Home > Mac OS X > Free Mac OS X for MIT Laptop Program DeclinedFree Mac OS X for MIT Laptop Program Declined Thom Holwerda 2005-11-14 Mac OS X 80 CommentsApple offered free licenses of Mac OS X for MIT’s proposed $100,- (E85,-) laptop initiative, however, the proposal offered by Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was declined because the program was looking for open-source software, according to a new report.About The Author Thom HolwerdaFollow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 80 Comments 2005-11-14 9:02 pm theGrumpthe entire premise of this endeavor is to promote low/no cost computing to the poor.would the “free osx license” include free upgrades for life? because if not, the users would be asked to pay more than the cost of their computer in order to obtain upgrades.also part of promoting low/no cost computing to the poor is to encourage technological literacy and self-sufficiency, which precludes closed-source software in my opinion (you can’t learn or improve what you can’t read). 2005-11-14 11:06 pm ma_dWould you even want to ask a company to agree to provide free updates for “life”? I mean, that’s an enormous thing to committ to if they decided to EOL the product, they’d still need to maintain it for those users who aren’t paying them…. 2005-11-15 2:40 am WowbaggerWould you even want to ask a company to agree to provide free updates for “life”?Stone Software http://stone.com is offering exactly that, and I am a happy customer with them. Their support is excellent, if you ask anything usually the developers themselves help you out.Yes, free upgrades for life is doable. 2005-11-15 5:19 am QuantumGIsn’t it a shame that we can’t think about our own society like that without being labelled as hippies. 2005-11-14 9:04 pm mattst88Isn’t the core of OS X open source (think: Darwin)? It’s really just the GUI system and the applications that aren’t Open Source. 2005-11-14 9:18 pm theGrumppartially free = nonfreealso once again there is no mention of fees required for future upgrades (making the offer nonfree as in beer as well as nonfree as in speech) 2005-11-15 8:09 am jesstathe drivers aren’t free.and really what is the point in OSX if you can’t run any of the OSX applications because they require coca that isn’t free. 2005-11-14 9:05 pm thebackwashLet’s see… F/OSS is making inroads into developing nations. Developing nations may build their infrastructure around certain software, with increased future demand for software that works with that infrastructure. Microsoft wants to establish a strong market presence in these nations, but is having a hard time competing with lower-cost F/OSS. Lesson learned: they can’t pay now, but when they can pay, they’ll come to you with their demands for your product.Apple wants in, MIT says no because not all of OS X is under a free license. To what extent is Apple willing to go to establish themselves? 2005-11-14 9:17 pm The Baronfrom Apple. I am glad that the program stuck to its guns and want only free software 2005-11-14 9:18 pm lagitusOS X may be offered for free but what about all of the other software that is needed? OpenOffice for OS X is practically unsupported and many other OSS projects have trouble integrating well with the GUI. I have also seen few freeware or FOSS educational programs outside KDE.IMO independence from as many commercial entities as possible is a valid goal in a charity project such as this. 2005-11-14 9:31 pm Truthseeker“The plan to develop a $100 laptop computer for distribution to millions of school-children in developing countries……will be powered by AMD processors and will use the open-source Red Hat Linux operating system.”Does anyone have any more details?[EDIT]Here we go:“I didn’t get to see the software being designed to operate the machine, but learned a bit more about the team working on it. A small team of Red Hat engineers are customizing a Red Hat distro to the processor and hardware specifications of the machine. They’re doing some work on the GUI as well, as are Alan Kay and Seymour Papert – the total development team is about 18 people, including Kay’s students at the media lab. The machine will come with tools to encourage students to experiment with programming, including Squeak (a graphical environment for the Smalltalk programming language) and Logo. The plan is to make the software available online in a few months so that testers can bang on it and suggest features.”http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/003707.htmlEdited 2005-11-14 21:41 2005-11-15 5:24 am QuantumGSqueak.. joy. Just what the world needs, more smalltalk programmers. I say give em http://gvr.sourceforge.net/“>Guido at least then they can contribute to the 4490 projects on sourceforge written in Python (vs 56 projects for smalltalk). 2005-11-14 9:36 pm DevLThis was indeed a nice offer from Apple, but even if politics didn’t stand in the way, what kind of user experience would you get from running (or trying to run, rather) MacOS X on >500 MHz x86 CPU that lacks SSE3? No to mention that laptops in question only got 128MB RAM. Personally, I would’ve gunned for Ubuntu if I were Negroponte & co. 2005-11-14 9:51 pm CaptainPinkoKnowing RedHat they’ll throw Gnome on it… this could lead toGnome having a vsalty larger userbase as opposed to more or lrss equal as is now. 2005-11-14 11:05 pm KrocI’m sure redhat will stick whatever works best on the incredibly low power machine instead of what their zealous fans say. There are other WM’s instead of KDE and GNOME… 2005-11-14 11:09 pm ma_dYea, if these things are as low on disk space as they sound they may have to use something more like iceWM…Or here’s a thought, WindowMaker .RedHat’s KDE is pretty well setup and supported these days though. They may be a default Gnome, but their KDE really is quite good (even though the defaults make it feel just like gnome, double clicking and all). 