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No Threat to Linux with Apple and Intel Deal 534

LnxPhreak writes "Gundeep Hora of has a new editorial up that discusses why Apple and Intel's partnership is not a threat to Linux. The column weighs in on different points equally. From the article: 'However, that doesn't mean it's the end of Linux. In fact, it shouldn't even threaten Linux by any means. Linux has more than a few things that go in its favor, at least for the time being. The idea of open-source software is an amazing one. The fact that Linux isn't much of a commercialized operating system, and you can accomplish day-to-day tasks without too many hassles is an advantage in itself. The idea of running a system that costs absolutely nothing on the software side is a powerful one, and Windows and Mac OS X would have a difficult time competing against that.'"
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No Threat to Linux with Apple and Intel Deal

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  • The only way anything can be a threat to Linux is if it is better.

    There can only be fear if one does not think Linux is up to it. In which case, surely the Linux community has strength to solve such problems ?

    Or not ?

    If there was ever a real threat to Linux, it would be any legal challenges to licenses or intellectual property issues squeezing out such good and useful ideas a breathing oxygen or using a keyboard to type a useful program.
    • by bodester17 ( 892112 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:52PM (#12815957)
      The real threat to Linux is harware manufactorers purposely making devices that only work on windows and not supporting linux at all.
    • by parvenu74 ( 310712 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:04PM (#12816131)
      The Linux community gauges everything in terms of fear and threat. "Microsoft is a threat." "Mac OS is not a threat." "Don't fear the Penguins."

      This fixation on fear could be explained though. Do you really think Linux Zealots were jocks in high school? It's more likely they were geeky moma's boys for whom interaction with the outside world was all about fear. Fear of getting physicallly beaten. Fear of having their lunch money stolen. Fear of still being a virgin when they turn 30. Fear of someone undermining what they thought was a brilliant post on /.

      Some have come to grips with this fear but other have not. Instead, these latter types act out against their fear through aggression in the form of first-person-shooter video games and flame wars. They engage in anti-social activites like reading books about fantasy and magic, dreaming of worlds and cosmologies where they can be wizards, powerful warriors, magicians, and other important people. Occassionally they commune with other Linux zealots for a game of D&D but this form of real human interaction is rare.

      Linux zealots need to realize that there is no reason for their fragile psyche. They are people with many wonderful qualities. They are good enough, smart enough, and darnit, (some) people like them. Why can't we all just get along without worrying about what threatens us? Hmmm?
      • Threat?! If anything Apple has always been the careful adopter of safe and stable technology. Apple basically confirmed x86 as the safe and stable processor type of the future. Which linux is already a beneficiary...

      • Why can't we all just get along without worrying about what threatens us? Hmmm?

        But wouldn't that obviate the need to achieve what Microsoft has -- namely, domination? The non-zealots don't care... they would say "Hey, we like Linux because it meets our needs", whereas the zealots would say "Our socio-economic movement, er... GNU/Linux, is at risk of becoming irrelevant. Our reasons are increasingly detached from reality so, in order to keep the dissonance at bay, we must alter our perceptions to come int
      • by ejito ( 700826 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:17PM (#12818792)
        Why do you psychoanalyze other people? Most people who psychoanalyze randomly are insecure about themselves and have to vindicate themselves by learning how other people tick -- however instead of doing it with any concrete basis, they use generalized stereotypes and bad conjecture. Does it just make you feel better about yourself because you magically know everything about other people more than themselves? Did an unfortunate accident happen when you were younger and now you have to figure out lives through neverending psycho babble rather than utilitarian means? This thread is a steaming load of hypocrisy.
    • Mac OS X, imho, is the best UNIX desktop out there. Linux still isn't there, especially with regards to laptops. I've been using it since I first got Slack 3.x and remember running a 1.2.13 kernel. Currently, that I know of, not one distro ships that will put all ACPI notebooks into hibernation(or even one for that matter). I purchased a Cardbus 802.11g card and the kernel didn't have support for it, I had to grab the MADWIFI drivers. There is no 3D accelleration for ATI IGP 320M yet. The driver for
      • First nitpick correction.

        OS X and Linux aren't a Unix. They look act and play like unix but were banned membership due to long hair and tatoo's.:-)

        Second OS X is proven to be a terrible Server. Sure it can handle small tasks effectively. and It's priced right, but handling for high loads Windows does a better, more reliable job. The guy who reviewed the G5 over at anadtech recently was comparing linux and OS X with Linux always coming out ahead.

        It's that hybrid kernel slowing down thread creation.
  • You know what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deep Fried Geekboy ( 807607 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:49PM (#12815914)
    Nobody knows anything. My guess is, in ten years time, there will still be a current version of the Mac OS, a current version of Windows, and a current version of Linux.

    The only one there's a real question about is Mac OS.

