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View Full Version : The Other Switchers: Linux Users Coming to OS X


MacBytes
Dec 22, 2005, 10:12 AM
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Category: Apple Hardware
Link: The Other Switchers: Linux Users Coming to OS X (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20051222111215)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

shamino
Dec 22, 2005, 02:06 PM
Summarizes why I got my first (modern-era) Mac.

I had abandoned Windows years prior. First for OS/2, then for Linux. My PC was getting old and I was considering a replacement. Either a new PC (for Linux), or an inexpensive Sun/SPARC box (for Solaris.) Then I started reading about Mac OS X.

I realized very quickly that I can get all of my UNIX goodness and also have a really simple GUI and commercial app availability, all in one nice package.

So I waited for OS X to be released. Then I started budgeting the cost of the computer (since I wanted a high-end model.) I finally made my purchase in February 2002, getting a dual 1GHz QuickSilver PowerMac (with OS X 10.1.2 preloaded) and hardly looked back.

Today, I still boot my PC's but not that often. The WinXP PC gets booted for gaming and when I want to print greeting cards. (American Greetings' Create & Print (http://www.americangreetings.com/cnp/) service uses ActiveX, making it incompatible with other OS's, unfortunately.) The Linux PC is hardly ever turned on anymore.

Randall
Dec 22, 2005, 02:15 PM
What other OS can let you run Adobe Photoshop, MS Excel, and BSD UNIX natively? Not to mention look sexy while doing it. OS X is The King, and once Apple completes the switch to x86 it will be a force to be recconed with. :)

greatdevourer
Dec 22, 2005, 04:03 PM
I'm in this crowd, and I switched, not because it had all those things that Windows had that Linux didn't (WINE is good), but because PowerPC had a lot that x86 didn't, such as Logic 7. And because they looked cool :p

Seasought
Dec 22, 2005, 04:18 PM
Then OS X showed that the world that Unix doesn't have to be frightening.

OS X has set the bar higher for Linux, and the latter struggles to catch up. Still, a stronger Linux share can only be beneficial for all of us, so let's hope that Linux keeps improving.

I think the quote above is an excellent statement.

mdavey
Dec 22, 2005, 04:44 PM
OS X has set the bar higher for Linux, and the latter struggles to catch up. Still, a stronger Linux share can only be beneficial for all of us, so let's hope that Linux keeps improving.

X11 integration in Mac OS X sucks. Lets hope Mac OS X / Unix integration keeps improving, too.

AlmostThere
Dec 22, 2005, 07:02 PM
From my own Linux experience, have to disagree with much of this article.

Firstly, I don't disagree that OS X is popular with geeks - Apple have made some nice machines and a decent OS. Anyone interested in computers is going to use it but what he doesn't divulge, and I would be interested to know, is how many people have switched, which is the premise of the article, from Linux rather than actually just added it where it fits well into their work.

I don't dispute that Apple offer a better alternative for many people on a laptop, hence the popularity of Power/iBooks, but I don't get what this author is talking about. Look through his arguments from a commercial / industry point of view:

Plug and play support
Varies. If you stay within the confines of Apple approved hardware, then this is fine, no argument. But I don't see why I should have to update working hardware (such as printers or tape drives) if switching to OS X. With Apple, well, I can sit and twiddle my thumbs until they decide it is important enough exert the effort.

A universal interface
6 of one, half a dozen of another ... it will be as standard as your IT people want it to be.

Documentation
This is a joke if he thinks OS X documentation is better than Linux. Example : where does the OS X documentation describe the state of launchd versus rc / cron etc. Open up Mac Help now and look for launchd ... helpful? Fair enough, try the man page. Clearer? Apple are simply failing to keep up with documentation for many of their changes. Linux documentation has largely stabilised. I recently had the displeasure of trying to harmonise MySQL versions across a number of servers, but is it possible to uninstall the default MySQL from OS X? Workaround eventually found in technical report 123AxcD:78 subsection 987 paragraph 43f - so obvious when you know where to look. Incidentally, also included was a Suse 9 Enterprise box, completely new distro to me, took 5 minutes to figure out what I needed to do.

Or for not being able to write drivers for every piece of hardware that exists
Like all hardware works under OS X :confused: Challenge for the author : grab 50 random PCI cards from the last 10 years, random selection, and see how many can be made to work under OS X and how many under Linux.

As long as you're focused on implementing features already found in other operating systems instead of devising new ones
What, you mean like implementing a kernel that runs on 20+ different architectures isn't innovative?

Commercial apps are not evil when they are well-crafted and reasonably priced.
The author might be shocked to find out that there are actually commercial applications that exist under Linux too (and shocked to find out that not everyone who uses Linux is Stallman). If commercial software is so great, why I can connect 1 user or 5000 to my free software file server running samba for the same cost (nothing), but the 1st and 11th user of my XServe, running the same file serving software, cost me £350 each?

Food, housing, and clothing are not open source; they cost money.
*Sigh* straight into the ignorant free software bashing. Linus Torvalds is on welfare benefits, we all know that. Open source development is never undertaken by paid employees of technology firms is it? (*cough, cough* IBM, RedHat, Sun, ... , Apple)

not spend time on configuring problems. ... This is greatly appreciated by people who earn their living working on their computers, geeks or not
I assume the author has spent time in an commercial environment with Linux then? I am interested in all these firms that allow people to stick random hardware that they then spend hours configuring. Last time I was in a Linux centred environment and I had an upgrade, the IT support guy came round, added the new graphics card, updated the driver, and I was back working. Total time, 15 minutes. I don't recall being given a new graphics card and being asked to stick that in myself. I admit, I have only worked for a short while in a principally Mac office, so maybe they do things differently ;)

Just how scp on Mac OS X is different (let alone better) from the Linux one is a mystery to me.
Command line programmes are not all the same, just because they have the same name. As there is no reference to the well known and respected site, an example is the simple ls command. Under OS X type "ls ~ -l" and then do the same under Linux. Just a tad frustrating. I wonder how many of the Linux geeks have not installed fileutils?


Now I am not going to argue that Linux is as good a substitute for OS X in the home, there might be a few cases but these are the exception. Yet the bulk of his argument applies to HOME USERS and Linux has never been a major home use operating system, beyond the occasional enthusiast. There was never anything significant to switch from in this area.

He proposes that there is a major transition from Linux to OS X "Linux users were coming to OS X in masses." but where are the stats showing the major users of Linux transition? Where is the move of web, file or database servers? Where are the figures for the loss of Linux workstations? What are the numbers switching at research institutes and universities? (I know of a handful of the latter, none of the former but lack the figures I expect to see supporting this article).

Best I can tell, the guy has noticed that PowerBooks have been reported as popular and used it as a reason to bash something he has never really used.
[/rant off]

shamino
Dec 24, 2005, 11:29 AM
X11 integration in Mac OS X sucks. Lets hope Mac OS X / Unix integration keeps improving, too.
I'll agree that Apple's X11 implementation needs some additioal work, but keep in mind that X11 is far less necessary on Mac OS than on Linux, because there is another far-better GUI available for apps.

Still, bundling support for the GTK+ and Qt widgets would make it much easier to compile Mac versions of Linux apps without going through a huge effort.