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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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  • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto@connexerMENCKEN.com minus author> on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:04PM (#14031396) Homepage

    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.

    Sometimes it's tough to stick to your principles. However, in the long run it is always better not to compromise on your beliefs.

    • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOSpam.mac.com> on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:14PM (#14031475) Journal
      However, in the long run it is always better not to compromise on your beliefs.

      What if those beliefs are asinine, as in this case?

      -jcr
      • by rayde (738949)
        exactly! honestly not trying to troll here, Mac OS X is a tried and true (and awesome) desktop OS. Red Hat certainly has a good track record as a server OS but it has certainly not yet proven to me that it is worthwhile on the desktop.

        I say they should reconsider taking the Mac OS X. Those users who want to tinker will be able to download Linux anyway. (GUESS WHAT, LINUX IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE FREE. Mac OS X is not.)

    • by Jobe_br (27348) <bdruthNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:36AM (#14032254)
      I disagree. Principles is one thing, succeeding is another. We forget that using a computer is a difficult and even scary experience for the vast majority of folks, particularly those with very little education. Packing laptops with what is still widely considered the most user-friendly operating system on the market today would certainly have been a wise move, IMHO.

      I've been a Linux user for roughly 7-8 yrs, not an old-timer by any means, but I've hit most of the distros, many when they were still in their infancy (RedHat, Mandr[ake/iva], etc.). I've installed Ubuntu for my sister-in-law and many developers at my company use it. But personally (when I'm not posting from my XP SP2 ThinkPad), I'm on a Mac. I just don't have to spend as much time "messing" with things. And that's the fact of the matter.

      Flame away.
      • by Hosiah (849792) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @05:29AM (#14033263)
        We forget that using a computer is a difficult and even scary experience for the vast majority of folks, particularly those with very little education.

        This fallacy that you cite is at the heart of the whole problem. You know, my daughter is nine, and she's grown up in an all-Linux household. She knows her way around several distos (we have multiple computers) and routinely runs live Linux CDs as well. She uses the whole machine (albeit with a heavy focus on games and educational software), right down to toying with the Python command line occasionally. Mind you, she's still able to use the Windows computers at school, which she sees as almost-acceptable substitutes (she's been heard to complain to the teachers that the computers at school crash, however, stating "They're not supposed to do that.", and expresses disdain for the lack of games that come with a Windows system. OK, I'm proud.). Mind you again, she didn't come to this expertise through having Linux drilled into her head. She just picked it up the way kids pick up anything else, by watching mom and dad. We had Windows on dual-boot on one machine for a long time (it came with one machine which somebody threw away and I brought home and fixed), but she picked Linux over it. I finally deleted Windows when nobody in the household had started it for a year.

        What's our secret? Simply that "It's too hard." are words, more than the seven words you can't say on television, that never pass the lips of her mother and I. It turns out that people have a damn-near-infinite capacity to learn if you simply give them the tools to use, the manuals to read, and don't make a federal case about how hard it is!!!!

        But thank you so much for doing your part to make this world a dumber place. Thank you for spreading the proprietary party-line that we are too stupid to understand computers, and hence are better off being enslaved by those who know the secret. Thank you for discouraging tomorrow's Einstein before he ever got started. Keep on spreading that FUD!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:04PM (#14031399)
    Idiots.

    Give them a laptop the kinds can more easily use to accomplish their task.

    I am an avid Linux user.. But i sure hte hell wouldn't expect most kids to figure out how to configure or install some applications at this point in Linux's development.
    • by carlmenezes (204187) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:35PM (#14031610) Homepage
      I think sir, you will find that kids are FAR more adept at grasping unknown concepts than you and me. We have our ways and are set in them. To learn something new, we need to get away from what we are used to. Kids don't have that disadvantage. Believe me, I know from experience. They grasp Linux as fast as they grasp Windows. From what i've seen (I setup a linux computer lab for an orphanage in India and helped them decide the computer syllabus for the school), Linux helps more because the brighter kids start poring through the man pages and start mucking around with shell commands and scripting after some time (all we told them was that if they needed to know about something, use "info " or "man " - nothing else). They actually learn from it and sometimes they ask you about options that you didn't know existed :) With Windows, the help from both Windows and the command shell isn't too great and the chance to experiment isn't really there. They also appreciate choice. Give them an option to choose their window manager at the login screen and they will go through every single one! Why? Because they can and because they're curious.

