Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Apple's Tiger vs. Windows XP 64-Bit Edition vs. Linux

Filed under
OS

On Friday Apple released its "Tiger" operating system into the marketplace. Borrowing heavily from what we had seen in Longhorn (Microsoft's next version of Windows) last year, Tiger is an impressive piece of work. I'm not one of those who thinks that using a competitor is a bad idea, particularly if you can get it out first. You play this game to win and, as long as it's legal, in my book anything goes.

Tiger is well-integrated with hardware and provides a solid out-of-box user experience. The user interface is mature and it has a UNIX core that remains one of the most secure on the market. With a good balance of ease of use, performance, and reliability, Tiger would seem to be the OS of choice for must users over a Linux distribution.

Tiger vs. Linux

However, not all users can afford Apple hardware. The Mac Mini, relatively low-cost, can't compare to the price of a low-end Intel, AMD, or VIA-based box running Linux. We have to remember much of the third world makes a fraction of what the Western world makes income and as such those consumers are very price-driven: US$100 to them may represent as much as a month's salary so every penny counts.

For those that want to get intimate with the code, Linux, because it is fully open-source, is better. This would include both programming professionals looking to create a unique solution as well as software hobbyists. Granted, this second group only constitutes less than one percent of the market, but they, like their "hardware-modder" counterparts are very hands on and often very active in forums, sometimes seeming to be a much larger group then they actually are.

However, when it comes to the average user there really is no comparison. The extra money spent for an Apple machine is well worth the vastly better support an individual will get from Apple over Red Hat or Novell, and virtually none of the hardware vendors is excited about desktop Linux yet (primarily because it isn't profitable).

With servers, where there is a good economic model, Linux would clearly remain favored over Apple because of much deeper support from companies like HP and IBM.

Tiger vs. Windows XP 64-Bit Edition

If this were a competition based simply on names Tiger would get my vote. The Microsoft product name is almost a sentence and the acronym WXP64BA looks like a password I would quickly forget. I don't know who is responsible for naming at Microsoft these days but he, or she, seems to be working way too hard to validate my old axiom: "The only thing people will agree on when it comes to a new product name is that the person who came up with it is an idiot."

I guess we could make it worse bay calling it the "Windows XP 64-Bit Addition with SP 2 and knock three times on the ceiling if you want me Edition," but I'm hoping coming up with names like that doesn't become the next big thing in Redmond.

On the product side, Tiger has a number of features that appear to have been pulled from Longhorn's preview last year. The biggest one is "smart search," a feature that allows you to rapidly search a variety of file types to find what you need. With storage approaching a Terabyte now, this is an incredibly useful feature and one Windows users will have to get from a third party until Longhorn ships late next year.

Another is virtual folders. This allows you to group files virtually by author, topic, or other criteria making them a lot easier to find. Finally there is the use of widgets, something you can get in a third-party product called "Window Blinds" and also shown last year by Microsoft. This allows you to put little useful applets on your screen. This last is more eye candy than anything else, but I like it and it makes the OS look cool.

Standout Features

Of the rest of the features, the two that stand out to me is a higher level of security over downloaded applications than Windows currently has and stronger parental controls. While unfortunately parents often don't use the parental controls they have available to them, protecting kids is incredibly important to me and it is nice to know it is important to Apple as well.

On downloaded files you have to put in your ID and password to install an application, and given I used to go into my old boss's office and install joke applications on his machine from time to time (one made the letters of the screen fall off the bottom at an increasing rate, another made it look like he was going through a nuclear meltdown) I'm thinking this is a good idea as well.

Windows XP 64 Bit Addition ,which was wrapped with a huge amount of fanfare and hoopla at the launch (er, well, more like if you blinked you missed it), is the most secure desktop OS from Microsoft currently shipping. More of a precursor to Longhorn so that vendors will write the necessary 64-bit drivers, it is available on new hardware and not as an upgrade. It really isn't designed for the home market and the likely targets are those doing specialized research, multi-media authoring, CAD, and complex financial analysis. Mainstream it isn't, but if you need the power of a 64-bit platform and particularly if you like AMD hardware, this is your OS. The majority of us aren't there yet.

Users' Call

What will I use? I'm a gamer, and I love to modify my hardware, but Tiger doesn't support my favorite game and you don't "mod" Apple hardware. Apple has yet to come out with an OS I can use, and until they do, ugly name and all, I'm on Windows and waiting for Longhorn.

Full commentary.

More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

Software Freedom Conservancy Funding

  • Software Freedom Conservancy matching
    Non-profits that provide project support have proven themselves to be necessary for the success and advancement of individual projects and Free Software as a whole. The Free Software Foundation (founded in 1985) serves as a home to GNU projects and a canonical list of Free Software licenses. The Open Source Initiative came about in 1998, maintaining the Open Source Definition, based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines, with affiliate members including Debian, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Software in the Public Interest (SPI) was created in the late 90s largely to act as a fiscal sponsor for projects like Debian, enabling it to do things like accept donations and handle other financial transactions.
  • Clojars is Conservancy’s Newest Member Project
    Software Freedom Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of Clojars as its newest member project. Clojars is a community-maintained repository for free and open source libraries written in the Clojure programming language. Clojars emphasizes ease of use, publishing library packages that are simple to use with build automation tools.

Leftovers: Software

  • systemd 233 about to be released, please help testing
    systemd 233 is scheduled to be released next week, and there is only a handful of small issues left. As usual there are tons of improvements and fixes, but the most intrusive one probably is another attempt to move from legacy cgroup v1 to a “hybrid” setup where the new unified (cgroup v2) hierarchy is mounted at /sys/fs/cgroup/unified/ and the legacy one stays at /sys/fs/cgroup/ as usual. This should provide an easier path for software like Docker or LXC to migrate to the unified hiearchy, but even that hybrid mode broke some bits.
  • Keep : A personal shell command keeper
    Introducing a new command line tool which solves the issue of memorizing commands or storing them somewhere which is difficult to find. With the grep and run commands, one can easily find their long forgotten commands and use them them right away.
  • qutebrowser v0.10.0 released
    I'm happy to annouce the release of qutebrowser v0.10.0! qutebrowser is a keyboard driven browser with a vim-like, minimalistic interface. It's written using PyQt and cross-platform. I haven't announced the v0.9.0 release in this blog (or any patch releases), but for v0.10.0 it definitely makes sense to do so, as it's mostly centered on QtWebEngine!
  • GNOME Pomodoro: A Pomodoro Timer With AppIndicator And GNOME Shell Support
    GNOME Pomodoro is, like the name suggests, a Pomodoro timer for GNOME. The application website mentions that it's currently only for GNOME Shell, however, an AppIndicator is also available.
  • 7 Awesome Open Source Build Automation Tools For Sysadmin/DevOps/Developers
    Build automation is a vital tool for devops, sysadmins, and developers. It is nothing but scripting or automating the process of compiling source code into binary. Sysadmins can use build tools to manage and update config files. Following is a list of awesome open source and popular tools associated with automating build processes on Linux or Unix-like system.

Android Leftovers