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(When) Will Linux Pass Apple On The Desktop? 1316

Posted by timothy
from the my-little-3-percenters dept.
EisPick writes "A column posted today on Slate ponders projections that Linux PCs will pass Apple in desktop market share next year. Will Linux do to OS X what it already has done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris and emerge as the only viable competitor to Windows on the desktop?"
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(When) Will Linux Pass Apple On The Desktop?

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  • by OwnerOfWhinyCat (654476) * on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:50PM (#6279115)
    ...done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris and emerge as the only viable competitor to Windows on the desktop?

    Of course not. Two reasons:

    1) Apple's followers are nothing less than fanatical; you will pry their Macs from their cold dead fingers.

    2) Apple has seen the light. The costs of embracing Unix underpinnings and âoeMostlyOpenSource,â are going to seriously pay off. Soon, there will be nothing cool that comes out for the Linux Desktop that doesn't soon run on the Mac.

    No worries.
  • No Way! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:51PM (#6279130)
    I hope the author checks out the keynote given today by old Stevie boy. I think the future for the Mac looks brighter than ever after today. FP!
  • Doubtful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoomerSooner (308737) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:53PM (#6279150) Homepage Journal
    Maybe when it has Photoshop, Shake, Final Cut, Illustrator, Quark, Acrobat, etc...

    Until then OS X has nothing to fear on the desktop.

    Server side is completely different though. I run almost all Linux servers (one windows server and one sun server) but OS X kicks the shit out of Gnome/KDE/Enlightenment/etc... It's consistant, reliable and fast. Not to mention the coolest laptops around.
  • by glenebob (414078) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:53PM (#6279152)
    On the other hand, maybe it will happen. The *only* reason I don't have a copy of OSX is because I don't want to mess with another hardware platform, and a more expensive one at that. If OSX ran on x86, I'd at least have tried it. I suspect I'm not alone here.
  • by Martin Kallisti (652377) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:53PM (#6279153)
    Not to whine or anything, but presently Linux has a niche and Mac OS also has a niche. Some parts of these may touch each other, but there are Mac users who wouldn't touch Linux with a ten foot pole, and vice versa. Right now, Mac OS supports far more commercial productivity software in many areas than Linux, something which many other of the "outmaneuvered" systems have not done. Considering Apples release of the G5 and the continuing improvement of both Linux and OS X, I wouldn't be surprised if Linux and Apple primarily eat Microsoft's market shares, not each others'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:54PM (#6279160)
    The configuration files stop changing location from release to release.

    I am constantly asked by people how to do things with Linux, my response is always the same, which version do you have?

    Face it, the desktop market is not self supporting. Until support is easier with Linux, the alternatives are worth the money.
  • by Davak (526912) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:54PM (#6279168) Homepage
    Apple will never go away. Apple has built a loyal fan base that will stick with it through thick and thin.

    I am not an apple fan... but I appreciate what apple brings to the table.

    That apple fan base is going to remain constant. Apple is safe and it works--easily.

    Linux and windows systems CAN be built to work and to work well... however, they also allow a lot of tweakage. A large portion of the users feel they have a muscle car, and they want to tweak, overclock, and customize that bastard of all of its worth.

    A world with linux, apple, and microsoft--having the three of them is much better than having any two. New ideas, new flow, new users.

    Davak
  • Too Hard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zarxos (648322) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:55PM (#6279174)
    That's cool that Linux is getting a bigger market share, but I still feel that it's too hard to use for the average computer user. I can use it just fine, but I don't know if someone like my mom or grandparents could. That's pretty much the main place Apple pulls ahead right now. That may change in the future, and I don't want to start a big argument, but that's just how I feel things stand right now.
  • Re:Doubtful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LazerRed (679181) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:56PM (#6279189)
    Keyword "server". I don't usually run a "desktop" on my Sun Servers... Sigh. I hate it when people compare apples to oranges.
  • by Klimaxor (264151) <jdunn@so s b b s . com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:56PM (#6279199)
    Apple users are just that, Apple users. They love them, trust them, and some may do things that i can't mention. They love the simplicity, and the pretty screens. Professionals, more specifically digital photography (even more specifically digital typesetting, the field of work i'm in) also love Mac's. Linux on the other hand, in the professional aspect, is still sort of a new player. In the server aspect, linux is still a front runner for professionals, but in the desktop environment, it's still..shady to them. They have system's they know how to use, and aren't willing to make dramatic changes. With the Mac OS now using unix-based underlayers, professionals are even more likely to stay with Apple because "hey, we still have an Operating System we're used to, with the dependability of Li/Unix in the background, Why change?"
  • by |>>? (157144) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:57PM (#6279205) Homepage
    This is all really big news,
    1. Apple software runs on Apples.
    2. Linux software runs on Apples, Intel, Toasters and Watches.

    I'm not sure why this is a big surprise... I'm more interested to know when Linux will overtake Windows on the desktop.

  • by tshak (173364) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:59PM (#6279221) Homepage
    I'm in the same position that you are but the reality is that we are in a very small demographic. The simple fact that we consider "trying" other OS's, or running multiple OS's underscores the fact. When the average consumer, and maybe even the average "prosumer" looks to buy a computer, they look at the entire package. There are few linux packages out there, and none that are nearly as compelling as the PC and Apple offerings (unless your budget is $300).

  • I love Linux. I breathe Linux. I make a business out of migrating people from Windows to Linux. My question is though, why should we even worry about whether or not Linux will surpass OS X in desktop usage or sales. If it's for acceptance in the marketplace for newer applications being ported, great. If it's for bragging rights, bad. Remember, it's about the best tool(s) to get the job done, not market dominance. We're not looking to eliminate competition (well, maybe SCO but that's another story for later on in the day), we're trying to add choices and solutions. We shouldn't be striving for all out dominance, we should be striving for the best tools for the job and let the people who need it decide.

    Ok, I'm done with my rant. Mod this as you see fit. This isn't meant to be flamebait or a troll but I can definately see how it can be taken as one...

    CliffH
  • by sloth jr (88200) on Monday June 23, 2003 @07:59PM (#6279227)
    Linux' chance to supplant Apple is going to happen at the corporation, not in the home. Companies have a large investment of ix86 that they will be loathe to throw away. If Linux does overcome Apple's market share (this seems possible), it will happen in business.

    From a technical viewpoint, Linux doesn't offer much to the home user:

    Aqua's a nicer interface (of course this is subjective), and X servers are still freely available for it

    Most (but not all) software for Linux can port easily to MacOS X

    Apple's got better game support than Linux. Barely.

    Peripheral support is superb under MacOS X - plug-and-play actually works.

    sloth jr

  • It might not... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:00PM (#6279232)
    Apple is transforming itself. Yes, they're still proprietary, but their OS isn't entirely so anymore. They're also supplying some kick ass hardware now, so there's a chance that even your average Linux user might find an OSX machine well enough built to be worth buying.

    For myself, I want 64 bit. x86 offerings aren't really completely available to me as I have been able to find, but I could spend a couple thousand to have a very well built computer with a version of UNIX (abeit, a rather interestingly tweaked version) already prepared for the exact hardware, including the multimedia aspects. That's pretty damn slick.

    Linux is awesome for anything I want to load it on to, but if I an buying the high-end hardware, I'd probably run OSX just for the fit.
  • More Work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WatertonMan (550706) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:01PM (#6279247)
    While Linux is making strides (check out Ximian) it still has a long way to go. It really depends upon how it is to be used. But realistically the "regular folk" will not be using Linux for several reasons.

    1. Much missing software. (Office, Photoshop, etc). Some of these have Linux equivalents but they really aren't the same. i.e. no graphics professional would use Gimp instead of Photoshop. There isn't an equivalent of Illustrator or Freehand. OpenOffice is still very limited in opening up Excel and Word files. (And is clunkier in my opinion)
    2. Too much configuration. It is hard for Slashdot folks to realize, but keeping Linux up to date and configuring it is a royal pain in the ass. I consider myself computer savvy and I still have problems with Linux all too often!

    Compare this to the Mac. Everything works the way you expect it. Plus you do get nearly everything that Linux provides. So it really is the best of both worlds. The only downside is that the hardware ends up being a couple hundred more than an equivalent PC system. And if you roll your own box (which most can't) then the price difference is even higher. That's a big deal to many people.

  • Re:Not any more! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foonf (447461) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:02PM (#6279261) Homepage
    What you have to understand is that after Jobs came in, Apple permanently gave up the idea of unseating Wintel dominance, or even gaining market share. Everything they do now is focused on extracting maximum profits on sales to their current fanatical user base, and keeping them locked into the platform for as long as possible. Even through the last few years of "success" their sales have been relatively stagnant and the overall market share has dropped. They are making money, more or less, though, so no one is too concerned. But there is nothing of the sense of manifest destiny and that empowers the Linux/open source community, nor the ability to run on practically any computer hardware, so in the long run I don't see how they could hope to stay on top of Linux (as long as the usability of desktop Linux distributions improves and continues to approach parity with Windows and Mac OS).
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:03PM (#6279272) Homepage
    This leaves Apple with a static stagnant userbase.

    Even if Apple keeps all of it's current customers, it could still end up 3rd behind Linux.

    The real kicker is expecting people to jump to a completely other hardware platform just to indulge in OS 10 niftiness.
  • by tshak (173364) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:04PM (#6279277) Homepage
    and Mac OS also has a niche

    Ya, the "making slick computers that just work and are userfriendly for the average and power users" niche.

    Just because Apple has a small marketshare doesn't mean that it has a niche. They appeal to the vast majority of Windows' market.
  • Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:04PM (#6279279) Homepage Journal
    ...there will be more Linux boxes in the field than OS X machines. Duh: they're cheaper.

    This being said, no: Linux won't make Mac go away. Mac is solvent, well marketed, and--after today--on the cutting edge. People will still be willing to step up for a high-end Mac, particularly in Apple's traditional markets.

    As an aside, I think a lot of Linux folks will wanna try PPC distributions on Apple's blazing new hardware.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pVoid (607584) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:04PM (#6279283)
    agreed.

    After today's releases, I was actually asking myself if OS X could actually start threatening Windows.

    I've always been a PC user (because of flexibility, price, and just openess of the whole thing), and I do use Windows, and for the first time ever today (looking at the G5 specs and the MacOS stuff) I was actually tempted.

    Sorry wishful thinkers... linux ain't gonna do nothin' to OS X. In any case, it'll have much less effect on OS X than it could have on Windows.

  • by Tokerat (150341) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:05PM (#6279294) Journal

    ...but being based on BSD and such, it's pretty easy to port Linux software to OS X. Apple's stuff it more expensive, so for existing installations (i.e. business desktops) Linux has a huge advantage of working on existing hardware and being free. However, i see Mac OS X as a complement to systems like Linux and BSD. For home use, I'm not sure Linux will surpass OS X, simply because most people still are not familiar with it.

    If Apple's prices where lower ($1999 for an entry level G5? I love Macs, but Jesus tapdancing Christ...) they'd beat everyone in a heartbeat.
  • furthermore... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sacrilicious (316896) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:05PM (#6279298) Homepage
    reason I don't have a copy of OSX is because I don't want to mess with another hardware platform

    To say nothing of it costing $120 each time Apple upgrades the OS. I paid for 10.1 just in time to watch 10.2 get released. I thought I'd simply do without the luxury of 10.2, but began encountering an increasing number of pieces of software that required 10.2 - not 10.1 - to work. The Apple OS is slick and beautiful, but may not be worth the extra $100+ every N months.