    In 20 years? Who knows. I'd put money on Linux, even if only maintained by a few hobbyists. I'd wager that there *won't* be a version of Windows that has much in common with the current Windows. And if there is a Mac OS it will probably still be running on top of something like Darwin.
  • agreed... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bad_outlook ( 868902 )
    and let's not forget when OS X was announced, since it was 'based' on FreeBSD everyone was saying THAT was the end of Linux on the desktop, and if anything it's gotten stronger. DISCLAIMER: I own two macs; one runs Linux, and 3 linux boxes; one is my main workstation - So in the end, we all win! ;)

    • Re:agreed... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Incongruity ( 70416 )
      It seems to me the only clear looser in this deal is Microsoft -- why? because it's going to be relatively easy for people to develop for OS Xi and Linux (it has been already but now it'll be even more so) with less of the hassle of supporting Windows. For the moderate run, I believe OS X will strengthen the OSS community -- development for linux helps OS X and OS X development, in some cases, helps linux inasmuch as ports of non-cocoa apps are pretty easy. Sure Apple is a very closed source shop for much
    • I've been [] saying [] that this move will only help Linux. Over [] and over []...

      But once again, let me point out why: Because Apple wants to sell pretty, uncrackable, all-in-one, gold standard computers. They've been doing that since the 1970's and they will continue to do so. As we see with OSX and the ability to easily install Linux on a "Macintosh" that the software is just another layer.

      Apple isn't concerned with those who want to run Linux, or even Windows on their computers. Doesn't matter because you bought their high priced, well worth it, hardware and likely paid for OSX twice in the process. And think about how open source friendly Apple has become over the past few years. Really, the only reason they went with BSD is because they can keep their version closed (right?). Apple knows that there is competition out there, they don't ignore it like other companies (guess which one I mean for extra points). Apple realizes that there are other options out there and looking at OSX you can see that they have made their product better to compete with those options. For once proprietary software is looking more and more like open source hardware (look at their widget campaigns []).

      Apple wants you to run whatever software you want, on their PC's.

      Don't you think linux development and customer support is going to skyrocket when there is just a few configurations to develop for? Maybe Apple will be the first large computer manufacturer to offer a choice of Fedora, Mandrake, Suse, FreeBSD, OSX, Zeta, Windows, whatever. Maybe you buy Linux from Apple because that price includes Apple's own Linux support. Maybe that isn't feasible, but the point still remains: Apple can grab a giant amount of marketshare by telling buyers that they have a choice. Wouldn't you rush out to buy an Apple knowing there is no politics in what software you use.

      So Jobs: Lock OSX to your machines, but leave your machines open to other operating systems. The world will thank you.
      • For once proprietary software is looking more and more like open source hardware

        Yeah, that should read software twice...

        And Dvorak: Kiss my ass. You are an idiot.
      • Ye Gods, I hope so (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:14PM (#12816926)

        Apple wants you to run whatever software you want, on their PC's.

        Because we could be seeing the next big blow to Microsoft. Apple is already Unix-ish. Now it'll be x86-ish...

        ...and suddenly without too much fanfare, Wine becomes a do-able port. Look out Bill! Imagine being able to buy an OSX box and run Windows apps on it.

        Drop that in the next Mac Mini and it'll seriously change things. Unix stability with Windows compatibility. Coupled with Mac reliability. I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

  • by matt me ( 850665 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:50PM (#12815931)
    Apple and Intel are two major corporations producing green-house gases (carbon dioxide, methane, water) than contribute to global warming - this is going to melt the ice caps, destroying penguins' natural habitat - the antartic, and Tux will die...
  • One word - iLife. OS X can hold it's own. Linux is cool and so is OS X. Free is good, but I'd rather pay up if I get the better experience. Cheaper isn't always better.
    • Pay as in money? Or pay as in time? After all, time is money...
  • by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:51PM (#12815938)
    ...wait, did the SlashDot editors just use "its" correctly?

    Holy shit. First Apple switches to Intel, then Sarge is released, and now this? I think Hell has officially frozen over now. ;)
  • Free software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theurge14 ( 820596 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:51PM (#12815949)
    The idea of running a system that costs absolutely nothing on the software side is a powerful one, and Windows and Mac OS X would have a difficult time competing against that.'" Actually, they don't, because the majority of the computer public truly believe that Microsoft Windows and Office comes free with the PC. Most new Macs come with OS X and iLife free. Despite being true or not true, this is the perception out there.
  • by blake3737 ( 839993 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:51PM (#12815950)
    IT seems to me unless you have hardcore certified geeks in your company, linux will cost you a lot in consultants. A lot of people can easily set up a windows or Mac box, but as for linux, it requires a more savvy end user. a LOT more savy.
    • Sorry but the army of geeks employeed at most businesses are primarily maintaining Windows machines. They ain't there cause the company has a heart of gold...
    • IT seems to me unless you have hardcore certified geeks in your company, linux will cost you a lot in consultants. A lot of people can easily set up a windows or Mac box, but as for linux, it requires a more savvy end user.

      I agree with you, but even if you users are all hardcore geeks (as they are here), maintaining linux as a user takes time, and time is money for most companies. As for OS X and Windows, both can cost you time and more besides. There are lots of tasks that are much, much harder and ta

  • My thoughts (Score:4, Informative)

    by jwthompson2 ( 749521 ) <james AT plainprograms DOT com> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:51PM (#12815952) Homepage
    I doubt Linux will be significantly hurt by Apple's move. But, there is always the potential that OS X adoption could slow Linux adoption in the desktop arena. One the server side I would expect Linux to keep gaining ground. But since OS X is Unix and provides a more unified platform in comparison to Linux as a desktop solution there is always the potential that Linux adoption could slow in specific areas.

