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Macs Gaining a Bigger Role In Enterprise 383

Posted by kdawson
from the i-want-my-os-x dept.
rev_media tips a short article up at InfoWorld giving some numbers on the increasing Mac presence in businesses. "We're seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs," notes the operations manager for a global advertising conglomerate. They "now [support] 2,500 Macs across the US — nearly a quarter of all... US PCs." Another straw in the wind: "Security firm Kapersky Labs has already created a Mac version of its anti-virus software for release should Mac growth continue (and the Mac thus [find] itself prey to more hackers)."
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Macs Gaining a Bigger Role In Enterprise

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  • by Rod76 (705840) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @11:36PM (#23211548)
    If Macs ever get to be the predominant platform or to common, Im switching to Linux. Call me a troll or whatever (Im a Mac user and have been for over a decade, so you other zealots feel free to mode down one of your own), but I dont want the Mac to grow anymore than it already has. Id much rather see OSS software take over the market and let the others be a paid choice.
  • Fed up with MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Saturday April 26, 2008 @11:41PM (#23211572) Homepage Journal
    I think a lot of us really hoped that eventually people would really get what a mess Microsoft's products are and then OSS would really take off. Instead what I think is happening is that Apple may really see some growth.
     
    I don't know if this means much but my department of 80-90 has gone from zero to about 20% mac in the last year. I don't see that adoption rate slowing down either. Now in the server room it is a mix - Windows, AIX and Linux. With Linux growing the fastest. But on the desktop I don't think anyone is full time Linux only. Even the Linux users all have a windows or apple machine.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @11:43PM (#23211580)
    thats right you can't be an elitist snob if everyone had one.
  • Crests and troughs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hojima (1228978) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @11:46PM (#23211598)
    This isn't surprising. We've seen this behavior many times and it's called the oscillations of business. Just wait until they are the dominant force in the market and it'll all go downhill from there. Just like Microsoft. They've already made the mistake of not allowing open source software on the iPhone (one of the many reasons I don't get one). That's the one that's pissed me off the most, but it certainly isn't their only mistake. I'll never be a mac fan since I'm so used to tactile response anyways.
  • Re:Hmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by calebt3 (1098475) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @11:47PM (#23211606)
    People are pretty trusting of the repos most of the time.
  • by StreetStealth (980200) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @11:49PM (#23211612) Journal
    Perhaps it's just IT people looking down the road and seeing the same thing some end users saw with XP:

    Like many others, I didn't like where it seemed Microsoft was headed with Product Activation and DRM and decided that long-term, I would attempt to migrate away from Windows. I might not have as quickly if I hadn't gone into "creative services," but that was my thinking at the time.

    I can imagine IT departments are now experiencing a similar sensation: Even if Vista (like XP) isn't a terrible thing in itself, it points toward a rather unpalatable future for the platform.

    There is a slow but undeniable exodus underway. To Ubuntu and Fedora go the more technically focused, to MacOS go the more user-focused. Windows' arbitrary relevance becomes ever slightly moreso every day.
  • by wass (72082) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:04AM (#23211690)
    There is a slow but undeniable exodus underway. To Ubuntu and Fedora go the more technically focused, to MacOS go the more user-focused.

    Not necessarily. I left Windows for Linux a decade ago, but switched from Linux to OS X a few years ago. I am not alone, I know many scientists and even whole science departments switching from Linux (or SunOS) to OS X. It has nothing to do with the presence or lack of technical skills, but IMHO it's just a better OS to get shit done on. And obviously many other technically-skilled scientists agree.
  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CODiNE (27417) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:23AM (#23211782) Homepage

    "We're seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs," notes David Plavin, operations manager for Mac systems engineering at the U.S. IT division of Publicis Groupe, a global advertising conglomerate. There are so many requests that Plavin now supports 2,500 Macs across the U.S. -- nearly a quarter of all Publicis' U.S. PCs.
    There that sorts it out, 2500 is no where near 1/4 of all US pc's... damn

    You're just reading too fast and getting offended at what you perceive as Mac fanboism... they are stating that 2,500 Macs are 1/4 of Publicis' US computer systems. So it's an anecdotal report of one particular companies growing Mac trend. Read what you want from it, but it's not talking about Macs being 25% of the US PC sales or anything like that. Slow down and as a Technocarpenter might say "Read twice, reply once."
  • Re:Fed up with MS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by howlingmadhowie (943150) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:26AM (#23211798)
    losing out on the advantages of linux? by using OSX you lose out on the most important advantage of gnu/linux and free software: you actually own the software, you don't just license it.

    the philosophical difference between software released under a free license and proprietary software is massive. as for the technical difference, well that is something you can of course never know, seeing as you can only know what free software technically is.
  • by HeroreV (869368) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:27AM (#23211806) Homepage
    Hence the hate for Ubuntu, for allowing normal users to be comfortable with Linux.
  • by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:32AM (#23212042)
    I know this is dangerous to say on Slashdot and all but here goes.

    You are VASTLY overstating the importance of open source on a mobile platform such as the iPhone. Its a friggin $500 phone. You think the masses who are buying it are going to care if they can use open source software on it or not? The big draw of the device is its interface and ease of use. You can release zero cost programs via the AppStore if you want and to the user thats really all that matters. The vast majority of the computing using public can't program to begin with so whether its open source or proprietary is wholly irrelevant.
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:52AM (#23212172)

    But still with so much software resembling something you could buy from Staples 20 years ago, it kinda takes the "righteousness" out of the whole free software movement. Shoplift something from Staples or Office Max and see if you still have the feeling you are a part of an important "movement".
    I think you win the Stupidest Analogy of 2008 Award. How can you compare using free software with shoplifting (stealing)? In one case the "owners" are giving you permission to take what you want, in the other you're taking it against their will (and breaking the law).

    Personally, as a programmer, I write stuff in my own time because a) it keeps me in practice in languages and application "genres" that I don't get to really work with in my professional career, b) the projects look good as professional samples of my work, and c) most importantly, because I like to do it. It's a special type of weasel that instantly seeks compensation the instant that they believe they've enhanced the life of another person in any way.
  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:45AM (#23212402) Journal

    I'm a recent Mac switcher with years of Windows experience. It's not all that easy to get OS X to work and play well with Active Directory and Windows networking (or maybe it's the other way around). IT lets me play with the Mac because I'm pretty self sufficient. Most enterprise OS X users aren't going to be particularly savvy - they'll need lots of help (like always).

    I'm pretty new to the Mac too, after a 20+ year hiatus from the Apple world. You know what? Figuring this out took me all of a day. Figuring out how to do broadcast imaging using Apple's tools took most of three days. In short, people aren't as dumb as Microsoft needs them to be.

  • Re:Fed up with MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:45AM (#23212406)
    Free is just a feature. When I choose a computer or operating system, I weigh all the features, in proportion to their importance to me.

    Free is nice, but I'd rather have a system that works well, and is compatible with the hardware and software I most care about.

    as for the technical difference, well that is something you can of course never know, seeing as you can only know what free software technically is.
    Aside from specific technical requirements for such assurance, what does it matter, in practice? Should I worry that I can't prove that Photoshop isn't setting the blur radius to 2.1 when I request 2.0? Is it important that I can't prove that iTunes isn't shuffling the songs randomly?
  • by calstraycat (320736) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:54AM (#23212440)
    I think to understand the renewed interest in Macs in enterprise requires a look how IT departments got themselves into the sole-sourced software platform pickle to begin with.

    The story begins with IBM doing a piss-poor job of protecting their hardware. It seems everyone forgets that IBM had every intention of locking up its hardware just like Apple did with the Mac. But they blew it. Some guys cloned the hardware and the commodity PC was born.

    Corporate IT departments, believing that having multiple hardware sources was key keeping down capital expenditures, rejected the Mac because it was sole-sourced. They opted for the commoditized IBM-PC hardware platform. But, as they preached the importance of having a diversity of hardware suppliers, the same IT departments insisted that it was imperative to "standardize" on a single operating system and a single office suite. "Standardize", in this context, is just a different way of saying sole-source.

    In other words, the dogma was (and still is, for the most part) that computer hardware must be multi-sourced and software must be single-sourced.

    That strategy has bit them in the ass. It turns out sole-sourcing your software platform is just as probamatic and expensive as sole-sourcing your hardware platform. Having put all their eggs in Microsoft's basket in the persuit of minimizing hardware cost, IT departments are now stuck in an ever-deepening hole of increasing and recurring licencing fees to a single vendor. And they are completely powerless because they single-sourced their software platform lost all leverage with their supplier.

    Perhaps some IT departments are finally questioning the wisdom of that strategy and are bringing some Macs into the mix.

    Apple finally has a viable alternative, mostly because OS X is mature now and they've to x86-compatible hardware. Combine that development with the continuing creep of web-based alternatives to embedded applications and you've finally have an escape route from sole-sourced software platform hell.

    A wise CIO, in my view, would take advantage of this opportunity by moving to a more heterogeneous computing environment. Re-introducing platform competition in the corporate computing space is the only way for IT departments to regain pricing leverage with Microsoft. It will cost a little more up front. Mac hardware is more expensive. But, that extra upfront cost will be more than offset by the gains from being able to exert price pressure on Microsoft.
  • Re:Fed up with MS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:13AM (#23212516) Journal

    I don't know if you've read it yet. Microsoft's Vista Problem at the New York Times is especially informative. Pay special attention to the comments.

