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Week of August 21, 2003
PerversionTracker, or PvT for short, is a supposed off-shoot of Version Tracker, a site especially frequented by Mac addicts out for the latest information about the updates to their favourite software. PvT has no ostensible source of income, but instead seems to be the altruistic work of a dozen or so PFPTWs.
In its inception, PvT closely resembled the Bloatbusters Hall of Bloat, in that it mercilessly attacked the Mac's counterpart to Visual Basic, REALbasic, and stressed the size of downloads and disk footprints versus functionality.
The situation quickly devolved as the number of PFPTWs grew. PvT offers visitors the opportunity to post comments to articles, and the regulars, few but fanatic, increasingly found more fun in 'horsing around', e.g. trying to be the first to post a comment on a new article, authoring directly meaningless articles, or finding some new way to poke fun at PFPTW 'aussie boy', so that the purpose of the site was soon forgotten. PvT metamorphosed from a serious site intent on educating the sheltered Mac public in the exigencies of quality software engineering to a haven for morons and twits with nothing better to do than jerk each other off.
It's been Rixstep's turn to get the PvT bash - something staff here never suspected, as the relationship with the Bloatbusters is well known, and as the AppleCore Project is an exercise in lean and mean engineering. But it came to Rixstep nevertheless - and the point of view of the ambitious reviewer, who - and isn't it tiring - decided to write the entire review (of twenty two applications to boot) in haikus, was completely lost.
Someone calling themselves 'sporknet', and citing the debatable fact that the AppleCore Project already received much publicity, published a far saner review at Idle Circuits:
The AppleCore Project is a project - not a finished product. Executable sizes in the 50-100KB range are not considered good, but they're considered far better than a lot of the flotsam and jetsam out there. Knowledge of the world of Nextstep and Objective-C is fresher and briefer than the expertise in the world of the PC and Windows - one year versus twenty (DOS)/fourteen (Win) per active programmer.
Which is ostensibly something sporknet, who also intimates they are a paying subscriber, admits they understand. And although Radsoft/Rixstep are accustomed to extremely laudatory reviews bordering on the awed, nastyblogs like this from the PFPTWs at PvT don't shock or affect: After all, if what they wrote were true, then it would already be something the developers were aware of, and if it were bad enough, they would be foolish to have approved release of the programs, and if it were false - or if, as in this case, found to be anything but serious - then the reviewer(s) themselves would be nary worthy the attention.
But the sore, although different, goes deeper than a caustic comment which cuts to the quick. PvT was the one instance of public outcry in the Mac camp against bad and inefficient programming. Mac addicts know precious little about the world of viruses and trojans and worms out there, plaguing Windows users daily. They haven't really had any operating system for six years, being held in a limbo by the move of Steve Jobs back from independence to the Apple fold. And Mac users still seem to think Unix has come knocking on Apple's door, begging to enter, despite the obvious fact that it's precisely the other way around. Mac users don't know Unix, and they're being deliberately sheltered from it by the Human Interface Group - this despite OS X running on FreeBSD.
The guidelines of the HI Group state that software documentation is not to make direct reference to Unix; that the underbody never be called FreeBSD (which it is) but Darwin, a made-up name designed to obfuscate; any dangerous influences that threaten to make Mac addicts as computer-savvy as their Windows counterparts are to be vigilantly hunted down and destroyed. And for what - a Mac OS?
Macs are screwy machines. Inside, that is. The software and systemware. Or what else can you say about the kind of architecture forced on developers through the use of tools like Pascal and Object Pascal? Steve Jobs left Apple within a year after the success of the Mac, and only came back at the end of 1996, twelve years later, when Apple was ready for Chapter Eleven and ready to scrape together, despite the desperate economical climate, a staggering $429 million to beg him to do so. And still Apple lived without its rescuer for six years. Through Openstep, Rhapsody, whatever they called it before it flopped, Mac addicts watched - and waited. It wasn't until OS X Jaguar that the world was ready to admit Apple might have something - and the API and frameworks are still not completed to this day, having been whittled and watered down by the HI Group, all in the spirit of catering to those same clueless, sappy users who like to poke fun at aussie boy.
It almost looked like Unix had a pretty face on the desktop. And it almost looked like the Mac camp had a serious software critic. Instead, all we see is water splashing in the kiddie pool.
*PFPTWs: 'Pimply-faced pre-teen wankers', who incidentally are out in droves, watching this site - and Rixstep - like hawks, cowering in fear of disapproval from the adult world:
Listing referring URLs with at least 20 requests, sorted by the number of requests.