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Apple Businesses Software Linux

Free Software on a Cheap Computer 625

Posted by Zonk
from the tiny-penguin-coop dept.
Shell writes "Is this the solution to free software on a cheap computer? NetBSD and Yellow Dog Linux have both begun to support the Mac Mini. This article from IBM looks at open source operating system options on this new contender in the embedded PowerPC platform space." From the article: "This article looks at the current state of Linux and NetBSD support on the Mini. If you need all the hardware and options fully supported, these open source options won't do it for you ... yet. But, if all you need is a stable kernel, a C compiler, and network support, the code is high-quality and the price is unbeatable." This is part two in the series. Part One was covered a while back.
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Free Software on a Cheap Computer

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  • OS included? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WilyCoder (736280) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:47PM (#12194376)
    Is it possible to get a mini without the apple OS?

    If you can't, then whats the point? You've already paid for an OS....
    • Re:OS included? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lederhosen (612610) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:48PM (#12194388)
      The sam could be said for most winboxes.

      The answer is that you can get a _free_ os with 64-bit support.
      • Re:OS included? (Score:3, Informative)

        by lederhosen (612610)
        of course g4 is 32 bit, but people say the same about g5 systems
        • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:45PM (#12195881)
          The real question here is:

          Why would I give a crap about a free OS for a computer which already comes with a better one as a standard feature?

          I mean, if I'm building a cheap AMD tower for $300, then yes, load her up with Linux or BSD and save myself the "Microsoft Tax." By all means, great idea. I get a better OS, and save myself about a hundred bucks. Fantastic.

          But the mini already comes with an OS which not only works better than any of the free alternatives, but will run most "free" software (plus a lot of apps which a Linux box won't.) What would be the point, unless I'm a "free as in speech" Stallmanist cult member?
          • Re:OS included? (Score:4, Informative)

            by John_Booty (149925) <johnbooty@booty p r o j e c t .org> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @08:09PM (#12196523) Homepage
            The real question here is: Why would I give a crap about a free OS for a computer which already comes with a better one as a standard feature?

            No, the real question is, "did you read the opening post?"

            Not the linked article - the opening post. It clearly says, "This article from IBM looks at open source operating system options on this new contender in the embedded PowerPC platform space"

            Key word here is "embedded", which implies a whole different ballgame compared to desktop or server computers. Google if you're unfamiliar with the term. A feature-rich GUI desktop OS is not ideal for the embedded market.
      • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Informative)

        by bonch (38532) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @02:13PM (#12194587)
        Except that the Mac mini isn't a 64-bit G5.
      • As opposed to... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShatteredDream (636520) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:44PM (#12195571) Homepage
        MacOS X which has 64-bit support. Besides what does it matter since the Mac Mini uses a 32bit processor...
        • Re:As opposed to... (Score:3, Informative)

          by WatertonMan (550706)
          OSX has some 64bit extensions, but it isn't a 64 bit OS by any means. Even Tiger, which allows command line programs to be fully 64 bit won't allow applications utilizing graphics to be 64 bit. (Although I think X11 programs can be)
    • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ciroknight (601098) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:50PM (#12194399)
      The computer's so cheap, Apple's pretty much undercutting themselves in the OS's cost. Those machines probably cost every bit of 2-300$ to build, which would pretty much say the entire profit margin goes to selling their operating system. Apple is a software company, that just so happens to expect the best when it comes to hardware and peripherials.
      • Re:OS included? (Score:3, Informative)

        Bullshit. Apple is a hardware company that happens to need to make software in order to move their pretty plastic boxes (and I am typing this on my iBook G4, FWIW).
        • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ciroknight (601098) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @02:07PM (#12194540)
          Odd, you know what motivated me to buy one of their pretty plastic boxes (iBook G4 as well)? iTunes.

          I was so impressed on how well iTunes worked for me, though not being perfect, it seemlessly worked with my iPod and my crappy Riothingy I had at the time. When time came to buy a laptop for college, I looked at my options and saw OS X. Now, I'd seen OS X before; 10.0 disks came with my teacher's G4 desktop (our school's video editing machine), but it wasn't quite the beast I was looking at on Apple's website. I thought, "an entire operating system, as seemless as iTunes, as crashproof as OS X, and good battery life on their laptops." I was sold.

