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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:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:05PM (#14031407)
    If Bill Gates made the same offer, would your response be similar?
  • Re:What? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:11PM (#14031452)
    Or you use a debian variant. Who knew Red Hat was completely open source? I thought they included pine and other similar things.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mboverload (657893) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:16PM (#14031497) Journal
    Actually, OSX runs VERY well on an old 333MHz iMac with 64 megs of ram. I won't take the latest version, mind you, but it works well. No lag in the dock or anything.
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:20PM (#14031523)
    Red Hat used to be a quality distribution. But we have to go back to the Red Hat 5.x and 6.x days to notice that.

    As time has gone on, there have been many improvements that they have failed to adopt. Dropping support for RPM in favour of APT is one such improvement that they didn't make. The whole GCC 2.96 debacle sure didn't help their reputation amongst developers.

    Either way, you are correct, Red Hat is not the way to go. Mac OS X, especially free, would have been the best possible choice. Not considering that, Kubuntu would have been the second best option. It'd offer a solid, coherent KDE system, built upon the power of Debian.

  • Not suited (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gsfprez (27403) * on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:20PM (#14031525)
    This computer is far closer to a PDA than an actual computer. Mac OS X is a desktop computer OS. If Apple made some kind of PDA-like device and acceptable OS UI to go with such a device, then that would have been fine.

    But as it sits, it would have been fsck-all impossible to shoehorn Mac OS X 10.4.3 "just work" into a Negroponte laptop. They wouldn't get to adjust the UI themselves - the part of Mac OS X that is totally closed. With Linux - you can change whatever you want to fit your device. Its perfect.

    Now, an Apple engineered open source OS for PDA sized devices - aw hells yeah. That would rock like Mac OS X and the iPod OS because they would design it to "Just Work".
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:23PM (#14031541)
    "There are people in developing countries who have never seen computers so it's not like, 'How is this better than Windows?"'

    Well, with that argument, why not just hand them a pile of dogshit?

    That's the most useless justification for staying with Red Hat Linux as I've ever heard.

    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.

    Sure, Jobs may have been in it partly for ulterior reasons as well - I'm not going to pretend to know what he's thinking - but considering that the entire core of Mac OS X is open source, and what's not open source is a very polished, easy to use, major-vendor-supported OS with amazing language and multilingual support, revolutionary accessibility support, including the first commercial OS to include a free full-fledged spoken interface, and so on, I think that rejecting it out-of-hand on the basis of wanting to be "100%" open source is a little bit short-signted and foolish, when one steps back and looks at the big picture.

    I literally can't believe MIT rejected this offer.

    (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.)
  • by ndansmith (582590) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:25PM (#14031554)
    Did Steve Jobs offer to have OS X running on AMD chips? I presume that Apple already knew what processor the $100 laptop would have. I do not know the ins and outs of Apple's agreement with Intel, but I wonder how they feel about this. Still, since Apple is not actually manufacturing the laptop, I guess they can run their OS on whatever they want. Still, it is interesting to note that Apple would considering running OS X on AMD products.
  • by ajlea2k (931096) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:40PM (#14031637)
    I may have read it wrong, but the page at MIT says that this is for "developing nations". Its not bad enough we lose a lot of tech jobs to offshore companies, now we have to provide free laptops to "developing nations". I am not saying it isn't a cool initiative, and yes a lot of families here can afford to buy their kids laptops, but where's the push to get them into the hands of underprivileged American kids? And then to get schools to actually USE the technology in a meaningful way... My son attends a "progressive" middle school with a "technology" program...so far he has played Sim City and built a 4 foot tower out of paper cups.
  • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:44PM (#14031667) Journal
    Actually, having had a lengthy private conversation with the gentleman, I think I can say that RMS is a sane fellow

    Sane, perhaps. But still wrong.

    The first time I met him, I mentioned an interest in writing an emulator for PDP 8 through 11 for NeXTSTEP. He tried to convince me that I should write an x86 emulator instead, and give it away for all the usual bullshit altruistic reasons. I told him that if I ever gave code away, it would be code that I enjoyed writing.

    -jcr

  • by bertramwooster (763417) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:15PM (#14031830) Homepage
    two things.

    i suppose the installation and configuration is going to be done beforehand by some experts who can tinker better with an open-source sytem. and i expect using GNOME is more or less equivalent to using OSX for a person who has not used computers.

    besides, i expect linux is better suited for use on more generic hardware than osx is.
  • Re:Free publicity (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:34PM (#14031938)
    I expect that if this effort is successful then cheap laptops will probably become more readily available. I really don't think anyone can fault the people behind this for what they are trying to do.

    Personally, I like the idea of a cheap wind-up laptop as the perfect item to include in my earthquake, tornado, hurricane, tsunami, cyclone, monsoon, ice age or US government emergency kit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:39PM (#14031960)
    "Apple may have used intuition or good taste when they put a single menu bar at the top of the screen...

