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Is Apple Killing Linux on the Desktop? 1224

Domains May Disappear writes "Chris Howard has an interesting commentary at Apple Matters on recent trends in OS market share that says that while OS X has seen continual growth, from 4.21% in Jan 2006 to 7.31% in December 2007 at the same time, Linux's percentage has risen from only 0.29% to 0.63%. The reasons? 'Apple has Microsoft Office, Linux doesn't; Apple has Adobe Creative Suite, Linux doesn't; Apple has easily accessed and easy to use service and support, Linux doesn't; Apple is driven by someone who has some understanding of end-user needs, Linux is not,' says Howard. 'Early in the decade it seemed that if you wanted a Windows alternative, Linux was it. Nowadays, an Apple Mac is undoubtedly the alternative and, with its resurgence and its Intel base, a very viable one.'"
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Is Apple Killing Linux on the Desktop?

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  • my rebuttal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reverend528 ( 585549 ) * on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:03PM (#21913402) Homepage
    linux has apt, apple doesn't;
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      MacPorts is sometimes a bit flaky, but it does the job when you're looking to install unix-like utilities on OS X.

      I do wish I could use it to install regular Mac software, though, and it would be nice if their X implementation didn't make X apps second-class citizens.

  • by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <semi_famous.yahoo@com> on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:04PM (#21913414) Homepage Journal
    When it came time for me to buy a new machine, and I was dead set against another Windows box, I bought a Mac. It gave me the best of both worlds. I get most of the best non-GUI Linux packages (or at least most of the best) via the BSD ports collection, a number of Linux GUI packages with Apple's X interface, great integration of virtualized Windows applications with Parallels, all the Mac specific software, and the Apple store is a 5-minute drive away if I need more help than I can get online.

    I can run Linux in Bootcamp or Parallels, so if I really want something only Linux can deliver, I can have that too.

    Mac is sort of the "universal platform", IMO, and a year later, I consider it a very worthwhile investment.

    • Not Quite Universal (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PrescriptionWarning ( 932687 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:15PM (#21913626)
      if there's one feature about Ubuntu that I love more than my Mac is that you can install a TON of applications from Synaptic or via the awesome Add/Remove app. OSX on the other hand, if you want to install some new piece of software, be prepared to pay for it, or to get a really useless trial version.

      The reason people are buying mac is because they want something new, and when it comes to purchasing a computer your only choices are OSX and Vista for most people. I'd bet anything that if we saw more linux pcs at stores like best buy and walmart, the cheaper linux PC would CLOBBER in sales, because people really do care about cost.
      • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:21PM (#21913718)
        Guess what!!! some people don't mind paying for software. Especially if it is good software.

        Oh and you can use OS X with completely free as in beer software. I use Abi-word instead of Pages or MS Word.

        But unlike Linux I can install Adobe Photoshop.
      • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:22PM (#21913742)
        Fink is a package manger based on debian aptget. there's thousands of free packages there. and because the mac environment is so homogeneous they build seamlessly without surprises, many downloadable in binary form. works great from the command line or from the gui. Easy to keep up-to-date

        then there's darwin ports and a gnu-darwin if you want other package managers.

      • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:34PM (#21914016)
        The one thing I hate about my OSX laptop is trying to get a lot of CPAN and perl related libs installed on it. If you just want to dump a pre-set LAMP (er.. OSXAMP? Whatever) on it, that's fine. But I was trying to replicate my development environment for a personal project onto my powerbook so I could carry it all with me and no longer have to telnet to my system to work on such things.

        I found a lot of seemingly trivial things to be absolutely tedious and borderline impossible on OSX. Something I could have just installed with cpan or apt-get on debian required that I install this lib. Then that lib. Then FINK. Then tweak a bunch of stuff. Then, finally, if I'd sacrificed enough chickens, I could install the actual think I had wanted to in the first place.

