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Re: Competition

At Fri, 26 Aug 2011 18:00:01 -0500, David Young <> 
Subject: Re: Competition
> At work the other day we were lamenting the high price of the tools that
> our designers use.  Somebody suggested free alternatives and the general
> agreement seemed to be that they would do in a pinch but not for doing
> your job.  The quality just isn't high enough.

I think the discussion started here talking about the platform, not
necessarily about the applications.

I personally have not yet seen anything as good as xfig in terms of
fundamental quality and capability in a 2D drafting program for Windoze,
but then again I've never paid for software, and I haven't paid
attention to such software in some years.  Xfig is missing good high-end
professional libraries and macros for some purposes, but for others it
seems to have quite a lot going for it.  It's not 3D either of course,
and it's just one example of a design-oriented CAD application.  I could
be completely off my rocker on this subject though as I don't use any
kind of GUI drawing program very often.

I've seen engineers use high-end commercial 3D CAD programs on HP and
SGI workstations, and perhaps those programs are available on PCs now.

However I've also heard those same engineers complain bitterly about
problems with those programs.

I have far less complaint about commercial applications than I have
about the platforms people choose to run them on.  If a company is going
to pay big bucks for commercial design tools then I would say they
actually have quite a lot of say in what platforms they choose to buy
those tools for, assuming there are competing tools available of course.
If the vendor wants the sale then they make it work on your preferred
platform -- I know it works the other way around when I'm the software
vendor.  Of course if there's no competition in the product space you're
spending money in then life sucks, unless you can buy the whole vendor

In the good old days of 10-dozen unix varieties and variants a good
software vendor had to port their application to any platform which was
capable of running it if they wanted to make a big sale, including
non-Unix-compatible systems sometimes.  Once upon a time I ported
commercial applications to a vast majority of those many unix varieties
and variants.

> For me, the trouble with "the desktop" is that none of the traditional
> UNIX design principles (everything is text, composition of simple
> functions, blah blah blah) are apparent, and the gulf between what I
> want to do and how I do it is too great (too much mousing around).


> Please don't misunderstand this as an aversion to GUIs.  GUIs can be
> great, UNIX just hasn't got one. :-)

I wouldn't quite agree there though.....

> FWIW, the desktop that I use is Mac OS X.  I find that it's more
> bearable since I use Quicksilver.  There *are* things that UNIX could
> benefit by borrowing from Mac OS X, btw, but WIMP is not one of them.

Indeed I consider Aqua to be a usable GUI for a unix-compatible system,
and it seems to be having good commercial success at this time.

However I'm typing in an X11 session on my iMac right now -- everything
truly unixy happens in X11 for me, still running ctwm, and except for
the fact there's an Apple logo at the bottom of the monitor and my
keyboard sometimes does funny things, and of course I have a touch pad
and a magic mouse, and of course this is a much nicer and much higher
resolution screen, I can't really tell anything is different from when I
used a Sun workstation.

                                                Greg A. Woods
                                                Planix, Inc.

<>       +1 250 762-7675

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