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Jobs Offers Free Mac OS X For $100 Laptops 1053

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the it's-the-thought-that-counts dept.
bonch writes "Steve Jobs offered Mac OS X free of charge to the $100 laptop effort by the One Laptop Per Child project. However, his offer was declined because the project was looking for a 100% open source solution. The laptops will now be running on Red Hat Linux on AMD chips."
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Jobs Offers Free Mac OS X For $100 Laptops

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  • Re:Silly? (Score:4, Informative)

    by wlan0 (871397) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:09PM (#14031433)
    "We declined because it's not open source," says Dr. Papert, noting the designers want an operating system that can be tinkered with. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
  • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:14PM (#14031480)
    Somehow, I don't see OS X running very well on a $100 laptop.
  • Re:Silly? (Score:2, Informative)

    by strider44 (650833) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:15PM (#14031491)
    Not quite: "Five companies -- Google Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Red Hat Inc., News Corp. and Brightstar Corp. -- have each provided $2 million to fund a nonprofit organization called One Laptop Per Child that was set up to oversee the project."

    As I said in another post though this is a low powered low resource computer (a third of the power of the Mac Mini) designed to be powered by a hand generator, and OS-X isn't exactly renouned for being great for extremely low powered computers. This is a simple PR stunt by Steve Jobs, nothing else.
  • Re:Silly? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Reaperducer (871695) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:29PM (#14031574)
    As I said in another post though this is a low powered low resource computer (a third of the power of the Mac Mini) designed to be powered by a hand generator, and OS-X isn't exactly renouned for being great for extremely low powered computers.

    Actually OSX works great on computers with a third of the power of a Mac Mini. Tiger is more than fine on my wife's 500Mhz iBook with just 300 megs of RAM. And I saw a guy in the Apple Store today with a Wall Street edition Powerbook (read: under 300 MHz) and the tech was stunned to see how responsive and usable Tiger is on it.

    So, aside from making assumptions and being misinformed, what was your point again?
  • by StarManta.Mini (860897) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:43PM (#14031659)
    when I tested some Java apps on a Mac.

    There's your problem.

    Try to actually use one. Use the iApps. Use Safari. Use Terminal. Tinker. Play. Break stuff and fix it. The system is so much cleaner, more logical than Windows (and with a few exceptions, Linux)... and of course far easier on the eyes than anything else out there.

    (You are absolutely right about Java, though. It's pretty poorly integrated.)

    Regarding the application menu being at the top: look up Fitt's Law. It's far easier to shoot the cursor to the top of the screen or the corner than it is to aim the mouse at a 24-px-tall bar. That's the main reason for the menu being the way it is.
  • Re:Sensible Choice (Score:2, Informative)

    by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:44PM (#14031669)
    Last time I checked OS-X can run most, if not all, of those free programs (OS-X being BSD based and all). And it's not like there aren't Linux programs you have to pay for (Cedega ring a bell?). The upgrade concern seems okay for me, but your software comments are just BS by my understanding.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:49PM (#14031699) Homepage
    Apple may have used intuition or good taste when they put a single menu bar at the top of the screen initially, but later on they did research which backed it up.

    The edges of the screen are prime real estate and are easy targets to hit because the mouse pointer is constrained by the screen; effectively the menu bar is infinite in height. In order to hit a menu bar at the top of a window, you need to decelerate and hit a target that is fairly small. You need to do precision control in two dimensions instead of only one.

    I think one of the reason Windows users are always complaining that using the mouse is slower than the keyboard is because putting the menu at the top of the window makes the mouse slower to use than if it were at the top of the screen.

    Bruce Tognazinni devotes an entire chapter--27--of "Tog on Interface," (1992, Addison-Wesley) to this very topic. He cites four or five pieces of research.

