Why do so many Ruby/Rails developers use Macs?

I am a QA engineer who works in Ruby quite a bit, and I've never been
able to figure out...why is there a disproportionately large
contingent of Mac users among Ruby developers? Macs are probably 10
percent of the computer market, but every time I go to a Ruby
conference, probably 80 percent of the laptops there are Macs.

Any thoughts?

Then why is it so hard for me to find just one of you guys for a Delaware spot? I need a ROR Mac Developer for a project with Bank of America in Delaware…

I am a QA engineer who works in Ruby quite a bit, and I've never been
able to figure out...why is there a disproportionately large
contingent of Mac users among Ruby developers? Macs are probably 10
percent of the computer market, but every time I go to a Ruby
conference, probably 80 percent of the laptops there are Macs.

Well a least one reason is that ruby on windows has historically been
not such a great proposition due to slower speed and hassle installing
gems with native extensions.

Fred

Hi Ron,

Then why is it so hard for me to find just one of you guys for a
Delaware spot?

I can think of several potential reasons.

1) Your original posting did not follow the forum's convention, clearly
posted on the Google Groups home page, that job postings be prefixed on
the subject line with [JOBS]. A lack of respect for the community's
norms starts you off on the wrong foot.

2) Your posting included no information whatsoever regarding the
position. While the US economy, in general, is in very poor shape, the
Rails ecosystem is quite healthy. If you want to attract qualified
talent to your projects, you'll probably want to spend a little time
'sprucing up' your preso. That, of course, presumes that you've done
some homework wrt your audience.

... for a project with Bank of America ...

Ummmm... by itself, that's doing you more harm than good. If it were
me, I'd talk much more about the team. Rails developers are generally a
younger crowd. Working for a Bank, well... not nearly as much fun as
working for a startup. And Rails is about having fun while we work.

in Delaware..

3) Not sure how many Rails developers there are in Delaware. You might
want to google 'Ruby Brigade Delaware' to get started.

HTH,
Bill

I am a QA engineer who works in Ruby quite a bit, and I’ve never been

able to figure out…why is there a disproportionately large

contingent of Mac users among Ruby developers? Macs are probably 10

percent of the computer market, but every time I go to a Ruby

conference, probably 80 percent of the laptops there are Macs.

Any thoughts?

Jim, here are my reasons for selecting a Mac:

o the OS is built on very stable technologies like Unix

o the graphical user interface is great for delivering a better user experience

o open source friendly

o can use both off the shelf and open source software

o in regards to the web, a better mirror to the platform I’m deploying to

i.e. most deployed web sites are running on Unix based systems

o most of the companies I have worked for were Unix based environments

o a very nice and free development environment in Xcode for building desktop, iPhone, and MacRuby applications

o extensibility

e.g. I can run Windows 7 Ultimate, Linux, other OS compatible applications side by side with Mac OS applications using VMWare Fusion.

I tend use a very nice tool called Rational Performance Tester on Linux for simulating user load on a web site. BTW, Rational Performance

Tester is only supported on the Window and Linux platforms.

o the company, Apple, cares more about winning the quality battle than the majority battle

In short, it’s about working in an environment that you enjoy which provides the options to expand.

Just my 2 cents,

-Conrad

Macs are by fat the easiest way to get going in rails/ruby because it's there out of the box. A few gem commands and you're rockin' and rollin'. Windows and Linux are easy to set up too but require a bit more setup work.

Ubuntu is good but you have to use the stuff in the repositories by default which is ok but not as good as issuing gem commands. Chances are good that you'll deploy to *nix so you might as well learn to develop on it too

Also macs are just way nicer to work on day-to-day. I see slot more java devs using macs too these days.

I've only been doing Ruby on Rails and Ruby development for 4 weeks now but from my experience so far all the tools I need either come with OSX or a built for OSX. So it's just a lot less of a hassle to get up and running.

James.

Jim Knowlton wrote:

Not true, it is easy to install so that the gem commands can be used
in the normal way. I use this script to install the lamp stack, mysql
ruby and rails (on ubuntu 9.10), it does not get much easier than
this. It assumes that there is a folder ~/downloads

# this installs the lamp stack, the ^ is important. See
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Tasksel
sudo apt-get install lamp-server^
sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-auth-mysql phpmyadmin

# this derived from
http://www.hackido.com/2009/04/install-ruby-rails-on-ubuntu-904-jaunty.html
# bits for building stuff
cd ~
sudo apt-get install build-essential
# ruby and mysql stuff, this assumes that the lamp stack with mysql
has already been installed
sudo apt-get install ruby ri rdoc libmysql-ruby ruby1.8-dev irb1.8
libdbd-mysql-perl libdbi-perl libmysql-ruby1.8 libmysqlclient15off
libnet-daemon-perl libplrpc-perl libreadline-ruby1.8 libruby1.8
rdoc1.8 ri1.8 ruby1.8 irb libopenssl-ruby libopenssl-ruby1.8
libhtml-template-perl
wget -N -P ~/downloads
http://rubyforge.org/frs/download.php/60718/rubygems-1.3.5.tgz
tar xvzf ~/downloads/rubygems-1.3.5.tgz
cd rubygems-1.3.5
sudo ruby setup.rb
cd ..
rm -rf rubygems-1.3.5
echo "making symlinks - not sure if this will always be necessary,
must be done if gem -v does not work"
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/gem1.8 /usr/local/bin/gem
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/ruby1.8 /usr/local/bin/ruby
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/rdoc1.8 /usr/local/bin/rdoc
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/ri1.8 /usr/local/bin/ri
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/irb1.8 /usr/local/bin/irb
# rails latest version
sudo gem install rails

Colin

" Macs are probably 10 percent of the computer market"

That would be the computer user market, not the computer professional
market.

