing: if Apple or Jobs wanted it out, it would be out now. Intentions are not as good as Actions.

Having Fun

It is nice to see someone still having fun.

I have been working with computers for a while. I guess you could call me a generalist.

When I first started using Linux I rationalized why. Security, free and open source were typical thoughts. I have recently realized that the bottom line is it is FUN.

I am not a great Linux evangelist anymore, because I kind of covet it for myself. It is my connection to my love for computers that had dimmed when computers became a job. Linux gave me back computers.

Vista is probably the best evangelist for Linux now.

I feel computer companies fall into three categories. Microsoft, those who want to be Microsoft, and the rest of us who want to share the magic.

btw... I understand the plumber analogy, and I think plumbers are probably more appreciated in an emergency. My wife only chides after someone else has given me a positive review. It is usually something like "He does not pick up his socks"

Have lots of fun!!!

I bet you two dollars...

... That apple is about to come out with beryl copy for the OS, and the last thing they want to do is remind the world that linux has been doing it for a while now... god forbid they mention SUN's work also.

Keep up the good work, and the good fight.
Apple does somethings right, but this is an example of the RDF at its worst.

Beryl and Aero

How have Microsoft and the Linux community so totally missed the boat on Aero and Beryl respectively? Both are eye-candy for the sake of being... eye-candy. Nothing more. Nothing productive.

After you show all your friends the fancy wobbling, make-shift Expose knockoff, etc. what are you left with?

Somehow the Linux community continues to cry 'Mac Zealots!!!1!'...

Sounds reasonable ...

Jeremy, I love your stance about the freedom of linux, God bless your soul. But you're not winning over anyone from the other side with this posting.

I'm not sure which part of it irks me; there were several parts. But the overall feel is that of technological snobbery. It's not because I love Apple, I don't, or that I hate Linux, I use it often. It's more like I feel the abuse foisted on to Apple that was simply looks like immaturity masked as indignation (which is immaturity itself).

When you go to an Apple Development conference the devs want the low down on Apple. Everyone knows those. You can't possibly have been excluded from this common knowledge among developers. If you don't like it, don't blame Apple. Just know the environment and accept or decline based on on comfortable you feel about that. Don't blame it on some creepy marketing guy. That's just wrong.

You develop mature software. You persona should be as mature as your software.


The comments from the Apple users are educational.

Wow, Mac people are really arrogant...

Mac fanatics make Linux fanatics look like reasonable people.

Lighten up m(w)ackos , Jeremy did say "I'll remove the material your marketing people are worried about from the slides, and I'll replace it with something I'll create instead”. so he could still use his OWN laptop with his OWN OS of choice on it.

sheesh, it's just a damn arrogant company, and they wouldn't even be a company if Microsoft didn't bail them out in the 90's

so, remember, as much as you hate windows, Mac users, without MS and Windows there wouldn't be an Apple Co. today.

you can say what you want about GNU/Linux, but, at least it never needed to be saved by a competitor. blah :P

it is an apple show isn't it?

would microsoft have macs up on stage during one of their presentations?

They do all the time.

They do all the time. They've showed of vista on a macbook pro at one of their shows here in chicago. I love the design of the macbooks, but being a .net developer i am stuck using windows. so i just installed windows/linux on my machine and no worries. Nothing against os x but i prefer linux.

Apple (The Sony of the West)

I like the article! It's a great example of how controlling Apple is not only with their hardware, but also with their image.

I too think Apple Inc. will be less of a computer company and more of a electronics/entertainment/media conglomerate, something similar to Sony.

Are you serious?

Did you really THINK about your presentation, and you never THOUGHT that you needed do this on a Mac? Did the idea cross your mind, and you dismissed it? Just think for a second: at any other conference, this wouldn't be an issue--- most of the world uses Windows, we know this, but at Mac conference, it would make NO logical (or good business) sense to have presenters using other platforms.

Your article is a childish fit of sour grapes that I would expect from a 6th, or 5th grader. You didn't play by the rules, and now you want everyone to feel sorry for you, and be mad at all those big bad guys who said you had to use a Mac at a Mac conference.

Give me a break.

Tris Banfi


Sounds like they were offering you a free Macbook/Pro, how else could you do it on a Mac? Of course you take said laptop and promtly install Suse on it :)

Good article

Good article, and let's all stop this PS bashing, it makes no sense, you use the right tools for the right tasks and the 'right' tool is in part a personal choice!

I've played around with some of linux's eye-candy thingies (On Ubuntu, KibaDock Beryl etc...) and to me it was too much, I have the effects I need on a mac because most of them serve a purpose and I don't need more. Nonetheless, it's still pretty cool to see.

