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Linux Software Businesses Apple

Desktop Linux Share Overtaking Macintosh 926

Posted by michael
from the macintosh-is-dying dept.
prostoalex writes "Business Week magazine is optimistic about desktop Linux's future, telling a story of Capital Cardiology Associates, whose 160 employees migrated to Linux desktops. Furthermore, Business Week expects IDC to announce desktop Linux installations to reach 3.2%, for the first time overtaking Macintosh market share. By 2007, IDC forecasts, Linux will be installed on 6% of the desktops. It's also worth mentioning that desktop Linux market share for 2002 was 2.8% and that year it was behind Apple's operating system."
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Desktop Linux Share Overtaking Macintosh

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  • As A Mac User (Score:3, Insightful)

    by molafson (716807) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:15AM (#8277476)
    As a Mac user, I guess I'm supposed to be foaming at the mouth now, extolling the virtues of OS X, and denigrating the virtues of Linux. However, I won't. I don't care about Apple's market share, as long as OS X (and its requisite hardware) is available to me. I will gladly pay the price. Long live the king!
  • Good news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mysterious_mark (577643) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:16AM (#8277481)
    WE the Mac owners wish to be a small and exclusive club. (Too bad I can't afford the new G5) MM
  • Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aitala (111068) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:16AM (#8277482) Homepage
    Those percentages are probably new sales and do not reflect the existing desktops out there.

    E
  • FIrst post W00T (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Provocateur (133110) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:16AM (#8277483) Homepage
    ANd to think the halftime ad in the Superbowl featured IBM's Linux ad...

    History repeats?

  • I know, I know.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DwarfGoanna (447841) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:17AM (#8277492)
    This is about desktop marketshare.


    But shouldn't this be more a story of Linux gaining ground on Windows? I like and use both, but I hate to tell ya, Apple's core market is safe from Linux for the foreseeable future.

  • Not the point. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcsiry (38594) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:21AM (#8277512) Homepage
    Who cares if it's overtaking Mac- as long as the share it's taking over from is Windows.

    If Linux was *replacing* Mac on the desktop, that would be worrisome. Instead, you're seeing municipalities, counties, even countries switching from Win to Lin. You're not hearing about ad agencies doing mass migrations to Linux, replacing Photoshop with the Gimp and Quark with... with... um, well, you're not hearing about it.

    Meanwhile, the mac addicts will single-click along, content with their 3%- and happier still that they've got some stronger allies against the real threat to their desktop security.
  • FACTS PLEASE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mitchell_pgh (536538) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:21AM (#8277517)
    In the unparalleled words of Jerry Mcguire "Show Me The DATA".

    I'll believe it when I see some kind of data. I have yet to see Linux being used in a desktop environment. I've seen a few macs, but a majority have been Windows based.
  • by tyrione (134248) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:22AM (#8277523) Homepage

    Everyone's got one.

    This presumes the rate of growth for Linux on the Desktop will be as prolific as it has been for Enterprise deployment, not to mention OS X isn't once mentioned in the article, just the Macintosh Operating System.

    Market researcher IDC expects to announce within weeks that Linux' PC market share in 2003 hit 3.2%, overtaking Apple Computer Inc.'s (NasdaqNM:AAPL - News) Macintosh (news - web sites) software.

    Macintosh software? Could this article be particularly more vague? I guess being overly general is good to cover their butts?

    Good luck on Linux overtaking OS X's momentum.

    Since over 40% of pre-OS X has switched since its inception I would expect in a year from now another 30% and climbing, especially with the G5 and soon-after G6.

    My daily OS is Debian so no I'm not coming from a Mac biased viewpoint.

  • by diersing (679767) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:25AM (#8277546)
    Moderators - why is this flamebait?

    If Mac OS X ran on x86, it stands to reason the parent, myself and many others might give it a go. If you could run Mac OS X on cheap, available and upgradable hardware it would stand to reason that it would have a greater desktop share. Being that some out there view Apples as cost prohibitive. I feel the parent is on-topic, even if poorly presented/worded.

  • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtrippNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:26AM (#8277552) Homepage
    How much are you paid by Sun to astroturf on Slashdot?

    Sun's Java Desktop offers diddly over a regular linux distro besides a big brand name. If you want support Redhat or Mandrake will do you just fine and for less.

    Plus, more peripherally, there's the horrible marketing department produced name of "Java Desktop". ALMOST THE WHOLE THING WAS WRITTEN IN C AND C++!!!!
  • by Pathway (2111) <pathway@google.com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:26AM (#8277553)
    Well, I think it's important to note that it's not the MAC which is loosing ground to Linux, but rather that it's Microsoft's Windows users who are primaraly making the switch.

    I just don't think that the Mac is going to disappear because of linux. The Apple zealots are worse than Linux'es own!

    Pathway
  • by d.valued (150022) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:26AM (#8277554) Journal
    I think we're going to succeed in pissing off the Macophiles in the crowd with this one. I like OS X as much as anyone, and its multipedia capabilities are utterly obscene, but for general apps most people don't need it.

    To be fair, most people don't need the capabilities of any modern system. I'm going to get a 64-bit based laptop, and the only people I can think of who need such power are gamers, video/audio editors, and the highest of power users.

    Linux based systems tend to hold the line on excess hardware bloat. You don't need to stay on an endless treadmill of forced hardware and sofware upgrades for support; a skilled tech can keep your setup running. Security is potentially higher, with proper configuration. And virii are pretty much a null threat.

    Most office productivity can be handled with F/OSS analogues of Windows tools. Programs like OOo and FireFox, The Gimp and the myriad SQL databases do a great deal of work.
  • by Durin_Deathless (668544) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:27AM (#8277558) Homepage
    There strike me to be several problems with this: 1) Many linux users(myself included) download iso images, from which it is hard to get an idea of number of users 2) most linux installs are not traditional desktops, for Joe Schmo. Most are for more technical users. 3) When do they 'expire' a machine? For nubmer 3, I mean this: when is a machine no longer held to be in use? I didn't get Panther(it won't run on my Beige G3), does that mean I don't count? What about the Macintosh SE in the basement, still getting daily use? The other beige G3 here, still on OS 9? 2 or 3 years is fair for Wintel boxen as an average IIRC, but a Mac tends to outlast that. I know of several people using first generation PPC machines, simply because they do everything needed. This isn't as simple as OS sales in a given year, I would say harder for Macs than for other machines because the life of a Mac is so much longer than many other platforms, especially without any trackable upgrades. Without knowing from whence these numbers came, they are pretty meaningless.
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:27AM (#8277559) Homepage Journal
    Actually, this should not be surprising nor alarming.
    On the face of it this is a very misleading statistic and /. post. What would be more relevent would be to compare Linux penetration across hardware architectures seperately. Saying Linux has more installs than OSX is rather slanted and not all that informative since there are many more x86 compatable PC's on the market than PPC compatables. Linux is not hardware, Microsoft does not make PC's. OSX is a desktop yes, but tied to the hardware needed to run it.
    So let's see the percentile of Linux installs on x86 PC's vs Linux installs (Yellow Dog et al) on PPC architectures.
    That would give a better overall view of the marketplace and usage trends. For I'd suspect the migration to Linux from OSX would be microscopic at best while the real breakaway would those migrating from Windows.
  • Uhm... duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by solios (53048) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:31AM (#8277589) Homepage
    To run MacOS requires a PPC. Not just ANY PPC, a Macintosh. That's ONE breed of computer. Just one.

    To run Linux, you need a computer and some means of getting linux onto it. Linux runs on Sparcs, Ultras, SGIs, Alphas, x86, m68k, several different PPC variants, pdas, cel phones, the Game Cube, the Dreamcast, digital watches, and the IBM 390 mainframes.

    Not only does linux run on practically everything, it handles almost identically across ALL of these architectures. Your debian experience won't be much different on an Ultra III than it will be on a Dell or a Macintosh G3 (aside from hardware support, obviously).

    I can install linux on any computer I can find in the dumpster.

    Every other OS on the planet (BSDs excepted) are much less portable and available on a vastly narrower variety of hardware.

    So. DUH. Of COURSE it's a growth industry. Linux is popular on the x86- and there's got to be at least 10 PCs for every Mac, just in terms of volume of existing hardware. Linux will continue to gain marketshare because it isn't tied to any specific hardware, making the cost of entry incredibly, amazingly cheap.

    Can I get a HELL YEAH! ?
  • by Mr Pippin (659094) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:32AM (#8277594)

    Regardless, I don't think this is bad for Apple.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Apple has more to gain from Microsoft losing marketshare to Linux than themeslves losing marketshare to Linux. Apple is a Unix proponent, and friendly to Linux in that regard.