          I would have NEVER considered an Apple product had it not been for OS X 10.3. 10.0 was fine and dandy, but it seemed sluggish, nothing seemed to work quite the way it should have, and required expensive hardware to run on. OS X 10.3, however, was stylish, integrated, things Just Work(tm)ed and on top of it all, it was a HELL of a lot cheaper than the Wintel laptop I considered (1300 w/ educational deal, plus 69 for another iPod, vs 2100 for the Dell I would have otherwise got [centrino]).
          • I'm with you on this, I'm currently looking at getting a Mac simply because iTunes and iPod are so slick at working together, and given Apple's reputation for keeping on at something until they get it right (along with a quick prod at OS X) I think it's safe to assume everything is just seamless.
          • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Informative)

            by duffbeer703 (177751) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @03:24PM (#12195092)
            "...it was a HELL of a lot cheaper than the Wintel laptop I considered (1300 w/ educational deal, plus 69 for another iPod, vs 2100 for the Dell I would have otherwise got [centrino])."

            That's like saying that a Honda Civic is better than a Bentley because the Civic costs $13k and the Bentley $130k.

            A $1300 iBook is a much lower end machine in comparison to a $2100 centrino machine. The Dell you compared had a bigger, higher resolution screen, faster CPU, more memory and hard disk.

            Mac hardware is excellent, but more expensive -- you could get a laptop similar to your iBook for about $300 less.

            I'm buying a Powerbook when Tiger is released, understanding that I'm paying a premium over what I would pay for another functionally similar Thinkpad T42 or T43.
            • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Informative)

              by ciroknight (601098) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:20PM (#12195436)
              At the time, the machine I compared it against had a smaller HD (40gb vs the 60 in my iBook), a faster processor (1.8 centrino), the same amount of memory, and a bit better screen resolution (15" display, 1280x760 or something really weird like that), and a bit of a better warrantee (3 years, which I guess I have the option of getting with Apple; Dell wanted to force it down my throat. Also, take in account this was before Dell was giving away the world with their machines..). The thing is, I wouldn't need that much power if the damned operating system that came with it (Windows XP Pro, another few bucks on the price, regardless) would simply do its job and not require as fancy hardware. Yes, I evaluated Linux as a possibility; I run Linux on my desktop machine at home, simply because it's a bit older, and all of the stuff that came with it (by the graces of a few donating coders in the world) was supported. I knew if I got a laptop, I wouldn't be so lucky. Also keep in mind I only evaluated Dell; by the time I saw Panther, I was sold.
            • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Informative)

              by galaxy300 (111408) <daltonrooneyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:44PM (#12195878) Homepage
              I disagree. I think Apple hardware is getting much more affordable. I feel pretty strongly that a G4 iBook at $999 (add $25 for an extra 256 MB RAM aftermarket) is one of the best deals out there.

              That may be because I just bought one, but I did my research first, including having a couple of other laptops at home to play around with. A laptop "similar" to the iBook for $300 less would simply be a cheap laptop, and that's *not* a good deal.
            • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:25PM (#12196052) Homepage Journal

              Mac hardware is excellent, but more expensive -- you could get a laptop similar to your iBook for about $300 less.

              Depends on what you consider "similar".

              I bought my wife an iBook for Christmas and researched it pretty thoroughly. At the end, I decided that I was paying something of a premium for the Apple hardware, but it wasn't $300.

              First, if you want a small laptop (12") in the x86 world you're stepping into the realm of "ultralights", and they cost a lot more (and they're smaller and lighter than the iBook). My wife wanted small, but didn't need tiny, so in that respect I couldn't really find a truly comparable machine to her very specific needs.

              Beyond that, I looked at many laptops around $800 that had similar specifications to the iBook, so on paper I figure I paid a premium of about $200 (and I was okay with that, see below). However, I don't think that's quite true, either. The iBook is a better machine than those $800 x86 competitors, in lots of ways that don't show up in the typical list of features.

              One thing I noticed right away was the quickness that the machine resumes from sleep. That may be hardware-related, or it may be OS-related, I don't know, but it's very nice. From the moment you open the lid, the machine is ready to use in two seconds, tops.

              The sleek design is obviously another issue, one more important to my wife than it would be to me, but it is an issue. It's a pretty computer, and she likes that. You can get pretty x86 laptops also, but not for $800. It also has all sorts of other little goodies, like the design of the power adapter -- sleek, functional, clever -- the "heartbeat" sleep mode indicator, the battery status indicator build into the battey, etc.

