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Apple Businesses

Linux Promises, Apple Delivers 638

Anonymous Mac OS X Coward writes "This is a pretty strong article talking about Apple's delivery of *nix to the common man, something Linux has been touting for a while. It has good points, like apple actually tries to make the OS user friendly while linux sees this as a side project." Valid points. I need to get a copy of OSX. I'm really curious if it truly can be the common persons *nix. Sure looks like it could be, but I still don't know.
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Linux Promises, Apple Delivers

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  • by Erich ( 151 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:32AM (#346872) Homepage Journal
    I think that something that people don't quite grasp is the difference between Easy-to-Use and Easy-to-Learn. They are too often used interchangably. This is a terrible crime.

    I find Linux amazingly easy-to-use (And UNIX in general, except for things like CDE, but that is another story). I can get done what I need to get done. I can find out what I need to find out about everything. I know exactly what the programs running on my computer do, how they are run, and how they interact, so I can fix problems when they come up rather than just shrug. I love my command line, and shell scripting, and script languages, and can do amazingly complex tasks fairly easily with them.

    My window manager is configured to be fairly fast, so that I can use my keyboard to get around easily and accomplish other tasks easily. Selecting copies to the clipboard, middle-click pastes. All these things make me powerful on my computer.

    This all took me a while to learn, however.

    MacOS (and also Windows) fall under ``easy-to-learn''. They do not have as many of the flexible, powerful tools available to them. They really don't care about that, they want people to be able to do easy tasks without having to sit down and understand things. Things are hidden from the user as much as possible; many times it is impossible to do tasks that are trivial under a UNIX machine.

    ``easy-to-learn'' systems are important in a world where people don't want to have to figure out how things work in order to play solitaire or download email viruses^W^W porn^H^H^H^H games and emails from friends. To this end, I think that Linux is fairly easy-to-learn from a user perspective, though adminisration is still rough. But even administration has become much more ``easy-to-learn.'' And userland is getting better almost weekly.

    On the contrary, MacOS (until maybe OSX, I will believe it when I see it) and Windows have not become, for me, any more easy-to-use. They are easier to learn, but still not as easy-to-use.

    Please don't stick me in front of a computer that isn't easy-to-use. I just can't take it. I need to be productive in front of a computer, if you take the productivity away from me it is terribly frustrating.

    Rant over.

  • Word has it that it will ship without the ability to write CD-Rs, and without the ability to play or record DVDs. This is a GIANT step backward for Apple, who have been touting their DVD authoring capabilities for months.

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • On one level, the Mac OS is easy to learn but not easy to use. On another level, the Mac OS is easy to use but not easy to learn - and it's this second level that is often ignored.

    Do you know how file and creator types work? What the BNDL (bundle) bit does? What types of things are stored in the desktop file? In the PRAM? What does it mean when a cdev contains an INIT resource? This is just a start - and this is the stuff that is not easy to learn, but makes using and troubleshooting a Mac a more productive experience.


  • by Bill Currie ( 487 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:52AM (#346875) Homepage
    Actually, it should be a slur on RedHat for installing, or more imortantly, starting those daemons in the first place. What does the average desktop need portmap for? Or sendmail that accepts external connections. Or a web server. Or ... or ... or ... . Hell, the average desktop should be installed with firewalling out the wazoo (but in a newbie usable state).

    RedHat should be expecting users with no security knowledge to be installing RH on systems connected directly to the net and configuring the default desktop install for such. One could possibly claim that RedHat was being criminally negligent (same for any other distro (and that's not just Linux, either: Solaris, Windows, Mac too) that does similar). Arguments to the effect that it inconveniences a sysadmin on an internal network are bogus as the admin should bloody well know what he is doing. Not only that, he can set up one machine and then clone it.

    If you're going to flame me for this, choose your flames carefully, I am a RedHat user (mind you, only 20% now, but untill last December, 100%). I know from 4 years use (and a rooting:/)just how fubared RedHat's default install is.

    Don't be too suprised if in the not too distant future slack OS distributers start seeing security related law suits. I won't.

    Bill - aka taniwha

  • You are missing the point. A unix is difficult to use (bear with me) but very powerful and flexible. It is the best option for a hacker, one who works with the computer itself, and has to have as much access and as much control as possible to do his job (programming, adminning, etc.)

    For the rest of the world, the opposite is better. An OS that is very easy to use but somewhat limited in what it can do by itself. To them, a computer is a tool for doing something else. They don't care about all the options they have for the computer itself, they just want it to do what it has to do to get out of their way and let them get stuff done.

    If someone made the equivalent of a game console that ran only Photoshop, they would own the content creation world.

  • by hawk ( 1151 )
    > There once was a time when IBM owned 95% of the desktop market.

    uh, no. Never. Not even for a single quarter.

    IBM dominated, for a brief period, "PC compatibles". But at the time the pc had not been cloned, apple still had *staggering* market share, radio shack was significant (but dwindling), and *plenty* of 8 bit machines and prorprietary machines. Aple held on to at least 10% even into the mid 90's.

    however, the point that things change quickly is true--the os, wp, and spreadsheet monopolies are "contestable" monolies, and ms got them by contesting them from the predecessors--os from cpm, wp from wordperfect who in turn took it from wordstar, and excel from lotus.

    I don't know what the dominant wp and spreadsheet will be 10 years from now, but history says it won't be word and excel (though they mihgt be somethign else from ms).


  • Bullshit.

    Mandrake 7.x comes with cdrw support OUT OF THE BOX. The core unix burning utilities are quite stable as are many of the end user tools which also are included.

    DVD playing would also come preloaded on Linux if not for the legal warfare perpetuated by the MPAA.

    CDRW tech is not cheap enough that it has become widespread. Deal with it.
  • I think you will be disappointed in the performance of OS X on an iMac.

    OS X relies a lot on AltiVec, which is only found in G4s, which is *not* available in any system for $900.
  • We will not wait. We will dual-boot to classic for those functions until the patch is ready. It's not THAT big of a deal.

    For all the other stuff, no crashing is a big change compared to what we Mac OS users are used to.
  • 128MB SDRAM - 1 DIMM
    iMac 600MHz
    40GB Ultra ATA drive
    CD-RW Drive
    10/100BASE-T Ethernet
    56K internal modem
    Two USB ports
    Two FireWire ports
    VGA video mirroring
    Harman Kardon speakers
    Apple Pro Keyboard
    Apple Pro Mouse

    Here's one of my BIG complaints about Apple. Can I get the same iMac 600MHz, let's see, I don't need the 56k internal modem, I have DSL, I don't need VGA video mirroring, don't need the fancy speakers, dont need their crappy 1 button mouse, I'd like to have a 4 button model Kensington instead. Don't need the CD-RW, I'd like to use the external SCSI one I already have. hm. let's see, that's roughly what, like $500? minus the cost of the 4 button, $450. So can I get this model for $1050? fuck no. I have to buy all this useless garbage I don't need. I couldn't even leverage the SCSI CD-RW anyway, because of the extreme irony of a Mac without external SCSI connectors.
    PC's for all their faults, give you this kind of flexibility. Yes, you have that flexibility with the more expensive G4 models, but then, you're adding another $1000 to the price tag, so what's the point?
  • Yes, but Apple wants MS to keep writing IE and Office for Mac, so you can bet, DOJ or no, that OpenStep for Windows NT will never see the light of day.
  • Funny you mention that driver upgrade, because the latest thing going through the Mac tech community is this problem upgrading the NVidia driver on Macs, there's sort of a catch 22 that requires you to write an Apple Script to get the firmware update to work, so you can install the driver (or something like that).

    In other words; on a Mac, you must learn to become a programmer to do something as basic as update a driver. (in this case). I find the irony sweet to the taste.
  • What's really great is, a lot of great BSD stuff has been ported. . .

    bash, Gimp, XFree86, Samba, Apache.

    As far as critical apps goes, I'd say OS X is close on Linux's tail, and it currently runs pretty much all Classic Mac software already, and most critical desktop stuff, mail, web, office, has already been carbonized. There's not a lot left (other than Photoshop, which, ironically, was supposedly one of the first apps that was carbonized. What's up with THAT, I wonder?)
  • I'm not trying to FUD or Troll,

    I was greatly underwhelmed by the performance of OS X on my 300MHz G3 Beige. And I've seen it on a Dual 533 G4. Barely useable in the classic Mac GUI interaction way. (command line was snappy though).

    I know a lot of that was unoptomized slowness of the PB that will be cleared up in the release, but there's a LOT of fancy schmancy eye candy in Aqua, that works very well on a G4, but slows things way down on a G3. Trust me, you won't be happy with this thing on an iMac.
  • Retail prices is what I'm paying. Moreso with Apple's obnoxious markups. (have you priced their RAM upgrades lately?)
  • Well, I havent' tried the final, and I will next week, and I may actually eat some crow on this point, considering what others are saying. I just wonder if people's perceptions are colored by exuberance at having a new OS. I mean, nobody complained about PB performance until 2 weeks after it was released. The first two weeks people were just drooling at it or bitching about the dock (goddamn dock!).

