What is your opinion on Linux and the future of the Mac?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by RickR, May 14, 2007.

  1. RickR macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2006
    I know this is possibly a hot topic but I am wondering what other people's opinion of Linux is on here.
    I know for many years it has been said that it will grow fast. It seems years ago I heard it would be something like 50% of the desktop market now but it seems it's less than 1% and growing but still not growing that fast. Yet for the server market I think it's the large majority.
    I first tried Linux about 8 years ago and found it very dos-like and hard to set up. During a trip to Germany last fall I was shocked to see how common it is. I'd go to a bookstore and it seemed half the computer magazines were about Linux and two people I visited both were switches to SUSE Linux from Windows claiming how Windows was too expensive, buggy, bloated, and full of viruses and spyware. I think Linux is making large inroads in many countries outside of the US and even more so in developing countries because of the low cost of Linux itself, basically free, and the fact it will run on older hardware and not need as much memory and processing power.
    When I was a Windows user I always looked at the day Linux would take over so I didn't have to work with Windows anymore. After my Germany trip I almost bought SUSE Linux to try on my desktop but chose Ubuntu since that seems popular now. I never tried it though since within a month a friend introduced me to the Mac. I instantly became hooked and purchased this Macbook Pro. I have two programs including Quickbooks that require Windows so I still have Parallels running Windows XP on my MBP. Yet when I purchased this I planned to use Windows much of the time but found most of my software could be replaced with Mac versions and I hope to someday use the mac side 100% of the time. Any problems I've had with my MBP have been on the Windows side.
    I still find myself reading up on Linux a lot and I have two Windows desktops that I very rarely use. Whenever I do I deal with viruses, spyware, etc. and am thinking of setting Ubuntu Linux up on them.
    I think the the Mac is a great computer and my future definitely likes with the Mac, not Linux. With time it seems Linux is getting easier to install and more of a out of the box solution. I listen to a lot of Linux podcasts and do some reading on it and it seems many Linux people are anti-microsoft, not anti-apple and some even look at apple as an ally with them against microsoft. Yet other Linux people look at Apple as even more proprietary than Microsoft since Apple makes the hardware also.
    My take on this is I think Linux can coexist with Apple in the future. I think Microsoft is falling apart and Vista helped that. It won't be overnight but I think unless something changes, maybe with Gates leaving, Microsoft doesn't have much of a future opening it up to both Linux and Apple.
    The way I see it is Linux will do well with the highly technical crowd. They like modifying the OS, having more power over their computer, and are more open to open source software. I think it will also do well with some businesses since they buy so many computers. They will look at the cost of outfitting many desks with computers and how much cheaper Linux is. I've heard Linux may move into education a lot but I'm not as sure about that. I think some people at home may use it as a desktop but not as much. The big problem I see with Linux is at least at this time you can't go to a store to buy software for it. Maybe that will change with time but i see Linux being more about open source downloadable software. I'm not sure what this means for the future of many companies such as Adobe is more software is open source. Also, with Linux being so open source and so many distributions I see it being even less control than Microsoft. This is a good thing but bad in that there could be more stability issues with different hardware, setups, etc. than we had with Microsoft.
    What I see for Apple is they will still give you that out of the box solution you can't get elsewhere. You have iLife and a very stable system. It may cost more but these people will be willing to buy. I think it will continue to do well in education and be very popular in the home and I think some people trust commercial software more than open source.
    I see the day Apple could easily grow to 25% of the market. I have doubts about it being the majority. Some people don't like the idea of one company controlling so much but I know the result is you get a product that is very well integrated and works well. I see the other 75% being Linux eventually. I know this will take some time and I guess there's always the chance of another OS joining the crowd. This isn't at all meant as anything anti-Apple. I think Apple is a great solution and am planning on getting a iMac later this year to maybe replace one of my desktops. I just am interested in how people feel about Linux and it's affects on Apple.
  2. dartzorichalcos macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2007
    Linux (Ubuntu or Suse) is a good operating system. It's better than Windows. I could see that Apple could support Linux in Boot Camp or whatever because of its slow growing popularity. Mac OS X and Linux are almost alike but Mac OS X has the better applications but Linux has more system customize options but I still like Mac OS X more than Linux.:)
  3. KurtangleTN macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    When I tried out Suse Linux, there were things I liked.. things I loved, things I hated.

