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Apple and Windows Will Force Linux Underground 554

eastbayted writes "Tom Yager at InfoWorld predicts: 'At the end of the decade, we'll find that Apple UNIX has overtaken commercial Linux as the second most popular general client and server computing platform behind Windows.' That's not a gloom-and-doom omen for the ever-popular Linux kernel, though, he stresses. While Apple and Microsoft will grapple for dominance of client and server spaces, Linux will be 'the de facto choice for embedded solutions.' And by 'embedded,' Yager means 'specialized.' With a push of a button and a flip of switch, he predicts, you'll be able to create a configured database and a mated J2EE server — all thanks to Linux."
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Apple and Windows Will Force Linux Underground

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  • O RLY? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:38AM (#16006842)
    From TFA:
    ...there is exactly one Linux. It's a standard....
    ...I believe ... IBM and Oracle will use Linux to ... Push a button, you've got an enterprise database...

    Have you ever tried to get Oracle running on anything but Red Hat? When are we going to face the fact that Linux distros are different from each other? When I say "I run Linux" I've really said something as vague as (here comes the car analogy) "I drive a car" (as opposed to "I drive an Oldsmobile"). When people pick on "Linux" what are they really picking on?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:38AM (#16006843)
    Apple? MacOS take any server share at all? To be honest, taking away commercial UNIX desktop share isn't exactly a big effort - most of the Sun guys I know use Apple laptops and most of the HPUX guys I've met use Windows.

    No way on the serverside, though. MacOS is unreliable, balky, slow, RAM-hungry and generally inappropriate. It makes a lovely desktop but doesn't make an ideal server by any stretch of the imagination. In addition, their hardware is sub-par (although very pretty) and underpowered compared to what other vendors are putting out there.

    Give me Sun opteron boxes running either Solaris or a certified Linux for all the small jobs and give me big, solid, heavy SPARC hardware for the big iron. I work in a *very* large (over 10k servers) environment and Solaris still completely dominates the database server/large app server end with Linux running web servers, the occasional customer firewall and other small jobs. HPUX is still a big force with a lot of appplications only running on HPUX, although migration to Solaris is a happening thing.

    There is no way any serious organisation is going to start switching to Xserves. They're just not up to scratch compared to the current Opteron lineup. Maybe when I can get a 16 or 32 core Xserve with 32Gb of RAM they might start having the grunt, but until then they're just pretty looking.
  • by GreggBz ( 777373 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:41AM (#16006869) Homepage
    Linux, BSD, Solaris and Windows rule the ISP server market.
    I've never touched an OSX box that did anything really important.
    Most don't take it seriously, and Apple has not built many 1u rack mounts, but I guess they have a new product now? I just checked..
  • by Jeppe Salvesen ( 101622 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:50AM (#16006950)
    Vendor lock-in is something I'm willing to live with as long as the alternatives are insufficient - and there is an alternative. I'd like the choice to be between OSX and Linux. I quite like my MacBook. It's easy to use, it looks good, it performs well for its price. While I do Linux development at work, I like to have an enjoyable experience at home.

    Slower than Linux or Windows? I'd like to see those numbers, please!

    As for serious, by what standard? I'd readily admit I would not recommend running OSX on servers unless OSX adds geniune value (as it might in a Mac-based business).

    In my world, Linux is best for backend. OSX is best for front-end. (while Windows is probably best at the standard business desktop)
  • Re:Embedded. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:53AM (#16006972)
    Bank of America ATMs didn't lock up... they ran out of money or had hardware falures but they never used to lock up.

    Now they run on Windows and they do... the touch screen is (seemingly) required for operation and they stop working all the time.

    IF my life depended on Windows... really depended on it... I'd be long dead by now.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:55AM (#16006985)
    Well Market share is a poor judge for Linux anyways. Almost everyone uses Linux every day (Google). Just because it is not installed on your Puney little computer doesn't mean people are not using it, as more and more services that were once installed on Computers as application become web services the need for Server based OSs will expand (Like Linux) and PCs will be more and more religated to smarter then average dumb terminal, where the "Application is hosted somewhere else" and the PC handles all the graphics, UI Interface, and calalculations. But all the storage and application versions will be hosted on the server. So Apple or Microsoft can be the domonate Desktop PC. But it really wont matter much in the future because you can do whatever you want on both systems, it will be just a matter if you like your menu bar on your window or on the top of your screen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:06AM (#16007061)
    This doesn't account for that fact that real servers need a real, ground-up architecture. I'm not talking about small webservers, I'm not talking about little appservers running an AJAX webapp for five concurrent users. I'm talking about the average deployed server host these days seems to have 4Gb of RAM per CPU. The swap thread was a reminder as to the slashthink - it never passes a personal Linux machine. I'm talking about Oracle instances pushing enough IO to hammer their fibre channel connections with 256Gb of RAM and 32 physical CPUs. I'm talking about the appserver consuming 16Gb of RAM with java processes alone on an 890.

    The server world is a lot bigger than rack dense x86. Rack dense machines are cheap and fun and useful but they don't run big database loads (no, a stack of them in a RAC doesn't count), don't saturate their Gig-E running CPU intensive applications and more to the point:


    Seriously. Nobody cares. Nobody wants it to be too easy. The vendors don't want to lose out on selling consulting and service, integrators don't want to lose out on that work, Oracle DBAs are paid well for a reason and everyone likes it that way. The customer pays up and doesn't worry about it. Nobody cares whether or not the application is easy to deploy, they've already paid a huge amount of money in licensing/development costs and paying another sysadmin or DBA to look after things is a drop in the ocean AND keeps sysadmins and DBAs in work.
  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:08AM (#16007068) Homepage Journal
    I really just wanted to respond to this article with a gigantic Simpson-esque "HA HA".

    Indeed - it's ridiculous. You notice the weasel way they have to qualify things as well:

    By mid-2008, Apple's sales of systems with factory-installed Apple UNIX will exceed the total combined sales of x86 systems factory-shipped with commercial Linux.

    That could mean that 90% of x86 systems will be bare bones by 2008, as OEMs will choose their own version of linux to install ;-)
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:10AM (#16007088) Homepage
    OSX is a potential solution to anyone using Windows who doesn't like it. It's more secure, more stable, and doesn't require the technical retraining (or rehiring) that a migration to Linux would.

    I don't think this is true at all. OSX is different enough from windows that your usual run-of-the-mill Windows admin would go crazy trying to admin it. Even the usually desktop admin stuff is so different than windows, not even getting into the differences in server administration. Notice i'm saying it's different, and not that it's difficult. I believe that Mac OS, and Linux, are no harder to operate than Windows, but that they are different, and do require different training. Also, if you admin is capable of admining Mac OS, then they could probably do a pretty good job with a modern Linux distro. With modern Linux distros, it's no harder to operate than Mac OS. If you think it is, then you haven't familiarized yourself enough with Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:13AM (#16007104)
    From the dudes blog here: /new_blog_the_en.html []
    Check out my new digs at The Enterprise Mac. It's about all things Apple, not just Xserve and Xserve RAID. You'll find a distilled manifesto there in the first post.
    ... and ...
    And finally, for those like me who can't get their fill of me, I have set up a personal blog on my lab's Xserve G5. As soon as I get my domain registration back, I'll clue you in."
    My Linux server automatically maintains my domain registration... James
  • Re:skewed vision? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:13AM (#16007105) Homepage Journal
    Why would you buy an expensive computer that comes with an OS just to buy (or pirate) another OS when you could have bought a cheaper computer with your OS of choice? Is it 'cuz Macs are sooo pretty? How dumb are people with their money?

    Pretty dumb.

    That said some mac configurations are pretty hard to get in that ff from another vendor. It's the 13" that people seem to be getting - and purely for the weight.

    If it was me buying, I'd probably go for the equivilant Asustek model. Smaller, lighter, made in the same factory, cheaper.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:14AM (#16007116) Journal
    It sounds as if the author is trying to invent a reason why free software won't be free. If Linux is relegated to the embedded market, it's not really free anymore. Oh sure, you can download the open source part, but if you don't have the hardware or the bundled commercial app, it won't do much for you. He doesbn't like the idea of free software, probably feels too damn commie to him, so he invents a fantasy in which it is relegated to a role where it isn't free, and the fat happy capitalists get to make money off of it, as God intended the fat happy capitalists make money off of everything.
  • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:30AM (#16007237)

    No, big huge companies with million dollar IT budgets don't care, but companies where the IT is limited to one guy or half a guy will care. If they can have a homebuild solution cheaper than an out-sourced solution, they'll go for it.

    You assume Apple's looking at all markets. They aren't. I'm trying to highlight a market (small businesses) that Apple could reasonably shoot for with some work.
  • re (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:38AM (#16007309)
    Really though who cares?

    I, have my freedom.
    I, have access to everything I need with Linux.

    If the rest of the Software world chooses to go down the same old roads, I say let them. It will be the 1980s all over again, with Apple, Google, Sony, Yahoo and Oracle making inroads into Microsoft's monopoly.

    Again, the difference between the tides of the fortunes of the major software vendors is that people have the freedom now to simply switch off and run a full and complete Open Source OS.

    Let the fools destruct themselves in Apple/Windows land, those who jump ship and come to Linux country have made the smart move.
  • by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:55AM (#16007450)
    I'm saying that I used to hear arguments that Apple was higher priced because the parts were higher quality and didn't break as much (or maybe I'm confusing them with Sun?). Now, since they use the same Intel parts, it's hard to make that argument.
    Not hard, just harder. There are ranges of Intel components: some motherboard manufacturers are more reliable than others, some components have better hardware or better drivers, etc. It's like saying an eMachines (or whatever) laptop you got for $500 at Walmart is of lower quality than the Thinkpad laptop. One company uses cheaper components to bring the cost down, while the other uses more premium components to bring up the overall quality to justify a higher price. Most commercial customers will go for the more reliable product with better support.