    On the other hand, if I believed MacOSRumors, I'd be running a Dual 1 GHz G5 monitorless iMac with a holographic display, and it would run Windows apps in RedBox.
  • you have to buy a Mac from APple, you don't have to buy a PC from Dell or Compaq. There's zillions of vendors from which you can get zillions of configurations, pick and choose components, and avoid being nickel-and-dimed to death.

    No, I don't bolt together my systems. I buy Macs, I prefer that - and I like many aspects of their product, but I sure wish some other aspects were a bit more flexible and open. I'm sure a lot of Mac people feel the same (but see it as a trade off vs. all the cons of buying a PC).
  • by Herbmaster ( 1486 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @07:48PM (#346933)
    This is an idiotic statement and utterly devoid of any basis in reality. Until MacOS 8 was released every previous generation of the Macintosh, all the way back to 1986 and the Mac Plus, could run current software.

    That's nice, but let's get the stats right. Everything up to System 6.x (1987) ran on everything which had been released at that time.

    System 7.0 (1991) was the first System to require 2 megs of RAM (this effectively eliminates only the mac 128 and 512, unless you do significant upgrading to the 512). This lasted through 7.5.5, although 2 megs was probably not nearly enough for a real install of 7.5.x.

    System 7.6 (1996) was the first System to eliminate 68000s (most old Macs), 68020s (MacII), and 68030s which were not 32-bit clean (SE/30, etc.). I believe the RAM requirement went up to 8 megs of physical memory here, too.

    MacOS 8.0 (1997) eliminated all non-PPC or 68040 Macs. This meant the oldest Mac MacOS 8 could run on was a Quadra 700, which came out in October 1991. So this is about a 6 year spread of Macs at the most at this point. I believe it also upped RAM requirements to 16 megs.

    MacOS 8.5 (1998) was a big one, the first to require a PowerMac of any kind. The FIRST PowerMac was March of 1994, but lets not forget that Apple was still making 68040 Macs until April 1995. RAM requirement is now 32 megs, I think. So Apple is now down to a 3.5-4.5 year spread for what hardware their most current software will run on. Fortunately, until 3/24/2001 (unless you count MacOS X Server or the public beta), the requirements have not gone up at all. 9.1 still runs on 7 year old Macs.

    MacOS X (2001) requires a G3/G4. The *first* G3 was November, 1997. So basically, if you're machine is over 3.5 years old, you're out. This is not impressive. I find it unbelievable that Apple can ship a product which does not run on any hardware which was shipping a the time when they shipped the second beta (Rhapsody b2 in 1997) of the product. I guess I don't care that much, though, since I already ordered my copy. :P

    Still, I think Apple's doing better than Microsoft did with Windows 95, which shipped in August 1995 and didn't [really] run on a 386.

  • Check out this page [] for the full range of Macs that will run OS X.

    It goes back as far as the original "Bondi Blue" iMac and the first G3 desktops. My fruity 333Mhz iMac will just need a RAM upgrade, which it sorely needed anyhow.

  • Totally agree.

    People keep saying "but in some cases those services are needed". I say, so what. It is a lot easier to turn them on than to turn them off. This is because it is obvious when you need to turn them on (something you want to do does not work), and it is obvious when you succeed in doing it (that thing you want starts working).

    They should ship with everything off.

  • Facts? FACTS?!?

    Get out! Get out! Get out! If someone makes baseless statements about a company they obviously know nothing about, you should never contradict them with the truth. That's just bad manners.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
  • Besides, I prefer the look and feel of Linux on a Mac versus BSD ;)

    Perhaps I don't understand ... Is there a look-and-feel difference between BSD and Linux? If you mean command line options, I wouldn't consider that a look or a feel. If you mean X, then I'm curious -- how can you tell whether you're running BSD or Linux while running X?

    However, like many GNU purists, I think their decision to go with BSD over Mach is pretty short-sighted.

    Umm... OS X's kernel is based on NeXT's kernel, which is based on Mach. The userland stuff is based on BSD. Dunno how GNUists care one way or the other about kernel design (unless you're talking Hurd, which is neither BSD nor Mach)

    Perhaps you're just trolling -- in which case, phfffllllbbblllt!
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • No point, if they can't read the computer in their own language. Apple (and Microsoft, incidentally) are the leaders in I18N support for their OSes. I believe Solaris is also in the top. Linux has some decent support, but nowhere near the level of Apple and MS.

    Would you use an OS if it gave you prompts in Swahilli? Even if it was free (and Free)?
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • Did you read my post? You're agreeing with me -- thanks for the supporting anecdote.
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • Now, would you like to back up your statement that the only going for the x86 platform is price? It seems like a rather broad statement to me, but even if you're only talking about the quality of the hardware itself, well, do explain.

    I didn't make myself clear, I suppose. Either that, or you're intentionally misreading me to score one-upsmanship points. Either way, I'll clarify with smaller words.

    Porting OS X to x86 hardware gains Apple nothing, except availability on cheap hardware. This minor advantage is not something Apple is willing to spend millions (perhaps billions) on achieving. As an occassional Apple user (digital video and Photoshop, mainly), I'd prefer Apple to spend that money on advancing their PPC technology.

    (Okay, eMachines use ATI processors. s/eMachines/random generic computer/ if it makes you feel better.)
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • If only it would run on x86 hardware, Windows users would flock away from the evil empire.

    Geez, is this still hanging around? Look, Windows users aren't using Windows because it's got an x86 architecture. This is a myth promulgated over and over again by well-meaning people who think Apple needs their advice.

    If you ask your standard Windows user what processor he has, you'll get either a misguided or flat-out wrong answer ("It's a Pentium!" Okay, Sparky, what version of Pentium? II, III, IV? Wait, it's not a Pentium, it's an Athlon!) All they know for sure is that they run Windows.

    The reason why the MacOS is so nice and tight is because they control the hardware and the software. Throw in a different architecture (especially one with a funny endian-ness), and now you've exponentially increased your support costs, with little benefit.

    x86 hardware has price going for it, and that's all. And you only get that price advantage when you're buying cheap shit. You want a decent video card? It costs. What comes in your $500 eMachines is usually a piece of crap. What's in the $800 iMac isn't top of the line, but at least it's made by ATI and not Wang Chungs House o' Video Procs.

    Repeat after me -- Windows users use Windows because they think its the best. If they sit down at at Mac, they'll think it's screwed up.

    (I'm talking generalities here -- there are exceptions, but only exceptions. The general rule is still true.)
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • No, they're using it because it's the most popular. And what better way to get your operating system into the hands of the populace, than by porting it to *popular* hardware?

    Will Mac OS X become popular if it's being run on x86 hardware? I posit to you that it wouldn't make a difference. As proof, I offer BeOS as an example.

    BeOS is created, amid quite a bit of hype. It runs on proprietary Be hardware. They sell a handful of 'em, so they port to Apple hardware (in, I believe, an attempt to get bought by Apple. I'm willing to bet that if you looked at Gassee's exit strategy on his business plan, that's what you'll find) They still can't sell many copies, though they sell more than before. They port to x86 hardware, and they sell a few more copies. But, regardless of quality and power and availability on x86 hardware, Be can't make many in-roads. Now Be has re-invented itself again as an "Internet Appliance" OS, trying another tact. Not only was Be unable to uproot Microsoft, they couldn't even survive as a co-existing OS.

    OS X on x86 would sell a few copies, but not enough to make it worthwhile, because OS X is not Windows.

    ou forgot "...and expensive". Sure Mr. Techo-Elitist, perhaps you can afford to pay a premium to get "blessed" hardware from Apple. But most users don't *care* if their hardware was designed elegantly or not. They look at value.
    [snipping anti-Apple rant]

    Techno-elitist? I don't have a computer newer than 5 years old. Some elitist. Don't assume you know me, Sparky.

    "x86 hardware has price going for it, and that's all."
    And in this case, by all, you must mean *everything*. Why isn't everybody driving Mercedes and BMWs, instead of Ford Tauruses and Chevy Caveliers? They're better designed right?

    I'll use smaller words, since the point whizzed a good 3 or 4 feet over your head.

    In porting Mac OS X to x86 hardware, Apple gains cheap hardware, and that's all. There is no particularly important technical reason for Apple to do so. Why spend a minimum of 2 years and millions (perhaps billions) of dollars to gain a handful of users?

    Apple hardware, regardless of what you think, is not that expensive. It's more expensive than Turbo Bob's House o' Chips box, but on par with a Dell or IBM, which, after all, is Apple's peer group.