  • by coupland (160334) * <<dchase> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:10PM (#6279331) Journal

    Will Linux do to OS X what it already has done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris and emerge as the only viable competitor to Windows on the desktop?

    <sarcasm>
    Of course it will! And it's the wealth of commercial-quality software packages that will get it there! Rumba, Photoshop, PageMaker, Framemaker, Flash 6, AutoCAD, MS-Office, Lotus Notes, Cisco VPN client, Acrobat full, Kazaa... These are all cool pieces of software that run better under Linux than Mac. NOT!
    </sarcasm>

    Seriously, Linux is great and all but to compare it to Mac is the height of arrogance. Look at Freshmeat [freshmeat.net] some time. There are six times more projects under Software Development Tools than under Office / Business. There are more damn desktop environments than office projects! 435 text editors and only 66 pieces under Artistic Software. Mplayer is great and all but it still doesn't compare to Media Player. And it's the best there is!

    Choice is great and if someone wants to write YATE (Yet Another Text Editor) then go wild. But to suggest Linux will surpass Mac on the desktop within the year? I've never owned a Mac and think that's ludicrous!

  • MSN (Score:1, Insightful)

    by agentofchange (640684) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:10PM (#6279332)
    Hmmm I wonder how much conflict of interest there is with this appearing on the MSN?

  • by greygent (523713) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:10PM (#6279334) Homepage
    When will the Amiga surpass Mac OS X?

    This story is almost flamebait, and heavy on the ridiculous.
  • It's simple really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JudgeFurious (455868) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:12PM (#6279349)
    Speaking as a Mac user who started out and spent better than ten years on Windows before switching my desktop machine to a Mac and as an administrator who takes care of Windows and Linux boxen at work I'm saying it makes no difference to me if Linux passes Macintosh in market share on the desktop.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The percentage points Linux makes in desktop marketshare won't be coming from Mac users. They'll be coming from Windows users.

    That's the "it's all good" about this situation. There's a ton of Windows market share out there to eat up so there's enough to grow a healthy Mac and Linux following. The two will play together far better than Windows ever played with anyone and the computing world will be the better for it receeding.

    Macs, Penguins, doesn't matter. Better computing for everyone if this bastard (Windows) goes down.
  • by glenebob (414078) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:14PM (#6279364)
    Actually, I don't care much about the cost in that respect. I prefer to build my own machines from scratch. I've never owned an off-the-shelf computer. As far as I know, it's next to impossible to build macs that way.

    But if I could do it that way, it would be more expensive, because I play the hand-me-down game with computer parts, which wouldn't work too well with a mixed-hardware setup.
  • by banky (9941) <gregg@@@neurobashing...com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:14PM (#6279368) Homepage Journal
    What's "Linux Software"?

    X11 runs on OS X. GNOME and KDE both run on OS X. So does Evolution, and the GIMP, and tons and tons of other things. Very little "Linux software" refuses to compile on OS X.

    Linux definately wins on the "watches and toasters" front, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:15PM (#6279375)
    I go PC for one primary reason. Standard ATX motherboards. I do linux for a number of reasons, but linux under the PC for one reason, standard ATX motherboards.

    I would *consider* Os X only IF it ran on my present hardware. I don't see this happening any time soon. I would *consider* going with an apple only IF I could buy a standard ATX motherboard and pluging it into my existing case and power supplly. I'm talking new ones here, no e-bay scratch and dent sale. I don't see this happening any time soon either.

    I'm not here to flame the mac, far from it. Only making a simple statement osx vs linux just doesn't apply to me yet.

    People I know are shocked when I say lately i'd *consider* a mac, but my only complaints have been

    1. No command line interface [no longer valid]
    2. requires mac cards and mac approved hardware [no longer valid]
    3. requires mac form factor cases and apple wired power supply [somewhat valid]
    4. Purchace of a mac motherboard not possible on the new front [still valid near as I can tell].

    I can say these things without it being a flame because they are true and affect my choice is purchace. While there are users of Frankentoshes, I would prefer geting my hardware from mainstreem channels.

    Should Apple see in their wisdom to actually take that next step... they would very likely have another customer. My respect for Apple has grown greatly over the past 3 years and feel that their innovations have served increase our computing standards.

  • by Soong (7225) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:16PM (#6279383) Homepage Journal
    If Linux gains market share, it's not taking from the MacOS user base, it's taking from windows.

    Or maybe that's just my rose colored classes that say windows will die and we'll have a MacOS+Linux Nice-user-machine+cheap-server computing utopia.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:17PM (#6279397)
    The muscle car thing is dead-on. I own a old Dodge, and the things I put up with to keep it running are pretty stupid in comparison to a new car. No normal sane person would put up with this, only someone who is into old cars and *likes* being able to 'twiddle' with everything, or squeeze out another little bit of performance.

    But if I needed a car to get to work, you bet your sweet bunny that I would garage the Dodge and buy a used Honda!

    I use Linux & Windows, but am leaning heavily toward OS X now that I've gotten to try it out. I have been fighting for *months* to get something to install (Radiance, an open-source rendering software) on my Linux box and work right. This very same task took no time at all on OS X. Unlike my car, I just want my computer to work, to turn the key and go, and to instead spend my time going somewhere rather than 'turning wrenches'. As soon as the main application I use gets ported to OS X from Windows (AutoDesk are ya listening! Port Revit already!), I'm dumping my computer on Ebay and selling my soul to get a new Mac.
  • by charvolant (224858) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:17PM (#6279401) Homepage
    Will Linux do to OS X what it already has done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris and emerge as the only viable competitor to Windows on the desktop?

    Not until Linux (and Unix in general) becomes truely fanatical about a quality user interface. This includes such things as consistently protecting the user against dumb accidents (no more unrecoverable 'rm * .o' errors) a really consistent interface (no more Athena/KDE/GTK/... toolkits as the whim takes the programmer) and, generally, not just papering over the cracks but ensuring that the UI is really seamless.

    But I'm not sure that this is even possible in open-source land. The natural inclination is to do things your way, rather than the way laid down by the Great Committee. This is great in the sense that it has made amateur programming fun again. "Amateur" in the sense of for fun, rather than for profit; no implications on the quality of the software are intended. But it's not so great in that the user has to come to terms with the myriad incoherent ways of doing things that make up each work of art that is an open-source program.

    Linux (at the moment) is wonderful for the community of Morlocks [cryptonomicon.com] (of which I am a member). But Apple, if it wasn't so expensive, is still the only company serious about being "the computer for everybody else".

  • by Lothar (9453) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:17PM (#6279403)
    Just had to comment on this. Please tell me if I'm wrong here... ;-)

    Quote from the article:
    "Linux is basically a better version of their Unix products, for free"

    We all know linux is free, but better? What consitutes better? I mean surely it runs on far more plattform and is highly customizable but Linux still has some catching up to do when it comes to being as stable and scalable on highend plattforms. Linux still suffers from several drawbacks in these areas. How good is linux when it comes to NFS implementation? What about large memory support?

    As for the user interface. Anyone can run KDE or Gnome on Solaris so that part of usability can't be an issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:23PM (#6279444)
    3) Apple does not make much money from OS X, rather from OS X *AND* their hardware platform. There is something to be said for tight hardware/software integration and good industrial design.

    4) Most people are installing Linux on existing (mostly older) PCs, MS is still losing because someone is using a PC without upgrading to the latest Windows license.

    5) There is nothing preventing someone from installing Linux on a Mac, but are they likely to buy a Mac just to run Linux on it? If the hardware is compelling it could happen and that would push Apple hardware which sort of takes us back to item 1.

    6) OS X *is* a kind of UNIX and porting from Linux to it isn't all that difficult, especially now that they include X11. I don't see it losing out because there wasn't any software available for the platform (unlike, say Mac OS 9).

    7) Mac OS X is relatively new and people are still moving to the platform. It could be a while before the numbers start to show.

    8) In my personal experience, I have seen a lot of Windows and Linux users buy used Macs just for OS X. This would not be reflected in the marketshare studies.

    9) Is it surprising that MSN would be publishing something like this?
  • Re:Doubtful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by anthonyrcalgary (622205) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:24PM (#6279451)
    Getting anything non-trivial working on my Linux box takes at least an afternoon (If you can do better, that's fine. I can't.), and I just don't have to time to do that with everything I need on my primary computer.

    Linux is great for all the back end stuff, on computers built from scrap or really powerful servers, but for desktop stuff, that's where you spend all your time, it's worth a few extra dollars for a really slick, low maintenance environment. There's basically only 2 environments where you can do almost anything in 5 minutes, and unless you want to use Windows, MacOS is the only alternative.
  • Alternate theory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jgalun (8930) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:25PM (#6279460) Homepage
    It's interesting to wonder whether Linux will beat Apple. But I have to wonder if it's not more likely that Linux will beat Windows, with Apple remaining in second place.

    Let me explain. I am a former Amiga and Mac user. I now use a Windows PC. When I bought my new computer, the most important factors in my decision were that it was cheaper than a Mac but easier to use (since I know Windows already) than Linux.

    But imagine if Lindows computers expanded up the food chain a bit, and Linux expanded its desktop share some more. Now we have a world where you can get a pre-installed Linux PC that has good vendor support for less than a Windows PC costs, because you're not paying the Microsoft tax.

    Would I then buy a Linux box? Very possibly. After all, at least in concept I much prefer using free software than being tied into a monopolist's offerings.

    And I believe there are a lot of Windows users who use Windows because it's cheap and everywhere. But if Linux is cheaper and everywhere, and it's pre-installed on a wide range of PCs, then they might go Linux.

    But in that scenario, Apple remains as is (because Mac users are willing to pay a premium for the overall Mac experience). In fact, to my mind, Apple's position is strengthed.

    What's Apple's great advantage? That it controls both the hardware and software, and under Jobs' iron fist makes sure that everything works really, really well together. There are never any hassles, because the MacOS only has to support a very limited range of hardware and meet the exact range of user demands Jobs decides to meet, rather than being everything to everyone.

    Now, if the great downside of Windows PCs now is that, because there are so many varieties of hardware/software, it's hard to get them to work flawlessly (so many conflicts/confusing issues), how much greater is that problem when, instead of a couple versions of Windows to deal with, there are the dozens of different Linux versions to work with?

    Relatively, Apple's position is strengthened. Won't it be worth it for many people at that point to pay a premium to have Apple create a software/hardware package that spares them all those annoying incongruities of a Lintel PC?

    Just a thought, explained poorly...hopefully you'll get the idea.
  • by tshak (173364) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:26PM (#6279470) Homepage
    By pricing their computers as they do, the low end box costing roughly two thousand dollars, Apple are most definitely nicheing themselves.

    No, this means that Apple does not cator to the super-lowend niche. Apple offers a $799 desktop, and a $999 laptop.

    Apple is not like the expensive niched cars. Bently's and Ferrari's have a niche market. BMW and Audi's do not - even though they have higher-end products. Apple is more accurately compared to the latter.
  • Flaimbait (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:31PM (#6279517)
    Is there anyway to mod this article to +5 Flamebait?
  • Troll Article. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vladimus (583117) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:31PM (#6279518) Journal
    Seems a bit counter productive to pit Linux against Apple. These communities are far more similar, especially now, than they are different. It's best to stay united and keep technologies as compatible as possible.

