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Is Apple Killing Linux on the Desktop?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the multiple-alternatives dept.

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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1224 comments

my rebuttal (5, Insightful)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913402)

linux has apt, apple doesn't;

Re:my rebuttal (1)

Killer Eye (3711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913424)

And Mac OS X has "fink".

Re:my rebuttal (1, Insightful)

gsasha (550394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913562)

I have recently tried to use a MacBookPro.
Yes, it has fink, yes, it can use some of the programs which are so effortlessly available under Ubuntu.

To make long story short, I returned it in disgust and got a Linux laptop instead. So far, all is fine.

Apple might be good for a grandma or for a graphic designer, but for a programmer it's an annoyance.

Re:my rebuttal (-1, Troll)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913876)

I have recently tried to use a MacBookPro.
Yes, it has fink, yes, it can use some of the programs which are so effortlessly available under Ubuntu.

To make long story short, I returned it in disgust and got a Linux laptop instead. So far, all is fine.
Same here. I used my iBook for a year before giving up on it and going back to a random laptop with Linux. And I don't really program all tham much. I mostly use my laptop to dump my photos, to write and to access the network on the go.

I found that OS X was pretty much a polished Windows. No network integration, no convenience, I really couldn't wait to get back to a proper Unix desktop. Yes, OS X "just works". But then so does pretty much anything.
And OS X (at least 10.4) still can't reliably connect to a network share (the network browser is *really* bad) while I can type ftp:// [ftp] or smb:// in any Linux desktop. And it still does click to focus. Urk.

Re:my rebuttal (2, Informative)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913442)

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.

Re:my rebuttal (0, Troll)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913616)

Macports eventually gets the job done most of the time and has about 1/4th of the packages that the debian apt repositories. Call me when your OS grows up.

Re:my rebuttal (0, Troll)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913658)

Not to be mean but Ubuntu, and Red hat have 1/4 of the pacakges of Debian apt suppositories.

Re:my rebuttal (1)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913462)

Yeah, the clearly superior QA and software catalog remain the number one reason I use a Debian or Fedora based distribution for everything. I don't think it's possible for Apple or Microsoft to do this, and so as the benefits continue to be experienced, so will Linux continue its in-roads.

Re:my rebuttal (1, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913624)

MacPorts or Fink give you all those *nix apps on OSX. you can have the best of apts, or BSD Ports and have a pretty GUI too. It is the best way to install things like nmap and ethereal.

I think this Meme sums it up best

OS X. Because making Unix easy was easier than fixing windows.

That's all OSX really is a pretty closed source GUI on top of BSD.

Re:my rebuttal (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913514)

That's fucking stupid. You don't need a complexly designed, failure-prone program like apt just to install programs in Mac OS X, and furthermore you don't need the crappy Linux programs it installs either.

The Universal Platform (3, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913414)

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.

Greg

Re:The Universal Platform (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913528)

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Mac fanatics? I have recently upgraded from a Mac 8600/300 w/64 Megs of RAM to a new G5 dual 2GHz with AGP 8X and PCI-X to help me at my freelance gig where I needed to copy a 17 Meg file from my home network to a desktop folder. On the G5 it took about 20 minutes. At home, on my Pentium Pro 200 running NT 4, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this Mac, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this file transfer, my iPod will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even Safari is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various Macs, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a Mac that has run faster than its Wintel counterpart, despite the Macs' faster chip architecture. My 486/66 with 8MB of ram running MS Windows for Workgroups 3.11 is faster than this G5 dual 2GHz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the Macintosh is a superior machine.

Mac addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a Mac over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

Re:The Universal Platform (-1, Offtopic)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913700)

How many times do we need to see this cut and paste flame from the last century?

Re:The Universal Platform (-1, Redundant)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913764)

Good lord, at least update the computer specs to something from this millennium before posting this tired, old troll again.

