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(When) Will Linux Pass Apple On The Desktop?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the my-little-3-percenters dept.

Apple 1316

EisPick writes "A column posted today on Slate ponders projections that Linux PCs will pass Apple in desktop market share next year. Will Linux do to OS X what it already has done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris and emerge as the only viable competitor to Windows on the desktop?"

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No (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279113)


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279143)

DAILY REMINDER: Hillary Clinton [] doesn't just stand by...she actively works to offshore American High-Tech [] !

Re:No (4, Insightful)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279283)


After today's releases, I was actually asking myself if OS X could actually start threatening Windows.

I've always been a PC user (because of flexibility, price, and just openess of the whole thing), and I do use Windows, and for the first time ever today (looking at the G5 specs and the MacOS stuff) I was actually tempted.

Sorry wishful thinkers... linux ain't gonna do nothin' to OS X. In any case, it'll have much less effect on OS X than it could have on Windows.

Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (5, Insightful)

OwnerOfWhinyCat (654476) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279115)

...done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris and emerge as the only viable competitor to Windows on the desktop?

Of course not. Two reasons:

1) Apple's followers are nothing less than fanatical; you will pry their Macs from their cold dead fingers.

2) Apple has seen the light. The costs of embracing Unix underpinnings and âoeMostlyOpenSource,â are going to seriously pay off. Soon, there will be nothing cool that comes out for the Linux Desktop that doesn't soon run on the Mac.

No worries.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (5, Insightful)

glenebob (414078) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279152)

On the other hand, maybe it will happen. The *only* reason I don't have a copy of OSX is because I don't want to mess with another hardware platform, and a more expensive one at that. If OSX ran on x86, I'd at least have tried it. I suspect I'm not alone here.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (5, Insightful)

tshak (173364) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279221)

I'm in the same position that you are but the reality is that we are in a very small demographic. The simple fact that we consider "trying" other OS's, or running multiple OS's underscores the fact. When the average consumer, and maybe even the average "prosumer" looks to buy a computer, they look at the entire package. There are few linux packages out there, and none that are nearly as compelling as the PC and Apple offerings (unless your budget is $300).

Yellowdog Linux (0, Flamebait)

axxackall (579006) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279290)

Ithink their [] pre-installed Macs is a good job to help converting OSX fanatics back to reality :)

furthermore... (5, Insightful)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279298)

reason I don't have a copy of OSX is because I don't want to mess with another hardware platform

To say nothing of it costing $120 each time Apple upgrades the OS. I paid for 10.1 just in time to watch 10.2 get released. I thought I'd simply do without the luxury of 10.2, but began encountering an increasing number of pieces of software that required 10.2 - not 10.1 - to work. The Apple OS is slick and beautiful, but may not be worth the extra $100+ every N months.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (1)

neuroklinik (452842) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279311)

Could you prove to me that the Macintosh platform is more expensive? Because from what I've seen, it certainly seems like quite the opposite. During the WWDC Keynote, Jobs presented a head-to-head between the new G5 and a top-of-the-line Dell. The Mac was $1000 less!

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (5, Interesting)

90XDoubleSide (522791) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279165)

2) Apple has seen the light. The costs of embracing Unix underpinnings and âoeMostlyOpenSource,â are going to seriously pay off. Soon, there will be nothing cool that comes out for the Linux Desktop that doesn't soon run on the Mac.

Indeed, two of the bullet points for Panther were that it would bundle common Linux utilities and the final release of Apple's X11.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279177)

Not to mention the fact that the experience of OS X on the desktop kicks ass on KDE or GNOME. I love Linux as a server OS, but I moved to Mac for the desktop. In my mind, there's not much incentive to go the other way.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279272)

This leaves Apple with a static stagnant userbase.

Even if Apple keeps all of it's current customers, it could still end up 3rd behind Linux.

The real kicker is expecting people to jump to a completely other hardware platform just to indulge in OS 10 niftiness.

Maybe...but $$$ (5, Interesting)

siskbc (598067) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279178)

2) Apple has seen the light. The costs of embracing Unix underpinnings and âoeMostlyOpenSource,â are going to seriously pay off. Soon, there will be nothing cool that comes out for the Linux Desktop that doesn't soon run on the Mac.

As a linux geek who likes Mac OS, the big difference comes when I can make a decent linux box for between a half and a third of the cost for a decent Mac OS X box. You're right in that Mac users will always be Mac users, and I don't know that all that many people are going to flock to linux desktop, but for geeks it's not so likely to crossover to Mac for desktop use.