    Who knows that the future may bring!

  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:33AM (#8277599) Homepage Journal
    Supposition: Mac users actually buy software, Linux users demand stuff for free. Every platform has its user quirks. I think Linux's is that they all want everything gratis.

    Who wants to port to Linux only to have hordes of advocates screaming "it's not Free Software!"
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:36AM (#8277614) Journal
    Missing the point my friend, but then so did the poster. Nothing is said about Apple loosing ground. Just that their is now another non-windows OS out there with users in the single number percentages. That they are a fraction higher just makes for nice headlines. It is a journalist thing.

    Since real freedom fans are not out to destroy ms-windows but rather to make for a world in wich ms-windows is just another desktop this is good news. Apple and linux and bsd and beOS (whatever its new names is) SkyOS and tron and etc all have tiny shares. TOGETHER we are now beyond the 5% and closing slowly on the 10%. 1 out of 10 people is a significant number. That is the kind of number businesses have to respect or face loosing customers.

    With Office on Apple uncertain this could mean that 1 out of 10 people need to get their documents in a more open format.

    So this article shouldn't be about linux overtaking apple, wich is hardly a suprise considering it is happening on the office desktop and the gigantic price difference, but the share of non-ms-windows installations increasing.

    No MS is not going to go bankrupt over this. But with these kind of statistics IE only websites are becoming just a little bit less good business sense. That can surely only be a good thing.

  • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wankledot (712148) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:38AM (#8277626)
    They also don't reflect what people are choosing.

    That might be a minor point to some people, but I think the number of people that actually CHOOSE to run linux is far far less than people that choose a Mac. Very few people say "hey, I'll get a new PC, I think I'll run linux." Most of the wins in the linux market are from installations where people have no choice... enterprise and business accounts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:39AM (#8277629)
    What is wrong with a Gay President?
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:43AM (#8277649) Homepage Journal
    This is flamebait because people have been crying wolf about Macintosh OS's going x86 for years, much longer than the cries about "BSD is dying" and typically, people will post about Macintosh going to x86 to intice a flamewar from Mac enthusiasts and PC users alike.

    In fact, I already posted in this thread [slashdot.org] and in my post I was going to note that it would be interesting to see what the stats would be for x86 OSX desktop installs if such an option were available to the consumer. But wisely I decided to skirt that issue for the very reason you see in your parent post.
  • Re:At this rate... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sloanster (213766) <ringfan@@@mainphrame...com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:45AM (#8277664) Journal
    I highly doubt that it will be a nice linear function, for a number of reasons -

    It will most likely be exponential at the tipping point, then going more logarithmic as the market sorts itself out.

    Honestly, I don't care if microsoft keeps a healthy market presence, if linux gets a good 30% share I'm happy, since that's big enough that it can't be ignored, and microsoft can't get away with the old monopoly games any more.
  • by rampant mac (561036) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:49AM (#8277682)
    "If Mac OS X ran on x86..."

    God Dammit, how many times does it need to be said? As far as the hardware debate, yes, Macs are more expensive. Yes, the retail cost of a new Mac is more than your average clone, or build-it-yourself project, and this is not where Apple is positioned.

    I purchased a Mac because I was sick and tired of "tinkering" with my computer, constantly tweaking settings, ensuring everything worked properly. I set my PowerBook up 4 months ago, and guess what... It just works. Apple can NOT provide that same advantage using cobbled-together x86 components thrown together and hope the end user experience "just works" for the average consumer.

    You really do get what you pay for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:51AM (#8277691)
    Maybe you would, but Apple would be out of business. When they allowed clone PPC machines in the mid-90s, total Macintosh market share actually went up somewhat, but it was a financial disaster for Apple since it cut into their profit margins on hardware. Its the cost of Mac hardware that subsidizes OS development; when you buy a Macintosh, Apple gets at least as much profit as they would from 5 or 6 boxed copies of Mac OS at the normal retail prices. So if they were to port OS X to the x86 platform, they would have to count on increasing their marketshare sixfold almost instantly to counter the devaluation of their hardware. Now the truth is, that can't happen. Every single current Mac user would probably switch to cheaper and faster PC hardware if it came out, and the dilletante dabbler crowd that install ten OS's on their computer might install it, although not all of them would pay. But as far as a large-scale shift from Windows, it wouldn't happen; ordinary end-users cower in fear even at the thought of installing a windows upgrade, much less an entirely new OS, and PC manufacturers are far too entangled with Microsoft to ship PCs preloaded with software from a company that, after all, has been a competitor of theirs for most of its history.

    Apple concluded, when Steve Jobs came back, that they could make more money selling computers to the current steady minority of Mac users, at a guaranteed huge profit margin, then try to take over the world. For that reason, they will never port OS X to commodity hardware.
  • Usage vs Install (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pavon (30274) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:54AM (#8277708)
    I bet the discrepency comes from the fact that IDC is measuring installs and google is measuring hits. There are probably a lot of people who have Linux installed but still use Windows as their primary OS, and/or use Windows at work, and therefore visit google using Windows more often than using Linux.
  • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TiMac (621390) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:56AM (#8277717)
    Which is probably true of many of the Windows installations out there as well. Many people use Windows because they are forced to. And this leads to buying a Windows machine at home "to stay compatible with work" (despite the other options).

    So what's the point? Hopefully if people are "forced" to use Linux at work, and find they can maintain compatibility with their Windows PC at home, they might start to realize they could maintain compatibility with their Linux machine with a Mac, too (even more so in some ways).

    I find it sad that the Mac's marketshare is represented so low, but I find OS X and Linux users on the same side of the bigger war, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. w00t! :)

  • by phatsharpie (674132) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:03AM (#8277747)
    >Also, assuming they keep to their previous methodology,
    >they'll be reporting on their estimates of machines that
    >shipped with Linux already installed. This obviously
    >underreports overall Linux market share, discounting people
    >who convert new or old machines to either Linux or dual-boot
    >status.

    Then outside of enterprise purchases, these numbers wouldn't factor into people who buy ultra low priced PC's with Linux pre-installed and slap on a copy of their friend's Windows OS.

    Nevertheless, I think it's a good sign for the future of Linux on the desktop! But presently I still prefer OS X as my primary OS. ;-)

    -B
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:13AM (#8277795) Homepage Journal
    The system for you depends on your particular wants and needs. More than one category can apply.

    • I'm a clueless newbie and proud of it!
      Lycoris, Lindows, Xandros
    • I don't intend to be clueless forever
      Fedora, SuSE
    • I am not afraid of computers
      Slackware, Debian, FreeBSD
    • I like to tinker with stuff until it breaks
      Gentoo, NetBSD
    • Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get me
      OpenBSD, Debian
    • I want to be l33t
      Gentoo

  • Re:Not the point. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ickoonite (639305) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:15AM (#8277802) Homepage
    Well, maybe not yet, because remember, the reason that Adobe, Quark et al still develop for Mac is because a large proportion of the Mac user base uses this software, buys this software, etc. It does actually make business sense. The Mac has always had these apps, so one must continue to satiate Mac users' demands for said software. Whereas let us look at Linux. OK, the installed base is growing, but what is the proportion of users of it who are professional graphic designers with the money to buy this kind of expensive software? Very few. Linux is for cost-saving businesses, the hobbyist wanting desktop UNIX on x86 and possibly, soon, the home user. Graphic designers are not in that list. Obviously you aren't going to see a mass migration of said users to Linux until the apps are there, but I'm afraid the chicken-and-egg situation remains. Like Windows, the Apple has the advantage that it has momentum - it was the graphical OS of the 1980s, so acquired all these graphical apps. It's the same for music software. Still, nice to see that Linux is making progress, because even one percentage point less in share for Microsoft can only be a Good Thing. iqu :)
  • by darnok (650458) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:15AM (#8277806)
    I'm now regularly "reviving" old Windows desktop boxes that didn't have enough grunt to run as Win XP systems. They still make perfectly useable Linux systems.

    The majority of these are used as firewalls or Samba servers, but some are running Mepis. There's nothing like taking a "junk" PC from someone, then "reviving" it for use as a Web browser/email/simple office PC. Many, many home users are upgrading their old PCs, and I suspect a growing number of these are now retaining their old PCs and redeploying them as simple Linux SOHO desktops.

    After all, a ~500MHz, 128Mb RAM desktop PC is barely useful for Windows 2k or XP, but still works fine as a Linux desktop.

