Will Linux finish off the Mac? (news story)

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by cgnjny, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. cgnjny macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2004
    Interesting, but unlikely... read on. I've only pasted part of the article as it's too long and I find it annoying to split messages. Link to story below.

    Will Linux finish off the Mac?
    By David Berlind ZDNet News October 12, 2004, 5:45 AM PT

    COMMENTARY--A headline like that is bound to draw the ire of the Macintosh faithful. After all, since Microsoft, which can marshal its forces and target competitors at will with lethal precision, hasn’t finished-off Apple after all these years (and I’m not saying that this was necessarily a Redmond goal), how on earth can an operating system like Linux spell trouble for Apple?

    After putting down the Mac last year because of a failed attempt to try the switch (incompatibility with my company’s virtual private network was the culprit), I’m giving it another try and can report that--thanks to the recent Panther OS (I was on Jaguar before)--I’ve been nearly Windows-free for long enough to say the switch is technically possible for most people (more on that later).

    For any technology to finish off the Mac--and by the Mac, I mean the OS X operating system--it will have to wipe out demand for the desktop version of OS X. Apple has some very cool OS X-based servers, but they haven’t been key to Apple’s survival. Apple’s desktop devotees have played a critical role in helping the company achieve some success with a blend of desktop and notebook systems and entertainment solutions. Judging by the toll that Linux has taken on Windows on the server side, it only stands to reason that it could do similar damage to other desktop encampments.

    (more at Web page from link above)
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    I don't think so. If anything Linux users have been and are looking at OS X is a different light to OS 9 because of it's Unix underpinnings. You can do pretty much anyhting in OS X you can do in Linux, run a native version of Office and so on and it "just works".

    Linux is more likely to finish off the various server oriented Unixes at the moment than the Mac.
  3. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    i somehow doubt it that an ordinary computer user (which is about 90% of all computer users i would say) would chose to switch to linux. i haver tried it and i tike to think i am quite compitent with computers and it was just a pain. and almost impossible to get the modem working.
  4. bux macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2004
    GNU/Linux is a great OS, I used it before I got this lovely Mac.
    So I can summarize what I think shortly:
    GNU/Linux + Desktop market = Not gonna happen for a while, they need to make some kind of standards to make that work... but still GNU/Linux is a great replacement for Windows on the desktop, but OS X is just too awesome as a desktop OS.

    But on the other hand, I can think that GNU/Linux will "take" the server market.
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    If OS X could be installed on x86 hardware that any tom, dick, or harry put together it would loose it's stability, and the "it just works" factor. It would be just as bad/good as Windows what with having to support such a vast range of hardware configs.
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    If you employed a bunch of chimps to write a commentary, eventually they would come up with something more insightful than this. Berlind just doesn't get it. What makes the Mac the Mac is the singular vision of Apple. Apple attracts a growing cadre of customers who buy into its vision of what a computer should be. MacOS X and Linux have two things in common, their Unix heritage and the disdain of their users for things Microsoft. Beyond these, Linux users have fundamentally different expectations of their computers than do Mac users. Linux users expect the OS to run on a variety of processors. Mac users are quite happy that their favorite OS runs on the PPC, exclusively. Linux users revel in the variety of GUI's available on the OS. Mac users demand consistency in a high-quality GUI. Linux users put little stock in commercial applications. Mac users demand them and are even willing to pay Microsoft for them. Before any Linux distribution can hope to gain leverage against MacOS X, it must first convince veteran Linux users to change their expectations of the platform. I don't see that happening, ever.
  7. Fukui macrumors 68000


    Jul 19, 2002
    I'd say if linux took over the desktop from Windows it would be nothing but GOOD NEWS FOR APPLE. Open standards, open formats, etc etc. OS X and linux are cousins, and cross development would be much simpler than on windows... The "Its not compatible" argument would definitaly go down the toilet.. which is nothing but good good good!
  8. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Speaking as a guy who ran desktop Linux for two years before buying a Powerbook, I must say I've wondered exactly the opposite: Will OS X kill off desktop Linux? I know a LOT of Linux-heads who have purchased Powerbooks or iBooks in the past year or so. With the BSD underpinnings and a GUI that "just works", it has the strengths of Linux without the shortcomings.