    But remember, everyone is still specualting and until we have Intel based Macs shipping no one has any clue what is going to happen....
    • Re:My thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fbg111 ( 529550 )
      But, there is always the potential that OS X adoption could slow Linux adoption in the desktop arena.

      No it won't. If anything slows Linux's desktop adoption, it's Linux, not OS X. In general, people who buy Macs are not the same ones who install Linux, Jamie Zawinski [] and /. OS hackers not withstanding. OS X has the easiest most user-friendly interface and driver support and it "just works". Linux is like the Millenium Falcon and requires owners to actually enjoy hacking it. There is not much overlap
  • by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:52PM (#12815963) Homepage Journal
    I would have thought this was pretty obvious by looking at the approaches of the two camps. Linux goes out of its way to support as much hardware as possible, even obscure and lesser-used devices. Apple support their own specifically designed & built platforms. There's a total polarity on the two approaches to the underlying platform, and of course the two can co-exist well, as there are needs/uses for both these approaches in today's computing environment.
    • There's tons of software available for Linux, but only a little specifically for MacOS X. The software for Linux spans all needs, and all quality levels; Most of the software for Mac is very good, but only for limited needs. Linux tends to emphasize flexibility at the expense of difficult (or at least diverse) installation, whereas Mac emphasizes usability at the expense of flexibility.

      Apple could immediately improve flexibility for power users by allowing the user to select the option of starting the X s
  • OS X "emulation" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkSarin ( 651985 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:52PM (#12815969) Homepage Journal
    I know that this isn't the best place for this comment, but I want opinions on this:

    With Apple moving to x86, what are the chances of a full-speed emulator for linux, similar to WINE (yeah, WINE is not an emulator, blah blah blah)?

    I would think (not being a hardcore programmer, just a web monkey) that it would be easier to implement a translation layer for Carbon/Cocoa (whatever its called now) due to the unix roots of OS X (and that there is probably a fair amount of documentation available for this). A translation for Aqua (to gtk or whatever) may also be necessary, but I don't know much about the whole setup.

    After all, X works on OS X.

    The reason I ask is this: if a near full speed MINE (MINE is not an emulator....) could be developed, it would open up a lot of applications (photoshop) to the linux user. I could see this scenario being smoother than the WINE situation, and providing a better interface. I could also see it really helping linux.

    As for the Apple switch, I am surprised they did it, but if anything this will help linux. I think that those saying it will hurt linux are way off-base on this one.
    • I would think you would see a whole operating system in a window like win4lin, long before you see a wine type of API mapping. But both are doable. It has taken a long time to get wine to where its at, and it's still a long way from perfect. One of the things apple is doing is changing long standing POSIX API's especially the networking API's. Tiger has just about destroyed Fink, gnome isn't compiling, there aren't any KDE packages in stable. The problem with mapping API's is they are a moving target.
    • Didn't NextStep have some kind of Windows software foundation that allowed NextStep programs to run under Windows?

      A few moments of search proves that other people are thinking along similar lines [].

      That being said, my reaction to the linked article is that if someone's saying there's no danger to Linux, it's quite possible that there is. If MacOS X were to work on commodity hardware, its $129-odd price wouldn't be that much more than the current deluxe packaged versions of Red Hat or Suse Linux. Remember,
    • With Apple moving to x86, what are the chances of a full-speed emulator for linux, similar to WINE (yeah, WINE is not an emulator, blah blah blah)?

      I'm sure a number of people will be interested in getting something like Wine working. I know a lot of people are interested in getting guest OS's working in an emulator. I looked at the vxworks forums the other day and there were more requests for a vxworks on OSX for x86 port than for any other feature.

    • So what you're saying is that since we have WINE for running Windows apps on Linux, we could run OS X apps with XINE [].
    • Re:OS X "emulation" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by m50d ( 797211 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:01PM (#12816800) Homepage Journal
      I'm pretty sure you don't even need an emulator. The NeXTStep specs are all public, and linux support does exist at least in basic form with GNUStep. Gnustep apps work on OSX, so there's no reason OSX apps couldn't work on Gnustep. It might even not require reimplementing too many libraries (if the interfaces are the same). At the moment Gnustep looks butt-ugly though.
      • First of all, you forgot about Carbon. A lot of apps are still using it.

        Secondly, just because GNUstep apps run in OS X doesn't mean that the reverse is true. From the GNUstep developer FAQs:

        It's easier from GNUstep to Cocoa than Cocoa to GNUstep. Cocoa is constantly changing, much faster than GNUstep could hope to keep up. They have added extensions and new classes that aren't available in GNUstep yet.

        MacOS X also has various frameworks for audio, video, disc burning, etc. So no, it will definitely

  • What? Logic? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ygorl ( 688307 )
    "The second point of interest is the driver support that currently favors Linux." ...because some companies are starting to think about fooling around with Linux support? That's supposed to be better than the current support for Windows or Mac?
  • by aixou ( 756713 )
    It may not be a direct threat to the OSS paradigm, but it certainly is a threat to companies that commercialize and fund many projects.

