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Linux Software Businesses Apple

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

    by Incongruity ( 70416 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:05PM (#12816147)
    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 of what it does, but even they are giving some small amount back to the open source world and their OS encourages a lot more of the same -- all of that is more than Microsoft, to be sure -- and Microsoft said it themselves..."developers, developers, developers" get the developers to develop and you'll get the user base. But hey, this is just my opinion...I can't wait to see what the future holds.
  • by biglig2 ( 89374 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:09PM (#12816211) Homepage Journal
    If manufacturer Z makes drivers for product y for OSX on Intel (which is of course based on Darwin), does that have any impact on Intel drivers for Linux for y?

    If a driver is available for Darwin, even if it is a closed binary, could a layer be built to make it work on Linux, since Darwin is open source?
  • 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 NineNine ( 235196 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:43PM (#12816593)
    • Linux is free
    • Linux is getting more drivers every day
    • Linux is slowly getting better

    Wow. That's actually totally unconvincing. Actually, this article convinces me that Linux WILL be in trouble.
    • $200 being too much for an OS (OSX or Windows) isn't very convincing. Much less if OEM. Besides, who says OS prices won't fall?
    • Right now, OSX has -zero- driver problems (they do QA), and there are already tons of working OSX drivers out there. Of course, everything has a Windows driver. Linux is far behind.
    • Yes, Linux is getting better every day. In 1/5 of the time, Apple developed an incredible, functional OS from the same base... something that Linux still hasn't been able to accomplish in more than 10 years. Who says that Apple and MS are going to stop improving? When will Linux actually catch up in terms of functionality? WILL Linux EVER catch up?
  • by graffix_jones ( 444726 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:57PM (#12816756)
    I fail to see how buying an Apple computer constitutes 'Hardware Lock-In'... of course you're probably talking about running Windows on a home-built PC made of OEM commodity parts, but try speccing a PC with similar features and you'll find that Apple remains competitive (maybe a bit more, but that's the 'Apple Tax').

    But, you aren't 'locked in' to their hardware... you can buy commodity parts off the shelf, install them, and have them work just fine, such as mice, keyboards, hard drives, CD-R's, DVD-R's, RAM, monitors, etc.

    Gone are the days when you had to buy everything Apple-branded or Apple 'compatible' while paying a hefty mark-up... as I write this I think the only two components that still require design specifically for Apple are SCSI and Video cards (I'm talking 'basic' components, not obscure ones).
  • 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.
  • 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 Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:18PM (#12816967) Homepage Journal
    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.

    This just made me think of something interesting.

    One of the big costs of "switching" is having to buy all new hardware, software, etc for the new platform. Standardizing on USB/FireWire/etc has has alleviated the hardware problem for the most part, but the software has still posed a big problem.

    Now, if Microsoft goes and gets Windows running on Intel Macs, as they seem very likely to do (hey, they sell more software), then Wintel users can go ahead and buy Apple next time they upgrade, getting a machine that will run Windows and all its software AND Mac OS X and the new software they want to try out. This will be nothing but a boon for Apple's hardware sales.

    However, I worry, as other posters have mentioned, that if "Mac" users can just run Windows versions of major software packages, that that will be less reason for software developers to produce Mac versions of their products. That, in the long run, will undermine the strength of OS X as a platform, which in turn negates the big drawing point of Apple hardware in the first place. Which makes Apple an overpriced commodity hardware vendor with pretty cases == dead Apple, unless they can turn into a *really* good hardware vendor. And there's always the chance that if OS X *didn't* whither, and began to chip away at the MS monopoly, MS could then fix Windows to not run on MacIntel, reducing the value of an Apple box to the average consumer.

    Though now that I think about it, Apple does sell other software besides just OS X itself, and the iApps and their professional big brothers (Final Cut Studio et al) are a major draw to OS X. It could be possible for Apple to to keep OSX around as a meta-platform, existing only in userspace as an API set and a pretty interface running on top of any kernel (Windows, Linux, Darwin/BSD), designed to support Apple's "killer apps", which would be the real draw for most users who don't particularly care about APIs or nice standard interfaces. Then again, NeXT did almost exactly that with OpenStep, and look how well that turned out.

    So it seems to me, Apple's got three choices. Either it keeps Windows off the Mac, in which case the status quo is almost unchanged (except now we've got TCPM on the Mac and other such arbitrary [non-technical] barriers to the unhindered use of *my* computer, which I object to philosophically). Or, if Windows does run on the Mac, and it reduces the value of the OS X platform, Apple faces the choice of either becoming a commodity software with a nifty API and interface, or a commodity hardware vendor with pretty cases. Neither of which seem like the Apple we know, and both of which ruin their existing business model which, despite low platform marketshare, is doing them damn well financially.

    I predict that Apple will probably allow Windows on MacIntel until such point that it begins to hurt the OS X platform (and probably try to find some way to prevent that), and if at some point that does become the case, will then bar Windows from their hardware with TCPM and return things to the status quo... except now we've got Trusted Computing DRM crap on our Macs. Which is really all that bugs me about this move in the first place.
  • by DF5JT ( 589002 ) <> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:36PM (#12817151) Homepage
    "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 assembled hardware and Windows and those with an Intel/Apple and OSX.

    Add to that perfect entertainment capabilities and a deal with the largest chipmaker in the world and their distribution systems and you have what Microsoft had in the early 90s.

    Intel has massproduction capabilities and that's what Apple wants: their software on as many as possible computers out there. With minor adjustments to Apple's specifications, hardware manufacturers can still produce a single component for both Apple and the rest of the Intel world.

    Apple will "certify" a large number of components and specific configurations and their will keep their own DeLuxe Apple design that will be distinctly different from the rest of the Intel pack, by design and manufacturing quality.

    If I were Microsoft, I'd be scared shitless tight now.
  • 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.
  • by FhnuZoag ( 875558 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:16PM (#12819223)
    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. Shame how the libre definition of free has fallen by the wayside.
  • by Lost+Found ( 844289 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:58PM (#12819938)
    Wonderful! So all the proprietary vendors will continue to port to OS X, which will now be on x86. They're *that* much closer to being able to run natively on Linux.

    If anything, success OS X has will raise awareness of the possibility of non-Microsoft. And once they start to gain ground in the corporate world, Microsoft might just be forced to interoperate.
  • by q.kontinuum ( 676242 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2005 @01:47AM (#12821022)
    "Binary kernel modules are bad, therefore we don't even talk about it and if you want to then to hell with you." Ever loaded a binary-only module like the one from Nvidia for the graphics in Linux recently? You get this big ugly scary warning about "tainting" the kernel. *sigh*

    Are you a software developer? With a binary-only driver noone knows anymore whats going up in the kernel space. Thats not (only) a geeky or paranoid issue, but a very pratical one: What, if the system crashes? How will You locate bugs in the kernel when you do not have full access to the source? That's what the tainted flag is about: If you use binary only drivers don't expect anyone to debug it for you.

    That said, I'm also not really lucky with the development strategies of the kernel team. While I understand the importance of the tainted flag I would really wish for clearly designed interfaces in the kernel to make the source easier to understand.

    But anyway, I will get rid of those problems next year by switching to a clean microkernel architecture, where even drivers are protected from each other. Did you know, hurd will be released next year?

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