    Make no mistake--that brilliant design decision, and many others in the Apple experience, derive first and foremost from the good taste of Mac users and developers. As Steve Jobs once said:
    Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you're doing. I mean Picasso [atspace.com] had a saying he said good artists copy great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas ehm and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians [atspace.com] and poets [atspace.com] and artists [atspace.com] and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.

    The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is - I don't mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way. In the sense that they they don't think of original ideas and they don't bring much culture into their product ehm and you say why is that important - well you know proportionally spaced fonts come from type setting [atspace.com] and beautiful books, that's where one gets the idea - if it weren't for the Mac they would never have that in their products and ehm so I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success - I have no problem with their success, they've earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products.
    Triumph of the Nerds: The Transcripts, Part III [pbs.org]
  • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:40PM (#14031964) Journal
    The universal menubar provides a context menu that never moves.

    Which was great when we had 9" monitors. Whether it is such a good idea when you have a 30" display, or multiple 20"+ displays is an arguable point. Saying you can just "fling your mouse" when the target is actually several feet away is really dubious.

    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.
  • GNUStep (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:44PM (#14031989)
    i supose that any current system that may be used on those laptops will have to be adapted, but is easier to adapt from the open source because their have more devs knowing the internals and they're already working without hw acceleration.

    Now, i supose that the only benefit that Apple can get from this is mindshare and publicity, but they won't to open source their desktop, so why don't they give more help to the gnustep project? it can be like a low end OSX running with linux/BSD kernel; with it they can give to people a taste of its framework and they will have lot of future developers trained to make free and commercial software for OSX?

  • by CyricZ (887944) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:53PM (#14032021)
    Because aside from Mac OS X, it's the easiest operating system to use. And ease of use is very important when you're trying to make computing available to basically every child. KDE is a very easy desktop environment to use. It's also very coherent.

    Not only that, KDE has superior support for internationalization. That will be a real benefit when getting these laptops to children in Asia and Africa, for instance. Such children may not know English, and thus will need to rely on the excellent translations provided by KDE.

    Another thing to consider is how easy APT makes updating packages. Even from the command like it's something a child could do with ease.

  • Closed-source APIs? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mrchaotica (681592) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:00PM (#14032061)
    What, you mean like this? [gnustep.org]

    If you think about it, GNUStep running on Darwin is already damn close to replicating OS X with Free Software. Sure, there's a few things missing (notably, Core*), but if OS X started getting really widespread adoption like this, those holes would be patched up quick.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:14PM (#14032130)
    ...my entire GUI menu under the cursor at all times. I could deal with it. Eliminate a lot of wasted movements with proper button controls and a little muscle memory. I don't like anything permanent taking up screen real estate. I find "tool bars" teh evil. I use them, because that is primarily what is presented with the mainstream OSes, but still...if the hand is on the mouse the mouse should be able to do most anything you want to do. This is very similar to what the pure CLI guys like, be able to do everything from the keyboard and not use the mouse. I just prefer the hints and gestures of GUI control over the rote linear stream of memorized commands, even with shortcuts.

    Eventually, someone will come up with an interface that combines the best of keyboard and mouse in one unit, and I have a sneaking suspicion the big breathrough will be coming from the gaming/console using world, and not the desktop/workstation world.
  • by bani (467531) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:15PM (#14032137)
    menu at the top of the screen was great for singletasking OSes back in 1985, but it's no good at all for multitasking OSes of 2000+.

    apple also abandoned much of their well researched (decades!) UI guidelines when they made aqua. apple abandoned good UI design in favor of eye candy. yeuccch.

    now you have menubar at top, dock at bottom (or side, ugh!). having the dock jump out at you every time you touch the edge isn't a good UI design either.

    and how's this [nyud.net] for bad design? a lot of "mac experts" get it wrong, what's a novice to think? this would never have happened under the old MacOS UI guidelines. it's disturbingly typical of aqua.

    nextstep did many of these things right, osx often feels like a braindamaged next.
  • by antispam_ben (591349) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:07AM (#14032376) Journal
    He would have made it Open Source.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:21AM (#14032438)
    You forgot the biggest reason this was a dumb choice. OS X for a cheap, generic AMD laptop? That could have been leaked and perhaps we'd have a better OS X86 with regards to generic PC hardware support. Hey, Steve doesn't want it leaked, but in the end it's good for Apple to extend their platform

    p.s. whoever modded you Troll can't argue your points. I'm sick of seeing this kind of censorship on /. If you disagree with someone, reply, dont mod down as "troll" or "flamebait." That makes you look lame and I target you guys in meta-moderation
  • Re:Silly? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Barrellina (922837) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:27AM (#14032452)
    The supposed recipients of these computers don't want something to tinker with...

