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Dvorak Avocates Open Sourcing OS X 571

Posted by Zonk
from the jigga-whaa dept.
xzvf writes "Dvorak claims OS X and Apple in trouble. He suggests open sourcing OS X for an epic battle with Linux. In many ways, this is just insane rambling, but it's certainly entertaining on some levels." From the article: "That would make the battle between OS X and Linux the most interesting one on the computer scene. With all attention turned in that direction, there would be nothing Microsoft could do to stem a reversal of its fortunes. Let's start at the beginning. There's been a lot of fuss over Apple's rollout of the unsupported Boot Camp product, which lets Mac users run Microsoft Windows easily on an Intel-based Macintosh. I got into various levels of trouble when I suggested that Apple was going to gravitate towards Windows since it would be easy to do and there was some evidence that the company might want to do it."
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Dvorak Avocates Open Sourcing OS X

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  • by flanksteak (69032) * on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:52PM (#15151039) Homepage
    I often enjoy reading Dvorak, but this is just nonsense. Apple's usability comes from their software. Nobody buys Mac because of the hardware no matter what they say. They buy it because of the OS. Apple charges a premium for their hardware, but people are willing to pay this premium because of the software. Apple comes closer to "it just works" because of OS X, not because of the nifty design of the boxes or because they supposedly use "high quality" parts.

    Switching to Windows would mean two things: 1) The differentiation factor for Apple decreases, meaning that they would have to compete more on price, and 2) Their support costs would go up because of the number of calls they'd get from users with Windows problems. Hello, spyware anyone? Not a problem for Apple now, but would change instantly with a Windows conversion.

    I still think that Apple is slowly making the move to put OS X on generic PC boxes (and eventually more OEMs). Only they're doing it slowly and quietly, so as not to awaken the sleeping giant with the massive war chest. Apple could make a move for just desktop share, as they haven't shown any interest in becoming a large-volume server OS company. Let MS and other *nixes fight over the servers, Apple would be happy with selling boxes to just the end users and software licenses to OEMs and third parties.
  • by NetRAVEN5000 (905777) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:57PM (#15151095) Homepage
    Don't read into it too much. Dvorak isn't smart enough to realize that there's no way one open-source project can shut down another, very dedicated and well-known open-source project. Linux will always have its supporters - you can't shut it down.
  • Insanity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stealie72 (246899) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:57PM (#15151099)
    Great, so Apple can give away either its best product (or it's number one hardware advertisement, depending on if you think Apple is a hardware company, or a software company), into a hardware environment it can't control, thereby eroding its famous stability.

    Great business plan. Apple would be insane to turn OSX into an open source product. The market has repeatedly shown what happens to high end wintel box manufacturers.
  • This is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:15PM (#15151261) Homepage
    This notion is unmitigated nonsense.

    Apple is not looking to unseat Windows as the OS king or are they trying to become ubiquitous. Apple is cultivating a boutique culture with their products and they are being very successful. Starbucks charges an unreasoble amout for coffee but people pay because they like to be associated with the Starbuck images. Apple is similar but not the same. They actually produce superior products (OS X, iPod) but they want to maitain the hip and cool vibe that is associated with them. The company is doing very well at the moment. I don't understand the "death knell" attitudes of some comentators. Why on earth would they alter OS X? They are making a fortune with it.

    I think Boot Camp was introduced to shut people up. To end the Will-Windows-Run-on-Macs speculation. I firly believe that virtualization is in the card in the near future. Boot Camp is a temporary release to bridge the gap.
  • by JonTurner (178845) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:25PM (#15151340) Journal
    David,

    On behalf of the legions of /. readers who 1) recognize satire and 2)have no mod points at this moment, please accept our apology for the idiots who modded your post "flamebait." They do not speak for us and hopefully they'll get slapped down during meta-moderation.

    Mod points should only be given to those who can demonstrate basic literacy.
  • by Dan Ost (415913) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:27PM (#15151364)
    Nobody buys Mac because of the hardware no matter what they say.

    Then how do you explain all the people like Linus who run Linux on Apple hardware?

    They sure didn't buy it for the operating system.
  • by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:29PM (#15151382)
    He's been wishing for/predicting Apple will die for about 18 years now.

    When the Mac was first introduced, he was the guy who stated that the graphical user interface was "stupid" and "toy like".

    Every article he writes is basically a suggestion for Apple to commit suicide. He actually wrote an article saying that if you used an iBook you were gay.