Not Quite Universal (4, Interesting)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not Quite Universal (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

er...perhaps your not aware of fink (4, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not Quite Universal (1)

workdeville (1166127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913836)

There's a version of Gentoo for OS X. BSD Ports works as well. So does apt, and there are pretty big OS X apt repositories out there. And there's already a ton of very high quality Cocoa-ized open source software.

Re:The Universal Platform (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913834)

I love Apple, but why anyone would choose a Mac over Linux is beyond me. I'm not pressed for cash by any means whatsoever, but I'm not going to spend $3k on a nice mac desktop when I could spend a third or a half of that on a powerful linux desktop. They're essentially the same thing, unless you have some weird textmate fetish (in which case running KDE's kate or kdevelop should serve you just as well). And having an Apple store nearby has never really seemed important to me (I do own a powerbook, because mac laptops are fantastic and you can't really reproduce the laptop experience). It's not like I'm going to buy any of their $700/gb "idiot tax" RAM and unless you're looking for advice on frosting your hair, the Apple "geniuses" are useless.

Biased, however.... (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913416)

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.

Re:Biased, however.... (2, Insightful)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913524)

There's over 1000ish (I've actually seen 300, but the number specifically isn't that important), but most are either specialized, dead, or a branch from one of the main ones. Most I've seen descend from a few major distros, such as Debian, Red Hat, Suse, Slackware, and Gentoo (which I believe is a semi-child of BSD (port, portage, etc.)). But to someone looking in on the outside, it can be very confusing.

apples 'n' oranges, perhaps (5, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#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: Unity vs. Diversity (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913678)

This is a third cousin to "why end users luv monopolies until they strangle you".

Apple has *A* platform, and to a point, MS has *A* platform. A single entity talks to itself reasonably well.

The price of choice among variants of the Free OS types will always be the interop. concerns.

Re:Biased, however.... (2, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913744)

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.

That's just laptops, though; I have no idea how it translates to desktops.

I think you left out the big reason. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913766)

Mac OS/X is a better desktop for most people. You have fewer hassles with just about everything. Where Apple falls down is in hardware.
They lack an affordable and expandable desktop. You can not buy an Apple will match the graphics perfromance of a good PC with say an NVidia 8800GT or ATI 3850.

And of course the downside of using all the great Mac resources that you wrote about is that porting to anything else will be a pain. But the same is true for anything but QT or GTK.

I on the other hand really want an Asus EEPC.

Re:Biased, however.... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913850)

I pretty much agree with the assessment in the summary (I didn't RTFA). If you want a non-Windows, *nix-based OS as a primary system, Apple is probably the best way to go. If you have an old machine that you don't want to run Windows on, Linux is best. I'm still sticking to Windows though......

I can say that as a non-Linux user (but comfortable enough in my geek-hood to understand all of those config files and command lines), when I got an old laptop from a friend (Dell Latitude C400 with no optical drive and no USB-boot support), the only OS that I could get on it was Ubuntu using PXE boot.......and it all "just worked"......Wireless, Touchpad, Suspend/Resume, etc. I've got complaints (like full screen flash video playback is flaky) and would still prefer to get Windows installed on it, but your statement about it requiring significant effort to get the OS up and running is likely to be based on older experiences. I did *NOTHING* to make Ubuntu work on this box other than walk through the installer options going "check, uncheck, check, uncheck".......even the instructions to get PXE booting to work were simple (albeit not a specific issue to Linux - http://hugi.to/blog/archive/2006/12/23/ubuntu-pxe-install-via-windows [hugi.to] for reference, oh, and you don't have to use the edgy efft link, you can get a more recent distro)

Layne

only if the user can afford to... (0)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913426)

Only if the user can afford to...

Cheap Dell laptop ($600) + Ubuntu

vs.

Cheapest Mac laptop - $1100...

Re:only if the user can afford to... (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913458)

As I've said for awhile, that comparison is only valid if your own time is worthless...

"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.'"

Actually, the Mac has *always* been a more productive platform than both Windows and Linux for most typical users. It's just Apple's recent resurgence that's getting folks to actually try it out.

Re:only if the user can afford to... (0, Troll)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913568)

That depends on what you are doing. If you are doing CPU-bound stuff, Linux wins for wasting fewer CPU cycles on bouncy icons...

Re:only if the user can afford to... (2, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913780)

Most people I knew to run Linux did not run it for the costs (me including). It is a tool of the trade and my optimal working environment. So 500$ is not going to phase me if it does the job. Windows simply does not.

As far as the article, frankly it is based on the "optimistic" stats. A while ago there was another article on Slashdot which was on Vista vs MacOSX based on browser usage. It had some striking stats. A nearly direct correlation between "all others" and MacOS growth along with no correlation between Windows XP decrease. Essentially looking at those stats it was clearly obvious that the primary source of MacOS growth in the beginning were not Windows converts, but Unix converts:

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=5 [hitslink.com]

Re:only if the user can afford to... (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913848)

The Cheap Dell Laptop (with or without Ubuntu) will be ready for the dumpster in no time. Every Mac we've purchased at my job has outlasted 2.4 PCs and the Dell laptops were the first to fall apart.

Hardware vendor lock-in (0)

ryanov (193048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913430)

Linux runs on all hardware by design. Mac OS X doesn't.

Apple hardware is significantly more expensive (I spec'd one about a year ago).

Re:Hardware vendor lock-in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913522)

You, Sir, are incorrect. Linux only runs on what someone (the manufacturer, an OEM or a third-party) has written a driver for.

Re:Hardware vendor lock-in (2, Informative)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913630)

Believe it or not, I just bought a MacBook and one of my considerations was price. Comparably equipped PC notebooks were more expensive. I don't think that price is really a consideration anymore.

Point of view (5, Interesting)

reynaert (264437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913464)

Linux market share has increased by 117%, while Apple's increase is only 74%.

Marketing strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913652)

Who "markets" Linux? When was the last time you saw a television commercial on regular broadcast network TV where someone was comparing Linux vs Windows from an end-user's perspective like Apple does for Mac vs Windows? Never, right? Well, until someone starts marketing Linux with TV and radio ads that target the average joe and make him aware of its very existance, Linux will NEVER take off in any numbers that amount to anything outside of the geek microcosm.

Re:Marketing strategy (1)

DCTooTall (870500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913894)

I THINK we have a new poll question birthed here....

In the Mac vs. Windows Commercials that apple Runs....who do you think would be a good person to represent the Linux OS?

:-)

Re:Point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913694)

Furthermore...

Apple is driven by someone who has some understanding of end-user needs, Linux is not
Who has a better understanding of the end-user, than the end-user him/herself? How can we let ourselves be trolled so easily? I do not know.

Linux market share? (5, Informative)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913466)

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

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

Yes... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

~150 Linux desktops migrate to OS X (2, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913488)

I expect we'll be migrating ~150 or so Linux desktops to OS X over the next several years. Linux is nice and will remain in production for our back-end servers and for computational clustering, but it's more expensive to support than OS X and supports commercial software the user community wants. This is at a technical university on the east coast.

Re:~150 Linux desktops migrate to OS X (-1, Flamebait)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913566)

I do not use Mac, and will not. I don't like how it looks, I don't like how it feels, and I don't like the company that does it.

I use Windows, but dislike it strongly and wish I didn't. I don't need to explain this one.

I use Linux whenever I can, and enjoy it.

Does it really matter? (0)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913498)

Oh great, another OS war on Slashdot! When will the madness end? ;-)

But on a more serious note, the part about Linux not having Office and Adobe and all that jazz is bogus. Ever hear of VMware [vmware.com]? Lets you run Windows or Mac on a Linux box (or Linux on a Windows box, or Windows XP on a Mac, for that matter). Works pretty decent, provided you have enough resources to handle it all,...

