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The snake, the lizard and the Apple

‘Then Steve Jobs commanded, ‘Let there be light’—and light appeared.’ (Photo taken by Adriaan van Os at the Spanish Costa Blanca)

Genesis. In the beginning (satire)

In the beginning, when Steve Jobs created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of Steve Jobs was moving over the water. Then Steve Jobs commanded, ‘Let there be light’ — and light appeared. Steve Jobs was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness, and he named the light ‘Macintosh’ and the darkness ‘IBM.’ Evening passed and morning came—that was the first day.

Then Steve Jobs commanded, ‘Let there be a dome to divide the software and to keep it in two separate places’ — and it was done. So Steve Jobs made a dome, and it separated the software under it from the software above it. He named the dome ‘User Friendliness’. Evening passed and morning came—that was the second day.


Then Steve Jobs said, ‘And now we will make users; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small.’ So Steve Jobs created users, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, ‘Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. I have provided all kinds of software and all kinds of hardware for you to buy; but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food’ — and it was done. Steve Jobs looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came—that was the sixth day.


Then Steve Jobs planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and there he put the man he had formed. He made all kinds of beautiful apple trees grow there and produce good fruit. In the middle of the garden stood the tree that gives life and the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad.


Then Steve Jobs placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it. He told him, ‘You may eat the fruit of any apple tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day.’ And Steve Jobs created the snake as the shrewdest of all animals. He said to the snake: ‘Take care that man eats from all the apple trees, but not from the tree of knowledge.’ He named the snake Apple Marketing. But the snake said to Steve Jobs: ‘What shall I eat myself ?’ Steve Jobs replied ‘You can eat lizards.’

And so, for many years, man lived unconcerned in the Garden of Eden. And Steve Jobs was pleased with it. The snake took care that man didn’t eat from the tree of knowledge. However, one day the snake wanted to catch a particularly brave lizard. The snake attacked the lizard, but the lizard taught it a painful lesson. This derived the snake from guarding the tree of knowledge that day. And thus, for the first time, man ate from the tree of knowledge.

‘The snake attacked the lizard, but the lizard taught it a painful lesson.’ (Photo taken by Adriaan van Os in the French Pyrenees)

So, let’s have a bite in some of the forbidden fruits of knowledge, so well guarded by the marketing snakes.

1. the Gadget to be your Best

In London City, the real fashionable gentleman carries an umbrella around. But he never uses it. If it rains, he takes a cab.

Likewise, a Mac is not to be used. Even if you were naive enough wishing to actually use it, it’s impossible, because the display is so glossy that you’re just staring at yourself. Besides, your favourite software has overnight been ‘deprecated’ and it no longer runs with the latest, automatically installed, system crap.

The ever changing looks of the user interface of your expensive gadget confuse and annoy you. But Apple doesn’t want you to install the theme that you know and like best — unlike with Linux, where you can choose between hundreds of user interface designs. No, as a genuine MacSlave or iSlave you carefully follow the trends set by the Cupertino summer and winter fashion shows, dictating you the latest way to be hip (but not productive).

So — in silent despair you show off your fashionable MacGadget and iGadget to your friends, to impress them. But the real work is done on the ugly Windows machine at the office. Strangely, it still runs software that was conceived twenty years ago. Even more strangely, that just does the job.

2. the illusion of Innovation

Linus Torvalds says

‘The innovation the industry talks about so much is bullshit, anybody can innovate. Don’t do this big ‘think different’... screw that. It’s meaningless. All that hype is not where the real work is, the real work is in the details.’

Linus Torvalds defines innovation as continuously improving details. Apple Inc. on the other hands defines ‘innovation’ as follows:

• designing crap
• forcing everybody to use the crap
• throwing it away at the end of the fashion season
• designing new crap
• forcing everybody to use it
• etcetera

The tools that Apple uses to enforce this scheme are:

• the app store — manipulating users to use only the software (and software releases) that Apple wants it to use
• Xcode — manipulating developers to develop the software the way that Apple wants it to develop
• the internet — making sure that developer documentation disappears from the internet the day it is ‘deprecated’
• hardware incompatibility — making sure that new hardware doesn’t run previous software
• automatic updates — blocking the way back
• vendor lock-in — blocking alternatives
• marketing — the snakes telling you that this whole thing is ‘innovation’ or ‘for security reasons’.