    I doubt that these PCs are showing up as Linux PCs on any survey - they usually were originally sold with a Windows licence. As they're often "second" PCs, they might rarely get used for Internet access; instead Mum or Dad use them for work stuff while the kids are playing games on the shiny new PC.
  • Re:Er... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PunkPig (738544) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:16AM (#8277812)
    "to stay compatible with work" is such a bad reason for going Windows. If work wants me to work @ home they can provide the hardware and software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:21AM (#8277832)
    You are correct. Market share figures represent quarterly or annual sales figures. It doesn't take into account old CPUs still in use, so it cannot measure the total user base. The last figures I saw (can't remember where, unfortunately) puts Mac at about 10% of all desktop computer users, at the same time market share is 3 or 4%.
    It reminds me of an old slogan I heard when I was a kid selling lawn mowers. One small mower company, Poulan, was more expensive but defintely more reliable. Their slogan was "the only competition for a new Poulan is an old Poulan." And it was true.
    And that's true for Macs too. People keep Macs longer than PCs. Their investment holds its value longer. Market share figures will never account for systems like my 1996 G3/400 server, running MacOS X 10.3.
  • by Ceyan (668082) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:22AM (#8277840)
    Yeah, but considering that Apple caused it's own demise by sticking to proprietary hardware instead of adapting the x86 standard as other systems, trying to understand/sympathize with Apple is ridiculous.
  • by amper (33785) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:23AM (#8277844) Journal
    Well, I just spent the better part of my day building a new mail server.

    It's a Power Mac G3 B&W running Mac OS X 10.2.8 (6R73), with Sendmail 8.12.11, Cyrus SASL 2.1.15, Cyrus IMAPD 2.2.3, GNU Mailman 2.1.4, SquirrelMail 1.4.2, Berkeley DB 4.2.52, etc, etc--all downloaded and compiled from scratch with GNU GCC 3.3 (except Sendmail, which doesn't work with 3.3, so I used 3.1 for that).

    *And* all of this works with SMTP AUTH through SASL linked through PAM to the NetInfo database. I've done this on Mac OS X 10.3 as well.

    I could do this on Linux, too, I suppose, but then I wouldn't also get all the really cool features of Mac OS X or Apple's really cool hardware.

    BTW, just saying "Linux" is kind of misleading. Even if you only looked at the major distro's, you're still talking about several different types of systems that have significant compatibility problem between them. So, if you're going to lump all of these into one big "market share", I'd say why not lump all the commercial *NIXes together? I'm sure AIX, IRIX, Solaris, etc could add a percentage point or two to Apple's share, at the least. Hell, you could even toss in all the *BSD's, for that matter.

    The bottom line is, no matter what flavor you feel like using, it's all basically a (nearly) POSIX compliant system under the hood.

    Just so long as it's not more Windows...

    I was listening to NPR briefly today with some silly girl from Wired talking about the MS source code leak. Doesn't it amaze you how much people are talking about hackers taking advantage of the source code to attack Windows?

    Don't these people have any memories at all? I would venture to guess that *none* of the writers of the very well publicized virus attacks of the past few years needed access to the MS source code to effectively attack a large portion of the world's Windows systems. Can you say MyDoom? Melissa?

    Bah! Windows is a plague on humanity. Hopefully, the combined power of Linux, UNIX, and BSD, especially with the help of Apple, will wipe this incontinent excuse for security off the face of the world once and for all.
  • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrklin (608689) <ken.lin@gmailLAPLACE.com minus math_god> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:31AM (#8277873)
    Yes, this is an argument that many of my fellow Mac users would raise. They will point out this is market share data for new sales and do not reflect 1) install base and 2) mind share.

    However, the fact is new sales is what matters. Steve Jobs does not want you to keep buying the annual $129 OS upgrade (yes, yes, you don't HAVE to upgrade but this is Slashdot) to use on your G3 450 - he would also want you to buy that spanking new G5 along with the annual OS upgrades and the biannual iLife upgrades. Wall Street, Apple, IBM, Gartner, etc would all want you to buy that new Apple hardware.

    "But why should I upgrade my G3 B&W 450 when it runs OS X just fine! In fact, I pity the pathetic Windoze M$ PeeCee users who upgrade their hardware every two years!" some of my more zealous Mac users might say.

    The answer is, of course, "because they can".

    They can because Motorola took two whole frigging years to go from 0.5 Ghz to 1 Ghz while during the same time Intel went from P3 0.75 Ghz to P4 2.2Ghz. They can because IBM did not come out with the excellent and competitive G5 until late 2003. They can because the competition between nVidia and ATI produced superfast and hot GPU for PC.

    They can because the combinationof cheap and fast hardware more than make up for the deficieny of Windows.

    If Steve-Apple-IBM-Moto made it cheap for you to swap your machine every couple of years, do not tell me you wouldn't buy new Macs instead of extolling the virtue of G3 450. And if so, market share of new sales for Apple would be higher and I wouldn't have to write this!

  • Re:Not the point. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by great throwdini (118430) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:33AM (#8277888)

    But, if they have developed Photoshop for Mac, including MacOSX, then they now have a reason to develop it for GNU/Linux. This would be a reason for a lot of businesses to get into gear and start porting.

    I am aware of all the reasons they might not -- different distros, harder to support, not as focused a userbase, etc. but at least the list no longer includes "it's not even as popular as Mac!"

    Unfortunately, I think you are being a bit too optimistic, if not outright mistaken in jumping to this conclusion. Overall shifts in desktop installations for Linux compared to OS X do not translate to equivalent shifts in the interest, need, or profitability for a given application native to either platform.

    Let's use PhotoShop as an example.

    Those who are increasingly adopting Linux may not be a solid target market for (in this case) PhotoShop. Now, if one could demonstrate that all those graphic designers et al. who currently use Macs or Windows are jumping the fence for Linux, that may be the case, but greater or growing numbers overall don't mean greater or growing numbers of users who want to or are willing to purchase (in this case) PhotoShop.

    In the firm for which I work, everyone uses either OS X or Linux on the desktop. The Linux users outnumber the OS X users by a ratio of about 2:1 (and yes, there are more than 3 people in the firm). However, the number of Linux users interested in acquiring PhotoShop is zero. Anecdotal, I know, but my gut feeling is that something about my personal experience with Linux v. OS X on the desktop captures (at least a bit of) the reality in the bigger picture when it comes to this particular app.

    It's not the size of the install base, but its characteristics of that base which are most important. Mac users may have a fractional hold on the desktop market, but it's where that fraction of the whole pie has been installed and put to use (DTP, etc.) that attracts the interest of companies like Adobe at present.

    "It's not even as popular as Mac!" means a whole lot more when you ask: "Among whom?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:34AM (#8277897)
    I agree with the first paragraph, but the "catastrophic changes" you talked about must be hard to fix (I am stating it as a matter of opinion, rather than writing specs for an exploit!), for many companies to change an OS. Even then, there are many other issues involved before they change the OS (mostly the inertia of the installed base of applications and training). The leaked MSwindows source code may lead to such exploits (there is a scary file named kernel.c, that was part of the leak, according to rumors). Especially with the trend of latest exploits getting very clever, the fix might have to be done at a few different hierarchical levels. Only time will tell how that goes - and how MS reacts to any exploits (if their past performance of weeks/months to fix is any indication, it is very bad news for MS).
  • Re:Er... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shaitand (626655) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:47AM (#8277947) Journal
    How exactly do you figure that not choice? The owner of the pc chooses the operating system. If all pc's come preloaded with one operating system then there is no choice. But if a corporation chooses to put linux on IT'S desktops then the choice was made.

    Or do you honestly believe the secretary should choose the OS on the desktop? lol

    At home it's your pc or pcs and you choose the operating system on the pcs you own. If you have 4 pcs, like I do, that counts as 4 desktops. Because my computer illiterate wife didn't choose the OS on the desktops I let her use does that mean there was no choice? Of course not, their my desktops and I chose what to run on my computers.
  • by iotaborg (167569) <exa@COLAsofthome.net minus caffeine> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:02AM (#8277993) Homepage
    Hate to say it but MOSR's rumor accuracy is a close 1%, you can see their past history and their accuracy from webarchive or google (or lack thereof).

    And this is why MOSR doesn't have past archives.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:03AM (#8278001)
    Microsoft has spent damn near twenty years and billions of dollars trying to duplicate real, honest-to-God Macintosh-esque "plug & play" and hardware/software integration on a vast spread of commodity hardware, and they still haven't pulled it off.

