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Dvorak Says Apple Move to Intel Will Harm Linux 1098

Posted by Zonk
from the speculative-fortunetelling dept.
Deep Fried Geekboy writes "John C. Dvorak is pretty quick off the blocks with a response to the news that Apple intend to switch to Intel processors. Thankfully, he doesn't gloat about having called this one correctly, but says that the move is likely to hurt Linux, as OSS developers increasingly target the Mac. Since it now turns out that Dvorak was apparently not smoking crack when he predicted the Apple move, could he be right on this one too?"
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Dvorak Says Apple Move to Intel Will Harm Linux

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  • by suso (153703) * on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:29AM (#12747149) Homepage Journal
    could he be right on this one too?

    Harm? yes.
    Kill? no.

    This is redundant, but you can't kill something that isn't tied to the ownership of a company. Just like HAM radio, Linux will be used by enthusiasts who still like using it for a long long time to come. Sure, some perhaps many people will switch to OS X86, many will not.

    In the long run I think the Apple move to Intel will help non-windows people in
    general by creating a more dominant force of alternative operating systems on th
    e Intel platform. We all win out by having more choice and interoperability between operating systems. You have to admit, its all getting better.
    • by JPriest (547211)
      Sure people will be liss likely to use Linux on an x86 desktop but that has not taken off despite experts claiming it would every year since 1999. With OSX being a (partial) UNIX core it gives OSS devs a new more user-friendly platform to write open source software on.
      Also, Mac owners will now be able to install standard x86 Linux distros along side OSX too.
    • by Lando Griffin (698606) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:36AM (#12747264)
      It is even simpler than that. Hacking aside, Apple is committed to locking down OSX for x86 to Apple-branded hardware. So even after this move, switching from whichever OS you are running now to OSX will entail purchasing Apple hardware. Linux and the BSDs will remain free, and will happily install and run on whatever hardware you have installed in your machine.
      • Since Apple will release the core OS (Darwin) Open Source, it is trivial to get the core OS to run on standard Intel hardware. So moving the OS X libs etc to Darwin is probably easily done from a real OS X installation

        But since the end user will have to do this himself, it will only happen with hackers.
        • Since Apple will release the core OS (Darwin) Open Source, it is trivial to get the core OS to run o

          No, they don't. The "core OS" is much more than just Darwin. Quartz and Aqua are so important to the execution of any major "Mac application" that they too must be considered as part of the core. And obviously, they are not nearly Open Source.

          If you didn't need the Graphics and UI stuff, you'd probably be better off running your applications on BSD or Linux, forgetting OS X.
      • already too late (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CarrionBird (589738)
        True, but OSX will already run on a PC under pearpc. And now the main thing that made it so slow, the need to emulate a ppc, is no longer necessary. (of course you will have to emulate for the existing apps, but supposedly Rosetta will handle that)
      • > Hacking aside, Apple is committed to locking down OSX for x86 to
        > Apple-branded hardware.

        Three options here.

        1. The new x86 Macs only run OS X. In this case there is zero change in new adoption and a slow bleed away since Apple will always be behind the tech curve. The PPC chip was their only ace in the hole, they run stock IDE drives, year old video cards, etc. Since they only introduce new hardware twice per year that also means that they will usually be six months to a year behind on the CPU.
    • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:40AM (#12747330)
      Why is everyone so quick to pit this as an OS battle? I think the more likely scenerio is that Apple will end up taking market share away from HP and Dell. I know a lot of PC users that have salivated over Powerbooks (please note that laptops are now outselling desktops) but very few who would risk an OS change. If Apple makes a product you can load WinXP on, even if it comes with OSX out of the box, expect to see significant sales of Macs to Windows users.

      TW
      • by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:46AM (#12747436) Journal
        In spite of the fanboi consensus, Apple hardware is not magical. The hardware itself offers precious little advantage over other commodity components, other than manufacturer-designed integration--just like Dell and HP. About the only non-commodity component in current Macs is the CPU, and we all know that's about to change.

        So J. Random Luser isn't going to buy a $1000 Mac/x86 and a $400 Windows Longhorn package, particularly if burning OS X and loading Windows disqualifies you from Apple technical support and service. Which it probably would.

        No, the only real advantage of Mac, regardless of processor, is integration between proprietary hardware (even if built up from commodity components) and OS X. So don't expect a swarm of switchers bringing their XP CDs.

      • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:37PM (#12748129)
        Why is everyone so quick to pit this as an OS battle? I think the more likely scenerio is that Apple will end up taking market share away from HP and Dell. I know a lot of PC users that have salivated over Powerbooks (please note that laptops are now outselling desktops) but very few who would risk an OS change. If Apple makes a product you can load WinXP on, even if it comes with OSX out of the box, expect to see significant sales of Macs to Windows users.

        Well, I think both will happen. First, since you'll be able to dual-boot, people might dual-boot Mac and Windows now, and since that'll only be possible on a Mac, that means people might leave Dell for Apple.

        However, I also think people are leaving Linux for Mac, but that has NOTHING to do with the chipset. It's been happening for a while since Apple switched to OSX. I'm living proof, buying a powerbook I never thought I'd own. But in a way, this will help linux too - I, as an Apple owner, can now put on whatever linux distro I want. Hell, talk about Nirvana - I can *triple* boot Mac, Linux, and Windows. Gives me dirty thoughts just thinking about it.