    I loved being able to not worry about malware
    I loved being able to use multiple desktops

    I hated the driver support
    I hated that you had to be in the terminal so much
    I hated that small things that should have an easy GUI are long, terminal commands

    ATI's drivers are pathetic for Linux. Installing things from the terminal isn't fun, or easy, and an example of my third one would be getting WPA to work correctly in 6.06

    My final decision was, it just wasn't worth keeping over Windows. The horrors that I had to deal with with looking for a SNES emulator, something with Mac or Windows I can find, download, and install in under 5 minutes.. took me hours, and it turned out the emulator blew too.

    I've had people who have had the opposite experiences, they went right in.. no problems. I also have Ubuntu 6.06 on my laptop, and the sound doesn't work.

    To me it was a ring of fixing problems, be it trying to get multimedia to work right in Firefox, turning on 3D acceleration, ect..

    Macs on the other hand, never had any of these problems.. and it has some of the benefits (I have a desktop manager thing for multiple desktops, and I don't worry about viruses)

    However, the downside is that you don't have the same choice when looking for a comp, and to me thats a big downside.

    The future of both? I'm not sure.. i'm not really convinced that Linux can be a mainstream consumer desktop OS. A downside of Linux is that some .rpms (I think thats what there called) are distro specific.. so a Ubuntu installer may not work on Suse, and it's a real pain when your looking for software. It's kinda like the biggest upside of Linux (many choices) is the downside in terms of distros, but Ubuntu is starting to step up as "The one".

    We'll see I guess.

    I doubt Macs ever get over 15% of the market, and thats just because of Apple's hardware lock on software.

    Meanwhile, Windows is Windows. It's hard to ever see it fall. You have to wonder, if they really feel a OS like Vista is the way to go.. or should they be going down another path, maybe moving to a Unix based system in the future?
  4. Kevin83165 macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2006
    I hacked on Linux for years, it's how I became finally in love with Macs. And it's how I learned ALOT. However I no longer use Linux (and solely use Macs only) now for two primary reasons. (plus Macs do all I need anyway).

    1. The O/S is outdated in 6 months. Why in the hell must most Linux distros have that fast of a turn around? I see a few good points development and security wise, but unless you spend all your waking time hacking on it, your O/S is redundant just as you finally get it all working well.

    2. Instead of the community all working together, everyone has to have their own spinoff of Gnoppix lol. I mean, if your a major software company and you finally decide to go ahead and write your software for Linux, which do you choose? Fedora? Suse? Ubuntu? All of them? Okay, which library(s)? GTK? QT?
    My humble opinion for what it's worth, the Linux community needs to work more together and develop a little bit better of a standard instead of branching out like religions all over the place. Freedom of choice is nice to an extent (but there needs to be a limit).

    With a Mac, I know that if I download something for it, it's gonna run. I don't have to fight to find which library(s) I am missing all the time or find that I am missing major dependancies.
  5. VoodooDaddy macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003
    Linux is not user friendly at all, not for the average or below average computer user. Actually, even for people that are fairly proficient its not. Im in that group. Ive tried half a dozen distros and have NO clue how to do anything. Until the GUI is really dumbed down for the masses it wont take off.
  6. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    Darwin, the underlying OS of Mac OS X, is open source. Meanwhile no part of Windows is as significantly open as OSX.

    Because it's about not being tied into expensive software and having to deal with the consequences. I for one love that I can use OOo as a free alternative to MS Office.

    Or maybe the opposite. As the open nature of Linux makes it easier to fix major security issues more quickly and not having to wait for a Microsoft/Apple/etc. update.