    Apple has some great programmers, but let's be realistic. Microsoft has more money and people to throw at the problem, so if they haven't managed to create, buy or steal the solution in two decades, then what makes you think Apple could?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:03AM (#8278002)
    ...but are any of the distros gaining capital in the desktop market? Mandrake only recently pulled itself out of chapter 11. Redhat has all but given up on the desktop market. Lindows is enjoying a very small measure of success, but Lycoris and Xandros (the other two "desktop" distros) seem to be falling farther and farther behind.


    So Linux may be gaining some ground, but if all of the companies that make a kinder, gentler Linux can't afford to keep developing their product, how far can Linux on the desktop go?


    And before you say "Linux grows because of the community development!", no, it doesn't. Linux's core code may become more advanced through that method, but drudging Linux up to desktop usability levels comes because companies work to make more intuitive experiences. The Linux community, short of providing feedback, has little to do with this advancement.

  • by ReallyQuietGuy (683431) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:08AM (#8278022)
    Yes, definitely, look at how well those other x86 OS vendors are doing even in a field dominated by Microsoft! Like, you know, like... hrm. Who else makes a commercial desktop OS on x86 and is still alive?

    BeOS found out the hard way what happens when you try to fight on MS' turf. If you are going to live on the x86 sphere as an OS vendor you are either very niche/specialised (i.e. NOT "commercial consumer desktop vendor" a la Apple, Be, IBM-OS/2 et al), or you are fucked.

  • by ddavis (189762) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:08AM (#8278024)
    Appparently you must think the mac is a RR to spend so much time talking about it. I use my mac because, for me, it is a better computing experience. I do have a PC and have grown up on them. I give Apple my money because they build the best integrated product. Now go rant and rave about your PC to someone who gives a sh*t.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:10AM (#8278030)
    > Many of us Linux users support the companies that sell software for it

    Judging by the Loki situation, there's only about 1000-2000 Linux users willing to "support" home/desktop software.

    More power to ya, but don't overestimate your influence outside of your messageboards.
  • by shaitand (626655) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:14AM (#8278043) Journal
    Actually I find it quite broad. The way it is phrased it includes EVERY version of MacOS including OS X.
  • Re:You're fired (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Flower (31351) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:16AM (#8278050) Homepage
    Bull. From experience, if it ain't company owned and controlled I don't want it connecting to my network. Why? Because the instant it starts producing data for the company I have to support it and I have to wonder if it's secure.

    It's cheaper and safer to buy the employee the equipment to do their job.

  • by presearch (214913) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:20AM (#8278067)
    I can do pretty much anything
    Mac OS X
  • by Blic (672552) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:21AM (#8278070)
    I remember running Rhapsody DR2 on Intel - but that was back when they were working on slapping the OS9 UI onto NextStep. It never went any further than that.

    Darwin can run on x86, but, uh... =)

    In any case, it's never going to happen - Apple is first and foremost a hardware company. The make their money selling Macs, not the OS, the same way iTunes fuels iPod sales...
  • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:29AM (#8278091)
    If Mac wants to be serious about being a home OS, they need to figure out a way to release games before windows.

    Linux will always have that server/unix advantage against windows. With Mac's unless you were ichatting or hooking up digital cameras 24x7, there's no reason to have one. Games would be a damn good area to improve.
  • Re:Good news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jest3r (458429) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:31AM (#8278098)
    Owning an Apple is like driving a BMW ... sure every car gets from point a to b .. but some do it in style. My Powerbook wows people ... and OSX is like the icing on the cake.

    I don't think BMW has ever complained about their 2% marketshare. Neither has Apple.

  • What this means (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:32AM (#8278105)
    Please remember that "market share" refers to the percentage of units sold in a given amount of time. (In this case, the idea of "sold" has to be a little fuzzy.) IDC is saying that the market share of Linux per quarter is approaching that of the Mac OS.

    But the Mac has a 20-year headstart.

    By most estimates, there are something close to 40 million Macs in use today. (About half of these run Mac OS X, and the other half the classic Mac OS in one version or other. Many of them, of course, are older machines that are not capable of running OS X. Apple's market research says that of the users who can run OS X on their machines, something like 75% do.) There are about 400 million desktop computers in the world, total, so Apple has about 10% of the total installed base.

    It'll be a long, LONG time before Linux starts approaching those numbers.

    What IDC is saying here is that they think the rate of new installs of Linux is approaching that of the Mac. Which only makes sense, if you think about it. Linux is the hot new thing, while the Mac's growth has been pretty steady for the past six or seven years.

    What'll be illuminating is what happens to the rate of adoption of Linux after it surpasses the Mac's new adoption numbers. Will it keep going, or will it peak out and then drop off?

    (Honestly, based on past trends, it will almost certainly peak out and drop off. But time will tell for sure.)
  • by be-fan (61476) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:36AM (#8278125)
    I'm curious --- who were these people that you surveyed? Were they in the US, or worldwide? Does the fact that you conduct online surveys make the user pool somewhat self-selecting? What makes your research methods better than IDC's, anyway?

    I definitely think your research should have made Slashdot, but at the same time, I see no compelling reason to believe that your results are more accurate than those of other companies.
  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:38AM (#8278133) Homepage
    This is flamebait because people have been crying wolf about Macintosh OS's going x86 for years,

    How on Earth does "IF OSX was on x86" equal "OSX WILL BE on x86"?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:41AM (#8278147)
    If you paid $3000 for your "Sawtooth" and I paid $1400 for my 1.2 GHz machine, I could pay someone $900 to take it off my hands today and still have made $100 more than you.
  • by Colonel Panic (15235) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:52AM (#8278190)
    I've been using Linux since '96. I've tried most of the major distros out there. I really like Linux.

    However, yesterday I got my first G4 PowerBook. I wanted to actually do some multi-media type things with my computer without having to spend hours (days) trying to get things to work. I wanted to do things like burn DVDs, edit video, play Quicktime movies. Sure, you can do these things with Linux, but I've got other things to do than spend hours/days/months trying to get everything sort-of-kind-of-working.

    So, I got a Mac. Seems like the best of both worlds.

    Am I going to dump Linux now? No way. Linux is great for lots of other things. I have to say that I actually prefer KDE or GNOME to the Mac's Aqua. The Mac doesn't have virtual desktops, it doesn't have enough mouse buttons and what's with the toolbar having to be at the top of the screen instead of on the actual application window?! (seems to harken back to the pre-OSX days when MacOS wasn't a true multitasking OS). On the otherhand, I can stick a DVD-RW in the Mac and copy a movie to it that will play on my DVD player, no muss, no fuss. I can hook up a digital camera to my Mac via the usb, download the images from it and edit the pics without having to spend hours trying to get it to work - I really like that. Now I can get on with getting some work done instead of being a sys-admin.
  • by calidoscope (312571) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @04:05AM (#8278250)
    You can read our study results and find out if BSD is truly dead, here:

    BSD may be invisible on the desktop, but I've had a lot more interaction with BSD (primarily through my former ISP) than any version of Mac OS. Then again, I also use Solaris (both Sparc and x86) on the desktop.

  • by hype7 (239530) <u3295110@[ ].edu.au ['anu' in gap]> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @04:33AM (#8278361) Journal
    adapting the x86 standard


    excuse me? exactly which x86 standard are you talking about?

    the fact that a majority of commodity PCs ship with x86 processors does not make it some kind of standard nor does it necessarily mean it's the best choice. In fact, Apple's resolute decision to stick with PPC is going to pay some real dividends in the next 12 months [theregister.co.uk] while the x86 world flounders.

    -- james
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @04:53AM (#8278415)
    After reading your "note on methodology" it is pretty clear to me why your survey showed less desktop usage than a survey like IDC -- you claim to have measured "internet using" adults. You are welcome to provide more of the specifics on how your data was normalized, but I'm going to make some educated guesses about factors that are specifically relevant to linux and mac demographics that may not be so relevant for other topics.

    1) Mostly American - seems your entire website is in English only and despite the FAQ stating that you have thousands of worldwide members, I bet the number of Americans is an order of magnitude larger than non-Americans.

    2) Mostly Home (or non-workplace) Internet Users -- not many companies are going to be ok with people taking for-pay surveys on company time or equipment.

    These biases help to explain some of the numbers in your survey related to Mac usage. First, you showed 6% regular or semi-regular mac usage, which is twice what surveys like IDC's show. Unless you happened to get an unexpected spike of people who use Mac's at work (like a bunch of marketing droids were pulled to make this survey pool), it is reasonable to expect that these Mac users are are either home or public-terminal (think public and school libaries)- they may only use windows, or think they do, at work (as indicated by the 98% number) but it suggests their access to your survey is through a Mac that is not at work.