        If there's on linux distro that's probably hurt by this, it's obviously Yellow Dog. Still, great effort all those years, guys.

    • by dsplat (73054) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:41AM (#12747344)
      I agree to an extent. Most open source software is designed to be portable across a wide variety of *nix platforms. Yes, this may mean that more open source developers will use OSX as their native platform. It has the potential to seriously change the landscape for desktop *nix use, which will have an effect on some commercial Linux distros. But it is not going to kill open source development and it isn't going to eliminate Linux as a target platform for open source apps.
    • by SenseiLeNoir (699164) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:59AM (#12747601)
      Fact 1:
      Apple is considering using Intel CPUs on a "Mac" Architecture...

      Fact 2:
      Linux is predominantly used on Intel/AMD chips on an "IBM PC" Architecture

      How the two facts above lead to Dvorak saying that this would mean less development on Linux, I havent a clue.

      Hey, have a look at this wookie called chewie
    • by Arker (91948) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:06PM (#12747687) Homepage
      How could it possibly harm Linux? That's really quite absurd. What, the SMP code is just going to mysteriously degrade? Pthreads develop bugs without human intervention? What?

      Talking about companies as if they were people is bad enough. Talking about computer programs as if they were people is just absurd.
    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      Harm? yes.

      Harm? How? Apple makes proprietary systems, composed of proprietary hardware and proprietary software. Now they'll switch from PowerPC to Intel CPUs - this doesn't mean they'll give up on their own hardware, just that they'll switch to a different supplier for one of the parts. So the question is not whether this can kill or harm Linux, but how this would have any effect at all for Linux.

      Dvorak's idea is that people would now fork out the money to buy a Mac, then buy a license and install Win

  • by dave-tx (684169) * <df19808+slashdot&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:30AM (#12747152)
    Seems to me that as long as you can build/buy a cheap x86 box (that OS X will not run on), Linux will have almost as large, if not as large, as it has right now. I don't see this hurting Linux substantially, as Mac/OS X will always be more expensive than the homebrew computer on which Linux thrives - at least for the home user/hobbyist. There may be an impact in the workstation sector.

    • Well... there is always that big assed server market that Linux seems to do so well in, and the XServe...well...
    • by saintp (595331) <`stpierre' `at' `nebrwesleyan.edu'> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:45AM (#12747425) Homepage
      Ding ding ding! Thank you, dave-tx, we have a winner!

      Why OS X on x86 won't kill Linux:

      1. It's not free.
      2. It's not that other free, either.
      3. It won't run on a generic whitebox that you built from Newegg.
      4. It probably won't run on those nice 1U rackmount servers you just bought from HP.
      5. Loyalty. Loyal Mac users have taken Apple through all sorts of dark ages, but they aren't programmers. OTOH, most open source hackers are loyal Linux or BSD users, who aren't likely to switch.
      6. It's not a real Unix. Of the tiny handful of Unix gurus I know who have switched, they have all switched on the desktop, not in the server room. As we all know, Linux's greatest strength is in the latter, and my experience suggests that OS X is simply not ready for enterprise-class server applications.
      7. Netinfo. It's even worse than ncsd.
      8. Cost. If you expect an Apple box to cost significantly less with a different processor, you're smoking crack.
      9. Performance. Anyone who wants serious power will still go with Linux, especially since Apple is inexplicably going from a 64-bit processor with a 128-bit memory bus to a 32-bit clunky piece of junk.

      Summary: We might see a blip in the desktop penetration of Linux, and possibly a fiery Clash of the Zealots, but that's about it.

      • by Otter (3800) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:17PM (#12747847) Journal
        Here's a simpler explanation: the only thing that's changing is a chip buried inside new Macs, and some changes in OS-level code that almost no users will ever see. To the degree that users are or aren't changing from Linux to OS X, what possible difference does it make whether there's a PPC or x86 CPU inside?!?

        Curiously, Dvorak really did come up with a scoop this time -- if anything he _ought_ to be gloating, instead of using the news as a new opportunity to be stupid.

      • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:21PM (#12747903)
        I don't disagree with your general point but: "6. It's not a real Unix." Neither is Linux. It's certainly Unix-like, but it's a cousin. MacOS X is built with FreeBSD, with some modifications. I suppose you could call it a cousin as well. However, if you mean that MacOS X is untested in a high performance environment like corporate computing, then I'd agree that for the most part is true.
      • by mrtrumbe (412155) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:35PM (#12748100) Homepage
        Alright, I'll take a shot at this one...

        First, let me state that I agree that Mac on Intel won't have a serious impact on Linux. Though I do think it could make a dent in Linux on the desktop (rather than your assesment of a "blip"). On to your points.

        1-3: You got me. It isn't free and it won't run (supported) on generic x86 boxes (or even boxes from other large vendors).

        4: It won't run on the rack-mounts you got from HP, but it will run on the rack-mounts you buy from Apple. I hear those guys are pretty nice, as well.

        5: Loyalty has always kept these two camps intact. Agreed.

        6: Define "real" Unix and then tell me why Mac OS X isn't Unix. In my experience, Mac OS X is just as much a flavor of Unix as Linux, Solaris, AIX or any of the BSDs. Sure, it does some things differently, but don't *all* flavors of Unix do some things differently. And in terms of stability, expandability, and playing nice with existing Unix software, it has been pretty good to me. I completely disagree with you.

        7: Netinfo isn't great, but it's use is very limited in Panther and later (especially Tiger). In a networked environment, against authentication and directory servers (OS X Server, ActiveDirectory/MS, Kerberos/LDAP, etc.), NetInfo isn't used much at all on local machines. Again, OS X supports open standards and does it well.

        8: It isn't free, and the hardware, while likely to come down a tad, IMO, will not be as cheap as commodity x86 boxes. But I do expect their prices to become more competitive with the "big boys" of the Wintel market (Dell, HP, etc.). If you are looking for rock-bottom prices, of course you don't go to a major provider like Dell or HP, do you? Then why would you go to Apple? Other than that, I see no reason they can't compete better with Dell and HP on their own turf.

        9: I think you're jumping the gun on this one a bit. This transition is expected to take over two years, yet you are assuming Apple will stay with IA-32 indefinitely based off of their initial Universal Binray Programming Guidelines doc. ISn't that a tad presumptuous? I seriously doubt that by the time Apple get's their pro desktop lines migrated to Intel, they won't support 64 bit processors. We'll see though. Neither of us are mindreaders...

        Taft

    • > a cheap x86 box (that OS X will not run on)

      It will. Trust me. I'm from Russia.

  • Doubt it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:30AM (#12747163) Homepage Journal
    If anything, Apple moving closer toward commodity hardware may be the undoing of the Mac, but it's the attraction of Linux I believe is there regardless of Apple's existence.
    • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black-Man (198831) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:36AM (#12747270)
      Has USB/USB 2.0 led to the undoing of the mac? Has the move from SCSI to ATA led to the undoing of the mac?

      Then how can anyone predict this will hurt the platform?

    • Re:Doubt it. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Eil (82413)
      If anything, Apple moving closer toward commodity hardware may be the undoing of the Mac

      Eh? Apple's been "moving closer toward commodity hardware" ever since the first revisions of the original Macintosh. If your definition of "commodity" means "used or made popular by PCs", then you're in for a shocker as today's Macs have:

      * commodity memory
      * commodity hard disks
      * commodity optical drives
      * commodity system bus (PCI)
      * commodity video chipsets
      * commodity peripheral buses (Firewire, USB)

      Along with the mot
  • Just because it's Intel does not mean it's gonna be x86, does it?

    Oh and BTW - First Post. I think...
  • by Thanatopsis (29786) <despain...brian@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:31AM (#12747170) Homepage
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day. :-)
    • by numark (577503) <jcolson AT ndgonline DOT com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:34AM (#12747213) Homepage Journal
      Exactly what I've been saying recently. Dvorak didn't necessarily guess anything spectacular. There were pretty good odds something like this would eventually happen. Apple went to IBM because Motorola couldn't turn out G5s fast enough. Then IBM ran into trouble with G5 production. Who else was there to turn to? No one else has a viable chance of making PowerPC chips right now. Just because Dvorak happened to put pieces together, along with some wild speculation, doesn't necessarily qualify him to continue to make wild predictions. It just means he got lucky one time.
  • Dvorak (Score:5, Funny)

    by J-1000 (869558) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:31AM (#12747177)
    He also said the Internet would crash.
  • About the gloating, anyway.

    Check out his PC World column [pcmag.com], which is full of obnoxious gloating.

  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jasenko (97884) *
    Apple will grab a lot of Windows users with this move, but many more Linux users will switch. Linux users will get familiar environment on their platform of choice. Plus, if they don't like OSX as much they can always boot into linux, this time, they can but their favourite x86 distro.
    I wonder can you install Xp on that machine...
  • Define "Harm" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dark Paladin (116525) * <`jhummel' `at' `johnhummel.net'> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:34AM (#12747202) Homepage
    A lot of it depends on what Apple does. Right now, Linux can run on a Mac, so that's not a barrier. Linux will (and I'll go on a limb here) certainly run on the new Intel Macs.

    So by "hurt", there's no net change: Linux runs on Macs, and will in the future.

    If Apple makes its Macs (say that three times fast) as closed as they are now, then Linux will have nothing to worry about. Linux succeeds, as one developer mentioned, because nothing runs faster than on commodity hardware running with LInux running with Apache. Linux succeeds because of its ability to work very well with open systems. Apple will be a niche player - maybe they'll grow if WINE should run well under OS X with an Intel processor (and I'm hoping so, if for no other reason than I can play Half Life on a Mac finally), but I don't think that Linux will be threatened by a locked hardware base.

    If Apple, say 5 years from now, decides that it's going to let the machine hardware become the commodity item and focus on its "special" hardware (iPod, etc) and software (Final Cut Pro, iLife, etc), then Linux will still be unharmed. Even if Apple says "OK, we're still going to sell premium desktop machines at +$300 compared to the competition for quality - but you could always just buy a Dell and pay us $150 for OS 10.7 and we'll be happy, since that still means you'll buy our other software too and you're likely to someday make an official Apple machine your next purchase", Linux will not be "harmed", since Apple can't stop Linux from being made. Linux will proceed along its way.

    If by "harmed" you mean market share, then he may have a point. If Apple lets OS X run on standard PC's, then I can see Linux desktop share either becoming stagnent or shifting about.

    My personal bet is that if the latter happens (OS X on standard machines), within 10 years we'll see a 50% Windows, 30% OS X, and 15% Linux, 5% other varients in the desktop market - in the server market it may be much as it is now, maybe with OS X and Linux overtaking the bulk of the traditional Unix route.