    If anything, there are some very passionate people out there who work to support all kinds of hardware on Linux. I might even go as far as to say that Linux is much more extremely flexible and potentially stable vs. Windows in the same setups. How many times are you going to see a computer running Linux that's the size of your thumb? And how many times are you going to see something that small run any non-20-year-old version of Windows or a predecessor?

    Mac OS X is like the best of both worlds. Except I get sorta mad once in a while that I can't use Compiz/Beryl on my Mac without gnome/kde/etc.

    I use a program called Visor on my Mac that gives me a global terminal window accessible with a hotkey because some commands are just easier and MUCH faster done in Terminal than any other way.

    No it's not. I personally don't like Ubuntu much. The package management system pisses me off (I wasn't very fond of it in Debian, nor am I fond of it now in Ubuntu). I much prefer Gentoo and Portage, which you could just think of as BSD Ports for Linux.

    I suggest you go look up the different package management systems because if you're not fond of rpms (neither am I) there are other ways to get stuff working.

    So are you comparing Apple vs. everyone else, or Apple vs. individual companies? Cause Dell sure as hell doesn't have like 80% of the market or anything, so it's unfair to group multiple companies together against one.

    Depends on how you look at it. The upside, regardless of your view, is that nobody's charging for upgrades. If you really don't want to upgrade, then don't. Nobody's sticking a gun at your head.

    I like that I can have an up-to-date system just by running a couple trivial commands in the terminal every week or so, instead of having to wait a la Ubuntu with (skip a few versions) Dapper to Edgy to Feisty to Gutsy and so on. If I felt particularly lazy, I could dump this in a script and just use cron so I don't have to really bother much.

    emerge --sync && emerge -uavDN world
    emerge --depclean
    Oh that was simple. :) The last two being completely optional. And possibly including a few more commands depending on what's being installed.

    You go for what fits your needs, that is the beauty of it.

    There are a gazillion standards involved with any given Linux distro or application, e.g. POSIX or SUS (hey Apple's going for this certification for Leopard...) to ...stuff like OpenDocument and XMPP. If you were to choose to have one unifying standard that would basically screw over things like branching off from a project cause of a disagreement about a fundamental aspect of the project...that destroys half the beauty of it.

    There's stuff like the Linux Standard Base trying to standardize some parts of Linux, but it's relatively open enough that it won't be stifling to development for the most part.

    Oh really? Plenty of apps come with missing dependencies and tell you to install them yourself. If you use MacPorts or Fink, again, it won't necessarily work.

    Methinks you just haven't tried a good package management system. There's almost no dependency hell to be experienced or anything of that sort.

    I'm sorry if this sounds elitist, but Linux is not meant nor will it ever be for the average person. If it fits your needs, then so be it...if you're interested, then great...if you have no need for it, why bother?

    That being said, many distros have great support communities.
  7. tomoisyourgod macrumors regular

    May 3, 2007
    Liverpool, UK
    My opinion on Linux is that a fair whack of knowledge is required to run it, however it's more secure and efficient than Windows.

    Future of the Mac is looking good, it appears that Apple are gaining more marketshare - the company is in great shape.

    More and more people are realising how bad windows actually is and looking at alternatives.

    Alternatives being a Mac or Linux distro.
  8. VoodooDaddy macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003

    I dont care what it sounds like. But whenever this discussion comes up (Windows, OSX, Linux) invariably there are ppl loudly cheerleading for Linux as the best alternative. It may be the best for a small chunk of the computing world, but for the masses it never will be.
  9. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    Like I said, I don't really prefer anything over another. There's a need for every OS...I use Windows for Visual Studio...I do IRC on my Mac...my server runs FreeBSD while I dualboot the Windows machine cause sometimes I feel like using Gentoo.

    My statement was not as much about whether or not it was elitist as it is about what any given person needs. So what if it's not for the masses. Nobody said it had to be for the masses.