    Similarly, your "puzzling" result of high Mac usage and intent to use among employed minorities also suggests free public and school access systems. I am equating minority to "less better off" than the average white guy, but I also expect that employed minorities (versus unemployed minorities) are more likely to understand the value of a buck and make use of public-access systems like that at a school (continuing education, night classes, etc) or library.

    Meanwhile, consider the kind of desktop usage that we see reported in the pro-linux press - point-of-sale and other task-specific uses sure seems to get mentioned most. These users may not even know they are using Linux. The more general use deployments, where Linux and apps are displacing both MS-Windows AND MS-Office seem to be in foreign, non-English speaking countries (Germany, China, Peru to name a couple off the top of my head). These users are probably under-represented in your survey population. If you had compensated for higher than "normal" foregin usage, I don't think your reported margin of error would be as small. Based on my assumption that your foreign pollees are significantly less than your domestic ones.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @05:06AM (#8278456) Homepage
    Everyone here seems to be foaming at hte mouth, "Mac vs. Linux". No. You've got it all wrong.

    That market share increase for Linux came out of MS's market share, not Apple's. This is progress.
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @05:10AM (#8278465) Journal
    You don't even need to do a survey - just look at the Google Zeitgeist [google.com] for evidence.

    Only 1% of Google users are using Linux, it's languishing down there with Windows 95. Macintosh has three times the usage.

    I am a Linux fanboy. I'm using my Linux system now, and my primary desktop system has been Linux for quite a while. However, facts are facts, and the Mac is doing much better on the desktop. Linux is ready for the desktop, but only certain desktops (corporate desktops, where competent sysadmins run the systems, developer's desktops, like my own, desktops installed on other people's behalf, like my Dad's). However, it's not ready for the mainstream home user. Macintosh has been ready for all desktops since the 1980s.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @05:20AM (#8278490)
    Panther already implements a number of Linux APIs, but Apple hopes to make 10.4's adoptions higher-profile

    This is entirely possible. We can look at FreeBSD's Linux compatibilty for a comparison.

    FreeBSD's Linux compatibility is absolutely perfect as far as I'm concerned. The only programs where it has problems are things like games and VMWare, which is very reasonable to me and is also presumably reasonable to the FreeBSD developers, so I don't expect it to change. The only kinds of problems you encounter with regular programs are things like library versions, missing compile-time options, etc. - basically the kind of dependency issues you have with any binary-centric distro (FreeBSD's Linux userland is basically Redhat). Speed is identical to Linux as there is no emulation and very little data munging kernel-side.

    From a technical standpoint, it would certainly possible to do Linux compatibility in Mac OS X as Mac OS X already has multiple kernel "personalities" for certain features, so this demonstrates that their codebase could support it. Apple wouldn't be able to use much (if any) of FreeBSD's Linux compatibility stuff since there's little or no FreeBSD at the important layers, but they'd instead have to write their own. The comparison with FreeBSD's Linux compatibility is, however, useful as it demonstrates how the feature could be used.

    FreeBSD's Linux compatibility has come in useful to me in a number of circumstances: for example, running Opera for Linux, or Sybase or Oracle and a couple of lesser-known programs from small commercial vendors with which we've already been doing business. Basically, it's useful when you have a proprietary binary you want to try out or even put into production. When you have source, it's easier just to recompile and you rarely run into open source stuff that's not portable across Linux, FreeBSD and MacOS (and when you do, it's usually fixed quickly).

    Given this, I doubt the usefulness of Linux compatibility in Mac OS X. How many commercial software vendors release ppc-linux versions of their software? Better question, how many software vendors release ppc-linux versions of their software but not native Mac OS X versions of their software? Not too many.

    So this wouldn't be very useful for me and if I'm not the target audience, I don't know who is. Sure, it would be neat, but I doubt they could justify that much work for something that's just cool and not very useful.

    This, on the other hand....

    Apple could gain quite a bit of attention and support from the GNU/Linux/OSS communities by porting more of its key pieces of software to Linux

    This just sounds like trolling.

    For instance, Apple already provides their multicast DNS server software for free and it works fine with Linux. The only way Apple could help adoption of multicast DNS service discovery on Linux would be client-side. This means they would be doing direct applications programming for various open source projects, and that doesn't sound like something their stockholders would consider a good investment of resources. Given this, Apple won't be "bringing Rendezvous to Linux" as Linux already has Rendezvous. There could be some things Apple could do to encourage further cross-platform adoption of Rendezvous (and this would be strategic for them as it competes with some Microsoft technologies), but I don't see how any large body of code could help.

    As for the other items, they would need complete rewrites to work on Linux unless Apple is going to be using something like GNUStep (which I understand is somewhat incomplete, so this is unlikely). This is a huge amount of work, so it's unlikely.

    Politicians regularly "leak" information to press in order to gauge the public reaction to a policy before considering implementing it. You could call these leaks trolling, as I have. I think it's more likely that we have one of these intentional leaks than it is likely that Ap

  • by SanGrail (472847) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @05:46AM (#8278555)
    Hold up a moment and read what you just quoted.

    Male.
    At least 35.
    Uses broadband.
    College educated.

    This does not equal someone who 'works with computers'.

    You got caught by marketing lingo that just gives a particular demographic a cute name. In this case, 'Techie'. But, hey, we don't need to be so biased as to say Computer Geeks are the only techies in the world.

    The sample as stated includes any college education, so you've got all the French & Business majors in there as well (and those that failed).

    It's still not too bad for statistical data. Except in it's implications for Linux, which still, to me at least, sound pretty accurate.

    From talking to a bunch of first year Computer Science students (I decided to go get a degree *shrug*), I wouldn't expect more than 2/3 maximum to know about Linux when starting.
    The computer labs use OpenBSD & KDE.
    I mentioned to a second year student (apparently doing pretty well) I was maybe going to try the same setup at home, and they told me to get the KDE distribution of linux.
    Close enough I guess. :(
  • Accuracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Decaff (42676) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @05:47AM (#8278558)
    Don't you just love the accuracy of these reports? They don't just say '3%' they say '3.2%'. Maybe its just my experience with math and statistics, but I would be far more confident if someone said 'around 3%'. Of course, trying to predict as far ahead as 2007 is just a joke.
  • Re:Google says 1% (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @05:54AM (#8278574)
    Please, what are some of these sites? I use Safari and Camino regularly on my Mac, and I can't remember the last time a site shot me down for not being IE. This includes banking, getting my grades, buying from sites like Amazon, etc.

    FYI, it's useless FUD like this that hurts the adoption of Linux.
  • keep it corporate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trilobyte (19074) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @05:57AM (#8278580) Homepage
    Please, can't we just keep Linux desktop installations in corporate environments? I don't want to see my dad buying a new computer and having Linux on it. If there's ever a problem, he's going to have to spend 3 hours on the phone, get charged $450, and end up returning his computer, because there's no way I'm going to sit down and start digging around in the internals to try to get it up and running again.

    On the other hand, if he's using Linux on his desktop at work, I'm happy, because there is a paid support staff (made of people like you!) who must administer the machines, and he gets his job done just as well (if not better), while the corporation doesn't have to pay the Microsoft tax (and thereby support the Republican party [and thereby support terrorism]).

    I don't think I'd want my dad using Macs at work though, because he'd be complaining all the time about how "foo-foo" it is. He'd make little limp-wristed gestures and talk about the pretty pictures and bouncing icons. I'd try to explain better to him, but he wouldn't care. "Too foo-foo," he'd say.

    [I use a PowerBook as my main computer. I'm typing this on an Amiga right now. No joke. Still almost posted this as AC to avoid flamebait accusations. Darn you all.]
  • by Crazy Eight (673088) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:01AM (#8278587)
    Apple can NOT provide that same advantage using cobbled-together x86 components thrown together and hope the end user experience "just works" for the average consumer.

    Well, they couldn't do that with "PPC" components just cobbled together either. I don't think you necessarily meant to imply that x86 PCs are inherintly half-assed, but let's not forget that Apple, or anyone else for that matter could put the same amount of care, thoughtfullness, and integration into a x86 based PC. In fact, it does happen. Apple's hardware development (excluding iPods, etc...) centers on the chipsets/motherboard they've made to support the cpu and the OpenFirmware that goes into everything else. Beyond that (and the design sense) there isn't anything different on a fundamental level between Mac hardware and x86 PCs. Let me qualify that before I'm destroyed here. I'm only saying that what Apple does for it's desktops and laptops isn't intrinsically impossible to do for x86 PCs. It just looks more apparent in a Mac because Jobs has (wisely) kept a hammer-lock on the platform.