    I followed GNOME's (one of the two main Linux desktops) development during that period, and it seems telling that they keep using Apple's useability information to drive their decisions. Starting with Gnome 1.4 and migrating along to Gnome 2.4, it really looked like they are doing their best to copy OS X.
  9. iceTrX macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2004
    Outside of Detroit.
    Linux will never replace windows in the desktop without a lot of standard commercial software being available for it. This is the serious advantage MacOS X and Windows have over it.
  10. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    the way i see it as far as home use is concerned linux makes pc's more mac like and mac's more pc like it sort of sit's in the middle, it poses little treat because Mac OS X is so much better, i went to linux world in Olympia in london and most people there had powerbooks and they were not even running ppc linux they were running OS X, it has a terminal, you can run x11 linux app's it's based on freeBSD it is a linux geek's dream, compared to windows itis very sttractive compared to the Mac OS it seems bare and pc like.

    windows<linux<solaris<Mac OS
  11. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    For a home user I consider OSX to be on the user friendly, efficient and pretty side, and Linux to be on the unuser friendly, time consuming and ugly side (but cheap and powerful) ... Windows is somewhere in between.

    I don't see how Linux in its current state poses a threat to OSX. They have quite different target audiences.
  12. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    did you people even read the article?

    its not talking about whether linux in its CURRENT state will overcome OSX, its talking about, in the future, when linux developers have made linux so user friendly that it is equivalent to OSX, will linux reign supreme (due to cost)
  13. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    Without reading the article (since I've seen them before) I would suggest there MAY a real problem with OSX if, and only if, they develop a better front end. Imagine a nearly-X OS on Linux running on a $500 PC. Who could resist it? Not us, I mean average users (mostly the PC-faithful). Of course there are things like iMovie and iTunes, which make the Mac WAY more compelling to buy... if the word gets out. As for servers, Linux is indeed a threat, but I have a dozen Panther servers, and those things are solid. Trouble is that Apple has done a poor job of trying to nudge themselves into the business world. Without that, they are sunk. With Linux able to run on existing PC's, why SHOULD they buy Macs?
  14. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

    Apr 28, 2004
    my thoughts exactly, how can you REPLACE an OS where all of your ideas originate? Linux will never be an acceptable solution because they just mimic the GUI's of windows and os x, to be a truely viable desktop alternative, they need to redo the GUI metaphor completely. Sun's Looking Glass is KIND OF on the right track, but for all of it's 3 dimensionality, they stick to too many of today's design metaphors (web pages in a window, some form of dock or start bar, menus, etc).
  15. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    And when will that be? In 5 years? 10? 20? And no matter how long it takes, Linux will overtake Windows first in user-friendliness, efficiency and good-looks and as such will probably kill off Windows first (hopefully).

    Unless of course Longhorn eventually is released and does all the things that the hype says ...
  16. Fukui macrumors 68000


    Jul 19, 2002
    But OS X, unless Scully makes a comeback, will NOT be standing still...
  17. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Yeah, I read it before posting the first time. However since the article has some significant factual errors[*], it made more sense to respond to the thread than to the article itself (yeah, as if threads on this forum ever stay narrowly on topic anyway).

    [*] Examples:

    Judging by the toll that Linux has taken on Windows on the server side...
    Linux hasn't really taken much of a toll against Windows server installations so far. Where it's really hitting right now is proprietary Unix installations. However it is obvious that MS is worried that Linux will start stealing its share; hence the "Get the Facts" campaign.

    even the most reputable and recommended distributions of desktop Linux, such as Gentoo and Xandros...
    Uh, no. The author seems to be a Linux dabbler more than anything else. Almost no one recommends Gentoo for desktop. Gentoo has a very vocal group of proponents but they fall in the more hardcore "tweaker" category. Xandros is pretty much brand-spanking new, and while it targets user-friendliness it doesn't have any mind-share in the Linux community yet. The main arguments regarding desktop Linux at present seem to be Fedora vs. Mandrake vs. SuSE.

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