Home > Editorial > How Linux And The Mac Can Compete Against Windows Longhorn How Linux And The Mac Can Compete Against Windows Longhorn Submitted by Preet Halway 2003-11-17 Editorial 37 Comments “With the recent release of the initial Longhorn bits, we now need to start thinking about the competitive landscape for 2005, which is when the next version of Windows is likely to ship.” Read Enderle’s editorial/analysis at the InternetWeek. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 37 Comments 2003-11-17 8:18 pm Enderle says “The lack of a major release for Linux” (presumably referring to 2005, when Longhorn is supposedly going to be released – last I heard it had slipped to 2006, but maybe I’m wrong on that) – how does he know there won’t be a major release in 2005? Won’t that be the year that the 2.8 kernel debuts? He even admits there’s no clear roadmap for Linux, so how he gets off claiming this is anyone’s guess! It’s interesting, though, to note that the usually rabidly anti-Linux Enderle is actually starting to say something reasonable w.r.t. Linux for a change. Maybe his Microsoft pay check didn’t come through this month? 2003-11-17 8:22 pm For a supposedly “knowledgeable” analyst given to dispensing advice about Apple, it’s curious that Rob Enderle doesn’t know that “Cheetah” was the code name given to the very first version of Mac OS X 10.0. For Mr. Enderle’s benefit and education: 10.0 = Cheetah 10.1 = Puma 10.2 = Jaguar 10.3 = Panther Of course, it’s always interesting to see all the flagellating movement of so-called analysts as they compare how great vaporware that’s 2-3 years from shipping is to a real, currently-shipping product. Kinda like saying, oh yeah, so the 2004 Nissan 350Z is an awesome sports car that offer amazing bang for the buck, but Nissan doesn’t have a chance against the 2007 Ford Mustang! 2003-11-17 8:49 pm It amazes me that someone like Enderle can claim to have so much experience in the technology industry and yet have so little knowledge or sense. Just today LinuxInsider published a column of his, in which he imagines a future world of open-source software and no more innovation — http://www.linuxinsider.com/perl/story/32154.html The man is paid based on the number of hits he can get, not on the existence of any real logic in his arguments. I’m not surprised he’s working with DiDio at a Comdex panel! Do the world a favor and stop linking to this tool. Thanks. 2003-11-17 9:10 pm What exactly do we learn from Enderle here, other than “I think the Apple OS will not be competitive with Longhorn”? First, Panther is already a more competitive product than XP, and given how fast Apple releases updates to their OS, by the time Longhorn finally comes out, it will be ahead even more. Steve Jobs recently spoke to this very point “can you compete with Longhorn”… his response was illuminating… you may say he’s biased, but listen to the argument and decide for yourself. Enderle says himself that he didn’t forsee linux. Well, nobody did. Problem is, Enderle wasn’t ever able to forgive linux for so surprising him, and he’s been on a crusade against it ever since. Here’s what’s funny – all those analysts and journalists who wrote about how linux will die, and how linux in 2003 is the best it’ll ever do in the marketplace – well, they’ll all be either proven right or wrong soon enough by the facts on the ground. Once that happens, we can forever dismiss such people for being spectacularly wrong, and in the case of Enderle, for being very bitter about it. I think he’s wrong and I have no sympathy for Enderle – his career is over once he’s been shown to be wrong, because we’ll never let him live it down… not the way he behaved. 2003-11-17 9:16 pm “[H]is career is over once he’s been shown to be wrong, because we’ll never let him live it down…” Ahh, if only that were true. But these people are like cockroaches. As long as he dazzles PHBs with his buzzword bingo we’ll be suffering this clown for decades, no matter how flagrantly wrong he is. 2003-11-17 9:29 pm The one really good point he makes is “The lesson of Windows 95 is that the dominant vendor doesn’t have to be better than competing platforms, it only has to be good enough. Windows 2005 is likely to be “good enough,” with some potential advantages.” Which is how it is, Windows XP is currently “good enough” for the average Joe. 2003-11-17 9:43 pm “Which is how it is, Windows XP is currently “good enough” for the average Joe.” I don’t understand your non-sense, but XP is by *far* the best OS for Joe, without any real competition except for OSX. Against what OS your “XP is just good enough” was intended ? 