Re:Does it really matter? (3, Interesting)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913690)

VMWare will not run Mac OSX. Well, it will but not very well.

First off, it's not supported by VMWare (I've heard due to legal reasons but I don't know for sure). So there are no VMWare tools and it runs rather slow. Plus I couldn't get sound or networking to work at all. Sound I can happily live without but no networking + the extreme sluggishness made it completely useless.

If you've gotten OSX to work with networking, sound and no sluggishness then please correct me and link to a "how to" because I would love to get it working.

Re:Does it really matter? (3, Insightful)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913870)

Regardless of how good VMware is getting, most people would rather have native implementations of their favorite apps than run them on a virtual machine. I cannot imagine anyone who uses Adobe's applications professionally with any degree of proficiency - and note that this does not include people who think they need Photoshop to size and crop a wide range of image formats - settling for less performance when full performance is just a boot away.

I think you have a point with Office, though. I can see myself keeping a VM for the few tasks that OpenOffice can't do quite well, or at all. But with Adobe's apps, computer speed often has a direct effect on project completion time. Someone working contract would be daft to effectively choose to make less money, and someone working salaried would have their manager calling them daft for effectively choosing to hurt the company's bottom line.

meh statistics (5, Informative)

nevurthls (1167963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913512)

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 (5, Insightful)

colonslash (544210) | more than 6 years ago | (#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

hmmm (2, Insightful)

DCTooTall (870500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913526)

But isn't OS-X...under the Aqua interface basically a *nix platform? So in a way, can't we possibly...if we wanted to be REALLY anal about it and help shove it down the throat of M$.... claim that with the migration of the Apple OS to the OS X platform from the classic OS (os 9 and prior), that we have actually dramatically INCREASED the adoption of *nix on the Desktop??

Re:hmmm (0, Troll)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913728)

Why do I care? I'm anti-closed source, not anti-microsoft. OSX is a closed system built on the backs of open source programmers.

You are right on (5, Insightful)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913800)

Mac OS X is the success of Unix on the desktop, period.

There are a lot of geeks who are reluctant to admit it, though. Most people pinned their hope on Linux + GNOME/KDE for delivering us from evil. While GNOME and KDE brought Unix miles ahead in terms of GUI usability, neither matched the elegance and power of the NeXTSTEP interface developed years before; the evolution from NeXTSTEP to OS X has further secured this lead.

The defeat of their favorite candidate for Unix GUI Savior left many geeks unwilling to even consider or support the idea of OS X as a real Unix, as an improvement to Windows or existing Unix GUIs, etc. Sour grapes, basically. The whole experiment goes to show that in software, as in government, in the ideal case you want a well-backed tyrant with his head screwed on straight. That's Steve Jobs.

Re:You are right on (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913890)

But who says you need to use gnome or kde? Windowmaker with Rox is an awesome combination, IMNSHO.

No (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913530)

Because Apple won't licenses for it, it isn't even a consideration.

Re:No (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913900)

Until you a verb, neither is your post!

Bitter (1)

Sitnalta (1051230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913532)

Now if only OSX could install on regular hardware so us peasants could afford it, maybe their growth wouldn't number in the single-digits.

Advertising (2, Interesting)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913536)

I see Apple iPods on the street every day. I see Apple iPhones on the TV constantly. I know Apple is the company to buy my technology from, because everyone else does. Therefore, when I come to make a purchase as boring as a new PC, I know Apple will make one I want to buy.

Sincerely, the average consumer.

Yes, for me at least. (5, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913550)

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.

Source (5, Insightful)

thePsychologist (1062886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913554)

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.

Re:Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913858)

I hereby register my Linux copy. Ehhm, why's nobody listening?

No (2, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913556)

"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."

Well gee, that doesn't sound like APPLE is killing Linux on the desktop. That sounds like Microsoft, Adobe, and Linux itself is killing Linux on the desktop.