    But, never mind. It's only research. Tognazinni wrote--in 1990!--"People for years have been explaining to me that in this era of giant screen monitors, we just have to do something about those menu bars way up there at the top of the screen; that menu bars should be attached to windows, or pop up beneath the cursor or something. Anything, just so they aren't up at the top of the screen any more." And I am sure people will be doing it fifteen years from now, too.
  • Re:Silly? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Waltre (523056) * on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:04PM (#14031778) Homepage
    I think his point was less about "m3g4h3Rrtz!!!1" and more about "power consumption". From memory, PowerPC requires more electrical power to operate than Intel P4. I believe this was a contributing factor in the recent switch by Apple.
  • My Main Beef... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mitchell_pgh (536538) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:08PM (#14031795)
    I'm a little more forgiving to Apple (as compared to Microsoft) as Apple has an Open Source foundation (Darwin). Also, just look at the numerous open source foundation items found embedded in the OS. http://www.apple.com/opensource/ [apple.com] Granted, some of this is just marketing BS... but comparing OS X to XP simply isn't fair to the good work Apple has done working with the Open Source community. Sounds like the $100 laptop project threw the baby out with the bath water.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:11PM (#14031813)
    Further, it's not as if Red Hat-proper is "free". You can bet your bottom dollar that Red Hat is seeing dollar signs out of this deal. Big dollar signs.

    You're making shit up. From a comment in this same thread, repeated because it's worth repeating.

    by strider44 (650833) Alter Relationship on Monday November 14, @09:20PM (#14031521)

    *sigh* does *noone* read the article? I've already written this several times in several different threads. This isn't free publicity for Red Hat - they're helping funding the project! They've donated a couple of million dollars to this project: "Five companies -- Google Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Red Hat Inc., News Corp. and Brightstar Corp. -- have each provided $2 million to fund a nonprofit organization called One Laptop Per Child that was set up to oversee the project."

    Somebody moderate DaveSchroeder down for false claims.

  • by SoSueMe (263478) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:25PM (#14031895)
    Further, it's not as if Red Hat-proper is "free". You can bet your bottom dollar that Red Hat is seeing dollar signs out of this deal. Big dollar signs.

    Yes, they are CONTRIBUTING $$$ to this project

    And no, there wouldn't be concerns with system requirements. Apple would have engineered a targeted version of Mac OS X specifically for this program.

    You can say this with such surety?
    Please explain.
  • Re:Silly? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:55PM (#14032035)
    You are not free to redistribute your modifications to OS X.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:59PM (#14032054) Homepage
    A minor correction:

    Apt is not and never has been an alternative to Rpm.

    Apt is a sophisticated front end for the packaging system, be it Rpm or Deb. The basic front ends are /bin/rpm and /usr/bin/dpkg for RedHat and Debian respectively.

    Yum is another front end. The Fedora Project went with Yum, after spending some time with Apt as an option.

    RedHat still prefers up2date, but you can still install apt or yum at your option.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:11PM (#14032114) Homepage Journal
    How about an online connection? It seems like all the cool kids are online, now, right? Isn't that the point of these things? Getting modern?
    My cynical side thinks that this might be a nice gesture, but not much more than that


    FTFA:
    To get the price down, an eight-inch diagonal screen -- smaller than standard notebook computers -- will run in two modes, with a high-resolution monochrome mode for word processing and a lower-resolution color mode for Internet surfing.
  • Re:Silly? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:12PM (#14032125) Journal
    "In what ways can you tinker with Linux that you cannot tinker with OS X?" All the GUI code and frameworks in OSX are proprietary. You don't have the "[keys to] everything Apple provides." You can get at the source to the darwin infrastructure along with a few other subsystems, but by no means everything.
  • Re:Silly? (Score:5, Informative)

    by humina (603463) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:34PM (#14032240) Homepage
    "What?!

    In what ways can you tinker with Linux that you cannot tinker with OS X? In fact, OS X gives you far more to tinker with because not only do you have the keys to the kernel and the BSD layer and X11, but also to everything that Apple provides. That answer makes no sense whatsoever."