    Here's my suggestion to Dvorak. If you want to be more competitive as a writer, start taking cyanide pills immediately.
  • Apple's real gambit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rockhome (97505) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:30PM (#15151389) Journal
    Ok, so my reaction to Dvorak was "yeah, but no, but".

    Apple's real gambit in regards to Windows is almost too transparent. Boot Camp is the second step towards a true virtualization layer for OSX that will blend Windows and OSX. The move to Intel was the first.

    Given that virtualization is becoming so cruicial in so many areas with VM Ware, Solaris zones, and whatever HP call it, Apple's Boot Camp only makes sense. Multi-core processors make virtualization even more attractive to those craving processore density. With the Intel-Mac's lack of BIOS, Boot Camp provides the bridge between OS X and Windows for now, requiring reboots to toggle between operating system.

    The abstraction of the BIOS is a key idea to take away from Boot Camp. The abstraction at least proves that Windows will run at that layer. The next step is likely to be a greater abstraction that will allow a Windows "session" to run inside of OSX without requiring a reboot, possibly similar to Virtual PC but with better performance. At this point, users would be able to access all features of both operating systems, albeit with some difficulty.

    Eventually, the logical move would be to a complete virtualization layer in which multiple operating systems can simultaneously share the system and interact with one another. I wouldn't be surprised to see a virtualization system that allows easy "drag and drop" from OS X into Windows and vice versa.

    This is probably a more realistic view than Dvorak, as it gets people onto OS X without the worry of not being able to use Windows. Could we see some kind of "WinOS/2"-like bundling in the future? Probably not to that extent, but with similar functionality.

    Here is OSX, need to run Windows? Insert CD and click here, now your windows appas run inside what appear to be OSX windows.
  • by MaxQuordlepleen (236397) <el_duggio@hotmail.com> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:31PM (#15151395) Homepage

    You're just flat-out wrong. You think nobody in the PC industry pays attention to build quality, durability and style? Have you never used a Thinkpad? There IS great PC hardware out there if you are willing to look for it. Not everything is cheap plastic Dell crap.

    I own, use and appreciate Macs, I'm typing this post on one as a matter of fact. I also own, use and appreciate my Thinkpad. Seriously, I don't see how you think that taking blatantly silly stances "Only Apple cares enough to pay attention to detail" does anything but undermine your overall position. Sigh, this is what drives me nuts about Apple zealots.

  • by Golias (176380) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:38PM (#15151461)
    Jobs doesn't want to dominate. He's a kooky hippie who managed to strike it rich, not an aspiring Bill Gates or Larry Ellison.

    He wants his *vision* to dominate.

    By that metric, he's already won.

    - Windows (the OS which most people use) looks a hell of a lot more like the Mac OS than the OS which was dominating the market (MS-DOS) when the Lisa was first introduced.

    - Almost everybody has moved to object-based development, just like he was saying they would back when he founded NeXT.

    - CGI dominates the entire animation industry, just like he knew it would when he acquired Pixar from LucasArts for a tiny fraction of what it would ultimately be worth.

    - Companies all over are pouring huge resources into finding ways to make computers more appliance-like.

    - You can buy one song you like off an album you otherwise don't want.

    The guy gets off on advancing Big Ideas and seeing them catch on. He doesn't seem to care how much he personally benefits when it happens, so long as it happens the way he thinks it should.

    He may not be after the kind of economic power which Gates enjoys, but he's clearly all about power. How often do most people get to change the whole goddamn world?
  • by GreyKnight (545843) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:42PM (#15151493)
    Nobody buys Mac because of the hardware no matter what they say.

    False generalization. I bought a Mac Mini for the hardware; I use Gentoo Linux on it almost exclusively. (Haven't booted into OSX for about 2 weeks, now).

    However, I would agree that OSX is one of Apple's major selling points.
  • by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:57PM (#15151634) Journal
    And when you see articles like this [applematters.com] ... no, looks like Apple will get to it before you will get a chance to.
  • by cactopus (166601) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:14PM (#15151773)
    I often enjoy reading Dvorak, but this is just nonsense. Apple's usability comes from their software. Nobody buys Mac because of the hardware no matter what they say.

    I did. I bought a Quad G5 because I wanted a PowerPC based Mac and it was time to buy a new one. When there are no more PPC macs left, I'll find an old IBM pSeries box and switch to AIX full time. I already have a 44P Quad 375 next to my Quad Powermac.
  • by telbij (465356) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:45PM (#15152056)
    Sadly, I doubt that Dvorak will get it. He will pobably think that it is a joke, rather than a poke at a true idiot.