Then again, are people really buying Apple so they can run Microsoft Office and Adobe...? I tend to doubt it. The last two points are a little more valid than the first two, but that isn't something that Apple is doing WRONG, as the headline implies. That's something that Linux is doing wrong. Or, at least, that is how it is being perceived by many would-be end users.

Re:No (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913730)

Schools will buy Apple to run Microsoft Office (and possibly Adobe). Graphics and multimedia businesses will buy Apple to run Adobe products. Given a choice between a MacBook and a laptop running Windows Vista, I'd probably go with Apple, too -- which is saying something when you consider I've spent the last 16 years building my own desktop PCs and Apple's relative lack of upgradeability.

On the other hand, (3, Insightful)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Apple's resurgence helps Linux, not harms it (4, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Apple's resurgence helps Linux, not harms it (0, Flamebait)

jscott (11965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913818)

1. No, not really.
2. No, not when there is no incentive for brick-and-mortar rather than download/shipping.
3. No. OO is nice, but not even close to MS Office.
4. No. KDE still won't make non-native apps look good.
5. No. No. No.

No, it's not being negative, just a difference in opinion.

Linux can run on any desktop the only desktops tha (0, Redundant)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913564)

Linux can run on any desktop the only desktops that apple has is a $2200 mac pro and $600 overpriced and underpowered mini that is just a laptop in a small case without a screen build in.
the mini $600 1gb of ram cdwr / dvd slow laptop 80gb HD low end laptop cpu and GMA 950 add $200 to get a dvdwr + 120gb hd and to move to a 2.0GHz 4MB shared L2 cache Intel Core 2 Duo from a 1.83GHz 2MB shared L2 cache Intel Core 2 Duo also you have to add your own keyboard and mouse.
The imac are laptops in a desktop only AIO.

Who uses support? (5, Interesting)

magister159 (993682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913572)

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.

Re:Who uses support? (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913706)

That's why when you *do* need to call to help figure out... I don't know... an error code on a BSOD or something... you say "put me through to Tier 3, n00bl4r!" I think the last time I called IT tech support for actual help was PNY regarding a really bizarre screwup with a graphics card, but the Tier 3 guy I eventually ended up with was actually a proper expert and a pleasure to talk with.

Wait... (1)

mattis_f (517228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913574)

So now, Mac OS X has grown by about 75%, and the Linux market share has grown more than 100% during the same time?

Apple is killing Linux exactly ... how? By making it grow 100%?

Maybe the article isn't as stupid as the summary. But based on this summary, I got better things to do than to read it.

Good Ol' Clippy... (1)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913578)

The reasons? 'Apple has Microsoft Office, Linux doesn't
 
...leading the charge to annoy another whole segment of users.

The answer is no. (4, Informative)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913588)

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.

No (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913592)

Linux share is going up. Therefore, nothing is killing it.

Since OS X's is also going up, it would seem they're both taking market share from Windows - which probably still has > 90%.

Nothing to do with Operating Systems (1)

KidSock (150684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913594)

The difference is that my sister really likes the look of her new slick white macbook (almost as much as her new slick black iPhone) and it will look even better when she takes it to classes at those cool stores.

Eee PC will change that (1, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913598)

The Eee PC is slated to sell 5 million units in 2008. That is more than Apple sells in a year.

Nuf sed.

In other news... (2, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913618)

Linux comes with a fully features graphical editing tool which is lovingly called the Graphical Image Manipulation Program. Apple and Windows are packaged with bare bones, stripped down graphical editing tools.

The point is, "Linux" is a lot more than just the Kernel is nobody is "Killing" it. Ever.

Lies, damn lies and statistics (4, Insightful)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Learn to do basic arithmetic (2, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Learn to do basic arithmetic (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913864)

Yes, the numbers do show Linux growing at a greater percentage rate than Mac. Of course, it started at a much lower level.