    Windows users use Windows because they don't know any better, don't care, or are too lazy to change something they've already grown accustomed to. If I ask my mother why she uses Windows I will guarantee you the words "Because it's best" will not come out of her mouth (more like "Because it runs Word". Or "Because it runs game XYZ". Or "Because it came with the computer").

    Neither will your mother say "Because I blindly follow other people, baa baa baaaa", but that doesn't make it less true.

    If they use Windows for Word, they think Windows is the best OS to run Word on, though I find the Mac version superior myself. If they use it for Quake, it's because they think it's best for Quake (which happens to be true). If it's because it came with the computer, if they didn't think Windows was best, they'd install Linux, right?

    Microsoft has spent billions of dollars convincing people that Windows is the best. They spend untold millions more in t-shirts and pens at trade shows to make IT managers think favorably of them. They spend even more in staff to put the thumbscrews to computer manufacturers to make sure they ship boxes with Windows on 'em (barring that, MS at least gets the money).

    I don't blame people for equating computers with Windows, but neither do I delude myself into thinking that people care one way or the other.
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • At my work we're having to rewrite large portions of out (windows) code because of its lack of remote administration. If it were unix, it wouldn't be an issue. SSH in and go.

    Yes, you can set up ssh on Windows, but the OS still isn't set up as nicely to be able to manage your system from the console.

    Also, scripting the command-line is DEAD SIMPLE!

    I often run the following command:

    cdrecord -v -dev=0,0,0 -speed=10 -blank=fast && cdrecord -v -dev=0,0,0 -speed=10 -eject yourISOhere.iso

    I walk away, I come back 15 minutes later and I've just done something that can't be easily duplicated by most existing GUI cdr software.

    GUIs are great. I used a GUI burning tool under Linux almost exclusively until I read the man page. The great thing with Unix is that most of the GUI tools are written on top of console-based tools, and it uses flat files almost exclusively. This gives me ease of use when I want it, but power and flexibility when I need it.

    Both have their place.

  • This poster is neither an OS X fan or Linux supporter. he is just in the line of "who rules, who suxx". And it is interesting to see /. going on it. Does this means that we finally get some peace from the Linux Hyper "Cry-Lowd" command?

    I wonder when Linux Torvalds, Alan Cox or anyone on the top Linux development promised to make it "easy-for-the-masses". If anyone cared at least to read interviews, then he knows that Linus position is crystal clear - develop the server side. However he doesn't mess with anyone who wants to make it "user-friendly". Well there are several distros trying to do it and its THEIR right to do it, and let's hope they get successful on this. But it's the distros, stupid...

    Now it is amazing to see that someone comes up with the eternaly promised OS X and suddenly we, the Linux community, are not only "failing" in some nebulous promess. No. We are failing because an OS that till now didn't make the highway looks much better than Linux. I can't say it's worse or better. Because I have never seen it, and also because this OS is much more overhyped than any .NET initiative. Maybe that thing is real cool, real effective and real good. OS/2 is also one of the best OSes ever made you know?

    Besides we take this articleand what we see?

    "When the Linux hype hit its height about a year ago, there were predictions that it was going to take market share from every operating system out there, including from the Mac but especially from Windows."

    Ok that's cool, that's real great... Well I know that we are after MS. And we do are after MS. And we are going to hunt Redmonds birdies as far as we can. But that's an historical problem made of tons of people who were dropped out of the MS boat and found refuge on Linux world.

    There were also risks that we could take some Sun or BSD piece of the market but really that was not in our plans to take over the world... However "including the Mac"??? Who knows Mac users, perfectly understands that these are the ones in the end of the line. A Mac user will more probably to turn to Windows and barely will ever risk to enter our world. Because, apart of the good looking desktops "a-la Mac", everything else is a Mac user worst nightmare.

  • Personally, i've always seen true user friendliness as a sacrifice to power.

    Then you've obviously not spent much time working with NeXTSTEP. As I'm sure many other people here will point out (or have already), NeXT was very user friendly, and yet very powerful.

    [My mother] neither wants nor needs most of the benefits that it provides

    She doesn't need true multitasking? She doesn't need a computer that crashes the instant a single program goes Tango Uniform? She doesn't need a system that makes it simple to send a fax, from any application, by simply clicking a single button on the Print Panel?

    Truthfully, we can all benefit from the power of a UNIX system. Just think of all the problems in DOS--er, Windows. Can your mother benefit from losing those problems, while gaining ease-of-use? That's what it's all about.

    My biggest problem, with both the Linux community and (especially) the Windows consumer community at large, is that it doesn't need to be like this. Computers can be powerful and easy at the same time. I know, I was there. Truly computer-illiterate secretaries who'd been using IBM Selectrics for 30 years were comfortable, and very productive, with NeXTSTEP. As were three-star generals and other high-level bueraucrats. Any OS that can provide a usable system to those two kinds of users deserves a gold medal.

    The point is: It can be better. NeXT knew that. I wish that the Linux community would truly recognize that, as well. And as long as Steve doesn't screw the company into the ground like did at Apple before, and NeXT after, we could be looking at a true renaissance in personal computing.

  • I hate it when these sensationalist bastards over-hype something they don't even understand, then rip it down when it doesn't live up to the hype. Just read this lousy little piece-of-crap editoral linked here. Just who decided that Linux was going to take over the desktop, and hyped that claim? Oh, that's right-- the self-serving journalists and clueless industry pundits. And now that Linux has failed to take over the desktop, they get to gloat about it. WTF?!

    Look, you bastards, just because some hackers work on GNOME or KDE, doesn't mean all of us even want to turn Linux into a desktop OS. Some of us appreciate it for its virtues, like complete control by the administrator (yes, administrator), stability, and transparency, and also appreciate other operating systems for their easy-for-clueless-Joe-User qualities. We're not all behind the 'castrated-Linux' desktop idea you so firmly latched onto last year, alright?!

    Gah! I can't stand smug bastard pundits like this Reynolds guy, especially when they're only smugly ripping down a strawman.

  • The biggest traditional feature of MacOS has been the fact that it was tied very close to the hardware. (In fact for years, Apple didn't offically even admit that "The Macintosh" had an OS.)

    Unfortunately, the designers took this to heart and didn't build enough abstraction layers into the operating system. Thus whenever they want to add support for new hardware, even just a new motherboard design, it by necessity meant a new code path. And guess what, the older path will eventually get dropped or forgotten.

    Apple has been well aware of this problem since the era of clones and CHRP. However, the proposed fix was the Copland OS which never shipped. So hardware independance was just another goat sacraficed at the alter of Apple's R+D fuckups.

    OS X should solve this problem of hardware abstraction and could potentially provide a lot more backcompatiblity in the future, if Apple wants it too. Note how it supposedly (unofficially) supports machines like the 8500, which I think were only officially supported during the Rhapsody beta period some years ago.
  • Well, the legacy of Apple is being user friendly. Look at applesoft Basic. You could teach it to children and they could actually write viable programs. Then the Macintosh. One mouse button. Icons. A (somewhat) intuitive file structure. All this when PCs were still command line as a standard. Can they make *Nix user friendly? Perhaps. Will OSX be friendly out of the box? Probably not, at least not for a standard end user. I think they can do it, but it will still take a little while, maybe in two or three years they will have it truly userfriendly.

  • Even if you were limiting yourself to buying new hardware to put it on, you can get a system that'll run it for $900 (plus some piddling amount for a little extra memory). If you were willing to buy used hardware, you could go much cheaper than that.

    Am I an Apple user? Nope, but I will be. I've got a new iMac sitting on my desk and my copy of OS X is on the way.

  • You had some reasonable points, but ...

    And just like all Macs before it, no one will write any software for OS X.

    When was the last time you checked out what software was available for Macs? 1995? l

  • Uh, I daresay a great deal of work went into designing the user interface for a Lear Jet.

    And if you want a computing environment that's as tough to learn how to use as it is to learn how to fly, hey, your kink is ok, but it's not necessary.

  • OS X relies a lot on AltiVec, ...

    Incorrect. OS X can take advantage of AltiVec for some things, but doesn't need it. Ditto for a few (very few, so far) applications.

  • Trust me, you won't be happy with this thing on an iMac.

    Uh, nothing personal, but why should I trust you over the folks -- and I don't mean just Apple, who might be tempted to exaggerate -- who've said that OS X works just fine on a G3?

  • By the way, thanks Neil.
  • by Weasel Boy ( 13855 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @01:59PM (#346985) Journal

    MacOS (and also Windows) fall under ``easy-to-learn''. They do not have as many of the flexible, powerful tools available to them. They really don't care about that, they want people to be able to do easy tasks without having to sit down and understand things. Things are hidden from the user as much as possible; many times it is impossible to do tasks that are trivial under a UNIX machine.

    Your have much to learn. If you think MacOS or Windows lack powerful tools, then you haven't used them enough. So you like grep? You can do regex searches on MacOS and Windows. Like writing shell scripts? You will not find a better shell scripting language than AppleScript. Perl floats your boat? Perl works excellently on MacOS (not just X, 7 thru 9) and Windows. Want to repartition your hard drive? Trivial. All of the great, powerful tools and commands you love about Unix have MacOS and Windows equivalents. You just have to learn how to use them -- just like Unix.

    Don't assume, just because you don't know about something, that it does not exist.

    Furthermore, a GUI allows you to trivially perform complex operations that would be very difficult on a command line. It cuts both ways. Think how easy a GUI makes it to select and open, copy, or delete a large number of files with no easily identifiable pattern in their names.

  • If it were available for PC's.
    Greetings Joergen
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:17AM (#346987)

    I just find it so darned cute to see an OS with 4% of the desktop market get into a pissing contest with an OS with 1% of the desktop market over which one serves "the common man" the best.


  • What is up with the Lear Jet designers??? Can't they make the damn things easier for the average person to fly?

    I suspect that NASA considers the multi-million dollar upgrade of User Interface to the space shuttles to be worth their while.

    Could the pilots fly them before? Of course.

    Is it safer, easier, faster and more reliable to fly with the new integrated graphic displays (as opposed to ten thousand switches and blinking lights)? You bet your ass.

    Funny how NASA, the armed forces (along with the FAA and every airline and manufacturer) have realized that having a few context-sensitive graphical multipage displays makes it less likely for operator error to occur than the old "make everything a switch and blinking light" method of design.

    The difference is, when people mess up at the control of a plane, people die. Unfortunately, the same isn't true of most computer systems, so there's been little incentive to fix glaring usability errors that every single user runs across. If every time you missplelled something at a command prompt someone died, I have a feeling lots of Unix folks would reconsider the usefulness of well-designed user interfaces...

  • The ability to pipeline commands is something that currently can only be had at the command line; I have seen a couple of discussions on /. about possibly extending this concept to a GUI, but as of now, it hasn't been done.

    Applescript works well. Probably even moreso in OSX.

    Adding a new hard drive? Forget about it

    You did read what you wrote, right? It involved fdisk, mkfs, and adding a mount point to /etc/fstab. All of which offer little guidance and great ease to screw up your system.

    Windows and mac -- attatch hard drive (equally hard/easy on any system these days), when GUI comes up, click on new drive and select "format" from the OS context menu. Yes, you could accidentally format the wrong drive, but thats about the only pitfall. Of course it would be much easier to format the wrong drive with your method, seeing as how most people wouldn't know the difference between hda3 and hdg4 if their life depended on it.

    Please note that this operation should require no knowledge of emacs, editing configuration files, mount points, cylinders, heads, or sectors, or logical block addressing, nor the internal OS loader designations for devices or number of partitions and order of drives.

  • A shiny happy tool is NOT going to save the end user when it comes to formating a new drive. You will either have to give the user the power to shoot themselves in the foot or castrate them.

    Um, this means what? Of course, yes, every OS has to have the capability to format the drive. That's exactly what i said, you have to do that for any system, as well as physically installing it.

    The difference is, that on *nix, you're presented with no USEFUL information on which drive is your new one unless you understand how disk partitions are allocated and tracked on that paticular system.

    on Mac and Windows, the system will boot, say "hey, there's a new drive", and ask "do you want to format your new drive?" or when you go to save data on the drive it will say "hey, this is a new drive that isn't formatted, would you like to format it now so that you can save data on it?".

    I assume you do all your taxes by reading all of the actual tax statues, rather than the wussy little step-by-step brochure that comes with the forms. After all, "anyone" should be able to read, fully understand, and remember with perfect recall all of the million different rules.

    How can you expect to function in society if you don't know the difference between a 503(c) corporation and a 503(b)? You must just be too stupid or lazy to not know, so we're sure not going to make it easier by summarizing the differences that apply to 95%+ of the tax filers.

  • This means that despite the fact that MacOS X is probably the best user-oriented *nix we'll ever see, it will never gain the kind of marketshare that the major Linux Distros currently occupy.

    If you can get reliable market share numbers for some "major Linux Distros", I'd gladly take this as a bet.

    By the end of the year, Apple will likely have shipped more *NIX than any company except Sun.

    Besides, what counts is boxes IN USE. People who get RedHat to dink around but don't use it shouldn't count.


  • Pissing contest, round 3.

    What part of "Mac-OS-X ready" did you understand mister know-it-all? That 800 dollar imac aint gonna run MacOSX worth a shit, and apple knows it. that's why it aint mac-os-X ready.

    Funny, isn't it, that Apple is labeling all iMacs released as "Mac OS X ready." I guess you know more than Apple does.

    Your turn, troll-boy.


  • What part of my 3rd world availability did you not agree with? That you cant find a used pc+cheapo monitor for around $200?

    If you want to consider used, how much does a 1997-era iMac cost today?

    And speaking of third world, I take it that your mythical third-world resident with the spare time to dink around with Linux speaks English. Of course, Apple will be releasing the Hindi version of Mac OS X this summer. Arabic should be out soon, too. Japanese is shipping on March 24th, and Chinese is probably not too far behind. (Yes, I know Japan isn't third-world. But the Kanjii input methods are not going to be dissimilar to the Pinyin input methods. In short, the support for Chinese is probably there.) When's the Hindi (or Arabic or Chinese) version of Linux coming out? Granted, only about 40 or 50 percent of the world's population speaks those languages, so maybe they aren't "third-world" enough for you. Or are you only considering the multi-lingual poor people around the world?

    Thought so.


  • "on its way" has apparently been redefined to mean "has a webpage."

    I didn't see any code, any specs, any anything, other than some vague wishes. Apple will have a Unix release in Hindi between June and September, 2001 (my guess is July, at MacWorld Expo NY). When will have their release ready?

    Mac OS X will run on an iMac 233, which costs around $250-$300 on eBay. Granted this is still very expensive for poor people, but the cost of the hardware is going to be a problem, whether it's Linux or not. If you're going to have a Graphical UI, you're going to pay for more powerful hardware.


  • Actually, Linux is already quite big in India and the government is officially supporting it in China. Meanwhile, KDE is supporting Icelandic, Arabic and the lesser Norwegian dialect.

    And how are multi-lingual applications handled? Take a look at the OS X system for i18n, and you'll probably be impressed.

    This is the sort of pissing contest an Apple cheerleader simply can't win. Linux can be whatever an particular culture wants it to be.

    If that particular culture has the skills to do the hacking, sure. But the cost in time is far greater than if it came from someone else, already localized.


  • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:16AM (#347000)
    Munging text files is the only way to make sure they work. Microsoft used the same arguments for the Winblows 95 registry. No more config files to edit. The all-encompassing registry 'will do it' (tm). Windows 'simply works' (tm).

    Mac OS X uses text files (formatted as XML) underneath it all. There is just a pretty face on top. I know it's hard for Linux bigots to understand this, but most people see a computer as a means to an end, not as the end. Spending time tweaking properties in emacs is not worth it; clicking a radio button in a nice UI is far better.

    And for the 0.0001% of the time where you need to hack the files directly, guess what? They're there! No registry hell to deal with.

    It'd be nice if you actually knew something about what you were criticizing. But that would probably disqualify you from posting on /.


  • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:38AM (#347001)
    Ok, Maybe a MacOS-X ready Mac wont cost 3,000. Maybe more like 2,200 to 2,500.

    What part of $800 didn't you understand? You can go right now to any of a dozen places on the web, and they will ship you an $800 iMac. It will run OS X just fine if you don't want to run Mac OS 9 apps. If you do want to run OS 9 apps, spend an additional $20 and buy 64 MB of RAM. This summer, when Apple plans to pre-install OS X, I'm sure that all iMacs, even the $800 ones, will ship with 128MB of RAM.

    Heck, go hog-wild and spend $80 and buy 256MB of RAM. Then you can run Virtual PC for OS X when it ships this summer. That'll add an additional $99 onto the price.

    And, troll-boy, please price out a comparable PC to that $800 iMac. Just try to tell me there will be more than $50 difference in the price. If you're able to buy a computer, you can afford $50 to get something better.


  • It's like the line from SNL:

    "Did you see the new G4 cube? It's a thing of beauty!"

    "Yeah, well, so's Cindy Margolis, but you can't run Quicken on her."


  • Recently, we've been reading lots of articles and opinions on what path and "business plan" we should take, or Linux will never make it and "we'll lose". There were articles linked from Slashdot, and a friend of mine also commented recently that we "need to simplify Linux or else nobody will use it".

    So, I'd rather just answer him cynically "yes, Linux is losing, and soon gonna be erradicated, and we're so damn scared of losing the market", while the reality speaks for itself.

    The desktop developers don't ignore the UI. KDE and GNOME do attempt running UI research and usability tests just like the big guys, but they're always doing it for the hack value, not cause we owe something to someone and want to win hordes of users.