              The machine also *feels* like a well-built piece of equipment, rather than some cheap POS. I don't know if that will translate into corresponding reliability, but I actually expect it will.

              All of that said, I still think I paid a bit of a premium for the Apple logo, but less than it would appear on paper.

              I did it because I knew that I absolutely did not want her to have a laptop running Windows. I had just eliminated the last Windows machine in my house, and I didn't want the support burden of adding another one. My Linux laptop is pretty high-maintenance, but that's because I choose to mess with it a lot. I pretty much ignore the rest of the Linux PCs in my house (server, media PC, my desktop, kids' desktop) except to run the occasional "apt-get upgrade", but I seemed to spend way too much time fixing Windows boxes when I had them. OS X has turned out to be as pleasantly low-maintenance as I expected. It requires a bit more than my Linux boxes but that's mainly because I don't know the OS as well.

              So from my maintenance-focused perspective, an x86 laptop running Linux would probably have been ideal, except that I'd have to be careful that all of the hardware had Linux drivers available. That, plus the fact that I haven't yet found a good Printshop-like application for Linux made me opt for the Mac. Oh, and the fact that the Mac came with Quicken (unfortunately, we later found out that Quicken for Mac sucks).

              On balance, she likes the iBook, and so do I (though I'd put Linux on it if it were mine), so I think it was a good purchase decision.

              • by bani (467531)
                The iBook is legendarily unreliable. My friend's iBook (nicknamed "iBork") has had to be sent back to apple for repairs no less than 3 times...

                apple faced class action lawsuits [appleinsider.com] over the iBook fiascos [macopinion.com].

                I'd seriously [appleinsider.com] reconsider [lowendmac.com] recommending an iBook [wikipedia.org] to anyone. Just because it didn't happen to you doesn't mean it won't to the person you recommend it to. And statistically speaking, the ibook is very prone to failure compared to other laptops.

                A powerbook is probably ok though.
          • Re:OS included? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Lord Kano (13027) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @03:45PM (#12195245) Homepage Journal
            I would have NEVER considered an Apple product had it not been for OS X 10.3.

            I stopped buying Apple right before OS 9.0 was released. When Apple decided that "beige was bad", no one should make clones and everything had to be clear plastic, I lost interest.

            The Mac Mini is the first piece of Apple hardware that I have seriously considered buying since Steve Jobs returned.

            It was a smart move. Now that there are linux distros trying to add support for the new hardware, it's just looking more attractive.

            LK
    • Re:OS included? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:51PM (#12194406) Journal
      That's what I was thinking. Anyone who's got needs so specific that, as the article write up says, they don't include the full functionality of the hardware; well, if that's you, you're probably capable of building your own systems for a even cheaper.

      The mac mini is cool and all, but it's not the first solution to cheap machine with free software. Maybe the first powerPC machine, maybe the first that has a the fancy case design, but that's about it. This is not going to be the piece of hardware that finally brings linux to the third world masses. You'd have to bring the price down quite a bit more for that.
    • Re:OS included? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm with you on that. This is a solution in search of a problem.
    • cheap $500 ? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      $500 is not cheap for a mac mini CPU box.

      $200 would be cheap and about the right price point for a mac mini type box.
      • Re:cheap $500 ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @02:50PM (#12194842) Homepage
        You're absolutely right. I'm interested in the Mac mini and think it's a good price but that's because it's really OS X I'm interested in. A Mac mini is the cheapest way for me to be able to run it. That's what they're really selling: the OS. As cheap hardware to run Linux on it's a bad deal. I can cobble together hardware for less than $500 that'll handle Linux.
      • Re:cheap $500 ? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ucklak (755284)
        There is no way the Wintel boxes can compete with $500 for a full blown Mini-DV editing, DVD authoring, and sound editing.

        Do you forget that the $500 also includes iLife?
    • Sunk cost (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omnirealm (244599) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @02:27PM (#12194697) Homepage

      If you can't, then whats the point? You've already paid for an OS

      When making decisions about your future actions, you should not take into consideration what you have already spent. That's a sunk cost [wikipedia.org], and it can only serve to bias your decision. Rather, you should be considering, from where you stand right now, what your best options are for the future. This is why companies will spend millions on building a new facility, only to abandon it one month before completion. They do this because they figure that they will wind up losing more by continuing to dump time and effort into the facility, so what's the point?