I work on linux, unix, mac, anything but windows. And quite frankly, they all have their ups and down... even windows.

Grow up

You are clearly bitter and you are just lashing out here. I use FreeBSD, Windows and MacOS X and I treat them all as tools. I think OpenGL and XGL are extremely cool but once you are done playing with the visual effects you have to eventually get back to actual work. I remember when I was in college I would play with themes for Windows and MacOS, making my desktop look very cool, but I found I was not really using the computer to do much work. Since then I nearly always leave stay close to the defaults with maybe a pleasant desktop image and I get a lot more work done.

I have an idea for what Novell could do next. Put down the XGL for a while and work on a cross-platform network filesystem. I am not joking. I think a truly functional WebDAV system which works on Linux, MacOS X and Windows would be much more practical and worthwhile than the jiggle effects in XGL. I have yet to be satisfied with anything out there. I would then create appliances which store tons of data using this pluggable network filesystem.

So stop complaining about Apple and go make something useful.

Thanks for sticking up for your principles

I for one am glad that you stuck to your principles of wanting to prsent your sfotware using the same freeware tools you developed it on, if only more people had the guts to tell the suits where to stick it the U.S. wouldn't be such a bland conformist borderline police state.

And I'm no Mac basher I'm typing this on a G5 tower,I alsorun Ubuntu on a notebook, and even XP on an ancient desktop for games. The point is use the tool that works AND point out the flaws in the people making and selling all the tools if we are to remain honest, decent, humane people.


He made Samba
What have you done?

To Be Expected of the Business

Apple can behave badly no doubt about that. They make tight stuff though.

In this case - if you really wanted to give the presentation it should have been in a portable format (e.g. those psuedo Powerpoint HTML slideshows) on a USB drive and if they suggested you use their brand of computer to display it, simply have had them furnish it.

I understand you wanting to give some props to those who supported the work in the presentation, but I also understand the "business'" motivation to want control and consistency of branding during the event.

It is like if a sports tourney were sponsored by Nike - they would not want to see Reeboks everywhere.

To use your analogy

If Nike didn't want Reeboks everywhere at their event then they
shouldn't get Reebok to make their shoes :-).

Apple massively use the work of Free Software developers. Remember,
MacOSX is just FreeBSD gussied up a bit :-).

As well as gcc, X, Samba, MIT krb5. OpenLDAP .... the list goes on and on.

But somehow that all disappears when it's time to do a show. Strange, that..


Apple is no longer exactly a Freeloader with Samba...

...(after all, they now employ James Peach to work on Samba code, right?) ... but they certainly are the biggest cheapskates in industry!

They take waayyy more, multiple times more!, than they "give back" to the community. Remember the fuss about KHTML (which they use to make Safari from)? The KHTML developers were quite unhappy with their greedy, arrogant behaviour (http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/1049).

It is good that you lifted the veil a little bit and exposed a few Bytes of their attitudeness' dump directed against everyone outside their (Apple's) reign.

One hundred (or one thousand) more stories like that, and they may change (or disappear).

Thanks for sharing that episode with us. I really enjoy reading all your pieces (even though I don't agree to all of your points). You are the living proof that being an excellent "code plumber" can blend well with also being a very smart "political animal".

[Long live the SPR of Sheffield! :-) ]

Why should Free Software compromise?

I have an Apple, an "old" iBook G4 that I purchased in mid-2005 to take to Russia with me. It served well. I have two iPods that I love very much. I also run Rockbox firmware on them because I loathe DRM and I need OGG and FLAC playback.

I have since moved on to using GNU/Linux as my primary OS and discovered that the philosophy of Free Software was a much stronger draw than the technical aspects of the OS. Mac OSX is nice, period. But it is not free (as in free speech, and obviously not as in free beer!).

Why should the author have compromised and used a proprietary format just to please the Apple marketing turd who obviously can't grasp much of life beyond "How does this profit Apple?" He shouldn't have, and he didn't. Sure, Apple can feature their own hardware at their own conference. But they don't have room for the ideas of anyone else, even people they invited?

That is the strength of free software. We have shown the world that, because we're not going to compromise, that they will have to adopt our standards, free and open standards! It is not ever going to work the other way round ever again.

I like my Mac. I have to use Windows to play games. But I enjoy using GNU/Linux because not only does it get the job done for me, it is all about freedom -- and I like that a lot.

Shhhh... I think someone just farted in church....

I 've been reading these comments and I must admit I am amazed at the reverence that is heaped upon the sanctity of the MAC DEVELOPER CONFERENCE (written with hands clasped in front of me and eyes turned skyward.)
The fanboy attitude is distubing - almost as much as the "I'm not a fanboy, but" comments. (yeah, right)
Bigotry seem to be the acceptable norm for a lot of people.