Most professionals in any field use equipment that is different than
home users. Professional drivers, professional filmmakers,
professional chefs.

Being the most popular in the consumer market does not make an item
the best for a particular task.
Think of the best hamburger you ever ate. One that just thinking about
it makes your mouth water.

Did you think about a McDonald's plain hamburger?

Why not? McDonald's hamburgers are clearly the leaders in the market
place. They sell more than any other brand of hamburger. They are
adequate nutritionally and are reasonably priced.

Mac buyers spend all that extra money an pure fresh ground beef on
artisan baked rolls with fresh trimmings.
Linux users grill their own at home.

Anything is better than Windows to develop Rails. Linux (Ubuntu) does
the job for me. I'm not a Mac guy mainly because the hardware cost
much more than the equivalent (bogomips for bogomips) PC.

By the way, it's a nice script Colin. I have put something similar
together but it install rails and other development tools (SCM,
Database, Java, etc.) on Ubuntu using a dialogs (GUI + bash):
http://symbiosoft.net/ubuntu_devenv

Etienne.

you lost me on hamburger! - sorry! :slight_smile:
But yeah ALL people i have met use macs.
now, am going to go for some fresh ground beef.

Well I have been sceptical about Mac (Ubuntu user here), because a big part of it is just brand, but now when I think about it there are some advantages of using Mac over Ubuntu:

  1. Photoshop has a version for mac, but not for Linux and as a freelancer I have to deal with graphics from time to time.
  2. Textmate. Haven’t used it myself, but from the podcasts I’ve seen it looks pretty sexy. Currently using gvim.

So when the time to buy a new laptop comes I will consider getting a mac.

Does anybody have any other arguments for using mac over ubuntu?

Well this was something that I found also a bit weird when I began
learning rails. I generally don't like apple because they obligate you
to buy also the hardware for having their OS, programs and the like...

Except from all of that and most importantly, as a web developer I
need many versions of internet explorer to check how my sites are and
I don't enjoy to have a virtual machine with windows to check them. So
in one corner stands rails installation in windows which isn't that
difficult, and in the other stands a virtual machine installation with
windows and all the internet explorer versions to check the sites.
Internet explorer is the most used browser (unfortunately) so it is
necessary to check your site there and it is easy with windows to have
all the versions and generally all the popular browsers. So windows
and rails is ok I think and I personally prefer it from OS X :).

I bought a Mac laptop when I had to spend significant time on the
road, because I can test with browsers on all the major platforms:
Mac (native) and Linux/Windows VMs, all on one box.

And as you said, there are more software options.

FWIW,

I guess "major" is subjective and depends on your user base. At
work it breaks down along these lines (we do not test browsers
across different OSes): 82% IE, 13% Firefox, 3% Safari, and 1%
Chrome.

Apples makes Safari available for Windows. Both Chrome and
Safari use WebKit as their engine. There is also Lunascape which
support all the engines on Windows.

ies4linux with the help of wine gets you IE 6, 5.5, 5 on Linux.
Chrome is in beta for Linux, if you do not want to use that you
Chromium might be a suitable alternative.

/Allan

Apples makes Safari available for Windows.

True now, but that wasn't the case when I got my first Mac. And I
have no idea if they are truly equivalent.

Both Chrome and Safari use WebKit as their engine.

And exhibit very different behavior; I certainly wouldn't consider them
equivalent for testing purposes.

ies4linux with the help of wine gets you IE 6, 5.5, 5 on Linux.

I've never tried it, but I've seen reports of major behavior discrepancies
between those and the "real thing". And at this point IE below 6.0 is
pretty much a non-factor; you need to test in IE 8, 7, and possibly 6
depending on target audience.

With easy (and cheap/free) virtualization available, there doesn't seem
to me to be a good reason not to use it to check your work on browsers
in their "native" environments.

YMMV,

You probably should test across OSs. I've found some things that work fine in Firefox for Windows, but fail on Firefox for Mac & vice-versa. There is close parity across OSs for the browsers, but there are definitely differences at times.

Well this was something that I found also a bit weird when I began

learning rails. I generally don’t like apple because they obligate you

to buy also the hardware for having their OS, programs and the like…

I have heard this argument so many times. Apple has been operating

like this from the beginning and I bet there’s a lot less code bloat in their

OS because they do not have to work with so many different configurations.

Next, I can say the same thing about a cars like Ferrari, Porche, or Lamborghini in

that many people want one but they want it at half the price. In short, you

buy what you can afford and move on.

Except from all of that and most importantly, as a web developer I

need many versions of internet explorer to check how my sites are and

I don’t enjoy to have a virtual machine with windows to check them.

Yes, I tend to do the same with VMWare Fusion but I’m not concerned with working

with every browser but a subset of browsers that support the functionality that I need

for my application. For example, you’ll see on many sites something like this:

This website is best supported by using Firefox 3.x, Safari 4.x, …

Just my 2 cents,

-Conrad

True enough, alas. But thanks to the efforts of Luis Lavena and the others working on rake-compiler and the new rubyinstaller for windows (rubyinstaller.org), things are getting better and better for windows based rubyists. 1.9 is noticeably faster, and DevKit lets gem developers on non-windows platforms easily include windows-compatible binary components w/their gems.

-Roy

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Ron,

I suspect your client doesn't want to pay what it costs to get that
type of skill in/to that location. The H1's are gone (the dollar
debacle drove lots of offshore talent away, along with the cost of a
Visa here) and despite the economy, lots of us aren't really looking
to work for a lot of the prevailing wages. I can;t tell you how many
java positions I've turned down in recent months because they just
aren;t willing to pay enough to get me motivated to do the job.

Just as people griping about homes they cannot sell, who, if they cut
the price to the market, would sell it in short order, similarly with
labor. -RVince