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June 19, 2012


Jack Callahan

Maybe IBM could revive the CE, too.

Or at least adopt a simplified transparent pricing model that could be accessed by customers online.

J Taylor

"We consider Macs to be the IBM i of the workstation world (or IBM i is the Mac of the server world, if you prefer)."

Are you sure that is not just wishful thinking? I can't imagine Macs have any real market presence as i developer workstations, excepting consultants who maintain their own PC's.

Jon Paris

@J Taylor Sorry - you've really confused me.

First I think most people would take "We consider ..." to be a statement of opinion - which it is. So how can an opinion be "wishful thinking"?

Second - we never said that it had a significant market presence as an i developer workstation. We were talking in terms of reliability and the "just doing what you want it to" nature of the beast. We didn't talk to volume at all.

We do agree that most IBM i folks using them (and there are many) are consultants. Actually we would add IBMers and ISVs to that. Several of them seem to be giving Macs to their developers lately.

The fact that most shops don't give developers Macs is shortsightedness on their part as far as we're concerned. Just as we like IBM i for its reliability and flexibility so we've come to appreciate the Mac as our development workstations.


I like the parallels drawn here. Customer service should be the number one priority of any business - everything else comes from that.

Another parallel: Mac for developers :: RDP for developers. It can be maddeningly difficult to sell the GUI IDE to management; the savings are not easily quantified in monetary terms, especially when half your developers insist they are more productive with SEU. The same goes for the Mac - 'it just works' doesn't have an easy way to work out the ROI, especially when the bulk of the company seems to be doing just fine on Windows.

J Taylor

My bad, I misread that line in the article.

J Whitlock

"The fact that most shops don't give developers Macs is shortsightedness on their part as far as we're concerned."

One thing I've learned over time is that being vendor agnostic allows me to be far more flexible in picking the right tools for the job at hand. Frankly, the most flexible and powerful development environment is not found on a Mac, and it would instead be shortsighted to constrain development to that platform. Imagine dropping Visual Studio as a development tool in an IT shop!

Windows, Linux, IBM, Apple, and others all have their strengths and weaknesses as platforms and vendors. Flexibility in picking the right platform makes us far more effective in IT in supporting our companies.

Jon Paris

@J Taylor "My bad, I misread that line in the article."

Sorry if I jumped on your head a bit. I'm not well and am in a really bad mood today.

Jon Paris

@ J Whitlock

Couple of points. If you are indeed "vendor agnostic" do I take it you are not using Windows? I suspect not.

I am not vendor agnostic with my choice of server - so why should it be a concern for me on my workstation? It just doesn't seem to make sense to me. Besides, I can run Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc. all on very reliable hardware.

As to "Visual Studio" (again hardly agnostic surely) - why would you have to drop it? I don't personally use it, but I do run Rational Developer in a Windows 7 virtual machine (admittedly only because Rational give me no choice). In fact many of my fellow Mac user friends run a lot of Windows software (including Visual Studio) and do it faster and more reliably on a Mac than on Windows-based systems.

I used Windows for a lot of years. I wasted days and weeks "gluing" the darn thing back together after one issue or another with WIn 95, Win 98, Win 2000, and Win XP. (I've only ever run Win 7 on a Mac so I won't add it to the list). I've watched clients beat their heads against similar issues. I don't want to be an OS expert - so I doubt I will ever go back to Windows.

I just want a machine that just lets me do my work. That when I have problems I can get hold of a technical rep in less than 5 minutes (and I don't have to sit on hold - they call me!) And they are based in Canada or the US and are specialists in their subject area. And, and, and ...

J Whitlock


I do consider myself vendor agnostic. We use Windows, Linux, and IBM i on the server side for the tasks they're best suited for. I use Windows, Linux (graphical and command line), iOS, IBM i (green screen and graphical) and Android at my desktop and other devices for the tasks that work best or are required in each case. Visual Studio and RDp are my main development environments, though I also spend more than a little time in various SQL tools and some additional Eclipse environments.

We do a fair amount of virtualization. However, if you're spending more time in the virtual machine than you do in the host platform, then why add an extra layer of complexity just to be able to run a Mac as a host? From a development standpoint, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly compelling given the tools I use as a developer to justify putting Macs in place.

I tried using a Mac as my primary machine for a while, and came away feeling constrained in the types of things I do. I think that many developers would feel the same way. I'm fully aware of the weaknesses of each platform I work with, including iOS. While Mac support is not bad (there have been exceptions), iOS iPad support has been rather spotty. Indeed, iPads don't "just work"; I have quite a number of friends who experience glitches on that platform on a regular basis. Not everything Apple does works flawlessly, and on some occasions the folks at the Apple store couldn't help us out with iPad issues - issues which I then figure out myself, with the aid of Google.

Speed and reliability claims are very subjective. My VS environment runs quite well on the hardware I have using Win7 natively. It's the best environment for the tools I currently use, just like the Mac might be the best environment for people doing different work, such as graphic designers.

If the Mac works fine for the type of work you do, that's great. It would not work well as the primary platform for the kind of work I do.

Again, the point of all this is that one size does not fit all. I'm able to tap into support on my platform that fits my needs to get done what I need to do. That's not, in any way, unique just to Apple.

David Andruchuk

i like the fact that my Macbook Pro runs both Windows (XP or 7) and the core Apple world as well.

I like the fact that for the most part, all my Windows apps in need work flawlessly on my Mac

I like my Mac (took me years to be able to say this) and really enjoy the fact that while costing more from the start, in the long run, like my 520 (or 150 for that matter), it will run and run and run.

I like the fact that Jon said what I was thinking.....

Get well Jon!


I've never dealt with IBM CE's and SE's in the past, so I have no basis for comparison there. Also, I have never owned a Mac so I have never met with an Apple tech rep. I refuse to use that other moniker.

However, I can say that IBM tech phone support is outstanding. We just (finally) upgraded to v6r1 and they were there with me every step of the way when I had any questions or concerns. That may not be the same has having an SE on site. But it was pretty darn good. They both helped me through my issues and taught me a few things as well.

I'm not trying to make a direct comparison to say one is better than another. Just trying to state a personal opinion regarding my feelings on the help available today.

But, I believe that personal touch has a lot of influence on future buying decisions.

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