    The idea is to hack and have fun, not to market our "Linux" thing. We don't owe it to anymore.

  • by Shadow Knight ( 18694 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:42AM (#347008) Homepage

    And from all of that, the only correct response is number four. After all, it's what Free Software is all about. Or Open Source, whichever (RMS won't lynch me, he can't find me!). So, instead of complaining about Apple, why doesn't everyone run out and start hacking on GNUstep? Heck, Apple has even open sourced CoreFoundation, which is the C framework their new version of Cocoa (OpenStep) is based on.

    Of course, I'm going to go work on my Mac OS X machine, but competition is good :)

    Supreme Lord High Commander of the Interstellar Task Force for the Eradication of Stupidity

  • Do you even KNOW what a PPC processor is? It is no great leap to go from 68k to PPC.. their cores are very similar, as are the compilers.

    Not only that, but porting a WELL DESIGNED OS is not a terribly difficult task. Just because Microsoft is incapable of doing it doesn't make Apple that wonderful.
  • by nyet ( 19118 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:59AM (#347010) Homepage
    I can't be bothered to go through the effort of learning to properly fly a jet aircraft. Why don't they make airplanes easier to fly? I would love for my mentally challenged cousin (he has an I.Q. of 47) to feel the exhilaration of flying, but IT'S JUST TOO HARD!

    What is up with the Lear Jet designers??? Can't they make the damn things easier for the average person to fly?
  • I think this is the one Mac that has many Windows people caught with their mouths wide open.

    Huh ? Excuse me? Where the hell are you living, in Poland or what? In rich countries, nobody cares about this toy, why would you when you can get a much more powerful PC that runs an OS that doesn't crash (Linux for instance, compare that to MacOS9!), all that for less money?

    But this is just the point; what you say isn't true. Remember, I just bought a Thinkpad (you snipped that out of your reply), so I *know* how much a decent quality notebook with a large screen costs. For almost exactly the same amount of money as I spent on an IBM Thinkpad A21m, I could have bought a Powerbook G4. Now, OS 9 isn't exactly my cup of tea, but that's okay: I could download Linux for it today, or shell out for Mac OS X. Problem solved. As far as speed goes, I am dead certain I could buy notebooks that are actually faster, but not for very much less, at least if we hold the design of the thing constant. Which is why I pointed out the importance of seeing one of these in person. Until you do, you would probably shrug over it just like me. Now, I have no doubt that some PC maker could duplicate the Powerbook G4 essentially feature for feature, but nobody has done this...yet.

  • by King Babar ( 19862 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @01:38PM (#347012) Homepage
    Here's one of my BIG complaints about Apple. Can I get the same iMac 600MHz, let's see, I don't need the 56k internal modem, I have DSL, I don't need VGA video mirroring, don't need the fancy speakers, dont need their crappy 1 button mouse, I'd like to have a 4 button model Kensington instead. Don't need the CD-RW, I'd like to use the external SCSI one I already have.

    I think the problem here is that you personally do not want any iMac at any price. The point of the iMac is that it's an ultra-quiet luggable one-piece solution with cheap wireless networking, USB-only peripherals, and a firewire hookup for your digital camera. If you want to plug in all kinds of other stuff and swap components until you get exactly what you want, you want one of the G4 models.

    Similarly, if you want a relatively inexpensive one-piece (no dongles) and indestructible notebook, you might want an iBook. Otherwise, you don't.

    But if you don't want an iBook, you probably *do* want a Powerbook G4. I honestly haven't yet met anybody who didn't. In all seriousness, I think this is the one Mac that has many Windows people caught with their mouths wide open. I'll confess that I didn't get the point of this machine until I saw one up close and personal, and then cursed the fact that I'd went and bought a (very, very nice) ThinkPad. :-(

    The big problem with Apple wasn't the current iMac configuration per se, but the fact that they didn't offer an iMac with a built-in CD-RW at any price a year ago, when they could have and should have done so.

  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @01:16PM (#347015)
    I will be purchasing a new fancy powermac and OS-X later this year. Why? Simple.

    1) I hate windows

    2) I like Unix, for things unix is good at. It appeases the geek in me.

    3) I like macs; they appease the 'I don't wanna fuck around with my computer when I want to run photoshop' guy in me.

    4) Apple makes funky hardware.

    Plus.. the lower-level components are open-source (please let's not argue about terms; fact is, I can mess with it)

    I'm not claming it's the best unix in the world, but I've been told by some friends who I adminned unix with a while back that it's quite solid. I like the desktop. one thing unix is lacking is a user-friendly desktop for those who want it. kde is neat. gnome is neat... both have good points, but neither really fits the bill.

    What apple has done looks to bee a good fusion of the most flexible back-end on earth (unix) and the most consistant desktop on earth (MacOS). Great.

    We could debate the fine points of windows, all the unices & linux distros, and MacOS... but this is the reality. Unless apple blows it, or unless it's a big letdown out of the gates... this could be really cool.

  • yes, I just had the deja vu feeling of getting a soundcard working in linux. In Beos and MS Windows it just works. It's a soundblaster 64, what's the fucking problem?

    It turns out I have to fiddle a bit with the module settings, run red-hats sndconfig utility and since I'm on Debian, manually chmod the /dev audio devices in such a way that ordinary users (i.e. non root) can also enjoy sound. The only thing is, it took me two full days to get to the last part due to a gross lack of feedback as to what was actually going wrong. That is user unfriendly. That is linux. Some distributions handle this sort of thing much better these days but the bottom line is that most Linux distributions require you to do this type of fiddling to get the most trivial tasks done. Want the wheel on your mouse to work? Oh just change this and that obscure line in an even more obscure text file. Oh you want readable fonts in konqueror (ironically even the KDE website is unreadable without any tweaking)? Here's the enormously tedious procedure to get truetype fonts working.

    Now don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy this kind of fiddling and was able to resolve all of the above issues (the reason I'm running Debian :). But to ordinary users who just expect their mp3 player to play their mp3 when they click play this is annoying.

    Now you can say what you want about apple but the fact remains that while the UNIX community was talking about making UNIX user friendly, Apple got it done. I'm almost sorry I don't own a mac so I can't play with MacOS X.
  • by Xenu ( 21845 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:34AM (#347019)
    If only it would run on x86 hardware, Windows users would flock away from the evil empire.

    This issue is brought up every time there is an Apple related story on Slashdot.

    Most x86 hardware sucks. It is cheap (in both senses) and not standardized. Bolting together a box from lowest bidder OEM parts is not computer engineering. There is a ton of legacy crap that has to be supported by the operating system. Much of it is buggy. For anyone selling and supporting an operating system, this is a bottomless pit of development and support costs.

    I own and use both Macs and x86 PCs. Much of the attraction of the Mac is due to the fact that real engineering went into the design and integration of the hardware and software. This wouldn't be possible if Mac OS X was ported to some random Intel box.

  • by sabat ( 23293 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:55AM (#347021) Journal
    They point here is that we nerds treat the interface as an after-thought. We need to grasp this fundamental truth: The Interface *is* the Computer!

    Windows' success shows how even a lame-assed imitation of a good interface will work. We need to do better -- better than KDE has done, better than Gnome is so far, and god knows, better than Windows. There are too many details! Too much technical knowledge required! We can do so much better.
  • When I installed OS X Public Beta on my older Mac, I suddenly found myself using my Linux box a lot less. The things I love Linux for, being able to setup reliable servers, the command line, Unix programs, standard development tools (after I installed them separately), and eager users with lots of info and ideas - were all there. At the same time Mac OS X has something that Linux lacks, a beautiful, smooth, consistant user interface. Mac OS X is really a pleasure to use. For me, it's the best of both worlds.

    Of course, Mac OS X is not free.
  • If a bunch of wankers from across the globe can make an OS that supports so much stuff (two bunches, if you include Linux as well as BSD) certainly Apple can do something similar.

    CoS has nothing to do with John Travolta. It's the Cult of Steve.

  • You actually can buy an iMac for $900. You still don't get a LOT for your money, but that's actually not bad.

    Still... Compare the $1200 machine. I think my points are still valid.

  • Therein lies one of the problems with the article: if Apple is catering to recording studios and graphics houses, how is this possibly a 'machine for the rest of us'?

    My Mac Classic. That was a machine for the rest of us. Turn it on and go.
  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:01AM (#347027) Homepage Journal
    No, the above comment was not flamebait. But it was an exaggeration.

    For about $1200, you can get a wicked fast x86 machine, nice big (huge?) hard drive, 17" monitor, enough RAM, and even a decent 3d-video card.

    Can you even buy an iMac for that much? Assuming you can, you have to live with: slower proc (yes, G4 faster at equivalent proc speeds, but at the $1200 price I mentioned, you should be able to get a 900 mHz x86. The iMac has what, a 450 or so? The extra cycles on the x86 are making up for the inherent problems in the processor). You also get: no expandability, a dinky screen, smaller drive(s). etc.