As I see it they wanted something from you and as Samba is NOT OS specific, your laptop of choice is irrelevant to the proceedings.
People were obviously at the conference to learn something. If, what you had to tell them, was as relevant on a linux laptop as a mac, again your laptop of choice should not have been an issue.

Finally I don't think Apple Marketing had anything to worry about, as you could have had naked women giving Bill Gates a BJ on stage and you wouldn't have removed the apple shaped stars from their eyes.

Well done for a good and humourous article.

Good article.

It's a good story, and it's your blog. You have no obligation to be nice, rational, mature, objectional, or even fair! They asked you to do a presentation, you said sure why not? Then they asked you to do something you didn't feel like doing so you walked away from it. Your choice! That's what people aren't understanding. If they wanted me to wear tight blue jeans and a black shirt and call everything "stunning" then I would have walked away too, because I don't want to change myself to fit some mold. There is nothing sinister going on here, the author simply didn't feel like compromising.

You have even understated the Samba thing. We aren 't talking about some obscure device drivers. Or some minor behind the scenes code. Apple markets, and even flaunts the fact it is interoperable with windows networks, and you did a lot of work on the whole system that allows them to do this! See: http://www.apple.com/getamac/movetomac/network.html | http://www.apple.com/macosx/overview/compatibility.html These are no small footnotes on their site.

It's funny ever since aqua extreme was first released I scratched my head and thought "Ya that's kind of a no brainer letting the graphics chip handle graphics where I use them most, my desktop" No more windows trails and window management oddities. I thought that it would be only months before windows and X had this! It took so long but it happened, and look what the community did with it in such a short period of time. Being slick is OS X's bread and butter. Seriously functionality is about the same as on windows, It's just more friendly on a mac and an all around more fluid experience. If the linux desktop can move into this domain while keeping it's hardcore nerd appeal it would be incredible (at least for me.)

I don't know if Apple is afraid of beryl, but I know they should be. P.S. I am in the process of deciding between the black macbook or the macbook pro. I have a sony VAIO that dual boots linux and windows now, and a kubuntu desktop. Looking for a mac to play with any advice on which to get?

Thank you, Jeremy,

for SAMBA. I'm the Development Director for a small nonprofit, and SAMBA ties together all the oddball Windows versions we must run to manage the organization. We applications requiring everything from DOS 3.3 to XP. I'm posting this from a G4 Powerbook, a very nice tool, but it would have no place in a business environment without SAMBA. That's a failure of Apple marketing.

Another failure of Apple marketing is the lack of business software for the Mac. They haven't pushed Intuit to civilize Quickbooks for the Mac. Apple also hasn't pushed Best Software to develop fund raising and fund accounting solutions for Mac, and has snubbed MissionResearch in its effort to bring GiftWorks fundraising to the Mac. Apple marketing has made it impossible to bring the Mac into the business office.

You're right to compare Apple to a record company, they're ignoring their customers again.

If you get the time, could you post to YouTube that flashy presentation that didn't make the grade?

SAMBA on Tiger?

I'll bet it's SAMBA on Linux you use. That's gotta sting Apple marketing.

I've tried using OS X.4 as a server and discovered this flavor of UNIX doesn't have startup and shutdown scripts, only the indecipherable Netinfo. I never could get a wiki, photo server, calendar, or SAMBA to run properly as an automatically started service. They would run as a user-started process, but that's not helpful.

Maybe life will be better with Leopard, they're making a lot of promises for the server version.

I wonder if Apple engineering is privately laughing at the marketer for his gaffe? I'm annoyed, because the Mac could be a real problem solver for small organizations and businesses and they're not smart enough to see the potential sales.

And let's give another shout out for the SAMBA crew on a job well done!

Thanks--from GiftWorks

We'd love to be on Mac, but it's an expensive port at this point.

Charlie Crystle

This reminds me of my

This reminds me of my mother. She is somehwat embarassed to enter a store while she is carrying previously bought items from a competitor's store.

"I shop at the other store too, I'm sorry, I hope you forgive me, I hope you still want to sell me stuff? Pleaaaaase..."

I know, it does not make sense.

Obviously, Apple people know their customers are aware of other operating systems. Be it Windows or Linux (or beos, reactos, QNX, BSD, Solaris, OpenVMS, AmigaOS, AIX, Plan9, OS/2, OS/360, OS/400 and many, many other) But for some reason my mother talked them into feeling ashamed if they would admit those exists...

Personally, I would have played them by having my suppoting material in form of OS independent slides. You know, actual slides, transparent 35 mm pieces of films, mounted in these little frames, viewed with a slide projectors. Would be fun!

Marketing guy

To be fair to Apple, the guy causing the problems was in Marketing. Marketing's business is creating, and defending, a religion based on the company's products and culture. Marketing people are responsible for the most fanatical elements of business. Marketing screws up everything - business, politics, religion.

Considering that you were going to be giving a presentation on Samba, you wouldn't have been showing off the OS. Therefore, the marketing guy was stupid for not observing this rather obvious fact. And it shows that he isn't familiar with making presentations. Likewise, he's stupid for missing the fact that SuSE isn't eating much market share amongst Apple users right now, and therefore would have minimal impact.

Apple needs to keep pushing

Until Apple fundamentally changes the PC experience for users, the Mac will remain the simply a better alternative to Windows and not a must-have computer. On top of this you have the progression of Linux Ubuntu and various web apps.

Apple needs to create another revolution in PCs in the same way that Nintendo did with the Wii. Then, and only then will the Linux guys be more reverential to the Mac, and only then will they want to be part of the club. Isn't that what's this about? I feel like Mr. Allison here is basically saying to Apple "your stuff isn't really that much better than my stuff. In fact, I would venture to say that my stuff is better." Then of course he's going to use his/your own stuff right? If someone is totally blown away by something, then they're going to want to show their stuff off on that something.

Eric N.

sounds like apple

this totally sounds like apple and it's been like this since the beginning.

but that's just how they do business down there and whether you like it or not, succeeding in terms of capitalist realm.

i like your google article as well. I guess i won't be sleeping tonight lol

Apple in Disguise

First of all, I congratulate you for taking such a strong stand in both your resignation and this presentation. It is hardly possible to say "No" to the proprietary software police we have; and to defend the software you use is a philosophical approach rather than a simple pragmatical approach.

So, to all those above who say these are just tools, they don't just understand what free software is all about. It is not simply "with free software I can work more productive". It is more of ideals which modern men have ceased to remember.

On the other side, it just makes me wonder how Apple can manage to have such a nice image with make up and ease of use; when Microsoft is still a much more open company (hence I think they are more successful); yet it gets much more negative reactions. It is 87% marketing I guess. See http://www.spack.org/wiki/InTheBeginningWasTheCommandLine , a nice (and long) essay by Neal Stephenson, as a comparison between the Linux world, Mac world and the Windows world. By the way, did you know that a PC World editor was fired since he allowed the publishing of an essay called "10 Reasons We Have Apple"? That's what Apple actualy is. Thankfully, due to strong reader reaction, they fired the boss who fired the editor (in fact they changed his position) and welcomed back their editor.

sometimes arrogance is earned with years

I enjoyed your article with a bit of rage at the marketing dude.
I know that on professional work you have to accept compromise sometimes, but after 10 years on the scene I still have to fight to control my rebel attitude against who's not in sync with me.

Many times we just know we're doing it right, and the line of success seems to never break.
I work for clients such as Nokia and MTV and used to work for Nike, Vodafone and many more.
When you got to the Nike HQ you're not allowed to wear Adidas or anything that might compete with them.
They allow you to enter the building, but you can consider your business application a failure.

Same thing (a bit more dimmed) happens at Nokia.
Luckily I was quite always a Nokia user and think their devices really kick ass, so it becomes a pleasure working with them (as stressful it can be).

Personally I wouldn't even have tried to settle.
I would have told them they were more arrogant than me and left the building.
They should realize you're more useful to them than they're to you.

I've been a mac user for more than 5 years after 11 years on a pc.
I still use linux as a server of choice, but macs make my daily tasks easier and pleasant to execute.
This doesn't mean I'm a zombie doing everything they ask.
I'm not blind-folded and trustfully follow them.
I don't buy first release Apple products because although sexy and hype, I knwo they end-up sucking.

Honestly, I love arrogant people when the arrogance is supported by knowledge.
I really respect your ideas and the fact you try to back them with confidence.
Wait, one day they'll call you back, that will be your revenge.

ubi de feo

Don't let one rotten apple spoil the batch

I have had experiences of doing presentations for Apple many times before, and never have they demanded such things from me.

I went from using SUSE Linux, and am now a proud owner of a MacBook Pro.

Mac OS X is built for everyone to use. SUSE and the lot are still hobbyists' systems.

I can understand that being at an Apple conference, they would prefer you to use Apple, meaning would'nt you though? unless of course you feel a need to rebel against someone...

As for you comment on Apple being afraid of SUSE? Have you seen Novell recently? They are a lost cause trying to find a reason for being in a time where they are so far behind everyone else... And SUSE is getting beat by Ubuntu for new installation bases...

Please don't jump to conclusions and stereo-type Apple. It just shows how many people take things at face value...

