6 Replies Latest reply: Sep 10, 2009 6:01 AM by Michael Black
slednecker2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hey guys! I am pretty new to the Mac universe, so please bear with me.

The other day in class, I was talking with a fellow classmate about how I like my Macbook, and I started showing him the basic features (multi-touch pad, iWork, iLife, etc) and he got really interested in getting one, so he went back home to think it over. Today we got to talking again, and he said that he had talked with his girlfriend (about to graduate in Computer Programming) and she said not to get a Mac, because they were no good for programming.

This is where I got confused. I expressed my doubts, stating that Mac's have superior programs over PC's, and I just assumed that the superior Mac programs were created with Macs, and not PC's. He said that his girlfriend told him that Mac programs are actually created with PC's, using programs like C++ and the like. I found that very hard to believe, but I can't really 'talk the talk' when it comes to computer programming, so I'm coming here.

Is it true that our PC brethren outclass us when it comes to programming? Or is his girlfriend just biased? Thanks for any/all inputs!

Message was edited by: slednecker2 (darned OS had me put on Windows Vista, even though I am clearly using Snow Leopard lol)

Macbook Pro 15", Mac OS X (10.6), Snow Leopard
  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (18,455 points)
    Where to start to debunk that myth? First off, there is nothing unique to Windows about common programming languages like C/C++ or even interpreted languages like PERL, PYTHON, RUBY (all of which, BTW, are included with OS X). Apple provides their development tools for free, including compilers, and many open source compilers also exist for OS X (gFortran and so on).

    There is a great deal of scientific programming done on Apple machines, and has been for a very long time (particularly in the Life Sciences).

    The truth is that, in an overall sense, most programming is done at a command line, so if anything, in my experience, most of it is done on UNIX/Linux boxes. But a lot is also done on OS X boxes, even if the app is ultimately compiled and released for multiple platforms.

    browse some of Apple's own information on this kind of thing:
    http://www.apple.com/science/software/lifescience.html (not all of these apps were developed on an Apple machine, but many were).
    http://hpc.sourceforge.net/

    Also keep in mind things like Virginia Tech's super-computing cluster of Apple XServes (http://www.apple.com/science/profiles/vatech2/) which is used a lot for development and deployment of high performance computing applications.

    Now, I will admit, the kinds of programmers I work with really are not interested in creating pretty GUI apps. They are interested in solving some of the most demanding computing challanges in massive data applications like whole genome sequencing and automated genome annotations. For that kind of thing, a lot of folks do their development on Apple machines (remember that OS X is UNIX at its core, and I just have not met many a scientific programmer sitting at a Windows box).

    P.S. forgot this link http://www.arc.vt.edu/
  • slednecker2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hey wow thanks so much for your input! I'll make sure to do my research, and then show him your post/information, so that he understands a little bit more.
  • EchoOut Motion Design Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    HA!! This is my friend, Grant. He's a Mac user.

    http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/s0793114/
  • slednecker2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Sorry I had another question: Michael Black, you said

    "First off, there is nothing unique to Windows about common programming languages like C/C++ or even interpreted languages like PERL, PYTHON, RUBY (all of which, BTW, are included with OS X)"

    Do you mean to say that these programs all come stock on OS X? Or that they are compatible?
  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (18,455 points)
    PERL, PYTHON and RUBY are part of a base OS X install. If you write code in C and want to compile it, just install the Developers tools (part of the optional installs on your OS X disc) as they include open source compilers.

    Since OS X is UNIX, you also have access to a world of open source applications. Look at things in the FINK project (http://www.finkproject.org/) or the Mac Ports project (http://www.macports.org/).
  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (18,455 points)
    Forgot to add, you can join the Apple Developers online group for free to get access to updated dev tools, documentation and other stuff - http://developer.apple.com/

    A paid membership is required to gain access to pre-release software, the developers forums and some other things (student membership is $99).