OS X and Vendor Lock-in

Every now and then I find myself defending Apple and its products. Besides the unusual (over here) honor of owning two Apple computers, I’ve not indulged in any obvious Apple fandom. I like their products, and I smile when I hear OS X being compared to Windows. 🙂 Regardless, one of the more stupider criticisms of late that I’ve heard is vendor lock-in and how being on OSX somehow locks your data up. This is obviously precipitated by Tim Bray’s unswitch and a couple of other related posts. This is a rebuttal.

OS X is an operating system and it does nothing special to pack your data in and hide it. “Vendor lock-in” occurs probably when you use Apple’s applications. iApps, possibly, or those bundled with the OS. Solution? Don’t use the bundled applications, or use them alongside open data stores. Let’s take my Dock. There’s Adium, which is a port of the opensource Gaim, Skype which is platform independent, Safari, which I use alongside Del.icio.us & Google Bookmarks; Netnewswire, which is an RSS reader and which syncs everything up to Newsgator, the built-in Terminal, ITunes which might take my music ratings along with it (big deal), downloading songs using Transmission, Bittorrent & XTorrent, Textmate which afaik is just a text editor, and Photo Booth, which just takes pictures and stores them as images in my Pictures folder. My email client is Gmail.

Otoh, I use the plethora of opensource tools made available to me through Darwinports: Netstumbler, wget (which is my download manager), curl, and other opensource tools like Neoffice, etc.

I can’t see no vendor lock-in here (sic). Please move on.