    But this all depends on how strict Apple will be wrt OS X running on commodity hardware.
    If OS X is allowed to run on commodity, or even just non Apple hardware (such as Dell's "Lexus" line of PCs), you can bet that companies like Mandriva, SuSE, and Linspire would be hurt. Corporate adoption would be even that more difficult, as companies would probably prefer to dual-boot
  • I couldn't imagine using Apple OSx for my web servers. However, I could imagine myself sitting at a shiny macintosh..

    However, I develop a M$ application in *horror* Access */horror* so I'm kinda sorta stuck on M$ winders...

    I do believe that with OSx making inroads as it is, it should kick the KDE/Gnome/whatever developers to copy^H^H^H^H modify their code and make the environment similar or equal to the usability of the Macintosh.

    Until your average Joe can use Linux, it won't be "The Killer" way to comp
  • Hard to tell (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hyksos ( 595814 )
    I really think that Apple's move to x86 is such a bold move that it really is hard to tell what exactly is going to happen on the market. I think I've heard "experts" cover every possible scenario, and one of them has to be right, I guess! But really, we just have to lean back and watch Jobs' handywork as it unfolds.
    • I agree. All this fortune telling, while fun to watch and participate in, is ultimately pointless. There is simply no way anyone can know what the shape of the hardware landscape will be 5 years from now. Perhaps by then Apple will make up 80% of the desktop market, perhaps they will have faded into complete oblivion. This prognostication is pointless.

      The problem, however, is that it's no fun to just sit back and say "I have no idea." That doesn't make a very good story. And while I think it's pointless,

  • This is getting old (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:57PM (#12816028) Homepage Journal
    First Dvorak jumps in with his usual troll, and now we get J. Random Reporter from some cool tech site telling us why he's wrong?

    I'll make my own prediction: I think Apple's move to Intel spells a short-term rise and long-term fall of Linux for PowerPC ;-)

    Seriously, it's just not THAT sweeping a move. Let Apple have its fun, and more power to them taking over the desktop market from Microsoft. I'd certainly rather have to occasionally use a Mac at work than Windows.
    • by The Angry Mick ( 632931 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:33PM (#12816471) Homepage
      more power to them taking over the desktop market from Microsoft

      I think this is the more salient point. Apple switching to Intel is going to be a lot less of a problem for Linux, and much more of one for Microsoft.

      Before Darwin, a lot of geeks I knew liked Macs, but were uncomfortable with MacOS because you couldn't get at its guts - no geek likes being locked out anything. Additionally, a lot of folks who were uncomfortable with PowerPC simply because it wasn't Intel. Once Darwin arrived, the MacOS suddenly became geek-friendly - you could poke around a lot much more than in the past, and the UNIX feel of things made it more appealing as a geek playground. Folks started looking at it seriously once again - the rather slick GUI improvements helped heaps here - and it began to gain a little traction as a computer and OS that was suitable for homes and not just graphical artists.

      Once/if the switchover to Intel is successful, potential end users will now be presented with an alternative, and very slick, OS that now runs on the same common hardware (mostly) that Windows users are familiar with, and this can only broaden its appeal for the somewhat techno savvy.

      I guess what I'm saying is that Apple is subtly targeting a more mainstream audience by opening up to a market commonality(?) like Intel, and that Microsoft may soon have to get off the laurels and start "thinking different".

      • by DF5JT ( 589002 )
        "I think this is the more salient point. Apple switching to Intel is going to be a lot less of a problem for Linux, and much more of one for Microsoft."

        I believe you are right. Apple is now in a unique position to take a step towards the mass market AND have an operating system with all necessary applications and support PLUS a slick, easy to use interface.

        Bundle that with chipsets specified by Apple, certify certain hardware makers "for use with OS X" and leave the world divided: Those with cheaply assem
  • Disclaimer - I didn't RTFA. But why would it be considered a threat to Linux? And if it were a threat - who cares? I don't get the premise of the thread.

    Linux runs fine on PPC and didn't seem to threaten OS X - I don't see why the reverse would be any different. And anyway, people are going to run that which best suits their needs and tastes, and I would guess that there are more Linux desktop users now than Apple users. Maybe this is a bad analogy, but it's like saying that Apples may threaten Orange
  • The idea of running a system that costs absolutely nothing on the software side is a powerful one, and Windows and Mac OS X would have a difficult time competing against that.'

    Yeah I mean, who uses Windows?! Their market share is only like 95%, they totally can't compete with Linux!
  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:58PM (#12816051)
    I don't know why everyone sees this as a threat to Linux. It's a real threat to Windows. If Apple sticks to only allowing OsX to run on Apple hardware, and is successful in marketing the advantages of a *nix system, then people are going to want something similar. Microsoft can't provide that (the *nix advantages). However, Linux can.

