Linux, MacOSX (was Re: [oclug] (no subject))
tim at trhosking.com
Thu Aug 22 09:26:50 EDT 2002
On 8/21/02 6:40 PM, "Dave Edwards" <dle1 at sympatico.ca> wrote:
> I have to admit that OSX makes me uncomfortable, for a number of
You know what? I'm a Mac developer and there have been a few times that OS/X
made me uncomfortable too. Not because of the learning curve for me, but
because I worried that such a radical change in the OS and UI would scare
away many long term Mac users. If they go, so does my career. Fortunately,
time has proven me wrong.
> * I feel a little envious of its slick, integrated user interface.
> * Still, the enthusiasm for it seems to overshoot the fact that it is
> essentially the same kind of interface as that on most microcomputers.
> So I feel kind of sick when I hear remarks along the lines of "OSX
> succeeds where Linux failed."
The interface is nice, isn't it? Again, I had reservations when I saw the
early developer seeds of OS/X, but apple have done a good job here so far.
There is still room for much improvement, but it's heading the right way.
Slick UI is what Apple do best. Despite it's power and flexibility, XFree86
still sucks in this department, and probably always will.
> * I wonder if it will attain enough popularity to ruin Linux's chances
> for wider adoption. Although I doubt that. And it might not matter as
> Apple is apparently hanging on by the quicks of their fingernails.
Wider adoption? I don't have the figures right now, but just what percentage
of the Internet is run on Linux? If you were referring to the desktop
market, then I think it will gradually grow when more people realise the
implications of Microsoft's new EUAs, and start to question their degree of
trust in 'Trustworthy Computing'. That's where Linux will gain ground, as
many people already have the hardware to run it.
If it is going to make significant impact though, it has to have dummy
appeal. It must have a slick, modern UI. It must be easy to configure, even
if that means a superficial reduction in flexibility. It must have a decent
installer, which preferably would have the ability to run something like
Partition Magic to safely shrink an existing Windows install (I have never
seen such a thing but it could be done). Make it easy for people to change
and they will change, and would not object to paying for the convenience.
I'm not talking big bucks, but a $50 commercial, supported distribution
would attract customers.
> * I wonder what, apart from the yet-to-be-proven example of Darwin, is
> Apple contributing to OSS, having built much of OSX on a BSD base.
> * I've heard some remarks like, "It's Open Source with a great Mac
> interface," but what about it is open/free/libre, apart from the fact
> that it is built on *formerly* open/free/libre BSD-ish stuff?
I cannot comment on Apple's direct contribution, as I don't have the facts.
Of course, now that they are committed to a Unix base it will provide some
stimulus to them to ensure that it continues to move forward. Whether it
continues to move in the right direction remains to be seen. Indirectly, I
think their contribution will be hug, in that they have started to arouse
interest in Unix platforms in general. "Hey. I'm running a Unix system and
it's really easy!" Give it a couple of years and people will start to
realise exactly what OS/X is capable of. Then they will perhaps look at ways
of performing the same tasks for less cash, e.g. Find a cheaper machine to
run their web site/firewall/print server/whatever, freeing up the resource
on their desktop machine to run PhotoShop (which Linux will never really
>> There should be more macs in the world. Whether they run OS X or Linux is
>> a different story. ;)
> I'm not sure I agree. Commoditized hardware is important, too. Also,
> for me it's not really about Unix, finally; it's about open source/free
> software libre, and about collaborating to build something genuinely new
> and different.
Why would you really want to run Linux on a Mac platform? It may be nice to
dual boot it occasionally, but once you have shelled out the cash on a Mac,
which comes pre-installed, just what else would Linux provide? Better to
keep the Mac as a Mac and buy a cheaper PC to run Linux. You then have the
best of both worlds. Although Linux does run on a PowerPC, most
distributions have some caveats in this regard. I'm convinced Linux will
always run better/faster/stronger on Intel and AMD hardware.
I'll shut up now.
More information about the OCLUG