Setting OS X Free- Why it's a good idea

Discussion in 'macOS' started by nick9191, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    My intention of this thread is to explain why I think releasing OS X to run on non Apple hardware would be beneficial to Apple. I also want to correct some myths floating around.

    1. "OS X would encounter numerous stability issues if it ran on a large spectrum of hardware."

    This myth comes from projecting problems with Windows onto other operating systems. People assume that because Windows runs on such a wide array of hardware, it's stability issues stem from that and the same thing would happen to Apple.

    To that I say look at Linux, BSD etc. These systems not only run on X86 hardware like Windows does, they run on SPARC, PowerPC etc. Look at the stability of these systems, BSD especially, which combined with Mach, is the foundation of XNU, OS X's kernel.

    To understand why Windows encounters issues would require an entire page of it's own, but to summarise: Legacy support, Microsoft has to drag a huge amount of legacy support throughout Windows to maintain compatibility, they create a new kernel for each Windows release then dump a load of legacy crap on top. Apple builds on the same kernel, they also packaged all legacy from pre OS X releases into an emulation layer called classic, rather than drag it all through OS X. Also bad design choices, Microsoft built Windows on sand, now they face a constant battle of improving security whilst retaining compatibility. Look at Vista and 7's compatibility issues with XP, look at IE8 and its IE7 compatibility mode, look how many companies are sticking with XP and IE6 because they have apps that do not run under IE7/8, look at how many issues UAC brought about because software couldn't run in admin mode.

    2. "What happens if someone plugs in an older video card, it doesn't work, the user hates Apple."

    Solved with a certified hardware scheme. You wont be able to install OS X on old machines, you can only install on new certified hardware. If you try and install OS X on an unsupported machine and it fails to run or doesn't run properly, then you don't receive any support. Just to clarify I'm not talking about DRM to prevent installs on non certified machines etc.

    Plus if a user has the knowledge to open up his machine and install new hardware, or even build his own machine, then he has the knowledge to differentiate between hardware and software. If his Nvidia card fails, he blames Nvidia, not Microsoft.

    3. "Who's going to buy Macs if you can run OS X on cheaper hardware?"

    Well firstly, people don't always buy cheap. Dell, HP etc. sell cheap desktops, expensive gaming PC's, expensive workstations and draw in a profit from all. Alienware, Falcon Northwest sell machines that cost more than Apple's, make a higher profit margin, and draw in a profit. And they all compete over Windows, people are not buying an Alienware machine because it comes with a better OS, they are buying it for it's hardware.

    There are so many Mac users who are scared crapless of competition. They believe that Apple hardware cannot compete and if other companies have OS X, Apple hardware is doomed, it's normally the same users that then go on about the benefits of Apple hardware. Let's look at a few reasons to buy Apple hardware: excellent aesthetic design, excellent build quality, excellent customer service, features that would normally cost extra on a PC (webcam, microphone, wifi n, bluetooth, optical digital audio in/out, IR sensor), features found on no PC (multitouch buttonless trackpad, FW800), great resale value.

    We can see this already because Apple hardware actually has a larger userbase than OS X, there are people who buy a Mac just to run Windows or Linux, theres a few users I know of on this forum. Granted this number is not a lot, since a lot of people don't know how or didn't know they could install Windows on a Mac.

    Now of course some Mac users will buy a cheaper PC running OS X if one is available. But this would easily be offset by profit from software, and new users to the platform. Think about it, outside of the North America and Western Europe, the Mac is a relatively alien platform. Even inside aforementioned areas, there are still a hell of a lot of people who view Apple as "that iPod company that makes weird non Windows computers". If OS X is running on hundreds of millions of computers all over the world, that is a lot of new exposure to OS X and a lot of new people who are going to use OS X for the first time. And some of those users will go and buy PC's running OS X, but some will buy Macs. Apple's Mac marketshare will dramatically increase, and OS X marketshare will skyrocket.

    4. Apple makes huge profit's from hardware, it can't make anything from software.

    Look at Microsoft, look at Google. Whilst both make hardware, they both make the majority of their money from software and services.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Post it on a blog. Most of your reasoning is flawed and/or obvious anyways.
  3. bmb012 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2006
    Ignorant at best. If Apple 'set OS X free,' the price of the software would have to significantly increase, and Apple would have to resort to a ridiculous DRM scheme like Microsoft (and we can argue the effectiveness).

    Certified hardware? You're acting like 'hardware' is one thing. You'd have to certify every single combination of hardware, not to mention Apple would now have to create drivers for every bit of hardware that they don't support (okay, for video cards, this might be a good thing). Not only would they have to support the extra hardware, they'd have to support different combinations of different hardware. Linux also has teams of open source programmers working on drivers for different hardware. Effective or not, that's not how Apple works.

