Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Windows is weak: where's the alternative?

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft

Excluding complete vaporware, like the intriguing possibility of Google delivering the Next Big Thing in operating systems, I think Apple is the most perfectly poised to strike a killer blow. But it will have to untie the Mac from OS X. Some people want attractive, killer-design, expensive hardware, and that's why they buy Sony and Apple. Other people--and a heck of a lot more of them--want function-over-form, inexpensive hardware that they can buy, sell, hack, and tweak like any other commodity. They buy Dell, Gateway, and Windows. If those people start buying Tiger, Apple suddenly owns the joint.

This scenario is not even remotely out of the realm of possibility. Tiger is based on Unix, for Pete's sake. There's no reason it can't run on Intel-based PCs. Apple's already using Intel processors in its Xserve RAID storage system. Steve Jobs said in 2003 that it was technically feasible to port OS X--then in Panther stages--to any processor, but as recently as February, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said the company has no plans to switch platforms. It should. People would use OS X if they didn't have to buy a new computer to get it (heck, by some accounts, Tiger and Longhorn are darn near the same thing). Apple should do the switching for them.

Linux will almost certainly beat Microsoft in the server space, given time, but what about the desktop? The most promising contenders have either faltered or failed to catch on. I truly believed Red Hat could succeed on the desktop, but, along with a series of other mistakes, it launched this bizarre, confusing Fedora project, trading away brand recognition and confusing consumers about whether it would even support the new desktop product. SuSE Linux was bought by Novell and has since focused mainly on its Professional packages. Xandros sold supercheap operating systems, even giving away a stripped-down desktop product, packaged it with familiar compatible apps such as OpenOffice, and simplified installation. But it just never caught on. Linspire, formerly Lindows, was really just a vehicle for low-cost PCs and operated more like a Web service than an OS.

I'm not convinced that the Linux community can pull it together enough to get behind one truly dominant distro. Part of the problem is that the anarchic and altruistic nature of the open-source movement keeps it from sacrificing features and quality in order to carpet-bomb the market with a product that works just well enough for mass adoption. That's the Microsoft MO, after all. And even if Linux can pull it off, time is ticking. Microsoft will pull it together eventually, and Linux's moment may pass. Still, I'm willing to consider the possibility. Linux, your deadline is Christmas, 2006. Let's see what you can do.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Mining cryptocurrency with Raspberry Pi and Storj

I'm always looking for ways to map hot technologies to fun, educational classroom use. One of the most interesting, and potentially disruptive, technologies over the past few years is cryptocurrencies. In the early days, one could profitably mine some of the most popular cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, using a home PC. But as cryptocurrency mining has become more popular, thanks in part to dedicated mining hardware, the algorithms governing it have boosted computational complexity, making home PC mining often impractical, unprofitable, and environmentally unwise. Read more

Latest Openwashing and Attacks on FOSS

Systemd, Devuan, and Debian; FOSS at the Back End

  • Systemd, Devuan, and Debian
  • Devuan ASCII sprint -- 15-16-17 Dec. 2017
  • This open-source, multicloud serverless framework claims faster-than-bare-metal speed
    The move toward fast, serverless computing technology got a boost this month from Iguazio Systems Ltd. The data platform company (named from the Iguazu waterfalls in South America) announced the release of Nuclio, an open-source, multicloud serverless framework that claims faster-than-bare-metal speed. “We provide one platform, all the data services that Amazon has, or at least the ones that are interesting, serverless functions, which are 100 times faster, and a few more tricks that they don’t have,” said Yaron Haviv (pictured), founder and chief technology officer of Iguazio Systems. “We do fewer services, but each one kicks ass; each one is much faster and better engineered.”
  • CORD Says It’s the De Facto Choice for Edge Computing
    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today released 4.1 of its Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) code. CORD has only been around as an independent project within ONF for about a year and a half, but with this release a couple of things have gelled for the project. First, it has merged its residential-CORD, mobile-CORD, and enterprise-CORD into one overarching project. Secondly, the ONF has realized CORD’s relevance in edge computing and edge cloud data centers.