      If you get more usability, security, performance, or what have you, out of Linux than you do out of MacOS X, then it does not matter whether or not you have already paid for MacOS X. That has nothing to do with what operating system you should be using from this point forward.

      • by iammaxus (683241) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:55PM (#12195638)
        That was about the longest way possible to say "because maybe you like Linux more than OS X"
      • That's a sunk cost, and it can only serve to bias your decision. Rather, you should be considering, from where you stand right now, what your best options are for the future.

        If you get more usability, security, performance, or what have you, out of Linux than you do out of MacOS X, then it does not matter whether or not you have already paid for MacOS X.

        This is true, but the article title implied that the reason for installing Linux was that it was free. If that means free as in beer, then it's a spe
    • Re:OS included? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amonredotorg (807621) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @02:32PM (#12194731) Homepage

      Mind reader.

      1. Installing Linux or BSD takes time and experience; Mac OS X comes preinstalled.
      2. You can run most Linux/BSD software on Mac OS X. X11 comes preinstalled, too.
      3. Mac OS X doesn't lack any package management systems: Fink [sourceforge.net], DarwinPorts [opendarwin.org] and now even Gentoo MacOS [metadistribution.org].
      4. No need to compile and install drivers for any devices you have. They are preinstalled.
      5. If you don't like the Mac OS X GUI, run X11 with your favourite window manager in fullscreen. It works perfectly.
      6. You can easily use X11 and the Mac OS X GUI at the same time. It works perfectly, too.

      The list goes on.

      "Free Software on a Cheap Computer" doesn't mean getting rid of Mac OS X, dammit.

  • Unbeatable? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gellenburg (61212) <george@ellenburg.org> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:47PM (#12194379) Homepage Journal
    But, if all you need is a stable kernel, a C compiler, and network support, the code is high-quality and the price is unbeatable.

    Especially when all of these things ... as well as full hardware support comes with the f*cking computer!.

    Ever hear of installing the Developer Tools on your Installation CD?

    No offense, I'm a big *BSD supporter, but this article's summary is rediculous.

    • Re:Unbeatable? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Visaris (553352) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:51PM (#12194416) Journal
      Mod parent up. This article is a waste of time. I know people like to put linux and *BSD on everything, but talking about this as a price/feature advantage is just crazy. When the mini comes with OS X, which supports gcc, gdb, X windows, (almost all gnu software) as well as all the Mac software, why the hell would throwing out all that support somehow become "cost savings" ?
    • Re:Unbeatable? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ciroknight (601098) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:56PM (#12194462)
      Everyon'es got an agenda to push. It just so happens this article's trying to push the free software agenda. Sadly, I don't think they do so effectively; the Mini Mac is virtually a perfect desktop computer, it comes with a great, fully functioning and partially Windows/Linux compatible operating system, great hardware support, a decent hard drive for the home user (though lacking for the mid-upper range users we are), and Wifi (if you want it) to integrate seamlessly into your home's wireless network.

      I just don't understand the need for better software on the machine, even if it is lacking in the USB/Firewire (read: hardware) department.
  • by CdBee (742846) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:49PM (#12194391)
    To my knowledge and confirmed by TFA, no distro of Linux or BSD (well, apaprt from OSX) supports Airport cards (either version)

    They lay the blame at Broadcom's door for keeping the spec a secret, but lots of manufacturer's don't publish specs but still end up being supported, either through reverse-engineering or emulation + non-native-driver

    Can any informed person comment on why this is taking so long?
  • Debian too (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:50PM (#12194395) Homepage Journal
    FTA:

    "Current releases of Yellow Dog, as well as of Debian and Gentoo (both of which run on the Mini), are stable enough for use."

    What's wrong with the Debian running on the Mini platform? Is there any reason Ubuntu couldn't run, too?
    • Really... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DavidNWelton (142216)
      I don't get why these articles always seem to push some one-off distribution that someone has scrounged together for their particular architecture. With Debian/Ubuntu, Gentoo or whatever, you get the same basic OS you use everywhere else, modulo a few tools that are specific to that architecture. That makes your life easier, so you can spend more time on interesting things, be it watching movies, kernel hacking or whatever...
    • Re:Debian too (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by l3v1 (787564)
      What's wrong with the Debian running on the Mini platform? Is there any reason Ubuntu couldn't run, too?

