Today in his personal blog, Miguel de Icaza, founder of Gnome, and one of the most polarizing personalities in the free software world, announced that he is finished with the Linux platform –at least for personal use. Icaza has made a number of unpopular decisions over the years that have been rejected for the free software community at large, and has even been the target of serious criticism from the FSF and Richard Stallman, among others.
This revalation in chronicled in his latest blog post How I ended up with Mac.
On his strict practice of “dogfooding”:
I invested years of my life on the Linux desktop first as a personal passion (Gnome) and when while awoken for two Linux companies (my own, Ximian and then Novell). During this period, I believed strongly in dogfooding our own products. I believed that both me and my team had to use the software we wrote and catch bugs and errors before it reached our users. We were pretty strict about it: both from an ideological point of view, back in the days of all-software-will-be-free, and then practically – during my tamer business days. I routinely chastised fellow team members that had opted for the easy path and avoided our Linux products.
On the revalation itself:
To me, the fragmentation of Linux as a platform, the multiple incompatible distros, and the incompatibilities across versions of the same distro were my Three Mile Island/Chernobyl.
Without noticing, I stopped turning on the screen for my Linux machine during 2012. By the time I moved to a new apartment in October of 2012, I did not even bother plugging the machine back and to this date, I have yet to turn it on.
Even during all of my dogfooding and Linux advocacy days, whenever I had to recommend recommended a computer to a single new user, I recommended a Mac. And whenever I gave away computer gifts to friends and family, it was always a Mac. Linux just never managed to cross the desktop chasm.
It is what it is. Icaza’s personal politics aside –and any rotten tomatoes you might want to throw at him –he has been at the forefront of open source technology for sometime, and is the catalyst behind one of the most beloved desktop environments of all time, the Gnome 2.x series.