Consider also that linux gets most converts from people who decide to dual boot for a while, end up liking it, and tanks MS. The cost to try linux is as low as free - trying Mac OS X is a significant financial undertaking. So they're not going to get the casual switcher like linux can. Hey, that's how I switched.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (0, Troll)

JamMasterJGorilla (629611) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279179)

Viable to geeks and freaks. I still can't see giving Linux to my mom. Mom, you should update to the latest kernel, you can finally get that firewire camera to work if you download the latest GCC and compile this and that form here and there.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279300)

If your mother is that lame, she probably wouldn't be able to figure out WinDOS video editing software either.

BTW, the Mandrake 9.0 and 9.1 kernels worked just fine with Firewire cameras right out of the box.

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (1)

wukie (684014) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279180)

Apple's followers are nothing less than fanatical; you will pry their Macs from their cold dead fingers.


Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279181)

Soon, there will be nothing cool that comes out for the Linux Desktop that doesn't soon run on the Mac.

Except, maybe, WINE (assuming we agree that WINE is cool, or at least will be one day).

Re:Will Linux do to OS X what it already has... (3, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279244)

The population of people that aren't Apple zealots is much larger than the population that is. This leaves Linux with a very large pool of potential converts and new users. Meanwhile, it really doesn't take that many more users to surpass Apple's userbase.

as if (0)

smic (512194) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279117)

like thatll happen

I would say (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279120)

The SCO licensing fees should prove a healthy deterrent to future adoption of Linux. Windows, as the only desktop operating system untainted by the whole Unix mess, is the only secure bet for the future.

No Way! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279130)

I hope the author checks out the keynote given today by old Stevie boy. I think the future for the Mac looks brighter than ever after today. FP!

Not gonna happen... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279138)

I am not even going to RTFA ...
The mac desktop is millions of times easier to use, better looking, and generally nicer than linux. Never will linux desktop be better than Apple's.

It's obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279171)

You didn't even read the summary. No one is saying that the Linux desktop will be easier to use, rather that it will be used by more people.

Re:Not gonna happen... (0)

lasmith05 (578697) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279198)

Just because it's better doesn't mean it's going to suceeed. There are those who could've argued that Os/2 Warp was way bettery than windows... but which one is on top today?

Answer: (5, Funny)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279139)

When penguins fly.

Or when Linus gets the commercial and media attention Steve Jovs gets. Or when Linus developes a reality distortion field of his own.

Re:Answer: (0)

jinglecat (673072) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279302)


Get a "Job" you lazy bum....

well, it depends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279140)

if we all installed Linux on our Macs then what?

What about OS/2!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279141)

Why did you leave OS/2 off the list as Windows desktop competitors? OS/2 geeks were bashing Microsoft for years!

Already past OSX (0, Flamebait)

root68 (634540) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279144)

oh yea it will happen... I already see it as better in so many areas... I mean the new mac os is just a gui for unix... so why not...

wait a minute (2, Informative)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279211)

Better in so many areas? Care to elaborate, or am I just supposed to tell my boss "well, it's better...but only in vague, hard to articulate ways"?

The "new mac os" isn't a GUI for Unix. It may have BSD underpinnings, but that has fuckall to do with Unix, unless you happen to be posting from 1985.

It's not just a kernel and a gui in a box, either. It's a system. Like FreeBSD, sort of. A collection of software more than just an OS.

Not any more! (-1, Flamebait)

wukie (684014) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279146)

With the new computers Apple has just released, and the tittles already available, I'd somehow doubt Linux will surpass Apple OSX any time soon!

Not for non-geeks anyway.

Re:Not any more! (2, Insightful)

foonf (447461) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279261)

What you have to understand is that after Jobs came in, Apple permanently gave up the idea of unseating Wintel dominance, or even gaining market share. Everything they do now is focused on extracting maximum profits on sales to their current fanatical user base, and keeping them locked into the platform for as long as possible. Even through the last few years of "success" their sales have been relatively stagnant and the overall market share has dropped. They are making money, more or less, though, so no one is too concerned. But there is nothing of the sense of manifest destiny and that empowers the Linux/open source community, nor the ability to run on practically any computer hardware, so in the long run I don't see how they could hope to stay on top of Linux (as long as the usability of desktop Linux distributions improves and continues to approach parity with Windows and Mac OS).

pffft (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279148)

I know you Linux guys are all excited about the penguin and the RMS and the hey hey hey, but seriously.


Re:pffft (1)

Oldskooldave (532945) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279230)

root mean squared? what do penguins have to do with physics?!?!

(rms foundation blah blah)

Doubtful (5, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279150)

Maybe when it has Photoshop, Shake, Final Cut, Illustrator, Quark, Acrobat, etc...