    Saying all users don't want to tinker is as dumb as saying that all users do want to tinker.

    ...a computer they can actually USE...

    Being able to tinker with a device does not mean the device is not useful. If, using your example, a kid gets a cheap water pump and wants to modify it an any way - the addition of an internal purification filter (or whatever... I don't know enough about pumps to think of anything clever) for example - he will not be able to.

    It's great to get something that just works and, if so motivated, be able to tinker with it to better address your personal needs. It may even increase its usefulness.

    To use a computer tool, it should not be required to be able to "tinker" with it.

    This is correct. But that's not what is being said. The OS should be "tinkerable"... that's not saying that tinkering is a requirement for using the computer, but a requirement for the OS. Whether the user tinkers or not is up to them.
  • by bani (467531) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:42AM (#14032523)
    What about the thing in the top left corner telling you which window actually has focus? (hint: it's the one with the exact same fucking name).

    Bzzt. Wrong!

    If that's not enough, what about the fact that one window seems to be 'hovering' a little 'higher' than the rest of the windows (casting a shadow double the size of unfocussed windows).

    Bzzt. Wrong again! Thanks for playing.

    I really don't see how anyone who's used OS X for more than 5 minutes could have trouble telling which window has focus.

    Then I guess you haven't used OS X for more than 5 minutes.

    When windows are unfocussed, OS X offers a title bar style change, title bar text changes color, windows get visibly larger shadows, and a boldfaced, 13 pt label that is always at the same point on the screen.

    That's the way it should work. This is not the case here though.

    The window you think has focus actually does not.

    Try it.

    BIG HINT: It's NOT the software update window. If it did, the OK button would be blue. Therefore, the software update window does not have focus.

    And no, this isn't a photoshopped image either. It's straight from OSX 10.3.9.

    What more do you want? Should the window flash orange and red every five seconds? Should it speak the name of the focussed window? What would make you happy?

    A bit of consistency would be make me happy.
  • by scott_karana (841914) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:43AM (#14032528)
    The fact the Red Hat is one of the largest companies directly supporting the development of many OSS projects, including GCC, doesn't change your mind at all in this matter?

    I like how you portray old Redhat in a good manner, and then talk about the equally old GCC2.96 problem to detract from the MODERN version.

    Either way, you are incorrect. Almost any Linux distro you could get would be a great choice these days, and one that has commercial might put into its deployment can't be purely bad. As for OS X, I'm not sure whether it'd be a better choice, myself...
  • by Thu25245 (801369) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @01:07AM (#14032618)
    The real story here has nothing to do with $100 laptops, Linux vs Mac OS X, or Open vs. Closed Source.

    Steve Jobs proposed an arrangement under which Apple would allow computers other than its own to run Mac OS X.

    Just this summer, Apple VP Phil Schiller was telling the media, "We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac."

    Now, this is a long way from selling boxed copies of OS X for installation on whitebox PCs, much less a bundling agreement with Dell...but still, it's a significant development. What other devious schemes might Steve Jobs have for OSX86?
  • by thrift24 (683443) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @02:49AM (#14032942) Homepage
    I always found the argument as to why a global menu bar should be used quite silly.
     
    The argument as you've given it is that you don't have to be precise to perform an action because you can move from your current pointer position to the global menu bar by flinging your mouse to what is pretty much an infinitely sized target at a screen edge. While this is great, the truth of the matter is that most of the time after you have performed some action on the global menu bar you now want to get back to the window you just came from, and now you have to perform precise mouse movements to get back to the window. This is worse on higher display resolutions as the pointer has a greater distance to traverse before reaching it's target.
     
    So what it really comes down to is your screen resolution, usage patterns, and personal tase.
  • Re:Silly? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by humina (603463) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @02:59AM (#14032959) Homepage
    "As for speed, I've never noticed it being slow."

    Are you running OS X on a $100 laptop? There are a lot of tweaks and GUI candy that I can turn off on a GNU/Linux install. Since Quartz is not open source I cannot tweak it to run really well on a $100 laptop. From a MIT researcher perspective I would go with GNU/Linux so that I would have the control to disable extra Quartz or program components. Do I need a music jukebox that can connect to a music store selling $1 DRM laden music tracks in a third world country? Can I mess around with spotlights settings to make some slight changes to optimize it for my $100 laptop? With apple, or other proprietary software developers, it's file a bug report and then start praying something happens and wait. With GNU/Linux, the MIT lab or anyone for that matter can start working on improvements. As Joe or Jane researcher at MIT I would go with GNU/Linux where I have more control.

  • Re:Silly? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:20AM (#14033044) Homepage Journal
    And why would you want to do that? This is the whole problem with open source. People tinker.