    Case in point: I installed Mandrake on a PC. I connected the PC to a printer which we found incompatible with Mac OS X. Once I set up the printer using CUPS on Mandrake, ZeroConf (i.e. Rendezvous) automatically shared the printer on the network, effectively making it compatible with OS X!

    This kind of compatibility strengthens both sides, and validates each. Each operating system going it alone will not take either out of niche status.

  • Re:furthermore... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:32PM (#6279524)
    If you paid for Puma (10.1) "just in time" to see Jaguar (10.2) released, then you are a fool. The release date of Jaguar was announced at MWNY more than a month ahead of the actual release in late August. Unless you had some dire need that made it worth paying $129 for a month's use of Puma, you should have waited. Don't blame Apple for your failure to budget your money well.
  • by A55M0NKEY (554964) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:34PM (#6279552) Homepage Journal
    LInux is and I think probably always will be used primarily by geeks. Geeks want the power that only comes by being a corkless fork. That is - because linux is not meant to be retard proof, it can expose what it needs to to be tinker-with-able. Being tinkerable is a killer app for the geek crowd.

    Linux, being free software, appeals to the people who write free software and always will be tinkerable. This is because people who write software are geeks and will write software they want to use. If someone is paying them to do it then well, they will also write software to be retard proof.

    Apple's market share has been decreasing more and more over the years. Any recent gains notwithstanding ( I don't keep up with Apple since I replaced my Centris 610 years ago with an Intel box. I grew up on Macs and was a Machead once. ) - any recent gains notwithstanding, Linux will not surpass Apple, Apple will fall behind Linux when enough Mac users switch to Windows that the remaining die hard Macheads amount to less than the total geek population.

    There are 2 other possibilities:

    • More people will become geeky and use linux Then linux desktop market share will increase
    • Maybe OSX is really 'All that' - I haven't used it. Then more people will have some exposure to unix and Apple will get rich - and people will still use free software written for linux because it will probably compile on OSX. If Apple gets too greedy and starts acting like microsoft though people will switch to linux to be free of Apple. Apple still insists on hardware price gouging.

    Real geeks will still use linux unless Apple can offer them something they don't already have which they can't.

    I don't think free software will get much more retard proof. It will never be as polished as non-free software. I think that is because polish means closing up stuff which hinders tinkerability. Open software tends to leave frayed edges exposed. This is not a sign of poor quality - it is just that you need those edges loose to weave it in to something else or to add to it.

  • Where are the #'s? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smack.addict (116174) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:40PM (#6279593)
    I would love to know what backs up his assertion that Linux will surpass Apple. The article he references in BusinessWeek simply states that as a fact with nothing to back it up. It sounds like an example of one person says something and other people start parroting it as if it were science.

    In my experience, Apple is picking up users right and left. People I would never have imagined as Apple users. I have not met one person who as adopted Linux as their desktop. I honestly do not see why anyone would.

    On the price issue, people need to stop bitching about that. Apple always will be higher priced. That is the cost of innovation. They will also always be second, because you do not corner the market by being the most expensive.

  • by Michael.Forman (169981) * on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:40PM (#6279595) Homepage Journal

    I'm a Linux user. No I'm really a Linux user. I currently have four machines. I'm running it at as my primary desktop at work [sandia.gov] and as a server [michael-forman.com], primary (gaming) workstation, and diskless PVR at home. I've modded [michael-forman.com] my series-one TiVo. I installed slackware in the days when one had to wrangle 13 floppies.

    With that in mind, I recently I purchased a maxed out 17" Powerbook on my research funds at work and have been amazed at the quality of MacOS hardware and software. I get the true Unix experience with terminals, perl, X11, ssh, vim, and the rest along with an exceptional GUI. The best part about MacOS is that it just works. I've got a Sun Blade 2000 on my desk that's a pain. I've been trying to install KDE on it for the better part of a month and I paid $3k for a graphics card that's slower than my nVidia GeForce 3. I upgraded SuSE on my home Linux workstation and once again I have to recompile the kernel to stop my mystery lockups. (One of these days I should write down my sound-card settings.) MacOS provides the best user experience of any Unix OS.

    Will I get rid of Linux? No. There's a quality-cost trade off that will always guarantee the presence of both. The ratio is a function of the environment and thus the evolutionary stable strategy that the competing systems reach. When will Linux pass MacOS? Both soon and never. Linux, due to its low-cost software and hardware, will outnumber MacOS soon but Linux will never pass MacOS in quality. Ever.

    Linux : MacOS :: VW : Mercedes
    Michael. [michael-forman.com]
  • by xutopia (469129) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:42PM (#6279619) Homepage
    If they'd sell their OS to any platform Apple would be capable of really competing. I'd buy it.
  • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lostchicken (226656) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:45PM (#6279641)
    Right on.

    I love hacking my machine probably more than the average /.er. I run Linux on my server, and do a fair bit of programming for some of the software it runs. But when it comes time to write an English paper, dammit, I want my computer to just work. I want to launch Word, and use it. I want to press print, and have it print. I want to plug in my USB keyfob thingy and have it pop up as a drive. I want to launch Mathematica, and have it just work. I want Premiere and combustion to do my video work, and not have to worry about codecs.

    I love Linux for just screwing around, and it's great fun. I can do things in it that would not be possible under Win32. But it doesn't "just work" for the simple stuff. I can make it work without any problem, but that's the thing. I don't want to have to "make it work".
  • by outsider007 (115534) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:45PM (#6279644)
    1) linux is for people who don't ever want to spend money on anything no matter how much it hurts.
    2) windows is for people who are willing to pay a little to avoid the pain of linux. but not a fortune (also pirates)
    3) mac is for people who want to spend as much as possible for some reason.

    if the economy suffers, or there's a crackdown on piracy expect more linux users.if there's an economic boon expect more mac users. otherwise expect things to stay the same.

    that's my opinion and I stand by it.
  • by OMG (669971) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:46PM (#6279657)
    It's all about choice.
    Linux will pick up more market share on the desktop as soon as the hardware vendors will test their stuff on linux as well and supply drivers if needed. Chicken and egg problem here. Also Linux needs a better mechanism to integrate those drivers.

    OSX is more for the "I just want it working" people for now. So once the public realizes that there is more than one bootscreen (who the heck knows what an Operating System is ?) they will look at Linux AND OSX.

    Choice is a good thing. And the generations knowing what an OS is and that you can select from multiple are coming ;-)

    Cheers,
    OhMy
  • missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ProfDumb (67790) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:49PM (#6279677)

    I think most of the discussion is missing the main points of the article. One point is that linux only has to get to 3 or 4% of the market to surpass Apple -- and to do that, it doesn't have to be better than Apple at what Apple does best.

    The second point is that you can't get an Apple PC for $300. Yeah, I know that *you* and all the current Apple fanatics are willing to pay for the Apple experience, but if only 4% of the total market disagrees, then Linux "pulls ahead".

    Who will that market be? Tech-savy cheapshakes. Extremely poor folks who only want e-mail on Netscape. Engineers working at home. A (few) corporations with simple and standard software requirements that just happen, in their case, to run on Linux.

    Now, do these folks add up to 4% of the market? I don't know, but arguments like "current Apple users won't switch" or "my grandma won't switch" don't have much to do with it.

  • Re:Maybe...but $$$ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:49PM (#6279681) Journal
    That's hardly fair (but it is a troll isn't it). You can't fault linux for the fact that most games exist only for windows. I've considered myself a linux only person for about 2 years. I have kept a windows partition on my drive for a few games. I barely touch it. At this point I find myself comfortable enough in linux that it's easier to just do it in linux then to figure out how to do it in windows. (intuitive? hah!) I've probably spent more time trying to get my sound card to play nice with my network card under win98 than I actually have using the damn thing. In linux it's easy, `modprobe es1370 tulip`. My security blanket is cygwin.
  • Re:Doubtful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by norweigiantroll (582720) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:50PM (#6279688)
    When I read the parent's parent's post, about something not working right in Linux, I was reminded of my sound recording troubles with Linux. Well Apple has all the knowledge and documentation of the hardware so they can easily make things work right. Plus there's only limited hardware to support.
  • Re:furthermore... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:54PM (#6279727)
    Uh. Listen, I'm one to enjoy a great bitch-fest, but here's the deal:

    10.3 is an odd-numbered release.

    Odd numbered releases are available to members who purchased the previous even-numbered release for a low cost, sometimes free.

    Up until 10 you could get a +.1 release for any OS, going back to 7.5 (when they first started charging for OSes), for free - unless you wanted it on CD, in which case you had to pay S&H. 7.6 is free for 7.5 owners - 8.1 is free for 8.0 owners, etc.

    With 10, that model changed slightly, since they're not in any hurry to slap XI on all their packaging. And since the size is astronomical, major OS X updates are not available for download.

    When 10.1 came out, owners of 10.0 could get it for free (by showing up at an Apple Store) or by paying S&H for an update CD direct from Apple.

    What's new is that both these deals came with a time limit attached. If you didn't show up at an Apple Store within a couple days of it's release, no CD for you. If you didn't order online within a few weeks, no CD for you.

    In other words, the people who complain about upgrading to 10.1 are little more than procrastinators who sat on their fat ass and did nothing. In fact, I think a lot of them prefer it that way - it gave them the ability to whine to hell and back about having to pay. Nevermind that they could've gotten it for free, if only they'd have shown the minimum amount of ambition to get it.

    While few details have been released about 10.3's upgrade path, it's unlikely that Apple will break from a tradition they've been holding to for at least the better part of a decade.

    And, come on - having to buy every other release isn't going to break the bank. Stop being a fscking cheapskate.
  • Re:Not quite.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmaxwell (43234) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:56PM (#6279738)
    Apart from well known missing functionality (color pre-press and the like) the only real problem GIMP has is that it isn't Photoshop. Where functionality bullet points do match up (and many of them do) GIMP can get the job done in a reasonable amount user time.

    I run into this with stickynote computer users all the time. The application learned in a given category becomes the "One True Way" to do whatever. I have AppleWorks users who hate Office and vice versa. I've seen Gimp processed work that looks just as "high end" and "ultraprofessional" and "magazine quality" as Photoshop. I've messed with both and I hate to break this to you but Photoshop is not simple. A user of either has to be decent artist and at least a competent computer user. Geek friendly? Put my Mom (who can paint) in front of Photoshop and her head would explode.

    Photoshop is Photoshop-Geek friendly.
  • God I hope not. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crivens (112213) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:57PM (#6279748)
    God I hope not. Apple's desktops are much nicer than those of Linux. Linux desktops and applications lack cohesion; even a pure KDE desktop is a pain to use. For example, I tried to download a zipped trailor movie for a game. I double clicked the ZIP file in Konqueror file manager and double clicked the movie file inside. When MPlayer tried to load the file it couldn't because it didn't exist; Ark didn't extract it to a temporary file.

    It's basic (staple) things like this that Linux fails so badly on. I know I'm going to start a flame war and get lots of hateful messages but one of the reasons that Linux fails in this area is because there are so many desktop environments and so many applications that don't work together.
  • Does anybody? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Haloows (657827) on Monday June 23, 2003 @08:58PM (#6279752)
    Does anybody else see the irony of the title "Linux's new popularity may hurt Apple more than Microsoft" being posted on a microsoft site? Also on the G5 page Apple compares its G5 to a Dell...I mean wtf? Apple comon now...thats way to easy, I mean its an "advanced" mini tower!