2003-11-17 9:46 pm Just read :http://www.linuxinsider.com/perl/story/32154.html and must say that most of his points are right on. Dispite what every anti-Microsoft may claim, this company is responsible for most innovation than any other players in the field. I tip my hat to Apple that did a great job in that domain despite much less money. But on the OSS like Linux, were’re in deep sh*t if they ever win the OS war, innovation-wise. 2003-11-17 9:48 pm Lessee … what does Linux need to better compete? 1. More ‘industrial strength’ commercial apps 2. A universal standard for package managers. Notice I didn’t say a ‘universal package manager’ (ala apt or rpm), but a STANDARD .. like an RFC that describes how all package managers (both source and binary) should work. If the OSS crowd is so big on standards, why not come up with one for this? 3. Decide on one desktop enviroment and stick with it. People often argue that a desktop-ready Unix operating system is possible because of what Apple has done with OSX, but Apple didn’t do it with 11 window managers, 5 office suites, 10 web browsers, 20 text editors, 50 command-shells, 10,000 emacs clones, etc. How does Apple compete? Simply .. port OSX to x86 platform. That one is pretty much a no-brainer. 2003-11-17 10:19 pm To the person above who says linux doesn’t have industrial strength apps, please proceed to slap yourself. Apple will die if it doesn’t diversify away from an architecture nobody really cares about. Just like commercial Unix would have died if they didn’t adopt cheaper and popular arch.(x86, x86-64). Linux is Longhorns only competitor. Why? Because it’s a virus. It spreads fast, it’s easy to get, and it can live anywhere. From you toaster to your supercomputer, Longhorn will always meet linux’ shadow. Why do you think Mr Gates doesn’t give a damn about the Macs. They don’t consider the Macs as much of a threat as Linux is. I partially agree with the author. But I think he heavily underestimates the potential of the viral outbreak that Linux can be. How many third world countries do you see using Longhorn or MacOSX, aka tiger, in 2005-8? Ummmm…mmmm not many. 2003-11-17 10:25 pm Enderle is a tool… he likes to complain about how he gets flamed by “religious linux zealots”.im not really a zealot, nor am i religious.. but , i its obvious that enderle has no real connection to the it or os world outside of his narrow point and click world. Honestly , this guy should be selling insurance or junk bonds somewhere. 2003-11-17 10:42 pm “Apple will die if it doesn’t diversify away from an architecture nobody really cares about.” What does this mean? Another G5 sucks comment. From another professional PC guy who think they know everything about Macs and MacOSX becuase they read Battlefront on ars forum. “Linux is Longhorns only competitor. Why? Because it’s a virus. It spreads fast, it’s easy to get, and it can live anywhere.” Herpes is a virus, I don’t have it or want it. I think Linux is a little better than to be called a virus. ” How many third world countries do you see using Longhorn or MacOSX, aka tiger, in 2005-8? Ummmm…mmmm not many.” This may be the case but Longhorn and 10.5 or 10.6 is not made for third-world computing needs in mind. 2003-11-17 11:02 pm Enderle never stops harping on about his ‘industry experience’ with IBM. I think it must’ve been whiz-bang pencil pushing stuff. He hates IBM and linux, and is an MS serf. He is 100% anti-linux and anti open source, and is FUDding at an astonishing rate (either for page hits or for bonus points from MS). Just check the titles of some of his recent articles: PREVIOUSLY BY ROB ENDERLE: – In Defense Of the Microsoft Monoculture – Microsoft: Hated Because It’s Misunderstood – Reasons To Shun Open Source-ry – Linux Is Not Ready For the Enterprise 2003-11-17 11:35 pm When Linux can’t even today offer a decent ICQ clone? One that automatically updates contacts from servers for instance, a feature you could seriously expect from those who claim “Linux is so ready” 2003-11-17 11:42 pm They can’t and they won’t be able to until there is something to compete with. 2003-11-17 11:55 pm “What does this mean? Another G5 sucks comment. From another professional PC guy who