    My job is 'tinkering' with linux. Linux is not finished. It's buggy, There's no documentation. It's a pain in the arse. There's no glory in doing that last 20% which actually completes a project. Everyone wants to add functionality rather than finish debugging what's there. Or they feel that what is there doesn't do what they want it to do and so reinvents the wheel and develops a subtly different application to do basically the same thing. So I get paid to finish it. Make it good enough for consumer products. Fix bugs that no one wants to fix because they are not interested in fixing boring obscure bugs.

    Generally open source software is not managed or professionally developed. There are exceptions but they are exceptions. The quality control is rather lacking. I've had enough. I get paid respectably to 'do' linux at work. I want an easy life at home and so have a Mac. The software may not be the best in the world but it is developed in a comercial environment with the quality controls that go with that. That's what appeals to me about OS-X (and IRIX before that). People haven't tinkered with the software. Those applications you list do what I want them to do. Why should I want to change them. More importantly, if I had the source to them, why should I think that my changes will improve them? That's arrogance!
  • by Tilmitt (856895) <tilmitt@oboeboy.net> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @05:10AM (#14033358) Homepage
    They rejected OSX in favor of a better solution. You should not dismiss the concept of Open Source software as a "silly doctrinaire reason". The economic impact of adopting proprietary software could be enormous and long-lasting. It's critical that this technology be sustainable in the long term without dependence on a single foreign entity. Apple could easily be gone in ten years, but there will be a continuity of Open Source software until the next ice age.

    Well since open-source software will always be around, if Apple does go down the drain they can always just use some open-source OS then. As with the PowerPC Macs, they won't just become instantly useless and fantasmagically explode when they're no longer being developed.
  • by mpcooke3 (306161) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @09:23AM (#14034294) Homepage
    lol of course!

    But I think 1 gig ram is optimistic for a $100 laptop!
  • by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:47AM (#14035016) Homepage Journal
    I'm running OS X on several older machines these days, including two 300MHz G3s. Panther works quite tolerably under these circumstances -- so long as you've no expectations of quick graphics. Basic video streaming, sure, but don't expect the latest Apple codecs to be anything other than painful to watch.

    But this is with 256MB + of RAM. 64MB? You're gonna have a LOT of disk caching going on. More than I'd be able to stomach, though your mileage may vary. If you're really running OS X on 64MB, add a bit of RAM and see what a difference it makes.

    I did find a G3 that wasn't happy with OS X: a beige Powermac. OS X is supported through Jaguar, but the Powermac just wasn't interested in playing at 266Mhz with its stock 64MB RAM. I reloaded OS 9 until I can scrounge up a 256MB stick or two. Then I'll add a PCI video card and load Panther. It'll be fine.

    Panther must be the second-biggest bargain in OS these days, right behind Linux. $50 new at Amazon, and it runs pretty much everything you can do with Tiger.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:51AM (#14035058)
    Uh, you kind of have to, you know, actually address his points if you want to prove he is misinformed. What is "strawman filled" (I'm so tired of hearing this term thrown around willy-nilly) and misinformed about it?

    Who modded this up insightful? An insightful counterargument isn't just a declarative sentence. Otherwise, I could just say you're a misinformed automaton, and that you should "get over yourself" (another overused, meaningless phrase that doesn't make sense). There, do I get +Insightful?
  • by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @11:32AM (#14035461)
    but to say you dont have an obligation to your stockholders is bunk, its everything they teach in school and in the real world, its all about keeping your stockholders happy. There the ones that tell you what to do if you screw up and they are the ones that replace you if needed, your more then obligated to keep them happy. At least in a public company situtation.

    The problem is that statement is way too over-generalized and doesn't really ecompass what the real nature of a corporation charter.

    IANAL or a MBA, but I have looked into creating an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) and know about it than I would like to know. Shareholders can often influence a company if they are the owners with voting stock. If the company does not have voting stock then then it is just monetary sway of keeping the investors money with the company.

    People have been told over and over again that the purpose of a corporation was to make a profit and appease the shareholders which is totally unfounded when you look at the nature of a corporate charter in legal terms. A legal charter is nothing more than creating an artificial entity that protects its investors from litigation of their personal assets when someone sues the corporation. You sue the corporation and it runs out of money, but you can't go after the shareholders.

    That said... A corporation is only obligated to appease share holders if it wants to. I mean the board member and CEOs could in fact declare all corporate elections null and void and have a revolt of sorts, but they would quickly loose the capital of all the investors unless of course the investors went along with the people still in power.

    Corporations do need money to operate to pay its employees and needs an investment base in order to grow, but if someone created a corporation and made it so that they had firm control of the leadership process, they could very well not intend to make any money at all if they so choose to do so.

    They may not get investments or capital support from others in the process... So it wouldn't be very long lasted.

    But it is a fallacy to assume that corporations are forced by law to make money. They only do so because it benefits those running them, work for them, and those who invest in them.

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