    The reason I dropped the Mac after about twelve years of allegiance was the impossibility of buying high speed hardware. I just don't make enough money.

    So, moderators, look at the comment, and see hyperbole. Not a troll.

  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @02:13PM (#347029)
    I can't stand how Apple keeps on insisting that they have to do everything in house and everything proprietary... instead of using cheap, standard parts

    they keep on using proprietary things like
    PCI and AGP
    IEEE 1394
    PC-100 and 133 RAM
    15 pin VGA ports
    1/8" audio Jacks
    1000/100/10bT or 100/10bT Ethernet on every machine
    PCMCIA, S-Video, and VGA outputs on thier laptops

    Jeezz.. if they ever got a clue, *maybe* I could upgrade a Mac with a good gaming video card [], cheap RAM [], cheap IDE hard drives [], use my regular PC monitor [], use a cheap USB scanner [], speakers and networking gear.. much less there's no way to install Windows [] or Linux [] on their computers

    fuckin Apple.
  • Apple had to make some choices...
    Actually, Apple released a press release yesterday. ~CD writing will be available in April, as an update (frre of course).
    ~CD writing (many of us think) IS possible, as it actually requires drivers for the programme (Toast), and Toast 5 works in OS X and will (probably) burn. What DOESN'T work is iTunes/iDVD burning, and Drag-n-Drop burning from the OS.
    ~DVD capabilities will be available this summer, again, as a donwload, again, free.
    ~Apple chose to put the more advanced DVD/CD authoring capabilities into the current OS 9.1, and wait on putting them into OSX, in order to give the most people what they need NOW. Most of the early adopters of OSX (of which I'm one) don't particularly care, since we understand that this is a 1.0 release, and we've ALWAYS known there would be some missing componants, and we'd have to upgrade thru the summer.
    ~I don't know of any other operating system that, out of the box, has had the ability to burn CDs drag-n-drop style. the Mac OS has been for at least 3 years. We just have to wait a month to do it in OSX.


  • ... and it's fine. It's even running on an old IDE drive that I put in (not UDMA66).. no problems at all.

    the build I am using is pre-release and has debugging code in the widgets and UI and I have heard from people that have already recieved the gold master that it's quite quicker.

    such claims are sorta silly... oh well, at least nobody can accuse you of being a karma-whore

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?

  • Yes and No,

    You are not accounting for the quality of hardware vs your garage trick.

    You are also not accounting for the fact that with that hardware you can run Mac OS9.1, OSX, Linux (PPC) , Windows*, OSX Server, etc.

    Frankly I would spend the $800 on the iMac and then convert the machine you where using previous to a linux server which you can then get the best of both worlds.

    I have done that myself (just bought a G4 last week after playing with OSX on my wifes iBook for about a month...). I have my dual processor PIII 800 (Running Debian) sitting next to my G4 running OSX.

    I can always reboot into windows 2000 on my pc if I -HAVE- to play a latest and greatest game.

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?

  • goto

    lots of ports of UNIX based packages, not BSD applications. (not many successful LINUX only applications... with exception of the kernel.)

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?

  • I just installed OSX, it's got BSD plastered all over the installation process.

    they have given back to the community as well. You can download the Darwin/BSD kernel and run it on PC hardware.

    They give credit where credit is due. They use the BSD story is part of their pitch on why it's so damn stable.


    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?

  • Simple enough...

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • by Pengo ( 28814 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @04:39PM (#347038) Journal

    I have.. I have been working with it for a while now.

    I could give a rats ass about accomplishments or who supports what type of backwards compatible code... I need to write java apps. I need to use XWin apps. I need to read Excel spreadsheets and edit Word documents. I enjoy using a constistant and clever interface. I enjoy having commercially supported drivers. I enjoy STILL BEING ABLE TO CO EXISTS WITH MY LINUX MACHINE AS A SERVER. I ENJOY BEING ABLE TO RUN X-WINDOWS APPS AS I NEED THEM FROM MY LINUX SERVER.

    I don't give up anything. I get the best of both worlds. I can hack on my G4, play with my DV cam and listen to MP3's while hacking Java code on JBuilder and all with a mac interface.

    If you have little experience in setting up a heterogenious environment there are plenty of howto's out there that will help. Because OSX comes with native NFS and has plenty of Samba and other unix native applications ported already, you shouldn't have to hard of time a dealing with your phobia of a well supported consumer directed linux.

    By christmas time this year I promise that there will be more games, business applications, etc. that will allow me to function and co-habitate with Windows BORG users yet retain my Unix-independance without compromising colaboration and cohabitation.

    I have sent documents converted to Office format from StarOffice to work collegues and was embarrased by their reactions.

    Like lesbians, don't know em till you try em.

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • You don't even need a gui to work on 90% of the data you want to process everyday. You are just too lazy to learn how the real system works.

    Yes, you don't even need a gui to work on 90% of the data you want to process everyday. However, other people are not lazy, they have better things to do with their time than tinkering with a compulsory-manpage-and-CLI OS.

    I hack a BSD kernel as a job, I hack Drawin and LinuxPPC for pleasure, but I made sure my mom doesn't ever have to see a command line. Her job is not understanding computers, her job is publishing.

    I'm tired of people who just can't accept that the complexity of using a computer is not virtue, but lousy design.

    BTW, I don't intend this as a flamebait.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @02:49PM (#347050) Homepage Journal
    First of all, the Mac's not really all the closed. I mean, IDE, SCSI, PCI -- it's not like the days of the Mac 512 where you needed an extra long torx driver, pony clamp and special processor clip on to anything which wasn't provided as an external port.

    Macs are indeed much easier to manage than Linux x86 boxes, but it isn't just the number of possibile hardware combinations. There was the avoidance of legacy x86 hardware problems, for one thing, but more importanly simple configuration was deliberately given a higher priority than the lowest possible price.

    Historically, Macs have had a rich supply of external connectors like SCSI and ADB, and now fire wire. It isn't just the availability of an external port, its the relatively high level nature of the interface. Generally devices for the mac are more expensive but have more smarts built in so there's less tweaking. Adding an USB serial port or parallel port is simply going to be easier than installing and configuring an ISA card.

    If you compared apples (lowercase a) to apples, it would be possible to get Linux to install things like hard disks just as easily. For example connecting a firewire hard disk. Even better consider Linux PCMCIA support -- which is here now. You just plug just about anything in and it works. This I think is related again to the nature of the device's interface, which allows cards to be handled in an abstract way by the operating system.

    On the other hand with Linux you can modify its behavior so that it recognizes that a webgear aviator card is the same thing as a raytheon Ray Link card.

  • I've always wondered about these attempts to deliver linux to the common man. What i've always found appealing about the unix design is that it doesn't dumb things down in an attempt to be more 'user friendly'. The command line is a beautiful thing, but it doesn't mean my mother should be exposed to it. Personally, i've always seen true user friendliness as a sacrifice to power. I would rather have a high learning curve but more power than an OS that's easy to use, but offers me less power.

    In short, marketing UNIX to my mother would be a mistake. She neither wants nor needs most of the benefits that it provides. She has a hard enough time using Windows. I see no problem in having different operating systems aimed at different audiences, rather than having one OS that tries to do everything. Why exactly does linux *want* world domination? The entire UNIX philosophy is that it's better to have things be the best at what they do, rather than trying to do everything.

    ObHolyWarFodder: I suspect that emacs users may disagree with this. =P
  • by costas ( 38724 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @01:25PM (#347057) Homepage
    Hmm... you're saying that Windows is easy to learn while Unix *can* be easy to use, if you put any effort into it. On the surface, I agree; but have you put that same effort into making *Windows* easy to use?

    Beneath this IE window that I am typing this on, is a zsh window, running vim on NT 4SP5, inside a multi-dimensional DB that works on 4 unices and NT. This same machine is running Python (which can be hooked up to the Windows Scripting Host and take over the entire system) and Apache+PHP+MySQL. With a little bit of effort, all these Unix-toys play fine on my NT laptop and let me use MS Word, MS Visual Studio and all my wonderful Unix utilities, so I can then deploy to a Linux/Unix server.

    I am wondering whether you'd be as productive on a well-setup windows machine (NT or 2K of course, nothing less) as on a well-setup unix machine, if only you put the same amount of effort into it...

  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:50AM (#347097)
    True, but Apple has said CD-R and DVD support will be added in an update in a few months. There's no reason to hold up the entire OS because a few features aren't ready yet.
  • by technomancerX ( 86975 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:50AM (#347141) Homepage
    You know, I would be much more impressed and feel he has a more valid point about ease of install/configuration IF OS X wasn't built to run on a closed hardware platform. Linux can be that easy to install and confgure as well... when you only have to support a handfull of machine configurations... and I do mean a handfull.. I count 7 supported machine types on Apple's website... and five of those are either laptops or iMacs, which means almost NO variation in hardware...