Until then OS X has nothing to fear on the desktop.

Server side is completely different though. I run almost all Linux servers (one windows server and one sun server) but OS X kicks the shit out of Gnome/KDE/Enlightenment/etc... It's consistant, reliable and fast. Not to mention the coolest laptops around.

Re:Doubtful (2, Insightful)

LazerRed (679181) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279189)

Keyword "server". I don't usually run a "desktop" on my Sun Servers... Sigh. I hate it when people compare apples to oranges.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6279289)

Apples are usually red or green, with white semi-juicy fruit inside. Oranges are orange, inside and out. They are jucier than apples. The orange fruit is less firm than an apple's. And apple will turn brown in the air, but an orange will not. Apples can grow in colder climates than oranges.

Re:Doubtful (5, Interesting)

questamor (653018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279229)

OS X kicks the shit out of Gnome/KDE/Enlightenment/etc... It's consistant, reliable and fast

This was one of those things I never wanted to believe I had to rely on, the "easy to use desktop". I geek a lot, I hack hardware, and I mess with the innards of my machines a LOT, both software and hardware wise.

When it comes to my linux desktops, there's always something wrong, something not quite working just as it should. Not until I actually used both fairly equally did I feel a lack of guilt in agreeing with a comment like yours. But that's how it is

OSX soundly thrashes anything on Linux for plain easy get-things-done ease of use. period.

Won't stop me trying with linux, however. Too addicted :)

I don't know that it's completely different... (2, Funny)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279260)

I run FreeBSD servers for personal stuff, but I've had excellent results with Apple's XServe in business environments.

Given that OS X can run pretty much anything Linux/*BSD can, why would you say it's worse for the sever room than Linux?

Re:I don't know that it's completely different... (1)

LazerRed (679181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279291)

Thought we were talking about desktops? Most serious servers run headless. Kinda takes the "desktop" outta the equation. That's what I was refering to.

Re:Doubtful (0)

laserlights2000 (661582) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279315)

Remember, Apple isn't a software only company, where as microsoft is. Sure, people might start installing Linux instead of OSX or whatever, but mac lovers will love macs, shoot, I'm a pc person and I love the design of macs. Mac Hardware is awesome, as you said, their laptops are awesome too. Apple machines are very trendy, as for the OS, doesn't really matter

Comparing penguins to apples (5, Insightful)

Martin Kallisti (652377) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279153)

Not to whine or anything, but presently Linux has a niche and Mac OS also has a niche. Some parts of these may touch each other, but there are Mac users who wouldn't touch Linux with a ten foot pole, and vice versa. Right now, Mac OS supports far more commercial productivity software in many areas than Linux, something which many other of the "outmaneuvered" systems have not done. Considering Apples release of the G5 and the continuing improvement of both Linux and OS X, I wouldn't be surprised if Linux and Apple primarily eat Microsoft's market shares, not each others'.

Re:Comparing penguins to apples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6279234)

Mac OS supports far more commercial productivity software in many areas than Linux

You have not learned grasshopper. Linux does indeed have productivity software, they just give it away. One should not judge a platform on how many boxes exist on a shelf with a $ sign attached, but on how many software titles exist in one form or another.

This is why Linux has beatten you grasshopper. Now, snatch the pebble from my hand.

Ha, you missed!

Re:Comparing penguins to apples (1)

Martin Kallisti (652377) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279307)

Which part of the wording commercial productivity software did you not understand?

The majority of computer users want brand name software. People want interfaces and commands they recognize, they want tech support and they want to buy everything in a colourful box. You may call that stupid if you want to, citing all the marvellous Linux software (largely consisting of clones of commercial software) out there, but that will not change their behaviour.

Ah well, I believe I am feeding the trolls here.

Re:Comparing penguins to apples (3, Insightful)

tshak (173364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279277)

and Mac OS also has a niche

Ya, the "making slick computers that just work and are userfriendly for the average and power users" niche.

Just because Apple has a small marketshare doesn't mean that it has a niche. They appeal to the vast majority of Windows' market.

Re:Comparing penguins to apples (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279292)

The feeling is mutual dude! I wouldn't touch OS X with a 50 foot pole (although Linux on a G5 might be nice) unless the only alternative was running a box with Windows on it.

Do you really think... (4, Informative)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279154)

That Steve Jobs will give up? I mean come on. He is the leader of a company whose brand loyality is through the roof. They are making money. And are pushing the boundries... all the time.

As long as Jobs continues to raise up religious zealots to the cause, Apple will never really be dead.