      Sure, Mac OS X is a great OS that just works. Sure its a real steal at no cost. But for kids, the cost of the OS doesnt matter. The fact that it just works is good. But what they really want to do is get into the internals and rip it apart to see what makes it tick. What better candidate than something that's open source? They dont have deadlines to meet. They are not bothered by customers who inist on their documents being in the MS Office format. For kids, it's about the concepts. If it doesn't work, they'll try for some time to see why. They will ask you why it doesn't work. They will try to fix it. If they can't they will ask you. They will listen while you tell them what's wrong. If you can fix it, they will watch you doing it very carefully, trying to understand what you are doing and asking 100 questions in the process. If you can't fix it, they forget about it and move to something else.

      Do not underestimate the kids' thirst for knowledge and their ability to acquire it :) Sure, there will be those who dont want to learn. That is something that won't change regardless of WHAT you're trying to teach them. But for those that DO want to learn, anything will do.
      • by carlmenezes (204187) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:38PM (#14031623) Homepage
        I guess what I'm trying to say in a nutshell is...a box of lego pieces that may or may not fit each other is much more stimulating to a kid's ability to learn and explore than a pre-made action figure that walks and says something.
        • by pomo monster (873962) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:21PM (#14031879)
          How about all the other kids who, instead of playing with their computer's fundamentals, would rather play with word-processing, art, design, or communication? These activities are all stimulating to a kid's ability in different ways, and it seems that being forced to mess around with their OS would detract from their learning in these other regards.
          • not really.... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by carlmenezes (204187) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:38PM (#14031957) Homepage
            for a kid, something like GIMP is MORE than enough...heck, they will use the default paintbrush tool and the default color and start drawing. At the end, the drawing is a bunch of squiggles. But to them, it's an ice monster. They will ask you how to change colors. You show them, they're happy. They will find out the rest in their time. You then show them gradients....they play with them...Sometimes you get a little ahead of yourself and try to explain to them layers, opacity and filters...they lose interest. Why? because they want to draw their ice monster and all they need is 3 shades of blue.

            With kids, what I've seen is that their imagination plays a MAJOR role in what they do. So, something even as limited as paintbrush is good enough to them. The ones who want to learn more about drawing will do so. They will come to you with questions. You show them how to do what they want and they will remember because that is what they are interested in.

            Same with word processors. They will play with font sizes and bold, italics and underline fonts and will explore every button on the word processor to see what it does. They'll use character and line formatting to write "their story". Maybe a few figures here and there. it won't be structured and it won't need a table of contents - and openoffice is more than capable for those needs. They are also not bothered by it's sluggishness...to them...that's the way it works...no complaints.

            Its the same with something like inkscape...as long as they can print their pictures or save them to work on them again, they're happy.

            And yes, I do know what you're talking about and when stuff goes wrong, they will wait for you to fix it and then they're happy to get back to what they were doing. One thing with Linux stuff...you generally only have to fix it once. Once it works, it works well. That suits kids perfectly.
  • free? (Score:5, Funny)

    by rjhall (80887) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:05PM (#14031404)
    Open videocard? no
    open chipset? no
    open OS? of course! We have principles.
    • Re:free? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by barc0001 (173002) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:28PM (#14031570)
      Perhaps you could point out some open chipsets and video cards they could have taken advantage of, given their budgetary and quantity needs?

      • Re:free? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Apotsy (84148)
        They're MIT, they could just design their own.

        (or they could just admit that the whole thing is a giant pile of vapourware and has only gotten any attention because it has the MIT name associated with it -- just like everything else the Media Center "produces")

        • Re:free? (Score:3, Funny)

          by dreamchaser (49529)
          Yes, and we all know that designing video and other chipsets wouldn't cost them anything at all...I think you dropped your clue, you can pick it up at the Lost and Found.
        • Re:free? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dana340 (914286) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:04AM (#14032078)
          Open Chipsets? Are there such a thing? You might as well build a whole new architecture. The foundation of this project is standing on the shoulders of older technology that is somewhat tried and true, and now cheap to manufacture. It's pointless to design new chipsets from scratch.
  • by JoeShmoe950 (605274) <CrazyNorman@gmail.com> on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:08PM (#14031425) Homepage
    While fast for what it does, OSX does quite a bit. Will you really get a 3d accelerated GUI environment to run on a $100 machine? That seems like asking a lot from the hardware which costs so little. While OSX is nice, I've heard that it can be somewhat slow on even a 700mhz iBook. Do we really want to use it on a $100 laptop?
  • Redhat? Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SocialEngineer (673690) <invertedpanda@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:08PM (#14031431) Homepage

