Gnome inventor excites more controversy

The man who outraged the weirdy beardies in the open source community by defecting from Linux to Microsoft has decided that Redmond has failed to provide enough micromanagement of his life and has moved to Apple.

Miguel de Icaza, who once made a name for himself with his Gnome interface, apparently he was born that way, created a major stir when he defected to Windows. Open sauce guru Richard Stallman called him a traitor and there were calls for him to be hung, drawn and quartered .

Now that no one seems to want to kill him any more, Icaza has opted to force himself back into the limelight by using a Mac in a bid to get a little more attention. Writing in his blog de Icaza said that he was converted to the cult of the Mac while he was on holiday in Brazil.

Using language straight from an Apple press release, de Icaza said: “While I missed the comprehensive Linux toolchain and userland, I did not miss having to chase the proper package for my current version of Linux, or beg someone to package something. Binaries just worked.”

He said he went back to Linux, but stayed part-time on the Mac because “the fragmentation of Linux as a platform, the multiple incompatible distros, and the incompatibilities across versions of the same distro” were his Three Mile Island / Chernobyl.

Without noticing, he said he stopped turning on the screen for Linux machine during 2012. By the time he moved to a new apartment in October 2012, he did not even bother plugging the machine in.

He seems to have missed mentioning his Windows adventure, which must have taken up the best part of a decade. But it is his sticking the boot into Linux which is attracting all the headlines. Apple needs all the converts it can get at the moment and if a former Linux expert is piping that they should all be headed to Cupertino then hopefully others will follow. Surely one of the founders of the Open Sauce movement should be able to attract a few defectors?

Well, it turns out that would work only if they were extraordinarily uninformed. As one Linux programmer told us, if de Icazo was so concerned about the fragmentation of Linux he should not have helped cause it. He was in the driver’s seat as Linux started to go that way and did little to stop it.

“The idea of someone going from open source to an environment which is as controlled as Apple’s means that someone missed the point of the movement in the first place,” our open saucey source added.

One of the comments on de Icazo’s announcement pointed out that this was hardly news as de Icazo left Gnome development around 2005 or so, and it’s well-known that he is doing Mono for iOS and Android. Maybe another comment on Slashdot about the blog post is correct, and de Icazo thinks it is better to be talked about than not talked about, even if that means confessing your love for Apple.