    Apple's premium priced OsX on premium priced Intel systems positions Linux as the poor man's version of OsX on regular Intel systems. Apple, doesn't loose anything (they only allow OsX on their own equipment), however Microsoft easily could.
    • by rsheridan6 ( 600425 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:11PM (#12816900)
      It's a threat to Linux because quite a few Linux users have switched to Macs, and those are people who won't be contributing to Linux anymore. Case in point, Slashdot ran a story a few days ago about jwz's defection - he had written a mp3 jukebox, and more importantly, xscreensaver, which I've been using myself for 3 years or so. So those are now probably orphaned projects, because he will probably just use the software that comes with his Mac. Jwz's defection, by itself, is not that big of a deal, but if a lot of people switch, it could add up to a big deal.
  • ""No Threat to Linux with Apple and Intel Deal""

    In an entirely unrelated story Titanic says that the iceberg is no threat.

  • by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:00PM (#12816070) Journal
    The idea of running a system that costs absolutely nothing on the software side is a powerful one

    Everytime some Linux zealot repeats the myth that Linux is without cost, it's another blow to the collective credibilty of the Open Source Software movement.

    While Linux may have a zero or near-zero cost of admission, the continued ownership is not without cost. Either a company is going to pay maintenance fees to someone like RedHat to be able to keep their systems patched, or they are going to be paying for talent in-house or renting talent via consultants to keep their systems patched. Or they are going to run unpatched and venture the risks (knowningly, or not) present in the forms of the bugs and security exploits and eventual incompatibilities that present themselves down the line and have to deal with those costs.

    We run not quite a dozen boxes with Linux on them at my employer, and we are paying for maintenance for all but 2 of them. And those two are test/development platforms that management would chose to live without if it came to that. Not because the OS weren't on maintenance, but because they were free and running on semi-obsolete hardware.
  • "...and you can accomplish day-to-day tasks without too many hassles is an advantage in itself."

    I suppose that depends on your definition of 'too many', I guess.

    I'm not posting this as flamebait -- I just avoid Linux like the plague because it's a major pain in the ass to get set up and running.

    Mac OS X, on the other hand, works out-of-the-box, and hasn't been the headache that Linux was. (And with Apache, PHP, Ruby, and Perl all preinstalled, why do I need Linux?)
    • Mac OS X works out of the box because you buy it preinstalled on a new computer.

      If you want Linux to "work out of the box" then you can also buy it preinstalled on a new computer from one of the multitude of Linux vendors out there. It will work just as easily as a Mac. And you will save money and you will have a choice of more software.

      The fact that Linux has the additional advantage to work on older machines should not be construed as a weakness -- preinstalled Linux is just as easy as preinstalled OS X
    • Maybe in stead of avoiding Linux like the Plague for the last 7 years you should give it a try. Some distributions of linux require nothing more than putting a CD in a CD tray. Others require 4-5 key strokes to get installed and configure.

  • The article seems rather pointless and smacks of journalistic hackery, one could of easily written an article saying "Monkeys no threat to Elephants!", that is to say while they are both OS's that may share some marketspace, they really don't interact much and aren't a threat to each other whatsoever.
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:06PM (#12816165) Homepage Journal
    Whether something is a theat to Linux or not will only matter to those whose preference for it is based upon something other than the objective merits of the system.

    If something better than Linux comes along and Linux takes the back seat, how is that a bad thing?

    Now I'm not saying that OS-X is better, or that it is worse. I'm just saying that it doesn't matter.

    I think that a lot of people are afraid that something will happen to Linux akin to the things that have happened to superior products in the past that were defeated by inferior alternatives.

    Luckily the market segment in which Linux dominates is one where technical merit really does matter most. The only way that something can displace Linux is if it is truly better, and if that happens, how is it a bad thing?

  • Uh, it's called non-price competition (marketing, brand recognition, ...quality?) and it's often more powerful than price competition, especially when price is negligible in the long-term within a certain range (if you spend $3000 on a workstation, does it matter all that much whether you spend $200 on an OS or nothing?). Clearly Windows hasn't had all that difficult of a time competing with Linux, considering it's pre-installed on approximately 100.0000% of consumer x86 PCs.
  • Everyone I know who uses a Mac still uses Linux on their servers. The reasons should be obvious, Apple offers a better user experience while the history and economics (and probably performance) of Linux on the server are better. Unless Apple starts focusing on server performance and cost effectiveness, I don't see this changing, and there'll continue to be an exchange of workstation and server software between the two, which will be free and open source. :)

  • by deinol ( 210478 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:09PM (#12816214) Homepage
    People don't use Mac OS because they happen to have a Mac Computer sitting around. They use it because they choose to. Someone has to specifically go out and buy a Mac. Even if that Mac ends up having an intel processor, it's not going to be just any old PC that can run Mac OS.

    Different operating systems serve the needs and preferences of different people. What hardware it runs on is really secondary. Certainly one of the appeals of Linux is that if that toaster has a processor in it, someone will port linux to it. Just because they can. Mac or Windows are never going to be that kind of OS.

    I like what they've done with OS X. It's a nice tool. I like using debian for certain types of servers. I like mandrake for certain kinds of workstations. I still use windows for other types of workstations. They all serve different functions. But when I build a machine, I hardly worry about the specific hardware involved unless that is a requirement for the machine (like needing that hot nvidia graphics card for... um, computational fluid dynamics.. yeah.)