Also of note, who says that Jobs can't encorporate all the advantages Linux has into his OS.

Re:Do you really think... (0, Funny)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279186)

"Also of note, who says that Jobs can't encorporate all the advantages Linux has into his OS."

Linux has advantages?


Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279158)


Linux will not pass Apple, until... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279160)

The configuration files stop changing location from release to release.

I am constantly asked by people how to do things with Linux, my response is always the same, which version do you have?

Face it, the desktop market is not self supporting. Until support is easier with Linux, the alternatives are worth the money.

yea only if you .... (2, Funny) (562495) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279163)

yea only if you beam all the mac fanatics to a different planet. otherwise i dont see any mac fanatic switching to any other OS :)

Nobody can defeat Apple (4, Insightful)

Davak (526912) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279168)

Apple will never go away. Apple has built a loyal fan base that will stick with it through thick and thin.

I am not an apple fan... but I appreciate what apple brings to the table.

That apple fan base is going to remain constant. Apple is safe and it works--easily.

Linux and windows systems CAN be built to work and to work well... however, they also allow a lot of tweakage. A large portion of the users feel they have a muscle car, and they want to tweak, overclock, and customize that bastard of all of its worth.

A world with linux, apple, and microsoft--having the three of them is much better than having any two. New ideas, new flow, new users.


Too Hard (4, Insightful)

Zarxos (648322) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279174)

That's cool that Linux is getting a bigger market share, but I still feel that it's too hard to use for the average computer user. I can use it just fine, but I don't know if someone like my mom or grandparents could. That's pretty much the main place Apple pulls ahead right now. That may change in the future, and I don't want to start a big argument, but that's just how I feel things stand right now.

Time... (0)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279175)

It was only a matter of time until the penguin would swallow the apple :P

Re:Time... (1)

Oldskooldave (532945) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279266)

Im betting our friend Bill is hoping that the pengiun chokes and dies on that apple

Re:Time... (0)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279282)

The penguin is smart though... It turned it into apple sauce first

Cohesiveness (2, Interesting)

mister_tim (653773) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279188)

For an end-user, particularly someone unfamiliar with computers, the big advantage of Macs is that they are easy to use. The hardware is all pre-configured and the operating system is fairly intuitive. You can tweak it if you like, but it's not necessary for many people. It's possible that Linux might one day be able to compete with that, but unlilkey.

Market Share? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279190)

I think "market" implies a place where goods are bought and sold. Perhaps free copies of Linux should not be part of the calculation.

Re:Market Share? (4, Funny)

El (94934) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279240)

So, by your definition, Internet Explorer has a market share of 0%? Wait 'till M$ hears this!

Who cares? (0, Flamebait)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279194)

Seriously. As long as Windows beats them both to a bloody pulp on the desktop, it doesn't matter.

It'll be a close match... (2, Insightful)

Klimaxor (264151) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279199)

Apple users are just that, Apple users. They love them, trust them, and some may do things that i can't mention. They love the simplicity, and the pretty screens. Professionals, more specifically digital photography (even more specifically digital typesetting, the field of work i'm in) also love Mac's. Linux on the other hand, in the professional aspect, is still sort of a new player. In the server aspect, linux is still a front runner for professionals, but in the desktop environment, it's still..shady to them. They have system's they know how to use, and aren't willing to make dramatic changes. With the Mac OS now using unix-based underlayers, professionals are even more likely to stay with Apple because "hey, we still have an Operating System we're used to, with the dependability of Li/Unix in the background, Why change?"

MSN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6279200)

what a reliable source for such a story.

Cost (1, Interesting)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279203)

If the Mac hardware wasn't so freaking expensive or the OS ran on x86 I think OSX would have lots more market share. Heck, I know I would at least give it a try.

And you're surprised because? (4, Insightful)

|>>? (157144) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279205)

This is all really big news,
  1. Apple software runs on Apples.
  2. Linux software runs on Apples, Intel, Toasters and Watches.

I'm not sure why this is a big surprise... I'm more interested to know when Linux will overtake Windows on the desktop.

Re:And you're surprised because? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6279314)

"Linux software runs on Apples, Intel, Toasters and Watches."

Don't forget actual apples and windows.

Its all in the numbers (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279208)

Where do you get the exact amount of linux users?

Linux users upgrade their distro's more then Mac or Windows users. Are they counting users twice or even three of four times?

What about those who purchased it to play with it on an older box while using Windows as their main workstation?

Also do Linux users count as Windows users because they paid for an os each time they upgrade?