    OS X looks great, but spare me this guy's crap


  • i know you're trolling, but for the benefit of the rest of the slashdot community who may not be following MacOS X too closely, let me correct you. sure you could look at it as Apple shipping an "incomplete" OS, but i look at it this way:

    Apple has touted these features, all of which are still available on thier latest consumer operating system MacOS 9.1. meanwhile they're quietly (only a small press release!) releasing their next-generation operating system, that while free of any major bugs, doesn't have all the bells and whistles of 3rd party applications. the important part? they're bundling the a complete development environment (Project Builder, Interface Builder, GNU utilities + more) with every single copy of OS X!

    the features you mention are nice, but they're also not core OS features, they're independant applications. the important part is that they're making it easy for anybody to start developing apps (especially 100% native "Cocoa" apps) for this new operating system!

    Jobs has said many times that the OS X release will resemble a bell curve: a small number of applications ported and available at release time, a larger number in the summer, and then tailing off in the Fall while the straglers port their apps.

    the major consumer release of OS X is obviously this summer, at Macworld New York. that's the time when many 3rd parties will be shipping their applications, and long after the Apple "killer apps" you've mentioned have been ported (DVD burning, DVD playing and CD-RW burning through iTunes are promised in the next two months). right now it's a chance for developers of all levels (even the casual developer) to start writting applications for OS X with the final and set-in-stone API. that's what this release of OS X is all about, and that's why Apple is doing the right thing by releasing on March 24th. if the "killer apps" you need aren't supported, wait 'til summer!

    of course a lot of this "argument" that OS X isn't complete is moot as you can run almost all of your current apps through the "classic" layer anyhow. it's not like you're dead in the water with no way to run any of your existing software!

    - j

  • As a side note, it's interesting that they're bundling all the dev tools with the system at all. When the original mac shipped, it was the first to come with no development environment at all! Even dos had good ol' Q-Basic (or whatever it was) but the mac had nothing until Bill Atkinson sat down and wrote hypercard, which was really a major precursor to the web in some ways.

    Now they're saying that the OS for the common man needs these tools as much as the OS for the guru. I know that I was hurt by being a Mac head and not having anything to program on until I saved enough money for a $100 copy of Code Warrior and another $100+ for the documentation and books. Granted, I may not be the average mac user, but the average mac user in my experience loves to create content! They say this themselves and they're proud of it. but by not having the tools to create content for the mac rather than on it they stifled a lot of young programmers. Just think of the amount of early shareware written in Basic for the PC.

    Now they're including the dev tools, which is a good thing. It'll encourage aspiring young hackers to sit down with a compiler and learn how the hell their machine works beyond the bells and whistles. They can grab the code for Darwin and look through it to see what's going on under the hood. They can write something in java, or C, or C++, or perl, or just about anything because the tools are there. And do you want to know the reason? Linux.

    Open Software zealots screamed about how good open code was, and Apple opened it. Free/Open software types sat down with their free tools and coded a whole mess of software that is flexible enough to actually take on Microsoft in ways that Apple never could have done. Apple is seeing the benefit to empowering the developer, rather than crippling them, and this is why the tools are there. With all the nifty third party apps, they don't really need to include the tools and they could continue on just like before, but they're not.

    So, while Linux may have promised the UNIX for the common man (which I think is a load of shit, "Linux" can't promise anything), it does show that you can empower the common man in ways that Apple just did not understand in the slightest before. That's the kind of power that Linux delivers, and Apple can only mimick.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • by derinax ( 93566 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:12AM (#347163)
    NEXTSTEP was Unix for the 'common person' twelve years ago. If you were never there on the front lines, using the NeXT environment for day-to-day tasks, you can't understand how transparent the entire experience was. Every app was a registered service to every other app (no matter where you were-- file manager, a paint program, WordPerfect-- Command + '=' brought up an illustrated Webster definition; another hotkey could import arbitrary data to the Paint program, etc.). Display Postscript was awesome, and obviated print preview in any arbitrary application. Everything was nice and there were happy flying puppies.

    There was no need for a command line; but NeXT's mistake was in letting us old Unix farts and punks try to market the system. Ultimately, the system became schizophrenic, and never found a target audience.

    Apple has gone the other way; taken a platform known for its user-friendliness and insinuated NEXTSTEP onto it. That schizophrenia is still there, but it will be embraced by the Mac platform audience, and then find its Unix power niche, in an inversion from NeXT's 1980's tactics.

    Disclaimer: I was a NeXT marketer in '89. Pity me.

  • by karzan ( 132637 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:45AM (#347234)
    How many residents of the third world can afford $200 (minimum) for a PC? You do realise most people have never even made a telephone call, don't you? 1 billion people are starving, the next 1 billion people live on under a dollar a day, and it doesn't get much better after that til you reach the smallest 20% or so in the first world. A free operating system doesn't help much when you have to buy hardware as well.
  • by techcntr ( 136518 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:44AM (#347241)
    > If I want to configure my printer to work with RedHat 7, I:

    > Su to root.
    > Start up printtool
    > Click the Add button
    > Choose the printer make/model
    > Check the "Fix Stair-stepping text" button
    > Click OK.
    > Choose the "Lpd | Restart lpd" menu option

    And that's (way) too hard for the average user. I had an original NeXT. Here's what you did to add a printer:

    1) Plug printer into printer port

    and that's it. To add a hard drive, it was harder:

    1) Plug hard drive into SCSI port
    2) Turn hard drive on
    3) Wait for OS to format hard drive

    Admittedly they got away with the printer install because the hardware was a closed platform. Nevertheless, that's the ease of use the average user needs. And it's what Linux needs to do. No "fix stair-stepping". No "su root". Nothing. Nada. Plug it in, turn it on, and it works.
  • by Rura Penthe ( 154319 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:43AM (#347278)
    How many residents of third world countries can afford a $1500 computer?
  • by VoidOfReality ( 156286 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:57AM (#347280)
    On the subject of Linux vs. OSX, I believe this article is sadly mistaken on a number of points. These points are enumerated below:

    1)"Apple will become the highest-volume vendor of Unix in the world, and it'll bring all that *Nixy power to folks who don't know a thing about command line terminals".

    This is very wrong - one of the most powerful things about *nix is the ability to chain together multiple commands in a pipeline to perform some desired task. This is why most *nix commands are very simple and only accomplish a very limited task. The ability to pipeline commands is something that currently can only be had at the command line; I have seen a couple of discussions on /. about possibly extending this concept to a GUI, but as of now, it hasn't been done.

    The article talks about *nixy power at the fingertips of OSX users, but if they don't take the time to learn the command line interface, where is the power in that?

    2)"it's nowhere near ready for prime time as a consumer operating system. Ever try to print from Linux or add a new hard drive? Forget it."

    I have used a number of different flavors of Linux, and I really don't have a favorite. However, the flavor I've had the most experience with is RedHat. As far as the two tasks here are concerned, the article is mistaken about their complexity. If I want to configure my printer to work with RedHat 7, I:

    • Su to root.
    • Start up printtool
    • Click the Add button
    • Choose the printer make/model
    • Check the "Fix Stair-stepping text" button
    • Click OK.
    • Choose the "Lpd | Restart lpd" menu option

    And that's it! It's not very hard to do - yes, there are other ways to do it, and if you're a hardcore *nix user, you can always go into /etc/printcap and write your own printer entries in there. But the way that I've outlined here is easy, contrary to what the article says.

    Adding a new hard drive? Forget about it - fdisk to create your partitions (disk druid for the people out there that don't like fdisk's arcane commands) and mkfs to format it. Then you mount it - add the mount point to /etc/fstab basing it on one of the entries already there. This is not rocket science. However, most people can't even install their own hard drives, so this is a moot point as far as the article is concerned.

    3) "Mac OS X simply works."

    And why is that? Because Apple has a stranglehold on the hardware market for their machines. Sure, it'll work. But you'll pay through the nose to get the box. On the other hand, Linux is free, and Intel hardware is much cheaper than Apple hardware.

    On a final note, consider the source of the article: Need I say more about the bias of the article?

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:02AM (#347311)
    Linux was and is made by hackers to fill their own needs. A friendly GUI interface was of lesser importance to this group because they didn't need it themselves, and they weren't trying to convince (sell) anyone else on using it. If others did, great but it wasn't a primary motivating force. As the saying goes, they are scratching their own itch, and the interface just doesn't bug them. GNOME was only started because some hackers got an itch due to the restrictive (originally) KDE licenses. This is not to say that projects won't evolve further once started, but the general tendancies of the hacker community lie in other directions besides overt user friendliness.

    Apple on the other hand, is a company trying to sell a product. They know darn well that if their product isn't very easy to use, their existing customer base will leave and they will have a hard time attracting new customers. Apple is scratching their own itch. And it appears they are doing a pretty decent job of it too, though only time will tell for sure.

