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GNU/Linux vs. Mac: Why Apple will not dominate?

At this point there are really only three major contenders on the desktop market; Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OS X. It is a known fact that Windows still holds the vast majority of the market for reasons which are beyond this article, but pretty much come down to Microsoft's sheer power rather than the quality of their OS. GNU/Linux has recently become ready for the desktop in terms of general usability and user friendliness required by desktop users. Sure there are some glitches, but those aren't anymore the major constraint to its adoption. It is now up to computer vendors and major marketing. Mac OS X is a curious one though. Unlike Windows and GNU/Linux, Mac OS X is tied to computers made only by one manufacturer: Apple. If you run Mac OS X you ought to be running an Apple computer. It is in fact easier to run some other operating system on Apple computers than it is to run Mac OS X on other type of computers.
Tux bit an Apple

And this is just a clue to the point behind this article. It is about the Apple way, its biggest strength and at the same time the biggest weakness, or at least a reason behind the currently evident fact that Apple cannot dominate the desktop market.

So what is this Apple way. In short it is about treating computers as appliances, in a way similar to the way you would treat your television set or, to go even more extreme, your fridge. Apple makes their computers look, feel and act as appliances. They work the way you would expect them to work. It is the "just works" concept taken to extremes. In order to achieve this kind of experience for users, Apple makes their operating system as a perfect fit for their machines, or maybe vice versa. One fits the other like a glove and no one is expecting anything else. It is as if software which runs the machine is completely abstracted.

This obviously means that if you want a Mac experience you will have to pay the full price of not only the operating system, but the computer on which it will run as well, at the same time. You can't just get Mac OS X and run it on your existing machines. The price that this often bears is too high for many to pay, especially considering the alternatives.

Now consider GNU/Linux. It is the total opposite of Mac OS X in this regard. While Mac OS X will run only on Apple machines, GNU/Linux runs pretty much on everything it touches. While Mac OS X is necessarily expensive, GNU/Linux can very well be obtained for free. While Mac OS X is a proprietary operating system completely controlled by one company, GNU/Linux is a free (as in freedom and often price) operating system developed and contributed to by a vast international networked community which actually includes a multitude of corporations. Where Apple is essentially a fortress, GNU/Linux is an ocean. It flows through everything and is available to anyone.

So when we consider this, who has a better chance of winning over the desktop market if we assume that Windows is on the way out? Is it more likely that the majority of people will pay the price for the Apple experience or just get GNU/Linux for free? Before answering that consider the accelerating evolution of quality of GNU/Linux, which may very well at some point exceed the quality of Mac OS X. GNU/Linux probably already has more brainpower behind its development than Apple and this number is increasing with its adoption. How long will it take before Apple, and for that matter, any other proprietary software company, just couldn't compete with the kind of innovation and evolution that this open community can provide for?

In fact, there is a bit of irony in all this. The reason because Mac OS X just works flawlessly on Macs, is because Apple didn't have to worry about making their OS work on multiple kinds of computer configurations. They produce a computer and the OS to run on it themselves. I don't believe there is anything quite that mysterious about Mac OS X working so well. It was simply an easier job to do when they focus on only one platform, their own. But what if GNU/Linux achieves the same kind of flawless usability without relegating itself to one platform? GNU/Linux is very modular and flexible. It had to be that way as an OS that was developed over the network, essentially lived on the internet. While Mac OS X fits perfectly to the Apple computers, GNU/Linux in a way fits perfectly to the network, and network implies all kinds of computers and digital devices you can think of. Imagine an operating system that seamlessly and intelligently morphs to adapt to any architecture, any computer configuration and any digital device that is connected to provide for the flawless user experience on anything it touches.

That, my friends, is what GNU/Linux has the potential of becoming. So what do you choose? An OS that flawlessly runs on only one kind of computers or an OS which flawlessly runs on the whole network of the world which begins on your very desktop?

Unless Apple changes who they are, a computer appliance company, I doubt they have a chance of dominating the desktop market of the networked world. As for Windows, it is already falling under its own weight due to its proprietary nature which in a different way limits its potential compared to GNU/Linux, but that is a story for another time.

Thank you

French translation of this article available (Thanks to David Larlet)



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Comments

good point

I never thought of that before, but you're right.

I've already chosen Apple

As of now, I've already made my decision. I chose Apple. My opinion is that Linux just is not ready for -everyone- to use. Even in todays distributions, I'll someones find my self having to compile or piece of software, or having to use CLI to configure something. These are things that an end user should NEVER have to do for Linux to become widely used.

Apple, is already there. Sure, it's not "free" and you're locked into their hardware, but I also feel that is one of the strengths. The only weakness is that it will probably keep their market share down. That's not necessarily bad either as long as they are making money and still growing. They are doing both, very well. Apple reported its laptop sales grew 12% last quarter. That is phenominal. I think the average for the PC market is 4-6%. That means Apple grabbed a little bit of market share last quarter.

iPod + iTunes, whether you like it or not, has also been an incredible success. It integrates everything together, in the typical Apple fashion. Stuff from the music store does have DRM lached on. I actually do buy stuff from the store. Why? It's easy. Consumers WANT easy. Apple's way of doing it has never, ever cause me any problems either. You can play the music on up to 5 computers, or burn it to CD you have a hard copy. Sure, it's a work around - but really, its almost just a minor inconvienience.

