When Will Apple Notice Linux?

by James R. Stoup Jan 06, 2006

One thing has always puzzled me about iTunes, why isn’t it available for Linux? Now, I don’t mean “why doesn’t it run on Linux” (because with some 3rd party emulation it will run just fine) but rather, “why doesn’t Apple support it?”  It seems to me that Apple is missing out on a golden opportunity. The Linux market can be looked upon as an untapped market as far as media goes. You see, if you use Windows you have two choices for purchasing music online, Apple and then everybody else. If you are using a Mac then you just have one choice, Apple. But if you are using Linux, you don’t really have any choices to legally buy and download music do you? (to all of you Linux readers out there, if there is a service out there like that please let me know, I looked but didn’t find any)

If you use Linux, you are left out of the party. Now, I am quite sure that there are more than a few Linux users out there who enjoy listening to music on their computers. And, I am also willing to bet, that they don’t all go out and buy hundreds of CDs to get all of their favorite songs. Let us further assume that they aquire their music in somewhat less than legal means, shall we? If all of that is true, then you have market conditions that looked exactly like those that preceded the ITMS. And since iTunes and its Music Store have been very popular with the general public, why is there any reason to think it won’t be just as popular on the Linux side?

So, when I go to Apple’s site and click on their “download iTunes” link, I want to see three options, one for Mac, one for Windows and one for Linux. Of course, the ramifications of such a move would be tremendous, and I’m not just refering to buying songs, music videos or TV shows. If Apple were to make this move and port iTunes and Quicktime to Linux it would vastly improve Linux’s credibility.

That isn’t to say Linux isn’t credible, it is. But the fact remains that the main software companies out there don’t generally make software for Linux. Adobe doesn’t make any of its graphics tools (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) for Linux. I think we can all forget about Microsoft doing anything to help Linux, regardless of how much money it might make them. Broderbund, Corel, Intuit, Blizzard, Seirra and the rest all don’t make Linux compatible products. Why?

Well, there are several reasons, but most of those excuses would disappear if the Linux community could just get one main player on board. If just one recognized Linux as a true player then chances are good the rest will follow. However, just about all of these software developers earn most of their money from applications that run on Microsoft operating systems. So they probably won’t be tripping over themselves to be the first to legitimize Linux. Because if they do there is always the chance that Microsoft might retaliate for such a move, and what company really wants to risk that? Or rather, which company could do it with the least negative reprecussions.

Apple is the logical choice. If they lead the way then the other players can rationalize it by saying “Well, Apple is hot and if they are supporting Linux maybe that is because they see something we don’t. Maybe we should get on-board.” And so if one comes then two will come and then three, then four, till most of the major players are realizing that money can be made selling their products to Linux users.

But wait, before you penguin lovers out there warm up your flamethrowers let me make this one thing clear. I am aware that there are plenty open-source applications that currently fill most of these needs. If you don’t want Photoshop, use GIMP. Don’t want MS Office, use OpenOffice. Don’t like iTunes, use X Multimedia System. Yes, there are free, open source alternatives to proprietary, closed source, actually-cost-money software. I am not disputing this. However I am saying that without the backing or support of the major software companies Linux on the desktop will never reach anything other than its current, uber-geek, niche market. To make it to the big time Linux needs mainstream applications. If for no other reason than to make the transition easier for new users. Instead of forcing them to use the tortured interface that is the GIMP why not let them use Photoshop, since that is what they are comfortable with? It might mean that fewer people use GIMP, but isn’t that an acceptable loss if more people use Linux?

There is, however, another small hurdle to jump before anything like this can happen and that is the philosophical barrier that exist for many Linux users. First, Linux is still seen as a kind of special club for all of the really smart computer users out there. Allowing Adobe & friends to play in their clubhouse kind of reduces the mystique of their little world. So, if the Linux community is really serious about expanding on the desktop then they are going to have to come to terms with the idea that a lot of non-technical, non-programming people will be using Linux. This brings me up to my second point, attitude.

There have been plenty of times that I have encountered the arrogance of the Linux community. It most often comes out as some version of this notion: “if you aren’t smart enougth to use Linux then maybe you should go back to Windows.” Another common attitude is linking “easy to use” with “selling out”. Making software easy to use requires that you limit the number of features, something most die hard Linux advocates are loath to do. And yet it is something that must be done if Linux really wants to reach the masses. So, if the penguin really does want to go mainstream then they are going to need the support of the major software companies and the current Linux user base has to be ready for the impact of the non-technical user. Ubuntu is on the right track as far as this latter point goes, but they still have a long, long way to go.

So, perhaps someone needs to buy Linus Torvalds a plane ticket to Cupertino, California. Who knows, maybe if he asked Steve Jobs nicely if he might consider making iTunes available to three operating systems instead of just two. And maybe then, finally, the ball can start rolling for the Desktop Linux.


  • I think you are missing the big part about Linux users like myself not caring if Linux blows into the mainstream. I frankly don’t care, I enjoy using Linux and I support all those who are interested. But if you don’t want to use it, I view that as your loss, nothing more.

    At any rate, if iTunes was ported over I for one would not use it. I already have iPod support, and combined with Amarok, (which I believe blows away iTunes) I have no need to deal with proprietary software.

    devoured had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 1
  • > So please make the case that Linux is offering
    > something to the consumer—or indeed even the
    > developer—that OS X sorely lacks.


    > Good luck having an ordinary user configure a
    > Linux computer for use with third-party devices
    > such as cameras, scanners, printers, cell
    > phones, etc.

    Got Linux running already?  Told you it was easy!  wink

    Just kidding, of course you didn’t try.

    My wife runs Windows. I run Linux. I get to configure both. Let’s look at my most 3 recent installations in reverse order, considering how a Mac would likely fare as well (you correct me if I’m wrong - note I’m being brutally honest here).

    Here’s how I got my new Wolverine 40 GB USB drive (a Christmas present) working on my wife’s Windows laptop:

    1) Insert CD.
    2) Click Start -> My Computer
    3) Click WOLVERINE (that was the CD). Hey, where’d the autorun go???
    4) Go through (I believe) 5 screens of a wizard to install the drivers.
    5) Reboot (maybe? I lose track on Windows).
    6) Plug in Wolverine. Wait while “Found new hardware”, “Wolverine”, “Preparing hardware for use”, “Your new hardware is ready for use”, “Scanning for files”, and finally “What would you like to do?” messages occupy the screen.
    7) Click Open a File Browser.

    Here’s how I got my new Wolverine drive to work on my production Linux machine.

    1) Plug in Wolverine. A Nautilus file manager window opened about 2 seconds later.

    The latter is pretty equivalent to most Mac installations I’ve watched (admittedly not a whole lot), but I didn’t actually try it on a Mac.  If I’m right, that’s Linux 1, Mac 1, Windows 0 for friendliness IMHO.

    Here’s how I got my wife’s Epson Stylus printer to work on her Windows desktop.

    1) through 5) above, but with Epson driver CD.
    6) Plug in printer. Wait through similar messages until “Your new hardware is ready for use”.

    That wasn’t too bad, but I’m getting tired of the stack of CDs.

    Here’s how on Linux:
    1) Plug it in.
    2) Click System -> Administration -> Printers.
    3) Click Add Printer.
    4) Verify that the detected printer is correct and click OK.

    I expected auto-install there, too. Maybe next time. But this was my first attempt to install a printer on Ubuntu, and it didn’t strain my expectations much - in fact, it was where I first looked.

    I’m guessing if I plugged (at least) an Apple-compatible printer into an Apple machine, it wouldn’t require the user to take any action at all.  At least, I’d hope that’s the case, since I expected Linux to live up to that standard.  So, given I buy the right hardware, Apple 2, Linux 1, Windows 0.

    Here’s how I brought up my wife’s desktop on our new wireless network.

    1) through 6) above to get those @#$% drivers installed again.
    7) Go through the dialogs to find our network and enter the configuration data. Reboot a couple of times. Even now, I have to reconfigure about once a week because it keeps forgetting what network it should be using.

    Here’s how on Linux.

    1) Plug computer into wireless adapter.
    2) Click “constellation” (our wireless LAN).

    Now I’m guessing maybe a Mac is as easy as that (I’ve never set up a Mac network), so now we’re at Mac 3, Linux 2, and Windows 0.

    Pretty smug for Mac guys - but if ease of use is so all-fired important, why is the option that can’t score a lonely point holding 85-90% of the desktop market share?

    I’d suggest pondering that a while. No hints.  grin

    But even so, my old free-as-in-cost computer (given to me by an eye doc who was upgrading his office) with my free-as-in-speech OS barely missed your oh-so-not-free-as-in-either Mac.

    So, I’m smug regardless.

    But I’m not recruiting. Use what you like. I only responded because your statements on Linux ease of use are about 5 years out of date.

    Hey, I *like* Macs.  I just can’t afford them.

    Best wishes.

    George F. Rice had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 25
  • Just so others know, I administer an OS X Server, a Fedora 4 server, and a Windows 2003 server. I also preside over OS X and Windows workstation clients, and I tinker with Linux on the desktop. My first exposure to Linux was in the early 1990s when the OS was a bear to install and configure—even by UNIX standards. Linux has come a long way since that time.

    I must say I don’t feel less free using OS X than I do in using any particular Linux distro. I can download source code from sourceforge and compile it for OS X just as any Linux devotee can do on the Linux platform. Essentially you haven’t answered my question, (and of course you are within your rights to refrain from answering if that’s what you prefer), but when I ask what Linux offers that OS X lacks and you answer freedom, this only begs the following question:

    Freedom to do WHAT? What can you do under Linux that you can’t do under OS X?

    I have no missionary zeal to convert Linux proponents away from their platform—not at all. Rather this is just an honest question on my part. I’m curious as to how you figure Linux offers advantages over OS X. Basically the only one that leaps to mind is price—but then you can pay on the back end for support plans. (You might check sometime to see how expensive Red Hat’s server/enterprise product is and how much Red Hat charges for one year of tech support. (This is why so many have fled to Fedora.)

    Anyway, I like Linux myself. It serves as an e-mail server and web host for one of my clients—and I have no complaints.

    Jeff Mincey had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 74
  • My very first computing experience was when I was about 12 using some no name computer that my moms purchased from Radio Shack (I’m 31 now, so that’ll tell you how long ago that was smile ). My next experience with a computer was High school- an Apple II if memory serves correct. Great experience especially since being African-American living in the inner city we don’t have acess to things like White America does. Anyway, after graduating high school the next several years found me using Windows based computers as those were the ones available on my college’s campus at the time. Throughout the time from then until January 2005, Windows was all I used and I experienced many of the lack-luster things that others have. I finally came back to the Mac last January when I decided to come back to school to finish up my Bachelor’s program. I can honestly say that I am in love with OS X. User friendly, everything just works and I must admit, I’m a bit shallow, so I love the eye candy that is the OS X interface.

    I had never even heard of Linux until this past Fall. I needed a laptop for one of my classes. Couldn’t afford a PowerBook or an iBook at the time. My grandmother gave me her old IBM 600X ThinkPad laptop with Pentium III chip. It already had Windows XP Pro running on it, but because it’s so old, it can only use PC100 RAM cards, there’s no ethernet port on it and in order to support wireless networking/connection, I needed to use a wireless adapter that would fit in the PCMCIA card slot. Oh yeah, it has one USB port on it. Freaking lame. Couldn’t really get anything done on it cause Windows was running so slow on it. A classmate suggested that I use Linux on it. Linux? What’s that?

    Aftera two-week crash course on Linux, i finally decided to go with Ubuntu. Booted the disc up, got the 12GB hard drive re-formatted and then I thought that I was cool. Except that there’s a bug in Ubuntu that won’t let ThinkPad’s properly run it. Strike one for Linux. After spending about 3 days on IRC channel’s with many help TUX users and running into dead-end after dead-end, one of the TUX users suggested that I try Kubuntu. Ok. Got the download, booted, reformatted, re-boot: Yeah, Linux works! Problem though: No drivers for my wireless card under Linux. I already spent $50 for the one I got now, wasn’t about to go and spend more money. So in order to get anything on the laptop, i have to download it on my Mac and then burn it to CD and then move it to laptop and then blahblahblah…too much work. Strike two. Strike three came about two weeks into using Linux. I wanted to use some program, but gasp! i had to compile it myself. I HAVE NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE. No biggie. Searched around Google and found:
    make install

    Alright cool. Except the compilers that were installed weren’t up-to-date for the particular program I was trying to install. And I can’t get the up-to-date compilers because i have no internet connection for the ThinkPad. Ok, i am DONE! Since, i have gotten my hands on a G3 iBook which functions great for the what I need it to do. It came with an Airport wireless card already installed and I don’t have to self-compile anything that I want to use. Plus, if there is a program that I need that only works under Windows, I just run it under Virtual PC. No biggie. Lately, i have been doing some research on Linux and from nearest that I see it, OS X is really Linux. Sure, it’s not the same kernel, but basically anything that a normal person is used to doing under Linux, it usually can be done under OS X. OS X however, is just darn easy to use. I get a fully functional Web Server built right in. If I want to serve Java applications, I can just download and install Tomcat. If I want to run an email server, i go into my config files and enable postfix. Things that Linux users can do, but better. Better documentation. Things are more standard. Sure, i hate sometimes paying $300+ for Dreamweaver, Final Cut Studio or whatever, but whith price you get great product. Maybe if I had used Linux as long as most of you have, I would have a different view. But the way that I see it, OS X is the best solution for weaning the public off of M$, because it has all of the strengths of Linux and none of it’s weaknesses. TUX brothers come home.

    Frank 'viperteq' Young had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 32
  • Recall my objection was to your claim that a normal person could not use Linux successfully (that is, without using a command line, editing configuration files, and recompiling code). I trust I’ve adequately disproven that notion by now, so we can leave it safely behind.

    We’ve now changed to a topic of your choosing - whether Linux is *superior* to OS X in some way - but I’m willing to make the case for my one-word answer if you’re patient enough to read it. grin

    BTW, I also have over 20 years as a computer professional, with Windows, Unix, Linux and pre-OS X Macs.

    > Freedom to do WHAT? What can you do under
    > Linux that you can’t do under OS X?

    Note the word “you” in your question - I’m not pretending to speak for you.  Here’s what I can do with Linux that I cannot with Mac OS X.

    I’ve been threatened in writing multiple times by the Business Software Alliance with having strangers enter my home and audit the software on my computers. Their claim is that the End User License Agreements (EULA) on most proprietary software give them this right.

    I’ve pleaded with Microsoft representatives to allow me to reinstall Windows on a friend’s computer because his hard drive crashed. After only 10 or 15 minutes of interrogation, my friend was graciously granted permission to continue using the software for which he had paid top dollar.

    I’ve entered endless strings of random characters into install dialogs and yes, text files (which is why I just had to respond to your assertion that LINUX requires editing text files - the only text files I edit nowadays are license files to update vendor keys on WINDOWS!).

    And I’ve watched my wife’s and childrens’ computers die from weird and obscure failures that nobody can explain, because nobody has permission to study the Windows source code and figure out why it fails in that way.

    You might argue that Apple never did any of these things to me, and you’d be right. Apple products carries a premium price, which I don’t choose to pay (although I admire their engineering).

    But Mac software is proprietary software, and as such, Apple has the power to do the same things to me. That power over me puts me in a subservient position.

    IF they become like so many owners of “intellectual property” today (software, music, video, etc.), I don’t want to have to choose between a large financial investment and freedom.

    I prefer freedom.

    I want the freedom to do with my software whatever I please.  If I want to replace a hard drive, I shouldn’t need the software vendor’s permission. If I want to give copies to all my friend, I should be able to do so without asking permission.

    I want the freedom to study how a piece of software works (if I want), or to benefit from such study by others, so that I can make the systems I and mine use stable. I suspect that’s why I seem to get better tech support with free software in general, by the way - given enough debuggers, all problems have been solved before.

    I want the freedom to tell a new friend I just met online to go get and install a really great piece of software, without worrying about the cost - even sending the software myself if that seems most efficient. Or to go to an InstallFest, show an array of software, and give folks what they need just so they can try it. I also want to try software myself before committing my wallet - I haven’t space to list all the shelfware I bought before discovering freedom.

    I want the freedom to modify any application that is ALMOST good enough to meet my needs. I’ve rarely done so, but I really really want that option.

    Way too long of a post, but freedom is a complicated subject.  Mac software is high quality, is compatible with a lot of free software (actually vice-versa), and could probably do all I wanted functionally if I was willing to invest the money.

    But the reason I stick with Linux, is because it does everything I need without sacrificing my freedom.

    Apologies for the soapbox.  Aren’t you glad you asked?  wink

    George F. Rice had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 25
  • > I wanted to use some program, but gasp!
    > i had to compile it myself.

    Ah, you wanted to use a program NOT available for Ubuntu, so you decided to compile it yourself. Definitely a bad idea unless you’re a guru.

    Just out of curiosity, which program were you seeking?

    Never been very successful with that approach myself, but I applaud your initiative in searching Google for the proper commands.

    To me, though, this reads as something similar to, “I wanted to use a program not available for Macintosh, so I had to port the Windows source code myself.”  Ouch!

    > If I want to run an email server,
    > i go into my config files and enable postfix.

    WHAT!!!! To use Mac OS X I have to be able to edit CONFIG FILES!!!

    Way too hard, dude.  I’ll stick with Linux.  :-D

    (No offense intended, I know what you’re saying, just pointing out more ironies in life…)

    George F. Rice had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 25
  • First, let me say I thoroughly enjoyed reading the post by viperteq. You make some valid points.

    Second, to George, I don’t recall making any claim that one cannot use or configure Linux except by having to edit text files. That was someone else in this thread—not me.

    Third, it seems to me that your use of “freedom” is a euphemism for wanting to have free (as in beer) and unrestricted access to use an operating system in any way you wish. You want to be able to give copies of the OS to your friends.

    I don’t find this a reasonable criterion by which to evaluate software. Hey, don’t get me wrong—I wish all software carried no price nor any license restrictions either. But is that wish reasonable?

    Microsoft has historically had Draconian licensing terms, but Apple’s license is much more forgiving. You don’t have to call Apple and go through the “Mother may I” routine in order to install the same copy of OS X on multiple computers. Is it a technical violation of the EULA? Yes. But Apple doesn’t take measures to prevent you from doing it and instead relies on your honor.

    Now maybe you are under the impression that I could take Novell’s SuSE Linux and install it willy nilly on any computer or server I wanted—all without any violation of the EULA—but in this impression you would be mistaken. This idea that just because an operating system is Linux it ipso facto carries no restrictions is just wrong. Sure, certain distros, under certain conditions, may waive any restrictions, but then you get ZERO support, ZERO customer service, ZERO help—and in some cases ZERO updates.

    If you want to run debugging software and reverse engineer or decompile software, you can do this under OS X very easily. You can even do this to Darwin components. You iust can’t do it to proprietary OS X components. Now if this restriction somehow confines you, then OS X is not the platform for you; but I find it hard to believe you are wiling away the hours by decompiling Linux binaries.

    To me, the best OS is the one I’m scarcely conscious of as I use a computer. I want the OS to get out of my way and allow me to effectively get my work done. I don’t want it in my face, I don’t want it to impose idiosyncratic config requirements on me, I want it to be brain-dead simple to use. Having IT/developer skills doesn’t change this attitude on my part.

    I gather you are a highly skilled software developer or power user. That’s fine—but does this mean you actually PREFER software which is obtuse, arcanse, or otherwise difficult or a pain in the ass to use? Are you still clinging to the myth that more complexity in the UI means more power, and, conversely, that less complexity in the UI means less power? Surely not.

    No need to apologize for the soapbox. And in fact I AM glad I asked—because I enjoyed reading your elaboration and I’m glad you fleshed out your earlier comments.

    One last reminder—on a Mac, one can run both OS X and any number of Linux distros or BSD implementations. And on upcoming Intel Macs one can run Windows as well (by all accounts). But one cannot run OS X on just any Wintel or Linux box. So I find that the Mac platform allows much more flexibility in this regard.

    Jeff Mincey had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 74
  • I wasn’t going to reply again; but it stuns me how the elephant in this room is being avoided. So just once more, and I’m leaving. If you want to continue, just message me directly.

    I keep hearing that “Linux is hard”, but it’s historically been easier than a BSD. They’re otherwise SO functionally identical that they even run some of the same binaries. Both platforms are “hard to use” because, unlike Microsoft dictating code to programmers, and releasing a final product, these still under development. This is key: WE have a say in development.

    Both decry CircusWare and bugs, both are adamant about making a neutral place where programs can run. Both are noble and worthy.

    More important than my feelings are the results: *BSD has gone almost nowhere while Linux is everywhere.  A handful of manufacturers have used a BSD from time to time, but the license has always stood in the way of it’s acceptance.

    Yet consider this:

    Every morning Apple users start, run and maintain a BSD machine.  Not only will it survive the day, they’re productive and happy about it. And they don’t even know it’s a BSD! Apple just put a new UI over it, and worked their usual magic.  No discussion of distro was ever raised or answered.  But by using a BSD over Linux, they’ve overlooked what’s kept the BSD family from growing…it’s licensing.

    The original AT&T license was much like that of a Model T; physics-rules about a physical object of commerce. They squeezed every penny from every floppy disk. They wanted $4000 for the base OS, more for the code, and anything you made could be their property. In the end, it caused the forking, fragmentation and it’s own death.

    One such fork, the first BSD, was a softer license, but they couldn’t be “free”.  The other BSDs sprung up around these differences and never unified.  The authors still wanted some contol over the product, but it was an improvement. But few commerical entities could feel comfortable there.  And for over a decade it’s gone nowhere.

    This is precisely why Linux exists; a purer form of freedom.  Sure, it’s a shame about the BSDs…but Linux gives us a platform with unlimited life through an almost unlimited license.  Truly a neutral ground. Finally.


    Apple is the last bastian of what computing for the masses (for money) should be.  They care about the customer as much as profit. They are good and noble people.  I just think that if they were making the effort, why select a platform that will ultimately end?

    Why, *again* in history, does Apple make the choice to keep themselves in a tiny pool of propriety, instead of jumping into the big pool of standards, and become the big dog? 

    (See also: their choice of motorola over Intel, at the start, noticing they came BACK.)

    It would have cost them the same money, and lead to the same result. Just a damned shame.

    WheelDweller had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 7
  • Excuse me, WheelDweller, but this discussion has been chiefly about Apple and (1) the extent to which it might support Linux in the future and (2) the merits of OS X vis-a-vis the merits of Linux. You have recast the argument to pit Linux against BSD—and that’s not the topic I wish to discuss. Yes, OS X is based in part on BSD components, but it is ultimately a different OS.

    So you are spending time and energy to advocate a position no one is arguing against to begin with. I’ve mentioned BSD only tangentially. My main point is that OS X brings the best of both worlds—the best of the UNIX/Linux world and the best of the consumer desktop world. It offers both, and no other operating system platform can make that claim with so much credibility as Apple can.

    If you wish to dispute this, feel free, and I look forward to how you would make the case. But when you recast the argument it looks suspiciously as though you are conceding the larger point.

    Jeff Mincey had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 74
  • Oh, one more thing—I wish to reiterate that OS X is built on many open source software components. Even Apple’s web browser, Safari, is built on the open source KHTML rendering engine (the same as that used by Konqueror). Apple not only takes from the open source community but it also gives back to it.

    Yes, Apple retains exclusive control over the end product, but then if you think the same is not true of Novell with SuSE and Red Hat with its enterprise product, you have another thing coming. So, again, I fail to see a compelling difference here which would argue in favor of Linux.

    Linux does have its stengths, but on balance—and especially as a consumer platform—I think OS X holds the edge.

    Jeff Mincey had this to say on Jan 07, 2006 Posts: 74
  • Well, I wrote a detailed reply and hit “Submit”, and Apple Matters just lost the entire entry. Apple Matters, but apparently my post doesn’t.  :-(  So this is likely my last comment on this topic.

    Just a couple of short rehashes, then.

    > But is that wish reasonable?

    It’s not just reasonable, it’s a product!  grin

    And IBM et. al. seem to agree, as they’ve invested literally billions, and then used this freedom to put Linux on everything from watches to supercomputers.  OS X, meanwhile, languishes as the third largest desktop OS, and virtually no other use.

    Freedom seems to work in the marketplace.

    > Now maybe you are under the impression that I
    > could take Novell’s SuSE Linux and install it
    > willy nilly on any computer or server I wanted

    You make the darnest topic shifts. Suse is not an open distribution. Ubuntu, and Mandriva, and Fedora Core are.  And I can do EXACTLY what you state with those distros.

    That you can find a non-free Linux distro is meaningless. That I can list multiple major free Linux distros proves that Linux *IS* free.

    And you really should try a DESKTOP distro like Ubuntu before judging desktop Linux using your RHES experience as a guide.

    > Is it a technical violation of the EULA? Yes.

    Is this software piracy?  Yes. Did Microsoft once tolerate this as well? Yes. Would Apple be as draconian as Microsoft if they had MS’s market share?  Almost certainly.

    > I find it hard to believe you are wiling away
    > the hours by decompiling Linux binaries.

    LOL!!!  I have the *source code*!  Only a true fan of proprietary software would make such an amusing error as “decompiling Linux binaries”.

    > does this mean you actually PREFER software
    > which is obtuse, arcanse, or otherwise difficult
    > or a pain in the ass to use?

    No, I use Linux because it is EASY to use.

    OS X is quality but not free.  Linux is quality AND free.

    I choose Linux.

    George F. Rice had this to say on Jan 08, 2006 Posts: 25
  • Ooh, sorry to hear that you lost your detailed, point by point response. How maddening.

    Anyway I think I’ve gotcha George, (meaning I understand your position). You prefer Linux because it is free of charge.

    Jeff Mincey had this to say on Jan 08, 2006 Posts: 74
  • > You prefer Linux because it is free of charge.

    Sadly, you missed my point entirely.  I prefer Linux because it is free-as-in-speech, NOT because it is free-as-in-beer.

    > I just want to get on the computer and do my work,
    > and not have to constantly tinker with it.

    Me, too. Which is why I use… Linux.

    Oh, well, probably should have expected this mental block in a discussion forum on Apple Matters!!!  grin

    George F. Rice had this to say on Jan 08, 2006 Posts: 25
  • > if we can only get you off the “fifteen year old”
    > out of date notion that a Mac is more expensive
    > the balance in the Universe will be restored.

    Sorry, I shop at Fry’s - I *know* the cost.

    But if you gave me a Mac at no cost, it still would not be free - and thus wouldn’t become my primary workstation.

    But don’t let THAT stop you!  wink

    George F. Rice had this to say on Jan 08, 2006 Posts: 25
  • WheelDweller

    Ya, I’d like to see that URL because I can’t back your statement up with anything that comes close to being fact.

    It is true that in 2004 that some tech firm thought that by the end of 2005 that Linux would surpass OS X as the #2 OS but that prediction assumed that Apple would continue to loose market share through out 2005.

    But Apple grew market share in 2005 and is looking for additional growth in 2006. Combine this with the difficulty of trying to figure out how many dedicated linux desktops are out there and it will be some time to come before Linux can even claim the #2 spot with any authority let alone double he Mac’s market share.

    Here are some web stats and their estimation of OS market share.
    December 2005 Operating System Market Share:
    1. Windows XP - 78.92%
    2. Windows 2000 - 9.06%
    3. Windows 98 - 4.45%
    4. Mac OS - 4.35% - (Dec 2004: 3.29%)
    5. Windows ME - 1.88%
    6. Windows NT - 0.80%
    7. Linux - 0.30%

    check it out at:

    Doug Petrosky had this to say on Jan 08, 2006 Posts: 26
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