21 August 2016


The McThag household runs a variety...

Three Macs, running three different versions of OSX.

Three PC's, running two different versions of Win7(64).

I've discovered something odd...

We're very vested in iTunes.  Spent a lot of money there because we'd flat run out of storage space for CD's and DVD's.

To play your iTunes purchases, in many cases (like movies), that requires you have an iTunes install on the computer.

Apple makes iTunes for their OS and for Windows since XP.

Chrome is the same between OS's.  Thunderbird is the same between OS's.  Open Office is the same between OS's.  Firefox is the same between OS's.

iTunes is different.  I have five different OS's and five different iTunes.  On two of the Macs you could excuse it because they're older and unsupported versions.  But Harvey's MacBook Pro is running the latest and greatest OSX and the PC's are all fully updated.

And it's not just the commands being moved around or renamed.  It's functions flat don't exist on one version and do on another.  Importing your library of media is completely different between platforms.

Oh, and that cloud thing they advertised?  Barely scratches the files we bought, so now we've learned to not count on it.


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    1. I'm too cheap to buy Apple hardware and I have a long time hatred for Microsoft... My house runs on Ubuntu. Music is plain old MP3s either ripped from physical media or downloaded primarily from Amazon, some from artist sites, etc. Cloud storage is on Google because that plays nicely with Android phones. The most recent Mac I have is a PPC based model, which is more or less completely useless by today's standards. The last Windows box in the house was a laptop that came with Windows 7 that Kelley used to use. However between futzing with antivirus software and various other inconveniences she found herself using one of the Ubuntu machines more and eventually decided it was time to convert the laptop over to Ubuntu. I have considered buying a used Mac, maybe a Mini or something like that just so I can keep up on my Mac development skills. Right now I'm doing development on both Linux and Android though and that is keeping me busy enough for the time being.

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    3. So, does Firefox work the same on Ubuntu? Does Thunderbird work the same on Ubuntu? Does Chrome work the same on Ubuntu? Does Open Office work the same on Ubuntu? Does iTunes work the same on Ubuntu?

      Are all of those apps even available for Ubuntu? "This other app is almost the same," does not count; especially when dealing with word processors and spreadsheets! How user friendly is the installation process for someone who just wants to use the applications and doesn't do computers for a living or hobby?

    4. Firefox pretty much works the same everywhere as does Chrome. Open Office pretty much too. I would guess Thunderbird although I haven't tried it in years on any platform. I've been told iTunes will run under Wine, but I haven't had any reason to try that either. Almost nobody actually installs Windows, they usually buy a computer with it pre-installed. Ubuntu is usually similar in difficulty level to installing MacOS which given the chaos that is PC hardware is pretty amazing. My guess as to why iTunes varies so much between versions is they have different groups developing it on the different platforms -- the languages, APIs and development tools are pretty different between Windows and Mac. Enough so that it would be pretty difficult to build an app that looked and felt like a native app on both platforms from the same source code. Keeping features sync'd between two separate products on two platforms could be a challenge.

    5. I ran a version of Ubuntu for a couple of years. For most things it was just another computer. I missed Quicken, and the substitute I found wouldn't export to something that Quicken could view, though it could import from Quicken. At the time, it was super difficult to get DVD's to play unless you were intimate with commands from the terminal (I ain't). And the loss of iTunes is felt with the loss of all those movies, TV shows and songs. I suppose I could find a way to break the DRM, but that would be illegal! I am a law-abiding citizen of the Federation who's never once sold dope disguised as a nun.

    6. My experience comes from a different place than most people. To begin with I'm a techie and I don't fear the command line - back when I started out there was no such thing as a GUI. I started out on the Apple II (thanks to FuzzyGeff), like many people my age... But not having much money I stuck with it a lot longer than most, up until 1990-ish. At work I had some exposure to MS-DOS and other platforms, but the main one I learned was Berkeley UNIX on VAXen and then later SunOS (nee Solaris 1.x) on Sun 3s. Around then I bought a 2nd hand Mac Plus, but I didn't have a lot of $$$ to invest in the infrastructure for it, it had a whopping 4M of RAM and an external hard drive, an accellerator card (16MHz 68020 if I remember right) and one of those early Apple ink jet printers (the ones based on the Canon BJC02 print engine) were probably about the most expensive items I had for it. When Linux came around in the early 1990s I jumped on it (after an abortive attempt at 386BSD) with hardware cobbled together from cast-off and liquidator parts. I never owned or used a Windows machine as my primary computer at home and even the Mac I only had a couple years where it was my primary home platform. I later got some slightly better Macs (Mac II, then a Mac IIfx) when they got obsolete and cheap enough (around 1993 or so) but I never did have one that ran A/UX which is what I had wanted. FuzzyGeff was more fortunate than me and he had an SE/30 around 1988 or 1989 and A/UX which was pretty cool. Anyway I was able to get enough software on Linux to replace the Macs for "desktop" use by around 1994 or 1995.

      Anyway, I pretty much never had enough $$$ to ever use Quicken and I took the playing DVD thing as a challenge. Today it is pretty much a non-issue, although due to the movie industry there is still a formality of a little hoop you have to jump through, it is now pretty much just a matter of a cut-n-paste. Since I wasn't on Macs during the time iTunes came out I either broke the DRM (video) or used DRMless formats (music). "Saul" advises me to keep quiet about anything related to nun disguises. Anyway, for me, Ubuntu is almost too easy compared to the distros I ran in the early days... Yggdrasil, Slackware, Red Hat 5.x & 6.x, SuSE, Mandrake...


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