As for OS X, it's an amazing operating system. Beautiful, secure, and stable. Everything an operating system should be. I don't have to worry about spyware, adware, and viruses. Same goes for Linux. As you mentioned, the hardware and software is integrated. Apple builds the software and the hardware. Why does this benefit me? I go to one place in case of a problem. I call a 800, talk to some people who speak great English and generally know what they are talking about and are not just reading off a script. I've owned my 12" Powerbook since March of last year. It has been the best purchase I have ever made, especially coming from a line of Toshiba's that had nothing but problems for over a year. That is a long story.

Actually, two of my best purchases have been from Apple. Besides my Powerbook, which has been absolutely flawless, I bought an iPod Nano (my third iPod) with a Nike+ Sport Kit. This thing is great. I stick a chip in my shoe, another little piece on my Nano, and run. It keeps tracks of all of my statistics and when I get home from my run, I plug in my Nano, it instantly shows up on my Desktop and opens up iTunes, and asks if I'd like to view my results on nikeplus.com. No other company integrates their products together as well as Apple, even when dealing with other companies as this is. Apple made sure that even though you're buying a Nike product, that it is still nothing but an Apple experience.

If you're going to compare the price of Linux to Apple/OS X - You have to compare a commercial distribution. OS X costs $130.00 for new revisions, or I think its $70.00 with an education discount. Xandros' older Xandros Desktop 3 Business Edition costs $130.00, and that's just for an ISO download.

Overall, I do agree with you that Apple computers are more of appliances, ONLY because of the complete integration and control. But like I've said, I believe that it is definitely more of a strength, than any type of weakness. I believe the lower market share will help keep Apple like they are now, which is in my opinion, not a bad company. They are one of the most innovational companies that I have seen in the past years since Steve Jobs came back on board back in 1997.

Well, what you describe

Well, what you describe D3MON is pretty much the experience that comes out of this Apple way, integrating everything and making everything themselves (except for specific components) so that it fits to each other perfectly. I don't have much to say to that. I believe you. It is easy and hence it is great. But to me, it is also like a golden cage. It is all great unless your desires go beyond easy, unless you want to start interfering with the software provided to you and want to make certain customizations.

This where GNU/Linux absolutely reigns. And now, what if GNU/Linux manages to combine both its flexibility and customizability brought by the freedom its provides and the user friendliness alike to one you experience with Apple? I think this is very well possible. This essentially means ease of use and flexibility at the same time, without the price of Apple computers. This is the ultimate winning combination I don't think even Apple can beat.

And GNU/Linux is getting there.

Thanks

Yeah, if you want to get

Yeah, if you want to get involved, then thats where Linux/Free software is absolutely excellent. I worked with Linux for quite a while before finally wanting something that just worked. I was tired of having to work to get stuff to work how I wanted, and even then, not have it be perfect.

I believe that the "Apple user experience" is obtainable by Linux, but I just don't think its there yet. I also believe it will be harder to do. I've noticed that when you have -too- many options, things will take longer to get done. For example.. XGL and AIGLX... Why two? Sure, you always want "competition" and choice, but it'd almost be better to work together as a team, than develop two seperate systems that have a possibility of having different hardware compatibility. This just creates confusion and more work in my opinion. Things like this need to be seriously looked at. I also notice that Linux is becoming more and more political as the years go by. Maybe I just used to be oblivious in the past, but it seems like every other Linux article on news sites (such as OSNews) always has GPL/license arguements going on.

It's thing like these that also need to be taken care of for Linux to become standard on "mom and pops" PCs.

Quote: I was tired of

Quote:

I was tired of having to work to get stuff to work how I wanted, and even then, not have it be perfect.

How hard or easy it will be pretty much depends on the distribution you chose. In GNU/Linux you have a choice and you can adjust your choices according to your needs and desires. If you want something that just works there are some pretty good choices at this point which are getting better and better with every release (such as Ubuntu and SuSE). If these don't yet exactly match the level of the Apple experience, it is approaching that level quite fast. The part of our community which works on these kinds of distributions knows this very well. They are quite deliberately working to increase the level of ease with which you will be able to use these distributions and in many cases already are.

Quote:

I've noticed that when you have -too- many options, things will take longer to get done. For example.. XGL and AIGLX... Why two? Sure, you always want "competition" and choice, but it'd almost be better to work together as a team, than develop two seperate systems that have a possibility of having different hardware compatibility. This just creates confusion and more work in my opinion.

This is not a weakness. It is a strength. Freedom to fork or to start developing your own alternative is often viewed as an unnecessary duplication of efforts and in some cases it may be so, but in alot of cases it is what helps drives progress. It is not uncommon in the world of Free Software that two competing projects contribute to each other on some levels which can sometimes result in systems that have best of both worlds for specific kinds of users.

The fact that there are two competing 3D desktop options available (XGL and AIGLX) may very well help make both better than one would become on its own. Isn't that better?