Jeremy did not work for

Jeremy did not work for Apple. He was not demonstrating an Apple work. The work he was demonstrating was platform agnostic. He wasn't demonstrating hardware, he was demonstrating a piece of software.

Why the hell should he use a platform he is (possibly) unfamiliar with and have to (possibly) redo all his slides just because his equipment didn't have the right logo on it?

One would presume a bunch of guys at an APPLE developer conference would already be Mac users. Were Apple that afraid, that mac developers might be 'turned' if they saw something other than an Apple product?

And if the comments here are any demonstration of the mac user mentality, then they have far bigger problems than people demonstrating stuff on non-Apple hardware!

Keep up the good work Jeremy, nice to see someone giving to the computing community rather than just taking and bitching!

Well said

Furthermore, these aren't Mac users at the conference, but Mac developers. Attendees to Jeremy's talk would be folks interested in back-end networking protocols. They could care less what hardware or OS the guy is running. They already know what Samba is and that is runs on many OSes.

It sounds like Apple has a team to present a unified message, but they either aren't empowered or not knowledgeable enough to understand when they should back off.

tacky trash

" Plus, my desktop is much cooler”."

Sorry but spinning virtual desktops and wobbly windows are terrible user interface design.
At least Apple uses desktop acceleration (which it has had for years now) for things which enhance the interface. Not tacky window dressing.

It occurs to me:

That people who have only seen the tech demo and never used the product, such as yourself, fail to realize that Beryl and the others -- unlike the Apple version -- offer as much or as little eye candy as you please. I choose to use a cube with a slightly transparent background, such that I can see the windows resident on the other side(s) and easily rotate to them, l also appreciate the ability to have half a window on one desktop, and half on another, and even moreso the ability to use not just one but three gui types of application switching.

If you consider it tacky window dressing, you are simply shooting yourself in the foot by realizing that dressing serves a useful purpose in and of itself, and while by pouring on too much you may spoil the salad, using the proper amount serves to make eating it that much better. The allegory here is that I am more productive because of my higher-level thought and choice with your so-called "window dressing".


Your retarded.

First of all, I'll use whatever works the best for what I do. Yes Linux has gotten better, but for Pro Audio, which is what I do, your a joke. As far as I'm concerned, Mac OS rules in that dept.

How is Mac OS crippled and filled with DRM? I can do pretty much whatever I want with it. I can customize it. I can do pretty much what any one else can. What's so "CRIPPLED" about it. And I don't need iTunes. Quite honestly, I buy and prefer used CD's. I use iTunes. It's got a simple interface and it's already there for me. But most all my music is off CD. I don't need the Store.

Do you actually think Apple makes that much money on it's OS? It takes a loss in that dept. They have to do a ton of RnD, even though the under-layer is GNU. A great GUI doesn't come cheap. And a spinning cube is a useless feature. They have had a better GUI long before Linux. Most of Linux still mimics Windows 95 in looks. And as far as OpenGL and eye-candy goes, I seem to remember SUN demoing Looking Glass a long long time ago. Way before any of the new OpenGl was around. Apple makes the OS to sell hardware. Plain and simple. Everything has to come together seamlessly into a unified experience. Without having to open up a terminal. Apple doesn't make money by selling an OS upgrade for $100 every 1 1/2 to 2 years. They make it by selling hardware. If they didn't keep the system closed as far as hardware, they would have a support nightmare of people making their own boxes and nothing would work right. Just like Windows. And Linux. How many times have you had the scour the net for a driver. For a video card maybe? Hmm?

That's not to say they (Apple) don't have bugs or aren't a bunch of sh*ts when it comes to support. Especially when it's their screwup on a patch. But if I ran my main apps. in Windows or Linux, nothing would ever get done. For artsy power users, you are not in the pro leagues. And you have no unity on your platform to provide a seamless crash-proof system with workable drivers.

You can slam Apple all you want. But if they weren't doing something right, people wouldn't be buying their product. Watch and learn. Maybe you'll make something better someday.


You should have used a Mac and and launched Linux in a VM during the presentation. After a long, gutteral "muahahaha", you could have continued with the presentation as planned.


The fact that you made a third grade-level grammatical mistake in your post's title says it all.

Learning to take instruction

This was not the time to play the freedom card. Had you presented on a mac or windows machine, what would you have lost, your soul? You would not be there to promote SAMBA on the Mac - you'd be there to promote SAMBA.

Assuming no one heard of your blog post, your diary, your w/e it's called, 'cause this isn't objective news, this is a personal event w/ a subjective swing - Apple developers, Apple sysadmins, they may never get the connection that SAMBA is running under the hood. They may not go to their Unix boxes and then install SAMBA because they learned about it their first time at a WWCD conference. I know, it's a developer conference, but smart people talk to each other, including sysadmins, CIOS, CTOS, architects of various kinds et al..

