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What Sucks About DEs, pt. II: Apple, MacOS X

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Mac

Last week's column was basically a rant about things that bothered me about Ubuntu's GNOME/Linux combination. Besides the usual 'I do not experience the problems you have, so you must be an anti-GNOME troll!' and of the course the ever-present 'How on earth can you complain about Free software!', it did what is was supposed to do: bring problems under developer's direct attention (for instance, Evolution's UI maintainer emailed me, asking for more clarification). Now it's Apple's turn. Here is a list of problems I find the most annoying about Apple's Mac/MacOS.

  1. The MacOS does not exactly feel fast. It seems as if every action just takes a fraction of a second longer on the Mac than it does on other operating systems-- as if the MacOS has a continual hangover. While the situation on the MacBook Pro Apple is loaning me has improved considerably, it's still not what I want out of my operating system. Other than that, this MacBook Pro has a dual-core 2.0Ghz processor and 2 gigabyte of RAM; so no wonder it feels faster than on other Macs I've tried.

  2. MacOS X is an inconsistent mess. Yes, it really is. Graphically, that is. OSX now has, what, 7 or 8 different themes, and as far as I'm concerned, that's 6 or 7 too many. Some people say Apple is experimenting with all these themes; that's fine, but please keep that reserved for testers, and not for people like me who do not like to spend 130 Euros every 18 months on a piece of software that is only getting more inconsistent instead of less. If you like graphical consistency, stick with BeOS/Zeta or GNOME.

Full Story.

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Mozilla Leftovers

  • Making WebAssembly even faster: Firefox’s new streaming and tiering compiler
    People call WebAssembly a game changer because it makes it possible to run code on the web faster. Some of these speedups are already present, and some are yet to come. One of these speedups is streaming compilation, where the browser compiles the code while the code is still being downloaded. Up until now, this was just a potential future speedup. But with the release of Firefox 58 next week, it becomes a reality. Firefox 58 also includes a new 2-tiered compiler. The new baseline compiler compiles code 10–15 times faster than the optimizing compiler.
  • Firefox Telemetry Use Counters: Over-estimating usage, now fixed
    Firefox Telemetry records the usage of certain web features via a mechanism called Use Counters. Essentially, for every document that Firefox loads, we record a “false” if the document didn’t use a counted feature, and a “true” if the document did use that counted feature.
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  • Giving and receiving help at Mozilla
    This is going to sound corny, but helping people really is one of my favorite things at Mozilla, even with projects I have mostly moved on from. As someone who primarily works on internal tools, I love hearing about bugs in the software I maintain or questions on how to use it best. Given this, you might think that getting in touch with me via irc or slack is the fastest and best way to get your issue addressed. We certainly have a culture of using these instant-messaging applications at Mozilla for everything and anything. Unfortunately, I have found that being “always on” to respond to everything hasn’t been positive for either my productivity or mental health. My personal situation aside, getting pinged on irc while I’m out of the office often results in stuff getting lost — the person who asked me the question is often gone by the time I return and am able to answer.
  • Friend of Add-ons: Trishul Goe
    Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Trishul Goel! Trishul first became involved with Mozilla five years when he was introduced to the Firefox OS smartphone. As a JavaScript developer with an interest in Mozilla’s mission, he looked for opportunities to get involved and began contributing to SUMO, L10n, and the Firefox OS Marketplace, where he contributed code and developed and reviewed apps. After Firefox OS was discontinued as a commercial product, Trishul became interested in contributing to Mozilla’s add-ons projects. After landing his first code contributions to addons.mozilla.org (AMO), he set about learning how to develop extensions for Firefox using WebExtensions APIs. Soon, he began sharing his knowledge by leading and mentoring workshops for extension developers as part of Mozilla’s “Build Your Own Extension” Activate campaign.

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