If choice scares you though, you don't have to choose. This is why user friendly distributions like Ubuntu exist, to provide you with an OS where things are already chosen for you so that you don't have to. At the same time though, they don't necessarily go in your way if you want to choose something different. This is already where this powerful combination between *easy* and *flexible* is evident. Smiling

Quote: I also notice that

Quote:

I also notice that Linux is becoming more and more political as the years go by. Maybe I just used to be oblivious in the past, but it seems like every other Linux article on news sites (such as OSNews) always has GPL/license arguements going on.

The biggest strenghts of GNU/Linux are based on the availability of freedom. This freedom is something that can be easily lost if we don't watch out for it. Keeping an awareness of these issues hence helps GNU/Linux move forward rather than being an impendance.

Noone is forcing you to participate in these debates though, even if it is usually encouraged for the sake of knowing where the benefits you enjoy come from.

It's not just the hardware integration...

 

OSX is popular because is very well integrated. Yes, integrated not only with the hardware, but in the software too. Linux, as good and open as it is, is too diversified and fragmentated. Think about GNOME vs KDE, RPM vs deb. When you get most of the applications, you will almost surely have to get the ones for your linux distribution. The GUI is also not homogeneous. Some are designed in GTK, others in QT, so your "save" option panel looks adifferent depending on the application. So GUI elements are not consistent over different application. It is still the case that your distributions come with several practically identical applications (multiple word processors, file editors, terminal consoles, ets). Things are finally getting better (Ubuntu is going in the right direction), but Linux is still way behind OSX and, yes Windows too. Diversification in Linux is good, but when it's achieved without sacrificing its own clear identity. You must have different distribution for different uses. But within your distribution you must be very consistent and everything must be well integrated.

Choice doesn't scare me. If

Choice doesn't scare me. If I was scared of choice, I would never have tried Corel Linux when I was 9 years old. If I was scared of choice, I would have never come back to Linux after Corel Linux was such a disaster on my hardware.

I am just lazy. I can blame myself for it, but from what I have seen, it's pretty much a fact. Most people -are- lazy. They do not want to have to do anything to their computer besides change the background (which I rarely change the default one). There are way more average joe users, than there are "Linux geeks" BY FAR. Yes, that's where distributions like Ubuntu help, although even there - things can get iffy.

My favorite distribution EVER (some may laugh at this lol) was Lycoris Desktop/LX. In the end, things got rather shakey and they eventually sold to Mandriva (ick). Their communities was one of the best when I first joined it though. It was extremely active and there were many, many people who were helpful, and what is most important - not rude. It's hard to find a combination of those in Linux forums IMO. Many hard core "Linuxers" appear to not have time for "n00bs". Beyond the community, that was one distribution that looked great and worked great as well (well Update 3 at least, 1.4 was a mess). After that, I have not found one distribution that combined both looks, complete usability without quirks, and familiarity. Desktop/LX had it all at one point. I never had to change anything for it to work like I wanted it to.

Desktop/LX is where I learned more about Linux than I did any distribution. Before Desktop/LX I barely knew how to compile software. I wanted to build RPMs, but didn't know how to compile software really, go figure. The community inspired me to get active. I had FUN contributing. I remember when I made a patch for the kicker for Desktop/LX and then submitted it to the KDE team and it was included in 3.3. That was pretty cool seeing something that I had done being included in something that thousands of people were using.

Since Desktop/LX had died, I've kind of been bitten in the ass by "Linux". Yes, I'll say Linux as Mandriva is one of the hundreds of distros that represents Linux. I worked for quite a while getting a final iconset done for Mandriva Discovery/LX 2006. I got it done and sent, and didn't receive a SINGLE thanks for what I had done from Mandriva. Joe, from Lycoris said thanks and appreciated it. I didn't want anything else. I wasn't getting paid for what I was doing. Not only did I not receive a thanks, but they had some how forgotten to leave the iconset out of the Live CD. I asked why and they said they missed it and it was too late. How the hell do you miss not having an icon set installed during QA? The icons are the first thing you see on the desktop!

So yes, after Lycoris disappeared, and my experience with Mandriva shortly after, I haven't -wanted- to do anything. I tried starting my own distribution but found I didn't have the time, nor could I find a distribution that wasn't bloated onto 5 CDs. I also found that I lacked experience for core libraries such as glibc.

Now that I've gone off on a tangent, I believe that what I still said before is true. Linux needs to adopt some standards and stop forking everywhere if it ever wants to become mainstream. :/

That's what I was trying to

That's what I was trying to get at. I agree with you 110%. Instead, I just ran around like a chiken with its head cut off trying to spit out what I meant. xD

anonymous wrote: You must

anonymous wrote:

You must have different distribution for different uses. But within your distribution you must be very consistent and everything must be well integrated.

Well I can agree to that. And to say it again, we're getting there. Eye There's little reason not to believe GNU/Linux can make it.

D3MON wrote:

I worked for quite a while getting a final iconset done for Mandriva Discovery/LX 2006. I got it done and sent, and didn't receive a SINGLE thanks for what I had done from Mandriva.

Try sending something like that to Apple and see what you'll get in response and what difference will it make. Eye

But sure, some distros have nicer communities than others. It is another thing to consider when making a choice. But just the fact that you can have a community in which you can actively participate and make a difference is something I consider an advantage over Apple or any other proprietary software company.

Quote:

I believe that what I still said before is true. Linux needs to adopt some standards and stop forking everywhere if it ever wants to become mainstream.

Standards yes. Forking? Again, that can be an advantage. It comes from freedom to take it and do better and in many cases results in better software. You don't need to remove forking from the world of GNU/Linux to have a few major choices, or even one default choice for a user that doesn't want the complexity of choosing. At this point Ubuntu is pretty much taking the role of that "standard" GNU/Linux distro. If a user doesn't know where to start, they'll start with Ubuntu. If they don't want to make a choice, they'll just get Ubuntu. In many cases, though, the choice is made by a friend who is installing GNU/Linux for them or a company who is pre-installing it on the computer they buy. What's the problem? No problem. Choice means being able to choose not to choose. Having alot of choices doesn't mean that everyone must face the complexity of choosing. Smiling

D3EMON wrote:

That's what I was trying to get at. I agree with you 110%. Instead, I just ran around like a chiken with its head cut off trying to spit out what I meant. xD

LOL

Quote: Try sending

 
Quote:

Try sending something like that to Apple and see what you'll get in response and what difference will it make.

I wouldn't expect that from Apple being rather on the outside and having thousands of employees. Mandriva, I was dealing with three people, one of whom was Joe, from Lycoris. The other two were from Mandriva. Mandriva is NO WHERE near the size of Apple. They're even a crappy small company. Yes, I have a grudge against them, and that's one distribution I wouldn't mind seeing falling from the planet like what has almost already happened. There's simply no excuse for even the screw up on the Live CD.

Quote:

Standards yes. Forking? Again, that can be an advantage.

Of course it can be an advantage. There becomes a point when enough-is-enough without just creating more work and fragmenting though.

D3MON wrote: There becomes

D3MON wrote:

There becomes a point when enough-is-enough without just creating more work and fragmenting though.

So just don't use those forks. It's not like GNU/Linux world will loose so much because of some people wanting to do something on their own. Community at large will ultimately decide what to accept and use and what not to use. Ordinary users will just use what gets into the user friendly distro they got. It's just not a big deal.

That's not what I was getting at..

libervisco wrote:
D3MON wrote:

There becomes a point when enough-is-enough without just creating more work and fragmenting though.

So just don't use those forks. It's not like GNU/Linux world will loose so much because of some people wanting to do something on their own. Community at large will ultimately decide what to accept and use and what not to use. Ordinary users will just use what gets into the user friendly distro they got. It's just not a big deal.

That's not what I'm getting at. Excessive forks create fragmentation. Hell, Desktop/LX was a fork of Caldera, and a killer one it was. There can be TOO much is all I am saying. Too many people reinventing the wheel and nothing will get done.

The other anonymous guy that I agreed with got pretty much got what I was talking about. Yes, choice is good - but like I said choice/forking/whatever - can make you step backwards.

Well ok, but I don't think

Well ok, but I don't think there really is that much forking going on to say it's too much. And I just don't think someone forking something individually can really do any real harm.

There can be ten versions of something by ten different people which may be considered duplication of efforts, but as the Free Software community grows it can afford a number of people falling off the chain and going after their own stuff. The best of these 10 versions will ultimately win and the rest will just eventually fall off. Together they may have done more, but as things are going in the Free Software community it rarely happens, especially lately, that someone forking something causes that much of fragmentation that we could say it could have been alot better. I definitely, for one, don't regret the availability of multiple desktop environments and window managers. I think all of the major ones fill a need of a certain kinds of people.

If anything, GNU/Linux community has lately been enhancing compatibility and standards. For example it is now quite possible to have all applications look the same, no matter if they are QT/KDE or GTK/GNOME based. Just use qtcurve.

I choose Mac OS X, thanks

 

I've tried for a long time for the perfect linux, one that'll just work with everything I have. Linux gives me way more power than windows, but at a price, I have to configure EVERYTHING, and constantly tweak/install/update/compile etc. to get new things to work. I'm so tired of wasting my time with that, that I chose to just BUY (yes, I paid for it, I know linux is free) a Mac. And guess what? I'd do it again, because I'd rather pay some money for an amazing OS, simple, compatible, with tons of open source software available, just as powerful (IMO) as linux, and just WORKS, rather than get something for free that wastes countless hours of my life...

Just my opinion ;-)

Heh, that's Windows.

D3M0N wrote:

That's not what I'm getting at. Excessive forks create fragmentation. Hell, Desktop/LX was a fork of Caldera, and a killer one it was. There can be TOO much is all I am saying. Too many people reinventing the wheel and nothing will get done.

That's what Windows does. Every other application on Windows has its own little inconsistent, ugly, inflexible, proprietary toolkit that no one has every heard of. Mac on the other hand has a proprietary toolkit that (nearly) everyone uses. But GNU/Linux pretty much has just GTK, Qt, or CLI.

Diversity vs. Monoculture

 

Having one standard may make things simpler. However, like in agriculture, having only one crop leaves you vulnerable. One disease may wipe out everything you have.