    No, he'll get it. Everyone thinks Dvorak is an idiot, but he's actually the most brilliant troll in history. I mean, who else can get their trolls linked on the front page of /. time after time after time, and generate hundreds of well-reasoned serious responses. Just the hits from /. alone are putting his kids through college.

    Frankly, anyone who writes a serious response to Dvorak is just as bad as someone who thinks Dvorak knows what he's talking about.

    The editors here need to put a ban on Dvorak. It's just ridiculous. There's no way to stop someone like that unless it be with editorial control. He'll always show up on Digg, but there's no reason he should be on /.
  • Please *DIETY, NO! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by default luser (529332) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @04:09PM (#15152240) Journal
    Then I get to re-experience the same reason why I just recently left Linux for OS X.

    Stuck inside their bubble, open source zealots think it's ok to have thousands of branches of THE SAME OS, COMPETING, INCOMPATIBLE WINDOWING LIBRARIES that aren't even standardized as part of the OS, and ten thousand window managers to make absolutely certain that your OS has no recognizable "look" or "personality" whatsoever. When they add new features, they add them in the "cleanest possible" manner (ie, make everyone patch and recompile EVERYTHING), rather than the "most usable" manner (add compatibility layers). When they change features, they don't do so gracefully, they break old code and expect everyone to recompile.

    Here's just one example of how open source just gets it wrong: a few years ago, I was looking to play some emulators on my Linux box. I figured it would be as easy as emulation on Windows, but boy was I wrong.

    See, I wanted to use the same USB gamepad I'd been using for the last few years on Windows. Only problem was, when Linux added support for *USB* gamepads, they used a different interface. Thus, emulators designed for *ANALOG* gamepads could not use my USB gamepad. Unfortunately, most of these emulators had been abandoned, and nobody had bothered to add USB gamepad support, so I was up shit creek unless I wanted to hack it in myself (sound familiar?). This is an example of adding a new feature CLEANLY, but in a manner that is completely UNUSABLE without extensive reworking.

    I'm sick of it. It's little things like this that made using my Linux box for anything besides web browsing and basic office tasks a pain.

    WINDOWS, by contrast, has supported USB gamepads since Windows 98, and has taken all the guesswork out of the issue. Regardless of whether you use an analog or USB gamepad, an application can use the same hooks to communicate with the pad regardless, and the user can use the same setup widget to configure ALL pads. Now, that's not going to be very CLEAN code, but it is a damn sight more USABLE. I can't speak for OS X on this issue, simply because I've only been using it a few weeks.

    This is just one example of why I don't need yet another open-source operating system. Open source applications are just fine - the ones that are mismanaged or get caught up in their own self-image eventually get replaced by better development projects. But operating systems have momentum, and don't just disappear. Open source zealots could do a lot of damage to the USABLILITY of OS X, and it would still take a long tome for it to fade away.
  • by roard (661272) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @04:47PM (#15152545) Homepage
    Cocoa stuff can't be compiled with GNUStep.

    How so ? Not A Problem, ... if you are not using something that's not implemented in GNUstep, obviously. Of course, it can be very annoying (cocoa bindings aren't implemented yet, so if you use them...). Even then, a few #if#def to replace the offending code with another solution can prove to be quite simple to do (as most of the code can still be ported easily)...

    Frankly, I think that if you can get rather complex apps like GNUmail [collaboration-world.com] or Cenon [cenon.info] running both on OSX and on GNUstep, surely it's in the domain of the reality, not just pie in the sky.

    The problem is more about OSX developers not beeing really interested in porting their apps to linux. On the other hand, they are very interested to port their app to Windows, but somehow most of them just wait for Apple to release YellowBox and/or wait for a good GNUstep/Windows port, with very few actually helping GNUstep (sure, not that surprising...)

    Note that GNUstep/Windows status is getting better, although GNUstep apps aren't integrated graphically with Windows, at least now it kinda work (eg like addresses [giesler.biz], but more importantly, Gorm (the GNUstep gui builder) compiles on Windows since a few releases).

    Imagine running GNUStep on OpenDarwin and being able to run all Mac apps -- that's what the goal ought to be!

    Not Possible. GNUstep is not Wine, it's not binary compatible with Cocoa, it's source compatible (mostly).

    Anyway, sure, it's not always as easy as a simple recompilation from OSX to GNUstep, but it often is. And when it's not.. it's not that difficult to do the "port", in my opinion/experience, particularly with recent progresses with nib loading (not complete yet, but very close now).

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