    Life goes on, let's go live it.
  • Since the new macs will be intel based, I expect people to be running dual boot OS X/Linux systems just because. I know I was pondering what to get next, a new PC so I could run linux or a mac to run OS X. Each have their advantages and disadvantages so apple's news kindof just solved my problem. Now I just have to wait for a bit.
  • by linguae ( 763922 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:16PM (#12816281)

    ...because Linux and OS X serves two completely different markets. Linux is a hacker's (in the ESR definition) operating system. The source for everything is readily available, and all of the changes you want to make is just a compile away. You can learn just about everything about how the operating system, the utilities, the compiler, the graphical environment, and the applications work. Want to learn the architecture of the Linux kernel? It's all in your source directory. Developer tools are also freely available (thanks to the GNU toolchain), and anyone with programming knowledge can make their own programs as well. Linux is great for developers and hackers, but Linux's usability still needs some work. Some distributions are better than others, but sometimes setting up exotic hardware or laptops can be a PITA.

    Mac OS X is the type of operating system that you use when you finished a long day, and you don't feel like struggling to get your printer or sound to work. Mac OS X is very easy to use and has a wide selection of very great applications (MS Office, Photoshop) that aren't available for Linux. Mac OS X inherited all of that NeXT goodness (which I still lust after), and made it even better. Mac OS X isn't as "hackable" as Linux/BSD is, but it is very easy to use and very pretty, and is very stable and is Unix-compatible whenever needed.

    I don't think that Apple's switch to x86 is going to hurt Linux at all. Remember, just because Apple is using x86 computers with the same architecture as a PC (cough x86 cough BIOS cough) doesn't mean that you'll be able to run to the Apple store, buy the latest Mac OS X, and run it on your newest Dell or your beefed up Opteron. Mac OS X isn't an option for these people; the closest they'll ever get to Mac OS X for a "white box" is NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP/Rhapsody (which are still capable operating systems; I look forward to buying a copy for my old laptop), or OS X under PearPC. And even if there is a way to "crack" Mac OS X in order to get it to run on a regular x86, it would probably be very difficult.

    If you're interested in computers and want to find out how an operating system work and do your computer science homework, then you'd use Linux, BSD, Plan 9, or GNU Hurd. If you want to sit down, type some essays, surf the Internet, listen to your latest music, and edit your photos hassle free, your best bet is Mac OS X. I have a FreeBSD machine for the former purpose and plan on getting NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP/Rhapsody (yes, I still lust after these OSes) or a brand new shiny Mac for the latter purpose.

  • by kollivier ( 449524 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:16PM (#12816287)
    Apple changing its hardware has no direct impact on Linux, and it most certainly isn't a threat to Linux. I don't see why anyone is worried about this, much less refuting those worries.

    If anything, Apple's switch to Intel means that along with the ability to run Windows easily alongside Mac, now you'll be able to run Linux distros easily alongside Mac too. Gee, that sounds like a kickass machine for cross-platform developers, doesn't it? One box that runs Win, Linux distros, and Mac. I'm also fairly certain someone (if not VMWare themselves) will devise software along the lines of VMWare for OS X which will make this virtualization pretty fast and seamless. (Yes, there's Virtual PC, but that didn't work well with Linux distros last I checked.)

    In fact, one thing I realized about this transition is that it's companies like Dell that have to be worried. Once you can install Mac, Win, and Linux in one box - and they'll probably have hardware that is competitive with other PC boxes - the only reason to buy one of those other PC boxes is the cost advantage. And if you're a pro software developer, or a home user or small business sick of viruses and spyware, that cost advantage doesn't look too appealing when weighed against your additional time and effort messing with the machine(s). People can now say "well, I'll try Mac - if I don't like it, I can always throw Linux or Win on this thing..."

    I myself have been thinking about getting a faster PC box, but after the Intel news I thought - why not wait a year? VMWare is alreaday pretty responsive on my existing PC, and if it runs on my Mac box (which I use for my day-to-day work), I can have the best of all worlds and a significant speed-up at the same time.

    Lastly, because of the above issues, I think Mac on Intel is only going to cause pressure on PC vendors to look at Linux more seriously, if only to squeeze another $50 off their PC prices.

    Anyways, personally, I'm tired of all the off-the-wall and sometimes bizarre speculation and rumor-mongering going on. (piracy as Apple's strategy???) Since when is everyone and their cousin weighing in on the 'switch' actually news?
  • by ARRRLovin ( 807926 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:17PM (#12816296)
    Does linux have such a huge self esteem issue that it needs this much press?

    "You're not fat, Cartman. You're just big-boned."
  • No threat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jafac ( 1449 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:26PM (#12816383) Homepage
    The one thing that the PPC->x86 move shows is that Apple Is Not Serious About The Server Market.

    For servers, anyone could just as easily run Darwin, or Linux, or BSD, on their favorite x86 server platform. The xServe was pretty cool, but there's really nothing compelling there from an OS X standpoint.

    The x86 move was aimed at portables, and low end desktop machines. Bringing (or continuing to bring) the OS X user-experience to that market. A market where Linux has traditionally not made even a minor ding.

    The only folks who will suffer are the Mac OS X users on high-end desktops. And it's the ISV's who will determine what happens with that market. I have no clue where that's going to go, but without hardware as a big differentiator there, it really depends on whether ISV's abandon the Mac platform, or how well they transition Alitvec code to SSE3, and how well they handle the transition by supporting legacy hardware, and at the same time also support new hardware without cutting either segment of the market out. It's going to be a tough, tricky game for the Adobe's of the world.
    For Microsoft though - my guess is that if Office OS X is too hard for them, they'll just bundle VPC with Windows office and be done with it.
  • Time = Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shannon Love ( 705240 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:28PM (#12816408) Homepage
    "The idea of running a system that costs absolutely nothing on the software side is a powerful one, and Windows and Mac OS X would have a difficult time competing against that."

    Linux is free only if you value your time at zero. Of the three OS's I think it safe to say that most spend more time configuring Linux than the others. If you are technically proficient you may not notice this cost but if you had to pay somebody else to do it you definitely would.

    The price advantage of Linux can evaporate in a hurry when you have to pay $40 dollars an hour for a tech to set the system up. Such a cost is trivial when configuring a server but for a personal machine it could easily reach the cost of a copy of OS X or Windows. Time lost to unexpected problems when installing Linux on diverse hardware or when installing new software also translates into cost for many people.

    I have been very impressed by the gains made by many Linux distros in ease of installs but there is no way that in the desktop and laptop areas that Linux compares to the other two OSs when it comes to time spent configuring the systems. Basic installs work well but wander away from the pre-installed software and nightmare tangles often ensue.

    I think that the Linux community to often holds the time of the end user to be a worthless. Until that attitude changes the spread of Linux to the general population will continue to be slow.
    • Re:Time = Money (Score:3, Informative)

      by hacker ( 14635 )
      "Time lost to unexpected problems when installing Linux on diverse hardware or when installing new software also translates into cost for many people."

      And how quickly did it take you to get OSX running on "diverse hardware"? Did it detect your 8-year-old video card and bleeding-edge SATA drives?

      Oh wait, it can't.

    • Re:Time = Money (Score:3, Informative)

      by Angstroem ( 692547 )

      Basic installs work well but wander away from the pre-installed software and nightmare tangles often ensue.

      Wait a minute, you did want to make a point for Windows here, didn't you... Cause that very same behavior is what drives Windows people insane: install something "non-standard" and in worst case the system breaks.

      I tend to disagree on the configuration issues. When was the last time you indeed did configure a Windows machine from scratch? Those boxes come with Windows preinstalled and preconfig

  • by kuzb ( 724081 )
    The only threat Apple poses is to itself.

    This move is likely to cost them a lot of followers, because they are switching platforms yet again. It's not going to get windows users to come over, because those users are unlikely to buy all new computers and software just for OS X. And linux users? I think they'll just laugh at Apple's folley and continue to enjoy the best of FOSS.

    The only way Apple could be a threat to anyone is if they allowed OS X to run on any x86 PC. Which, of course, they won't do.

  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:28PM (#12816414)
    I agree that Apple's embrace of Intel poses no threat to Linux, but not for the reasons outlined in the article.

    Linux is increasingly driven by ideology and the fact that it can be obtained at no cost. It's merits as a desktop system have improved, but, by and large, it isn't good enough to attract large numbers of people already using Windows or a Mac. It is good enough to not be a dealbreaker for people who are atracted to Linux because they support its underlying ideology or simply don't want to pay for their software.

    Could the Linux desktop become to good that it, alone, attracts users? Sure, but it isn't there yet.
  • There's one think that people haven't figured out. For the average family PC, Linux probably costs more than Windows. This is due to the owner (lets call him dad) feeling the buy things.

    1. First, dad will go out and buy a redhat cd, in a box in the hope that he might get a manual. This will probably cost him £40

    2. On finding that he's just spent £40 on a box with a cd and a quickstart guid if he's lucky, dad will hit amazon. He will buy at least two linux box, probably 'Complete idiots guide t
  • Why would it be a threat? IMHO when linux will run on anything from a $20.00 machine, to a high end server, using any of the large list of supported hardware, why would apple be a threat?

    I don't see apple getting too much into the embedded market any time soon, this is a nitch that linux (free) all ready has a good foothold in that mac (cost) would have a difficult time getting into, if they even attempted to.

    Linux is everywhere, it will be for a long time.
  • Oh, for heaven's sake. Apple going to Intel changes things a bit, but change is a constant process. Change needn't mean Linux is going away, anymore than Apple or BSD has withered under the stream of "[Insert OS here] is dying!" FUD forever flooding Slashdot.

    MacTel means almost nothing to Linux unless Apple eventually releases OS X to beige boxes. Cupertino so far shows no concrete signs of doing so. Even if it happens, OS X for PC wouldn't be taps for the Penguin.

    Linux and Mac are approaching the market from different directions. Linux' greatest growth potential is in governmental and corporate workplaces, and in the developing world where its cost makes it attractive.