  • Re:Good news (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:06AM (#8278597)
    Then have fun "wowing" the idiots. Tell them how much more you paid for it than an X86 laptop that smokes your little apple and they will be truly "wowed". That's right, because you are dumb. Add in elitest asshole to boot.
  • Re:Good news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sunnan (466558) <sunnan@handgranat.org> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:42AM (#8278816) Homepage Journal
    If they are happy with their tiny market share, why pull something like this? [apple.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:53AM (#8278841)
    When I read the results, it really shocked me. Why, this means that 2004 is not going to be the year of Linux on the desktop -- this goes against everything I've heard on slashdot! All those hours I've spent reading articles by people in the open-source scene talking about how this year, was going to be it. But this makes more sense: Nobody has really heard about Linux outside of nerds.
    They said 1998 was going to be the year of the Linux desktop.
    They said 1999 was going to be the year of the Linux desktop.
    They said 2000 was going to be the year of the Linux desktop.
    They said 2001 was going to be the year of the Linux desktop.
    They said 2002 was going to be the year of the Linux desktop.
    They said 2003 was going to be the year of the Linux desktop.
    Now they're saying 2004 is going to be the year of the Linux desktop.

    Does anyone notice a trend here?
    Every year it is announced with great fanfare that KDE and Gnome have reached some new evolution, along with distributions in general, and that Linux will arrive like a biblical flood over the course of the following year. But each year ends, it hasn't happened, people have forgotten the predictions made at the begining of the year, and the process starts over again. Although Linux has become more usable on the desktop over the last 6 years, the number of people using it has not increased substantially. There is no strong upwards trend in the numbers using it. The number of people using Google from Linux is only at ~1% - and technical users would do far more searches than the rest of the population. As much as you may love Linux, or are convinced it should take over the world, or how good we think the technology is, it just is not arriving on the desktop at any meaningful speed.

    The truth of the matter is that despite how WinXP has all sorts of security mess ups, few average people either know what Linux is nor see any good reason to use it if they do. Linux is still primary a server/professional operating system and a geek toy. As much as the strong vein of Linux zealotry on Slashdot may want to dismiss this, it is true. If you want free software operating systems on the desktop, there're better [sf.net] vehicals for that task.
  • Keep it corporate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by msimm (580077) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:54AM (#8278846) Homepage
    If your dad ever installs linux on his home desktop it will be because Linux (or more like the distro he's chosen) has over come the short coming your reffering to. You've made a moot point.

    When Linux is ready it will be as easy to use as either Mac or Windows. And to really grab mindshare it will probably have to do the same things better then those other too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:05AM (#8278877)

    apple cares about usability.

    believe me, hiding the cursor is a serious usability mistake, and make every user go nuts.

    because of the hotkey thing. read the apple human interface guidelines [apple.com]. everything you want makes sense not to implement.

    i was linux user for two years, and i got sick of installing new stuff. it almost NEVER worked. and i'm not here to fix any problems. i need to be productive.

    unix-like machines (excluding os x here) are surely more productive for most programmers, but not for end users. they freak out when they see an error message they don't understand. linux has loads of these. apple makes updates [apple.com] just because of these error messages.

    os x is the most usable os out there. for end users. it's still not perfect, but they're improving. deal with it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:09AM (#8278885)
    "Please, can't we just keep Linux desktop installations in corporate environments? I don't want to see my dad buying a new computer and having Linux on it. If there's ever a problem, he's going to have to spend 3 hours on the phone, get charged $450, and end up returning his computer, because there's no way I'm going to sit down and start digging around in the internals to try to get it up and running again."

    How this was marked insightful who knows, because its not. The same crap happens on Windows or even a Mac. As for paid support, usually the place he bought it will provide that. Just because its Linux makes very littel change. As for digging around internals, its far easier on Linux than one Windows, especially when it come to editing or fixing things. The hardest part is if you are used to Windows and not a *nix.
  • by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebeNO@SPAMelis.ugent.be> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:21AM (#8278911) Homepage
    If I'm not using the cursor, I'd like it to disappear. Does MacOS X 'just work' for me in that way?
    Partly. If you start entering text, or scroll e.g. a browser window using an arrow key, the cursor immediately disappears (i.e. if key event occurs that does something in the current context, the mouse cursor gets hidden).
    Oh, and I like hotkeys. Will MacOS X allow me to easily set up the combination of ctrl-j + l to switch to my web browser, and if that web browser doesn't exist, launch it?
    Ironically, this was implemented in Mac OS 9, but not (yet) carried over to X. There are however several third-party utilities that allow you to do this.
  • Re:Er... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mitchell_pgh (536538) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:38AM (#8278951)
    Unfortunately, most of the people that are forced on to Macs and Linux boxes resist. These people don't want to use anything other then Windows because that's all they know.

    Unfortunately, the uneducated public will use whatever they are given, and then defend said platform to the death. I have people that refuse to use anything other then Word Perfect, Windows 98, an old laser printer, etc. They don't want to switch because that's all they know. Throwing Windows XP on their systems causes MAJOR problems (other then the ones associated with the OS itself).

    Let's face it... It's going to end up an "Us against them" type of situation where it's Unix (and their children... Linux, OS X, etc.) vs. Microsoft. I only hope we don't kill each other off)
  • by clifyt (11768) <sonikmatter@gm a i l . com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:52AM (#8278976) Homepage
    Designers don't want them customizable. Being about to tweak every fucking thing on their computer is infact the OPPOSITE of what they want.

    They want a computer that works right, is logical to their way of thinking, and is consistant.

    Out of all the machines, the Mac OSs of the day have always been more uniform and perfect around the edges than anything else.

    Seriously, this is the problem with Linux users -- they think users want more choices. They don't want more, they want the right choices.

    I will say this -- I design Windows Applications for a living. A lot of my clients claim they love my apps because it does exactly what they need. I generally think in terms of Mac users when I do this. No extra features just because it can be built into it. At home, I use both Mac and Linux. Yeah -- I have a PC as well to take care of my office needs, but the G4 and powerbook CAN do most of it. The G4 is for my creative business -- I do music technology consulting. Its the PERFECT OS for the creative end...if you don't understand this, you aren't one that truely focuses solely on the creative end. Some of these folks would rather not think about the computer as anything but a pallete and never have to go into mechanic mode -- which honestly, I do more in the PC than I ever do in Linux.

    When I really need something to work towards the geek end of things for myself, I pull up Linux -- but with OSX, I'm slowly abandoning this platform for anything but server activities. The only reason in my mind other than religious reasons not to go with Mac is that you can't afford it...in which case, a Linux box is perfect.

    So no, Graphic Designers don't go nutty about things like brushed metal...the only folks I hear about the lack of customization are generally geeks. They think that by changing a theme on a windows manager it means they are truely creative...I'm sorry that doesn't get the bills paid.

  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:55AM (#8278981) Journal
    I know few people using Linux at home. Linux is being deployed as a business desktop, a cubicle box, which was the area traditionally ruled by Microsoft. Apple's generally stayed with niches.

    The fact is, you can *combine* the Apple and Linux desktop market share to calculate (desktop UNIX users) and watch happily as it rises. Mmmm....
  • by TVC15 (518429) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:05AM (#8279004)
    i've never understood why people assume that OSX on x86 would be any (or much) more affordable than on a mac. theres no reason why steve doesnt charge $1000 for an x86 license of OSX. and another $500 for each point upgrade. not to mention that instead of charging $50 for stuff like iLife, he might charge $100-$500. after all, if macs have a 'tax' on them, why would he let software only purchasers get away with not paying it?

    of course, parent said that they would be 'running it'. perhaps i was assuming wrongly that they would be paying for it.
  • by Megane (129182) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:16AM (#8279044) Homepage
    i know for sure i'd be running mac os if it worked on intel

    But would you pay for it? Or would you just warez it?

  • Re:Good news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) * <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:17AM (#8279046) Homepage
    I don't think BMW has ever complained about their 2% marketshare. Neither has Apple.

    Cars aren't platforms - you can't compare the two. If an OS has no users, it has no apps and it will never get users - ie it is a dead OS. If a car has no drivers, it could still have 20,000 drivers tomorow, ie it's a "sleeping" car ;)

  • Re:Er... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) * <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:19AM (#8279053) Homepage
    I find it sad that the Mac's marketshare is represented so low, but I find OS X and Linux users on the same side of the bigger war, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. w00t! :)

    Ever considered that some people don't see it that way? A mac is just like a PC running Windows in terms of economics and philosophy, swapping Bill Gates for Steve Jobs isn't a useful trade to make. So in reality it's free software, vs non-free software (or platforms, to be more accurate).