        I know that OSX is a huge platform among web developers, but I also know most of them are into dreamweaver crap and php, ruby, etc. But I know that it's big enough among them that it can't always be that difficult. For me, however, I simply wasn't willing to invest the absurd amount of energy and time to get my development environment going on it that would have taken me an hour from start to finish on any given linux system. And without that, there is absolutely no reason for me to own a mac (the unix underpinning being the reason I enjoy it so I can do my solaris/linux-ish stuff with it). The only exception being that I do love my powerbook, for ease of networkability in multiple environments and the rather rugged, durable, always-works consistency of it.

        I know that I have had to pull myself away from apple.com on more than a few occasions where I was playing with the configurator and so ready to hand out my cash like an idiot, before I came to my senses and said "but you're just doing this so you can have a new shiny toy -- there's nothing you can do on this box that you can't already do on your powerhouse linux box at home... save your $3,000+ and get a hooker, some blow and a couple midgets".
        • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:51PM (#21914350)
          For me, however, I simply wasn't willing to invest the absurd amount of energy and time to get my development environment going on it that would have taken me an hour from start to finish on any given linux system.

          I can understand why you wanted this, but I don't really grok why you thought it would be easy. Unix and Linux are similiar, but they are not the same. OSX is Unix. Never forget that.

          Its absurd to expect exactly replicating a Linux dev environment on Unix would be easy. Getting a LAMP stack going in OSX or Solaris, or even windows is pretty trivial. Getting your exact linux lamp stack going in OSX, or Solaris, or Windows is not.
      • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:44PM (#21914208)
        There's PLENTY of high quality freeware for the Mac.
        http://www.trailrunnerx.com/ [trailrunnerx.com] If you're into running and like keeping logs.
        http://handbrake.fr/ [handbrake.fr] Does DVD->iPod almost seamless. I'm still pounding my head against debian and ffmpeg (What do you MEAN mp4 is an unrecognized format).
        http://www.transmissionbt.com/ [transmissionbt.com] Is an excellent torrent client, free.

        (The later two have since been ported to Linux)

        Some of the 'shareware' is pretty cheap also. Graphic converter (http://www.lemkesoft.com/) is nothing short of amazing. $35 too. I'd copy and paste the number of image formats it supports but it might not make it past the filter.

        I haven't run across many Linux programs that come close to being that 'pretty' nor as integrated into the OS. I mean Trailrunner will import your GPS info, map it in google earth with one click. It'll track your running times, etc. Sync with your iPod+Nike, heart rate monitors. And it's FREE.

        What is available for Ubuntu that won't run on the Mac? Right now my Mac laptop is running Apache2, PHP and MySQL. I have nmap installed and a ton of other 'unix' programs. I always search sourceforge for programs to see if someone's already written something command line.

        If you don't like gcc and compiling stuff your self there's always fink which is built around apt-get. fink install ...

        There's even a GUI for it so that it's no different than Synaptic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times ( 778537 )

      When it came time for me to buy a new machine...

      I think this opening is crucial, though. When buying a new machine, Apple is an option, and a good option at that. However, if you'd like to upgrade from Windows XP on an existing computer, OSX simply isn't an option.

      Being an IT person and talking to other IT people, it seems to me that a lot of people are feeling like XP is falling slightly out of date, but that Vista isn't a good upgrade option. This is a big opening for Linux to make some headway in g

  • Biased, however.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:04PM (#21913416) Homepage Journal
    Obviously Apple Matters is going to have a bias towards OS X and that should be taken into account. However, that said we've been reducing both our Windows and Linux systems in favor of OS X for some time now for many of the reasons outlined in the referenced article.

    I'd like to add in another reason why Linux is not growing as fast as OS X use: fragmented distros. Supporting multiple flavors of Linux is simply a pain in the ass and the typical end user of Linux is likely to have their own preference (Red Hat, Yellow Dog, Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, etc...etc...etc... In fact, last time I looked there were over 1000 different flavors of Linux and BSD and with the exception of OS X (a descendent of BSD) every single flavor that I've tried out of that 1000 all required significant effort just to get the OS up and running with wireless networks, not to mention all the various voodoo required for the printer support.

    No, for me it is all about getting work done and I don't want the OS getting in my way or becoming an impediment to accomplishing things and I don't want to have to spend time with all of our students on various flavors of Linux. In retrospect, the last project that we worked on with a contractor got developed for Red Hat and in terms of system support, backup, management and more I really wish we had developed it for OS X now. That is not to say that we will not develop our algorithms cross platform, as that is our goal to release them totally open source, but for anything that is going to be developed for intensive use or for further development it is going on OS X and taking advantage of all the platform specific pleasantries such as Cocoa, Core Image, Core Animation, Quartz and more.

    • by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:16PM (#21913644)
      These are all the reasons Microsoft gives for using their product, and I expect if their product wasn't riddled with bugs and annoyances, you'd be a closed MS shop.

      I think the bottom line is that Linux is, and always will be, a bit of a hobbyist and/or experimentalist bleeding edge platform. It's like the difference between commercial radio and amateur (ham) radio: the former is all about "getting work done," as you say, and so it's streamlined, standardized, and widespread. The latter is about experimenting with new ways of doing stuff, about cooking it up at home by yourself, about trying out your individual creative thoughts and ideas. So it's idiosyncratic, quirky, customizable, and thinly spread.

      Each has its place, of course. Without streamlined standardized production platforms, people trying to get stuff done who don't give a hoot about computers and software would be endlessly frustrated. Without weird individual experimentation, advancement stagnates. (I don't doubt that one of the reasons OS X is so much more useful than, say, OS 9 or, God forbid, that bombing monster Mac OS, is because it was goosed by Linux coming up fast from behind.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Otter ( 3800 )
      Obviously Apple Matters is going to have a bias towards OS X and that should be taken into account. However, that said we've been reducing both our Windows and Linux systems in favor of OS X for some time now for many of the reasons outlined in the referenced article.

      From walking around the MIT campus, it seems like there's been a huge increase in uptake of Macs around there, by everyone from fresh-faced undergrads to grizzled beardos. It used to be that the biologists were the only ones who had them.


  • Point of view (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reynaert ( 264437 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:08PM (#21913464)
    Linux market share has increased by 117%, while Apple's increase is only 74%.
    • by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:34PM (#21914024) Homepage
      Someone promote this guy to VP of Marketing right now! :)
  • Linux market share? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:08PM (#21913466) Homepage

    OS X sales can be counted, Linux downloads more or less can't.

    Also, those must be US-only figures, surely? OSX 7%!?

  • Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:09PM (#21913480)
    I'm a programmer at a university, and when my boss asked me what type of laptop I wanted, I chose a MacBook Pro because of OS X. I can run all of the normal OS X applications, compile and/or run almost all Unix tools, and virtualize Windows (2000) for when I need to run something in Windows. It's the perfect platform, and you're seeing a lot of more technically adept people move to it for that reason. Is OS X perfect? No, but it really is easy to use, and it means I don't have to fight with my computer when I want to do something unusual. Is there a price premium? Yes, but my employer paid for it, so ha.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by droopycom ( 470921 )
      As far as I'm concern, on every computer, even a Mac, you have to fight when you want to do something unusual. The problem with Linux is that you also have to fight to do some of the usual things. But the good thing about that is when you want to do the unusual stuff, you probably already know how to fight.

  • meh statistics (Score:5, Informative)

    by nevurthls ( 1167963 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:10PM (#21913512) Homepage
    From 4.21% to 7.31% is an increase of ~73% of market share for the mac.
    From 0.29% to 0.63% is an increase of ~117% of market share for linux.

    Isn't that a bigger victory for linux?
    The relative market share increase of linux being about 1.5 times that of the mac...
    • Re:meh statistics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by colonslash ( 544210 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:23PM (#21913792)
      Another way to look at it is that 3.44% of the market has changed hands, 10% of that to Linux and 90% to OSX
    • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:30PM (#21913926) Homepage
      At that rate, Linux will surpass the Mac's market share in 12 years, with 3161% of the market compared to Mac's 3132%. Oh, wait...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 )

      From 4.21% to 7.31% is an increase of ~73% of market share for the mac.
      From 0.29% to 0.63% is an increase of ~117% of market share for linux.

      Well, TFA clearly points out this isn't an actual measure of market share.

      The statistic is percentage of computers used to access the Web, based on the data available to the source company. So, it's like "among companies participating in the stats counter who gave us this data, this is the percentage" -- pretty far removed from everyone on the web.

      I seriously doubt i

  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:12PM (#21913550) Homepage

    I liked Linux and was slowly switching until I got to see how nice OS X was and became (as it was released/updated). There is a very good chance I spent most of my time on Linux at this point if it wasn't for OS X. My brother is probably the same was, as are many others in small IT department I work at. OS X provides us the unixy goodness we love (command line and such), with a great GUI that's easy to use and commercial software and things "just working". I've been on a Mac for a few years now, yet I still discover nice little things (like my Mac keeps separate mute statuses for when I have headphones plugged in and not plugged in, so it adjusts automatically as soon as I plug my headphones in.)

    If you are not a hardcore FOSS person who wants the source to everything they run... OS X provides a fantastic environment for a great many people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm the opposite of you. I was trying out OS X after years with Windows and signficant experience with Linux. Even with Fink, not enough good Gnome and KDE GUI stuff runs under OS X... you still have to buy software for many uses. The Mac GUI is beautiful, slick and elegant, but it is a bit paternalistic, too-- no easy / safe way to stop a file move or copy, no easy way to shut down when an app that's running is not in the mood to let you, and lots of delays with the twirling pinwheel disc and no way to
  • Source (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePsychologist ( 1062886 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:12PM (#21913554) Journal
    It's much easier to measure OS X adoption since most of it is just purchases of Mac computers. It's impossible to do the same with Linux. Who knows how many Linux users there are out there. I've never registered my copy of Linux, for one.
  • On the other hand, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peter Trepan ( 572016 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:12PM (#21913558)
    The Macintosh started with a larger user base. Taking that into account, the percentage of increase is 25% larger for Linux than for OS X.

    Take heart: Apple is actually killing Linux slightly less than it used to.
  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:12PM (#21913560)
    1. The enemy of my enemy is my friend
    2. Linux will get cool stores, too
    3. OOO is just as good as MS Office
    4. KDE 5 will look just like Aqua
    5. Gimp and Adobe work alike.

    No, it's not flamebait, just reality.
  • Who uses support? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by magister159 ( 993682 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:13PM (#21913572) Homepage
    Honestly, I have never thought of calling my operating system manufacturer for support.

    Perhaps it's because I work in IT, and I'm smarter than your average Tier 1 support monkey... But I can't imagine a normal person saying "I can't connect to the Internet, let me call Microsoft".

    Then again, I could be completely off base.
  • The answer is no. (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Living Fractal ( 162153 ) <banantarr@YEATShotmail.com minus poet> on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:14PM (#21913588) Homepage
    When the trend is UPWARDS, I.E. when Linux is being used MORE than before, then why does it make sense to use the word 'killing'? Surely if the trend was downwards this would be sensible, but not the other way around?

    And also.. it's very easy to blame others for your problems. What problems are those? Well, they are the plusses of Apple's and Microsoft's solutions. They are those software or productivity suites that those respective companies have which Linux does not have. It is not Apple or Microsoft's fault they have those things as much as it is Linux's fault for NOT having them, or for what they do have simply not being as good. You can only blame yourself for what you lack in comparison to what is the widely accepted and used norm.

    It's all a geek dream anyway, that people doing work for free is going to somehow outperform people who do their jobs to get paid and rely on that payment to sustain the quality of living they are used to. Not to mention that during this time that the people are writing free software they have to be working for a living; working on other projects and with other distractions. It just doesn't add up that Linux could be better than Apple, or even Microsoft, despite how completely fucked Vista seems to be so far.

    Now, I know there are many ways you can tear up the logic in this post, and I freely encourage you to do so. But ultimately what you need to do is explain why, if my logic is flawed, the situation is as it remains today.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xaxa ( 988988 )
      If it's a geek dream, then how come the situation as it remains today is that GNU/Linux is better than OS X or MS Windows for some functions (servers etc)?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's all a geek dream anyway, that people doing work for free is going to somehow outperform people who do their jobs to get paid and rely on that payment to sustain the quality of living they are used to.

      Nonsense. A half-million hobby coders can trounce 10,000 paid Microsoft programmers any day. They have done so already and they continue to do so. The only thing you might expect is that Vista and OS X would have more unified design (in Vista's case, the unifying design concept does not even serve the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 )
      ``It's all a geek dream anyway, that people doing work for free is going to somehow outperform people who do their jobs to get paid and rely on that payment to sustain the quality of living they are used to. Not to mention that during this time that the people are writing free software they have to be working for a living; working on other projects and with other distractions. It just doesn't add up that Linux could be better than Apple, or even Microsoft, despite how completely fucked Vista seems to be so
  • by Britz ( 170620 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:16PM (#21913640)
    I took one look at the statistic and thought: Wtf?

    http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=8 [hitslink.com]

    0.12% of all devices that access the internet are IPhones? How many did they sell?
    0.63% for Linux, which means that only six times as many Linux computers are used to access the internet as IPhones.

    About one persent for Linux and about seven for Mac: I would buy that. Sounds reasonable, since many open source guys I know use a Mac for desktop stuff.

    But with those numbers for the IPhone the numbers look more like something someone pulled out of their a**. Plus all the computer lab computers at our universities got converted to Linux over the past years. And our university is not Linux friendly in any way. So I imagine that this would happen at many universities and colleges.
    • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:36PM (#21914066) Journal
      According to this [internetworldstats.com] there 1.26 billion Internet users. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] there were 1.4 million iPhones sold by October 2007. Assuming every iPhone connects to the Net at some point, that means ~0.11% of the connected devices should be iPhones, which is remarkably close to the number the article quotes.

      That having been said, I don't really trust the stats provided in the article. They claim 0.6% Linux usage, but most other [wikipedia.org] estimates based on web traffic put Linux usage at 0.8% to 3% (and as we all know such techniques are inherently error-prone; e.g. Linux users may spoof their agent string).

      As usual, estimating Linux market share is nearly impossible. It can be interesting to look at the numbers, but I wouldn't make any sweeping arguments based on such uncertain data.
  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:21PM (#21913716)

    Apple's increase from 4.21% to 7.31% is (7.31-4.21)/(4.21) = 73.6 % relative growth in market share

    Linux's increase from 0.29% to 0.63% is (.063 - .029)/(0.29) = 117.2% relative growth

    So actually, Linux grew faster over the period in question. Though I am deeply suspicious of anyone who claims to calculate market share to three significant figures.

  • by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:24PM (#21913810)
    Linux's strength is in it's staying power. It's not going anywhere. You can't kill it the way you can a start-up company... or even a large and powerful company.

    It's still largely a hobbyist platform. (Remember, I'm talking about Linux on the desktop, not on the server.) But given a time-span long enough, Linux is bound to be a major player on the desktop (possibly even the dominant player).

    The economics of Linux don't place the same value on a perfected user experience. But it does place some value on user experience. That value only goes up over time. What was the most user-friendly Linux distribution in 1996? What was the installation like back then? Now compare that with installing today's Ubuntu or SUSE or Fedora or Mandriva or almost any distribution that you randomly pick off the front page of distrowatch.com. The difference is huge, and the user experience can only continue to improve.

    If Steve Jobs is the great master of the user experience, what will happen to Apple if when he quits or dies? I don't know the answer to that.

    But I know what will happen to Linux if Linus Torvalds dies... Pretty much nothing. Linux is analogous to the internet. It keeps getting bigger and better, and it has no weak link. The same cannot be said for Apple or Microsoft.
  • I switched (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lemuel ( 2370 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:33PM (#21913996)
    I switched from Linux to a Mac a couple of years ago. What I found was that I was spending a lot of time on system administration and wasn't benefiting myself or anyone else. There were too many cases where things wouldn't work unless I dug down and found an obscure file to update to make things work. And no, I'm not talking common ones like /etc/resolv.conf. The free software answer is to modify the code to improve the programs, but I don't have the time to do that. I tried a Mac that I inherited, then bought a Mac Mini, then finally a MacBook Pro. I still have my Linux computer, but it is in my closet turned off for over a year. I've installed Linux on a couple of desktops at work but don't really use them much, and when I have problems I'm reminded why I switched to a Mac.

    I will say that Ubuntu is a lot more convenient than the plain Debian I used to run and I might like Linux on the desktop if I tried it again. I've found, though, that I have a lot more apps I rely on on the Mac than I did with Linux so it would be a lot harder to convert back to Linux than it was to come to the Mac.
  • by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:38PM (#21914098)

    Early in the decade it seemed that if you wanted a Windows alternative, Linux was it. Nowadays, an Apple Mac is undoubtedly the alternative ...

    Windows was Microsoft's effort to fight back against the GUI interface of the Apple Macintosh. Back in the old days of DOS, the Apple Macintosh was the "windowing operating system." UNIX and X-Windows systems also did graphics, but generally only for CAD (Computer Aided Design) applications.

    Linux has never fought in the graphical environment and ease of use space. Traditionally, its strength has always been that it is a great Unix replacement. Today, Linux dominates the university and scientific computing landscape. Additionally, Linux is a great operating system for many focused, special purpose projects. Projects like embedded web servers, routers, and even small portable computers like the Asus Eee PC. In many of these applications, neither the Mac nor Windows are feasible alternatives.

    Since the mid-80's, the dominant PC in the market has been an IBM Compatible PC running Microsoft Software. The Graphical arts people have always used the Macintosh, because initially it had good and easy to use graphics. Unix and Linux have dominated in almost every special purpose application environment that the other two architectures could not accomplish.

    The new effect is that the Mac, Windows, and to a lesser extent Linux, can all run the same desktop applications, or at least the same types of desktop applications. The result has been Microsoft pushing the .NET languages, hoping to create such a large application monolith, that no one will ever consider switching from Windows again. In practice, people want a simpler, more reliable alternative to Windows. For ease of use, Apple is winning. For cost, adaptability, and reliability, Linux is winning.

  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:40PM (#21914130)
    desktop market. Since then the number of folks using Linux on the desktop has certainly increased:
    http://www.itfacts.biz/linux-desktop-market-share-to-reach-6-in-2007/723 [itfacts.biz]

    It was predicted to be 6% in 2007 and I'd wager that is pretty close.

    Of course, that doesn't count Linux users like myself who purchase through the retail channel only once out of every 4 downloads, and the much larger number who only download free copies of Linux. This "0.6%" also never takes into account the fact that a single download of a Linux distro is often installed on more than one computer.

    So, all this report is comparing is the retail channel sales of Mac, the only way one can get it, with the retail channel sales of Linux, which is usually the choice of last resort among Linux users.
  • by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:45PM (#21914230) Homepage
    1. I don't think mature Linux users will care. Linux is a great tool and does some things that osx can't do. At some point the killer Linux app will come along that will drive adoption. This is pretty much how it's always worked. This is how Linux is gaining now.

    2. Stealing desktop share is a moot point. Apple has been trying for as long as I can remember to switch windows users and it doesn't work that well on its own until Vista came along.

    3. Right now, Linux is the third alternative that will probably make either osx or vista look better to most. It's the shouting (advertising) that makes Apple products more viable. If Ubuntu could afford Apple-scale advertising, then you would see even more adoption.
  • First, some basic questions as to measuring Linux installs. Very hard. No bar-code events in many cases.

    The other problem that I have with this guy's article is that it is contrary to recent reports even here on /. about the really stunning popularity of Linux AND Mac sales on Amazon [slashdot.org]. Also, there is a totally different distribution chain. Macs are sold in stores or on-line. Linux is often distributed through social networks, such as the telecentros in Sao Paulo, Brazil [brazzil.com] and Extremadura, Spain [digitaltippingpoint.com]; or in thin client networks such as at this public middle school in San Francisco [slashdot.org]; or via free giveaways, such as this guy who gave out 16,000 Linux computers [lxer.com] in Berkeley, California; or via the numerous municipal and national migration projects to Linux, such as in Munich, Madrid, and Extremadura Spain; or via Nokia's N880; or the OLPC; or the Asus EEE PC, or the Everex PC.

    It is a totally different business model. The fundamental problem with TFA is that it does not understand this fundamental different.
  • by BUL2294 ( 1081735 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @04:52PM (#21914354)

    Apple has Microsoft Office, Linux doesn't; Apple has Adobe Creative Suite, Linux doesn't;
    Mod me down if you want to, but a lot of the "failings" of desktop Linux have to do with, what I consider to be, WINE's screwed up priorities. Yes, I know it's free software and they have put together an amazing product. However, until the code is in place for a recent version of M$-Office (XP or 2003) flawlessly running on Linux with WINE, (and that includes the entire suite, including MS-Access), desktop Linux adoption will continue at its piddly rate.

    For many people and companies, myself included, WINE's ability to run WoW on Linux as a "platinum" app shows technical expertise, but a lack of vision. There would be much more interest in the project (and possibly a cash infusion) if they publicly declared something like "WINE v0.9.xx will fully support MS-Office 2003 on Linux by this summer..."

    Wishful thinking on my part... I doubt that CodeWeavers (a big sponsor of WINE) would allow that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pecisk ( 688001 )
      Office XP/2003 runs rather flawlessly on my Ubuntu 7.10, with native Wine.
  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @05:11PM (#21914720)

    I used to be a pretty hard-core Linux on the Desktop guy. Every PC I ever built or bought (laptops) dual-booted Windows and Linux. At one point in college, I was even writing my essays in HTML to print from within Netscape 4, as there weren't any decent Linux word processing software (that was free ;)) circa late 1996.

    I kept Windows around because there was-and-is a lot of stuff that Linux doesn't do well, if at all; Photoshop (GIMP wasn't a contender until GimpShop, too little too late), Office, Final Cut Pro, StarCraft, etc. OpenOffice (NeoOffice) is finally to the point where it's almost an Office replacement (in my line of work, I have to volley a document back and forth a dozen times or more between my office and third parties', with Track Changes and Comments and those aren't in OpenOffice).

    I returned to Mac (my last Mac previously was a PowerBook 5300/100 with System 7.5.x and MachTen (http://www.tenon.com/products/machten/ [tenon.com]) around OS X Jaguar, on an iBook G3/600. That thing was indestructible (fell off the back of my motorcycle at ~40mph and survived outdoors for a week before I recovered it, still works 4 years later), and led to a PowerBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook (engineering school tote-along), iMac, Mac mini HTPC...

    What I love? Running Perl / Apache / PHP / MySQL / etc. in a comfortable "native" UNIX environment, while still having all my GUI goodness with Mail.app, Safari.app, Preview.app, Office 2004, StarCraft (yeah, I'm way behind the times in gaming, don't care, don't have time), etc., all a click away as native apps. Plus, now with VMWare and Windows, I can keep around the software I need for school (XILINX, Visual Studio Pro 2005, etc) on one platform. Front Row is a great HTPC interface. AppleScript lets me automate flipping between it and my Elgato EyeTV, with the sleek little Apple remote control. Awesome industrial design (Macs are pretty; most PCs look cobbled together, with the possible exception of the VAIOs).

    I haven't run Linux in years, except at the office where we setup a big Linux file / backup server. Even my home server is now an old PowerMac G4 with matched (and software mirrored) internal hard drives and OS X Tiger Server. The UI is better, the third-party application support is there, and most software I want is either a single-click .dmg install or no more difficult to install than it is on Linux (through Darwin Ports and fink), often easier (fink vs. yum, for instance).

    Most servers I'd deploy would still be Linux, as Apple's hardware is expensive in that market niche and there's no value add (I'm going to be running the same AMP software stack regardless of OS X or Linux as the underlying platform). But on the desktop, unless you're totally cash-starved, there's no compelling reason for me or most of the techie people I know to run Linux on the desktop, and lots of good reasons to use OS X instead.

    This is a trend that's been building for a while (I jumped in 2002, the biggest geeks in my circle jumped shortly thereafter): http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/29/1818256 [slashdot.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oik ( 790336 )

      At one point in college, I was even writing my essays in HTML to print from within Netscape 4, as there weren't any decent Linux word processing software (that was free ;)) circa late 1996.

      So, what was wrong with emacs and LaTeX? :)

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal