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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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hi

 

hi, i'am new here. I received my password after big time. Everything fine with your server?

I have doubts

 

I have doubts about one statement you point to in your article.

Wouldn't it be terrific, you postulate, if GNU/Linus could be as smooth integrating with ANY piece of equipment as OSX is to integrating to Apple Hardware.

Well, it seems quite unlikely. Did I misunderstand?

The vast array of possible hardware configurations is almost infinite. Apple has only a finite set of hardware configurations that have been carefully selected.

So, let's see, a software (linux) that has to deal with 1000's of known and possibly unknown hardware configurations competing against OSX which, specifically, has a spoon-fed, tailored hardware package. You expect Linux to do as well under such a circumstance?

Optimism is one thing, but this? Smiling

Now, Wouldn't it be great if an innovative, OEM, builder would custom fit a great Linux Distro into their beautifully designed computer and market it? A machine, right off the shelf that people could buy, use, and enjoy? No intallation required. Yup. It is being tried now. Let's watch and see how it goes. Is there any apreciable market for a Fedora Laptop or Ubuntu Tower?. Hmmmm. Would that sell?

The first question those potential off-the-shelf buyers will ask is, "Will this run my favorite video game, or my MS compatible software such as Office, QuickBooks, Adobe InDesign, etc"? Some education will be in order.

Tom Sanderson wrote: hi,

Tom Sanderson wrote:

hi, i'am new here. I received my password after big time. Everything fine with your server?

Hi Tom and welcome. I apologize for the response lag. About the password receiving, I didn't hear any problem reports so far, so it might have been a temporary glitch or maybe your email address. Were you requesting new password or activating an account? If you'd like we can open a thread in support forum about it.

Thanks
Danijel

bpfick wrote: Well, it

bpfick wrote:

Well, it seems quite unlikely. Did I misunderstand?

You didn't misunderstand. Smiling

As many incredible things that may have seemed unlikely and have yet come true, this one may be possible too. And I am the kind that believes more in possible than in impossible.

bpfick wrote:

The vast array of possible hardware configurations is almost infinite. Apple has only a finite set of hardware configurations that have been carefully selected.

That's why it was easier for Apple to do it, obviously... BUT....

bpfick wrote:

So, let's see, a software (linux) that has to deal with 1000's of known and possibly unknown hardware configurations competing against OSX which, specifically, has a spoon-fed, tailored hardware package. You expect Linux to do as well under such a circumstance?

But the power of the vast and ever growing community of people is at this point probably underestimated. If you have the source code and the freedom to modify it for your needs that means you can adapt it to a particular configuration you have. Indeed, not every human will do it, but companies which release these exotic-or-not kinds of hardware will. Already, GNU/Linux is easily and widely being used in all kinds of devices, from the smallest computers in the world, to the biggest and fastest supercomputers. It's in mobile phones, robots, space ships.. and it fits everywhere.. This is what leads me to believe that because of imbedded respect for freedom, GNU/Linux can perfectly spread everywhere and adapt to anything.

bpfick wrote:

Now, Wouldn't it be great if an innovative, OEM, builder would custom fit a great Linux Distro into their beautifully designed computer and market it? A machine, right off the shelf that people could buy, use, and enjoy? No intallation required. Yup. It is being tried now. Let's watch and see how it goes. Is there any apreciable market for a Fedora Laptop or Ubuntu Tower?. Hmmmm. Would that sell?

Yes, that would be great, and someone will do it. This is something to be done for the particular kind of populace which Apple targets today, so we can steal Apple's market! But you knew this community was in for the world domination all alone anyway. Eye No market will remain unconquered because we adapt (because we have the freedom to). Eye

libervisco Your quote

libervisco Your quote (below) is the first realistic comment I have read so far...

" 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. "

This is my point. However, I think if you want to advise people of "moral implications" you best be in the position to do so.

Are you running ONLY FSF approved licensed software? I know for the most part, nuxified does not agree with the BSD license, despite, GNU/FSF/Linux/GNOME/KDE all benifiting greatly form it.

Are you running a Free BIOS? I am willing to wage money on that you're not. How about that firmware in your ADSL modem or switch or satalite modem?

If you wish to take the moral high ground, which many (not all Eye ) do, then be sure you actually stand by your convictions... 110%

You know there is a point

You know there is a point that doesn't get said much, and which I myself have been missing many times. Today, as the discussion you started prompted me, I have asked for some advice, been thinking a bit and incidentally taking the time to listen to the latest interview in a LinuxLinkTechShow podcast with Richard Stallman. The point I am talking about is this. If you choose to use proprietary software it is your problem, not mine, not anyone elses, but only yours. I cannot call you immoral because of that. I was wrong indeed, in even beginning to think that I am somehow more moral by using only Free Software than someone who doesn't. The issue of morality is not so much about us as it is about developers and companies who license their software as non-free because they are the ones making immoral impositions IMHO.