2005-11-14 9:52 pm BlackJack75Hm, when I start OSX 10.4 on my iBook I have about 160 mb ram in use. As soon as a I start using a browser and mail and some other basic things I get near 300 mb. And it wasn’t better with older versions (10.2 or 10.1).Did they offer to make a special build for them? Coz I doubt the original thing would have been usable at all on such hardware. Having used osx 10.3 on a 266 mhz G3 I can tell you it’s perfectly usable with a slow cpu but you _need_ 512 mb of ram. Otherwise the machine will be used mainly for swapping and all other activity will be a secondary background thread 🙂Note that in my own experience a decent Gnome desktop is also out of question wihtout 256 mb of ram. They have to get some minimal desktop linux or maybe OpenBeos had it been more advanced. Syllable maybe?Oh anyway if you want something decent in opensource (with a real wordprocessor, a browser, a good e-mail client) you have to go for linux. Maybe this can be the occasion to have a low-end oriented linux distribution that can be as simple as ubuntu. 2005-11-14 10:06 pm Tom KI don’t know where you’re getting your numbers, but when I start OS X 10.4.3 on *my* iBook, memory usage is about 45 MB wired and 55 MB active. Safari with 13 tabs open is using 67 MB of real memory.Come on now, this isn’t Fedora Core. 😉 2005-11-14 10:37 pm No it isntI’ve used OS X Jaguar and Panther with 192 MB RAM. It worked, but swapping became painful with for instance both Thunderbird and Firefox open at the same time. Then the 128 MB RAM module died, and with 64 MB RAM, OS X won’t boot at all. Linux with WindowMaker would boot, and swapping when using Firefox and Thunderbird was even more painful than before, but only slightly. You see, Linux has better handling of virtual memory than OS X.I’m sure we all agree OS X is a nice desktop OS, but it’s also extremely bloated in every conceivable way. There’s no need for it in a system that strives to be economical. 2005-11-15 12:13 am DevLI’m not sure I agree with you conclusions. “Better” handling of virtual memory* isn’t really all about being able to use a minimum amount of memory. By your argument, you must obviously agree that NetBSD probably has better handling of virtual memory as it can boot using even less memory than your Linux setup.Furthermore, bloat != high specifications. Would you argue that a Cray supercomputer is bloated for having and needing tons of memory? Would you argue that almost all Linux distros are bloated simply because you can boot into a desktop with Internet (web, mail etc) capabilities using only a few MBs of memory on an Amiga? If you are, then yes, Mac OS X is bloated. Then again, so are almost all OSes, and especially the ones that rely on the X windowing system for their desktops.I bet that a full blown Linux desktop matching the capabilities (and eye candy, mind you) of Mac OS X will be rather unpleasnt to use with anything less than 512 MB RAM – just like Mac OS X 10.4.* In general, I think virtual memory is actually a rather poor idea, not to mention an ad hoc solution to a economical rather than a technological issue. 2005-11-15 1:41 am DigitalAxisI guess I would say yes, my current systems ARE bloated given that they require so much memory and processor power for just word processing.A lightweight X client, a small browser, NOT KDE or Gnome unless they could strip those down severely…I think one of the major reasons I would turn Apple down, is that MIT wants to customize these machines heavily for speed, reliability and use. I’m not sure how much tweaking Apple would let them do. 2005-11-15 2:27 am DevLOn a side note, Xubuntu could actually be what you’re looking for. I think it’d do nicely on one of these sub-$100 laptops.https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Xubuntu 2005-11-15 1:48 am No it isntWith “better handling of virtual memory”, I just meant that swapping memory in and out is done more efficiently. If these laptops are supposed to use flash for storage, it won’t be an issue, since you’re not going to use swap at all.I agree about what you’re saying about bloat, and again: These laptops are not high specification. For them, the >3GB for a default install will be bloat. OS X is just not the right tool for the job. Linux can be used much more efficiently, for instance with Qtopia. 2005-11-15 2:35 am DevLAgreed, these laptops haven’t even got the specs to run Mac OS X in its current form (Mac OS X on Intel requires SSE3 as previously mentioned) so unless a) MIT would’ve agreed and b) Apple would’ve provided a special version without the need for SSE3, the whole point is moot.Still, the meager possibilty of apple allowing Mac OS X to run on hardware other than their own is both interesting and somewhat frightening. I belong to the camp that think that a Mac clone market (which is the idea that comes to mind when thinking about Apple allowing Mac OS X to run on non-Apple hardware) would actually be a Bad Idea (TM) for the quality of Mac OS X. Maybe if and when Apple captures such a significant market share that a major share of their revenues comes from software, a Mac clone market would be reasonable. Until then I hope it doesn’t happen. 2005-11-15 12:24 am Tom K“… Thunderbird and Firefox …”There’s problem #1. Those are two apps that are incapable of using memory sparingly.“… Linux has better handing of virtual memory than OS X.”I don’t doubt it — but what exactly does that have to do with anything here? Linux can boot with less RAM? Okay, that’s not necessarily indicative of its virtual memory subsystem …When I mentioned Fedora Core, it was because FC is probably *the* most bloated distribution around in terms of how much RAM it eats after boot, during use, etc. My numbers were merely disproving the fact that OS X isn’t as big a hog after boot as the parent poster was suggesting.That is all. 2005-11-15 12:50 am eMagiusThere’s problem #1. Those are two apps that are incapable of using memory sparingly.Well, duh. But there aren’t a whole lot of graphical browsers that a GPL zealot can recommend. Mail clients are a slightly different matter, but GPL zealots flock to Mozilla’s Thunderbird there as well (because AOL/Netscape/Moz is a zealot’s best friend). 2005-11-15 1:57 am Tom K🙂 Nice.I use Safari. Does that mean I hate Freedom? 🙁 Can I have a tissue? 2005-11-15 2:06 am LazarusLike they say, open standards are more important than open source. 2005-11-15 2:23 am Tom KLike who says? Zealots, or people who *don’t* have their heads up their asses?I agree with the statement personally. 2005-11-15 8:48 am alcibiadesModeration strikes again. I don’t know whether these comments are right or not, but they are reasonable and temperate in tone. Do something about this stupidity! 2005-11-15 8:52 am rayinerWhy so it does. Yeah, the flippant remark about Fedora Core is unnecessary, but his numbers seem solid. Mine are a little higher (55MB wired, 60MB active), but closer to Poo’s total than the 160MB figure. 2005-11-14 10:19 pm Eugenia LoliSome of the specs on the $100 laptop are pretty expensive actually. I would go for specifications that are closer to a PDA rather than a laptop, but with a normal screen instead of a touchscreen (cheaper) and an onboard keyboard/mouse-stick. I think that the following specs would make it easier to produce a $100 device that schools/kids could use without losing a lot of functionality:* 206 Mhz ARM* 32 MB RAM (enough for Qtopia which requires about 8 MBs to start up, swap support should be supported too. If other distributions/DEs want to port to the device, they would have to optimize to run on such low RAM)* 128 MB internal storage flash (about 100 MB available to the user)* WiFi 802.11b* Ethernet (best solution for schools)* IrDA SIR* VGA 5″ or 6″ LCD (with Qtopia’s UI using fully the VGA resolution, not how it double-pixels its *widgets* on the Zaurus VGA devices. This allows for more real screen estate.)* Compact Flash slot* SD slot* 1 USB 1.1 host* on board keyboard and mouse stick with two buttons* sound card, internal speaker, internal mic, line-out/headphone jack* 1100 mAh battery (that’s about 4-5 hours of usage on Linux with WiFi off and LCD in low brightness)* Runs Linux with latest Qtopia, plus some of TheKompany/HancomOffice apps, Opera or Netfront web browserI would not go with GPE or QPE because they are notoriously unstable (yes, I tested their latest “stable” versions). If anything, QPE is more stable than GPE, but if it’s to replace Qtopia for this fictional device, they better optimize it, make it more stable, and secure a good port of a web browser because they currently have nothing acceptable (latest Konqueror mobile port is 3 years old and pretty bad to start with, Minimo is terribly slow/buggy/memory-hog and Dillo is pretty bad too). So until these problems are fixed on their side, for this fictional device specifications I provided, Qtopia and its allies would provide a better experience.Edited 2005-11-14 22:23 2005-11-14 10:37 pm Ronald VosQtopia does sound like a good fit. Anyway, given the specs I’d be surprised if they put either KDE or Gnome on it. Fluxbox/XFCE or something customised to be intuitive to those kids would do the job nicely, right? 2005-11-15 9:05 am alcibiadesI put in Debian, WindowMaker, with xfe, KOffice, and it worked fine on a 200MMX with 64M Ram. Slow to boot, but once booted, quite snappy. Nither Gnome, KDE nor Xfce would work properly. Fluxbox is fine of course. I guess OpenBox would also be fine. 2005-11-14 10:24 pm visconde_de_sabugosaYeah, this news is very related to “Developing Markets and Anti-Americanism” article of OSNews. Apple is another arrogant american proprietary software company no different from Microsoft.Developing countres don’t want charity of these companies. They want FREEDOM and only FREE (as freedom, livre, libre) SOFTWARE.Many americans don’t understand why we preferer linux to the beautiful and sexy MacOS X because they think only as consumers and have money to spend. Linux and BSDs are more flexible and can be as sexy and good-looking as MacOS X with some tunning and work.Ironically, Unix was created in USA and was very popular at american universities. I don’t understand why Mircosoft becames dominant. 2005-11-15 12:27 am Tom KAs sexy and good-looking? Haha.The moment I have to drop to a terminal to fix/configure/install something is the moment that all sexiness flies out the door. Sorry, but that’s the truth. 