With diversity you get complexity but also better long-term survivability. Creativity thrives in an environment with plentiful and varied stimuli.

There is room for closed and open solution. It is not a choice of one over the other.

Apple doesn't want to dominate the market

 

Apple just wants to be a profitable company. This is not the same thing as dominating. Sure, the more marketshare they have the better, but that's not the focus. The focus is money.

 

Here's the problem: money. Period. One of Linux's key perks is the lack of malware all together. If Windows dies out, and people turn to GNU/Linux, virus writers will simply start to write viruses for Linux. It is that simple. The same would be true for OS X, if it weren't for the price tag. Having a steady income like Apple would, gives them the ability to stay ten steps ahead of the virus writers. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge GNU/Linux fan, but I was a Mac Fanboy first. I use Linux on my PC, and my parents have an iMac. So, each has its benefits and downfalls. It is necessary, though, to realize that although Linux the best option for PC users, it is by no means a perfect system, nor will any other operating system ever be. Well, that's my two cents.

The reason why GNU/Linux

The reason why GNU/Linux developers are well capable of staying two steps ahead of malware writers is because the source code is free and available. Peer review process has shown time and again to be a valid and actually the best security strategy there is. Bugs and exploits are practically fixed as quickly as they are found.

Add to that the fact that it is still much harder for a virus to do damage to a GNU/Linux system do to its architecture than a Windows system and you've got a winner. GNU/Linux will never have such trouble with malware as Windows has historically had up to this day. There is a huge difference between the two.

And it's not also that there is none of money flowing into GNU/Linux actually, considering all the corporations that have become its distributors. They do invest money into the whole thing. I would dare to guess it is probably in range of Apple's overall investments into Mac OS X by now..

 

I find this article extremely silly and without much substance. I am glad this person loves Linux.

Anyway let me articulate the substance of my position on this article.

I have used Linux for many years, moving through about 6 distributions. Finally about two years ago I moved to FreeBSD. It was rock solid: install once, update to your heart's content. However, I learnt it did not support things I wanted, it's quite conservative. So I moved back to Linux.

For the last four years, I have been running a home network with Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and OS X (the latest addition).

> It is now up to computer vendors and major marketing.

Well under Windows I have media server which access a media library of 200 GB. Ok, I plan on migrating this to Linux.

> So what is this Apple way. In short it is about treating computers as appliances,
> in a way similar to the way you would treat your television set or, to go even more
> extreme, your fridge. Apple makes their computers look, feel and act as appliances.
> They work the way you would expect them to work. It is the "just works" concept
> taken to extremes.

try using the phrase "rock solid performance!" OS X is FreeBSD with Apple's proprietary desktop environment.

After all the years I have spent in fixing/configuring with both Windows and Linux I am fed up of almost ran.

I have spent the last year trying to do maintenance on my OS X and there is nothing for me to do. Yes, the real OS comes hidden, but you can easily unhide it to get the full meal deal. You can install opensource software, and by the way Apache come ready to roll.

> In order to achieve this kind of experience for users, Apple makes their operating
> system as a perfect fit for their machines, or maybe vice versa. One fits the other
> like a glove and no one is expecting anything else.

You are damn right. Is this not what everybody is suppose to do. The way you say it makes it seem that reliability and optimization is a bad thing. You are blaming Apple for doing what Windows was suppose to have done and what Linux will some day do -- come on!!!

I got a free tool for my OS X and with a couple of selections I optimized the OS even further. To do all that I did would be extremely technical in Linux or FreeBSD.

> It is as if software which runs the machine is completely abstracted.

This does not mean anything. The software runs the machine, don't go si-fi on this point. That the user is not overwhelmed by the vast amount of software in OS X is a significant achievement. And users doing the usual stuff -- from email, creating documents, playing music and video, burning music and dvds, even creating music and video, and on and on and on -- can just do so. Did you hear that -- can just do so.

> This obviously means that if you want a Mac experience you will have to pay the full
> price of not only the operating system, but the computer on which it will run as well,
> at the same time. You can't just get Mac OS X and run it on your existing machines.
> The price that this often bears is too high for many to pay, especially considering the
> alternatives.

In the Toronto area, an Apple machine is very competitive compared to a Wintel box and generally you get more in the box with Apple than with Wintel. For the price of XP-Pro (1 license) I can get 5 licenses for OS X (the family pack). It used to be that Apple was more expensive but that not true anymore.

Personally, I will never buy a Wintel box again (I have purchased about 10 computers). I figure that I gave Bill 22 years to get it right with Windows and I am officially fed up with waiting. Reading about Vista has convinced me that they are going in the wrong direction. I am voting with my dollars!

> Now consider GNU/Linux. It is the total opposite of Mac OS X in this regard.
> While Mac OS X will run only on Apple machines, GNU/Linux runs pretty
> much on everything it touches. While Mac OS X is necessarily expensive,
> GNU/Linux can very well be obtained for free. While Mac OS X is a proprietary
> operating system completely controlled by one company, GNU/Linux is a free
> (as in freedom and often price) operating system developed and contributed to
> by a vast international networked community which actually includes a multitude
> of corporations.