If you look nowadays at Apple developer documentation, it consists for ninety percent of the word ‘deprecated’. This word ‘deprecated’ should be read as ‘impotent’. It marks a complete lack of software engineering skills to design something that endures time. What endures time ? Software that doesn’t bit-rot ! What doesn’t bit-rot ? Software stainless steel ! What is software stainless steel ? Pure inexorable reflective logic !

Man is an inventive animal. He is good at coming up with something new to fix a problem. But he is no good at (or too lazy for) exact thoughtful reflection. So, the Apple software engineers design something new for the sake of innovation, without really thinking it through in all detail.

The marketing snakes and the pointy-haired bosses cheer at this perceived innovation, completely unable as they are to understand and perform exact thoughtful logical reflection. They just want to sell their technical impotence as ‘innovation’.

Then, at end of the fashion season, these same people label their perceived innovation as ‘deprecated’.

3. the two Steves

Apple Computer Inc. was founded April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne, the latter selling his 10% share of the company twelve days later. Steve Wozniak provided the hardware and software skills. His Apple I and Apple II designs were a great success, but not the Apple III.

According to Wozniak, the Apple III ‘had 100 percent hardware failures’, and that the primary reason for these failures was that the system was designed by Apple’s marketing department, unlike Apple’s previous engineering-driven projects.

Ever since, the company has been led by marketing snakes and pointy-haired bosses. No capable software engineer is in a leading position.

4. the destruction of cultural heritage

This article has not been written with Apple’s latest and ‘greatest-ever’ text editor. And for good reasons. If it were, in a few years this article would no longer be readable. My Apple hardware would have failed and the new hardware would no longer run the once-greatest-ever software, because it had been ‘innovated’ away. Worse, its ‘greatest-ever’ replacement wouldn't read the old ‘deprecated’ text-format. Consequently,

all content is forever lost !

With this complete disinterest in the cultural heritage of its users, Apple acts like Islamic State terrorists destroying ancient historical artefacts and plundering and destroying historical buildings in Iraq and Syria. Just out of a short-sighted selfish mood of destruction, self-overestimation and dumbness.

The same fate awaits those developing software for Apple platforms. They wake up some day noticing that the fundament of their software, the system software calls, have disappeared along with their documentation. Simply ‘deprecated’ away by Apple Inc.

Imagine waking up one day noticing that the fundaments of your house have disappeared overnight, together with the architect’s drawings !

This makes developing software for Apple platforms an irrational venture, much like feeding money into a paper shredder.

I help customers guarding their decade-long investment in software against Apple Inc. One thing I advise, is separating all system calls from application stuff. So as to isolate the problem and to prepare for cross-platform development.

As an example of what I do, see the MacApp page.

5. the illusion of fast development

The Cocoa object-orientented framework promises fast development. Indeed, ninety percent of what you want, can be done quickly. Then, the nightmare starts. Something doesn't work as expected. The Apple provided documentation doesn't help. In fact, it is a joke, compared to the (so much ‘deprecated’) Inside Macintosh series. You search on the internet, find and read endless messages there like ‘I have been spending three days finding the answer to this question. Now I am desperate.’

That says it all. The ten percent of what you want to accomplish is a development nightmare, because the system crap is not good enough. The system is not more than a mere approximation of what it should be. And it never matures. Simply because it is ‘deprecated’ and replaced by some new crap, before it ever reaches maturity.

6. the hiding of technical impotence

Suppose, as a software developer, you run into a bug in the system crap, say this one. First reply that you get from Apple is that everything is top secret, that you may not tell anybody anything about anything, etcetera, blah blah. The second reply that you get is

This is not a bug, but intended behaviour.

The ‘engineer’ that tells you that, can then continue his afternoon nap, because everything is secret and he will never be confronted with his more than stupid reply. It doesn't matter how serious the bug is, if the answering ‘engineer’ is not in a mood (or too stupid) to help you, he waves away the bug.

This is one reason why I never report bugs to secret bug databases.

Moreover, the reply reveals Apple's lack of understanding of fast graphics. The golden rule for that is still

not to draw more than necessary.

Apple tried instead in ‘Big Sur’ (which I call ‘Big Unsure’) a whole bunch of tricks with tiled and layer-backed-drawing, with the net result of wasting memory and making graphics an even greater mess than it already is in MacOS.

I call that blasting arrogance and screaming incompetence.