    "Aim low, so low that nobody will care if you suceed, if you want some butter its under my face."-Marge Simpson

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by michrech (468134) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:00PM (#6279774)
    Except that it's more a port of one of the BSD's than linux.. =]

    And all of you "port to x86, you bastards!" people; Get over it. MacOS/OSX will never be on any x86 hardware.

    As a side note, it's not *that* hard to get a $20-$70+ (depending on taste) mouse for your MAC that has more than one button and even a scroll wheel (or two!)... Shesh!

    Yea, yea.. It should come with a better mouse. It doesn't. Get over it.. =]

    Thus hath spoketh, an avid PC user.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:09PM (#6279851)
    salaries
  • On who's desktop? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Global-Lightning (166494) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:11PM (#6279868)
    Apple is about to redefine the UNIX workstation market that will leave everyone, including Linux, in it's dust.

    Why?
    1. At $3K, the 2x2.0 is more than half the cost of any other 64bit UNIX workstation, and brings comparable, if not better, performance. Prepare to see a crapflood of cheap SUN ultra's, SGI Octanes, RS6000, and HPUX workstations on EBAY.

    2. OS X has one thing that no other UNIX based operating system can claim: Microsoft Office. Look under most UNIX user's desks in the workplace, and more often then not you'll see a windows box for documentation/presentations/outlook stuff. From a PHB's perspective, that means a single $3K box can replace a $9K+ UNIX workstation plus a $1500 PC. Not to mention the associated savings in power, maintenance, real estate, KVM switches, cabling, administration...

    3. The quality experience. This is the point hardest to grasp by the typical L1nux d00d. I'm using UNIX for WORK. If something goes wrong, I don't have the time, patience, or desire to recompile my kernel, figure out the config, or test a driver. I want to pickup a phone and pay someone to do if for me. NOW. As Apple sells the "complete widget", I expect them to quickly figure out what's wrong with the box. (The same applies to most other commercial UNIX which is why SUN and SGI are still in business)

    4. The codebase. Scratch OS X and it bleeds BSD. Porting most opensource apps isn't too complicated. Add the growing library of OS X cocoa/carbon apps. Windows on VirtualPC should render decent performance on the new hardware (Please MS, don't kill it!). Finish off with Java. You have a computer that may run every modern piece of software written.

    5. The interface. While this is subjective, OS X brings a lot of quality that Gnome/KDE/etc can't match, and don't get me started on how it compares against Windows... It just 'works'

    Expect to see Apple make a strong play for the workplace. Then see users want to use the same at home. If IBM can supply the faster chips, then prepare to see Apple start to grow in the business and home markets.
  • Re:Yellowdog Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Large Green Mallard (31462) <lgm@theducks.org> on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:16PM (#6279913) Homepage
    Bring me back to reality? Yes, I just *LOVE* setting up a Linux box to do everything my mac can do out of the box.

    Web browsing.. so I've installed a nice linux system with Debian, and added what I think is enough packages to get X11 and Gnome up and going.. whaaa.. where's the web browser? Oh right, I need to install that too, should I use Phoenix, Galeon, Netscape, Mozilla, or Joe-tcltk-webrowser.. I think I'll go Mozilla. Everyone seems to be using that now. Hang on, why do the fonts look screwed up? Oops, it looks like I needed to install fonts as well.. I'm sure it comes with some good ones.. there we go. Anti-aliasing? Oh, easy.. xft.. wait, it doesn't see the fonts now.. need to rebuild the fonts.dir file. Screw it..

    Playing DVDs, yep, Linux can do that.. all I need is mplayer or vlc or xiph.. and then I just need to install the dvd libraries and it plays! VIDEO_01.TS .. where is my damn menu?!@#.. umm, but then I need sound. So then I just need to choose between ALSA and OSS. And then find a sound card which works with those libraries. Oh, and then pass a funky kernel parameter to grub, editing a config file, so it can do duplex sound, and hey presto, I have DVDs playing, with sound... but I'm only getting 10fps on my Athlon2ghz.. oh, oops, I'm not using the nvidia kernel and xfree86 extensions for hardware acceleration! Silly me, how could I forget!

    Ahh, I think I'll just listen to my MP3s with xmms.. hang on, why is it dying with signal 11 every few minutes? ooh, oops, I used the version of it that came on my OS install CDs, and that had an off-by-one bug somewhere.. ahh well, just need to download it again and install.

    On second thoughts, I think I'll just get around to putting a new larger HDD in my 1999 vintage G3. *screw screw screw fiddle fiddle* ok, done.. power up, put in OSX install CD, click thru right buttons, wait 30 minutes, swap CDs, wait 10 minutes, reboot... ahh the MacOSX background. *press button to open DVD drive*, I think I'll put the DVD in this.. *whirring noise* oh look, the DVD menu *click play* ahh.

    Rant mode off.

    Yes, you can do many similar things with Linux to OSX, it's just an absolute pain in the ass to get it up and running initially. Your average user doesn't really want to do shit like that just so they can use their computer.
  • by PhoenixK7 (244984) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:16PM (#6279914)
    "Apple has always been at its best when it's actually creating new things not ripping off BSD and linux like lately.

    Huh? iPod, iMac, PowerMac G4/G5, PowerBook G4 Ti/Al, Music Store, Apple Store (online and offline), iApps, iSight, Aqua/QuartzExtreme (which may run on top of BSD, but could technically run on another kernel and toolset), FinalCut Pro, Rendezvous.. the list goes on.

    Some of these things are extremely recent, and the others that have been around longer have seen recent innovations

    Whenever Apple tries to copy off its competitors it fails miserably, look at the Mac clones and Apples forays into consoles and PDAs. To be sure Apple has its market, but it just can't compete with Linux on the larger scale.

    Apple hasn't touched PDAs (Newton), Consoles (Pippin), or Clones (Power Computing, UMAX, DayStar Digital, Motorola, etc) for years now.

    In the long run, maybe it can't compete with linux, but for now the desktop software is better on the Mac. You don't see the same types of seamless intregration accross many apps, the same number of solid commercial desktop apps available, the same level of hardware vendor support (ie vendors providing drivers rather than an independent party putting something together by reverse engineering or getting a look at some of the specs). It _could_ get there, if either more corporations step in to guide the desktop environments for general users or if some developers have the same wants/needs in mind.

    Right now, I'll take my Photoshop, Flash MX, solid iPod (and AAC) support, and nice set of working gui tools apple has provided (ie, easy VPN built into the OS) and I'll keep using a mac until someone provides something that has the same level of finesse, power, and stability.

    I'm not going to see it from microsoft, because part of the power I expect is either having the GNU or BSD console-based tools, but GNOME or KDE could grow to fill this role.

    Or did I misinterpret your words?
  • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macwhiz (134202) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:16PM (#6279918)

    Perhaps the problem is that, indeed, Linux folks try to get "someone" to "hack together" a user interface.

    Mac OS X's interface (rough edges and all) is the result of:

    • A team of programmers who are paid to do nothing but write the GUI code, rather than work on it in their spare time as they feel like it
    • Underlying graphics hardware that is predictable (Macs that can run OS X are either going to have ATi or Nvidia cards, not some oddball OEM card dug out of a dusty closet)
    • Years of research into human/computer interaction, psychology, and ease-of-use
    • Almost two decades of experience refining the interface
    • The foresight to write a "bible" that details how various user interface elements work
    • An API that defines user interface elements, instead of various packages of "widgets" that are mixed and matched
    • A philosophy that it's better to have one design that is reasonably good for everyone, so that you can sit down at any Mac and use any program and feel comfortable, rather than skins and themes and mods up the wazoo

    In short, perhaps the reason that open-source software hasn't duplicated the Mac's ease of use and consistency is that it just ain't that easy to pull off!

    From a technical standpoint, a lot of the neat "small touches" of Mac OS X are a feature of basing the GUI on PDF and OpenGL. Duplicating those features with X11 would be difficult at best. Example: When an iChat AV window pops up because someone IM'd you, it's mostly transparent. It truly shows what's underneath the window--even a playing movie. Most X11 programs I've seen that have "transparency" are poor imitations using workarounds.

    As for "blinded by its NeXT heritage," well... the Dock. ;)

  • by Golias (176380) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:17PM (#6279924)
    Linux on the server requires maitnence sure .... but it is also capable of doing/running a crapload more stuff than macOS? on the server

    Such as?

    Seriously, name one server task you can perform with Linux which you can't with OS X. Now that X11 is becoming an integrated part of the OS, I would insist that OS X servers now do "a crapload more stuff" than a Linux server, because they can do pretty much all the UNIX-alike chores that a Linux box can do, plus some other stuff that requires OS X.

  • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Graff (532189) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:21PM (#6279970)
    WHY is that? WHAT do Apple's programmers and designers have the Linux/GNOME programmers do not? Is there any (technical) reason someone could not hack together a smooth Mac OS X work-a-like on top of Linux?

    I'll give you at least 3 very big reasons why Apple has been so successful with making its UI "feel" more complete.

    First of all, Apple has a ton of design and user-interface engineers. These are people whose only job is to sit with their feet up on the desk and think of better ways for users to interact with their systems. With Linux you are dealing with mostly programmers and system engineers. They are great at "hacking together" work-a-likes but they aren't so good at getting all of the pieces to "feel" smooth.

    Secondly, Apple makes the whole widget from start to finish. They design the computer, they design the software, they design the keyboards and mice. They have pretty much full control of all aspects of the computer system and can ensure that all parts work smoothly with as few glitches and inconsistencies as possible. With Linux you are not only dealing with many different versions of the kernel but also with different ways the kernel can be configured, different userlands, and different hardware setups.

    Lastly, Apple has laid down the law and convinced its developers to follow Apple's User Interface Guidelines as closely as possible. Pretty much every program on MacOS has a very similar interface to every other program, making it very easy to learn the basics of working a program and even easier to apply your knowledge to new programs. This sort of user interface consistency is a key factor in making the UI work "smoothly". With Linux you have a hard enough time convincing people to use the same UI skin not to mention the same UI program or the same placement of menus and options from window to window. Programming and UI design on Linux are pretty much left up to each developer and there are so many groups and personalities that it is almost impossible to get them to even agree what end an egg should be broken on.

    Although Linux is a fine operating system, it lacks this kind of fit-and-finish that Apple has managed to pull off. Linux has come a long way with the various UI that are available for it, but it is just much harder for a truly "smooth" UI to come about for Linux. Even simply copying the look of MacOS won't make the Linux UI feel "smooth", there is a lot of behind the scenes factors that affect the feel of an operating system. The overall quality of the programming makes Linux an excellent server platform and the overall UI quality on makes a Macintosh and excellent desktop platform. The two systems should work together instead of fighting against each other, we will all be better off for it.
  • Re:Not So Doubtful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dbrutus (71639) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:22PM (#6279981) Homepage
    GhostScript is a cheapo knockoff of Postscript. Apple has the original. GIMP is in development for Mac OS X (see macgimp), Cinepaint runs on OS X, Blender is available on OS X, OpenOffice just went to GM, and LaTex runs on OS X.

    So you have two platforms, one of which (OS X) runs all the relevant software from the other platform plus it has many titles that the other one does not have. I think that Mac OS X has nothing to worry about there.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitGeek (19506) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:27PM (#6280026) Homepage

    Apple hardware is Cheap!

    Go try to price a dual Xeon system to compare to the Dual G5 systems from a company like Dell. You can pay a thousand bucks more for a slower system from Dell, but I don't see why you would want to!