By choosing to use this non-free software, however, you are merely agreeing to be a "victim" (at least from my point of view), and I can't do anything about it but advise you to consider Free Software. And that's it.

So no, whatever I say I don't deserve a moral highground. I do try to use 100% Free Software, but in all honesty I also use a little proxy program which allows me to have a satellite connection for which likely falls under a non-free license (I've never actually seen the license, but I don't have the source code so.. it's probably proprietary). And I am also guilty of using a w32codecs package which many consider to be non-free.

So there it is.

Also, what you say about us being against BSD is simply not correct. BSD is a Free Software license and I am happy to use anything under that or any other license that respects four freedoms of the user. I am really not sure where did you get the idea that Nuxified.org is somehow against BSD. It doesn't make sense to be against it. Heck, if you look to our forum index you'll see we have a dedicated forum for BSDs. Smiling

getting there....

Quote:

The point I am talking about is this. If you choose to use proprietary software it is your problem, not mine, not anyone elses, but only yours. I cannot call you immoral because of that.

Bingo!! its a choice that I have to make. Its mine, no one else's. Its the very foundation of freedom.... choice.

I praise you for trying as best you can to use only 100% Free software. I have spent the last 6 years, developing and supporting it. Its great.

Quote:

By choosing to use this non-free software, however, you are merely agreeing to be a "victim"

I strongly disagree here. I am by no means a victim. If I have made an informed choice to run/use/buy a closed source application, platform, then there is obviously a reason why it was selected over an open and free alternative. And again, this is about executing ones freedom to choice.

Nuxified is in the position where it can foster the growth and usage of Free software. Nuxified is in the position to great awareness, show people, tell people, how they could/can/do benifit from the use of free software.

Smearing closed sourced applications and platforms is not a way to win hearts, friends and convince people that there are viable alternatives to the status quo. The mention of a closed source application should not bring on a full frontal attack. It should result in a open discussion where *respect* is shown, despite a differing of opinions.

In the real world. Far away from the total idealisms that are often sort, people do *need* to have to work with/on/for/use/support both closed, free and open software. I think the lack of acknowledgment of this fact, is what lets Nuxified down.

If that acknowledgment and respect (from BOTH sides) could be found, then I think you would a greater amount of harmony and a even greater willingness to explore alternatives.

mjk wrote:I strongly

mjk wrote:

I strongly disagree here. I am by no means a victim. If I have made an informed choice to run/use/buy a closed source application, platform, then there is obviously a reason why it was selected over an open and free alternative. And again, this is about executing ones freedom to choice.

There definitely is a reason for you. But from my point of view, the view which considers proprietary software (that is software which doesn't grant four freedoms) to be a wrongful restriction on the user, I will say exactly that, you were wrongfully restricted. But if that doesn't bother you and you instead have other criterions by which you make your choices, what else do I say than: ok, it's your problem (from your point of view not a problem, of course) Smiling.

mjk wrote:

Smearing closed sourced applications and platforms is not a way to win hearts, friends and convince people that there are viable alternatives to the status quo.

Well, maybe a better approach would be to promote and celebrate quality and freedom in Free Software than smear on proprietary software, but if I think proprietary applications are under a license that wrongfully restricts, than that's just it. I wont be promoting proprietary software. What you'll do is up to you. On Nuxified.org, I will help you with all Free Software, and only that. This is what Nuxified.org is, and that doesn't necessarily mean anyone who disagrees with me that proprietary software means wrongful restrictions has to leave the site. I mean, there is only one criterion: if you use Free Software and want to talk about it: you're welcome here.

You might ask a question about Flash 9 on GNU/Linux, we wont stop you doing that, but this being a Free Software support site we can't say everyone will jump to help you with whatever issue you have with Flash 9 because it is proprietary. I might just ignore the thread. Although actually I have sometimes given hints even when someone asks about proprietary software, out of friendliness and only when seeing that the guy would find what he's looking for anyway.. but not always. I support just Free Software. Smiling

mjk wrote:

The mention of a closed source application should not bring on a full frontal attack. It should result in a open discussion where *respect* is shown, despite a differing of opinions.

This site is about helping people use Free Software with satisfaction. Exercising frontal attacks doesn't seem to fit the description. If the mention of proprietary software is asking for help with running it then what I wrote above applies. Some may help, but Free Software purists aren't expected to jump in and show you the way, so they'll probably ignore it. This doesn't seem to present much of an issue though because there is less and less non-free software on GNU/Linux. Just look at Java. Now even Free Software purists will happily recommend and help you with Java. Eye

If mentions of proprietary software are in form of a philosophical discussion then first, it doesn't quite fit here so much so such threads should be rare and only in offtopic "community" forum (these kinds of discussions fit Libervis.com more) and second, when these discussions do ensue, yes, tolerance for differing opinions should be exercised. These kinds of threads should be watched even more closely by moderators to ensure that the discussion is smooth and friendly.

mjk wrote:

In the real world. Far away from the total idealisms that are often sort, people do *need* to have to work with/on/for/use/support both closed, free and open software. I think the lack of acknowledgment of this fact, is what lets Nuxified down.

We at Libervis Network recognize the real world, but instead of trying to fully adapt to it we align with the movement to change it to the better. This is the biggest reason why we wont make official statements supporting any proprietary software on our sites nor allow advertisements which advertise proprietary software. However, this control is limited and doesn't include members of our community and what they write, meaning that if they have differing opinions we wont interfere. If they use proprietary software we wont condone harassing them in any way because of that. It is their choice. Free Software supporters know for themselves how much they are willing to compromise to adapt to the "real world" and it's everyone's individual decision.

mjk wrote:

If that acknowledgment and respect (from BOTH sides) could be found, then I think you would a greater amount of harmony and a even greater willingness to explore alternatives.

As said above, I can acknowledge the state of the real world as it is and the fact that it includes proprietary software in many areas. I just wont make Libervis Network much of a conformist, but a changer. However this doesn't affect you as users of the site and your freedom of speech and choice. You merely should recognize the purpose and see if it fits what you want to gain by participating. The purpose of Nuxified.org is help you use Free Software with satisfaction. Does that purpose fit your profile? If yes, you're welcome. This is what we do. We'll help. Your views should not interfere with that purpose, no matter how differing they are to my view or the official position of Libervis Network and Nuxified.org.

Thanks

mjk wrote: lAre you

mjk wrote:

lAre you running ONLY FSF approved licensed software? I know for the most part, nuxified does not agree with the BSD license, despite, GNU/FSF/Linux/GNOME/KDE all benifiting greatly form it.

the BSD license is FSF, OSI and Debian approved. It is a true, non-copyleft free software license.

Basically, everything that is in Debian has a FSF-approves license (the FSF's idea of free software is very similar to that on Debian, which is more clearly defined), and look at that mound of software.

Non-free software users are not necessarily victims. They can decide that in a certain area they are willing to give up certain freedoms they'd like. Or would you call a, say, Finnish (as top of the RSF free-speech list) resident a victim if they willingly, knowingly, voluntarily moved to the dictatorship of Burma ? Or would you call a man a victim if he became a monk, thus basically giving up his right to intimate contact with women ?

Shall we go back to

Shall we go back to topic?

I think one thing is clearly missing from this article, and that is that we're slowly moving to network appliances: computers that don't have any other purpose than connecting to the net. For such machines, the OS doesn't really matter. Maybe apple will make nice white curvy iNets that everyone wants to have. Then apple will dominate after all, but on the other hand it will probably still be GNU/Linux and BSD that will dominate the server side.

I am a bit skeptical about

I am a bit skeptical about full network computing you describe. I like to have some programs and data installed on my own machine, and not on some server. Just because it will be possible, and in some cases useful, to have everything running on the network somewhere, I don't think everyone will embrace that.

Instead, for ordinary home users network computing will merely complement the usual desktop computing. An example are those package management systems on GNU/Linux which easily sync software installed on a computer with the remote repository, also the NTP time syncronization, constant IRC/IM connectivity, ability to connect from a mobile phone to your own computer running at home, in house networks with a router, maybe central server and few machines hooked to it etc.

So what will dominate? It depends. I just think that because it is free and hence so easily adaptable, GNU/Linux has a high potential of dominating desktop-to-network-and-back computing of any kind. As mentioned, software installations on ala apt-get and pacman are first examples of that. Not even Mac (AFAIK) nor Windows has something like that.

That is an awesome graphic

That is an awesome graphic btw, is there an svg I can get somewhere?

Linux vs. Windows vs. Mac

 

I find that Windows is far behind Linux. Windows XP is 6 years old already. When I use Windows (which I was recently doing about 50 hours a week) I feel like I am working with one arm tied behind my back.

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