Pondering Platforms
February 09, 2018

For the first time in a long while - possibly ever - I have the time, the space, and the funds to work exclusively on my own software.

It may not last forever, but whilst it does it is fantastic, and I’m really relishing the chance to start with as much of a blank slate as I can manage.

As part of this process, I’ve recently been examining some basic assumptions, and thinking the unthinkable: maybe I shouldn’t be working in the Apple ecosystem?

This is partly motivated by the desire to upgrade my hardware, and the reality that what’s on offer from Apple currently is under-powered, over-priced, virtually un-upgradeable, or all of the above.

It’s also party motivated by frustration with the quality of the tools at my disposal, and the sense that Apple’s focus has slipped badly in the last few years, and software quality has suffered as a result.

To be fair though, part of the motivation is just the desire for a change.

The main flaw in this plan, of course, is the lack of decent alternatives. I’ve got a Windows 10 license (which I use to play the occasional game), and despite wanting to be open minded, I truly feel that it sucks. This seems to pretty much leave only one or other flavour of Unix-derivative. I’m increasingly ok with that, in principle, but in practice I find it to still be a world of incredible pain where even the simplest details seem to have been overlooked. As Winston Churchill said, “Mac OS is is the worst operating system, except for all the others.”.

Nevertheless, I’m seriously contemplating speccing out a high-end PC and putting Linux on that, instead of splashing on an overpriced iMac Pro or waiting for the mythical Mac Pro / Mac Unicorn.

With this in mind, one thing I am experimenting with is Swift-on-other-platforms. In particular I’m interested in trying to use the Swift Package Manager as my basic tool for modularising builds, and on seeing how good an editing / debugging environment I could get set up without relying on Xcode. I’ve been down this sort of route before, and I can easily imagine that I’ll conclude that I need to stick with Xcode on the Mac for now, but it is at least an interesting area to play in.

More about Swift later, by the way. I kinda like it, but only (at this point) kinda.