I find it amusing to note that the numbers show Windows browsing outnumbering Mac browsing by a little over 12:1, and Mac outnumbering Linux by about the same amount-- so Linux is to Mac what Mac is to Windows.

A couple of years ago I would have said that, having used both, I much preferred Mac for day-to-day ease of use. Linux does seem to be getting better, though. (as opposed to Windows, which is, unaccountably, actually getting worse).

Reminder to Linux nerds (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913722)

Reminder to Linux nerds: nobody actually likes using Linux except Linux nerds.

It's a good thing anyway... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913746)

...because it's like with browsers - I'm an Opera diehard (ok, so maybe I like to go off the beaten track but it saved me from IE before Mozilla was ready). As Firefox usage grew, using Opera became a more and more pleasant experience. Why? No more IE-web. Every Mac user is a non-Windows user, and once they start thinking cross-platform more will support Linux too. Not all of them, but it's a very good start. At least you won't be met with blank stares of "There's something other than Windows?". I've managed to switch, but not without pain (and Wine, and Windows in a VM) and it'll really only get better from here. I'm not worried.

AC Sez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21913756)

Linux was never and will never be a viable desktop OS. Ni Ni Ni.

What I'd like to see... (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913768)

... is some numbers, broken down by distro and amount of time used. Apple might be getting a fair number of people switching from Mandriva or CentOS (neither of which are quality distros, IMNSHO), but I doubt they're getting too many long-time Debian or Ubuntu users.

I used to be a fan of Mac OS X before I actually tried using it. Once I used it (10.3.9, which is what my girlfriend has) I found it to be very fragile underneath the GUI. For example, packages have no "uninstall" option...wtf?

I still like OS X better than Windows, but that's not too difficult.

crippled (1)

Amocat (1210616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913786)

I have an iMac (got it for "free"... traded 2 old laptops for it) as well my trusty old Linux/XP dual boot box.
My opinion? Based on my needs, OS X is just too crippled to be of much use. I mean, if you're just someone who wants it to "just work" and don't care about lock-in, then OS X is fine. But meanwhile for those of us who don't spend the whole day surfing the net or using Photoshop, macs are pretty much paperweights.
Sorry if your experience doesn't match mine, but it's the only one I have authority to speak on.

Linux has staying power (5, Insightful)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Don't think Apple has anything to do with it (1)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913814)

I think the Linux and OS community has more to do with it than anything.
The Adobe equivalent is a minor issue in most business environments. I've seen acceptable replacements on Linux for most of what business's do. The killer in my situation is the Office Suite equivalent. Open Office does not have the capabilities to support 90% of our users. [Mainly it has to do with file sharing capabilities]. MS Office supports this and Open Office doesn't, so we are stuck with using Windows and MS Office.
There has been of late a serious discussion about starting to use Apple OS-X, but I don't think it will happen very soon, but I do believe it will happen before we switch to the Linux for desktops.
We have tried switching some users to Linux desktops with moderate success. But so far the difficulties users have had doesn't out weigh the price tag of an OEM version of XP. The Linux desktops we have deployed use MS Office with codeweaver. So cost wise it hasn't been a big money saver and it hasn't been deployed to a large enough scale to determine maintenance benefits.
Our servers are all Linux though, with the exception of a print server. There constantly was a problem with running printers on Samba and cups, about 3 months ago we moved half of them over to MS systems and problems were reduced dramatically. Almost as dramatic a change as switching users from IE to Firefox.
I can definitely say that switching to Linux servers has been a plus, with the exception of print servers.

No, OSS is still good in many areas (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913828)

I recently bought a Powerbook and have gotten into OS X. I really like it, and it's great for doing certain things. I can see why the experience is a lot different than just slapping an OS X theme on your current OS. I've used it for a month though, but I can see why the people who generally like Windows would gravitate more towards Linux. The apps work in a way that's more familiar to them, and the variety of applications that Windows users expect is there.