    People who think it's Windows vs everything else are just shortsighted IMHO

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:26AM (#8279073)
    Apple hardware might not be cheap, but it is certainly upgradable and available.

    I'm sure if OS X was available on x86 you'd give it a go, but I fear it would go the way of BeOS.

    Apple couldn't survive in the x86 OS market, even with an immeasurabley superior OS than the current dug-in tick, sucking life and innovation out of the industry like the current status quo.

    OS X wouls achieve greater market share, but I fear it would be unsustainable.

    I think as Apple develops further and keeps working on their current model (like it or not, their method works for them) then Apple hardware will become cheaper.

    There's never been a better value for money range of Apple computers as there is today - from the budget laptop to the SUV 17" model that most don't need, but is there for the small niche.

    Their range of desktops is starting to look like something worth considering - from eMacs and iMacs, through MDD G4s (they do still sell them) and the mighty G5.

    I can pick up a pretty good compact laptop - the iBook for just under $1100 that is pretty perfectly specced for the market. Good battery life, reasonable power, great OS, CD burner/DVD etc. I'd certainly go with that over the same laptop I could get in the x86 world for $1100, but it's just my choice at the end of the day.

    I'd love to see Linux marketshare growing - and it is (although I've always been partial to FreeBSD myself). I hope that Apple and Linux can co-exist happily in the marketplace.
  • Re:Google says 1% (Score:3, Insightful)

    by perp (114928) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:33AM (#8279090)
    Probably because most Linux users change their user agent string to report as a windoze variant...

    That's just wrong. It's like faking orgasms; if you do that, he'll never learn.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:08AM (#8279196)
    >The Mac is more like an Audi - although it may not boast any more features than a Ford, it's better thought out and it's more likely to just work.

    That comparison is kind of stupid... You do know that Audi belongs to Volkswagen and that Volkswagen uses extensively a platform strategie with a large bin of parts wich are used in as much different models AND brands as possible?

    Your Audi shares a lot of it's parts with the Volkswagen Golf, Passat, Jetta and Bora as well as all the Skoda and Seat models...
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:44AM (#8279355) Journal
    Good luck on Linux overtaking OS X's momentum.

    Apple has built themselves a very profitable niche, and is happy with it. Yes, they could get more market share (but much less money, at least in the short run) by porting Mac OS X to x86. They've chosen not to. They want to maintain a market with users who are comfortable paying high prices for a polished black box system. Nothing wrong with that, but Apple is not aiming at the masses, which buy computers based on price, where Apple simply is not competitive (and, again, has chosen not to be).

    Aside from the folks that use Linux on PowerPC, Apple's Mac OS doesn't really even compete with Linux all that much. People using Linux on the desktop are generally on x86 -- a new Linux user means a vanished Windows users.

    Linux and Mac users can get along pretty well. Apple (setting aside Quicktime) doesn't push proprietary formats, a la Microsoft. Apple doesn't play dirty compatibility games, a la Microsoft ("Gee, did we break Netscape Server with that change? Do we prioritize IE requiests ahead of Navigator requests? Ooops, looks like we introduced a bug!"). An Apple/Linux argument is much like an argument between vi and emacs. It can get very impassioned, as each person defends their own favorite logic. However, in the end, the two interoperate well -- they'e still both churning out text. Bob in the next cubicle can use one, and me the other, and everyone is happy. I don't get my nice GNU tools on a vanilla Mac, but I get a reasonable set of POSIX utils. I can write and run my scripts and work without too much pain. I don't have the Godawful Windows virtual terminal and horrendous shell. I get X11 support. Yeah, some Linux software doesn't work well or at all under OS X (especially for things that have half-done native ports from X11), and software using the Mac's GUI as a front-end doesn't work really well on Linux. However, think of the following:

    * Libraries can be designed to be cross-platform. Most Windows uers that I know of seem to use AIM or ICQ, or maybe Trillian, which I believe is a closed-source codebase. The friend that I have that uses OS X uses Adium, which uses libgaim. If I find a bug in libgaim on my Linux box and fix it, he benefits, and visa versa. There are a startling number of Mac OS X people working on POSIX sourceforge projects, much like the Linux world, and very unlike the Windows world.

    * Dunno if Mac OS X does perl out of box, but if not, I'm sure that it's installable via fink or something. I don't have to futz with Visual Basic crap coming from some annoying Windows "programmer". Similarly, nice traditional UNIX C daemons work nicely on OS X *or* Linux.

    * Objective C. Linux has a nice Objective C compiler available in the GNU Compiler Collection that ships with most distros. The only guy I know that uses Objective C isn't really impressed with it, but still, if you like using the language of choice on the Mac, you can code on Linux comfortably.

    * X11 support. I can run X11 apps anywhere, and over the network. It's a whole different world from Windows.

    So, while people may happily bash someone else's OS between Mac OS X and Linux, ultimately they can live together pretty comfortably. I mean, I get really annoyed when using Solaris, which I see as missing features, being heavyweight, and being rather expensive. However, I can do useful work on Solaris without constantly getting ticked off at having an environment about a tenth as capable as my Linux box at home -- which is exactly what happens when I use a Windows machine.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:51AM (#8279386)
    Yeah but running on x86 means supporting all that awkward hardware that Windows, Linux have to support. Can you see Apple doing that, especially seeing as they didn't make any of it?


    I can't.


    And if for some bizarre reason they did port to x86 they would simultaneously enrage their army of zealots and negate any possible reason for buying a Mac in the first place.


    In other words, it would be suicide. With that said, I wish someone would produce a Mac OS X emulator for PCs. I have a Mac so getting the ROMs would be no problem, but it would be handy to be able to fire it up from time from my laptop.

  • by w3weasel (656289) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @11:43AM (#8279660) Homepage
    All these brains focused on this topic, and no-one seems to get it.
    OSS/FS initiatives have already seriously eroded the earning potential of MANY commercial software products. This trend will continue (duh).
    Apple has never been a software company... they sell hardware. They give away a boat load of software with any machine they sell. They do charge for some of their software packages (OS upgrades and premium design apps), but the fees they charge are usually a fraction of what a 'software' company would charge for a similar project.

    Recently, Apple has made significant moves to more closely incorporate the GNU tools that Linux users expect, or at least design the OS to allow seamless installation of GNU tools. They are hedging their bets. Linux is Apple's friend at the moment, because as Linux makes advances on the desktop, Microsoft users might actually take a moment to ponder their alternatives... some of the people might look at a Mac.

    Its not about Linux > OSX or OSX > Linux, As a Mac, Linux, and Windoze user, I cheer the advances of Linux. When my Macs get outdated (after 5 or 6 years) they get a nice Linux distro installed and do odd jobs around the office.

    Can't we all just get along?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @12:09PM (#8279804)
    My wife still doesn't understand why my BMW was cheaper than her Sentra. It is called residual value and it may be the biggest misunderstanding of those without money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @12:09PM (#8279812)
    A BSD derivative that just works.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @12:25PM (#8279922)
    " Designers don't want them customizable. Being about to tweak every fucking thing on their computer is infact the OPPOSITE of what they want."

    Please speak for yourself. It's ridiculous to generalize about any profession or persons. I'm a designer and guess what? I do want a customizable OS. I enjoy tweaking. If you don't, then don't. If you do, then do. But go ahead and tell us all what we really want. It's not obnoxious or presumptious. Not all...
  • really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hooya (518216) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @12:54PM (#8280089) Homepage
    really? you really get what you pay for?
    hmm..

    air: $0
    water: $0
    sun: $0 ("the big, warm spot in the sky" sun,
    not the "dot in dot com" sun)
    life: $0 (unless one is born to a whore. then it
    would cost the father a pretty penny.)
    love: $0 (unless you are the said father.)
    GNU: $0

    all of the above things are things that i can undoubtedly say are the most valuable things that i have. and i didn't pay for any of it. maybe we should all Darl-afy ourselves and monitize everything listed above. otherwise it totally goes against the "you get what you pay for" philosophy.
  • Re:Er... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SideshowBob (82333) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @12:58PM (#8280108)
    I don't see it that way at all. I think that there are some companies that are embracing FOSS, using it where possible, and contributing back to the community. Apple and IBM are in this camp.

    In the other camp are companies that see FOSS as antithetical to their way of doing business and fight it (legally and in the marketplace). Microsoft and a lot of others are in this camp.

    In my opinion, someday (assuming FOSS wins, which I do) most companies will resemble Apple and IBM - a mix of FOSS and closed.
  • Re:Er... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smallpaul (65919) <paul.prescod@net> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:33PM (#8280328)

    Ever considered that some people don't see it that way? A mac is just like a PC running Windows in terms of economics and philosophy, swapping Bill Gates for Steve Jobs isn't a useful trade to make. So in reality it's free software, vs non-free software (or platforms, to be more accurate).