    Apple has a small portion of the installed desktop market -- nobody agreees how much -- and very little penetration in Linux' core market. While Apple's switch to Intel makes them somewhat more competitive in the short-term battle for desktop share, they have a LONG way to go back in the server room, in government offices, and anywhere plopping $140 down for an OS that may only run on premium-priced hardware is a financial burden.

    I'm a huge Apple fan, but MacTel's supposed killer feature, dual-booting Windows, isn't even likely to be supported by Apple. That'll be a tough sell in the boardroom.

    Meanwhile, the so-called developing world is starting to make the US and Europe look like Slow Company. This is likely where Linux will flourish in coming years.

    Who will buy MacTel? Fairly well-heeled Westerners. Everyone else will use Linux and unlicensed copies of Windows.

    Something else: there will be Mac hardcore abandoning the platform. They feel as if they're sleeping with the enemy when it comes to Intel. Many of them are furious that their rather substantial investment in PPC hardware won't run cutting-edge Mac software much longer, Universal Binaries be damned. Mac software developers won't optimize for Power very long. It's over.

    I'll stay with Mac. I really enjoy OS X, and I need several commercial applications not likely to run on Linux anytime soon. I don't wish to own a Windows box or even dual-boot.

    But I know that means I'll be buying new hardware in the near future -- an Intel-based Mac laptop first, and then a replacement for my PowerMac.

    In the meantime, I'm uninstalling OS X on my older Mac gear. Tiger left two of my machines behind. They'll be converted to PPC Linux. There's already an Ubuntu Live CD in my Bluberry iBook.

    The moment Steve Jobs showed the Intel logo, I knew that my dual G5 would one day be running Linux. In three years, I'll have more Linux machines than boxes running OS X.

    MacTel's impact on Linux is a lot more complex than most pundits are giving credit. And far less drastic.

  • Linux has more than a few things that go in its favor, at least for the time being. The idea of open-source software is an amazing one. The fact that Linux isn't much of a commercialized operating system, and you can accomplish day-to-day tasks without too many hassles is an advantage in itself.

    Um, dude, Mac OS X has a proprietary GUI... but it's ALSO running on an open source operating system. It runs the same amazing open source software as Linux, including the compiler and your X11 and Gnome and KDE desktop apps (if you want tham). It's got some shortcomings on the server, because of the overhead of Mach messages and threads, but that's not its focus. On the desktop it's got every advantage that Linux has, as well as having all the proprietary and commercial software that came along from the classic Mac OS.

    And no matter what Linux does between now and 2007, no matter what new cool things are created for it, those things will also be options for Mac OS X.

    And Mac OS X is well past questions like "can it replace Windows": the real debate now is "can Windows catch up".
  • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:16PM (#12818276) Homepage Journal

    For the record, I'm both an OS X and a Linux user.

    I think that OS X on Intel, if it has any effect on Linux at all (and I'm not quite conviced yet that it will), will probably be positive, particularily in smaller networks like my own.

    OS X is a fantastic client and development OS. I do all of my development on OS X these days, as well as all of my e-mail, web browsing, Skype usage, iChat/AIM instant messaging, gaming, music (iTunes/iPod), video playback, and device synchronization. From a user perspective, OS X is damn near perfect IMO. From a developer perspective, I like Cocoa and Objective-C these days more than just about any APIs available on Linux (with Linux having the advantage than when things go really bad, at least I have all the sources to try to trace a problem, and not just some of the sources). It has desktop Linux beat 15 ways from Sunday.

    However, networks still need servers, and while Apple has done some interesting things with its Xserve line, an inexpensive Intel box running Linux is a vasty better server platform than OS X is. And it's also vastly cheaper.

    This contrast could help Linux if Apple's new Intel systems do start winning over Windows users. Linux servers are based on much the same Open Source server technologies that OS X is built upon, so using Linux on your servers for OS X client networks just makes sense. It's more cost effective, and the two have much the same settings between them.

    I'm still not convinced that Windows users are going to start switching en-masse to OS X just because it runs on Apple custom Intel machines, but we'll have to wait and see. If they do, I see this as an opportunity for Linux in the server space, and not as a net detriment.


  • Darwin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tm2b ( 42473 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:48PM (#12818572) Journal
    One factor that people seem to be overlooking is the free (beer), open source Darwin x86.

    To date, I've tended to run Mac OS X on desktops and laptops, and either Debian or OpenBSD on servers.

    With the change to Mac OS X x86, I'm much more likely to run OpenDarwin on my servers: I get some binary compatability and a uniformity of Unix idioms, and still have the Open Source goodness that comes with any of the open source unixes. Beyond thread-switching (I don't run MySQL anyway), the only thing that it lacks is the GPL - correctness. For some people, that will matter - for most, one open source Unix is going to be as good as any other one.

    My expectation is that Mac OS X on x86 won't directly compete with Linux, but its existence will make OpenDarwin compete much more strongly with Linux. There's even a commercial opportunity there, to start selling support contracts for OpenDarwin in the same way that one can get Linux support contracts from people like Red Hat.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"