    I'm fairly convinced that user friendly GUI's will only become a priority to parts of the linux community with corporate involvement. Companies care about selling products and they will sell more if their products are easy to use. If IBM is going to sell a lot of machines with linux on it, it is in their interest to make linux as attractive as possible to the widest range of customers possible. Ditto for anyone else. Hackers generally don't and won't care.

  • by Fervent ( 178271 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @08:50PM (#347323)
    That is absolute, inconceivable BULLSHIT.

    I read the documentation. I read the documentation for Redhat. That's all the documentation you should have to read to install a *RedHat* distro. I'm not writing Linux over multiple distros, I'm using one, and it should work. I also didn't need to run a config utility after I installed Windows.

    Can you explain to me why a distro like RedHat shouldn't have KDE sound working out of the box? Why it can autoprobe the card just fine, but doesn't bother setting up the default configuration for KDE sound? While the website has a whole section devoted to it about installing the sound, because people have been having so much trouble?

    The point is, if you have the default hardware (that which is on the compatibility lists), and install Windows 2000, every bit of hardware works correctly out of box. You set up the machine and everything just works. I didn't need to run any configuration utilities whatsoever.

  • by RedWizzard ( 192002 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @02:21PM (#347339)
    Beneath this IE window that I am typing this on, is a zsh window, running vim on NT 4SP5, inside a multi-dimensional DB that works on 4 unices and NT. This same machine is running Python (which can be hooked up to the Windows Scripting Host and take over the entire system) and Apache+PHP+MySQL. With a little bit of effort, all these Unix-toys play fine on my NT laptop and let me use MS Word, MS Visual Studio and all my wonderful Unix utilities, so I can then deploy to a Linux/Unix server.
    So basically what you're saying is that to make Windows productive you've installed a bunch of Unix tools? You've pretty much proved the other guy's point.
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @11:13AM (#347345)
    ...MacWEEK has had an ongoing series called "The Road to Mac OS X", which is rather more informative and in-depth. A three-part series of articles details the UNIX aspects of the new OS. Also:
  • I've always wondered about these attempts to deliver linux to the common man.

    Good people want to share the power and freedom they've been given by Linux and Un*x!

    What i've always found appealing about the unix design is that it doesn't dumb things down in an attempt to be more 'user friendly'.

    You speak as if user friendly and powerful are exclusive! All user friendly means is that the device, software, or application is conducive to allowing users to use it. If it is powerful *and* user friendly, it's a much better product than something that is only powerful, or only user friendly, right?

    The command line is a beautiful thing, but it doesn't mean my mother should be exposed to it.

    Absolutely correct! To each their level of comfort, need, and use!

    Personally, i've always seen true user friendliness as a sacrifice to power. I would rather have a high learning curve but more power than an OS that's easy to use, but offers me less power.

    Ah, so you do believe that user friendly and powerful are at cross purposes!

    User friendly means useful and useable to the user, right? But the whole point of 'engineering' and 'design' is to solve a problem within a set of constraints. Mac OS X, and not Linux, is engineered and designed to be user friendly. It is designed to be useable. Linux is designed and engineered to be useful. Not useable. There is nothing stopping a software company to shift the design balance; to create something more powerful at the sacrifice of learning curve, but the point is that the learning curve is something inherent in the design of the product. Apple, more or less, takes that into account. Myself I don't believe that user friendly comes at the expense of power. User friendly means that the learning curve is shallower near the beginning, and designed such that it is *always* shallow enough for the user to gain access to the next step up in power. To be non-user friendly is to ignore or forget about the learning curve, such that to access twice the power, you need to do twice or more work!

    In short, marketing UNIX to my mother would be a mistake.

    No, in short, marketing Linux to your mother would be a mistake. OS X has much less of those limitations, while retaining everything BSD and Un*x.

    She neither wants nor needs most of the benefits that it provides.

    She will not and cannot know until she reaches the appropriate level of the learning curve. Linux doesn't offer that opportunity. OS X should.

    She has a hard enough time using Windows.

    That is Windows fault and has little bearing on Linux (except that Linux has chosen to ape Windows), Mac, or Mac OS X.

    I see no problem in having different operating systems aimed at different audiences, rather than having one OS that tries to do everything.

    A perfectly valid observation!

    Why exactly does linux *want* world domination? The entire UNIX philosophy is that it's better to have things be the best at what they do, rather than trying to do everything.

    Because until OS X is released, it was the best candidate for making the computing world a better place ^^

    I want a powerful, stable, useful, desktop. I use Linux. In my generous heart, I want other people to use it to, so I work at making it more accessable. That's the impetus right there for world domination.

    However, a lot of this will get sapped by OS X; it will provide for the power, the stability, and the usefulness. All that's left for me, the user, is to help promote Apple in selling Macs so that everyone has access to such a useful device, at the loss and inconvenience of Windows, Intel, and Linux. Linux didn't step up to the plate, so it falls back onto Apple to provide all of this.

    Geek dating! []
  • "Well it works for me, I don't care about anyone else."

    That has to be the most selfish thought I've heard in a long time...

    To turn it around;
    "Nothing else anyone does matters, so anything they do won't affect or improve my status."

    This is obviously false. Someone writes a better USB driver, and all of a sudden your camera stops crashing your PC. Someone tweaks the networking code, and your Quake framerates increase by 3%. I dunno if I'm eloquent enough to get my point across, but being selfishly isolated is a bad thing. Sigh, I wish I could articulate better.

    Geek dating! []
  • by presearch ( 214913 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @03:03PM (#347377)
    Jobs is going to pop a gasket but nobody told the people at Staples to keep X off of the shelf until Saturday. I walked in and there it was, a pile of 'em. So far, it's really nice. Much more refined and much faster than the Public Beta. Makes all Linux distros look as dowdy as M$ products. Mac people are going to freak's -not- a Mac anymore. The nicest surprise was the inclusion of a CD with the complete developer tools. Off I go to play, too much fun.
  • by eXtro ( 258933 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @12:02PM (#347437) Homepage
    Apple has a long history, going back to near day one, of trashing the previous generation of hardware every few years. It's one of the things that allows the company to prosper- they require you to throw away your old Apple hardware and buy all new.
    This is an idiotic statement and utterly devoid of any basis in reality. Until MacOS 8 was released every previous generation of the Macintosh, all the way back to 1986 and the Mac Plus, could run current software. So your 1986 Mac Plus could run Systen 7.55 which was released in 1996. You could even upgrade your 1984 128K Mac to a Mac Plus and run System 7.55. That's 12 years.

    MacOS 8 and higher did force an upgrade, but only against relatively ancient machines. It just won't fit in 128K of memory.

    MacOS X is officially supported on Macintoshes originally running G3 and G4 processors. Unofficially it will at least run on older machines with a G3 upgrade card (~ 130 bucks) but probably on any PowerPC based Macintosh.

    Apple has a long history, going back to day one, of going to drastic measures to guarantee that their operating systems will run on any generation of Macintosh. Recently they've realized that while it may an admirable goal it doesn't make fiscal or technical sense to release bleeding edge software on hardware that isn't really equipped to run it properly.

  • by robert-porter ( 309405 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @02:41PM (#347457)
    AAAHHHH I hate it when people say this. I'm not a big mac fan but from what I know the Mac is a perfect example of easy to learn and easy to use. There's key macros for just about everything as well as the ability to use the mouse. MacOS has apple-script, runs perl and tons of stuff even runs a shell(you just need to download it). Most MacOS apps have key-macros for just about everything. You can also get a shell for windows(a real one), and do all sorts of crazy stuff, windows I know is a very flexible system(You can run most UNIX apps on it, look at cgywin). Look at the typical CDE/KDE/GNOME app, not only are most of them poorly designed making them not easy to learn there difficult to use even when you do learn them. You unproved your own point, the reason that you find UNIX apps easy to use is because you've allready learned them, Windows and MacOS are easy to use but unlike UNIX apps they let you cheat and give you an easy maybe slower way. The thing is that the UNIX philosophy is flexibility in depth, therefore if people made UNIX software correctly they should have an easy to use way. Linux does alot of things well, but is very far from perfect, even from an advanced users perspective.
  • by ibullard ( 312377 ) on Thursday March 22, 2001 @10:58AM (#347469)
    As a linux advocate, you have several options: 1) "Oh yeah! can't do [enter a feature here]!" 2) "Yeah, but their [type of computer] costs $[several thousand dollars]!" 3) "Yeah, so? I never cared that Linux made it to the desktop. As long as it's free and available to the masses, it's fine with me." 4) "Let's learn from what Apple has done and make Linux even better! Discuss." 5) "Linux is for 3l33t h4ck3rz!" (excuse me if I did that wrong, for I am not elite nor a hacker)

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost