Early 2004 iBook Review

I seem to recall Apple advertising that the plastic that composes my iBook’s case was shatter resistant space age technology. Well for something so advanced, it scratches like hell. Even my case scratches it. I gather this serves as motivation to purchase over priced “official” cases and sleeves. Upon plugging in my earphones, I noticed the female receptor cover popped out; This required the the motherboard to be replaced. At about the same time I noticed the screen bezel had a bubble. I was told that the screen “might” have to be replaced. I waited sometime and finally the L.C.D. screen arrived, but broken. The tech said that he might be able to just rearrange the wiring responsible, which almost took care of the bubble problem entirely. Of course, this happened while essay deadlines and exams approached. I was out a portable computer when I most needed it. In addition to that, the touch pad makes a horrendous loud thump when used; Imagine this noisy sound at night when your roommates are trying to sleep. I also had to replace the keyboard because of an irregular curvature which created needless action and sound. I can’t use the laptop when facing a sundown because rays that enter the Apple logo make the screen illegible.I personally feel that my iBook on Debian or Ubuntu Gnu-linux runs many times faster than this slow hog called Panther (even when not in power saving mode). I find Gnu-linux-ppc much more stable than OS X. When on OS X, I sometimes feel I’m running windoze 95. For starters, Gnu-linux-ppc logs me into a graphical environment faster, and never gives me a blue screen of death like OS X sometimes does (Did I mention OS X reminds me of my experience with windoze 95?). OS X logs me out to the login screen if I start apps too soon after logging in. I was also surprised that my pc laptop counterparts had higher resolutions (my maximum resolution is 1024×768). Another problem is that touching the lock mechanism gives off a static charge that intermittently disables the touch pad. I’ve had to plug in a mouse to restart and/or clear the power manager settings (something that is not made obvious and, I’m told, can fry the motherboard.).

My experience with this iBook makes me think twice about buying another Apple computer. In fact I encourage people to make their grievances known and not buy Broadcom products, and that they consider not supporting Apple hardware any longer (because of the Apple’s and Broadcom’s failure to support Airport Extreme hardware with Free Software code or even specs). I first turned to Apple because I felt their overall product (OS and hardware) was superior to the pc end. Although I my personal experience tells me this was true years ago when I bought my iMac DV (especially with windoze 95 on the market as an alternative), I no longer think this is the case. Today I believe Gnu-linux is the superior software product. and despite that I don’t think my iBook is as top notch quality as my iMac DV (was for its time), I would like to run Gnu-linux on it but I find they restrict my freedom to run my legally paid for hardware. On the unlikely event that there will be a reputable ppc manufacturer to take Apple’s ppc place, I will probably choose an AMD/ATI based computer (because AMD and ATI seem more supportive of Free Source than Intel and nVidia respectively [and Apple as seen with Airport Extreme]. NVidia does not support Free Source acceleration drivers.).

To summarize, I am disappointed in Apple because they chose to use a wireless card that lacks Free Software support. Apple’s use of FreeBSD, the Gnu compiler, and many other Free (as in beer [and freedom]) software benefits Apple directly. Thus, Apple’s implementation of a closed wireless card is hypocritical, to say the least. I can only assume Apple’s lack of Free Software support, the forcing of closed wireless Airport Extreme, is an attempt to have their OS monopolize their laptops. I see this as an hypocritical effort on the part of Apple, paying lip service to the Open Software movement only to reduce research and development, ergo, taking the research and software for free (as in “free beer”) and not reciprocating.

Concerning Releasing Airport Extreme Source Code

Here is some correspondence between myself and Broadcom. I’ll let you decide if they are unco-operative. In the interest of keeping the correspondence in as pristine condition as possible, I’ve left them in backwards (m$) email etiquette, or lack thereof. I’ve added a few editorial comments in red.
Broadcom Email 1.html
Broadcom Email 2.html

Maurice Cepeda

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