Apple v GNU/Linux

It never ceases to amaze me the forms that FUD takes. Look what just popped up, FUD about GNU/Linux even being in M$’s league. Now folks are writing that GNU/Linux is not even in Apple’s league on the desktop…

“But one thing’s for sure: OS X has been more successful than Linux, the open source operating system that has found a home on data-center servers but is still a rarity on desktops and laptops. Linux may have seen a surge last year, but it still hasn’t seen the sort of growth OS X has, nor the growth that Linux supporters have long hoped for.”

via How Apple killed the Linux desktop – CNN.com.

One sure way to cut through FUD is too look at SEC filings for Apple:

Year MacOS Units Shipped (millions)
2007 7.0
2008 9.7
2009 10.4
2010 13.6
2011 16.7

About 360 million desktop and notebook PCs ship annually so Apple is shipping around 4.6%. That’s decent, but has it anything to do with GNU/Linux sales/units shipped or installations? No. Apple is selling MacOS into a completely different market. They only have a few stores in China and those are mostly selling smart phones and tablets. Dell is selling Ubuntu GNU/Linux PCs in hundreds of stores in China. Apple’s gross margin was 40% while OEMs of PCs have typically ~10% margin. GNU/Linux thrives on small cheap computers.

TFA does not even mention GNU/Linux share but the assumption is they think the old lie of ~1% is truth. It’s not. It may have been true when that other OS was reaching its peak but then we had waves of malware, prices of PCs plummeted, and Vista, all of which made markets sensitive to price adopt GNU/Linux. That’s most of the emerging markets which are larger than established markets where Apple plays. Some of the largest countries of the emerging markets for PCs actively promote GNU/Linux, not MacOS. Heard of huge migrations to GNU/Linux? Yes. Heard of huge migrations to MacOS? No. Walmart.com.br‘s best-selling PC runs GNU/Linux.

No. GNU/Linux on the desktop is thriving. MacOS is catching up if anything. GNU/Linux is used everywhere from US military to Hollywood on desktops and servers. MacOS? Not so much. The main reason? Cost. You cannot legally run MacOS on COTS PCs. GNU/Linux will run anywhere for ~$0. MacOS comes with the baggage of a single-source supplier of hardware. MacOS does have the solid underpinning of a UNIX OS but so does GNU/Linux.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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7 Responses to Apple v GNU/Linux

  1. kozmcrae says:

    “Mr. Kozbear, but then I suppose you have a better way?”

    No. I’d ask you like I did.

  2. Clarence Moon says:

    How do you measure that?

    A simpleton such as myself would just multiply the number of shares issued by the price per share, Mr. Kozbear, but then I suppose you have a better way?

    I saw this and was somehow reminded of you!

  3. dougman says:

    Everybody knows Macs don’t suffer from malware, so how come the Flashback Trojan managed to infect half a million Macs? Hmmmmm…

    That doesn’t mean they’re wrong about Macs. Malware writers aren’t stupid, but they are efficient: they’ll only bother attacking a platform if it’s worth the effort.

    When Macs were a minority choice, they weren’t. Now everybody you know has bought one, they are. The more Macs Apple sells, the more tempting a target those Macs become as the users have the bucks.

    If anything, Apple users might be more vulnerable than Windows ones. Windows users have had the security message pummelled into them for years, but I know lots of recent Mac converts who bought Apple because Macs don’t get viruses. That’s dangerous, because that kind of thinking makes people go, Ooh, an iTunes update from a website I’ve never heard of! I’ll install it right now!

    There’s a second factor here. Because Mac malware is a relatively rare thing, Apple hasn’t had to be as fast at fixing things as Microsoft has had to. That means its response to issues can be painfully slow, and Flashback is the result of that: it infected Macs but not PCs running Windows or Linux, because the Java update it exploited had already been patched on those platforms. Apple took an extra two months to get round to it.

    Apple has since given Oracle the responsibility for Java on OS X, but you can be sure of two things: malware writers will find something else on OS X to attack, and when they do, Apple will probably take too long to react. That has to change!

    Oracle has moved Java to a quarterly patch cycle, and its next security update is not scheduled until October. 🙁

  4. kozmcrae says:

    Clarence Moon wrote:

    “Apple has reached the point where it is the largest company in market capitalization in the world.”

    And Linux is the largest company in the World… Oh wait, … Linux has the biggest stock… No, What’s that thing, market capitalization? How do you measure that?

    You see the problem here Clarence? Of course you don’t. That’s because you’re a Cult of Microsoft dolt. You needn’t worry about that. There are people at Apple and Microsoft that do know how to measure Linux growth. That’s why they’re trying to kill it.

  5. Clarence Moon says:

    they think the old lie of ~1% is truth…No. GNU/Linux on the desktop is thriving

    Point of fact, Mr. Pogson, it is not thriving at all. Apple has reached the point where it is the largest company in market capitalization in the world. Saying that Linux is sold in some back alley open air marketplace stores in China does not show that it is equal to that.

    Heard of huge migrations to MacOS?

    One thing that I have noticed is that just about every laptop PC sitting on a TV news commentator’s desk these days is a Mac Airbook. Maybe you had the Eskimos switching right and left, but Apple is getting their logo out to more visible places! That’s what it takes to play in the big leagues.

  6. Agent_Smith says:

    Oh, well, coming from Miguelito, what would you expect ?

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