Apple + Linux - A happy marriage?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by HanoPichat, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. HanoPichat macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2008
    I been thinking about something for quite a while and can't get it out of my head, so I thought I'd better ask you guys to see if anyone else can find a reason.

    The question is: Why doesn't Apple and Linux team up to really get big scale enterprise sales going? Apple should handle the "business desktop" while Linux should handle the server side and user administration.


    There's been two very interesting articles on in the last few weeks about Apples bumby road into the enterprise world. The first's called: Can Macs conquer the enterprise? The time is ripe ...

    Here are some interesting quotes from it:

    "corporate interest in a broader role for Macs is up dramatically among IT executives"

    "Service and support are another hurdle. "You're transferring to a platform from a vendor that's not committed to supporting large enterprise needs. From what we've seen, the tools available and the support [to enact that change] are not enterprise-class," Smulders says."

    "There is an enterprise agreement where you pay $50,000 and you get stellar support, including a dedicated support guy [...] But that kind of money may not fit into the budget of companies with just a few dozen Macs in the marketing department"

    "most large businesses will probably remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. "I don't think you'll see a significant penetration into the traditional enterprise until Apple makes the strategic decision to go after that," says Bajarin."

    And then the second article about tools for administrators, especially accentuating LANDesk: Management tools: A missing piece of the Mac enterprise puzzle no more.

    Here are some interesting quotes from it:

    "Rowles said that LANDesk's cross-platform capabilities are its biggest selling point for him. "I'd say that 90% of the Windows features I need are available for the Mac," he added."

    "Not everything that Rowles wants to see in LANDesk's Management Suite is there now. He said that the software has weaknesses when it comes to letting users directly set group policies into Microsoft Corp.'s Active Directory or the Mac's equivalent technology, which is called Open Directory."

    "Gartner's Cosgrove said another feature that cross-platform management vendors have largely failed to port over to the Mac is a so-called targeted software distribution capability, which lets administrators deploy software to users and not simply to PCs."


    Now this is all very interesting and though these articles just provide a small glimpse of the subject it does provide a interesting starting point for my question.

    Macs are primarily intended for the end user, not the hardcore server administrator. Macs excel in being user friendly and looking smart/"sexy". The iPod/iPhone effect has really started a Mac craze, but of course I don't need to tell you guys that :) Macs have huge software, hardware and driver support from allmost all major players out their. But though the CEO might be interested in having a good looking, easy-to-use machine on his desktop, the IT-administrators simply cannot manage huge companies full Mac users if the appropriate hardware and software isn't available in the server room.

    With Linux it's just the opposite. I've worked with Linux for many years. I've tried every possible Linux desktop distribution out there, and though e.g. Ubuntu has become a really interesting player on the desktop market in the last years. But still you don't have to play around with it for long before you bump your head against the wall. If you want to set up special screenresolutions or add additional functionality to your mouse buttons you quickly find yourself in need of using the console. And using the console is just a killer for almost all ordinary computer users. Moreover, software and hardware support for the desktop is frightningly inadequte. You can run Microsoft Office through the WINE-emulator, but really... anyone who's tried it knows that at some point something doesn't work like it was supposed to. And for your hardware, like webcams, you need to use open source drivers that are both difficult to setup and configure correctly for the average user. But on the server side on the other hand... With server distros like Red Hat (that's where it really excels these days), oh boy, Linux is the king. Once you seen what Linux servers can do you'll be forever convinced of their value. Plus Linux server has the great advantage of being able to run on hardware from many different sources, not just one, and can't therefore to a much greater extent save the company money buy choosing other hardware suppliers if they are cheaper and better.

    So what I see is a server company like Red Hat Linux, who lives to produce some of the world's leading server software. But it's not much fun being a server, if you have no one to serve. And I see Apple who primarily focuses on it's client machines and software. But a client is not worth much without the central control point which manages the internet acces, file sharing, e-mails, etc. Of course I'm aware that Apple creates both servers (Xserve) and server software (Mac OS X Server). This is fine for a small business and might be used as a gathering point for the different sections of a company. But to really handle massive loads of data from all the Xserves of a huge company, Linux would be perfect.

    I e.g. Apple and Red Hat Linux join forces, they could create a perfect user administration tool, shouldn't be to hard since they both agree that UNIX and Open Source is a good thing. What might be the most important argument, as I see it, they have fairly little overlapping of interests. Red Hat Linux wants to focus on the servers, but needs clients to serve. Apple wants to focus on the end-user Macs and just want the underlying IT-infrastructure, to be there and work flawlessly.

    Many people prefer Windows servers with Windows clients today, because they work so well together. You might say that the Windows server is 85% perfect and the Windows client software in 85% perfect. But for a server Linux is 100% perfect and for workstations Macs and Mac OS X is 100%

    To me this seems like a win/win situation. So here's my question again: Why doesn't Apple and Linux team up to really get big scale enterprise sales going?
  2. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
  3. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    apple doesn't need linux to succeed, Linux does not like apple's closed mode neither, there are cooperations when needed (such as KDE and Webkit) but they will never marry each other.
  4. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Red Hat sells the support structure for free software. That's how they make money. They don't really produce anything other than tools. As for "Linux", who to team up with? The biggest problem with Linux is the fractured nature of it's distributions.

    As noted, Apple already has a Server line of their software, which you might be interested to know is basically the same thing as the client, only without some of the false limitations and some tools thrown in too.


    As noted..

    Mac OS X is already a flavor of UNIX, called Darwin.
  5. applefan69 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 9, 2007
    I dont know if this is what your tryin to get at, but you know what i think apple needs to do?

    Make an OS X version for average PC.

    SOOOOO many PC users tell me how jealous they are of my mac, except they cant afford a mac. Thye say stuff like if i could get OS X i'd get it to replace windows in a heartbeat.

    I mean, not just one or two friends say that, im talkin like 90% of my friends say that.

    If Apple wanted to completely dominate the market thats what they'd have to do, in fact in that case microsoft would be in BIG trouble... as in their market share would die very quickly, while apple's grows very rapidly.

    Problem is we all know apple will NEVER do that,.
  6. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Yes, because they'd go out of business, and then NO ONE would have OS X.
  7. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    distance makes things better. See previous discussion of "what if OSX and windows market share were to be reversed"
  8. ebel3003 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2007
    "The Google"
    Apple's primary source of revenue is from hardware. By allowing Mac OS to run on all x86 hardware would defeat the purpose of "buying a Mac", which would kill their revenue. They're in a good spot and need to keep tuggin' away.
  9. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Honestly Apple's OS is good...some small things need fixing, but overall...Mac OS X is the best there reason to replace that(maybe something for Apple to toy with...which they did toy with Linux for the iPhone)

    But over all OS X is good as is.
  10. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Even though Apple's primary OS is certified genuine UNIX, its Linux distribution is still under active development. You may find MkLinux here.
  11. ebel3003 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2007
    "The Google"
    I had no idea that Apple took any part in Linux distributions, and honestly, I don't see the point. Regardless, that website looks like it hasn't seem a face list since the late '90s; sadly it was updated just last month.
  12. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    It will always be a limited platform.

    Even though Apple may want to get into that business, it can't compete yet.

    To compete in the corporate world, you need partners. Big Partners who are willing to spend the money and become dominant on that platform. With that in mind, the above poster pointed out some things that were lacking and that's just the beginning. Apple is not very good at partnerships, or hasn't been in the past.

    The winds are changing, but you won't see it anytime soon. Companies like IBM are stepping up with Lotus Notes, but broad support just isn't there.

    A couple of issues I see:

    OS X is not made for the Datacenter in terms of high performance, high availability systems. That kills it in the custom development space (the code you never see that runs a corporation). There are some exceptions to this, but you don't see people buying XServes to run Oracle or Sybase, or many other mainstream products for that matter.

    Only one Hardware Vendor. Some shops need competitive bidding for their business model. Some folks need custom solutions. I'm not sure Apple is prepared to whip out 100k iMac's without a slot loaded drive and no ports on them. Dell and HP cater to that sort of stuff. I've heard Apple will do some amount of work toward that, I just don't know how prepared they are for it.

    No mid-tower or small footprint expandable model. This has always been a complaint, but for a business that needs it, there's only one option, a Mac Pro which is probably overkill for everyone but a small few. What happens when your business model depends on the need for multiple monitors (2 - 4). There's no way to do it at a reasonable cost.

    Trained technicians. Let's face it, there has to be a big training expense of both Administrators and end users to get it deployed. Mac's (other than Mac Pro) are not the easiest to work on either.

    If the consumer Mac business keeps growing the way it has, you'll see more and more vendor / partner support for OS X.

    I assume if the market gets big enough, Apple may license OS X to a Dell or HP, but their consumer business would have to be somewhere about 70 - 80% of their revenue stream before I see that happening.
  13. Berlepsch macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    If a company changes its IT infrastructure to a linux / *nix base, why should it stop at the employee's desktop? Since you already have the linux experts in house, you can easily set up cheap, small PCs for the offices running KDE or GNOME desktops. Granted, Mac OS is better suited for things like multimedia or graphics production, but for most jobs, a linux solution would be sufficient.

    All in all, I don't see much for Apple in this proposed cooperation; if they want to expand in this market, they have to offer something that neither Microsoft nor linux can do.

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