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Does Ubuntu have the “Guts” to beat Apple?

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Recently I've been thinking about the comments made a while back by Mark Shuttleworth that he wants to push the linux interface to be on par with Apple's Mac OS X. This statement made me relive an old thought that maybe the great Steve Jobs picked the wrong open source guts to put a proprietary GUI on.

Apples strategy was brilliant, take the benefits of an open source operating system and wrap Apples legendary, beautiful, ease of use proprietary GUI on top of it. But is having a BSD looters style license keeping it from obtaining the growth or popularity that GNU/Linux has and continues to enjoy since the GPL license style is much more give and receive.

Its made me wonder quite often if Apples OS X is destined to wither away due to its license style because it doesn't benefit everyone. Where as Ubuntu's GNU/Linux guts will continue to develop and flourish due to its GPL licensing.

rest here


I can't comment on the page of the post, so I'll post here. First, let me say that I love Linux and use it daily.

Ubuntu will never be what Apple is. Apple is a very savvy company that actually develops wonderful products that people line up to pay a premium for. Ubuntu doesn't develop much at all. In fact, most of their development is merely backporting Debian stuff. There is no innovation on the part of Ubuntu. Ubuntu's rise wasn't magical at all. Ubuntu took Debian and released it in an easy to install form, whereas Debian was still a long installation process that required some knowledge about your system. Ubuntu, then, gave it away freely, which is something many other distros weren't doing at the time. Also, they came along at the right time: Red Hat stopped selling their home desktop distro and aligned themselves with Fedora, which still isn't in the same league as Red Hat was in terms of quality and stability, SuSE was bought by Novell and angered Linux users, Mandrake, long known for shooting itself in the foot with its customer base, angered it's users by pushing them into the Mandrake Club, and other, once popular, distros were going the way of the dodo bird (Corel, Libranet).

So why all this fuss about Ubuntu? Why do users continue to think so highly of it? It's not a bad distro at all. I've used it in the past, and occasionally download the latest release to run in Virtualbox. However, they simply aren't even on the same playing field as a company like Apple.

As for Apple's license, I have no idea why this is something that would hold Apple back. Why would it? What does a BSD license on the OS parts have anything to do with 3rd party development? What makes an OS popular is the applications it runs. Apple has wonderful apps like iWork and iLife, not to mention very nice high end apps from Apple, Filemaker, Adobe, and others that are very popular. Don't get me wrong, I like using GPL'd applications like Gimp, Inkscape, and other OSS apps like OOo, Firefox, Thunderbird, and others. However, they don't have the same polish Apple puts on their stuff and even some of them will never be what others want them to be because those developers fear the Redmond Taliban.

re: Please

Nicely put, and doesn't your argument work as well for Microsoft as it does for Apple?

It always puzzles me the animosity towards Microsoft when Apple gets a free pass. When it comes to CLOSED SOURCE or PROPRIETARY GOODS - Apple far and away beats Microsoft, as does Apple's practice of shutting out any hint of competition or infringement.

So why isn't Apple the Mini Me along side of Microsoft's Dr. Evil?

I agree, but Apple sees

I agree, but Apple sees itself as a hardware company. The software is simply the lure to bring in hardware buyers. Their approach is to completely integrate your gadget life with their Macintosh computers. This approach is evident through the relatively inexpensive software they produce. iLife and iWork are a bargain on the proprietary landscape, the high end software like Apeture and Final Cut are relative bargains in their field, and even the OS is a bargain compared to the price of Windows. If they let clone makers in, they would have a difficult time making a profit. In reality, they're nothing like Microsoft, who's almost completely a software company with an accessories and gadget side business.

Personally, it's a ways off for me, but I anticipate buying an iMac and dual booting Linux on it. I'll never leave Linux... Smile

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