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How Apple Killed the Linux Desktop and Why That Doesn’t Matter

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It’s hard to say exactly what percentage of desktop and laptop computers run Apple OS X, but it’s clear that the operating system has made slow but steady gains at chipping away at that the sizable lead Microsoft established in the ’90s with its Windows operating system. Some figures put the number at about 6 to 7 percent of the desktop market.

But one thing’s for sure: OS X has been more successful than Linux, the open source operating system that has found a home on data-center servers but is still a rarity on desktops and laptops. Linux may have seen a surge last year, but it still hasn’t seen the sort of growth OS X has, nor the growth that Linux supporters have long hoped for.

Why is that?

(1) Simplicity (2) Money

(1) I couldn't possibly recommend any Linux distro to most Windows or Mac users. They simply don't have the time to learn Linux, particularly when the command line is needed.

(2) Money, money, money. Apple is earning a lot of it. It can fund development and promotion without difficulty.

Wired and it's Apple Fetish

Is there anything that Wired won't attribute to Apple being "great"?

Linux needed no help (or push) by Apple to fail, it had all the help it needed inside it's own house.

Distro fragmentation, Desktop fragmentation, fragmented support (from mediocre to out right tragic), and the number one reason Linux fails on the desktop - super ultra uber incredibly piss poor apps (that are fragmented).

The hundred or so bucks needed to put Windows or OSX on a system is a blessing when it allows you to run polished apps (many free and open source) that not only work, but look good to boot.

Linux apps are a cluster frack of poor ui, poor graphic design, poor coding skills, and poor support. The only thing linux apps have is a full cadre of apologists just waiting to tell you it's YOU not the APP that sucks.

Fragmentation is what keeps Linux down. No direction, no vision, and worst of all, no QA. It will NEVER get better (in fact the last several rounds of distros have pretty much proven it's peaked and is getting worse not better).

And you know what's really scary - it's creeping into the server market. Redhat has decided to let the Fedora fobs guide their ENTERPRISE line. Resulting in a major shake up of switching out chkconfig & service for that gawd awful mess called systemd. If I ran my data center on tablets, maybe I would be excited, since we run nothing but bare metal boxes running a hypervised pool of virtual machines - I don't really care that systemd boots several seconds faster (big whoop de doo).

Even with the complete lack of vision, Redhat will remain pretty much the only Enterprise choice (for linux that is), Ununtu will drive the linux desktop into ashes as it stumble around looking for a tablet OS that can run on a desktop, and all the other distros will continue to fumble finger their way to nowhere waiting for just one decent (as compared to windows or osx) desktop app that will never come. The few apps that approach being usable are ALL available to run native on Windows and OSX, so there is no redeeming savior to prevent linux on the desktop from slipping slowly under the sea of fanboy drool.

Linux has not been "killed" by Apple, nor has it 'failed'

Linux is doing just fine, thank you very much, and it doesn't really need developers who can't eat their own dog food around, constantly bleating, 'why can't Linux be more like Apple and Windows?'. The answer is, it doesn't need to, but must succeed on its own terms. Those terms aren't dictated by some captain of industry, they are communal, organic and fluid in nature.

Developers who admire OS X and IOS, and feel they can't work unless it's on Apple's hardware, should devote their mad skillz to developing software for Apple, and just STFU about Linux.

Sorry Miguel de Icaza that Microsoft crippleware Mono never really took off on Linux. Better luck with your next project.

Apple has made quite a significant contribution to Linux (and other, unix-like open source projects) in the form of CUPS. So thanks for that.

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