Hey, I am willing to pay for the things that I want ... hail capitalism. What is your point. My current Linux box is a dual Athlon 2400 with 3 GB of RAM, 128 MB ATI Radon card, and SCSI hard disk. It's old and getting gray but I truly love it. By the way I am running Big Linux on it which is one cool distro and I am trying to get it to have more glitz than Apple, but the fact is that Apple is price competitive (where I am) and has the desktop that everyone else is only copying - look at Dream Linux.

> Where Apple is essentially a fortress, GNU/Linux is an ocean. It flows through
> everything and is available to anyone.

to follow you metaphor, the masses are going to want to get out of the sea and settle down on dry land and if they have a fortress all the more comforting.

To be more serious, once you have your Apple at home, if you are a more technical user (ie., you bought and actually read an OS X, 600 pg book - the missing manual kind of stuff) then you can, as I said before, unhide a real OS. Also your command line is bash, now that's got to be cool if you like scripting.

> So when we consider this, who has a better chance of winning over the desktop
> market if we assume that Windows is on the way out? Is it more likely that the
> majority of people will pay the price for the Apple experience or just get
> GNU/Linux for free?

But look at all the stuff they are going to have to do with it (Linux). I personally don't have a relative who wants a computer where the first step in the process would be installing the OS.

> Before answering that consider the accelerating evolution of quality of GNU/Linux,
> which may very well at some point exceed the quality of Mac OS X.

Wow! This is sheer speculation. Right now it is not so. Aqua seems to have become an aesthetic standard. Everywhere I look in Linux I see Aqua wannabees. Even web sites copy the aqua look with their liquid buttons.

> GNU/Linux probably already has more brainpower behind its development than Apple
> and this number is increasing with its adoption. How long will it take before Apple,
> and for that matter, any other proprietary software company, just couldn't compete
> with the kind of innovation and evolution that this open community can provide for?

Apple give back to FreeBSD development.

By the way, by your logic OS2 should have killed off Windows. IBM did not fail because they were stupid or had mediocre software. I was running Windows programs in OS2, except for a fax program I could not get working because of driver issues.

> The reason because Mac OS X just works flawlessly on Macs, is because Apple
> didn't have to worry about making their OS work on multiple kinds of computer
> configurations.

Yes, that is a significant point and even the great Bill is still choking on this one.

> But what if GNU/Linux achieves the same kind of flawless usability without
> relegating itself to one platform? GNU/Linux is very modular and flexible. It had
> to be that way as an OS that was developed over the network, essentially lived
> on the internet. While Mac OS X fits perfectly to the Apple computers, GNU/Linux
> in a way fits perfectly to the network, and network implies all kinds of computers
> and digital devices you can think of. Imagine an operating system that seamlessly
> and intelligently morphs to adapt to any architecture, any computer configuration
> and any digital device that is connected to provide for the flawless user experience
> on anything it touches.

Apple is built on FreeBSD so it lives on the network just as much as any Debian distro. Apple updates, upgrades and installs new software right off the internet. You are daydreaming about Linux. For Linux to be the flawless champion every Linux user would, in my opinion, have to have the ability (tools) to knock off a driver when needed or rebuild the kernel to include new features.

> That, my friends, is what GNU/Linux has the potential of becoming. So what do
> you choose? An OS that flawlessly runs on only one kind of computers or an
> OS which flawlessly runs on the whole network of the world which begins on your
> very desktop?

What you are saying is what Bill has been saying about Windows -- the fix is always just around the corner. Please! Apple has computers at various price points. I drool when I look at their new desktop with 4 processors, 16 GB RM capacity and that 30" cinematic display (they don't call it a screen apparently). I don't see "displays" equal to Apple's. Now, for me, that the stuff my dreams are made of.

> Unless Apple changes who they are, a computer appliance company, I doubt they
> have a chance of dominating the desktop market of the networked world. As for
> Windows, it is already falling under its own weight due to its proprietary nature which
> in a different way limits its potential compared to GNU/Linux, but that is a story for
> another time.

Funny thing about a lot of potential, is that it just remains potential. I personally have stopped waiting for Bill to realize his potential -- ok he's rich and Windows is still crap -- maybe that was his goal all along; it is just those of us who needed a better windows who thought his goal was to make a better windows.

I have waited a long time for Linux to be easy enough to setup as a multimedia OS and that has just happened. Only now am I seeing a few Linux distro being full multimedia from the initial installation.

Linux is great and it will grow up eventually ... but don't knock that "smooth user experience" because at the end of the day you pay for luxury. That might change, but I am not holding my breath ... and neither should you or anyone else.

Well albertfx, first of all

Well albertfx, first of all welcome to Nuxified. Smiling

You mentioned Bill Gates and Windows in comparison to Apple more than you mention GNU/Linux while my article didn't really include Windows in any of the significant points. There is a huge difference between Windows and GNU/Linux as well as OS/2 (which you also mentioned) and GNU/Linux. To put those on the same or similar level as you did is just misleading.

The biggest difference is that GNU/Linux is not a proprietary OS while Windows and OS/2 are. Alot of my thinking stems from this fundamental difference which is at the same time pretty much the same difference between GNU/Linux and Mac OS X. It is what makes GNU/Linux unique and special and yes it is what gives it so much potential, enough to be worth talking about - because this potential is rapidly being fullfilled these days. We see glimmers of what may be coming with distros like Ubuntu and SUSE 10, not to mention the next generation that is coming and is gonna go further than any OS has ever gone (such is possibly Ulteo).

