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MacBytes
Jan 5, 2008, 12:19 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Apple is Killing Linux on the Desktop (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20080105011938)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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evillageprowler
Jan 5, 2008, 10:43 AM
This article seems a bit too "focused" to show the true picture of Linux in the commercial world...

I agree with the article that Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, RH, etc.) lacks the support service, games and desktop productivity tools that Windows and Macs offer. However, Linux actually offers a lot more than people realize.

Some benefits of Linux:
1) Relatively few viruses and Internet worms affect a Linux box
2) Low cost (of OS and hardware requirements)
3) Powerful OS (if you know what to do with it)

I've used Linux (Fedora Core) for my desktop environment before. I used Thunderbird for mail, Firefox for browser, Myth as my PVR, OpenOffice for word processing and making spreadsheets.

When I switched away from Linux at home (I forget why), I ended up still using Thunderbird, Firefox and Myth on my new platform (XP). IIRC, I switched because my Linux desktop was simply too old (I think it had P2, 256meg and only supported usb 1.0). My new machine just had XP on it and that is what I ended up using. But, I'm a pretty basic computer user at home. I just use it to read email, surf the Internet and do TV stuff. Only about a year ago did I use my computer for other stuff (music management and basic video editing/conversion).

If you're a competent computer user but only care to do the basics at home, then Linux is actually a great low-cost platform. It's also very good for your kids: much less vulnerable to viruses; very low cost; and can handle email and web browsing very well.

Of course, its prominence in the home desktop environment is limited by what I wrote in the second paragraph. However, let's remember that the growth of Apple's computers is mostly due to the halo affect of association with the iPod (and now iPhone). Is Mac OS X truly that much better than Linux on the desktop?

EVP

synth3tik
Jan 5, 2008, 10:49 AM
hehm I wonder what percentage of linux computers accessing the internet were me running Gentoo on my MBP:D

Consultant
Jan 5, 2008, 11:06 AM
This article seems a bit too "focused" to show the true picture of Linux in the commercial world...

I agree with the article that Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, RH, etc.) lacks the support service, games and desktop productivity tools that Windows and Macs offer. However, Linux actually offers a lot more than people realize.

Some benefits of Linux:
1) Relatively few viruses and Internet worms affect a Linux box
2) Low cost (of OS and hardware requirements)
3) Powerful OS (if you know what to do with it)


Well
1. OS X has zero viruses and worms (not few, but zero).
2. Used OS X PowerMac can be bought for low price. Easier to get it up and running than Linux.
3. OS X is unix = powerful OS.

OS X has the support service. Works with novice and experts. Does not need an expert to set it up.

With that said, MBP multi boots linux (on hard drive partition, CD, USB) easily, but I barely use it.
Also have Linux running in VMWare, but not as flexible as Linux boot. OS X is much easier for the general user.

Quillz
Jan 5, 2008, 12:02 PM
I've always felt that Mac OS X is sort of like a "mainstream" version of Linux with full commercial support. I really like Linux, especially newer distros like Ubuntu and openSUSE, but it's true that they still have yet to really break into the desktop market.

123
Jan 5, 2008, 03:04 PM
OS X has the support service. Works with novice and experts. Does not need an expert to set it up.


Neither does Linux nowadays. Apple's playing catchup with everything but the GUI.


2) Used OS X PowerMac can be bought for low price.
But still a lot more expensive than a comparable linux box. If you don't care about the looks etc.

sal
Jan 5, 2008, 03:14 PM
anytime one of my friends/family has a problem with their windows machine and they don't want to buy a new machine, I suggest they install ubuntu. Nobody ever has gone through with it. :(

of course if they say they have money and want to buy a new computer, I tell them to buy a mac. A few of them have :D

emptyCup
Jan 5, 2008, 04:00 PM
Apple isn't doing anything to Linux. It isn't suing companies that use it or spreading FUD about how dangerous it is to rely on it. If anything, OSX has made more people aware of unix-like systems. Even if Linux absorbed the entire Mac community it still would be a fraction of the desktop market.

People who like Linux should be grateful that they have the option to use it. At the very least, they should stop complaining that OSs that provide a coherent, supported, easier-to-use environment are somehow cheating.

Most of the people who have heard of BeOS, even if they never saw it, understand that Be did something innovative and original. The general understanding among people who have never used Linux is that it is wanna-be Windows knockoff for hobbyists who don't want to pay for software.

Linux has done great things in the server room, but it needs something more compelling than free if it wants to take over the world.

danny_w
Jan 5, 2008, 04:24 PM
Apple is not killing Linux on the desktop. Linux is doing that just fine on its own. I have used multiple versions of Linux over the years, and yes, it is becoming much easier to use, but it still requires an expert to set it up if anything goes wrong during the install (and I have seen this many, many times). My company builds and supports Linux servers for industry, but that is a completely different market. I think Linux has 4 major problems that keep it from being accepted on the desktop:

1. Too many and confusing distributions. Gentoo, Fedora, Ubuntu, Slackware, where does a newb start? This type of confusion from the very start is a good thing.

2. Basic installation breaks too easily and on too many systems. And when it does, a newb is generally left completely in the dark as to what to do. Not a good thing.

3. Too many and confusing choices during and after installation, especially what desktop manager to use. Most newbs will have no idea which to pick or why.

4. Although there are friendly and helpful Linux users out there, the general impression that I get of the Linux community is "If you are a Linux expert, then welcome. Otherwise leave us alone!". This is not very helpful for a newcomer trying to learn the system, especially when something goes wrong.

If the above were not enough to deter the casual user, the similarities (and confusing differences) to Windows is the next hurdle to overcome. While OS X has its own interface with some passing resemblance to Windows, it is different enough that people are forced to learn the differences, and generally like what they find. Linux OTOH (K Desktop specifically) is so very similar to Windows on the surface that users are lulled into thinking it IS Windows, and then could be confused when things don't work the same.

With that said, Linux CAN be a great desktop for a user that is willing to put in the time and energy to learn it. But IMHO it is not ready (and never will be) for the masses.