    Not flaming you at all, just pointing this out as the myth that apples computers are expensive is really old and really annoying. They aren't.

    Apple doesn't sell the bottom of the line machines for $500, for which you'd be better off getting an XBOX anyway, but in tehir price ranges they have much higher performance than the competition.

    Thus, Linux on Mac is no problem-- Apple's even putting Linux APIs (I don't know which) into Panther to make porting easier.
  • by ocelotbob (173602) <ocelot.ocelotbob@org> on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:28PM (#6280030) Homepage
    To continue the auto analogy, I'd say that Linux is actually closer to Chrysler's K-chassis. Not the absolute end-all, but at the same time, it's extremely flexible to whatever problem you throw at it, and works for a good percentage of the population. Just like Chrysler used the k chassis in everything from small sedans, to minivans, to even limosines, Linux works in everything from PDAs, to desktops, to mainframes. Of course, even using your analogy, Linux may be like the used station wagon in that it lacks grace, but it makes up for it in spades with what it's capable of doing.
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BitGeek (19506) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:29PM (#6280042) Homepage

    Yeah, why port to x86? Slower hardware that costs more.

    PowerPC is, and always will be more price/performance competitive than the x86.
  • by macwhiz (134202) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:32PM (#6280058)

    Try looking at it this way:

    1. Linux is for people who want to spend as little as possible, and put the value of their own time at zero.
    2. Windows is for people who are willing to spend some money to improve their ease-of-use, and who put the value of their own time near zero.
    3. Mac OS is for people who understand the difference between "frugal" and "cheap," and value their own time, and thus understand buying a bargain basement computer may be a decision that bites them in the ass.

    If you buy an el cheapo PC and a bargain basement monitor with it, how long will it last? How quickly will you need to get rid of it, or spend big bucks on upgrades, to run new software or OS upgrades? How long before parts die because they're made cheap? Will you get eyestrain because that cheap monitor has a dot pitch that was mediocre in 1989?

    Macs last longer. They're built better. (Compare customer satisfaction of the iMac and eMac vs. the bargain-basement PCs.) Apple rarely requires you to go out and buy lots of new hardware to run OS upgrades. I've got a Power Mac G4 that runs OS X just fine. The Compaq Presario I bought about the same time cost half as much, but already it's painful to use WinXP on it, especially to play games. For example, Civ III isn't a terribly demanding game, but it crawls on the Compaq. It flies on the Mac.

    But even ignoring all that, what's your time worth? How often do you need to figure out why OpenOffice barfed on a Word document before you feel you've wasted your time? How many reboots before Windows seems less of a bargain?

    The "Macs are more expensive" argument only works when you use a cut-rate machine of dubious quality, and assume that your time is worthless. I think that's a poor assumption for most consumers.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:34PM (#6280083) Homepage Journal
    MacOS X is probably a far more multimedia oriented and certainly a technologicaly superior desktop OS than Windows is. If we can assume that MacOS X is also more user friendly, and also assume that Linux is less user friendly than either Windows or MacOS X then it follows that Linux would first have to surpass Windows before it could surpass MacOS X.

    But this is strictly a comparison based on the attributes of each system. If you want "real numbers", aka a gross quantative analysis. Then sure Windows is the most popular as of this moment.

    Comparing the attributes of each might lead us to where Windows, MacOS X and Linux will be in the future. Evidence I've seen points to MacOS X gaining shares from both the Linux and Windows world. Linux's popularity seems to be, according to other sources, falling.

    PS- Where does FreeBSD fit into this picture. :)
  • by mwillems (266506) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:36PM (#6280106) Homepage
    You say "Linux is for when you're young, poor, and in need of serious computing horsepower. OS X is for when you've got money in the bank and you don't want to have to deal with the Linux hassle."

    For me it is the reverse. I am neither young nor poor, and am not really in need of serious power, except for serious flexibility.

    I love my Linux desktop because *I*, not Steve J or Bill G, am in charge. I can do what I want, I can combine, shells are not hidden, and I have a choice of apps greater than one (vs MS Office for Apple and not much more for the Mac).

    You say Windows is open? Not to me it isn't. All the really useful Windows knowledge I have is in the form of "secrets". THAT is why I have a Linux desktop.

    Michael
  • Re:Yellowdog Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 13Echo (209846) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:42PM (#6280146) Homepage Journal
    For starters, comparing a more advanced distribution like Debian to OSX is rediculous. Perhaps you should compare it to Lindows or Lycoris. Neither of those require a whole lot of effort to install. Lycoris even autodetects and sets up your hardware automatically.

    Second, you need *no* libraries to get DVD movie playback to work with MPlayer. It comes with a modified version of libsdvdcss that is *enabled* by default. Many users install it with just a click or two, if they use an RPM based system. And 99% of video cards run on Linux with XV overlay support these days, so no configuration is really needed. It's funny that you have a DVD problem though, because I just installed Slackware 9 on my buddies P3 700 notebook with an s3 video chip. He gets full speed DVD with MPlayer with less than 30% CPU load. Are you another one of those framebuffer trolls?

    I've never experienced your signal 11 problem with XMMS. I'm sorry to hear about that though. I listen to XMMS on all of my boxes and have yet to have a single crash in three years of use.

    You have a point that Linux isn't for everybody, but neither is OSX. For some reason though, I don't think that was the point that the parent threads (or the article) was trying to make.

    Honestly, though... I know *many* more Linux users than Mac users... Come to think of it, I only know a single Mac user. Maybe that article isn't so far-fetched. Perhaps that means that Linux really does cater to more users than Apple does? (I won't sympathize with those that actually take this comment seriously)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:48PM (#6280201)
    Yes - Linux will pass Apple, but at the expense of Microsoft's market share, not Apple's. The number of current Apple customers who will switch to Linux is near zero. The number of dissatisfied Microsoft customers willing to dump Windows is growing. The few Windows defectors who want Macs and have the financial means to purchase them will go Apple. Those who want *nix and are unable or unwilling to swich architectures or pay the hefty prices for Macs will sacrifice the gooyness of OS X for KDE/Gnome and Linux.

    So, will Apple be No. 3 next year? Most Likely. Will Linux surpasing Apple hurt them? No way - it will help them. There is much more synergy between Mac OS X and Linux than there ever will be between Mac OS X (or any other OS) and Windows.

    Microsoft may be at the top of the mountain now, but it is cold and icy up there. If Microsoft loses their grip and starts to fall - it will be a fast and long fall, and it will hurt when they hit the rocks below...
  • by sheldon (2322) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:49PM (#6280215)
    I love my Linux desktop because *I*, not Steve J or Bill G, am in charge.

    The power of the computer is not in the desktop, but in the applications. The desktop is a means to an end.

    That is the secret of the Mac/Windows world.
  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Temporal (96070) on Monday June 23, 2003 @09:59PM (#6280288) Journal
    Studies show that computer-illiterate people are easily confused by multiple buttons. You'd be surprised, but it really is a problem. The concept of "left-click" and "right-click" seems intuitive to us... but some people really can't grasp it. So, Apple makes their OS able to cater to these people, while at the same time supporting multiple-button mice for power users. They include a single-button mouse in the box because the people who need it aren't going to be able to buy their own mouse. You, on the other hand, no doubt would have no trouble buying a mouse with as many buttons as you want.

    This probably all sounds absurd to you. It sounds pretty silly to me, too... I mean, how dumb would one have to be to not understand a two-button mouse? However, Apple is the one who has spent millions of dollars researching it, so I think I'll trust their judgement.

    If you have the money for a Mac, you can probably afford any mouse you want to go with it. Personally, I've been using my trusty IntelliMouse Explorer for something like five years now, and I don't intend to give it up until someone pries it out of my cold, dead hands!
  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:01PM (#6280310)

    > Apple hardware is Cheap! Go try to price a dual Xeon system to compare to the Dual G5 systems from a company like Dell.

    But I don't need a dual Xeon system. I just need something to be productive on, as do most people.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zurab (188064) on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:07PM (#6280351)
    Linux is for when you're young, poor, and in need of serious computing horsepower. OS X is for when you've got money in the bank and you don't want to have to deal with the Linux hassle.


    Will Linux eventually get its usability act together and challenged OS X on its own turf? Maybe, but on its way there, Linux would much more quickly gut Windows dominance and that's a result I can live with.


    I'm surprised just how many posts to this story are discussing OS X vs. Linux benefits, differences, etc. I didn't think it was relevant at all. A simple prediction that Linux will pass OS X market share in the near future has nothing to do with OS flamewars. In fact, Linux and OS X are coming from totally different ends of the spectrum and they are not likely to meet soon.

    This is not about KDE or Linux eating Apple market share but rather acquiring new markets or taking some away from Windows. I see it as a natural progression and I expect it. Unless Apple does someting drastic with their product (and everything else being relatively the same), e.g. offer it on x86, open-source much of it, etc. I don't see how Apple's market share changing significantly. Linux, on the other hand, is waiting for an explosion. In the near future, it is very likely that many if not most systems in the developing countries will be running Linux. This is bound to have an effect on developed countries also. Linux has many more significant inroads to make (even as it is), as opposed to Apple. So, I it's likely, IMO, that Linux desktop market share will overtake Apple's. Again, this doesn't mean Linux will beat OS X in UI, or functionality, or slickness, or "being cool", etc.

    Finally, I'd like to mention that the guy, Alex Salkever, who predicted this in a linked Business Week article, calls Safari "Apple's homegrown" browser and reiterates that it was built completely from scratch in-house. Dude, you are wrong! Get your facts straight before shelling out with your "expert" predictions.
  • I've read a lot of comments and I am surprised at how few people touched this. I consider Linux and Mac OS X to be on about the same level as far as they functionally work. What is different is the philosophy each grows by.

    Mac OS is driven by what I like to look at is a unified force. Apple puts together the hardware, makes the OS, and writes many of the basic computer apps people use on their machines. Developers who write Mac OS applications usually choose to follow the guidelines set by Apple (interface or otherwise). The result of this is that using a Mac is some what of an integrated package. The stereotypical person considering Mac is considering the benefits of the Hardware, software, and design.

    Linux on the other hand is driven by driven by a divergent force. Sure there are leaders, like Linus, who set a general direction for the OS, but there are many different people with many different goals working on it. This leads to Linux having a sort of piece meal user experience. No two linux systems are a like. Linux is incredibly flexible and powerful, but it is also complex. The stereotypical person considering linux has some sort of goal in mind for the system. Weather it be for development, web servering, or simply to save money and be free of licenses.

    I approximate that the switchers for linux to Mac os an vice versa will pretty much cancel out. The question is which way will the Windows users lean? Assuming they jump ship (fairly likely) will they choose Integration or Flexibility?

    I'm putting my money on the former...

  • Re:No (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:32PM (#6280542)
    Maintain? Really?

    Imagine giving your mom a computer. Or, if you're a 20-something with a 40-something mom, imagine giving your grandmother - or great grandmother, if she's not past 70 - a Redhat box.

    Now expect them to maintain it. Keep in mind, this person isn't going to want to edit a text file or muck through RPM interdependencies. They will want to plug in a camera, scanner, and other external devices now and again. On their own. Without calling you. Without you coming over to do it for them.

    Now realize that this is, by and large, the average desktop user.

    Linux has a long frickin' way to go in this respect, and the sooner Linux fans realize this fact, the sooner you'll be able to work to fix it.

    Ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away, it just makes you look like a zealot - and a far worse one, in my opinion, than Mac zealots. At least that system could be maintained and expanded by the userbase in question.
  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:34PM (#6280563) Homepage Journal
    Most of the switchers to OSX that I see aren't coming from Windows. They're coming from Linux.

    The old Mac zealots are staying with Apple despite their dislike of it's Unix core (a typical comment is "I got a Mac to get AWAY from things like Unix and command lines". OSX is good enough that they're staying anyway).

    That leaves the new crowd of Apple fans, attracted by it's Unix core. And there's a lot of them from what I've seen. I go to lug meetings around my state, and more and more Ibooks/Powerbooks are popping up, sometimes outnumbering X86 laptops running Linux. This is at LUG meetings, my friend. My own lug's vice president uses a Powerbook now. He only touches Linux now for his servers. Despite the advances of GUIs and window managers for Linux, what I typically see is if that a Linux guy can afford a Mac, he gets one. If he can't, he runs Linux with a shiny KDE or Gnome desktop and talks about how it's "just as good" as a Mac; usually he's looking at the Mac with utter lust as he says this.

    I personally think this is one reason that Apple hasn't released a port of Quicktime for Linux. They're busy wooing Linux users, and doing it very successfully.
  • Re:Yellowdog Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SensitiveMale (155605) on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:41PM (#6280610)
    It gets easier after the first couple years.

    Exactly.

    But only because tens of thousands of programmers work for those couple of years to make it easier.

    And if someone dedicates hours per day to learn and master linux for those couple years.

    Not very many people want to do that.

    The average Joe or Jane can be productive and self-supported with OS X in a few days if not sooner.

    That is what will always hold linux back. Programmers who think "linux is easy. Just sacrifice your free time for a few years and then linux is very user-friendly."
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reallocate (142797) on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:42PM (#6280622)
    In addition, not all computer users are twenty-something. Older folks with arthritis and other maladies have less precise control of the motion of their hands than younger people. If your hand isn't terribly steady or if it is painful to manipulate a mouse, a simple mouse with one big button is a boon. (Stay tuned. It will happen to all of us.)

    In any case, computers ought to be as easy to use as possible, and discussion shouldn't focus on bogus claims that ease-of-use reduces functionality or is only necessary in inverse proportion to the intelligence of the user. I've known a lot of very intelligent people who use computers to get their work done, but are othewise completely uninterested in them. There's no difference in functionality in OS X between a one-button and a three-button mouse. Using one or the other is a matter of personal convenience, not an indicator of intelligence.
  • by yack0 (2832) <keimelNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:45PM (#6280655) Homepage
    > Yes, the power is in the applications, if they
    > are the applications Steve or Bill wants you to run.

    Hrm, let's see:

    [ruth:~] john% apt-cache search xchat
    xchat-ssl - Graphical IRC client
    xchat - Graphical IRC client

    Am I on my debian server? No.

    Let's see:

    [ruth:~] john% uname -a
    Darwin ruth.local. 6.6 Darwin Kernel Version 6.6: Thu May 1 21:48:54 PDT 2003; root:xnu/xnu-344.34.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC Power Macintosh powerpc

    Looks like I'm on my iBook. Where I can install any number of thousands of applications that might normally be reserved for Linux but have been ported out to run on OS X.

    I could also, if I learned to program, write my own apps. AFAIAC, OS X is the way both Windows And Linux Desktop [1] are supposed to work.

    [1] Linux Desktop - i.e. a machine to have as a GUI workstation, not linux servers.

    j
  • Already Has (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:48PM (#6280675)
    Apple's new, expensive proprietary hardware is their only hold on their customers.

    The only thing that will save Apple is an X86 version of their OS. The Mac hardware, while cool, is overpriced compaired to comparably performing Intel iron.

    Or they could make the PPC into commidity hardware. I'd buy the new Apple box and OS X for $500.

    Otherwise, they will be sticking with the failed market model of Tandy, Amiga, and TI. You remember them?
  • Apple and Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smallpaul (65919) <paul@@@prescod...net> on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:48PM (#6280677)
    I find it odd that so many people react violently to the idea that Linux could beat Apple on the desktop. Of course, Linux will not wipe out Apple on the desktop. But I see no reason to doubt that Linux could surpass Apple on the desktop for some of the same reasons that new versions of Windows do: a little cheaper, a little bit better economies of scale on the hardware side, easier migration path for pre-existing hardware, dual-boot opportunities, etc. Do you really think the price issue is irrelevant to an IT manager figuring out how to fit a thousand desktops with a Word-compatible word processor? He's not going to look to Apple to save money. He's going to look to Linux and he's not going to deploy Linux on the desktop unless he can get such huge volume to make the transition worth the effort. That's what happened in Munich? When is the last time Apple had a win like that? And more important: does it matter? Can't Apple and Linux both succeed?

    I mean even if the article portrays the situation as "success for Linux means failure for Apple", we should be smart enough to realize that that isn't true. Success for Linux means more portable software like Mozilla and OpenOffice. Success for Linux means that products start to be judged on their ability to work on multiple platforms again (that's almost totally fallen away these days). Success for Linux means that grunts can have cheap Unix boxes running free office software and managers and hotshots can have lickable ones also running Unix.

    I don't think that the Macintosh has in recent memory cracked 10% of the market and today I think that even 5% would be progress. It would be sad to think that people out there have such low expectations for Linux that they say "no way will Linux ever beat Apple." Guess what: price matters more than quality and IT managers today see either Linux or Mac on the desktop as more expensive because of the support costs. But Linux can gradually eat away at those support costs. The Macintosh is forever stuck with the license and hardware costs. But that's okay. I don't care if a secretary in Munich uses a Mac. I use one and that's good enough for me. If she can save some money using Linux then I'm happy for her too!

  • Re:No (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:50PM (#6280684)
    If Apple opened up their hardware, then IMO, there should be a huge jump in their market share because of people like me buying their computers
    Except they wouldn't, since there really aren't that many of you.

    Why does everyone think that they constitute some giant demographic?
  • Re:Doubtful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cshotton (46965) on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:54PM (#6280711) Homepage
    Is there any (technical) reason someone could not hack together a smooth Mac OS X work-a-like on top of Linux? (emphasis mine)

    Your choice of words is excellent. Linux desktops tend to feel "hacked together", whereas OSX has a consistent feel. My opinion as to why that is is that the developers on Linux tend to get close enough and then get tired or bored and move on.

    I think the real reason goes back further than that. Linux apps are developed to a wide range of GUI and other API standards. Each project is free to come at the Linux O/S from whatever angle seems best because there is a huge variety of ways to tackle any given GUI or OS issue.

    On the other hand, most Mac developers that have been around for a while started with volumes 1-3 of "Inside Macintosh". That was it. All you got. You either conformed to those APIs, those GUI standards, and made you app work like everyone elses', or your app didn't work (or got soundly thrashed in the market as some un-Mac-like monstrosity.)

    I think that discipline has simply carried forward into OS X. The value of a consistent look and feel, coupled with standard rules of behavior for apps, all implemented to a consistent set of APIs is something Linux will never achieve until there is some significant consolidation of all the competing GUI standards, APIs, etc.

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but until Linux replicates the Apple developer experience, it's likely to always feel "hacked together." Because in reality, it is.

  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:56PM (#6280724) Homepage
    >I love my Linux desktop because *I*, not Steve J or Bill G,
    >am in charge. I can do what I want, I can combine, shells
    >are not hidden, and I have a choice of apps greater than
    >one (vs MS Office for Apple and not much more for the
    >Mac).

    I can run GNome on a Mac via X11. I can also run OpenOffice and I've heard reports of people getting AbiWord up in running.

    That being said, if you can't do something in Linux, what is your response? If you say that you can "write it yourself" that is certainly true, but no different than for the Mac. Yes, you can theoretically tweak anything in the OS, but knowing the calls and where to do that are not necessarily trivial things!

    Just because it can be done doesn't mean that you can personally do it.
  • Re:Yellowdog Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent,jan,goh&gmail,com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @10:58PM (#6280735) Homepage
    "Honestly, though... I know *many* more Linux users than Mac users... Come to think of it, I only know a single Mac user. Maybe that article isn't so far-fetched. Perhaps that means that Linux really does cater to more users than Apple does? (I won't sympathize with those that actually take this comment seriously)"

    You don't have a random sample of the population. I bet you know a lot more people that know what /. is than don't too. That must mean that /. is the most popular site around, right?

    The demographic that is in contact with you is in no way representative of the normal population. You can run Linux, and so can the people that you know, so I can probably guess that you're probably generally better off than most people, have post secondary education of some sort, and probably like movies like 'The Matrix'. The people that walk into Walmart or Best Buy to buy a computer are NOT necessarily the same people that you know. In fact, it's likely that they bear no resemblance to you and your group.

    Incidentally, I agree with this guy. I sold my PC last year, and I'm planning on buying a G5 this fall because I'm tired of system administration stuff like he was talking about. I used Slackware for years, and I'm a fairly reasonable administrator, but I don't want to do MORE work when I get home. In essence, I'm willing to pay Apple to be my sysadmin. That kind of convenience is worth my money, because the actual work isn't worth my TIME.
  • by mikemcc (4795) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:01PM (#6280758)
    As a Linux geek who has moved to OS X, I would be perfectly happy if Apple's market share stayed the same and Linux's increased.

    I don't think that Linux will cannibalize Mac OS X sales. The two platforms have different strengths.

    I do expect Linux to start making inroads in vertical industries which really just need a dumb terminal which can surf the web. Linux is extremely well situated to acquire a lot of that business, and in fact has already begun to do so.

    I don't see Linux establishing a significant desktop presence in industries where Macs are predominant, at least not until people like Quark or Adobe begin making Linux native versions of their software. I don't see that happening any time soon.

    My two cents,

    MCM
  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:06PM (#6280790) Homepage
    >So why the fuck don't they include one then? Sell you an
    >overpriced machine, and then make you spend another
    >$30 on a real mouse? WTF?

    Simple. The OS is not so fatally flawed as to require two (or three) buttons to use effectively and, for the vast majority of users, a single mouse button is all they ever need for anything that they do on the computer.

    Professional/power users, who need 3 button mice (or 2 button, or 12 button, whatever), can buy the one that they want--since whatever version Apple choose it would not work for many users who even want a multi-button mouse would need (I want a 3 button mouse, with the third button under my thumb, built for a right-hand! I want the same, but a lefty design! I want a flat, 3 button optical mouse! etc.)

    So instead they provide an elegant one-button optical mouse with a clickable surface (rather than buttons) that will work for virtually all of their non-power users and even their power users until they find the right replacement.

    It also simplifies tech support if everyone has one, but that's another matter.
  • To be fair..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dark Nexus (172808) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:06PM (#6280791)
    How many geeks do you know that buy from Dell?

    I, for one, either get my machine custom-order from a local comp shop, or buy it piecemeal and build it myself (more the latter).

    Which, if you know what you're doing, you can get the computer cheaper than you could at Dell (or others), as well as minimizing wasteage (IE: ATA133 drive with only ATA100 controller, PC-133 RAM running on a 100MHz bus, etc).

    It's REALLY hard for Apple match the value of a well-built homebrew PC. Also, you're probably hard pressed to find a new Mac to put Linux on where you aren't already paying for OSX, giving another reason why Apple has a hard time competing on hardware prices alone for people who plan on using Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:08PM (#6280815)
    > Apple is about to redefine the UNIX workstation market that will leave everyone, including Linux, in it's dust.