Since 97 I purchased 9 different distro's or versions of distro's. Redhat 5.1, 6.0, 7.0,7.8.0, Caldera lite ( shudder ) 1.1, 1.3, Suse 7.0, 8.0, Mandrake 6.2,7.1. I use WIndows most of the time now and use FreeBSD on an older box which is out of order at the moment.

I only purchased 2 versions of Windows during the same time period.

Does that mean their are 10 extra Linux users at there?

*snicker* (0, Flamebait)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279213)

I wouldn't run Linux if you paid me. I use BSD, and MacOS only (and MacOS only at work). I'd be forced to hurt you if you sugguested that I run Windows. ;-)

(note: doesn't count for smart-ass slashdot comments)

what is it now? (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279214)

linux 1% apple 2-5 %? i dont see apple losing much.

Re:what is it now? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279228)

My guess is %50 of all new mac users come from the Linux community.

If anything we are binding with them. Apple gains while Linux gains.

The question should be, "Who cares?" (5, Insightful)

CliffH (64518) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279222)

I love Linux. I breathe Linux. I make a business out of migrating people from Windows to Linux. My question is though, why should we even worry about whether or not Linux will surpass OS X in desktop usage or sales. If it's for acceptance in the marketplace for newer applications being ported, great. If it's for bragging rights, bad. Remember, it's about the best tool(s) to get the job done, not market dominance. We're not looking to eliminate competition (well, maybe SCO but that's another story for later on in the day), we're trying to add choices and solutions. We shouldn't be striving for all out dominance, we should be striving for the best tools for the job and let the people who need it decide.

Ok, I'm done with my rant. Mod this as you see fit. This isn't meant to be flamebait or a troll but I can definately see how it can be taken as one...


omfg (1)

someonehasmyname (465543) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279226)

That's the funniest shit I've read on /. in a long time.

Keep it up Tim.

Linux on Desktop versus Apple (5, Insightful)

sloth jr (88200) | more than 10 years ago | (#6279227)

Linux' chance to supplant Apple is going to happen at the corporation, not in the home. Companies have a large investment of ix86 that they will be loathe to throw away. If Linux does overcome Apple's market share (this seems possible), it will happen in business.

From a technical viewpoint, Linux doesn't offer much to the home user:

Aqua's a nicer interface (of course this is subjective), and X servers are still freely available for it

Most (but not all) software for Linux can port easily to MacOS X

Apple's got better game support than Linux. Barely.

Peripheral support is superb under MacOS X - plug-and-play actually works.

sloth jr

I've used Linux almost exclusively since '93... (4, Interesting)

tgd (2822) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279231)

Ran a little Win95 back in the day, and I'm stuck using Windows at work... but suffice it to say, I've got a LOT of Linux experience.

I can say, its not ever going to happen. Every single person I've ever talked to about it who believed otherwise hasn't used OSX.

I bought a mac, and haven't touched my Linux desktop since then. I run some programs off it via X once in a while, but there's no way in a matter of a year, or even likely five years Linux can catch up to the quality of a desktop OS produced by a company that actually hires UI experts.

Linux will always run my servers, but I'd be shocked if it ever runs one of my real desktops again. (Its happily running on my webplayers, though)

It might not... (2, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279232)

Apple is transforming itself. Yes, they're still proprietary, but their OS isn't entirely so anymore. They're also supplying some kick ass hardware now, so there's a chance that even your average Linux user might find an OSX machine well enough built to be worth buying.

For myself, I want 64 bit. x86 offerings aren't really completely available to me as I have been able to find, but I could spend a couple thousand to have a very well built computer with a version of UNIX (abeit, a rather interestingly tweaked version) already prepared for the exact hardware, including the multimedia aspects. That's pretty damn slick.

Linux is awesome for anything I want to load it on to, but if I an buying the high-end hardware, I'd probably run OSX just for the fit.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6279237)

Linux will never defeat Apple on the desktop. To be succesful on the desktop, for the average user, you have to have a system that's very consistent and 'just works'.
OS X does that. Some will say that $DISTRO also does this, but, although Linux isn't bad on the desktop, it's nowhere near OS X. And it'll possibly never be, because of the heavy fragmentation in linux-land.
Besides, most (all?) apps that you'd run on Linux can also be run on OS X, so there's really no advantage in running Linux, for the average user.
Apple also has the advantage of being able to integrate the OS and the hardware.

Of course it's a different matter for the power user, or for server usage, but that's a whole different story.

Re:No. (4, Funny)

El (94934) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279297)

To be succesful on the desktop, for the average user, you have to have a system that's very consistent and 'just works'.

How then do you explain the success of Windows?