    Face it, people are just more inclined to pay more for hardware than they would for software. Everyone would think it was ridiculous if every new version of OS X was 500 bucks.
  4. Duff-Man macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    Duff-Man says...not to mention that this topic has been done to death countless times already....nothing new to see here folks....oh yeah!
  5. mreg376 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    One of the reasons for the Macs' success is that the operating system is married to Apple and Apple-selected hardware. Windows is what it is because it tries to be everything to hundreds of different brands and versions of hardware. Linux works well with a lot of different hardware but at the expense of fully supporting a lot of the hardware's unique features. We really don't need the Mac OS to try to be either another Windows or another Linux. We need it to be what it is.
  6. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    One has only have to look at the clone success of the 90s and how rich that Apple made, they could even get Steve Jobs back with that step, but he dumbfoundedly decided to stop it. One can only imagine the market share (the most important aspect to consider) could have by now. Apple would have made less profit for sure, but that is not what capitalism is all about.
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Really all I want are

    a non workstation desktop solution with the ability to have 2 hdd bays (mac pro is overkill and toooo pricy and a mini is not adequate)


    for ati/nvidea to write osx drivers for their cards that can be used in said solution and mac pros

    I will settle for an imac with a user replaceable hdd with 2 display output capability that seems to be more realistic thanthe others


    Until then, I will be a tad dissapointed
  8. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    Not to mention that Microsoft does this and even for them it is an incredibly difficult to support this kind of thing and they have a 90% percent market share and they have been doing this since the 70’s. Apple has not. They try to use Microsoft’s business model they are going to have to play catchup to something that MS burns money on every year - except Apple doesn’t have the flexibility.

    Not to mention usability. Linux has issues with being a “geeks system” since mainstream business support for Linux is very limited. Linux has never been a consumer operating system because much of it’s design is done by enthusiasts.

    Of course I don’t want to bash Linux - Apple is successful because they focus on quality and not quantity. They tried the cloning game in the 90’s - they suffered heavily - because they could not compete with a monopoly like Microsoft. To compete, you do not copy, you have to differentiate. That is what Apple does and they do it well.
  9. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    Yeah. Check with Michael Spindler about that. You're reasoning got him fired as Apple's CEO. Just in time, too.

    Check out this article for a brief review of the Apple Clone Wars. Apple learned that lesson. No way is that ever going to happen again.
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    You do know that buisness models change, industries change, and what consumers want changes over time no?

    For instance, apple failed with their first attempt into gaming with the pippen. Now they are re-entering that field with the iphone platform. A different approach yes, but so could the opening up of osx
  11. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    You'll have to do more than propose obvious generalities. You'll have explain how you think those things have changed, and how those changes have now made OSX licensing a good idea. Otherwise, we will have to proceed on the assumption that any changes that might have occurred over the last 15 years are irrelevant to the question. Still a bad idea.
  12. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    I think "setting OS X free" is a bad idea.

    Most linux/bsd distro's don't become unstable, because when installed on hardware that it does not recognize, it uses ultra basic drivers to get it to run. Whereas Windows tries to use other drivers to make it better, but often results in instability. Meaning, I could get 600x480 screen resolution in something like Ubuntu, and it would be rock solid, and in XP I could get 1024x700, but something like trying to use OpenGL would make it crash.

    Flawed argument. In fact, it really sucks big time.

    Yes, and then we will be in the same situation as Windows, as in dodgy driver problems. It would ruin the whole point of a Mac.

    But Apple isn't Microsoft or Google.
  13. nick9191 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    The clones did no such thing. Apple was already crashing, the clones were a last minute attempt to rescue Apple. The clones also equated to a very low percentage of computers sold running the Mac OS. In 1995, the clone makers combined, sold 200,000 units vs. Apple's 4.5 million (source)

    Apple failed because their management system was a joke, they could not fulfil orders, and they lost their technological advantage to Windows by being so protective of their software (note: the last point is repeating itself again today).

    As to the other points, responses up in a few hours.
  14. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    And there we have it. Past tense. Apple are doing very well now, their profits increasing every year, and drawing evermore closer to Microsoft's profits.

    Freeing OS X isn't in the best interest of Apple, and also it isn't in the best interest of me. I chose a Mac because both the hardware and drivers are designed/made by Apple. Never before have I had a simple white laptop that has not crashed, pretty much at all. Never before have I been able to keep my laptop on for two weeks flat, and it not even have an app to crash.

    I had tried pretty much every possible Operating System before, and I still had crashes and two different computers. Freeing OS X will ruin it for me, and all the other Mac users out there.

    Now make a hackintosh you slackintosh.
  15. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Hippie dreams of mystic crystal revelations...

    Freeing OS X would be a groovy thing, but you might as well be wishing for an outbreak of worldwide peace, love, and happiness and hoping that the dawning of the Age of Aquarius will somehow foster a global outbreak of harmony and understanding.

    The man just wants to keep us down. It's a real bummer.
  16. mysterytramp macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    spinnerlys can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he had the [SARCASM] flag set to ON during that whole post.

  17. nick9191 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Sorry, it was early in the morning, I saw the word clones. etc. etc.

    I understood the sarcasm, my post was in response to what he was saying behind the sarcasm.

    Should have worded it better.
  18. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Eventually, someone WILL find a way to "free" OS X so that it can be installed on non-Mac Intel-based computers. It's just a matter of time.

    Psystar was _almost_ there, even posted a software solution on its website, just before it was closed down.

    Once this happens - and make no mistake, it WILL happen - the floodgates will have been opened, and expect to see Apple itself release "OS X for PC's".

    I will go further in my speculation:
    Apple ALREADY HAS a generic version of OS X that will run on non-Mac Intel computers. They're holding it back, well out of sight. One of their best-kept secrets.

    Why would I make such a foolish assertion, you wonder?

    Well, consider this:
    Think back to about 2004. OS X had been out for three or four years already. There were rumors - just rumors - that Apple was working on a version of the OS that would run on Intel CPUs, as well as PowerPC CPUs. Of course, Apple denied that any such iteration of the OS existed. Then.... voila!.... Apple "sees the light", abandons PowerPC, moves to Intel and --- miracle of miracles --- has a version of OS X _ready to go_ that will run on the Intel processor. Well, gee, where did THAT come from?

    So much for the denials.

    Another reason why Apple will eventually "free" OS X is to dominate the marketplace. Why let others take revenue that they could have for themselves?

    If OS X _is_ indeed superior to Windows, why _shouldn't it_ be running on all the Intel PCs of the world?
  19. nick9191 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Care to explain why? I could say I have a 30ft parrot, but unless I provide evidence or at least a convincing argument, no one will believe me.

    As for the "post it on a blog", I did, I also posted it here to try and bring some intelligible discussion to the forum amongst the "iPad sucks, iPad rules, you suck, whens new mbps coming lol" BS. But it appears most of you have brought it down to the same level. Well done.

    As if it wasn't bad enough projecting Microsofts software incapabilities onto Apple, you're now projecting their entire business strategy.

    I'm not here to say Apple cares about the consumer, but I will say they do certainly more so than most American corporations. Now who knows, they could well implement some activation crap upon all of us. My main objectives are for Apple to do well, to get OS X in as many hands as possible, and for there to be a decent competitor to Microsoft in the retail and business space.

    As for expensive software, according to most a PC is cheaper than a Mac anyway, even with Microsofts inflated software costs.

    Huh? Hardware manufacturers build drivers for there hardware. You think Apple and Microsoft sit there coding drivers for ATI and Nvidia cards? Linux programmers make attempts at building drivers because the hardware manufacturers wont do it, because frankly, no one gives two sh*ts about Linux. When you create a market with massive potential, developers will flock to it, just like the iPhone, just like the soon to be iPad.

    Yeah Microsoft really made a bad mistake here. You know I think there going bankrupt. Jeez.
  20. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    spinnerlys and you are both wrong. He is wrong because the clones were supposed to do what he says, but they did not. Specifically, the clones were supposed to be Apple's partners in increasing Macintosh market share. Instead, they were satisfied to market to Apple's existing customer base. They did not increase the market share of the MacOS and took hardware sales from Apple. They were a lose-lose proposition for Apple.

    As for your point, it bears reminding you that the version of Windows extant during the clone era was Windows 95. I don't really need to say any more about Microsoft's alleged technology advantage.

    I live in the US, not the UK. So, I can't comment on your problems with orders during the clone era. On my side of the Atlantic, I purchased Power Macs for home and work during the era. I still own the computer I purchased for my home. I have never had a problem with orders. My dealings with Apple over the last 20 years have always been excellent--before, during, and after the clone era.
  21. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008

    Yes, and when you open your eyes and read those quarterly reports from Apple, you will see that more than 2/3 of that revenue is made with iPods, iPhones and the iTunes store.

    In fact, Apple would still be on top if they stopped selling Macs entirely.

    That doesn't even deserve an answer anymore, but anyway:

    Apple does NOT design all of the hardware or the drivers: They mostly buy stock components just like any other OEM. They do not design the nVidia or ATI or Intel graphics cards in their computers. They do not design the Intel chipsets used in their computers. Or the USB ports. Or the hard disks. Or the hard disk controllers.

    If you cannot get a Windows or Linux or BSD machine going for two weeks in a row, then this must be your fault. 100% of the servers on the Internet run on those operating systems, and they rarely, if ever, crash. And guess what? Windows servers use the SAME operating system as Windows Vista and Windows 7.

    I have more than two decades of professional experience in the IT industry, and if systems keep crashing without hardware failures, then the problem almost always sits in front of the machine.

    Why Mac users tend to believe that opening their precious little BSD-rip off to other hardware would "harm the Mac and Apple and themselves" is beyond me. OS X uses a FreeBSD foundation, which was designed to run on everything from a robot to a super computer, robust and fast. The foundation is there, and others have done all the work for Apple. Apple exchanged the well performing BSD kernel for a worse one (Mach's beach ball of Death anyone?), put a rather old GUI on top of it and closed the system down wherever possible.

    There are only two real reasons why Apple is not opening OS X to other OEMs:
    1. Steve Jobs Ego.
    2. They hate to play with others.
  22. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Well, that's fair enough, but what does that say about me?
    Or more importantly, what does that say about other operating systems? I am certainly not a OS X fanboy, but simple tasks on Windows 98, Vista and Ubuntu Linux (the OS's I have used) seemed difficult and slow compared to OS X.
  23. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Intel is just a phase in Apple's progress. They are pinning their hopes on iPad, which will eventually improve and reach into a fairly wide home use market space. By the end of this decade, Apple's full line-up will run on a customized ARM-based CPU made by their own subsidiary, but will include a run-time translation coprocessor that will allow it to run intel code (including windows emulators) at around 80%+. So cloning will become a moot point. If you want to make a clone, you will have to get the CPU from Apple.

    But meanwhile, some university will finish research on a wholly new computer design that will be incredibly powerful and will have no motherboard, no CPU, will be very easily scalable and will make the Mac mini look like a garbage truck.
  24. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Windows can run forever if you don't install anything. In fact, I would say that if you stick to certain stable programs and drivers, Windows is rock solid. The same is true of the *nixes only they are more tolerant to actual usage beyond a handful of "blessed" applications, provided you aren't running a web browser from the # prompt. To say Steve Jobs ego is the only thing keeping OS X from becoming more widely available is not consistent with Apple's support / toleration of the osx86 project. Furthermore it suggests a certain bias. Any mention of Steve's ego really should take into consideration the galaxy class ego up in Redmond, Wa.

    I have run windows and linux side by side since 1998. My first Mac was a used Quadra and I must admit I was underwhelmed. I ran a handful of low volume internet servers on Windows NT and migrated them to Linux. I never looked back. I went from days or hours and sometimes minutes of uptime to years of uptime where the only reboots were for power failures. Yes, I was running game servers (quakeworld and halflife). Yes they are inherently unstable. Yes they brought down Windows like a cheap rug. Meanwhile, on Linux, I had a cron job fire off every 60 seconds to see if the game servers had died so it could restart them. Problem solved. While Windows had reboots more than a few times a day, my *nix servers only reboot for power failures.

    For this reason, I remain impressed with Linux, but I'd rather deal with a gui on a day to day basis and leave sed/awk/grep for the hardcore geeks. When OS X came out I was already sold because I knew that underneath the heart of true *nix was beating. Oh if only Microsoft would eat a slice of humble pie and build windows 8 on top of bsd or linux or any flavor of *nix. But they won't. What I like most about OS X is *nix underneath. I can go play in the sed/awk/grep sandbox of the Terminal whenever I want to but 99.99 percent of the time I am presented with a stable, well thought and efficient gui.

    While Microsoft seems to have a few powerless human factors specialists sprinkled throughout their organization, Apple seems to have human factors directors making key decisions to prevent their software from presenting the user with 99 steps to do a 1 step task.

    You could say I came in through the back door to OS X. I'm more a unix user looking for a nice gui on top. Should Apple open OS X up to the world? As an end user with a half dozen old peecees running Linux I say heck yes. As an owner of several Macs I say heck no. I don't want my Applecare support suddenly diluted by the addition of millions of users. I also don't want Apple engineering efforts diluted by the workload of testing millions of hardware permutations over which they have no control. How about those Psystar "reference platforms?" Maybe. Maybe Apple could tolerate the installation of OS X on "certified" hardware provided the certification and the support is done by a third party and the end user has to purchase support from the guy that sold him the "compatible" hardware. This offers the best of both worlds. It offers a slightly increased revenue stream for Apple OS sales. It prevents dilution of support for genuine Apple products. The down side is it tends to dilute the value of Apple hardware.

    Apple has a license to print money right now and has made the highest revenue and highest profit in its history during the biggest recession since 1929. Perhaps we all need to shut up and let the folks at Apple continue what is clearly a winning strategy.
  25. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    That's already been done for years now. Nothing new at all. It didn't "open the floodgates" then and nothing has changed.

    This topic has been beaten to death dozens of times...Apple is a hardware company. They have no interest in doing what you suggest; it's not their business model, end of story (for the millionth time).


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