    And the masses only have a difficult time transitioning most of the time because they are just so used to whatever they're using right now. Change is hard. My mother, for one, has never really used Windows whatsoever, and she prefers Ubuntu to Windows, and Mac OS X to Ubuntu. I grew up with all of them so using anything isn't much of a big deal regardless of my need. Et cetera.
  10. kiang macrumors regular


    Apr 8, 2007
    complete BS
    Customer-aimed distros as ubuntu, fedoraad suse are user-friendly as hell. The only problem with linux is drivers. A lot of hardware manufacturers do not make their drivers open-source, so linux users have to start building the drivers from scratch, not knowing anything specific about the hardware.
    This is getting better though: Dell is starting to sell laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed, so you won't have to prepare the system or search for drivers at all.
    Also, AMD/ATI is going to make their drivers open-source, so hopefully others will follow soon, giving linux a better position in the market.
  11. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    I like Linux in the Data Center. Not a big fan of it on the desktop. On my desktop, I just want it to work.

    That's why MS is so successful (among other things), you install office, for the most part it just works. For a long time, there was NO alternative in the office space. MS went and killed of any and all competition, but nobody really had the whole package. Products like Word and Excel are best in class and have been for a long time. It takes a lot to overcome that.

    Business can't run without continuity and compatibility on the desktop. Since MS owns about 90% of the desktop market with Office being installed on a large percentage of those machines, anything you replace it with needs to be compatible.

    NeoOffice and the others are just starting to get there.

    I think Mac's are a great alternative for the home. Business will have trouble swallowing it, mainly because of re-training costs and building up a support team with the appropriate software to manage it.

    Linux has come a long way, I think once you get a common interface and a windows-like update feature in it, it may be compelling.

    I think the biggest issue is finding software. There's a large percentage of the population that barely gets computers. Knowing how to find open source software is an issue. Its not like you can walk into best buy or compusa and pick up a box of linux software with a manual. In that regard, even the Apple platform is difficult to find software unless you search online or are lucky enough to know someone who knows the Mac platform.

    Thats changing slowly, and with MS's poor attitude and missteps lately, they are going to start dropping like a rock. Even big business isn't real happy about having Vista crammed down their throats.
  12. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    This is the way I view it too. For a server OS you really can't beat Linux. It's fast and you can strip it down to just the functions you need.

    It's getting better on the desktop, although the driver thing is still a big issue that's going to put people off.

    As to how it effects the Mac, since OSX is dependent on Open-Source software increased Linux usage will even benefit Apple. Not only will more developers be working on components that are then incorporated into OSX itself, but the Mac will gradually become more compatible with the dominant OS.

    Microsoft on the other hand are pretty much stuffed if Linux gains the real traction it looks to be finally gaining. I see the only way forward for them as creating their own Windows-compatible *nix variant, incorporating Open Source in the same way Apple does. Otherwise they're going to look increasingly isolated as their market share continues to shrink.
  13. Vinnie_vw macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2005
    the Netherlands
    I think it's obvious that there is a big future for Linux and it's derivatives. Look at the competition. You have Windows, which is becoming ever more bloated. And you have the Mac-OS, which is reserved for an elitist corner of the market (no offence to anyone, I have a mac too).

    Linux is free, has a growing user-base, and is secure. With mainstream-companies like Dell pre-installing it on machines, it is clear that they have done some calculations on the profitability of such an action, and that other companies will follow eventually.

    What Linux needs next is something like what happened in OS X. That a company becomes a champion for the tech and builds an awesome user-interface on top of it. Maybe Dell will be that company, who knows, as they really have a lot to gain from getting both rid of Windows and Macs. Maybe Ubuntu will do it, who knows.

    What made the Mac great was that it offers a fully integrated solution, software build specifically for a well-designed piece of hardware. Microsoft cannot do this, unless it starts doing something like it on the Xbox or on handhelds. Linux, with the help of someone like Dell, could become the next Mac. <- pure speculation on my part.