With OS X in terms of the normal shareware and freeware apps you find, you're not going to get what you would on Windows, and Linux's offerings are more in line with that as well. There are multiple versions of software to suit many niche needs, and they have more complex options. On OS X, everything is geared towards integrating with the desktop and the usual applications. On Linux and Windows, everything is made to be extensible and support a wider variety of hardware and hacking options than the usual stuff for OS X.

Personally, I go back to Linux often when I'm not just browsing the web because there are still more emulators I can use for games, and for development use I find I have a wider array of libraries and examples to choose from for what I'm doing, the applications I use integrate better with each other, there is more support for a wider variety of formats in each application I use, and most of all, because I am not stuck using commercial software that restricts me in certain ways from doing what I want. I find that on OS X, and to a lesser degree Windows, a lot of artificial restrictions are enforced on proprietary software, and I can't do what I want.

For myself and my family, we're set up on Linux, and most of my friends use quite a lot of open source software just because it lets them do what they want and doesn't enforce artificial restrictions. For my family it's because I can lock things down in a way that makes it still easy for them to do what they want without a lot of prompts or greyed out options, and I get a software platform that works the exact same no matter what their hardware is so it's easier for me to support.

Recent new Mac user (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913832)

I've been using Microsoft operating systems since the mid-late 1980s. In that time I have also had some experience with Apples (the first computer my parents bought for me was a IIgs). My work gave me an older Macbook running OSX and I took it home to use it and get a feel for it. The interface is relatively intuitive and I like some the features of the operating system. I really like KisMAC for working with wireless networks. The fact that the laptop is only about 3-4 years old and doesn't have a PCMCIA slot is a big thumbs down for the device. All things considered it is pretty nice but not significantly different enough from Windows to make me want to switch full time. Another big thumbs down for the OS is the significant lack of security software for it. All of the security software for the Mac seems to require a recompile from source of various *nix based apps. Which brings me to my next point... Linux

I'm going to try Linux next. I figure that I will pick up a $400 Thinkpad T41 and throw Ubuntu on it. If I'm going to have to compile programs from the source I might as well do it "natively" under Linux, instead of doing it with Macports or something similar. I tried Slackware back in the early 1990s but it wasn't all that attractive. I figure that for what I want to do with the computer (security audits, basic malicious badness), Ubuntu should get the job done. The main thing driving my interest in Linux at this point is Kismet. It seems to "just work" under Linux where as in Microsoft land you need one specific NIC and in Apple land it doesn't support 802.11g yet.

For those of you guys using Macs and OSX for security work, is my perception skewed? Is there some simple way to get the good apps (nmap, wireshark, etc) working under OSX that I've missed?

Yah (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913842)

OS/X is a smooth, comfortable environment that is still UNIX under the covers. Plus a few guys actually make games for it. It's kind of like when Linux had Loki a few years back. If I were going for a commercial OS, I'd go OSX and I tell my less computer-savvy family members that they should go that route too. Both my desktop and my laptop machines are currently OSX.

That being said, Apple has fewer hardware options than your generic PC. For example, due to the melting-down ATI video card that shipped in my Mac Pro desktop, I've decided that I will do everything in my power to avoid ATI hardware in my systems in the future. It would seem that my only choices for my Mac Pro are the low-end nvidia card (Which I have in there currently) and the ATI video card that I more or less expect to have the same overheating issues that the last one did. Apple support denies that there's a pervasive problem even though you can find dozens of people who are having it on various Internet forums. For that, Apple gets a frowny face :-(

So my next PC purchase is likely to be a case and a bunch of components and my next OS is likely to be Linux again. I tried Apple, I mostly like them but they do not entirely fit how I want to use my main system.

Absolutely! (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21913892)

I just bought a MacBook Pro, and half the allure of OS X is that instead of dual-booting Windows / Linux, I can dual-boot Windows / OS X. OS X is like Linux++ for me. It's like every Linux distro I've ever used, but with a usable and consistent GUI layer on top of it.
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