Instead, you used freedom as the card, where freedom as already allowed where it counted. Had they requested you wear business casual instead of jeans and a t-shirt, would you have punted as well? If so, it shows a lack of will to work with each other. Have you thought, they don't wish to promote fielding desktop questions that Apple does not have the support of? Sure, Linux under KDE or GNOME can do it, but Apple can't? You'd be slapping them in the face. It works in reverse as well. I wouldn't expect to use GNOME to demo at a KDE conference unless I was showing some sort of cross compatability trick.

It's like taking a test to interview w/ a job. A reasonable test shows you are willing to answer the questions, allowing you to evaluate what they want out of the company by the types questions being asked and other like things within a small amount of time. I know people who up their nose at tests because they feel experience should be enough. Well, if you don't wish to show some flexibility, you've already made the choice to make it a skirmish.

Why bother respond you may say? Refusing to go to WWCD based on your beliefs, that's fine. Going public as a slam against Apple? Very unprofessional.

Promote Samba???

You would not be there to promote SAMBA on the Mac - you'd be there to promote SAMBA.

If that was the case, why try to enforce the ridiculous requirement of running the presentation on a Mac?

It works in reverse as well. I wouldn't expect to use GNOME to demo at a KDE conference unless I was showing some sort of cross compatability[sic] trick.

What, you mean like the cross compatibility trick that Samba runs on a multitude of platforms?

How do you know that Jeremy did not want to demonstrate that Samba doesn't just allow Apple/Windows boxes to communicate but also that Samba would allow Linux/Apple boxes to communicate?

For one, questions not

For one, questions not pertaining to SAMBA or the Mac comes up during/after the presentation. Secondly, Apple prefers some common theme, visually. Football teams and military do it in their uniform. Great companies do so through their mission statement. Apple does it by presentation and functionality. Not sure how much functionality a keynote or powerpoint presentation may hold, but the theme is there.

Regarding using Linux, that would make that valid. Alas, Jeremy did not make that the issue. If it were a lab type setting, where you wished to show that a Mac, a Linux box, a Windows box and some other machine type were to talk to each other, I would completely agree with him. You wish to show something working, and you handicap the demonstration, it could be problematic.

This is a presentation - ala keynote, powerpoint, a bunch of html pages or some other presentation medium.

Btw, calling the requirement ridiculous shows little empathy. I agree, when I do a task, a job, a request for someone, I do so within my means, in relation to the task at hand, while making that person who needs what they need, comfortable. It's teamwork. If the team won't work out, that's fine. Lashing out because of such, no. Sorry. Unprofessional.

sad waste of a good brain

Too many comments, too little time. Hoping these points have not been already made...

"Historically I've had a “love-hate” relationship with Apple. They love themselves and I hate them."

From this point on, any expectation of unbiased commentary is pointless. Indeed since as you say, there is hardly any benefit in it for you, I REALLY wonder why you went at all.

"this is the company that promotes the widest use of ... (DRM)"

Uses unwillingly, not promotes. I guess you were too busy to read Jobs' open letter to the music industry.

"I realized that Apple were scared of the SuSE Linux desktop I was using"

Not scared. Just good business practice. What company promotes the competition? If you go to a Craftsman seminar to talk about a plumbing problem, do you think Sears will allow you to use your Stanley or Klein wrenches?

Looks like you are very smart and very good at what you do. Here is a tip gleaned from 33 years of marriage: The wife is usually right. You'd be a much nicer person if you got over yourself.

Jeremy, correct me if I'm wrong...

... but it seems to me that a lot of people don't seem to get our british 'tongue in cheek' humour.

From a fellow brit.

They're Americans

So what can you do.... :-)

But then again since I got my citizenship so
am I, god help me :-).


Did they offer you a lappy?

A truly enterprising marketer would have *asked* you to do the presentation on a different platform, and offered you a shiny Macbook Pro for your trouble so you can see if you like it.

On a side note, thanks for all your hard work on Samba.

It isn't about fear

While I commend you on your work and your willingness to overcome your own prejudices and misgivings about Apple, I still sense a great deal of arrogance from you concerning Linux and Samba. What I mean to say is that Apple was inviting you to their conference about their products to give a presentation about a product, Samba, from the Open Source Community that they are utilizing. You, naturally being an advocate and user of Linux, showed up using your other tools of choice, Liunux, which, while legitimate, are not what the Apple conference is about and would only serve as a distraction not just to the content of your presentation around Samba, but also the conference which is about Apple Products and the OSS they utilize and not competing OSS projects that use Samba. I think the Marketer was doing his job in trying to maintain focus on the purpose of the conference and not introduce serious distractions like a glitzy OSS Desktop. With that in mind, I do not think it is unreasonable for the Apple marketing team to have asked you to remove anything that would be disruptive and the fact that they listened to your entire presentation uninterrupted shows how much they valued your work. On the flip side, I also do not think that it would have been unreasonable for you to request for them to provide you with the hardware and resources necessary to make the changes the requested because, after all, they were asking you to modify your presentation to suit their needs and should not expect you to expend personal resource to meet their requirements.