    Well I can't tinker with:
    quartz, iwork, iphoto, itunes, airport extreme, spotlight, quicktime, isync, ical,imovie, apple's mail, safari (but you can tinker with safari's rendering engine), ichatAV, garage band, idvd, all the pro applications, and much much more.

    Of course by tinker I mean:
    -look at the source code
    -make modifications to the source code
    -distribute the code along with my changes without the possibility of getting sued.

    Apple will not allow any of this.

  • Re:Silly? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ZackSchil (560462) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:14AM (#14032408)
    No, they won't, but they do allow you do tinker with everything else that Linux lets you tinker with (with a few notable exceptions, namely commercial drivers). You can recompile the kernel, write your own drivers, compile and run open source drivers and applications, including windowing systems and user interfaces like KDE if you really wanted. Hell, you can strip a default OS X installation down to all free components and then build it up using truly free software if you were so inclined.

    Think of OS X as Linux (well, FOSS Darwin) plus bonuses like Quartz that may be closed source but do nothing but ADD value while leaving the doors open for other, more free alternatives if the user wishes. I see the only people who lose here are the kids getting laptops with less value.
  • Re:free? (Score:3, Informative)

    by leoc (4746) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @01:05AM (#14032612) Homepage
    Surely it is easier to stand on Apple's shoulders than to turn Red Hat into a workable general-purpose desktop OS?


    Red Hat is already a workable general purpose operating system, but that is besides the point. MIT is not looking for a general purpose operating system, they are looking for a specialized, device specific OS that is open source. Despite all the Mac fanboy protestations, going with OS X would have been a step backwards.

  • Re:Silly? (Score:4, Informative)

    by the quick brown fox (681969) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @01:16AM (#14032656)
    Check out Damn Small Linux [damnsmalllinux.org], just one of the many "minimal Linux" distros out there. Less than 50MB, includes (from their site):

    XMMS (MP3, CD Music, and MPEG), FTP client, Dillo web browser, links web browser, FireFox, spreadsheet, Sylpheed email, spellcheck (US English), a word-processor (FLwriter), three editors (Beaver, Vim, and Nano [Pico clone]), graphics editing and viewing (Xpaint, and xzgv), Xpdf (PDF Viewer), emelFM (file manager), Naim (AIM, ICQ, IRC), VNCviwer, Rdesktop, SSH/SCP server and client, DHCP client, PPP, PPPoE (ADSL), a web server, calculator, generic and GhostScript printer support, NFS, Fluxbox window manager, games, system monitoring apps, a host of command line tools, USB support, and pcmcia support, some wireless support.

    Too bad no emacs... that probably would've tripled the size ;)

  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @01:57AM (#14032796) Journal

    I'll feed the troll...

    I'm not sure who's trolling here. I do know you're wrong on a fair few points...

    1) I've never modified kernel code myself. But if I wanted to, or had to, I could. With an open-source kernel, you're free to change things on a whim. With a proprietary kernel, even if you have the technical ability, you're screwed.

    Your point being ... what, exactly ? You *are* aware that the kernel in OS X is open-source, aren't you ? That all the source code is there, available for anyone to hack on ?

    2) I don't browse through random source code for fun (though sometimes for profit), but open-source software gives me that warm-and-fuzzy feeling because I prefer the whole community attitude (for the most part) over some monolithic corporation that's more interested in getting me to fork over $100 for their latest app. Others might take a strictly moralistic stance.

    Ah, I see, you're *not* aware that it's an open source kernel (google for 'Darwin OS X') at the heart of the mac ? I guess that makes this point moot too...

    3) I suppose they could install anything they like. Choice is good.

    I can't see how that's an argument in favour/against either. With either solution they can reformat the drive and install whatever they want ...

    4) Sure, Cocoa is nice. GCC is also nice. wxWidgets is even nicer, and easily portable across both OSes. Preferences vary from person to person, and YMMV.

    *cough*, *choke*, *gurgling death rattle*. You *have* to be kidding. I've used WxWindows for cross-platform apps, and Cocoa blows it away! I've been coding for the last 25 years, and the Mac (and I only started using them a year ago!) is by far the best platform I've ever coded on.