2005-11-15 12:57 am rayinerWhen was the last time you used Linux? If you have to drop to a terminal to fix something, it’s because its your habit, not because it’s the only way to do it. 2005-11-15 1:08 am BlackJack75The last time I used linux was today. It has make huge progress since the redhat 5.x days of course. Linux as always is fine when you use all that’s precompiled/preconfigured.As soon as you want something that looks like a driver then you end up patching your damn kernel. As soon as you wish to install one particular app you can look for ages if your distrib doesn’t have the package. You might try compiling it… good luck.Last week a colleague of mine told a graphics person to launch a Terminal on OSX. She said: “a what?” For me that’s all it is about. It’s there if you want to use it but most normal users do not have to even know about it.There are two kind of people using linux, those that fiddle in the terminal at some point (or with some obscure text configuration file) and the others that stop at to the conclusion: “oh shit, doesn’t work” and boot back to windows. I have been of the first kind for a long time and wasted hours.Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am pretty sure and open-source project could bring an OS that is a simple as OSX and more performant. Linux goal are just different and trying to make it a desktop machine is actually taking more work/time from thousands of developers than it would have taken to get one nice, user-friendly OS written from scratch. 2005-11-15 1:29 am rayinerAs soon as you want something that looks like a driver then you end up patching your damn kernel.If you didn’t buy hardware without checking your distro’s HCL, then its your fault. There is no reason Linux should be treated differently than any other alternate OS. I can’t buy random hardware and expect it to work on my Mac, and I don’t buy random hardware and expect it to work on my Linux machine.There are two kind of people using linux, those that fiddle in the terminal at some point (or with some obscure text configuration file) and the others that stop at to the conclusion: “oh shit, doesn’t work” and boot back to windows.Sorry, but that’s not true. You can use Linux without ever touching the terminal, especially if it comes installed on your PC (like OS X and Windows do!). Ever since I started using SuSE two years ago (then moved to Ubuntu), I haven’t had to fiddle with the terminal. Why? Because I don’t treat my Linux machine like a Windows machine. It treat it like a Linux machine. I buy hardware that I know is supported out of box by my distro. This is easy — good quality, name-brand stuff usually has Linux drivers. I install software in the “Approved” way, by using a repository. With Ubuntu and SuSE, pretty much everything you’d ever want is in a repository somewhere. 2005-11-15 1:56 am Tom KSo what you’re saying is that you are locked in by your distribution when it comes hardware/software. What if you want to use a piece of software that isn’t provided in your distro’s repository? You conveniently ignored that entire point of the parent’s comment.What you are saying would be true if Linux worked 100% perfectly out of the box. This is simply not true — if it was, what else would the developers have left to do? 2005-11-15 5:53 am rayinerSo what you’re saying is that you are locked in by your distribution when it comes hardware/software.The distribution is the OS. Linux is just a kernel. The distribution is the OS. It’s not hard to follow these guidelines (especially with a distribution like SuSE or Ubuntu that has large amounts of application support).What if you want to use a piece of software that isn’t provided in your distro’s repository?If you absolutely need a particular piece of software that isn’t in a distro’s repository, then save yourself the trouble and use Windows instead. Again, the distribution is the OS. If the OS you run doesn’t have the apps you want, you might want to consider a different OS.For most people, its a theoretical argument. As I said, on a popular distro like SuSE or Ubuntu, the repository, or at least, a repository, generally has the applications you need to run. Do you have a specific application in mind, to make a more concrete complaint?What you are saying would be true if Linux worked 100% perfectly out of the box.Of course Linux doesn’t work perfectly out of the box. However, neither does Windows or OS X. My point is that if you’re going to judge Linux, judge it on its own merits, not on how it fits into your preconceptions of how an operating system should behave. Furthermore, let’s criticize it on level terms. One thing I can’t stand is that people bitch that “Linux won’t detect my <foo>”. Of course it won’t! The machine was designed to run Windows! Of course Windows is easier to set up on it! When I built my machine, I built it to run Linux. Lo and behold, Linux set up without any trouble, I never had to drop into a CLI, and now it just sits there and works. Entertainingly enough, I can’t easily install Windows onto the machine, because it’s got a SATA boot drive and I’d need to “slipstream” a boot CD (whatever that means) with SATA drivers (which ones?). Of course, what should I have expected given I designed the machine to run Linux? 