Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Apple fanatics have raised their heads on the SWTOR forums lately, and while there are some good reasons being presented for OSX native support, there is also a ton of false information floating around.  So to start off let me dispel the two big myths floating around out there.

Myth:  OSX is more secure than Windows
Truth:  Yes and no, while the Super User account (admin) gives you an extra layer of protection some of the components of OSX and those used by many OSX users are actually less secure.  For example Safari is less secure than IE or Firefox.  The real truth is any OS is only as secure as the habits of the user, and the protections they put in place allow it to be.

Myth:  There are no Virus' / Maleware that effect OSX.
Truth:  Anyone remember Macdefender?  This brought the "No Virus" campaign to a screeching halt.  They are out there and as OSX picks up points in market share the risks will only increase.

Now back to the topic at hand. 

I'm all for non-Windows native support for games, I get why people want it.  But you also have to question if it's a good idea for the game companies.  Lets look at OSX since it was already mentioned, Apple always wants their slice, they want to control what can and will run on their hardware, they are the last of the Proprietary Hardware fanatics, and they want a bit of the profits if you make compatible software.  What software company wants to have their profit cut just to support fraction of the users?  What do I mean by that, well a company would either have to increase the price of a game for OSX so Apple can take the difference as their cut, or make less on it than they would on a Windows machine. Apple was also a bit late to the game, they are going to have to do better and open up a bit to get the backing of 3rd party developers at least the big guns like Activision and EA.  Around 89% of the market is dominated by Windows machines with OSX having ~10% and Linux around ~1%.  Until Apple gets a significant market share they need to do something to get native support for major titles, right now Apple isn't doing it.

Linux support?  I like the idea but in the case of Linux, it's the multitude of flavors available.  Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Slackware, Arch, and Gentoo based systems for starters, that are the major hurdles.  I'm leaving out the minimalistic Distros like Puppy since they aren't suited for graphically intense gaming.  You also have so many desktop environments: Gnome 2.x & 3.x, KDE, LXDE, Xfce, Unity, and Cinnamon for example.  How do you shift resources to support half a dozen file structures, desktop configurations, libraries etc on top of needing to release 4-5 different installer packages to support them all.  You have .deb .run, .rpm, and lesser known one's like SuperDeb, LZM and PISI.

I'm a big supporter of Linux myself, I like the idea of open source operating systems.  I like the freedom to customize, and the encouragement of technology open source represents.  But I've also always been a big supporter of a universal installer format that in my vision of the future of Linux, all the major players would adopt and work together to develop and support.  This would go a long way to making development from commercial parties a reality on Linux systems.
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