    • Key-Value observing and coding - the ability to treat any class just like a dictionary, instance variables as keys within the dictionary,
    • bindings - KVO/KVC with transforms and automatic linkage from the UI designer ... I saw a demonstrator build an entire web-browser without typing any code!
    • core-graphics, core-image - have you *seen* quartz composer (C-G, C-I) ?
    • Core-data, with the fully-integrated UML-like GUI data-model definer ?
    • The UI tools (Interface builder) are truly excellent on the mac, and Xcode is developing into something really useful.
    • The debugging tools are excellent (gdb, shark, bigtop, CHUD, objectalloc, etc.)
    • Finally, the language - objective C is simply gorgeous - all the power of object-orientated coding with precisely 1 syntax addition and ~10 keywords. Stunning in its simplicity and way more powerful than is first apparent because of the runtime binding.

    You are also aware the standard compiler is gcc on the mac, right ? I only ask because you didn't seem to know that Darwin was OSS...

    5) Silly me, I didn't realize that modern *nix distros were strictly coding environments. And here I've been mixing audio, putting together home movies, editing photos, and doing my daily email/document/browsing/desktop-yada-yada on Linux. Must be a bug.

    Er, I don't think there's anything to compare to the iLife suite on Linux. You're aware that people really make entire movies using Macs, right ? Really. The creative tools are second-to-none. And of course, it runs all the stuff that Linux runs because that's all OSS...

    6) You misspelled "Mac" as "right".

    Well, that's a matter of opinion. I think the Mac way works, but I'd not go so far as to label it the 'right' way. I think it's *a* right way.

    Last I checked, if someone gives you $2M and an operating system with no costs attached to it, you aren't paying them anything -- ergo "free". If the source i

  • by poofyhairguy82 (635386) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @02:44AM (#14032927) Journal
    They want an operating system "that can be tinkered with,"

    That THEY can tinker with.You are assuming that these laptops will be just like any other personal computer you or I know. What they will probably be is a "virtual book" which has an easy way to write documents, surf the web, and use built in educational programs:

    He said the child could use the laptop like a text book. [bbc.co.uk]

    As in an appliance, not a full laptop. So that means that Jobs probably offered to have OSX at the core of this appliance and the project people said "its easy for us to make a limited purpose box with Linux because WE can tinker with it." As in the development libraries for the visual stuff is open. Plus they are not going to ship the laptops in single pieces, so there will be extreme nerdiness involved to get them to work:

    The device will probably be exported as a kit of parts to be assembled locally to keep costs down. [bbc.co.uk]

    So its not like the project leaders turned down $100 iBooks for the kids.

    But hey, don't let my making sense get in the way of your Linux bashing party.

  • by be-fan (61476) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:24AM (#14033060)
    Who said anything about "free laptops"? The whole point of this project is to be sustainable --- to design and build a laptop that could actually get sold for $100, without requiring donations or anything of the sort. That, in part, was why this Apple proposal was rejected.
  • by The Infamous Grimace (525297) <emailpsc@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:12AM (#14033210) Homepage

    OSX barely runs at all on a G3 these days (you can coerce it, but it's awful). can't imagine how painful a $100 laptop would be.

    I just recently upgraded to a 500MHz G3 laptop from a 300 MHz G3 laptop. Both run OS X (10.4 now, 10.3 then). Both run great, and while the G3 300 required XPostFacto to get 10.3 loaded, it didn't require any great 'coercion'. You really should check your facts before posting.

    (tig)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:57AM (#14033325)

    "Being the cynic that I am, I tend not to think that Apple had done research proving a fixed menu bar is the best for large displays. Instead they keep it around because it's a Mac visual trademark that distinguishes them from the competition."

    If you read Tog 'on interface', you would know that Tog did an experiment with multiple, large for that time, displays (one of 21" and one of 13"). Moreover, Tog states that his findings were independently confirmed (Walker, Neff and Smelcer, John (1990) "A Comparison of Selection Time from Walking and Bar Menus." Proceedings of CHI '90, Addison Wesley, Reading, Mass. pp 221-225, according to 'Tog on Interface')

    It is possible to improve on the menu bar, but pop-up menus, or menu bars on the top of windows as currently implemented do not.

  • by kelnos (564113) <.ude.llenroc. .ta. .32tjb.> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @06:40AM (#14033574) Homepage
    XFCE - the most Mac-like desktop for Linux, has a menubar at the top.
    No it doesn't. And it's "Xfce" or "xfce", not "XFCE".

    While we're talking about similarities, Xfce's design is actually heavily influenced by CDE, not the Mac. Granted, with successive 4.x releases, we've moved away from that heritage, but you can still see the CDEish roots.
  • by johnrpenner (40054) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @11:17AM (#14035316) Homepage

    just to set the record straight -- donating computers to kids and schools
    has long been part of steve jobs' mission -- he personally offered to donate
    a hundred thousand computers to every school in america back in 1979...

    http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/comphist /sj1.html [si.edu]

    (exerpt from Smithsonian Interview with Steve Jobs)

    SJ: There were two kinds of customers. There were the educational aspects of Apple and then there were sort of the non-educational. On the non-educational side, Apple was two things. One, it was the first "lifestyle" computer and, secondly, it's hard to remember how bad it was in the early 1980's. With IBM taking over the world with the PC, with DOS out there; it was far worse than the Apple II. They tried to copy the Apple II and they had done a pretty bad job. You needed to know a lot. Things were kind of slipping backwards. You saw the 1984 commercial. Macintosh was basically this relatively small company in Cupertino, California, taking on the goliath, IBM, and saying "Wait a minute, your way is wrong. This is not the way we want computers to go. This is not the legacy we want to leave. This is not what we want our kids to be learning. This is wrong and we are going to show you the right way to do it and here it is. It's called Macintosh and it is so much better. It's going to beat you and you're going to do it."

    And that's what Apple stood for. That was one of the things. The other thing was a little bit further back in time. One of the things that built Apple II's was schools buying Apple II's; but even so there was about only 10% of the schools that even had one computer in them in 1979 I think it was. When I grew up I was lucky because I was in Silicon Valley. When I was ten or eleven I saw my first computer. It was down at NASA Ames (Research Center). I didn't see the computer, I saw a terminal and it was theoretically a computer on the other end of the wire. I fell in love with it. I saw my first desktop computer at Hewlett-Packard which was called the 9100A. It was the first desktop in the world. It ran BASIC and APL I think. I fell in love with it. And I thought, looking at these statistics in 1979, I thought if there was just one computer in every school, some of the kids would find it. It will change their life.

    We saw the rate at which this was happening and the rate at which the school bureaucracies were deciding to buy a computer for the school and it was real slow. We realized that a whole generation of kids was going to go through the school before they even got their first computer so we thought the kids can't wait. We wanted to donate a computer to every school in America. It turns out that there are about a hundred thousand schools in America, about ten thousand high schools, about ninety thousand K through 8. We couldn't afford that as a company. But we studied the law and it turned out that there was a law already on the books, a national law that said that if you donated a piece of scientific instrumentation or computer to a university for educational and research purposes you can take an extra tax deduction. That basically means you don't make any money, you loose some but you don't loose too much. You loose about ten percent. We thought that if we could apply that law, enhance it a little bit to extend it down to Kthrough 8 and remove the research requirements so it was just educational, then we could give a hundred thousand computers away, one to each school in America and it would cost our company ten million dollars which was a lot of money to us at that time but it was less than a hundred million dollars if we didn't have that. We decided that we were willing to do that.

    It was one of the most incredible things I've ever done. We found our local representative, Pete Stark over in East Bay and Pete and a few of us sat down an we wrote a bill. We literally drafted a bill to make these changes. We said "If this law changes

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