    I seriously doubt this. Why? 2 compelling reasons:

    1. Reliance on Microsoft

    MS isn't going to keep the applications coming for OS X forever. They've already dumped Internet Explorer. Expect to see Virtual PC and Office follow suit. Once this is gone, Apple's dead in the water. MS apps are the lifeblood of the Macintosh platform, but that isn't going to last forever. Microsoft has a long history of dumping their former partners' corpses in the swamp. I wouldn't expect this to change anytime soon. Linux exists without a reliance on Microsoft, and continues to grow daily. That gives Linux a longevity advantage over MacOS X.

    2. Minority hardware platform

    There aren't nearly as many Macintosh systems as there are PCs, and there never will be. Linux can run on all of those PCs, and on most of those Macintosh systems as well. If Apple opens up OS X to the PC platform, they will directly compete with Microsoft. That's when MS decides to play dirty. Remember, unlike Linux, there is one company to go after with MacOS X.

    Those are two hurdles that Apple will never overcome. They're a fringe player, and will always remain so. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a wonderful platform. The hardware does have some advantages over the PC, especially when it comes to interrupt handling as was mentioned here. It's just that Apple hasn't a chance in the long run.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:19PM (#6280908)
    Actually I think its much more likely that Linux and OS X are synergistic (look it up). Here is why:
    1. IBM will be providing the 970 processor which is the new CPU for all the new Macs.
    2. IBM is currently the largest single investor in private Linux R&D.
    3. IBM is concerned mainly with the server side and Apple with the client side (apple servers aside ;-).
    4. I'm thinking that products like clusterKnoppix with an OS X client side would work very nicely with each other. Same for IBMs virtual Linux machines in 3090 boxen.

    In any case, its more likely that many creative engineers, scientists, artists and musicians will embrace OS X on the client as well as Linux on the server. At least those with $$.

    Also, within certain limits price be damned. I love OS X. I've programmed/used computers since 1975 and everytime I boot up my Mac it feels like a comfy old pair of shoes. Like my favorite pair of jeans. I know that is very subjective, but so is any user experience.

    This from someone who only uses windows for CounterStrike. I've configured Linux/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/X etc ad nauseum. I've owned TRS80s, Atari 800s, Amigas, PCs and now my PowerMac.

    Only real thing I would fix on the Mac is to:

    1. Make a three button wireless mouse the default.
    2. Make a more ergonomic key feel on the keyboard.

    Honestly everything else on the machine feels very professional, but that damn keyboard looks like it costs $300, but feels like it cost $5 from CompUSA.

  • by reallocate (142797) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:20PM (#6280912)
    making a profit is not a big deal, redhat does that...

    Making a profit is the only deal that counts for a business. No profit, no business. (And RedHat's profits are barely there._ ...mac's market share has not grown in the past year. linux's has...

    That tells me Linux is taking market share from someone other than Apple.

    Re: drivers -- I've been running an OS X machine for a year. I've added and removed hardware and software. Needing to think about drivers isn;t part of the process. Sure, the hardware needs drivers, but Apple's tight control of the platform ensures that finding and installing drivers is something that never gets in the way of users.

    If, perhaps, you lack experience using OS X, don't be so quick to join all the other party faithful in asserting that the Mac is just an over-priced pretty display. If you want to use computers, rather than learning about computers, buy a Mac.
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BollocksToThis (595411) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:28PM (#6280980) Journal
    Studies show that computer-illiterate people are easily confused by multiple buttons. You'd be surprised, but it really is a problem.

    And how many of these computer illiterates are buying state-of-the-art G5 desktop machines?

    Come ON. It's a power user's machine. Sell the bloody iMac with a one button mouse, but have a bit of respect for your other (non-imbecile) customers.
  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EelBait (529173) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:39PM (#6281042)
    Heh. Yeah. That would about as dumb as saying, "I want a Dell made by someone other than Dell." Or, a Playstation made by someone other than Sony.
  • Laptop market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mke (28120) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:42PM (#6281069)
    An area that seems to have been glossed over in this thread is the laptop market. The reality is that running linux on your laptop is tough. The hardware isn't really upgradable anyway, so why not go mac?

    I've seen a real increase in the number of powerbooks and ibooks that people are carrying around with them, especially in technical circles. It's unix without the hassle, in a spiffier piece of plastic/titantium/aluminum.
  • Bass ackwards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:47PM (#6281094) Homepage
    Spend USD$3k on a commodity PC (or buy four little PCs, some networking gear and IO cards) and be amazed. I'm pretty sure I could squeeze four Athlons and a few GB of RAM into the box for USD$3000.
  • This is not a troll. Honestly please listen to me. You listed a ton of apps above. You have also been moded +5. You are also wrong about many of these apps:

    - I have been using the Linux Cisco VPN client from 3.51 untill the most recent 4.0.2. It's been easier to use than the Windows client.
    - MS-Office: I don't care what people say: If OpenOffice.Org doens't do it, Abiword and Gnumerics do it.
    - Who in God's name still uses Lotus Notes?
    - Full Acrobat is available for Linux. I've never had a crash or a problem.
    - Photoshop is argueable vs. Gimp, depending on exactly what we are talking about. If we are talking about "desktop" use (as the article is supposed to be about) Gimp is MORE than sufficient enough.
    - Who the HELL do you know that uses PageMaker or FrameMaker? If so, they have much bigger problems than not having Linux versions available...

    Seriously... Have you done ANY research as to what large, major corporations have been supporting Linux for years?
  • by Tseran (625777) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:54PM (#6281157) Journal
    Studies show that computer-illiterate people are easily confused by multiple buttons

    They're absolutely correct. I know several people on WebTV (aka MSNTV) that look at a multiple button mouse (heck, even a single button mouse for some) with a mixture of fear and terror. They know that their boxes are already obsolete, and that within a couple years, MS will stop supporting them entirely and they will need to move to a computer or loose the internet, and it terrifies them. Some are old folks who think a computer is too much for them. Others are like my ex girlfriend who is just a technophobe and hates learning new things. I have seen some of the pictures which say "keep your damn mouse, I want my WebTV" and know that while us computer users look down on AOL folks for their lack of internet savvy, most of us don't even see the WebTV folks, as they don't make that big of a noise at all. The eerie thing is, there are still a LOT of them, just ask the old Talk City management...their customers were half Webbies.

    If you have the money for a Mac, you can probably afford any mouse you want to go with it. Personally, I've been using my trusty IntelliMouse Explorer for something like five years now, and I don't intend to give it up until someone pries it out of my cold, dead hands!

    I say the same about my mac, and yes, I do use an IntelliMouse, which is pretty much the only Microsoft product connected to my machine next to IE, which I am slowly phasing out.
  • by boots@work (17305) on Monday June 23, 2003 @11:59PM (#6281183)
    Only thing more fanatical than a linux user... is a Macintosh user.


    That's so true. I just happened to leaf through a Mac magazine (forget the name) and the degree of persecution/delusion expressed just took my breath away. I had trouble believing it wasn't a spoof. Just about every page had one or more of these:

    * "Mac is so much better."
    * "Even though we're slower in MHz and benchmarks it's really much faster"
    * "Everyone (or Microsoft) is out to get us."
    * "Only dumb people like other systems."
    * "Why won't hardware vendors support us? We should all write and complain."
    * "Steve is infallible"
    * "Steve is ruining Apple"

    It reminded me so vividly of Amiga or OS/2 users a few years ago. But the Amiga users had a better sense of humour.

    It made Slashdot look like a paragon of selfconfidence and maturity. I'm sure not every Apple user (or publication) is like this, but some of them are pretty loopy.
  • About your sig... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rpete (6612) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @12:36AM (#6281400) Homepage
    > My little iMac can encode MPEG4 video in realtime. > Show me an x86 that can do that. Or, shut up about > x86 performance.

    1GHz athlon can easily do this, 720x480 video divx5 encoding at 10000 kbps in real time. Perhaps it's time to updage your sig, since my machine isn't exactly the bleeding edge these days.
  • Yes. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @12:37AM (#6281408) Homepage
    Not as easily or seamlessly as on a USD$1500 Mac, to be sure, but the tools are there to do all of the above and can (have, in the case of my sister-in-law) been used by non-technical people to do just those things. She doesn't have a DV camera, but others do.

    Cinelarra and friends aren't as easy to use as iMovie, but Mandrake does give you access to $zero film tools like CinePaint [sourceforge.net] (many of which, it must be said, will also run under OS X with an X server). How much did you spend on software on top of your USD$1499?

    BTW, given a choice between OS X in stable Apple hardware or MS-Windows on commodity PC hardware for anything like comparable pricing, I would be hard pressed to not choose the Mac. But given a choice between a good Mac at AUD$3k or a good PC running Linux at AUD$2k, I'd need some justification for that extra AUD$1k.
  • by pVoid (607584) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @12:39AM (#6281421)
    I wish I could say they'd all unite and destroy Windows, but Microsoft has enough loyalists that I don't think that's possible

    You're on to something here man...

    Just breath deeply, and get rid of the hatred of windows... I personally think the desktop market miraculously being split 3 ways between OSX, Linux and Windows would be the best thing we've *ever* had. *EVER*

  • by vorpal22 (114901) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @12:50AM (#6281469) Homepage Journal
    The GIMP may be powerful, but it suffers from the same problem that a number of Linux applications suffer from: there's no usability engineering done on it.

    There have been many times, back when I was a diehard Linux zealot (before OS X), where there was something extremely simple I needed to do to a photo or picture. I'd load it up in GIMP, and after fifteen minutes of frustration and not being able to find out how to do it, I'd give up, boot into Windows, and do it in the default Windows photo editor in a matter of seconds. And when I got my Mac with OS X and Photoshop, my experiences with Photoshop were that the common tasks that novices would want to perform were immediately available and intuitively located. No sifting through submenus of a popup menu, no obtuse names, etc...

    The fact of the matter is, is that you shouldn't have to be an expert with a particular OS or piece of software in order to accomplish certain tasks. With Linux, I don't think you could avoid this given the complexity of the OS itself and many of the pieces of software. I mean, seriously, while KDE is pretty damn cool, the control panel is a nightmare of panes with obscure options that 99% of users will never use (much less understand), and you have to dig through the complexity to accomplish the simple. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to turn off the absolutely nightmarish sound scheme (I still have nightmares about it, I swear) that came turned on by default for KDE 3 with my installation of Mandrake Linux 9.

    Indeed, the only way I see Linux passing MS on the desktop is if MS continues to make ridiculous blunders in the way they treat end users. Until then, I won't hold my breath. I got involved in Linux in '99, and back then, everyone was all a-buzz about how Linux was going to be the next best thing and take over the desktop. Four years later, I haven't seen any significant progress except with KDE and GNOME, and even both of them are lacking.

    Seriously... I think Linux's biggest shortcoming is its fragmentation. Too many distros, too many desktop environments / window managers, too many GUIs, etc... You'll be hard pressed to get industries who are willing to commercially back Linux on a desktop setting if things continue as they are. Part of the reason I left Linux was because it was too frustrating to have 18 CD players installed by default, all at version 0.052, and all of them doing one or two things very well but not meeting the functionality of a CD player on Windows.