Speaking of which...anyone wanna trade? (0, Offtopic)

caffeinex36 (608768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279239)

A Dell Inspiron 8000 with the max options for a nice apple notebook?

I would trade my PC's in a heartbeat if I could justify the cost of a new apple notebook!!

I have this nervous twitch after playing with the new 17" notebook the other day. After being unsuccessful in trying to weasel a way to expense one for work, I've been dying for a way to get one!


More Work (4, Insightful)

WatertonMan (550706) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279247)

While Linux is making strides (check out Ximian) it still has a long way to go. It really depends upon how it is to be used. But realistically the "regular folk" will not be using Linux for several reasons.

1. Much missing software. (Office, Photoshop, etc). Some of these have Linux equivalents but they really aren't the same. i.e. no graphics professional would use Gimp instead of Photoshop. There isn't an equivalent of Illustrator or Freehand. OpenOffice is still very limited in opening up Excel and Word files. (And is clunkier in my opinion)
2. Too much configuration. It is hard for Slashdot folks to realize, but keeping Linux up to date and configuring it is a royal pain in the ass. I consider myself computer savvy and I still have problems with Linux all too often!

Compare this to the Mac. Everything works the way you expect it. Plus you do get nearly everything that Linux provides. So it really is the best of both worlds. The only downside is that the hardware ends up being a couple hundred more than an equivalent PC system. And if you roll your own box (which most can't) then the price difference is even higher. That's a big deal to many people.

Yeah... (0, Troll)

pimpybra (561963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279249)


Windows User (2, Interesting)

mwolff (594593) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279252)

I have been a windows user for a long time and now am switching to Linux. Everyday I become more and more attracted to Linux.

At the same time my attraction for Linux grows, I find myself more and more repulsed by windows. The repulsion, interestingly, makes me want to use Apple computers more too.

Perhaps Linux will just show people there are other options than windows and as a result make Apple's popularity rise?

Maybe Linux will help increase Apple's market share?
Linux, HUH! What is it good for? Absolutely Everything!

"viable" ? (1)

happystink (204158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279254)

Okay, so uhh.. if Apple isn't a viable competitor to Windows right now, then what is? And if linux surpasses it in installed base terms, does that make Apple any less viable? The word viable here is really problematic basically.

But I will say this: The number of people likely to get rid of OS X in favor of Linux are about the same amount of people that ever ran Tru64 on the desktop.

Soon I would imagine (1)

Captain Morgan (160029) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279255)

Linux runs on all hardware EVEN Apple's. Apple, proprietary hardware that can only be bought from Apple. It's crazy to think that Apple could come back from their 5% market share. They aren't hungry enough for market share to cut prices enough to make their hardware competitive with x86.


Probably not... (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279259)

Linux has mostly replaced conventional UNIX boxes because it can do (roughly) the same stuff for less money. It's never (I hope) going to be quite as idiot proof as OS X (because that way the idiots will start using it) - so it's not really going to attack there in the same way.

If anything Windows is going to get more and more squeezed between the two decent desktop UNIXish systems - at one end by the simple OS X, at the other end by the cheap Linux.

It's not a battle between OS X and Linux - they compliment each other and Apple even seem to be playing reasonably nice with the OSS community. The battle is for the middle ground, currently occupied by Windows.

Yes (1)

Ciderx (524837) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279263)

Why? Simply because in organisations, on the desktop there gets to be a natural limit about how much support you can give. I have personally seen it in a number of large companies, Universities and the like, Linux is becoming "the alternative", as in "We support Windows and the alternative". Especially in Universities, I expect to see the rot of Apple continue and anything that happened today (apart from Panther's supposed better integration with Active Directory) wont change that

What did it do??? (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279264)

Will Linux do to OS X what it already has done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris

Would anyone mind telling me exactly what Linux "already has done" to the above OS?

Tru64 and HP/UX were both doomed as soon as the Compaq/HP merger happened, and I don't think things would be much different even if Linux wasn't around.

How about SGI? It doesn't seem to be an example of where Linux beat Irix, it seems to be an example of where ia32 systems beat out propritary systems in price/performance.

As for AIX, IBM may be doing a lot of talking about how Linux will eventually replace AIX, but it isn't happening now (nor do I suspect it will ever happen) so I don't think that's much of an example.

I'm not sure why Solaris is on this list... Sun is still going strong, and Solaris is doing just fine.

i duno? (1)

foo(foo(foo(bar))) (263786) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279265)

Will this happen in general? maybe.