      What should be wrong with it ? I guess you're just one of those Ubunbu fanboys who think Ubuntu should be run everywhere. Why should the above listings start with some minor distros: if they say some big and well etablished distros can do it, then probably the derived others also can. This is a better formulation than the other way around.

    • Re:Debian too (Score:3, Informative)

      by rjw57 (532004) *
      I already run Ubunto on my Mini.
  • Free software (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eumaeus (733945) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @01:50PM (#12194401) Homepage
    Doesn't the Mac Mini come with a stable kernel, a C compiler, and network support, all implemented in "high quality code" at the right price? And, OS X comes with excellent support for Java, in contrast to the last time I experimented with Linux on PPC (about a year ago) and found that there was no up-to-date JVM or SDK. (But perhaps I missed something.)
    • Re:Free software (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekee (591277)
      "Doesn't the Mac Mini come with a stable kernel, a C compiler, and network support, all implemented in "high quality code" at the right price?"

      What do you mean by the right price? Maybe I want the hardware only, and am willing to pay $400 for that, instead of $500 for both. But I don't have that option from Apple
  • It comes with the Case, MB, and Hard drive.

    Then add a monitor = $100
    Video Card = $40
    Peripherals = $40
    CPU = $40

    Now THAT'S a cheap computer. If you're looking to save money, why buy a Mac?
    • RAM, CD-R, sound card, speakers. They're pretty essential these days. But at that point, you're approaching what it would cost to get a cheap-o Dell...
    • I don't know where the $89 system is, but the closest I can find is the Geekit:

      Geekit [geeks.com]

      And that's $199. Don't forget the RAM too, though it does have the keyboard and mouse, though only PS/2. Not a bad price, but it's not a Mac either, I already have PCs that are a lot better than that. That said, I wouldn't buy a Mac to run linux or a plain BSD, I'd buy it for OS X. In my opinion, as a desktop OS, OS X as a whole is lightyears ahead of any Linux or other BSD I've seen.
    • by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@@@pacbell...net> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @02:49PM (#12194835) Homepage
      The whole premise of the article is: An embedded view of the Mac Mini

      So for $499 you get an entire solution as an embedded computer; developer tools, OS, and hardware.

      For your $98+$40+$40 (case, mb, hard drive, video card, and CPU), where are your developer tools, OS, ram, and SIZE?

      Can you place your $178 (+ram, OS, development tools), inside a car? A backpack? A handheld?

      The point of the embedded development system is that you can use your tools and hardware from your development environment and transfer it into production. IE, an embedded PowerPC.

      Where is the LOW POWER embedded Pentium 4 or embedded Athlon? Your proposed solution would be to develop on a $200 Intel PC for a $80 PowerPC solution.

      The Mac mini proposed solution would be to develop on a $499 PowerPC for the same $80 PowerPC solution.

      Your idea works great... if you're developing for the XBox. For all the other PowerPC devices (like say the TiVo, or maybe the GameCube, or the future PS3, Revolution, or XBox2), it seems kind of backward.
  • Nothing new... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IBeatUpNerds (827376)
    Computers have been getting cheaper and cheaper. I'm mainly citing PCs, since Macs have always one-upped PCs in price and advertising. Sure, cute little machines are nice.

    My point: two years ago I put together a 1.8ghz machine with 512 megs of RAM, decent video card, decent hard-drive, for 300 dollars. No OS included. Toss in some FreeBSD and I'm up and runnning for 300 bucks. So, again, someone please tell me how a 500 dollar computer is news these days? Just because it's a Mac? Just because Joe-sixpack
  • "If you need all the hardware and options fully supported, these open source options won't do it for you ... yet."

    Oh really? Then when?
  • by delire (809063) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @03:02PM (#12194920)
    .. IBM has a vested interest in encouraging interest among Linux developers for their PPC architecture.