    If you think the Apple and Dell laptop battery issues were bad, eMachines and their ilk have been plagued by such things as well as POWER ADAPTERS THAT CATCH ON FIRE. Sure, you can get lucky buying a cheap PC, but from my experience said PCs are usually more of a headache than they're worth. Such is the risk of business, what makes it so bad for them is that since they ship SO MANY units they now have to make a major recall.

    Now, that's not to say that apple uses higher quality components than everyone else. I'm sure Lenovo and Dell use very similar components in their high (or mid-high) range models. But they are similarly more expensive than lower-end machines with subpar quality. The only other main difference is how the cases are engineered (both outside and in). It's been my experience that the end-product of an Apple laptop is very solid and durable.

    Remember, like Toyota, Apple tries to rely on their "just works" image: their machines are pretty solid. Toyota doesn't import their parts from another planet, they use similar (or the same) parts as other car companies. They just try to make sure they pick good parts and put them together well. However, like Toyota they can easily slip if they stop paying attention, as demonstrated by Toyota's current problems.
  • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:11AM (#16007576)
    I attended a marketing class this past spring taught by an entrepeneur. He was just back from a trip to Bulgaria and said that the vast majority of businesses in Bulgaria use only Linux and They can't afford Microsoft licenses and can't afford the fines if the Bulgarian version of the BSA comes in to ask to see license documentation. Most just run Linux and forget about the headaches of licensing.

    On the other hand, the Bulgarians I've spoke to in person say that almost everyone in Bulgaria uses Windows and Office at home as it's freely available from about a bzillion warez sites.
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Interesting)

    by devjj ( 956776 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:21AM (#16007662)
    You're far more likely to be taken seriously when you don't write off an entire operating system as "for people unwilling or unable to understand the guts of a microcomputer." Mac OS X is a powerful, stable platform, and you'll find that quite a few people who know and understand the guts of a computer (myself included) are using it to do far more than just surf for porn. It may not be the server operating system you're looking for, but it is far more than a "20 year old desktop-for-nubes."
  • by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:28AM (#16007726)
    The strength of Linux is in it's stable and secure kernel and low-level "plumbing." The same as BSD. An OS that includes a "Windows" experience on top of this solid foundation would for teh first time attract real attention and a real user base.
    Another strength of Linux is that it is open source. If someone wants to, they can take it and work as hard at usability and just-workishness as they can. Later on, their efforts get added to other efforts, and before long there is great progress. In fact, maybe you missed it (or underestimated it), but there has been a tremendous effort in making "comfortable" Linux for a long time: [] [] []

    I look at the usability and overall experience comparison between Ubuntu Dapper Drake and Warty Warthog, and I'm amazed.

    Interestingly, even smaller, specialized distros have taken up the charge to be more friendly and accessible. For example, look up the DreamLinux distro sometime.

    And if you don't think the masses will ever "smarten" up and use Linux, take a closer look at your Tivo. [] (fair enough, it's not a desktop, but then Linux is only the kernel anyway...)
  • Re:Embedded. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zephyr14z ( 907494 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @12:21PM (#16008213)
    Embedded windows is ugly. I used to work a cashier job, and when I started, all of the registers had some variation of embedded linux. Eventually the touch screens started to die, so the registers were replaced with new, "better" ones. These ran XP embedded, and were nothing but trouble. Wouldn't print reciepts right, wouldn't take credit cards half the time, and just froze at least a few times a day.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @12:26PM (#16008264)
    You! Put down the crack pipe and actually go RTFA! Linux is *perfect* for the embedded market because it's a kernel that can have any number of little specialized apps stacked on top it. The author freely acknowledges that as a strength of the OS. I actually found the article to be realistic and COMPLIMENTARY of Linux. And he's making a short range prediction of which market it's likely to impact the most, with the end-user desktop NOT being one of them.

    Oh, and this BS about Linux suddenly not being free anymore if it's bundled with hardware? WTF?? Which orifice did that come out of? Linux will continue to be free and companies or individuals will continue to pick it up, tweak it to suit their needs, and, hopefully, come up with some nifty products that we would be willing to BUY. Yes, BUY. Or are you implying that because a HARDWARE device uses a free OS Kernel for its software core, that therefore the HARDWARE should be free also?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @12:33PM (#16008323)
    If Linux is relegated to the embedded market, it's not really free anymore. Oh sure, you can download the open source part, but if you don't have the hardware or the bundled commercial app, it won't do much for you.
    Isn't that true today? This is a hollow arguement that amazes me that it got marked as insightful. The question of hardware never being free isn't much of a question at all. As far as bundled apps... this is also not free unless the app provider provides it for free.
    Ultimatly an embedded system that can not be customized by an end user becomes less valueable the more the speific the role of the hardware is. Take a cellphone for example; with todays multimedia styled phones the inability to apply ones own music would make the multimedia cellphone near useless outside of the original communications features. That's why this is modifiable.
    You get into an area of an embedded system such as a PLC Linux could be used to make a more end-user friendly system where the user doesn't need to know C to program it. This is added value and the more flexible this system is with custom user software the more valuable it will become. Locking down features in such an embedded system would only be bad for the producer, they've already sold you the hardware, why should they cripple the app or the ability to modify the app?

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10