You praise Apple for its ease of use, acting as an appliance and all that, and for that rightly so. It is true that at this point in time Apple user experience alone is ultimate. However I doubt it is unbeatable.

There also still remains a big disatvantage which is to a point relevant not only to tinkerers, but ordinary users as well and that is, again, the freedom which is built in right into GNU/Linux and missing from Mac OS X. The fact that Mac OS is based on FreeBSD doesn't mean much more than that you can use bash and maybe even *partly* see what's going on behind the curtains, but if you want to modify it and expect it to continue to "just work", good luck with that! I can't help but find the "golden cage" metaphor quite aptly applying to the Apple experience. It is indeed golden, it is great, the one in it seems happy, but if you try to make the cage anything else you wish it to be you'll essentially hit the bars.

Apple may have the ultimate ease of use (as long as you keep to the Apple way), Windows may have popularity and support by major vendors, but GNU/Linux has the most fundamental of all things; the freedom. This also means freedom to improve, expand, become whatever one wishes it to become. Of course I will talk about the potential then, because where there is this freedom there has to be potential. Freedom means open endedness. All possibilities are open. If you want GNU/Linux to emulate and exceed the Apple experience, then it very well has the capability of doing so, and that's pretty much my main point here.

It has the capability of exceeding Apple because noone and everyone is controling it and its goals at the same time and hence everything is possible. Does Apple have that? I don't think so.

Why OSX won't Take Over

 

Back to your original theme.

You are quite right. As long as OSX is intended to be designed and run ONLY on platforms that Apple engineers have designed for it, then you are quite right.

I suspect that this is a "niche". I admit it. The Apple "appliance" is an awesome and unique experience. Apple is a company dedicated to innovation and creativity, but also PROFITS. It has to make money for it's stock holders or there are no more Apple computers or OSX period.

I absolutely agree that Linux is in a far better potential position to do more than Apple with it's OSX, if "more" means a larger use base. If the goal is making "appliances" that people love, just work, and flat out impress people with their power and ease of use, then the Apple model gives them a niche. Dell wants to build hardware and Microsoft wants to build software. Each want to dominate in their field, and to a large extent do.
Apple had to have this niche to survive. Back in 1995 or so, it wasn't really clear whether Apple would survive. It has found it's niche.

If Apple tried to produce OSX to sell on every Tom, Dick and Harry's hardware, it would no longer be OSX, but something that would be buggy, unstable and likely broken in many functions.

BTW, I wouldn't want OSX under these circumstances. No way.

OSX

 

The difficulty with using BOTH OSX and Linux for me is that OSX, RIGHT NOW, at this very moment, is a far superior work environment.

I have a choice. I exercise my right to support Linux with my time, my volunteerism, my tinkering, my money, (yes, I support it financially) and with my genuine enthusiasm for what it has become and what it MIGHT become. That is the potential thing of which D3MON spoke. I am writing this post on ubuntu, using Gnome web browser.

But the very best linux just isn't good enough, not yet. Sorry, OS-X runs rings around both Windows and absolutely around linux in their present states. Yes, of course, the analogy of OSX-Apple being a "golden cage" is not a bad description, but one I gladly "sit" in when I have work to do, a business to run, and a staff of "average-at-best" computer users who work for me. You couldn't pry those Macs out of their cold, dead hands. I choose not to ignore the very best OS for the desktop there is, available now, at this moment.

When the day comes, and I pray it does, make no mistake, that freedom based software exceeds the quality of commercial monetary based software in every way, Hey, I will stand up and salute the flag!
And, I will know when that happens because I am a concurrent free software user. When that happens, if it happens, I shall leave my "golden cage" behind. I will be quite free to do so. I am a human being. I walked away from CPM a decade and a half ago, walked away from TRS-80 and CoCo in 1993 to embrace DOS. No one has me locked in the golden gage. I abandoned Windows for OS-X. My choices.

Meanwhile, I shall use OS-X with no guilt whatsoever. Thank you.

Hey, I understand where are

Hey, I understand where are you coming from bpfick and I have never opposed the fact that OS X may be, in purely technical terms, be the superior desktop OS. That's fine, we heard it too many times already, I agree, but it's not the only thing I take into account when choosing my OS. This is the reason why, to a point, I sometimes get annoyed for being constantly told how OS X is superior, because for me GNU/Linux is superior, because I have a wider array of things affecting my choice. One of these things is freedom.

I still believe proprietary software is an immoral thing and hence I wont support it no matter how good it looks. I will instead use even the inferior thing which is free trying to help it become better and at some point even better than the superior proprietary thing.

When you look at it from the purely moral standpoint, all proprietary OSs are inferior to one completely free GNU/Linux OS. When you add to it the fact that Ubuntu comes close to the super desktop experience, you have an unbeatable point for choosing GNU/Linux over anything. Of course, however, if you will part the moral reason out of the equation, OS X will remain your choice.