    Only a tiny, tiny fraction of people who hate Microsoft hate them because their software is non-free. Most hate them because they are a monopoly and they abuse that monopoly. Apple will never be a monopoly as long as they refuse to port their operating system to commodity hardware.

  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @01:38PM (#8280355) Journal
    I've responded to a post from Adolf Hitler and Bill Gates in the last ten minutes or so. Good old Slashdot.

    Why do game companies port to Mac, but never Linux?

    Good question! There are a number of excellent reasons:

    * Financial differences. Many people using Linux (especially on x86) are using it because they like using a free-as-in-beer UNIX system. Mac users were willing to throw down a significant amount of extra money for proprietary hardware and their OS. Conclusian -- many Mac users may be willing to spend more money on software.

    * Interest differences. Linux has traditionally had few games. This means that folks that habitually buy games generally either use Windows or have maintained a second Windows boot and are willing to purchase Windows versions of their games.

    * CPU Infrastructure. Partly because Linux often replaces Windows on older boxes when Windows no longer runs well on a machine, and partly because there aren't a lot of CPU-cyle-eating gamers on Linux, there are a surprisingly small number of high-powered Linux machines sitting around. I upgraded my PII/266 to a PIII/550 3 months ago only so that I could watch DVDs and do software decoding in real time. I upgraded to a P4 after that only because the motherboard died. Even on Windows, unless one is running games, it's increasingly harder to justify buying new hardware. On Linux, which runs well on old hardware and for which few games (and almost *no* high-system-requirement games exist), there are few high-end systems.

    * 3d Graphics Infrastructure. Because there are few games, there is little demand from customers for good, up-to-date 3d drivers. NVidia provides only binary drivers, ATI does not support any hardware 3d above the 9200 (and even the 9200 has still-being-worked-on open-source drivers -- try using texture compression in Neverwinter Nights with a non-CVS DRI). Matrox has provided poor support for their products since the G450/G550 era. Many distros do an incomplete or poor job of setting up 3d out-of-box. With poor 3d support and most new games coming out requiring 3d cards, it's a rough area to sell games in. Most of the games that have sold well for Linux are 2d.

    * Software Packaging. This is a huge pain in the ass for most commercial vendors of any Linux software. Ideally, a vendor wants to hand you a CD that you can pop in your drive, click something, and any required software is installed. This is easy to do for Windows -- you pull out InstallShield or Nullsoft's installer and whip something up. On Linux, some people only use tarballs. Some use DEBs. Some use RPMs. There are various downloading-and-dependency-handling front ends for each (apt-get, yup, yum). None of these deal very well with third-party-packages wanting to use them for stuff that isn't in the original distro vendor's distribution -- they usually require the user to manually, as root, modify a repositories list somewhere on his sytem. The installer can't just dump a file in a directory like /etc/yum/repositories or ~/.yum/repositories. Furthermore, apt-get and yum tend to slow down and not parallelize repository checking, so if there's one slow repository added, all tasks done with them are much slower (this is especially true for yum, which by default checks for updates from repositories on every run). There is no standard for autorun on Linux (admittedly, for good security reasons, but it's still a potential issue). You can't just stick in a CD and have an install window come up. There is no standard front-end to use that can deal with RPM/DEB/what-have-you. Folks may use a front-end like Loki's installer (which doesn't work in text-only mode and doesn't enter anything into the RPM/DEB/what-have-you database, breaking the systemwide packaging system by allowing the newly installed software to break if a library it depends on is removed). Many vendors just provide big shell scripts that kind of sort of do the right thing. It's pretty atrocious.

    *
  • by Mr. Piddle (567882) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:07PM (#8280518)
    If I'm not using the cursor, I'd like it to disappear.

    Yeah, and I'm real pissed my car didn't come with rocket launchers!

    BTW, if focus-follows-mouse is enabled in a GUI, having the pointer disappear is pretty annoying.
  • by TempusMagus (723668) * on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:35PM (#8280697) Homepage Journal
    I've never heard one Ferrari owner complain about how Ford has greater market share.

    Apple is a hardware company - they don't compete on cost - they compete on quality. Whereas with Linux, not a hardware company mostly competes on cost. The nice thing is that both platforms have quality software and many of the applications for Linux run on OS X.

    Why does an OS have to be all things for all people? Why do Linux lovers wish that Linux was as borg-ish as windows?

    Don't get me wrong, we develop on Macs and design on macs and use Linux (sometimes Solaris) to serve. The only PCs we have are basically for 3D. So, I'm an honest platform agnostic driven by what tool is best for the job.

    I think the reason that some Linux people get all weird about Mac/OSX is that it messes with the whole Linux vs. Microsoft dialectic. Remember Apple's slogan was not "Think Opposite" - it was "Think Different".

    It's a game of GO not chess. There are more than two sides to the board.
  • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:36PM (#8280700)
    "This is flamebait because people have been crying wolf about Macintosh OS's going x86 for years, much longer than the cries about "BSD is dying" and typically, people will post about Macintosh going to x86 to intice a flamewar from Mac enthusiasts and PC users alike."

    Pardon my ignorance on this subject, but couldn't you wrap the KDE desktop around Darwin on x86 and technically have OS X on a PC? Sure, you'd have compatibility issues since OS X has "middleware" between it and its BSD/Mach core but who's sweating such a technicality in this discussion?

  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:36PM (#8280702) Journal
    That's smack dab in the middle of the desireable Linux user area. He's got a master's in CS, he knows tech, and Linux is $0.
  • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @02:43PM (#8280747)
    "Apple has more to gain from Microsoft losing marketshare to Linux than themeslves losing marketshare to Linux. Apple is a Unix proponent, and friendly to Linux in that regard."

    Not to mention that developing for Linux or Mac OS X should be easier to port things to-and-fro versus between Windows and OS X or Windows and Linux. Increasing market share for Linux or OS X means more resources devoted to open and semi open standards which promote competition versus lending support to closed and proprietary solutions from *The Monopolist.*

  • Re:Er... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn@ear ... t ['hli' in gap]> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:15PM (#8280954)
    IBM is, at least for now, in this camp. At least major parts of it are.
    But do remember that Sun is also frequently in this camp. Sun is the source of OpenOffice.org, without which Linux wouldn't be in the running as a desktop OS. (KWord is coming along, but it still has a ways to go.) And it's frequently on the other side.

    Apple? Well, Apple has made some contributions that help them. And that's probably the key thing to notice. IBM's contributions help IBM. Because IBM has put a large amount of their system work into Linux on mainframes, and a bit on Linux in other small systems, IBM is seen as a good guy. But this should be translated as "their aims and ours are currently in alignment".

    I'm sure that the public facing representatives of IBM and Apple appreciate community support. I'm also rather convinced that the internal decision makers don't care. They care about that which affects the company profits, either now or in the future out to some time horizon. (Probably the closer the time is, the more they care about it, that would seem reasonable. The future is always uncertain to an unknown degree, but the further futurewards you project, the more uncertain it becomes.)

  • Re:Er... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rixstep (611236) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @03:45PM (#8281160) Homepage
    Most of the wins in the linux market are from installations where people have no choice... enterprise and business accounts.

    Obviously some people have a choice - and Apple should be here. They have the fanciest, by far the most advanced GUI platform, they have the only decent development platform, and they have hardware that runs rings around x86 junk in terms of reliability and just plain 'class'.

    Admins would generally welcome a move to Apple hardware: it's less work for them. No more wailing at the Dell and Gateway walls. Far more dinners at home with the family some time before midnight. Support? Forget it. 'It just works.' It's painfully obvious.

    But that's what the techies would like, and the suits upstairs don't give a hoot about the techies, and never will. The suits see short term bottom lines. They're also infamously slow on the uptake.

    And this is where Apple should be in and educating.

  • by toddestan (632714) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @04:09PM (#8281293)
    Find me a consumer grade PC worth anywhere near this that was built in 1999 ...

    Part of the reason why you won't find a PC from 1999 that is worth that much anymore is because for $600-$700 I could go out and build a new PC from scratch that would totally smoke your Mac (or any 1999 era PC) in terms of performance.

    Not to mention that perfectly usuable 1999-2000 era PCs (such as high end PIII's with 512MB of ram and DVD drives) go for under $200 at retrobox.com. I'm sitting in front of one right now.

    Not that Macs aren't good computers, they are great machines. But I feel they are overpriced. Which is why I don't see myself buying one any time soon, though I enjoy using other people's Macs.

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