    So, "harm" to Linux? The truth, as you may learn, depends entirely upon a certain point of view. What I've described is just mine. I could be wrong.

  • But even I know that Dvorak is an idiot. Like the cliche says, "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

  • by maw (25860) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:34AM (#12747218) Journal
    This seems more like a case of the exception proving the rule than anything else.

    As for the move hurting Linux, maybe. But OSX has been hurting Linux on the desktop for a while as it is. Lots of hackers are switching; they get the power of the CLI when they want it, with no need to fuck around when they want to view video, plug in hardware and have it reliably work, etc.

  • by LunaticLeo (3949) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:34AM (#12747219) Homepage
    He said in 12-18 months and that was almost 27 months ago. This is something of a nit, but you can't say "Windows will be less than %50 of market share in the next 5 years" then 20 years later say "I told you so" when it actually happens.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:34AM (#12747224) Homepage Journal
    ...predict that Apple was going to move to Itanium?
  • Ummm... what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saleenS281 (859657) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:35AM (#12747229) Homepage
    Umm... just because it'll run on x86 doesn't mean it'll run on average PC hardware. Tell me Dvorak isn't this stupid? I really don't think apple is just going to give up their proprietary lock, I believe this move is just to get in on more profit/cheaper hardware. I'm sure they'll still have their own proprietary system in place of the bios, which means all of us on regular x86, not mac x86, still won't be able to use it. And I *REALLY* dont' think you're going to see hundreds of thousands of people running out and buying a mac just because it's "Intel inside".
  • by spif (4749) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:35AM (#12747231) Journal
    It's one thing for Dvorak to predict the Apple move to Intel; that's a meat and potatoes hardware business prediction that lots of other (non zealotous) people made as well.

    But he doesn't have a freakin' clue about open source development. It's not an either/or proposition. People will continue to write software that can be targeted to OS X and Linux and [insert favorite *NIX OS here].

    Yes, it may hurt Linux on the desktop somewhat, if Apple's Intel-based hardware is cheap and/or running OS X on generic hardware isn't a big PITA. But that's no real skin off my potatos as long as it helps hurt M$.
  • Linux going forward may be the only OS that will continue to run on non-DRM and open hardware. Expect the Apple Intel boxes to be locked down tight, and MS is definitely going in that direction.

    Longhorn and Mac OS X ( Tiger, Leopard) may still have many more appealing features, but from a freedom and open use perspective, you better start looking at that Linux box.
  • John C Dvorak opens his mouth before his brain works and non-tech people believe it to be fact.

    News at 11.

  • It always amazes me how the Slashdot readers tend to think that Dvorak is the great anti-sage - the guy with all the wrong answers. I can understand not taking what he says as gospel, but his only real sin is the willingness to make guesses.

    I appreciate reading his stuff, but I take his predictions with a grain of salt. He's very well informed and quite willing to disseminate his information. He's also usually pretty insightful, even if he isn't generally dead-on.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:36AM (#12747258)
    Personally I do not think this will hurt Linux at all. In fact, I think it could help Linux to have some really well designed Intel boxes to run on - Linux can benefit as much from Apple's design constraints as much as Apple, you could be more sure a Linux distro would work on an Apple box because there was less hardware to test. Also Linux will still run on all sorts of Intel hardware that OS X will not.

    I think a really interesting aspect of this Intel move is that now Apple has REALLY positioning itself square against Longhorn. The next release of the OS is due around the Longhorn release, and all the lower end macs like the Mini and iMac should be switched by then as well. So come time for Longhorn release will people buy Longhorn boxes or Apple boxes with a sort of "Longhorn" that's had almost two years of refinement, not to mention what's new in Leopard!

    At first I didn't think the Intel switch was a good idea, now I'm kind of neutral. One thing I still find odd though - why Intel of all people? Why not AMD?
  • I don't agree. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:37AM (#12747273) Homepage
    Sorry, I simply don't agree. While people may be more inclined to develop for the mac platform when it's using the x86 architecture, let's not forget why people will be more inclined to develop for the mac; because it's easier to do.

    People will be able to develop truly cross platform libraries more reliably, on which people will write applications which will work on all platforms. I find it exceedingly unlikely that a developer would choose to develop solely for apple, when for a little extra work they can cover Linux too.

    I disagree with his slurs against open-office too. The bi-monthly preview versions of open-office 2.0 are very impressive, not only in terms of functionality but also in the quality of its interface. I'm sure there are arm-fulls of features present in Microsoft Office that are not there in open-office but do I really give a flying fuck?

    It's not the total number of features that matters; it's whether the features I want to use are there that really counts. I'd bet that almost all of the Slashdot community have not used any of the new features in Microsoft Word since the release of Office 97. After Office 97 no real value was added to the office suite, so why should I have to upgrade every couple of years?

    Microsoft force upgrades because you can't buy Office 97 licenses any more. When your company expands you have to get the brand-spanking-new licenses of office and then because of possibility of incompatibility between the two versions it becomes sensible to harmonize the licenses across your business and this invariably means buying loads of new licenses.

    In contrast, Open-office has all the features I want to use and they're organized in an accessible way. I can always get an older copy of open office so the same expansion issues do not apply. I think if most companies could start over with their office suite, most would adopt open-office. What's stopping market penetration by open-office is the hidden cost of converting all the documents to the new format.