    Exciting is the future.
  14. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    talk about mass market, when osx has 4.1%, linux has 3.8%, mass market? how come mac is that much better? user friendly? yes, there are difference, but only limited, when you buy some printers that have no osx driver (50% chance), your osx got stuck, and its even more painful than linux.

    compare to windows' software/hardware base, both mac and linux can just eat dust.

    do some constructive analysis.

    whats strong about linux comparing to osx?
    more 3rd party hardware support and more flexibility of system cuztomization, more great freewares to get job done

    whats weak of linux comparing to osx?
    less commercial software available(near zero if u ask me), nearly zero gadget peripheral support.

    1. compare to windows, both linux and osx's biggest weakness is software availability. freeware and commercial apps.
    2. crossover, wine, q, parallels are deal breakers, with them, many things can change.

    there are some similar topics at ubuntuforums.com, asking users their opinion about OSX, go check if interested :p
  15. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Do you have a source for these numbers or did you make them up?

    Because MacOS X uses the CUPS system, virtually every printer supported under Linux is also supported under MacOS X. However, there are MacOS X-supported printers which are not supported by CUPS.

    There thousands of freeware titles available for MacOS X. Through Fink and Darwin Ports, virtually every freeware Linux/Unix title can also run on the Mac.
    Have you ever used Windows freeware? I give the the commercial apps point, but I dare say that it is not nearly the issue that you make it out to be.
    Is there a point here? Many users love Paralllels. As for the other titles, exactly which deals are they breaking?

    Is that where your nonsense comes from?
  16. zero2dash macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2006
    Fenton, MO
    Server market has a fair share of *nix distros, sure.
    Home user/desktop market, I don't know about "growing".
    I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade but I find it hard to see how *nix is "growing" when most people I know in the industry (or just associate with) do not run a *nix distro and have no plans on doing so. If it's growing, it's a snail's pace.

    Their entitled to their opinions and you're entitled to believe theirs, but I don't think that's what happened and I can certainly say that (despite its flaws) Windows isn't as terrible as some people would tend to believe. I'd also say that antipiracy laws are more stringent in other countries (Germany could be one, I have no idea) so that may be why *nix is more commonplace there than here in the US. It could also be the cost of entry - *nix = $0 as opposed to paying per license with Windows.

    That, my friend, is a dream you will never see come to life. :)
    Windows isn't going anywhere; it's market penetration is such that it would take any competitor a long time (I'd suggest at least 5 years) to convert a majority % away from Windows.

    Mac OS is picking up steam, but it's still not much more than a 'blip' on the proverbial 'radar' in the grand scheme of things.

    OpenSuSe is free. I recommend it.
    I don't really care for Ubuntu (or Kubuntu). It's not bad, but I prefer OpenSuSe.

    I don't see what you're doing that is causing you these problems. I'm in charge of many Windows computers both at work and through side jobs or friends - once you set up a Windows box properly, you should have little to no issues with them. (Especially with XP or Win2k installed...anything else is fair game.)

    Again, Windows is installed on million upon millions of computers around the world. (Whether legally or illegally, that's not the point.)

    No competitor to Windows will achieve those numbers overnight, within a week, within a year, or even within 5 years. We're talking 10 years plus.

    Microsoft is far from falling apart. Just because they're constantly brow-beaten in the media because of all of Vista's flaws does not mean they're resting on their laurels of all the computers still running XP, 2000, and even 98 SE or 95. You [apparently] fail to realize - a lot of companies out there don't upgrade Windows when a new iteration is released; they continue running the old stuff.

    Strength in numbers. ;)
    That's like when people say Nintendo was doomed because the Gamecube didn't sell...which didn't matter, because GBA + DS were flying off shelves. Same thing with Microsoft. Just because Vista isn't selling itself doesn't mean they don't have a savings chest filled to the brim with billions of dollars from every-other-version-released Windows and Office sales, as well as their (small) hardware division (keyboard + mice), and their Xbox/Microsoft Games Division subsidiaries.