The fact that your engineering friend saw no problems with your desktop or it's use shows that, while there may be a fear of competing products at Apple, it is not universal and that with every organization there are a thousand shades of grey. The way I see it is that you are using your work and notoriety with Samaba as a platform to push your Linux agenda. I want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with that at all but you have to realize that your Linux Agenda and your work with Samba are not bound to one another and that consumers of Samba are not required to support your agenda in other aspects of your life. Their request is not unlike a faith based school inviting a speaker of a different faith to give a presentation on something unrelated to faith but pertinent to both communities (e.g. disease, math, physics, etc) and asking them to not bring faith up in the presentation.

I don't think either side was in the wrong and you were both within your right to make the requests you did. I do not understand how the conference circuit works but my only hope is that Apple compensated you for your time lost during the whole affair because it was their invitation and ultimately their decision to reject the presentation you offered them.

Free Will, and never Discuss Religion, Politics and Computers

Jeremy said: "You see it's "Apple's way or *no* way". And I really won't be dictated to like that. The amusing thing in most of these responses is how much of an honor people seem to think it is to present there."


It seems it was just as much your way or no way. The fact that you allowed yourself to comprise slightly means nothing. In the end you are just as stubborn as Apple was.

Apple wasn't going to be dictated to and neither were you. Welcome to the Real World(tm). People are self-interested, even the Linux folks.

I'm sorry that you felt you were wronged for a conference you didn't want to even attend, for a computer you would never use, by a company you already dislike. I'm not sure why you even wrote this.

Yes, this conference would have done you some good, not simply because it was Apple, but because you could have at exposed yourself to another computing culture that you already have a preconception about and perhaps learned something that could have been brought back to the Linux crowd, you know, like this 3D desktop that is the crux of this discussion. You gave up a learning experience, and I think that is the biggest failing here.

In the end free will was exercised, Apple set the rules before you and you rejected them, good for you. If somehow Apple managed to force you to present against your free will, well, that's newsworthy.



Ok...hate to be the burster of egos and dick-wagging here, but i've been to more than one WWDC and its sooooo much simpler than all of the bs being put forth here:

All WWDC presentations use the same basic template. All of them. Anything that is published on the schedule is presented in the same consistent style. First party, 3rd party, guest speakers, whatever.

They are built in Keynote...the templates are in Keynote.

Apple kinda has a *thing* for consistency and cohesiveness...in case you haven't noticed.

Keynote runs on MacOS X...which runs on Macs. Sooo...not sure how slick thought this was gonna work on Novell's linux. Wanna point out Novell sponsored the development? Put it in a damned slide? No?

And *please*...before you post any smartass rebuttal or childish ad hominems and what have you...if you've never been to WWDC...and I don't care if you are an Apple proponent or not...you have nothing to add based on *fact* and observation.

That whole piece was so...bizarre to me simply because it was based on the author's delusions of grandeur...that Apple was afraid Mac Devs would see Beryl/Compiz. Really. Go back and read it. That's the "oh snap" take-away he got from that.

The mere notion that Apple...*APPLE*...would be nervous about Mac devs seeing an OpenGL accelerated compositing desktop and window manager is just...delusional and utterly *laughable* people...see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz_2D

Beryl/Compiz apes Quartz2D/Quartz Extreme...why in hell would Apple be worried about THAT? They've been doing it for *years*.

I mean...seriously.

*shakes head*

I love

the Basil Fawlty-like absence of humour and balance in most of the responses here.

Shakes his head indeed!

Well I'm trying to train them....

But it'd be quicker to train an *APE* !!!!!



What would you do??

Would the Mac people be willing on compromise if the situation was the reverse? Would you support Jeremy if he took the same stance on insisting that He use his macbook to present? You would be applauding wouldn't you?

It does seem to me they were afrid, maybe not of Suse but the buzz it would create. It would have been like you farted in an elevator. It seems that if they were secure with their product what someone else used wouldn't matter in the least.

But what I find somewhat funny is that he was doing a presentation on SAMBA whose main purpose in interoperability with others and being able to play nice with each other and they wouldn't allow him to use his OTHER system. Shows how committid they are to working with other OS's. And remember these are Developers whose job it would be to make OSx work with other osses but they're not allowed to see another OS in action. laughable!