    If there's anything to the rumours, we'll be seeing Linux PPC desktops/laptops sometime soon. Wonder if they'll use their Thinkpad offshore, or the Taiwanese company already making the Mac Mini's, FoxConn http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20050114A7040.html [digitimes.com]

    On topic I'd be interested to know if Apple has any exclusionary rights over the market for PPC desktop machines. I'd sure buy a PPC laptop if it came without the sugared fruit..
  • OS X (Score:3, Informative)

    by dfj225 (587560) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @03:09PM (#12194973) Homepage Journal
    I have to agree with many of the other posters here about the selling point for most Mac hardware is OS X. Don't get me wrong, I like linux and its great for a lot of purposes, but on my laptop, I just want everything to function properly without having to think of it. If I can get a system that does that using a Unix core, then I'm interested right there. My iBook is a nice piece of hardware, but it isn't really anything special. What is special is OS X. I can't really say that any other operating system can match it when you evaluate it as a whole. If it wasn't for OS X, I'd probably have a Windows laptop and just left Linux to run my server.
  • by treerex (743007) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @03:49PM (#12195269) Homepage

    People need to remember that the first article in the series was talking about using the Mini as an embedded development platform. Mac OS X is hardly an embedded OS, so being able to replace it with a more customizable system (i.e., Linux, NetBSD) is a plus, especially if you can make use of the hardware provided in the sexy little package.

    Putting a crippled Linux/BSD on a Mini when you have OS X installed is silly: except for the sheer studliness of it go out and buy a cheap x86 box to get your Linux fix.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:16PM (#12196016)
    What is the point exactly for installing a BSD or Linux when OS X includes a BSD subsystem?

    Want free software? What's wrong with the following:
    Gentoo for OS X: http://www.metadistribution.org/macos/ [metadistribution.org]
    Darwin Ports: http://darwinports.opendarwin.org/ [opendarwin.org]
    Fink: http://fink.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
    Freshmeat: http://osx.freshmeat.net/ [freshmeat.net]
    Sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/softwaremap/trove_list.php? form_cat=309 [sourceforge.net]

    I need clarification. Are we discussing Open Source Software or Open Source GUIs?

    Mac OS X has an open source kernel, a closed source GUI, OSX specific frameworks and some apple specific drivers. I don't see what the problem is. They have to have something extra to entice people to buy their OS. Fortunately, they support open standards and document their APIs very well. I consider "open standards to be far more important that open source software. as the former help to prevent vendor lock in while the latter does not necessarily do that. What good is it to have open source software if it does not support interoperability?

    Running Linux or FreeBSD on a mini will gain you nothing for software availability and you will lose WiFi support so I really don't see what is the point to not run OSX.

  • Who wants to run Linux or BSD Unix on a Mac Mini? People buy a Mac Mini to be a cheap low-end Mac. They actually want to run OSX.

    If they wanted to run Linux or BSD Unix, they could buy one of those el cheapo $300USD or lower PC Clone systems. In fact, this is something that Linspire [linspire.com] counts on, selling their el cheapo Linspire based systems at Wal-Mart, etc.

    The day you find people running Linux or BSD Unix on a Mac Mini, will be the day that Apple sells the Mac Mini sans the OS. The Chicago Cubs have a better chance of winning the World's Series, than people have of Apple selling Mac Minis without an OS.
  • OpenPPC Project (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tgeller (10260) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @07:29PM (#12196331) Homepage
    Anyone remember The OpenPPC Project [openppc.org]? This was something Ralph Giles and I started a few years ago, to follow up on a PPC-based reference board designed by IBM. Unfortunately a parts problem prevented it from ever being produced commercially, despite creation of a commercial company (Pop Computers [archive.org]) to manage the process.

    Anyway... while the Apple Mini/OSX solution isn't the same thing philosophically, I'm fairly content that it solves most of the problems for which that project was created: It's Unix, it's cheap, it's PPC.

    What it *isn't* is open-source in any real way. As someone who's now more influenced by practical than ideological concerns these days, I'm content.
  • by cbreaker (561297) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @09:56PM (#12197078) Journal
    So what, MacOS is a decent OS. Who cares? It only runs on Macs anyways. The great thing about Linux and other open systems is that they aren't platform dependant.

    You know, some people actually LIKE Linux systems, and they prefer to use them on whatever the hardware of the day is, be it a G5 or an Opteron or an Itanium. At the end of the day, you're still using your trusted and open OS, which you'll more then likely be able to run on the next system out the door by whatever company.

    Don't you get it? Vendor lock-in sucks, I don't care if it IS the proverbial underdog that's doing it.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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