    I don't see any reason why they couldn't take a nice bare-essentials distro, and build to it from the ground up. I've set up Slack boxes to work rather pain-free for computer illiterate users. No worrying about having to use bundled crap.

    Oh well, I'm biased. Grain of salt ;)

  • Sensible Choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by external400kdiskette (930221) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:09PM (#14031434)
    Free installs doesn't mean all upgrades and software will be free and the choices might not be as high when you don't want to spend any $ for the software that you'll need to go along with the OS.

    By choosing Red Hat not only do they have a free OS and practically guaranteed free upgrades, they'll also have a huge selection of free software to get maximum use out of the laptops.
  • by mr_don't (311416) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:10PM (#14031445)
    Pelease from MIT... The $100 iPod project will let every child in every developing country download Sheryl Crow's new single to their own U2-branded iPod.
  • by duffahtolla (535056) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:18PM (#14031508)
    He also says Microsoft, which is a financial contributor to MIT and a backer of its Media Lab, has undergone a change in attitude about the $100 laptop. "Their first reaction was to laugh at the idea, then the next reaction was kind of antagonistic," he says. "Recently, they're very friendly."

    Be afraid, be very afraid..

    And Mr. Negroponte, after meeting with Mr. Gates, now says, "The machine will run anything, including Windows."

    MS might be planing a way to ursurp all those laptops after they've been distributed. Hope Jobs does the same.

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:23PM (#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 1u3hr (530656) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:59PM (#14031745)
      You can bet your bottom dollar that Red Hat is seeing dollar signs out of this deal. Big dollar signs

      Probably their payoff would be cohorts of students who were weaned on RH Linux moving into the business world, in countries where the IT infrastructure is minimal or based on pirated software. Instead of the usual dilemma of lock in to MS these countries face when they want to go legit, they'll be free to choose Linux if they want. MS will have to fight for the market instead of having it fall in their laps as it does now due to lack of support or familiarity with anything else.

    • 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.
  • Dear Steve, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by simpl3x (238301) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:25PM (#14031550)
    You had a fantastic little platform in the Newton. The profile of the educational version was perfect. If you would simply provide such a platform again, at a reasonable price, and provide development tools such as HyperCard, you wouldn't need the hundred dollar laptop effort. YOu could create your own!

    Making it easier for us to contact your company with such proposals would be nice also.
  • by ndansmith (582590) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:25PM (#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 MourningBlade (182180) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:34PM (#14031604) Homepage

    Apple, for offering up their hard work for free for a great idea. Apple wants people to be able to have a good, modern system for people to work with that is easy to learn and use.

    Thank you, Apple.

    I also admire the laptop project for turning them down. The point of a computer is not just to "do things" - it's to learn that things can be done. It wasn't pocket calculators that changed the world, it was readily-available, general-purpose, programmable computers.

    Having a tool you can study and modify in great depth is a wonderful thing. It's not just a tinker-toy set, it's a tinker-toy set and ready-made large-scale projects *in that set* for you to study and alter/improve upon.

    This is the same thing that brought about "hacker boom" of the TRS 80, of the Apple ][, and, yes, even early DOS - except this is larger scale, more sophisticated, and more flexible.

    The $100 laptop is not about writing school reports, it's not about web logs, and it's not about accounting software. It's "here's what you can do, here's the tools to do it, and here's how it can be done - come join us."

    That is the ultimate goal of Free software, and it can not be accomplished using Mac OS X, no matter how excellent a system OS X is.

  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:45PM (#14031673) Homepage
    Well thank God they rejected it. Otherwise, poor starving children will be running a better OS than me and such travesty cannot stand!
  • My Main Beef... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mitchell_pgh (536538) on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:08PM (#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 Thu25245 (801369) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @02:07AM (#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?

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