2005-11-15 9:48 am Tom KThe distribution is the OS. Linux is just a kernel. The distribution is the OS. It’s not hard to follow these guidelines (especially with a distribution like SuSE or Ubuntu that has large amounts of application support).Okay, fine … distribution, OS, GNU/Linux … whatever you call it — you’re still being locked in by it. This basically negates any and all zealous frothing in the order of “Linux prevents vendor lock-in!” because you are (quite clearly) being locked in to specific hardware/software choices based on the distribution you choose. That was my point.If you absolutely need a particular piece of software that isn’t in a distro’s repository, then save yourself the trouble and use Windows instead. Again, the distribution is the OS. If the OS you run doesn’t have the apps you want, you might want to consider a different OS.I agree. What I’m confused by are the people who switch to Linux only to spend 10x more time getting their Windows applications/games running under WINE. WTF is the point?For most people, its a theoretical argument. As I said, on a popular distro like SuSE or Ubuntu, the repository, or at least, a repository, generally has the applications you need to run. Do you have a specific application in mind, to make a more concrete complaint?Not off the top of my head, no. There was one occasion when I had to use a relatively little-known utility to convert e-mail messages from Outlook 2003 to mbox. I had to find it, download it, modify it, and compile it myself.Of course Linux doesn’t work perfectly out of the box. However, neither does Windows or OS X. My point is that if you’re going to judge Linux, judge it on its own merits, not on how it fits into your preconceptions of how an operating system should behave.My “preconceptions” aren’t exactly unreasonable. OS X *does* work out of the box, as does Windows (though on a limited set of hardware). I don’t remember the last time I had to go hunting for a patch, or configuration file line, or driver for OS X — because there hasn’t been one. I install it and it works.Furthermore, let’s criticize it on level terms. One thing I can’t stand is that people bitch that “Linux won’t detect my <foo>”. Of course it won’t! The machine was designed to run Windows! Of course Windows is easier to set up on it! When I built my machine, I built it to run Linux. Lo and behold, Linux set up without any trouble, I never had to drop into a CLI, and now it just sits there and works.Well that’s good for you. What do you do on your Linux box?Entertainingly enough, I can’t easily install Windows onto the machine, because it’s got a SATA boot drive and I’d need to “slipstream” a boot CD (whatever that means) with SATA drivers (which ones?). Of course, what should I have expected given I designed the machine to run Linux?You don’t have to do any slipstreaming. You just have to insert the SATA driver floppy disk and press F6 when you boot off the Windows installation CD. It will load your SATA drivers off the disk.What SATA driver floppy disk you ask? Try the one that came in your motherboard’s box. Just a hint. 2005-11-15 3:13 pm rayinerMy “preconceptions” aren’t exactly unreasonable. OS X *does* work out of the box, as does Windows (though on a limited set of hardware).OS X and Windows also come installed and pre-configured out of the box. People don’t take OS X, install it on random Windows PCs, and expect it to work perfectly without any configuration. I don’t remember the last time I had to go hunting for a patch, or configuration file line, or driver for OS X — because there hasn’t been one. I install it and it works.Same thing for Ubuntu. For a simple reason. A Mac is designed to run OS X. My machine is designed to run Ubuntu. Both run just fine without any drama.Well that’s good for you. What do you do on your Linux box?Code, surf, simulate. Standard office stuff plus basic engineering stuff.You don’t have to do any slipstreaming. You just have to insert the SATA driver floppy disk and press F6 when you boot off the Windows installation CD. It will load your SATA drivers off the disk.What floppy drive? Who still buys computers with floppy drives? Last time I did was 1998. 2005-11-15 4:45 pm Tom KI never use the out-of-the-box installs of either Windows or OS X. I re-installed both by myself. I’m not going to re-iterate my previous statements with regard to whether they come ready, because I just explained it.As for floppy drives … I put one in my newest machine for the purpose of SATA driver disks and BIOS updates alone. I’m only explaining to you that installing Windows on your hardware is much easier than you make it out to be. Hell, even a USB floppy drive would work. 2005-11-15 6:09 am Snifflez“So what you’re saying is that you are locked in by your distribution when it comes hardware/software. What if you want to use a piece of software that isn’t provided in your distro’s repository? You conveniently ignored that entire point of the parent’s comment.”Wait, you’re using Safari, aren’t you? Wow, talk about “locked in by your distribution”! Hey, maggot, what if you want to use a piece of software that isn’t provided in your distro’s repository? But you oh, so conveniently ignored that little tidbit, and opted for looking for specks of dust in others’ eyes, while stumbling around with that telegraph pole hanging out of your own eyes.“What you are saying would be true if Linux worked 100% perfectly out of the box. This is simply not true — if it was, what else would the developers have left to do?”No, what you are saying is that you’re too f*cking dumb to get Linux to run. Quit your whining, you perpetually yirning sack of vulture vomit. Nobody wants to read your “I’m too bitter because I’m not smart enough to use Linux comfortably” verbal wankery. Go whine at someone who gives a f*ck, you excerebrose bipedal filth. 2005-11-15 9:37 am Tom KClose the thesaurus — it won’t help you win any arguments.This kind of post should go into some kind of Linux Zealot archive. 2005-11-16 10:01 pm For once, I fully agree with you. Though, it was entertaining to read. 2005-11-15 2:05 pm chemical_scumWhat if you want to use a piece of software that isn’t provided in your distro’s repository?Compile it yourself – Troll 2005-11-15 4:52 pm Tom KThanks. Point proven.Linux Zealot elitism at its finest. 2005-11-15 9:01 am alcibiadesAs soon as you want something that looks like a driver then you end up patching your damn kernel. As soon as you wish to install one particular app you can look for ages if your distrib doesn’t have the package. You might try compiling it… good luck.It is hard to believe people posting these kinds of comments have actually installed and used a modern distribution. Or maybe they are about as sincere as the Apple fanatics asserting their hardware is the same price or cheaper. I do install Linux, mostly either Mandrake or Suse. I can only recall one occasion on which I had to ask a user to go into terminal mode. XP is about the same, you will very occasionally want the command line – IP networking problems, for instance.Now, I also have helped people with OSX networking, getting wireless working, getting file sharing working as they wanted. It is not much easier. And this is not expressing an opinion about how it looks to me, this is my observation of how the users behaved and the difficulties they found, and their puzzlements that things didn’t do what they expected.As for the ‘restricted to distro’ point. It is more or less true, with either Suse or Mandriva its easier if you install from the distro. But while there’s some stuff that I want that isn’t included, for the ordinary person, there isn’t. Again, I wonder whether people saying this have actually looked recently at the included packages.Yes, a couple of ‘non-free’ multimedia packages may not be included, but that’s about it, and they are easy.I do not think you can really argue against Linux on a project of this kind on the grounds that Third World people will not find it easy enough to administer, compared to the closed source alternatives. That is just stupid. 2005-11-15 6:30 am Snifflez“The moment I have to drop to a terminal to fix/configure/install something is the moment that all sexiness flies out the door. Sorry, but that’s the truth.”You don’t think CLI is sexy? Wow, what a cheap, underpaid OS X whore you are. Didn’t anybody tell you that CLI is the “in” thing of today, you fashion taste-impaired monkey relative?Mind keeping your purely subjective ( and therefore irrelevant ) opinions to yourself from now on, scum? I mean, who gives a flying f*ck about whether you consider CLI “sexy” or not? It’s a goddamn tool, you pseudo-aesthetic monosynaptic twit. Maybe a click-addicted oligophreniac like you prefers clicking [its|his|her] way through an installation, but, just in case if you’re too f*ckin dense to imagine it, there are people who prefer to do “./configure && make && make install” instead. Quit elevating your own subjective opinions to the status of infallible truths, you cheap f*ckrag. 2005-11-15 9:39 am Tom KAgain, close the thesaurus. I can’t imagine anyone dumber than you. Go on, use your Linux. Enjoy the time you waste getting shit to work. Spread the love.The more insults you throw into a sentence the more people you’ll convert! Really! 2005-11-15 4:06 am macintroll“Ironically, Unix was created in USA and was very popular at american universities. I don’t understand why Mircosoft becames dominant.”I assume from this that you are too young to remember the state of computing in 1981, so I will give you a serious answer. There is nothing ironic about it at all.Microsoft became dominant because IBM chose them to write the operating system for the IBM PC. At that time IBM had a dominant position in the computer (and high-end typewriter!) industry and a solid gold reputation for service and support. Because it was backed by IBM, the PC made inroads into the huge business market and applications developers quickly began to support it. The only other serious OS choice for Intel processors was CP/M 86, which was doomed when it was passed over by IBM (but not before I spent $4000 on a CP/M 86 based computer). Applications were available for the Apple II, but it was nearing the end of its life, and was seen by many as a toy for students and home users.Why not Unix? At the time, Unix was a multiuser, minicomputer operating system that was definitely NOT free (in either sense). Unix licences were priced for large multiuser installations and were prohibitively expensive for individual users. There were no open source variants like linux or freeBSD. There were no Unix applications that would be of interest to most personal computer users. Most important, it would not run on an IBM PC with a 4.7 megahertz processor, 64 kilobytes of RAM, 360 kilobyte 5 1/4 inch floppies and no hard disk.Although Unix has a long history, as a useable desktop operating system for microcomputers it is a relative newcomer. Microsoft and Apple had a long head start. 2005-11-15 4:08 am jaygadeAs a US citizen, I don’t understand what Linux or BSD has anything to do with Anti-Americanism. Many people in the US love Linux and BSD. Many people in the US want Free/Libre software.Please try not to confuse software politics with with other aspects of global politics. They are only related at the fringe, not at the core.So I applaud the people at MIT for choosing something FREE rather than something free($). I thought that with the goals of the project the choice was pretty obvious, though. 2005-11-14 10:41 pm gpierceIt was interesting to read the comments on the article, both here and on macnn.com. Generally the participants in the macnn discussion were quite negative in their response to MIT’s decision which favored GNU/Linux over OSX, and yet on this site, most seem to appreciate the rationale behind the decision. I suspect most on this site may also be using linux though they live in first world countries and can afford any commercial operating system and modern hardware (PC or mac) available. Why? Because, technically, linux is the equal of any commercial OS and politically–freedom to share the code, tinker with it, modify it, redistribute it–it is second to none. If the goal is to teach children how computers work (not how to click on cute digital buttons) and achieve technological self-sufficiency, there really is no other choice. Yet, most people continue to focus on the ease of use (the “oh my god, linux is so hard” argument) which has merits but certainly not in an educational context in which the supposed goal is education. I applaud the principled stand of the MIT lab director. 2005-11-15 7:32 am KrocI started computers at the age of 7 using a Commodore64 programming BASIC and ASM (Yes ASM!). I think we all understimate how difficult computers were to use back when we grew up. Kids are like sponges, even the intracacies of Linux could be learned quickly. 2005-11-14 10:41 pm MattKThis is definetely the right move for MIT. Even Apple can create vendor lockin. Plus Linux/BSD can be modified and stripped down to run better on lower hardware. I had Freebsd4.x running well enough on a 100 Mhz pentium laptop with 16MB of RAM. X even ran. It wasn’t too bad really. 2005-11-14 10:42 pm kellymSo many of you are missing the big picture here.Apple was willing to license the operating system to another organization.The implications of this move suggests that Apple may be somewhat inclined to license OS X to a select group of PC manufacturers. 2005-11-14 10:57 pm Nicholas BlachfordSo many of you are missing the big picture here.Apple was willing to license the operating system to another organization. Exactly, this is the biggest part of the story and rather unexpected. 2005-11-14 10:57 pm theGrump>> Apple was willing to license the operating system to another organization.why should MIT care about this? 2005-11-14 11:03 pm jptrosMaybe they shouldn’t but it’s still an indication to the rest of the world of what the pc-mac road could bring. 2005-11-14 11:03 pm thurstonJobs’ offering of this software for free makes sense. It’s the same thing Apple (and DEC before them) did to build their legacy in the 80s by offering computers at a discount to schools. Ideally Jobs would offer OS X to all of these children, they would learn computers and go out into the industry, familiar with Mac OS X. They could then influence paying customers in their region later on. It may not be a 100% ROI, but would provide a healthy push for Apple in developing areas of the world.Edited 2005-11-14 23:04 2005-11-15 9:17 am alcibiadesYes, the Party Line is definitely changing. It has all the signs of the Intel shift. Time to get behind why it will be a good idea after all….What was so great about PPC?Oh, it was such a long time ago, I forget why we all thought that back then… 2005-11-14 10:55 pm rklrklAlthough the article said “Red Hat Linux”, as we know this is now a commercial product costing more than $100. I think they meant CentOS or, more likely, Fedora Core…As people have noted, Mac OS X may not run too well on the laptop’s proposed specs (even Linux will struggle on 128MB RAM, but it can probably be stripped down more easily than Mac OS X), plus did Steve Jobs offer a lifetime supply of free Mac OS X upgrades for all the machines? Or are they expected to pay $129 every year after they get the laptops?I personally think Mac OS X (and by similar reasoning XP) aren’t suitable for such a low-cost, low-powered PC. Linux and/or BSD are probably the only OS’es with the flexibility to be built for minimal spec PCs from the ground up. 2005-11-14 11:09 pm TheBadger“So many of you are missing the big picture here.Apple was willing to license the operating system to another organization.”That’s only “big” if you have your tunnel vision focused on Apple all the time – not exactly a significant part of any objective “big picture”. Clearly MIT made the right decision: free-as-in-beer licences might sound lovely to the average gadget-obsessed western iPod-owning consumer, but anyone wanting to have any degree of control of their computing/information infrastructure is going to want to avoid proprietary software. 2005-11-14 11:17 pm jptrosI don’t think anyone is arguing if they did the right thing or not. They’re just pointing something out that isn’t typical of apple to do. 2005-11-14 11:21 pm geoffp> That’s only “big” if you have your tunnel vision focused on Apple all the timeI disagree, I think that’s pretty big in general. That (potential) decision could radically alter a lot of computing-replated pie charts *very* quickly. 