think they know everything about Macs and MacOSX becuase they read Battlefront on ars forum.” I acknowledge the PowerPC architecture is, technically, more efficient than it’s x86 counterpart. You misinterpreted my statement. The G5 *doesn’t* suck. And I never said it did. IBM needs to do a lot more to promote it’s usage, preferably via Linux. At the moment, the PowerPC is just nowhere near the popularity, usage and market share of the x86/x86-64* architecture. Hence, my statement “nobody really cares about” it. It’s unfortunate, but it is true. “Herpes is a virus, I don’t have it or want it. I think Linux is a little better than to be called a virus.” I was speaking metaphorically. I further illustrated how Linux could be compared to a virus. I find it a bit amusing that you took my statements literally. “This may be the case but Longhorn and 10.5 or 10.6 is not made for third-world computing needs in mind.” Exactly, my point. Linux easily satisfies the third-world computing needs which is by far the potentially largest computing market. 2003-11-17 11:55 pm Wow… you haven’t tried Sim, Licq, Gaim or Kopete, have you? In fact, Kopete offers facilities beyond standard ICQ, like address book integration with Kontact, gathering your contacts across multiple protocols into meta-contacts, allowing you to send to your friend, no matter which service and account they decided to use today… There’s also encrypted messaging as well, message grouping and integrated IRC support. It’s really, really good and it keeps getting better. Makes IM much easier, more secure and more an integral part of your day, allowing you to use it in a more serious manner. Now that is innovation. It’s a shame that I can’t do that with ICQ’s client for Windows, isn’t it? 2003-11-17 11:58 pm In order for Apple to be competative, they should replace the Darwin Kernel with Linux. That way you can run a macintosh on a Mainframe or a 64 way datacenter. I know it would be a lot of work, but hardware vendors are barely making drivers for linux. It is too much work for Apple to continue to develop their own kernel and write all of their own drivers. The OSS community is NOT developing Darwin are they? 2003-11-18 12:05 am OK, Endele’s “lesson” for us today is “the best doesn’t always win.” “Good enough” but cheaper carries the day. OK, got that. So why won’t linux be “good enough” compared to Longhorn, with it’s lower cost and no single vender lock-in? This in a nutshell is MS’s problem. No matter what “innovations” they offer up, with anyone care (at the enterprise level)? Why should the enterprise go with a single-vender solution like windows? They didn’t want single-vender hardware, did they? NO. Why should they volunatarily choose single vender OS/office apps? 2003-11-18 12:34 am Darwin is BSDed. it is an OSS project. 2003-11-18 12:42 am @Open Source: 1) The Open Darwin Project & The GNU/Darwin Project are porting x86 drivers and are actively trying to make Darwin a good x86 OS. 2) It already runs on a 2200 processor supercomputer. @x86 Fans: 1) The x86 is dead unleass AMD can keep it alive with the AMD64 family. Intel is dropping it. 2) The P4 is the last chip in the the family. Between now and 2008 the only changes will be the clock speed. After 2008, Intel is droping the chip so please find yourself a replacement. @Apple Can’t Compete 1) No computer on the market today will run Longhorn when it’s released. And forget the cheep upgrades; Longhorn will require a new motherboard, video card, and sound card (to support DRM; the beta’s don’t have this turned on). 2) x86 is dead, so people will have to buy a new computer; we’re talking a whole new computer. Will everyone just purchase a new Intel I2 system or will they concider the Apple G6? Remember that the G5 is faster then the I2 today and the G6 should be about 4x faster then the G5 and I still haven’t seen any information coming from Intel about the I3 (they’re still trying to get the compilers working correctly on the I2). 3) Apple uses a lot of the OSS software in Mac OS X. Also, most current OSS projects have a Mac OS X group; thus, OSS software for the Mac should be easier to find. This also makes the Mac a easier to use GNU/Linux box. ie: Newbe = Mac, Pro = Linux. 2003-11-18 1:31 am “@Apple Can’t Compete 1) No computer on the market today will run Longhorn when it’s released. And forget the cheep upgrades; Longhorn will require a new motherboard, video card, and sound card (to support DRM; the beta’s don’t have this turned on). ” Bullshit, longhorn will be able to run fine on most systems today but unless you have at least a 64MB 3D card you might have to turn off the eye-candy 2003-11-18 1:33 am JoeP: where did you get that intel is dropping x86? and that the P4 is the last of the product line? and why are you comparing server chips (itanium2) to desktop chips (G5/G6)? where are you getting the info that longhorn will be completely incompatible with todays’ hardware? was that post a joke? 2003-11-18 2:12 am “I acknowledge the PowerPC architecture is, technically, more efficient than it’s x86 counterpart. You misinterpreted my statement. The G5 *doesn’t* suck. And I never said it did. IBM needs to do a lot more to promote it’s usage, preferably via Linux. At the moment, the PowerPC is just nowhere near the popularity, usage and market share of the x86/x86-64* architecture. Hence, my statement “nobody really cares about” it. It’s unfortunate, but it is true.” I think that when IBM releases their own PowerPC 970 and 980 servers they will run on PowerPC Linux. IBM does care about PowerPC in a big way. So as a platform its not irrelevant. “Exactly, my point. Linux easily satisfies the third-world computing needs which is by far the potentially largest computing market.” If your paying customers are the ones that can afford to pay for software then a lot of commercial software development will continue to be on Windows and Mac. The third world may be the largest computing market but it may also be the least lucractive. 2003-11-18 2:27 am The Rest of the World (ie, not the US) is where Linux will explode. The support of the far east (Japan, North Korea and I think China as well are working to bring open source software to their nations as the standard, and Linux figures to feature prominently) and advantages in cost over Windows (these are ESSENTIAL in countries where people don’t have $150 to spend on what for them will be “letter writing software”) will propel Linux. Then, the US will be playing catch up once the rest of the world has joined the movement towards open standards. One poster said above that Linux’ advantage is actually it’s “viral” tendencies for growth…I agree. Linux’ advantages are even more “real world” than increasing productivity or user friendliness. It actually allows people to get out from under MS’s (and, hence, the US) thumb. 2003-11-18 2:44 am “If your paying customers are the ones that can afford to pay for software then a lot of commercial software development will continue to be on Windows and Mac.” That again totally depends on usage and market share. If 3/4 of the world adopt a particular operating system, you can expect more development efforts, commercial or otherwise, towards the operating system in question. You, errorneously, seem to measure the cost of using a particular system based on how much a customer can pay for it. You overlook other costs such as, vendor lock-in, developments tools, choice of tools, choice of vendors, availability of source code, flexibility and customization of software, stability, security, maintainance cost, to mention but a few. Linux isn’t cheaper than Windows or Mac because it philosophically costs nothing. It’s cheaper for some of the reasons I mentioned above. “The third world may be the largest computing market but it may also be the least lucractive.” Wow, that goes beyond common business logic. Do you know how many businesses lobby hard to set up businesses in expanding third world countries like China and India with a population more that six times the size of the USA. Anywhere you have a population of more than billions of people, you’d be hard pressed not to find a lucrative market. Except of course, your concepts aren’t creative or innovative enough. 2003-11-18 4:49 am Rob Enderle actually wrote something worth reading. Re “Microsoft is at heart a development tools company”… I don’t know whether he came up with that line, but it is well put. 2003-11-18 5:05 am We, the Unix community and developers, simply keep on doing what we have been doing. It’s not a competition for many in the Unix and Linux communities. We simply do what we do because we enjoy it and we want the most out of our computing investment. We prefer the choice and control our own softwares give us. Many of us use multiple platforms, be it BSD, Linux, Solaris, Windows, whatever. Essentially, we don’t CARE what Microsoft is doing and we never have. We just keep on keeping on. Businesses compete. Users and programmers work together. It’s as simple as that, no matter what bolony company PR and the media try to hype. If no other company in the world supported Free/Open/NetBSD and Linux, I and many of my colleagues would still have them installed and use them. We have control of our own software, we have the source, we have the means to continue and it will stay that way no matter who tries to take that away from us. 2003-11-18 9:17 am When I read Enderle’s article denouncing Open Source-ry, I thought he was depressed and wanted to commit suicide. His latest piece shows he has definitely lost it. “With the increase in outsourcing, which Linux accelerates, this Third World preference could nicely balance Microsoft’s technical achievements worldwide.” Does he really believe Microsoft itself (for example) transfers jobs to India because of Linux ? Last time I checked, some Wall Street firms didn’t dump Windows only to save a few pennies. They were tired of seeing how crap like SoBig could seriously disrupt business. The greatest technical achievement for Microsoft would be to actually release a product that isn’t a malware carrier. Last detail : when will Microsoft “innovate” and stop hiding behind a linux proxy server out of the fear of being “blasted” away ? 2003-11-18 10:33 am I think his analisys is wrong. for me os/2 fail come from the ibm trust in microsoft and the not use of powerpc after the divorce. the apple loose of share is for 3 point 1 the home user are grown but use only pc 2 the lead without jobs 3 the fail of the copland project microsoft has grown his power and monopoly with (also) illegal pratice and misinfomatino by the media. 2003-11-18 1:27 pm Darius, what it comes down to is, you must choose. I am not convinced that for Linux/Open source, having a monolithic suite of offerings is going to make it successful. It will be interesting to see if Novell’s integration of SuSE Linux and Ximian software will be offered as a complete suite. If they do move in that direction, it may well succeed because of good marketing, but I would hope that it succeeds because it’s better software and it works for the companies that adopt it. I can’t be convinced that giving people fewer choices is better– this is why open source has made a splash. As for OS X, it’s difficult to make the TCO case with PHBs, and the world has otherwise become too accustomed to Windows. 2003-11-18 2:24 pm I like the idea of including Enderle’s name in article title, so serious readers can skip the article. I hope that this will remain the same in the future. DG 2003-11-18 2:55 pm OSwars.com? Ouch. It doesn’t look well for MS, currently. First of all, who currently cares what happens in 2006? Anything can happen! The future is uncertain. Perhaps the aliens are already here then, perhaps some countries got nuked, perhaps we’re living on Mars, perhaps a reader of this article is dead because of illness, perhaps MS headquaters gets bombed by a B52, perhaps AmigaOS4 is ready then!, perhaps […]… We’re living in NOW, which is: Tuesday 18 novembre 2003 (CET). How it looks currently is we’re in a world wide recession, which isn’t possitive for selling expensive products; therefore not possitive for the imperialists who’d like to have you chained to their expensive product. Therefore a direct money-wise war would be stupid, since people have hard times buying expensive stuff and try to spend as less as they can. On the moment that less expensive, or free (beer) products come out and compete with MS, the switch will be easy. Therefore i think end-user products like Zeta and GNU/Linux currently have chances to gain market share. The Mac is relatevely expensive, and the few rich people who buy it don’t matter much for market share. The people who matter are workers and people with midsized/small business. Now, if people could know when this recession would end, it would be easier to predict the future, however, this is very hard. The same counts for Linux kernel development. Do you already know how the functionality, stability, speed, scalability will be in 2006? Do you know this regarding GCC? Do you know this regarding DE’s and WM’s? Do you know this regarding WinFS? I tell you, if you think you are certain of this, that you know less than you think you know and predict more than you can make truth. As it currently looks like, Longhorm will be vaporware for at least 2 years. So stop bragging about it, Free software users aren’t discussing how KDE5, GNOME4, Linux 3.0 and OpenBSD 3.8 will look like either. People like the AmigaOS people do, but it doesn’t make much sense, since it is still uncertain vaporware for now. For now, Free software still exists, and it will continue for now, as autonomous as it can. If all goes well, the ”war” will be endless; like it should, because it means choice. Since i believe knowledge will in the end prevail, i put my stakes on Minerva/Athena and Hakim Bey. 2003-11-18 6:48 pm LICQ, KXICQ, GAIM, GnomeICQ… Nevermind the topic. I found some. And to tell you the truth, GAIM is siffy. I’m using it on my windows and linux boxs. 2003-11-19 2:57 am It seems most people agree that PPC can now compete and in some areas surpass the X86 architecture. A lot of people also agree that OS X can compete and in some areas suppress Windows XP. So why don’t people buy and use OS X instead of Windows XP? Most people agree the reason is because PPC cost more and is less available. So to solve this problem they suggest Apple port to X86. I disagree. I think the better solution is to go the other direction. Make affordable PPC hardware that is open and more widely available. Why port to X86 and limit hardware choice, PPC needs to compete at a X86 level in price and availability (the 64 bit area might be a fresh start). PPC has been gaining momentum (PPC is used in Apples, IBM blade servers, Gamecube, Pegasos, AmigaOne, and soon in the Playstation 2 and Xbox 2) since IBM took it forward. What needs to happen is more support for an open PPC standard, like what Pegasos, AmigaOne, and IBM are trying to support. Apple needs to open up the PPC standard and not restrict OS X to their hardware only. I would much rather see this come to fruitation rather then force everyone to go to only one architecture, which would be X86 (like people want Apple, Sun, IBM, and everyone else to go to). Personally I like choice and diversity in the market, not just in software, but CPU architectures also. The way I look at it, with a cheap Open PPC solution you could run Linux, BSD’s, OS X, Amiga, MorphOS, etc. The only one really missing is Windows. What if PPC became so popular that (because of price and availability) Microsoft offered Windows for PPC (they sort of will with the Xbox 2 and I think they said it runs already with embedded Windows)? It seems the real restriction is Microsoft not opening up their Operating System to other architectures, and Apple not opening their architecture to other Operating Systems. 2003-11-19 11:38 am Hi everybody, I think you forgot the main motor of computer (and OS) evolution : GAMES Why has Win95 worked so mauch ? Because many games were developped for it. Why Macs (despite OSX which is incredibily great) don’t get the market ? Because they lack games (or get them soooo late after the PCs) Some would say there are Windows game running under Linux. Yes but some and only under X86 (not PPC or others) and not for the average “Joe User” (it’s too dificult for him to make Wine or other to work) To have an OS realy spreading, it must have good NEW games with 3D and network support (giving the opportunity to play with PC users not like Total Annihilation Mac for exemple..) Excuse my english, I’m not use to write or speak for a long time. 2003-11-19 5:15 pm Games the main motor of computer (and OS) evolution? I would agree with this in the past, but now in day?s games main home are game consoles. In the past arcade games provided the best gaming experience. It then moved to the PC providing equal or better gaming. Now in days this has moved to game consoles. You also mentioned NEW games, 3D, and network support. Now in days, game consoles get the latest games before PC’s (Halo being an example, it just came out for the PC. Another example is Vice City). Most of the game consoles now include network connections. I just don’t see this being the main motor for a PC OS now in days. Also remember that in the future, Gamecube, Xbox 2, and the new Playstation will all use a type of PPC (from what has been going around). Most also choose ATI for graphic support. Because of this, I think in the future, games might be easier to port to a PPC OS. It won’t happen until what I said in my previous post above occurs. (PPC becomes open and cheap, at an X86 level).