But will Linux ever overthrow Mac in it's niche markets. Probably not.
Personally, I won't give up my mac. I use it for a wide range of tasks from Music, to Video Editing, document preperation, and development in several languages (c, obj-c, java, perl, python, php, etc). I do have several linux boxes as well though. I use them for certain tasks (web server, CVS server, NFS), but they haven't replaced my main desktop.
I just don't know how I feel about this, there's now doubt that Mac is better on the desktop (and the laptop for sure), but linux has it's place.

Will linux pass mac on the desktop? maybe. Will us Mac users care? ...nope.

No way (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279267)

I like linux quite a bit (it's been my primary OS since the 1.2 kernel days, and have been dabbling with it for quite a bit before then) but there's no way that you can honestly compare the user experience of linux and macs.

Linux: still needs sysadmin-level tinkering every now and then (RH9 is nice, but if I wasn't as experienced as I am I'd have had some problems with it), has very few, if any, 'pro' applications available, interoperability with Office is still not very good (yeah, I can open Office docs, but they don't look right most of the time unless they're totally trivial) etc. etc.

Mac: extremely user friendly (too much so, IMHO, re: single button mouse) all the pro apps you can want (office, photoshop, cubase, ...) etc. etc.

The only thing against macs is price at this point, and for a lot of users the 'apple user experience' is definitely worth paying for.

Someday it might... (2, Interesting)

extrarice (212683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279268)

Will Linux do to OS X what it already has done to Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris and emerge as the only viable competitor to Windows on the desktop?

Linux may one day pass Apple by on the Desktop arena. But that day will come only when Linux can be used by those without intimate knowledge of their PC.

Think about it this way:
When the average person is driving his car, he's not thinking about the intricacies of the engine that powers his car. The only things he thinks about are (1) steering wheel, (2) pedals, (3) signals, (4) gear shifter. In other words, he's only thinking about the "interface" to the engine, and not the engine itself.

The average person wants his computer to be this way. Turn it on and do what needs to be done, and not have to figure out what why package so-and-so says "failed depencendy" during an install, or figure out all the work arounds needed in order to view, say, a Microsoft Word document.

Currently, Linux is no match for the ease of use that Apple and Microsoft (compared to Linux) offer in the desktop market. If the Linux community really wants their favorite OS to be accepted by the average Joe, the presentation (i.e. interface, documentation, simplicity of design) needs a lot of work. KDE is getting there, but it still can't match Apple or Microsoft. Try again when my grandmother can look at Linux, and with a short time (say, 30 minutes) of on-screen tutorials and simple instructions, she can send Email.

Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6279270)

When has Tru64, Irix, HP/UX, AIX and Solaris ever been a viable alternative to windows on the "desktop"?

Keep this in mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6279271)

Second place is the first loser...

From the 'article' (3, Informative)

BigBadBri (595126) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279274)

"IBM, DEC, SCO, and finally Sun have lost the non-Windows portion of the server market to Linux..."

So some of the lower-end boxes, that can be easily load-balanced, are being set up using Linux rather than Solaris / AIX / HP-UX.

What precisely is the 'Windows portion' of the server market, anyway?

Certainly not big-assed application servers that are the meat and drink of the big Unix vendors - in fact the 'Windows portion' of the server market looks tailor made for Linux replacement.

IBM probably isn't too bothered - the ability to run multiple Linux images on their big iron is a major selling point.

Bah - Slate is a M$ owned site, anyway.

Yes... (3, Insightful)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279279)

...there will be more Linux boxes in the field than OS X machines. Duh: they're cheaper.

This being said, no: Linux won't make Mac go away. Mac is solvent, well marketed, and--after today--on the cutting edge. People will still be willing to step up for a high-end Mac, particularly in Apple's traditional markets.

As an aside, I think a lot of Linux folks will wanna try PPC distributions on Apple's blazing new hardware.

When it targets Education and Science Better (2, Interesting)

rump_carrot (644292) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279281)

For me, Linux already has surpassed MacOSX, since I avoid Apple like the plague. (Why trade proprietary software dependence for proprietary software/hardware dependence?) Unfortunately, the other 9 Biochemistry profs here are Apple Addicts. What is needed for a full conversion for researchers/scientists? Absolutely must have Microsoft Word and Powerpoint compatability (CodeWeavers is close to solving this). However, EndNote (for writing papers/grants) and SigmaPlot (for graphing data) are still not covered. One thing that would finish the deal for scientists/educators is a good Apple emulator that runs on Linux - there is plenty of good/old Mac specific Molecular Biology Software that people are loath to give up. Anyway, I don't think Linux ascendency is as far fetched as some of you Mac people do. We'll see. Running the underdog operating system since Tandy CoCo.