    I still love Linux despite my frustrations, but I had days where it became easier for me to just save my home directory and reinstall than try to fix problems that arose from installing RPMs that killed other libs, etc... Linux is great, but I don't think it'll ever be suitable for anyone who's not a computer expert or doesn't have a helpful computer expert friend.
  • by prockcore (543967) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @01:36AM (#6281706)
    what I typically see is if that a Linux guy can afford a Mac, he gets one. If he can't, he runs Linux with a shiny KDE or Gnome desktop and talks about how it's "just as good" as a Mac; usually he's looking at the Mac with utter lust as he says this

    I'm a linux guy, I use RH9, I'm not a commandline freak, and I really hate OSX. I hate the fact that all the features that made OS9 good are gone. No more window blinds (unless you want to spend $30 for a shareware package). I think the Dock is the worst way to organize your apps, I can't tell the difference between a running app and an app that I haven't run yet.

    I watch my coworkers fumble around their desktops, they spend several seconds mousing back and forth over the dock looking for Transmit or something, I watch them accidentally close the wrong window, over and over again because they can't tell which window is open. I watch them click and hold for 5 seconds for their Applications menu to open up (what good is a menu if it doesn't pop open immediately?)

    I watch him save a file, and then wonder where it went, because it won't show up on the desktop until he clicks on the desktop.

    My only conclusion is that OSX users are delusional.

    Me, I'm happy with my Ximian Gnome desktop, it just works (hey, I thought that was Apple's line).
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@gmailFREEBSD.com minus bsd> on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @01:49AM (#6281765)
    Not flaming you at all, just pointing this out as the myth that apples computers are expensive is really old and really annoying. They aren't.

    They are.

    And, up until about twelve hours ago, they were expensive and much slower than the competition.

    Apple doesn't sell the bottom of the line machines for $500, for which you'd be better off getting an XBOX anyway, but in tehir price ranges they have much higher performance than the competition.

    No, in *some* price ranges, they have *somewhat* higher performance than the competition. In other price ranges (like, say, where normal home users shop) their price/performance is not good, assuming they have a comparable product at all.

    Even then, it should only take a couple of weeks for the PC prices points to adjust themselves down. By the time the first PM G5s are reaching their buyers, you'll almost certainly be able to buy a cheaper, faster Dell machine.

    Does anyone else find MacZealot revisionist history as amusing as I do ? Macs have been competitive on price/power for all of about half a day and suddenly it's like the last four years of overpriced, underpowered machines never existed.

  • by ablair (318858) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @01:56AM (#6281790)

    If Slate wanted to generate as much reaction as possible for an article, Boutin couldn't have chosen a better way to sensationalize some pretty tame analyst conjecture. This story isn't new [macobserver.com], and heck - I even suspect that regurgitated analyst conjecture has been wrong in the past. But even if it isn't wrong this time, who cares? Boutin presents an eclipse of MacOS by Linux as another death knell for Apple, when in fact it presents the greatest opportunity Apple Computer has seen in decades. This is for 3 fundamental reasons:

    1. Linux will not be replacing Macs, they'll be replacing current & future Windows boxes. They will be the new systems of price-conscious IT managers or consumers or who would have otherwise used cheap Windows systems anyways [businessweek.com]. Where Linux is making desktop inroads (with the corporate & enterprise set) Apple has never has had, and probably never will have, any significant acceptance. And nobody can credibly say that Apple's core users - people who work with graphics & music, publishers, etc - will dump their platform and be using Gimp et al instead of Photoshop & MSOffice this decade. Neither will the grandmas of the world anyday soon be getting Linux boxes instead of dead-simple iMacs from their adult children so they can chat with the grandkids. Boutin is right that Linux is growing, but Linux is not eating into Apple's market share to any significant extent.

    2. Linux acceptance means more willingness to look at all alternatives to Windows. If we, as consumers or enterprise managers or whomever, are considering going with something other than what we're used to, all options are suddenly open for discussion. The hard part is stepping away from the psychologically safe, familiar zone of Windows to start with; after that, most people don't care what they run so long as they can do what they need to with minimum hassle. The more people use Linux, the more they will consider a Mac, and vice versa.

    3. More Linux adoption directly results in more Mac software. Porting is easy, and how many app developers wouldn't spend a few days (nearly a worst-case scenario) to make MacOS X-compatible versions of their software for minimal cost, opening up a market of millions? Furthermore, the more people using Linux, the more users out there will be familiar with the *nix conventions and tools that are also permeate MacOS X, so switching from one to the other will be increasginly like going from KDE to Gnome rather than to/from something foreign.

    Boutin is wrong to imply that growing market share for Linux will eat away at Apple's customers. Analogies to Sun & SGI are misleading, since these companies are competing with Linux in the same market spaces that Linux has strength in, and may not show enough beneficial differentiation from Linux to be considered a better solution for the same needs. Apple, however, is very significantly differentiated in the minds of most people from Linux - how many people would confuse the two? - and presents real & imagined specialized benefits that are not seen to be available elsewhere, certainly not with Linux. I won't even comment on his analogies to the XBox vs. Playstation & Gamecube, it's so irrelevant. Wost of all, Boutin pits Linux vs. Apple, predicting Apple will be another "friendly fire" casualty. The two communities have so much to gain from one another by an increased acceptance of either, that one should really consider a success for one to be a success for the other (and the *BSDs as well). A nice try at inflammatory writing, though.
  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cybpunks3 (612218) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @02:34AM (#6281940)
    Before everyone swears up and down that 2 or 3-button mice are the "standard" let's put this in perspective.

    Apple has been shipping computers with 1-button mice when the PC was shipped WITHOUT a mouse--because back then all you had was DOS.

    Now, I may like more than one mouse button, but Apple's got their reasons for sticking to the traditional 1-button mouse that they've had for 20 years.

  • by Corpus_Callosum (617295) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @03:38AM (#6282189) Homepage
    Consider, if you will, what Apple is doing, right now, with their hardware; The price/performance has, with the new G5s, been brought SIGNIFICANTLY lower than x86 based systems.

    The reason Apple could not release x86 "OS X" before was that it would kill their hardware business (Faster and Cheaper on DELL?? Makes no sense).

    But with the new G5 systems combined with the greatest damned laptops ever constructed, there is little reason to fear a loss in hardware sales now.

    It is no secret that Steve would love to give Bill a taste of his own medicine, served straight from "The Art of War".

    I can imagine no better way to do that than a Christmas release of x86 "OS X" and a fabulous Apple style marketing blitz...

    People would convert in hordes using existing hardware and launch straight into an apple hardware upgrade path.

    Could it happen? What do you all think? Only problem I see is a need for a runtime dynamic compiler (ppc->x86) or a nasty lack of apps in the first few quarters of availability...

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zerocool^ (112121) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @04:01AM (#6282263) Homepage Journal
    My little iMac can encode MPEG4 video in realtime. Show me an x86 that can do that. Or, shut up about x86 performance.

    In the house where I live, there's a 2.4Ghz Pentium four.

    It can encode a DVD in Divx 5.05 in realtime. Using two pass. Seriously. If you rip a DVD to the hard drive, then put it in a DVD player, by the time the movie is done, you'll have a 2 pass encoded divx rip sitting on the hard drive.

    Basically it comes down to this: There are very few flame wars that I'm willing to participate in. But mac users who claim their hardware is cheaper than a comparable speed PC or faster than a comparable priced PC are so full of crap they've got living spaces in their septic tanks.

    I will concede the following things:
    1.) mac hardware is stable
    2.) mac hardware is fast
    3.) mac hardware is (some) 64 bit
    4.) mac looks good
    4.) at a given clock speed, mac hardware will be faster than the windows counterpart

    BUT. I hate the megahertz mith of the P-4 as much as anyone, but the fact remains that the p4 is damn fast, and all the clock speed DOES make up for the poor engineering. PERIOD.

    When mac fanatics claimed that their hardware was faster, it might have been true at the time when mac hardware was 333 mhz and PC was 450 Mhz. But, it took mac a year to go from 333 to 500. In that time, PC hit 933 and 1.0 Ghz. Sorry fanboys, your 1 Ghz PowerPC doesn't hold a candle to a 3.2 Ghz P-4. Show me a mac that can do 240 fps in quake 3. Please.

    Real world numbers on price:
    MAC - $1800
    Dual 1.25 Ghz G4 Proc
    256 MB DDR333
    80 GB ATA HDD
    DVD / CD-RW
    GeForce 4 Ti 128 MB
    Sound card (not specified)
    No Monitor

    Dell - $1677
    2.8 Ghz Hyper Threaded P-4 800 Mhz bus
    512 MB DDR400 dual channel ram
    120 GB 7200 RPM hard drive
    ATI radeon 9800 pro 128MB
    DVD / CD-RW combo drive
    Sound Blaster live! 5.1

    Let's examine:
    Mac has essentially 2 processors totalling 2.5 Ghz. PC has one processor that acts as two because of hyper threading, totalling 2.8 Ghz
    Mac has 256 MB of DDR333. PC has twice that and faster ram at DDR400 Dual channel.
    Mac has 80 GB hard drive (RPM not specified). PC has 120 GB hard drive (50% bigger) and specified at 7200 RPM.
    Mac has DVD-CDRW combo drive. PC has DVD-CDRW Combo drive.
    Mac has unspecified level of Geforce 4 Ti, w/ 128 MB of video ram. PC has radeon 9800 pro, with 128 MB of ram. Radeon 9800 beats any Geforce 4, even Ti 4600, by significant margin.
    Mac has sound card. PC has creative soundblaster live 5.1.

    Mac costs $1,799. PC costs $1,677. PC is better in every measurable context, price and performance included. Well, mabey it doesn't beat it out in the "cool case with shades of grey and handles" department.

    Macs are not for everyone. They are for people who want pretty computers that work well without hassle and that look good. Mac is all that. Mac is NOT, however, the faster type of computer, nor is it the cheaper type of computer.

    ~Wx
  • by theLOUDroom (556455) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @08:43AM (#6283115)
    The power of the computer is not in the desktop, but in the applications. The desktop is a means to an end.

    You can say that about the applications as well. They are just a "means to an end". Or the whole compter. It's just a mean for getting work done. Why should it even matter?

    In reality, your OS, windowing system, WM, shell, apps, drivers, etc are all an important part of getting your work done.

    You have to admit the grandparent is right. Under Linux, he has control of his desktop, and that is an advantage. OSX is still a proprietary system, and Apple is suing anyone who even makes their stuff look like aqua.
  • by aliens (90441) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @09:04AM (#6283225) Homepage Journal
    Man just think of the cluster $3000 could get you. Let me just flesh out my dream systems.

    1 head node:
    2.4C P4 overclocked to 3.3 $175
    1gig PC3200 Corsair RAM $300
    Some insanely large HDD $100
    Abit Springdale mobo $100
    Case & Antec Powersupply $120
    Nvidia 5600 Ultra(would like ATI but not for linux) $215
    DVD-Rom $40

    Other nodes:
    3 Athlon 2500+ Barton ~$300
    3 Nforce2 mobos ~$300
    6 256MB Sticks of PC2700 RAM $240
    3 cases & PS ~$250
    3 Smaller HDD ~$300
    1 Cheapo vid card for installs on each $30
    3 CD-Rom $60

    Linux on each: $0
    Total: $2490

    Okay, so it's not quite $3000, but I bet you can have plenty of fun with that setup. I forgot a switch, add that. All mobos come with built in NIC's. I think that's a good deal.

  • Re:To be fair..... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @11:30AM (#6284723)
    "It's REALLY hard for Apple match the value of a well-built homebrew PC."

    IF you value your labor at $0.

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