But that's how the operate, it's not about choice it's one choice. Just look at how many formats the ipod handles. And when it's all said and done they're a hardware company then whey worry about suse?

Would it have made a difference if he used a macbook with suse installed, would it be ok then?

Interesting Article


Great article! I enjoyed every bit of it. I was even picturing you driving a convertible with lawyers swooping in and you swatting at them. Something that may have caused hurt feelings and maybe some bitterness gets turned into something we all smile about.

I'm a Linux user, my wife is a Mac user (she's a graphic artist...), so I see both sides, and I know that Apple _is_ a marketing company, plain and simple. The fact of the matter is, Macs are overpriced, period. I can get twice the hardware for half the price from somewhere else. Does an OS X license seriously cost $400!?!? DRM itself wouldn't be where it was today if it weren't for iTunes. Microsoft made it an arms race, but Apple started it, regardless of Jobs' little anti-DRM paper.

On the flipside, WWDC is supposed to be all about Apple. If it was a generic software developer conference, there wouldn't be a problem. However, this is Apple's chance to give people as much exposure to Macs and iProductX as possible, so anything that would detract from that they probably wouldn't want around.

I feel that you got all of the above across, and you just have too many fanboys whining... But maybe I'm just a Jeremy Allison fanboy...



Developers not users so it's fairly easy to assume they have used other computers in their lives and are not as fanatical as end users, the people who's been marketed to.

It's like movie makers vs movie goers. or Music Makers vs Music Listeners. If you know the internal workings of either when either is finally released then its just another step, you're not amazed or awed by it because you've seen dullness behind the magic. So think if you cleared that up the Fanboys wouldn't be as incensed.

I use Linux Ubuntu dropped Suse, Windows and an Imac. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Excel at one thing and fail as the others. In the end they are all pretty much the same, with simular features and programs. Its as if a one is a Benz, one's a BMW and the Other is a Lexus. You can find a standard set of features. They can all get you to your destination just using slightly altered routes.

Its funny that some of the most useful apps on each OS was made by makers of the other.

On Windows -> Apple Quicktime + itunes + Open Source -- Firefox, Thunderbird
MAC ->> MS office & Open Source Samba matter of fact the whole OS was from open source.
Linux --> well they make most of the apps that are useful to us all :-D ** a little biased

Record Company

Why hasn't anyone "got" the: Apple is a record company line?

The Beatles, Apple records, law suits as to who is really allowed to use the Apple name under what circumstances - or is that all too Bristish a reference as well?

samba, open source and anti-DRM

Hi Jeremy,
Perhaps it would help put things in perspective (for the apple supporters) if you added a footnote describing why you develop samba, support the GPL and are anti-DRM etc.

IMHO many of the pro-apple posters apparently feel it is important to repeatedly tell you; Apple's has every right to market and monopolise their GUI/OS wherever possible. Even though most of them appear to have no idea what samba is or why you felt it important, as an opensource developer, to do your presentation on an opensource operating system too.

BTW why did you add the "I realized that Apple were scared of the SuSE Linux desktop I was using" bit? You must have know it would be irresistible flame bait to the mac devotees!??

PS I don't know who sent you the invitation but they could have saved you a lot of time and trouble by including the "mac only" decree with the initial invitation.

Didn't you know

That Mac Samba is different from Linux samba.... oh wait, they're both Samba...

And so assuming that people attending a Developer conference are so stupid that they think samba was developed on macs and not on linux, you wouldn't want to shock them too much, now would you?

Be kind to the mac faithful.


I liked the article and the title. I love HST and that is the only reason why I clicked on the article to read it. After reading a lot of the comments and postings all I have to say is wow, people are crazy about the wrong things. I wish my life revolved around personal opinions and software instead of bills and real problems.

good on you

good for you, sticking to your guns

And thanks for the samba work :-)

suse? noooo

i am typing this from my os x laptop, but suse better looking than os x? noooo way. i realize this is just prefs, but that clunky kicker menu? the blue and green? the stupid lizard head on the window bar? ehhh.

and package managemenet on suse alone is enough to make me cut my eyes out. yuck. now, my debian box pretty much just works...

holy crap...

...reading the comments from the Apple users (zealots?) is scary!

How Do You Know?

I'm just curious, how do you know they were afraid for Mac users to see the Linux desktop? You seem to state that with some confidence.

Wouldn't those attending likely be familiar with it already? They would be far from novice users, I suspect.

Secondly, while impressive, I don't think that Linux desktop fits in in with Apple's basic philosophies. It just seems like way too much. I would personally be very disappointed if they used it as some sort of benchmark in the creation of Leopard (the same being true of Vista).

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