Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Oct 2009 12:51 UTC
Editorial A couple of years ago, a professor at my university had a very interesting thought exchange with the class I was in. We were a small group, and I knew most of them, they were my friends. Anyway, we had a talk about language purism - not an unimportant subject if you study English in The Netherlands.
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Thom has a point...
by alcibiades on Sun 25th Oct 2009 15:39 UTC
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Thom has a point. Its this. We keep hearing on OSN and other forums about the strong points of Macs, and we keep having the alleged weak points fiercely rebutted.

The strong point is said to be hardware-software integration. I have never really understood why OSX is more integrated with a given graphics card, Intel main board, or Core2 processor than either Windows or Linux or BSD. But the argument is made that this is a unique and wonderful thing that you get when you buy a Mac, and this is why Mac users like them.

The point that is rebutted is the view that Macs are more expensive. We always hear that this is simply false, and the evidence put forward is that if you duplicate a Mac configuration elsewhere, it will cost you as much or more. I have never really understood this argument, since very few people ever use one of the limited Mac hardware range as their starting point, but still, Mac enthusiasts affect to believe this.

So, if both of these things are true, if Macs are more integrated and no more expensive, then there is nothing to fear. The Mac user is famously committed and devoted. He will never shift away from Apple hardware, will he? He would spend no less, and he would lose all that fabulous integration.

If everyone in the Mac world really believes this, it becomes impossible to understand why they would think that Psystar, or Quo, or anyone else of that sort, is any sort of financial threat to Apple's hardware business. Yet they are perceived as being a threat, and you often find people posting here that if its allowed to continue, it will destroy Apple's hardware business, the core of the company. 'Apple is a hardware company', we keep hearing.

The only explanation is that neither Apple nor its adherents really believe in the equal price and benefit of integration story. They must secretly worry that there is no such thing as integration, which is entirely reasonable given that it is impossible to point to an example of it, and that if you compare prices in more rational ways, you'll end up finding better quality and cheaper products to run your OS on.

In fact, this last is perfectly obvious. At the moment I am looking at an i5 configuration with 4G memory, an Antec 900 case, brand name PSU, couple of hard drives, and expect to spend around UK 800 on it. We start at UK 550 inc vat, to be precise. That's with 4G memory and i5 750, and all we have to add to it is maybe more memory, and some disks and opticals. How much would it cost to get the same thing from Apple? Or the nearest thing? A standalone tower system similarly equipped? Yes, I know the processor will be a Xeon. So what if he don't need a Xeon?

The story does not add up, and this is why Psystar and freeing OSX really is a threat. What is going on is that rents from OSX are being taken in the form of high markups on a very limited range of fairly mediocre hardware, and there is a strong cult marketing around a designer brand to put this across. It works because right now its hard to get OSX on x86. But if the OS is freed, people really will move. Not just new buyers. Lots and lots of the Mac faithful will move too. Because there is a small group of Apple fanatics, but there is a large group who just want a decent machine running OSX. They will move.

Everyone involved knows this, and so they go through all kinds of intellectual contortions to avoid admitting it, because once they do, they have exploded the myth. Its like any cult, once you have stepped outside, its over.

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