    FTA:

    Microsoft keeps insisting that Windows Vista is a winner, but the questions keep mounting -- and Thursday's quarterly report only added to the doubts.

    The comments are especially interesting. 90% anti-Vista, 50% anti-Microsoft, 30% pro Linux (or thereabouts).

    There was a saying once: "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". It became untrue overnight and people who didn't see the change happening lost everything. Who are you faithful to?

  • Re:OSX in 2008 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:46AM (#23212636)

    Could the year of desktop linux be the year of OSX + 1
    Probably not, given that every year since at least 2002 (with the release of version 10.2) has been an actual "year of OS X on the desktop".

    However, your overall point isn't far off. Once people switch to the Mac en masse (if you consider US consumer market, which is where "the desktop" is most important, this has already begun), they will no longer look at Windows as being a necessity.

    The thing that is keeping Linux from being the "year of OS X + 1" is that there's no compelling reason for most people to switch to Linux. OS X beats it on usability and compatibility, and the arena where it excels, which is being free and being very technologically accessible, just isn't that important.
  • Re:Fed up with MS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kklein (900361) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @04:23AM (#23212756)

    I finally had it with MS last summer and I wanted so so much to just switch to Linux. But something got in the way:

    Nothing I need runs on Linux.

    Most of what I need runs on the Mac.

    The specialty stuff I need runs on Windows under VMware Fusion, which I bought for $40 because I was in the beta.

    Now I've got a MacBook as my main work machine (university lecturer / researcher), and a new Mac Pro at home (I really wanted to just build a Hackintosh, but I didn't want to worry about when it would be bricked).

    This is what I think a lot of Linux people don't seem to get: People don't need MS Office compatibility, they need MS Office. And it has to run perfectly. Until there is an Office version for Linux, Linux will never take off. And since MS knows this, there will never be a version of Office for Linux.

    People use the platform that solves their problems. Linux solves a lot of people's problems, to be sure. But not most people's. The Mac, with the addition of Fusion or Parallels, solves a lot of people's problems, and provides a great user experience to boot.

  • by kklein (900361) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @04:59AM (#23212888)

    That's basically the call I made as well. It's like Linux, but without the sucky parts of Linux.

  • by theolein (316044) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @08:40AM (#23213648) Journal

    My thoughts exactly, and it doesn't have anything to do with elitism. This will be a long post, so please bare with me.

    First, a Disclaimer: I am a sysadmin in a shop that uses mostly Macs, and a few Windows Machines, and I've been using Macs since 1990 and OSX since the first public beta in 2000.

    Second, Apple, like anything or anyone else, is as vulnerable to the abuse of a powerful position as, say IBM was in the 70s and 80s, and Microsoft has been up until now. Apple has already started showing signs of that abuse, which I'll now point out.

    Third, Apple originally touted OS X as a very open Unix like variant. They had all sorts of technologies that were there to draw developers and Windows users to the platform. Built in Java and C/C++ APIs as first class development language along with Objective-C. As Apple became more comfortable with their position and had less fear of Developers being unwilling to move to the platform, the first dropped Java as a first class language (no more Java-Objective-C API bindings) two years ago, and last year dropped the C/C++ API's further development.

    The net result of this is that if you want to develop a native 64 bit GUI application on OS X, you must use Objective-C. ObjC is a fine language, and now has Garbage collection, amongst other things, but it is very very difficult to port ObjC applications to other platforms. In a way, it's like Microsoft's .Net, except that there's not even an ObjC Mono to counter it.

    This means huge costs of major software developers who have, for the most part, been developing in C/C++. Microsoft Office, Adobe CS3, Maxon Cinema 4D? They're all C/C++. There will be no 64 bit version of Adobe CS4, the next CS iteration, for OS X, Adobe has said. It will literally take them years to port their code base to ObjC. Personally, I wonder why they bother. Given that the Ubuntu Linux desktop is now very smooth, is getting fantastic reviews all around the net on mainstream publications, It would be a perfect time for Adobe and others to port their apps to Linux (with far less effort and far lower cost than porting to ObjC). Putting some of the money saved into a major marketing push for Linux would help the uptake.

    It would also scare the living hell out of Steve Jobs (apart from making him go off on one of his major Ballmer-esque tirades again) and, it would force competition on Apple, which Apple seems to think is now unnecessary due to the major fuck up that is Windows Vista.

    Fourth. Apple is almost wholly dependent on the final opinion of Steve Jobs. That is often very good, as the man has a sense of taste, unlike Steve Ballmer, who doesn't, but, because Steve Jobs is only human, that sometimes results in extremely poor decisions like the OSX 10.5 Leopard Desktop and GUI design. The default galactic image background is very bad for designers who need a neutral background to work on. The fact that Apple made the default Dock in 10.5 a weird faux 3D thing that is very difficult to use due to the changes, making it often very hard to see what applications are running. The new pop-up folders in the Dock are next to useless for most things, and the translucent Menu-bar could have only been a Steve Jobs decision, driven, like the 3D Dock by the perceived need to compete visually with Vista. Apple only offered changes to this when users rebelled in outrage.

    Fifth. Apple's server offerings are to a large extent just wrappers around open source technologies. Their Open Directory is just a wrapper around OpenLDAP, SLAP, and a Berkley Database as data store. Their Email server is just Postfix for SMTP and Cyrus for IMAP. The problem is that due to the Apple GUI management bindings, it is next to impossible to customise these software packages. This is somewhat symptomatic of Apple's approach. They make some things very easy, but others very, very hard.

    Apple needs competition. Without competition, Apple tends to lose their solid grounding and become a bit more like Microsoft, given to market lock-in and arbitrary decisions that make no sense.
  • by flnca (1022891) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @09:00AM (#23213746) Journal

    it's just a better OS to get shit done on. And obviously many other technically-skilled scientists agree.
    For users, it might be a great OS, but for developers, it's not. There's no easy-to-use documentation browser for developers, like they exist for Windows and GNOME / KDE. The documentation itself is often far better, but finding it can be a real pain. Apple's XCode IDE is a nightmare to use, because the text editor has a single pixel wide text cursor that cannot be customized, and the keyboard layout is non-standard, and cannot be customized either. I've bought a Mac once because I intended to start developing for it, but now I'm running OpenBSD on that box.

    What I don't like about MacOS X is, that it is intentionally dumbed down for sake of user-friendliness for the computer-agnostic, but there's often no way to get customization if you do need it.

    Using a Mac is expensive, and I simply expect more from it than just a nice-looking user interface.
  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday April 27, 2008 @09:06AM (#23213762) Homepage
    Don't do this on a Sunday morning... If you're gonna be obtuse and use non standard analogies (where's the car?) at least use an emoticon. I'm still trying to figure out if you're just being a bit more sideways than usual or if you've had a Total Whoosh Moment.

    If I can't tell what you're up to, how do you expect the moderators to figure it out?

  • by starfishsystems (834319) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:36PM (#23215356) Homepage
    Linux is potentially as vulnerable as other operating systems.

    Here you've made one of those foggy claims that sound authoritative but carry essentially zero meaning. Let's put the discussion on a more solid footing.

    It's unlikely, under any meaningful measure, that Linux is exactly as vulnerable as any other operating system, and of course it's nonsense to suggest that its vulnerability would change with popularity. Not that you said that, but it happens that many people drag that red herring along right about now, so let's dispense with it too.

    On an architectural basis, you could claim that the degree of vulnerability of a given Linux distro will be similar to other Linux distros or other Unix variants, and you could point to what set of design decisions contribute to the relative strength or weakness of these classes of systems in general. That's a very useful and clarifying basis for debate.

    Or you could compare a specific point of design or implementation between two different systems. But it's meaningless to just wave your hands and claim that one entire system is or isn't "more secure" than the other, without establishing the terms of reference. For example, a system which allows "default permit" to operations such as software installation, or which fails to separate privilege, is less secure with respect to these design principles than one which enforces privilege separation and "default deny" on operations which might compromise security.

    Another approach is to look at incident statistics. Normalized per unit of a given operating system in the field, how do systems rank in terms of actual compromise? To date, Linux ranks below OpenBSD but vastly above Microsoft Windows.

    I agree with your point that you can't just sit on your hands and expect any given system to be invulnerable. You have to be vigilant. It doesn't follow that all systems are therefore created equal.


  • I cleaned up forty Macs that were all infected with dozens of worms and viruses.

    You're a flat out bald faced liar. "Dozens of worms and viruses" simply don't exist on OS X, and especially not in the wild. Maaybe you're cleaning up old OS 9 installs, but even then it's pretty hard to imagine--and by now that's a 10 year old OS. More likely is that you're a Microsoft shill desperately trying to prop up Vista, and aren't even aware that a whole other world of possibility exists. In this case your ignorance of reality makes you easily identifiable, and your employer should get their money back.

    OS X is theoretically susceptible to a virus and worm--no doubt. However, the fact is that none have yet been written. Someday OS X may be targeted and your story will be more believable--but until then your post isn't worth reading past the first line.

    Liar liar pants on fire.

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