    Simon.
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:37AM (#12747281) Homepage
    Anything that increases the Mac marketshare over windows has the opportunity to boost Linux in the short term. Any time you add people to developing on *NIX or BSD, you end up with code that can be ported back and forth easier then, say, some DirectX or MFC app made for Windows.

    So in the short term, you end up with more projects that can be released under Mac & Linux.

    In the long term... the key to success probably hinges on adaptation. If Linux distros continue on their own path with mixed up UIs, uneven standards, and so on, then the core audience won't grow as fast as if there's a consensus to make it appealing for newcomers.

    I'm not saying 'Just make everything look like Mac', just that a succesful long term strategy probably involves watching and, when appropriate, adopting best practices from the similar OS that has a bigger marketshare.
  • He's wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:41AM (#12747346) Journal
    First off, there's a difference between being right about something that you heard leaks about. Dvorak never came up with unique arguments for an Apple to Intel switch. All he gave were the same list of pros and cons that the Apple community has been arguing about for years. Congrats to him on hearing the rumors and the leaks before a lot of other people, but that doesn't make him a great visionary or insightful interpreter of the industry. His track record isn't very impressive in my opinion.

    Second, Apple's switch to Intel really doesn't change all that much unless you're a current Apple developer. Apple's hardware is not going to get significantly cheaper, their OS is not going to run on non-apple machines. There's still going to be just as much proprietary-ness in both their hardware and software as ever. They've been making general strides towards open source with OSX, but I don't think that's going to function any differently now that they're on x86.

    A mac will still be a mac, and a PC will still be a PC, they'll just happen to have the same processor inside. Like they have the same hard drives and ram and lots of other stuff now. If Apple was opening up OSX to any old dell or emachines box, then maybe there'd be significant migration from Linux. If Apple was entirely open sourcing the whole of OSX, then maybe there'd be significant migration. But not because they're changing processors in their otherwise the same computers.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:43AM (#12747391) Homepage

    There is plenty of anecdotal evidence about Linux/Unix users switching to Macs in droves [wired.com]. If that's true, I don't see how Apple switching to Intel based system will stop that switch. It will almost certainly make the switch even easier to make. Let's face it, with a Mac you get Unix AND a great GUI.

    • by Orp (6583) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:57PM (#12748409) Homepage
      Let's face it, with a Mac you get Unix AND a great GUI.

      Am I the only one out there who doesn't really care for Apple's "great GUI"? I currently have the latest greatest dual proc. G5 with 4 GB of memory running Jaguar on my desktop sitting next to my vanilla Athlon running FC3. Guess which one gets used 99% of the time? I am a hard core Linux user from the start who cares most about three things: the terminal (gnome-terminal with tabs), the editor (vim/gvim) and whatever handles my personal key and mouse bindings (which is why I hate Metacity and stick with sawfish). I don't care if I have 64 bit rendered window borders with buttons that look stunningly like cough drops. Honestly, the only software I run regularly on the G5 is the Palm software which syncs up my Zire. It's broken in FC3 right now.

      I got the G5 with grant money (I'm a meteorology professor/researcher) because I am interested in creating movies of renderings of my model data, and got the Final Cut Pro / Motion / DVD burner suite and it works fine. I also wanted to see how the IBM processor stacked up to the Athlon/Intel for large floating point model runs (now that seems to be less of an issue). But you can bet if those movie making apps ran under Linux, I wouldn't have bothered with the Mac.

      Unless something much, much better comes along, I will probably run Linux as my primary "Desktop" and research OS until I retire in twenty-odd years.
  • by cowbutt (21077) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @11:50AM (#12747486) Journal
    Dvorak's argument seems to boil down to people being able to dual-boot MacOS with Windows on their Macs in future. I don't see that as a significant factor, and certainly not on the enterprise server or desktop (which never dual boot, with the possible exception of sales engineers' laptops and the like). I don't see that Apple merely changing CPU makes the Mac any more or less easy for developers to target. It's not like there's much assembly code being written any more.

    That said, the Mac is acting - and will continue to act - as a retarding factor to Linux desktop adoption. Essentially, if you don't like tweaking, MacOS X is "desktop Linux" available today, and with Microsoft Office, QuickTime and all the rest. In this respect, RH got it right by shifting focus from the hobbyist/home user desktop. Me, I enjoy the tweaking, and consider it a fair price to pay to avoid being locked into anyone's proprietary software, whether Microsoft or Apple. Each to their own though; I gather some people actually use computers to do their real job, strange as that might seem!

    Of course, as MacOS X is more-or-less a UNIX, it can be argued that any retardation it causes Linux is balanced by the invigorating effect it gives to UNIX-like OSs like Linux.

  • by Cthefuture (665326) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:06PM (#12747685)
    I am a developer. I use Linux, OS X, and Windows for development all the time. However, I run Linux as my primary OS because it's light(er)-weight and easier to secure than the alternatives.

    Windows is insecure, plain and simple. You have no source code and there is all sorts of legacy code and other crap in there that you can't control. Except for the stupid licensing/activation it is a fine operating environment but I just can't trust it. That plus the lack of a nice scripting environment that Unix-like systems provide make it unusable as a primary OS.

    OS X is slow, bloated, and somewhat insecure. The slow and bloated parts are just a problem with the design. BSD on Mach is wasteful and they do way too much object-oriented stuff that is inefficient (not that OO is bad, just their design which has Smalltalk-like issues). This goes way back the design of NextStep which had similar problems. As for the insecurity, it's the same problem I have with Windows. I don't have the source code to most of the system and there are is lot of legacy and convenience stuff in there that will eventually lead to insecurities just like on Windows (just wait and see when OS X is more pervasive). Although I trust it more than Windows, I can't live with its performance and that nagging insecurity feeling won't go away.