Going through this right now... (1)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279286)

Apple's stuff is very slick, and if MacOs X had come out just a couple of years earlier I might stick with it -- but now I'm pretty entrenched in an Athlon/Pentium world, and don't see a lot of reason to switch. Sure, if I were starting from scratch I might be tempted by the really slick Apple interface -- after all, I was one of the diehards who stuck around for an effing decade waiting for the true memory-protected, pre-emptive multitasking. (OS 9 is where I ditched Apple -- after OS 8 turned out to be a rehash of OS 7 -- which was supposed to be the pre-emptive system way back when we all ran OS 6. And wasn't pre-emption one of the goals for OS 6? I seem to remember that, 'way back in the early MultiFinder days of OS 5, people were already talking about the need for real multitasking...)

But now I'm not about to learn an entirely new filesystem layout, when Red Hat is working just fine. Once, I could complain that not all the tools are in Linux -- but with the recent spate of video drivers, audio editing tools, and cool CAD and drawing software, there's no ``killer app'' that draws me irresistibly back to the Apples.

Maybe in the very short-term... (3, Informative)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279287)

...but I just don't see this happening in the long-term. Up until now, Apple has been reeling from Motorola's catastrophes and leftover problems from the Stone Age (aka pre Jobs' return). On the other hand, Linux is getting great press and has made great strides, both in terms of acceptance and the actual product. Given the abundance of hardware out there that Linux runs on (namely x86 for purposes of this discussion) and being free as in beer, many people have tried and liked Linux. It is also important to note that in the past few years when Linux has gained the most on the desktop have also been coupled with a recession where people haven't been as willing to buy new computers. It comes as no surprise to me that Linux might pass Apple next year.

On the other hand, I see a very bright future for Apple. This article couldn't be more timely as today we Apple loyalists heard some of the best news since OS X came out: the shackles of Motorola have been cast off for pure IBM goodness. With the G5 and OS X, I think Apple is unstoppable. Apple already sports the nicest laptops, and now the desktop offerings are equally awe inspiring. One of the biggest complaints about Apple has been that the are overpriced and underpowered. With the G5 fixing the power problem, I think the economy and IBM will help with the price. IBM reportedly can produce the 970 much cheaper than Motorola could produce the G4, and I wouldn't be surprised if Apple tried to pass on these savings in the process of trying to carve out more than their traditional niche. Also, if/when the economy gets back into swing, more people will have the money and be willing to go for a pricier Mac if they believe it to be a superior machine.

I wish Linux luck... (3, Insightful)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279294)

...but being based on BSD and such, it's pretty easy to port Linux software to OS X. Apple's stuff it more expensive, so for existing installations (i.e. business desktops) Linux has a huge advantage of working on existing hardware and being free. However, i see Mac OS X as a complement to systems like Linux and BSD. For home use, I'm not sure Linux will surpass OS X, simply because most people still are not familiar with it.

If Apple's prices where lower ($1999 for an entry level G5? I love Macs, but Jesus tapdancing Christ...) they'd beat everyone in a heartbeat.

Re:I wish Linux luck... (5, Informative)

AtaruMoroboshi (522293) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279306)

"$1999 for an entry level G5?"

there is nothing entry level about any of the G5's. If there was, they'd be in a new iMac, not Power Mac.

My humble opinions (1)

Hackie_Chan (678203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279296)

Why is he trying to talk down at the Mac? Doesn't he realize that we are on the same side? Everything good for Linux is good for Apple in my opinion. We both are fighting the fiercless war against big brother Microsoft!

But let's come to the most important part: What do I think the future behold? All of my G5 upgraded crystal balls tell me that Microsoft will start to fabricate their own computers (they're already doing it with HP, right?) to the point where they can start to cripple people that run Windows on other machines than those who are branded with the Microsoft-logo. In other words Microsoft will sooner or later turn in to Apple because they are Apple-wannabes... While on the sidelines Linux will grow and grow for some reason -- can't really tell because all of my balls are cloudy on that issue...

I think the opposite (1)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279299)

I think the opposite will actually happen. If I had never run Linux (i.e., stayed with Windows), I would have zero interest in OS X. It's the Unix core with the legendary Mac polish that makes OS X worth looking at, and the desktop user who wants a machine that "just works" is still a long way away from being ready for Linux.

Maybe not in America... (3, Informative)

cesarcardoso (1139) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279310)

...but outside the Empire, Linux desktop usage is gaining an incredible momentum. Not only in Germany [] , France and all over Europe, but - and that's really interesting - in Asia and Latin America. No wonder the article tells about a next year turn; all those Linux deployments in India, China, Germany and Brazil will start to appear in 2004-5.
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