2005-11-14 11:15 pm bobiyou guys miss the point.its not about opensource or apple. it’s about a little juicy market.you think apple give out a license just to be nice guys ? Sure they’re not evil, and its also generous from them. But it’s also a strategic placement.Now, what do you think of RedHat ? It’s not gonna be a fedora core or a centos, its really gonna be RedHat, don’t be blind. Red hat is a company. They make money, just like Apple. They’re not working for the people, they’re working for their own, just like Apple.They’re not evil, just like Apple.This is just about who wins the market. How many times do I see “guys, remember, a company’s primary objective is to make money”, yet everyone forgets it the next second.Why do you think RedHat and Suse gets stuff like EAL4+ ? Because they will be the only one able to sell this. centos will not be certified (it cost 50 000E +), gouvernment will buy from RedHat.And so on. 2005-11-14 11:27 pm rayinerI’m sure Apple did this as a strategic move, but I don’t think RedHat did. Why? Not because I think RedHat is a nicer company than Apple (though I do), but simply because there is no way for RedHat to make money of this “market”. RedHat’s whole business model revolves around selling expensive support contracts to corporations. The very fact that their product is freely re-distributable means that this is the only way they can make money off it. RedHat is never going to be able to sell support contracts to people who buy computers for $100. The “market” in question here is no place for them. 2005-11-14 11:51 pm theGrumpif apple offered to release their entire OS under OSI-compliant licensing then maybe they would have been selected. and yes WE KNOW darwin is open, i said the ENTIRE OS. 2005-11-15 4:15 am somebodyThe one missing the point here is you.It is not questioning commercial. Question is about open source or not.You only have partial sources for OSX and nothing else. Redhat opensources everything. Look at CentOS for example. Exact clone without RH logos. Now try to make OSS clone of OSX. You can’t.Secondary certification costs. Netscape directory server costed. GFS from Sistina was another cost again. CentOS will be able to provide compiled RH source RPMS. And as such you can be sure that CentOS is certified. But if you need it on paper, well, there’s RH. 2005-11-15 12:57 am BlackJack75Hm, considering the normal OSX layer would be too heavy anyway, maybe they had plans for Darwin+a different GFX layer somehow based on OSX/ Quartz but lighter. Now, for Apple to release it as open-source I guess we can wait a few centuries. 2005-11-15 7:23 am RenatoRamThink about it:Darwin + another graphic layer + another guiThat’s:*nix kernel + xorg or framebuffer + gnome/kde/qtopia/gpe/whateverWhat would differentiate Darwin from linux? 2005-11-15 1:29 am markpeakI live in Thailand, one country of this project. From my source (I work for government IT organization), MS is offering Windows & Office in incredible price! I don’t know the policy that each country government can change laptop specification differ from MIT spec but we are trying hard to include OpenOffice.org with them. 2005-11-15 3:34 am siliconWell I seriously doubt whether those $100 laptops would be able to use Mac OS X to its full. I think they would get something lightweight and open-source for it. I guess they do their best to make it functional. Then it will be a laptop for the masses. 2005-11-15 5:14 am MaciekWith this move, Apple is beginning to offer licenses for Mac OS to run on non-Apple systems. I will bet a shiny quarter that with the official release of Intel-based Mac OS next year, we’ll see the same maneuvers towards larger players such as Dell. 2005-11-15 8:20 am CrazyDude0You are a moron and a lame zealot who come up with lame arguments to prove your point.People want usability..they don’t want to configure their own machines to fit sub quality OS with 100s of confusing distributions called linux…You are a Chutia 2005-11-15 8:22 am KrocWho are these “people” of which you speak?I started computers at the age of 7 using a Commodore 64 programming BASIC and ASM (Yes ASM!). Kids are sponges and even the intracies of Linux can be learnt. Plus this will help build nations of OSS users, supporters and/or contributors. 2005-11-15 8:39 am rayinerIs there a logical argument anywhere in your mindless little rant?Plus, I’m lame zealot with lame arguments? This coming from a guy with a -0.8 average comment score? 2005-11-16 10:07 pm 1.) I don’t really expect that these machines, especially in far off places, will get upgraded much, so arguments about upgrades are probably stupid. I would design these things to be rock-solid-stable and with the expectation that they’ll be out there for a very long time.2.) I would be VERY surprised if the engineers at Red Hat couldn’t design something that supported all the hardware these machines are going to have installed. Yeah, someone’s probably gonna make periphreals, but that’s something for the manufacturer to deal with.3.) Likewise, while I’m sure the command line will be in there somewhere I highly doubt people will have to use it.4.) I think the lock-in more refers to the Media Lab people who want to customize the software to meet their hardware and specifications and language localizations, NOT lockin for their users. Besides, didn’t the lead guy announce, after meeting with Mr. Gates, that it would be able to run Windows?