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
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

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.

Reply Score: 13

RE: Thom has a point...
by wirespot on Sun 25th Oct 2009 16:55 in reply to "Thom has a point..."
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

How nice of you to repeat Thom's "arguments" for him.

So let me sum it up: Apple, a company that keeps pricing their stuff high on a very competitive market is actually cowering in fear, and the people who keep buying their expensive stuff are not actually enjoying the higher quality, they're just brainwashed idiots.

Oh, and breaking copyright law and undermining another company's business is ok because it's "freeing OS X". Rules be damned, the masses want their OS X! Hail Psystar, the champion of the people!

That's an opinion. You're entitled to yours, but that doesn't mean it holds any water just 'cause you say so.

I happen to believe otherwise. Common sense dictates that Apple products have at least some quality to them that makes people buy it. Other than straight out brain-controlling waves, that is. Common sense dictates that if Apple's products were just trendy hype they would have gone under a long time ago. Because trends come and go, but quality endures. Finally, common sense also says that if you go head-to-head with established law you should be prepared to assume the consequences. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time", remember?

Smart and decent people don't go for straight out breaking the law every time they don't like it. They don't break copyright for OS X or Windows, they pay or they use an alternative. They don't break copyright for music or movies, they pay or they find stores that sell cheaper or find music/movies when/that are cheaper. They don't throw rocks at Adobe's HQ windows, they create alternative technology. Yeah I think we need free software and open standards and a completely different approach to showbiz publishing, but going against the law like a dumb ox is just that, dumb. You're free to do it, but no definition of freedom is complete without the part that says "assuming consequences".

As for Thom, publishing this as a normal OSNews piece has no excuse. Opinions belong in editorials and should be marked as such, with disclaimers. I don't fault Thom either for stating his opinion, in comments. But doing it from a position that implies it is endorsed by OSNews is not nice.

Edited 2009-10-25 17:00 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Thom has a point...
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 25th Oct 2009 17:17 in reply to "RE: Thom has a point..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

As for Thom, publishing this as a normal OSNews piece has no excuse. Opinions belong in editorials and should be marked as such, with disclaimers.


This IS marked as an editorial, in two ways actually. But maybe you couldn't see it through the foam accumulating around your mouth ;) .

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Thom has a point...
by Buck on Sun 25th Oct 2009 17:50 in reply to "RE: Thom has a point..."
Buck Member since:
2005-06-29

Very well written.
But hey, it's Sunday and Thom couldn't be bothered to write anything but a dreamy opinion piece on a subject that's BOUND to polarize the audience (and then hide behind the 'editorial' tag, so smart).

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Thom has a point...
by alcibiades on Sun 25th Oct 2009 18:28 in reply to "RE: Thom has a point..."
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Smart and decent people don't go for straight out breaking the law every time they don't like it
No. But when they find a company imposing conditions on the use of stuff they have bought from that company that they consider unfair, anti competitive, probably contrary to consumer protection legislation, they...hold up two fingers, and get on with doing what they want with what they have bought.

Good on them!

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Thom has a point...
by BallmerKnowsBest on Mon 26th Oct 2009 01:21 in reply to "RE: Thom has a point..."
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

How nice of you to repeat Thom's "arguments" for him.


How nice of you to reply to a post without actually responding to most of the points raised in it.

So let me sum it up: Apple, a company that keeps pricing their stuff high on a very competitive market is actually cowering in fear, and the people who keep buying their expensive stuff are not actually enjoying the higher quality, they're just brainwashed idiots.

Oh, and breaking copyright law and undermining another company's business is ok because it's "freeing OS X". Rules be damned, the masses want their OS X! Hail Psystar, the champion of the people!


Careful, you'll make yourself dizzy by putting that much spin on a strawman argument.

I happen to believe otherwise. Common sense dictates that Apple products have at least some quality to them that makes people buy it.


And you could say the same thing about microwave dinners or Miley Cyrus albums.

Common sense dictates that if Apple's products were just trendy hype they would have gone under a long time ago. Because trends come and go, but quality endures.


I'm sure that Stephen King and Madonna would be happy to hear you say so.

Finally, common sense also says that if you go head-to-head with established law


There's an established law stating that an OS vendor can legitimately use an EULA to enforce post-sale restrictions on the brand of computer that can be used to run their OS?

you should be prepared to assume the consequences. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time", remember?


Don't look now, but Psystar doesn't seem to be having much problem dealing with the consequences.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Thom has a point...
by kurtlinux on Mon 26th Oct 2009 01:50 in reply to "RE: Thom has a point..."
kurtlinux Member since:
2006-06-20

I really think this is a nice "editorial". I for one would want to install OSX on a non-apple computer. I love OSX but a mac is always too expensive. I love my PC but I really don't like windows as much. I also use Linux but my wife, kids, and I use some apps for work/school that are only available in mac or win (Microsoft Office, Photoshop, etc). OSX on (cheap) PC hardware is really a no-brainer. I would definitely buy a Psystar if it proves to be LEGAL. Why pay double for THE SAME hardware specs? Psystar is offering what a lot of us (*Nix users) are obviously hoping that Apple would take into consideration: RELEASE THEIR GREAT OS FOR USE ON CHEAP HARDWARE. I think this would make a huge impact in the operating system scene (increased competition, lower prices).

On the language purism thing, in my opinion Thom has a point. I also speak Japanese as a third language (English is my second language) and it is really liberating to be able to communicate with someone in his/her native tongue. I think operating systems should also be constructed in this manner. A good operating system should be able to communicate with a lot of different hardware (as possible). What Apple is doing (hardware purism, if you like) is greatly limiting its otherwise graceful operating system. It's always been a joy using OSX.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Maybe you could point to the case law which shows that Psystar is in fact committing criminal acts through the breaking of copyright law... cause.. I'm not seeing any definitive ruling out of that case yet nor am I seeing any past case law that strongly indicates it. Last I checked, courts where still deciding if Psystar is in fact an illegal business. Maybe we should wait until that claim is made by law before we make that claim; be if fact or opinion.

One may not agree with Psystar is doing and that's fine but claiming a legal ruling where non has been made does not help the opinion.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Thom has a point...
by twitterfire on Mon 26th Oct 2009 14:07 in reply to "Thom has a point..."
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

Very nice said. Nice argued and logical. I might add that - if anyone remembers- 5 or 6 years ago were flames on forums about "which OS is better"? To support their theories, apple fanboys mentioned the integration. They even said without any arguments that powerpc cpus are much better than intel ones. I might ask: why has apple moved from that marvelous powerpc? If you ask today, the very same apple fanboys will say that intel cpus are much better than powerc and that's why apple has moved. That's right: same people saing two different things. If you ask the fanboys if they like the move, some will say no (because now, everyone and their can install Os X on average PC's and they aren't an "elite" any more), some will say yes (apple said it's better and apple is always right).

Apple isn't even a hardware company. They don't manufacture their products, they buy them from OEM's and brand them. And resell. Intel is a hardware company. Nvidia is a hardware company. Acer is a hardware company. Apple is just a designer.

Reply Parent Score: 1