Linux, MacOSX (was Re: [oclug] (no subject))
chris123 at magma.ca
Thu Aug 22 10:38:28 EDT 2002
On August 22, 2002 09:26 am, Tim Hosking wrote:
> 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 dont think you have a concern here. Apple has been nailing this component
hands down (minus the initial flaky releases of OSX)
> 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.
Amen brother. Apples rendition currently leads the market in this aspect bar
none. Now whats interesting is if this was all available on intell platforms
and I keep hearing suggestions to rumours that this may be possible. Now that
would be something.
> 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.
Yes wrt to the Desktop Apples presence their has a stronger growth potential
than Linux and the vendors know it. Hence all the recent noise about linux on
the desktop to ensure that existing market share is not erroded. Linux can
play good here but it still has a long way to go when you consider the user
base and market sector requirements. Apple will do well here, thats a given.
How well Linux will do remains to be determined.
Secondly Apple support is very good and single point. Linux also needs to play
catchup here as there is no unified support outlet for Linux desktops. While
not a techical issue per say, its a consumer requirement that is still in its
infancy with the commerical linux vendors. They are making positive steps
> 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.
Yes unfortunately I must agree with you here as in many cases consumer UI
requriements predicate a "superficial reduction in flexibility" that
traditonally has not been superficial. However the consumer base is not aware
of this nor cares about it. This is a design and technical discussion that
falls to another domaine. One of the reasons that I personally think OEones
product will do well is that it provides a nice tighly integrated environment
that, with no offense here to anyone is, rather "mom proof" Plus its
This is someting to watch...:)
> 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.
This has been done with most major linux distributions. Certainly the big
three do it and do it well. SuSE, Mandrake, RedHat. Cannot comment on
Debian, Turbo, Slack, gentoo and a miriad of others as they are essentiall
nich distributions not targetting consumer level deployments. Also new to the
field and soon to be released is Xandros. As its based on the old Corel
distro the same capabilites wrt to installation and partitioning Im sure will
be present. See: http://xandros.com
> I'm not talking big bucks, but a $50 commercial, supported distribution
> would attract customers.
Sure will and does despite the fact that this current calendar year the distro
manufacturers were getting kinda scizto with their releases as not sure
weather they were shipping server systems, developer systems or desktops.
This is quickly changes as product lines, target sectors and pricing
structures have more or less been sorted out. Bottom line however is that
they are all getting more expensive then they need to be for desktop segment.
While freely available, and needed to track market share, no cost releases do
not add to the bottom line. Packaged and supported products do go a long way
to recover investments. Once all three sort out the support issues, probably
by the end of the year, you should see major repackaging and enhanced
distrubtion efforts of boxed sets priced accordinly.
> I cannot comment on Apple's direct contribution, as I don't have the facts.
In terms of dollars and cents..lets say its been significant...:)
> 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.
So far so good from a commercial perspective. Can it be sustained? Well I
really have no comment as I really dont have the answere, its far to fluid a
dynamic. But given Apples work at the hardware level and the OS level,
specificaly with Agua and Quartz, combined with a dedicated third party
applcation vendors they will do well over the next year. Beyond that its
open. One thing they could do to help them selves is reconsider their
licensing strategy and secondly give seriouse consideration to an intel port.
If the later came about....look out...:)
> 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.
Yup, but us in the nix camp have known this wonder for some time. Its the
masses that have been left out and left out intentionally by the dominant
vendors insistance on dictating the end user experience with a motto of "keep
it simple for stupid" Once the educational experience begins to settle in at
the consumer level in a gentle and freindly environment then there is room
for growth. This is one area where linux folks fail dramatically. They are
not gentle in their approach and combative by nature. While this is ok it is
not a formula for consumer confidence.
> 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 have).
This has been done and is standard in the nix camp. It has also been done at
the product level and manufacturing level with most vendors now shipping
commidity firewalls, routers, switches etx running either some form of stock
or embedded micro linux. If I can buy a router that comes with a nice gui
configurable firewall, dhcp setup that is plug and play, printer server and
wifi access point for around 100 bucks why should I bother to learn how to do
this on a 486 for 50 bucks. Assuming I am starting out at ground zero, ala
windows users, the decision is a very simple one: learn linux or spend a 100
and get linux with the appliance with even knowing it..:) The answere is
> 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.
Linux on Mac is a joy and its a geek thing. If we are discussing desktop
deployments its a non issue. Once we migrate up the latter then it becomes an
issue and fullfiills a very nice niech, but not at the general consumer
One of the issues with discussion like this is that we really do compare
apples to oranges all the time as we rarely distinquish and focus on a single
market sector in these discussions. So in summary Linux on Mac for general
cosumers is a non issue. For more advanced worstation requirements pending
your requirements in some cases it could be argued its a must have..:)
> I'll shut up now.
Best and thanks
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