Maybe you can then see why saying to me that GNU/Linux isn't just there yet and making that a reason for using OS X doesn't mean much at all for me, short of leaving some motivation to making GNU/Linux better than OS X technically. The thing is, though, when all reasons are considered (including the moral reason), GNU/Linux already is superior and now that it is technically very good as well, comes close to *perfection*.

And that is what Apple fans have been trained to look for - perfection. Pitty that this doesn't include moral perfection.

Disclaimer: No offense intended. I don't direct this at bpfick or anyone personally. Although I don't think it is anyhow inflamatory, some may see it that way, hence the disclaimer. Eye

No offense

 

No offense taken.

It is you who have placed your views into this argument that somehow if someone prefers to purchase or use anything proprietary that somehow this is a "moral" question.

Sorry, you know very well that while we are friends, you and I do not agree on that point.

Sure. Freedom to disagree

Sure. Freedom to disagree kicks in. Eye

It's not like it is anything new for people to disagree over this point. If this disagreement didn't exist there would be no "FOSS" acronym. It may be complicating things, but you can't get everyone to think the same way. Disagreements and debates is part of who we are and how we advance. Smiling

Regards

Of Course Apple Cannot Dominate

 

Apple's business plan absolutely insures that it will not dominate.

What is does so well is integration, ie hardware and software. OS-X only runs on Apple hardware. The symbiotic relationship between the two, along with spectacular industrial design, invovation, stability, ease of use, creativity, blah blah blah. They are all great. BUT...

It is a locked in, locked up package. You either buy into all of it, or you buy into none of it. One exception. You COULD, theoretically buy an Apple and wipe off OS-X and install a 'nix if you wish.

But the reality is that an Apple is an integrated product, OK, an appliance, an awesome, damn good one too. I know of no other consumer computer maker who has a similar plan. Obviously, this locked in, locked up business plan is "successful" in creating loyal users and in generating profits for the company on a certain scale. (actually, a MUCH smaller scale that the profit plan of other giants of the industry.)

But since the consumer has to buy into an integrated product, solely on Apple's terms, and must choose a computer among the somewhat limited offerings that Apple produces, (when compared to the rest of the computer world COMBINED) it absolutely insures that Apple will not have something for everyone, not every the majority, which is what domination means. That is simply impossible.

You basic premise is right. Apple will not dominate.

I still believe proprietary

I still believe proprietary software is an immoral thing...

So pretty much you're saying that I/anyone who uses proprietary software is wrong and immoral?

The only thing I see wrong with the push for free software is that it alienates people who currently choose to use proprietary software and I typically see people who do use proprietary people called "bad people" or "wrong" for doing so. Where is the freedom to use what you want in your guys' push?

I believe the two should be able to hang around together. Business's need to make money and obviously giving away all the code *all* the time is NOT a smart thing to do. Like it or not, from a business prospective - it just plain isn't.

So I guess my question to you is why am I/anyone that uses/proprietary software immoral?

Quote:So pretty much

Quote:

So pretty much you're saying that I/anyone who uses proprietary software is wrong and immoral?

Not necessarily. Some people really don't have other choice but to use some proprietary software so I wouldn't blame them. Some people don't know about Free Software or do not yet understand the moral implications of their choice of software they use and support. They too can't be blamed, but they can be made aware.

Some people use proprietary software, but are making significant efforts to switch because they understand the issue fully. They too can't be called "immoral" or anything.

So am I calling you immoral? Well, to be really honest I don't think you fully grasp the issue of software freedom and hence are acting per your own current understanding. This is where most disagreements come from actually, from not understanding the opposing point of view, no matter if it is the right or wrong one. We may stand on opposite sides calling each other immoral, or we can just acknowledge that we have not yet come to a full understanding of each others perspectives. The latter is much better for preserving friendships. Eye

Quote:

The only thing I see wrong with the push for free software is that it alienates people who currently choose to use proprietary software and I typically see people who do use proprietary people called "bad people" or "wrong" for doing so.

I don't want to alienate anyone, although there are some who do end up doing that by poorly expressing what they believe to be true. You may have noticed that despite our disagreements I try to maintain a friendly relationship. Besides, if all Free Software advocates were alienating everybody else, we'd get absolutely nowhere with whatever cause we're in for. I will tell you what I think, but I wont consider you an enemy if you disagree, and only hope that you wont either. This way, at some point, we might come to an agreement. Otherwise, we're a lost cause.

That said, I don't think all Free Software advocates alienate. It really depends on who you're talking to.

Quote:

I believe the two should be able to hang around together. Business's need to make money and obviously giving away all the code *all* the time is NOT a smart thing to do.

Now that sentence is a confirmation of what I mentioned above, that you don't fully understand what I advocate. Eye It is a common misunderstanding though.

Businesses can very well exist within a pure Free Software market. The source does not have to be given away for it to remain "libre" (free as in freedom). You can charge for it as much as you like, as long as the one who gets it from you has the same freedom you had. This allows for a new unique kind of business of which we've already seen some developing examples, but it definitely doesn't mean no business at all.

That said, it can very be well a smart decision to distribute source code with freedoms (for the user) rather than without them, for a price or no price (that doesn't matter so much).

Commen