Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Hint to Apple

Author:Faisal Jawdat
Posted:5/15/1999; 6:22:50 AM
Topic:Hint to Apple
Msg #:6277
Prev/Next:6276 / 6278

Dave writes:
>Jim Byrne would like to get in on the Linux "feeding frenzy".
>He asks which is the best distribution for PowerPC hardware. Hint
>to Apple get "Darwin" off your roadmap and jump to Linux.

I'm going to disagree with you on this one.


Because Linux is just a UNIX clone, plus the hype of 4 million rabid anti-Microsoft bigots. Apple doesn't need the hype, and all that is left after that is a UNIX clone. At that point, what is the benefit of going with Linux? Consider:

  1. Darwin has a real device driver interface. Linus doesn't believe in device driver interfaces. On the PC, with millions of users "able" to create device drivers, the hardware support situation is abominable anyway. On the Mac it would be nonexistant - only Apple would make peripherals.
  2. Darwin is the product of 30 years of evolution and understanding of what does and does not work in operating systems. Linux is a hobbyist hack that got popular. Darwin is very close in code to some of the more secure UNIX clones out there (the free BSD variants such as OpenBSD). Linux is known for being easy to break into.
  3. Linux *specific* apps also tend to be i86 specific. Apple doesn't get access to these by going with Linux on PPC. On the other hand, OpenBSD can already run Linux binaries on the same platforms. Darwin's abstracted technical foundation (Mach 3, message passing v. everything in-kernel) make developing this sort of capability a lot easier.
  4. Most of the software that makes up a typical Linux distribution was available before Linux, and much of is already in Darwin anyway (all the UNIX tools, the GNU software, etc).
  5. Linux apps are UNIX apps. UNIX is a technical OS. Linux is a technical OS. The point of Mac OS X is to use a good subsystem (Mach) as the underpinnings of a modern graphical OS, not to force UNIX down the throats of non-technical users.
  6. The Linux development community tends to be extremely immature, both in terms of personality and in terms of understanding quality and the state of the art. Apple doesn't need this in their public relations or their codebase. I certainly don't need it in my codebase.

With all due respect to the fantastic accomplishment that Linux represents (both in terms of creating a new operating system "from scratch" and in terms of creating something significant and usable in Open Source), it's not ready to be my client OS or my server OS for serious work, and the Linux community needs to realize that the leap required is more than a code fix.

One of the reasons I'm excited about Mac OS X is that Apple *didn't* choose to go with Linux.


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