    Microsoft's competitors (namely Apple) can sway a lot of new PC buyers who are in the market to spend the money anyway, but for most people - Windows works well enough that the hassles here and there outweigh buying a brand new machine from Apple.

    As for Gates leaving, what will that accomplish?
    That'd be like Jobs leaving Apple; it will accomplish nothing.

    Both men have little to nothing to do with their OS cores anymore. People report to them and they have their final say-so's, but as a whole - Gates and Jobs have nearly nothing to do with how flawed or not flawed their respective OS's are.

    *nix will never the the majority, I'll bet a beer on that. :D
    Apple could garner 25% within the next 5-10 years. (especially if they release a mid-tower)

    *nix is a niche product with a niche following; unless they gain better developer support (from the big name key players like Adobe), they will always stay as such. Despite what you or anyone else would say about competing products (like trying to compare GIMP to Photoshop) - people will pay for Adobe products rather than download a free alternative. Similar to how people would rather buy Office 07 than download the newest build of OpenOffice.

    There's the key feature that OSX has over *nix - better support (both fundamentally as well as third party software support).

    ~my thoughts ;)
  17. Vidd macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    Linux is nice as a back-up operating system. I used Fedora as a means to get a laptop up and running again but I would have found it a little limiting and complex for a long term O/S.
    Plug and play was somewhat impressive though. It could recognise both my Microsoft RF keyboard. Wireless networking devices did not follow the same pattern, unfortunately.

    As for the future of Linux, it might gain more presence in home desktops and governments (which is quite cool) but I doubt it'll be viewed as more than gimmicky by a lot of people for a long time.
  18. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    do you always accuse ppl before they respond?
    aaa, nice, however, do you care to point out the difference between "reality" and "virtually"? since HP Laserjet 1020 works on linux out of box, sure, virtually, it works on osx too, too bad, its a pain in the xxx. virtually=painfully, more difficult setup than windows?
    huh, again, Mr. Virtually!, care to let us know how many mac osx user is high tech enough to know how to get fink or darwinport to work? your "virtually" is getting abused too much IMHO
    I dare you to find another ppl who would make such statment that there are nearly as many osx freewares as windows freewares, do u normally just make up data like this?
    your "debate" just for "debate" method is not only nonsense for normal user, but also above the reality. What help can your "virtually possible statements" above do for normal user? how many osx user even heard about fink or darwinport? not to mention using them.
  19. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Well first off Mac OS has more like 6-7 percent last time I heard....not 4%, and Linux doesn't have 3.8 percent in the laptop/desktop scene...unless I missed the memo. Maybe some source for such a claim!

    Also tons of people I talk to have never heard of Linux....OS X has HUGE mindshare...far bigger then Linux. Everyone has heard of iPod...and most know Apple makes computers
  20. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    I sincerely think this is a US-UK only phenomenon, but I can't prove it. :D

    the other claim, see my post above.
  21. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    This is one man's opinion. Because you agree with him, I suppose that makes it two men's opinion. But even if three people agree, it is still opinion and does not constitute a source.
    This is not the issue. It works. In your previous missive, you made no mention of how easy it is to setup. You certainly don't want to compare the ease of setup of vendor-supported MacOS X printers to Linux printers :rolleyes:
    Again, you are switching arguments. Your argument now seems to be that MacOS X users are dumber than Linux users. It is just as easy to install Unix software on MacOS X as it is on a Linux box. Pick an argument and stick with it.

    Again you are adding qualifications. You now restricting yourself to "normal" users. What percentage of Linux users do you consider to be "normal" users?
  22. Mr.Texor macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2007
    I love how janey thinks.... pretty much, I Was coming to this thread to say what janey said.. anyway.. I use them this way:

    mac = desktop
    linux (or freebsd) = servers
    windows = games (and 1 or 2 apps that I cant get them on macs or linux)

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