Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 13th Apr 2004 20:17 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews What happens when ex-Lycoris employees join a Linux-friendly hardware computer reseller? Apparently, a new desktop Linux distro with a kick: the hardware that comes with it is meant to give you the Apple experience. ION Linux is a Debian-based distro that is meant to work well with the hardware it sells with. Read on for our interview with Element Computer's Mike Hjorleifsson (one of the founders and CTO) regarding their new upcoming products and a screenshot of ION.
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Apple model
by Bendertheoffender on Wed 14th Apr 2004 04:35 UTC

This is somewhat redundant at this point, but Apple's model IS successful. It is important to differentiate success from dominance. Certainly Microsoft rules the OS market, but Apple has managed to carve a unique, profitable niche; just as have QNX, Palm, etc. To make a tired, tired, almost useless analogy, there may be few BMWs on the road, but that doesn't make the company a failure. They are content and profitable in their niche.

I hope this company has some success for a couple of reasons. For one, if more companies do this sort of thing, there will be more parity in the OS market, which is good (particularly as companies like Sun are seeming to have some problems). Furthermore, if the OS is really specialized for the hardware, it could make the computing experience much more consistent and efficient on the Linux side. Linux can be installed on just about anything, but that can be both an advantage and a liability. The ability to incorporate a wide variety of hardware is a benefit (and it can be downright fun to be able to tweak and modify the system to your own needs), but because linux has this kind of extensibility, by its very nature it isn't specialized to the hardware level (unless done by the user). The same thing is true of Windows (although Windows is clearly less customizable). Think of the myriad conflicts, crashes, and hassles that are a direct result of Windows trying to be a "one size fits all" solution and trying to incorporate the vast amount of available hardware and software.

I use a Mac as my prime machine, and this something that comes up in discussions with Linux and Windows proponents (yes, they exist). A Mac is more console-like; that is to say, it is more like a game console or an appliance. It is designed to be a unified hardware and software product. That does not mean Macs aren't expandable (another common misconception), but because Apple has an almost draconian hold on the hardware and software integration, more time is devoted to actually USING the computer rather than MAINTAINING the computer. This is something I discuss with my Linux admin buddies. Sure, in Linux you can always make changes, tweak things, and recompile, but all that takes time, effort, and a fair amount of technical expertise. If your system is geared to your needs out of the box, you don't have to bother with it. Of course, Linux distros alleviate some of this, but there is a limit as to how far distros can go if they don't know what hardware they will be running on. With a Mac, you are not paying for a hard disk, a processor, external drives, and so forth, you are paying for a solution. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If this company can bring that to the Linux side, more power to them. It would be another testament to Linux's potency.

That all being said, as the mood of this thread indicates, the market for this company doesn't seem to be the home Linux user; those are people who enjoy getting their hands dirty in their systems' guts. This product seems to be more of a solution for companies that want to incorporate and deploy OSS without a lot of hassle and with the safety net of company support. Red Hat seems to be going this way. This company appears to be pushing it onto the hardware side.