    So I'm left with Linux. BSD is not an option because I need VMware to run Windows for development purposes. Linux can be a pain in the ass to work with but it is getting better and at least I have full control. For me this is mostly about security and performance. I know what's going on and can control all the details. This can be a huge pain and I try to mitigate the problem by using the proper tools but at least it lets me sleep at night. Also with Linux I can control what I run. I don't need an Aqua-like eye-candy system to do development on. I can chose to run GNOME, KDE, or something lightweight. I like that control because it keeps my system performance up in the places I need it (eg. I need to run VMware fast, I need to compile fast, etc.).

    Non-developers have different needs of course.
    • OS X is slow, bloated, and somewhat insecure. The slow and bloated parts are just a problem with the design. BSD on Mach is wasteful and they do way too much object-oriented stuff that is inefficient (not that OO is bad, just their design which has Smalltalk-like issues).

      Err, you say you're a developer, but then you say things like this. The Mach/BSD issue is not the bottleneck. That Anandtech article was painfully innacurate and uninformed.

      There are some bottlenecks in this region, but they are no

  • Give me a break (Score:4, Insightful)

    by leereyno (32197) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:35PM (#12748088) Homepage Journal
    This is the kind of stuff that really makes me wonder how many people just don't get it.

    Imagine if a car company came out with a nice new sedan. This sedan is VERY nice. How much would that sedan hurt the truck sales of a competing company? If the sedan is VERY nice, then it is sure to have an impact on auto sales in general, but since it is not a direct replacement for a truck, its impact on truck sales is going to be limited.

    OSX is NOT a direct replacement for Linux. The reason is that it will not run on STANDARD HARDWARE. If Apple were to actually create a version that ran on generic PC's then someplace in hell some imps would be making a snowman. Apple will not create a version for standard PC's because Apple is Apple. If you know the history of the company then you know what I mean. If you don't know the history then explaining it will take too much time. There are many books that have been written about Apple and its history. If you want to know the details, read a couple of them.

    The value of Linux is that it is FREE, and yes I mean as in BEER as well as in speech, and you don't have to buy funky proprietary hardware to run it. This is why it is found on servers all over the place, as well as on more and more desktops every day. OS-X is expensive, both in terms of the OS itself, and in terms of the proprietary hardware you have to shell out money for in order to run it. Proprietary solutions, even if they are superior, always have a very hard time competing with commodity solutions. This has been Apple's problem for the better part of 20 years now. It wasn't Microsoft as a software company that sank the Mac, it was the PC hardware industry whose products became ubiquitous. Microsoft simply rode the wave.

    As for the development argument, how many Open Source projects are there out there which target the mac exclusively? Answer, very few. How many in fact support the Mac as an afterthought, if at all, because of all the funky things that Apple has done which make porting to it more difficult than porting to Solaris or some other mainstream version of Unix?

    I really do get the idea sometimes that people like Dvorak are in the business of making proclamations like this just to get attention. If they're right even some of the time then they'll be able to create an audience and a paycheck doing it.

    I have an alternate prediction for everyone. My prediction is this: The Open Source projects that benefit the Mac will usually benefit Linux and vice versa. There will be a few that are Mac-only, or Linux-only, but only in order to replicate some desired functionality that is already present on the other system. Most of the Open Source development that is done for OS-X will be in porting stuff from Linux to it, and in the creation of new projects that can be developed on both platforms simultaneously.

    We already see this with FreeBSD where everything from Apache to zsh is up and running because the work of porting between FreeBSD and Linux is usually trivial and writing conditional code to support both platforms is even easier. There are a few packages that don't exist on both platforms, or which exist on one platform as a kludge, but these are the rare exceptions. Linux and OS-X don't have as much in common as Linux and FreeBSD do, but they are still similar enough that supporting both is not a herculean task the way it is with Unix and Windows. Development on OS-X will therefore be a net gain for Linux since most of the stuff that is developed for OS-X will be developed for Linux at the same time and vice versa.

    Besides, there is no guarantee that Apple's move to Intel is going to increase sales. It may result in faster computers, but it takes a lot more than that to convince people to buy your funky hardware so they can run your funky os.

    Linux has one strike against it in that it is not windows. It is able to overcome that because it is FREE and runs on standard hardware. Choosing Linux is not a commitment to Linux, it c
  • by jyoull (512280) <jim@NOSPaM.media.mit.edu> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:35PM (#12748095)
    Developers write to the OS and API provided by the OS, not to the CPU.

    Why will it make any difference at all if developers are telling their compilers to compile for x86 or PPC? The application-level code still has to be dealt with, and the CPU isn't even visible to most developers writing most applications, particularly the critical-mass open source stuff that the "masses" would have to adopt to make this turnabout happen.

    I'm not happy with the Apple decision, but for reasons other than these.
  • Clueless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arker (91948) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:38PM (#12748141) Homepage

    The key here is that Apple and its BSD-UNIX kernel running on the Intel platform should outperform Windows by an extreme

    OSX uses the XNU kernel, a development of the Mach kernel, with the BSD-UNIX personality hardcoded in. It doesn't have the performance characteristics of the BSD kernels at all. On top of this sits Aqua, as eye-candy intensive a GUI as any out there, which places heavy demands on chip performance. Switching to an inferior CPU isn't going to make it faster, even with the higher clock speeds in performance terms the switch is likely to be a wash.

    OSX isn't going to outperform Windows on the same hardware by any stretch of the imagination. The switch may well enable Apple to improve their price/performance ratio, if as is rumoured this was prompted by difficulties getting the next generation of PPC chips at reasonable prices in reasonable quantitites, but expecting OSX to outperform any other system on the same hardware is pretty ludicrous. Unless he means to compare OSX today with Longtooth in 5 years or whenever it's finally released.

  • by yeremein (678037) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:47PM (#12748254)
    The underlying CPU means almost nothing to the vast majority of application developers. The endianness might make it easier to port Windows and Linux/x86 applications to the Mac, but I can't see OSS developers moving en masse to OS X for that reason. And if OS X/x86 ran on standard PC hardware, it could easily take a chunk out of open source Windows apps, but that's just not going to happen--See here [com.com], the last paragraph: Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers' hardware. "We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac," he said.

    (Incidentally, the use of the word allow indicates to me that perhaps the hardware will be practically identical and artificial restrictions may be put in place to ensure the hardware is a genuine Apple box... then someone will hack OS X to run on generic PCs... and Apple will bludgeon them with the DMCA... I can hardly wait.)
  • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:56PM (#12748398) Homepage
    Dvorak did NOT call this correctly.

    He predicted the shift, yes, but it didn't happen for the reasons he cites. Dvorak was overall ignorant to the inner workings of the Apple-IBM relationship that prompted this decision over the last year. Dvorak's reasoning is that he believes that Intel is a titan, and that monopolies are good, and that the market should reward them. Steve Jobs switched because he's playing hardball with is suppliers.

    I think that this move will be more likely to help Linux than to hurt it. For one thing, this move makes x86-compiled Linux binaries more compatible with the x86-compiled OS X - therefore puts more Linux apps in reach of "casual" open source dabblers who are Mac-heads. Ultimately, this will more closely tie Linux with Mac Users, and vice versa. (not the non-technical subset of Mac users, but the hobbyist/power-user set). I *do* believe that cultivating WiNE for OS X, and other Linux x86 apps, are secretly part of this strategy. Partially to backfill the applications that the platform WILL lose, when it goes x86 - because face it, Adobe and Microsoft may be buying into this bullshit, but the reality is, most other ISV's are not going to recompile or put in the effort to port to x86. Particularly a lot of the shareware/freeware games and utilities (you may as well delete them now, and get used to their absence, they're gone).

    I don't think that a whole lot of Linux users are switching to Apple because of the CPU. They're doing it because Apple supports Unix tools they're familliar with, in a much more powerful sensible and workable User Environment (OS X compared to Windows+SFU). This hardware change won't impact that AT ALL, unless there's a real price/performance difference betweem PPC Macs and Intel Macs (and I seriously doubt that, if anything, there will be a penalty in certain areas where the PPC Macs currently exel, like CD ripping, and MPEG encoding).

    Above all, I doubt VERY MUCH that the PPC->Intel switch is intended to have an impact on the street-price of Apple systems. Jobs says this is purely about MHz ramping, and heat/power/performance capabilities. He's not going to put a celeron in the Mac Mini, and suddenly drop the price $200.

    Linux-heads who are in love with cheap hardware, will stick with Wintel-compatible hardware, and run Linux.

    And NO ONE, will run Linux on Apple-intel hardware. Because Apple-intel hardware will cost more than other brands of intel systems, and the features that make it WORTH more (nifty volume controls, sleep/wake/variable power/cooling management, color management etc) are tied into Mac OS X, and won't likely work as well with Unix.

    The LOSERS here are Apple Customers who have legacy systems. Over the past 5 years or so, Apple has readily demonstrated their utter contempt for people not running the latest and greatest Apple hardware, by cutting off support for older hardware. Us PPC owners are going to be shit on a lot over the next few years.

    Our only solace may be PPC Linux. That helps, not hurts Linux.
  • by Goeland86 (741690) <goeland_86.yahoo@fr> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:50PM (#12749190)
    Where the hell did you guys get that info?
    I was talking about that last night on IRC, and afaik x86 is limited to 32 bit architecture!
    Why the heck would Apple, who's G5 is 64 bits switch to a 32 bit architecture?
    Most likely they're going to use another Intel chip, like Itanium2 or something to come that runs 64 bits, not 32!

    It doesn't make sense for them to DOWNGRADE their hardware. They'd be signing their death as a competitor for high end applications, which is what they are for most professional graphics and video applications.

    Seriously people, think about it! Amd is 64 bits now, apart from the sempron line, and that's destined to disappear sometime in the future.

    So yes, in my opinion Dvorak is smoking crack, because it's not OSX for x86! It's OSX for a non-x86, 64 bit Intel chip! Itanium2 might be it, or it might be something else, I haven't kept up with Intel's 64 bit attempts.

    Also switching from the 64 bit PowerPC to a 64 bit Intel chip would seem more coding than switching to 32 bit, as they have OSX running on their older G4s and even G3s.

    Remember that end of article about migrating to Intel? "It's going to be a lot of hard work"? It wouldn't be if they were switching to x86, Darwin runs fine on x86...

    Doesn't someone else see the flaw here?
  • On User Interfaces (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:54PM (#12749251) Homepage

    Ignoring, for a moment, Dvorak's predictions for Linux's demise, he does have a very valid point that Linux/Gnome/KDE advocates seem to be missing:

    The Linux world suffers from a lack of modern intuitive menus and commands. Anyone who has played with the Open Office Programs such as the Powerpoint clone called "Impress" soon finds themselves lost in a jungle of menu structures and naming conventions.

    The problem isn't isolated to Impress; KDE and Gome applications tend either to mimic Windows equivalents, or have UI's with far too many menus, toolbars, tabs, sidebars, bells, whistles, and fruit baskets. GUI concepts change dramatically between releases (Gnome's file browser, anyone?), and there seems to be little or no documentation for many applications.

    Unix-oriented developers tend to be both intelligent and arrogant; the assumption is that if a program is good enough for a geek, it's good enough for everyone else, too.

    That isn't to say that Windows applications are any more consistent; even Excel and Word have annoying differences in menus and options, and programs these days are a web of menus and options. To change a program's behavior (on Windows, KDE, or Gnome), do I look for "Preferences" or "Options" or "Settings" or "Configure" in the menus? Something so simple, and yet so inconsistent.

    Being "right" doesn't always (or even usually) mean you'll succeed, and just because FOSS developers think they have the moral high ground doesn't mean users are going to flock to their door. KDE and Gnome need to give people a reason to use them, by providing more intuitive interfaces and a better understanding of user's needs.

  • Calm down. Dvorak, as a trade rag columnist, by definition has to pull at least one prediction a week out of his ass. Like any number of other trade columnists, he frequently targets Apple because it makes good copy. With as many prognostications as he's made, he's going to get it right about as often as the next person.

    Having taken the time to RTFA, it's obvious to me he's making it up as he goes. Linux PPC work will will slack off as it's platform moves to legacy status, but otherwise a MacIntelosh won't make a bit of difference to Linux. Addressing his comments:

    Run Windows On A Mac: I seriously doubt it, unless the only thing preventing Windows from running on - say - a G5 is the CPU. Apple isn't going to submit a Mac for Windows certification, isn't going to sign one of those #@$!% OEM deals with MS, and the only effort at making a port work at Redmond will be on someone's lunch hour.
    Obviously harmful to the computer makers in general and to Microsoft: Assuming a Macx86 won't run Windows, the current market inertia will continue. A Mac will remain a nicely made boutique system. For developers, it ain't the CPU, it's the API.
    x86 Competition: The rest of his piece assumes that there's a significant number of x86 developers who work with desktop Linux applications because it's the only non-MS game in town, and they'd love to get out from under the GPL if only they could. This is the fantasy of a (arguably) paid MS shill. So the people working on Open Office, Abi Word, GNU Cash, et al are going to drop everything and run to Apple's API because of an ENDIAN change? At least now we have solid proof Dvorak hasn't written a line of code since he last ran BASIC on a TRS-80.

    Made On A Mac (tm)

  • Dvorak hates linux (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @03:45PM (#12750708) Homepage Journal
    We all know (or should know by now) that Dvorak hates linux, and given any chance, he'll attempt to spread uncertainty and doubt about the future of linux and open-source and free software.

    First, he spends about 2/3rds of the article trash-talking open source applications. They're not intuitive, he claims, and thus haven't been accepted much. Somehow macos is going to kill them (even though he claims they aren't accepted?)

    But in the last third (last 4 paragraphs) is where he actually makes some arguements, instead of just trashing open source applications.

    First, he makes two claims obviously false claims. First, source apps haven't targeted macos, but suddenly will. Simply wrong. Lots of open source apps have been ported to os-x. But even more rediculous is the notion that macos on intel support will be to the exclusion of linux support. Utterly stupid. There's a very strong established trend for multi-platform support on almost all major open source apps. Suddenly everyone's going to abandon gnu autoconfig, automake and libtool? Yeah, right!

    Then in the 3rd to last paragraph, he talks about the GPL's "rigid license requirements". Ok, compared to BSD or public domain, maybe? But compared to Apple's macos? Or any other proprietary software. The GPL's source code release requirements are only "rigid" to one group of people... the proprietary software vendors, who would really, really like to appropriate all that free code, if only they themselves wouldn't have to play by the same rules.

    But Dvorak claims everyone who's believed the GPL was a good idea in the past is suddenly going to see profit opportunity and abandon the GPL. Doesn't seem too likely. This is an old, well worn fear/unknown argument that seemed believable years ago when Red Hat, Caldera and others companies started selling, going public, etc. Hackers worldwide weren't suddenly overcome by greed then, seems unlikely now.

    But the fear is really laid on thick in the last two paragraphs. Apple's going to benefit (probably), so somebody is necessarily going to suffer. Suddenly linux is going to have a new "enemy", and together Apple and Microsoft are going to destroy linux.

    Yeah, like Microsoft hasn't already been trying as hard as they can? And Apple hasn't already been trying to draw people to macs as agressively as they know how? All of a sudden, because Apple's switching chips, BOTH Apple and Microsoft are going to try to attract new customers where they weren't before.

    It's all so silly. If these are the best argument Dvorak can dream up for the impending doom of linux, open source and free software... well, I think those of us who use and depend on linux on a daily basis can sleep well tonight, without nightmares of fear, uncertainty and doubt whether the rest of the linux world suddenly shun linux in favor of macos when we awake in the morning.

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