RH recommends using Windows? plus a Question!

Noah Silva [Mailing list] nsilva-list at aoi.atari-source.com
Tue Nov 4 19:01:02 UTC 2003

> My parents have a Mac running Max OS X 10.2. They love it, they never
> have a problem doing what they need to do on the computer... and it's
> based on BSD!!! And BSD is not really that much different from Linux. I
> cannot for the foreseeable future see myself installing Red Hat (or any
> other Linux for that matter) for any of my family members or friends as
> they are all at about the same level of computer knowledge. Some of them
> use Windows and some use Mac's and they are all happy as they can do
> everything they need to do with a minimum amount of hassle. My sister
> went out the other day and bought a Web Cam, brought it home and plugged
> it into her XP box and tada, it just worked. I didn't even have to go
> over to install anything for her.

And think about this:  Only some hardware will work in 2000 or XP
*without* installing drivers.  In fact, it seems to me that more things
"just work" in redhat than in windows 2000.  If you do have to install a
driver, that's usually easier in W2k than linux though.

But since you mention Mac.  Mac doesn't support _near_ the range of
hardware as windows does, but people know what to buy.  It's very clear
when something supports it.  If it doesn't say it does.. it might, it
might not.  We all know that most USB keyboards and mice will work with
windows, mac, or linux... but a Mac user will buy a keyboard that says
"Mac OS X" on the box, or an iSight, because they know it will work.

We can't expect all of the vendors to run out tomorrow and start stamping
"Works in linux!" on the box, but someone could at least provide a
centralized resource to find out what does and doean't work out of the box
in linux.

I think that attempting to support all current mac perhiperals would be a
good start.  the number is smaller, the products are mostly USB and
firewire, and they already work in a unix based OS.  It would be very
powerful to say "anything that works in Mac OS X works with Linux".  Apple
also has already been "nice" to the OSS niche, releasing sources and all.

> Finally I have a question... with the amount of Open Source developers
> on the planet, why has there not been a desktop Linux distro developed
> yet that equals or even surpasses Mac OS X in user friendliness,

Because "user friendliness" is an opinion, and developers see things
differently than end users.  The people working at apple... well I dont'
think the coders make the design decisions a lot of the time, "usability
experts" and graphics artists make a lot of decisions.  This is a much
more recent thing in the OSS world.  Until recently, the more options and
switches it had, the cooler it was.

> hardware support and software compatibility. I am sure that it is not
> due to a lack of developers. Sure, Apple has lots of developers that are
> being paid full-time, but I am sure that there are many times those
> developers working part-time on Linux. So even if Apple has 10,000 (just
> a guess) full time paid developers working on OS X, if there are 100,000
> (again just a guess) part-time hobby developers working on Linux... why
> hasn't Linux equaled or surpassed Mac OS X yet?

As far as hardware, apple can find something that's compatible, and the
hardware vendor will gladly add the apple logo to the box.  If apple can't
find something compatible, they can twist arms to have compatibility
added, and finally, sometimes they just design something themselves, then
they get a cut of the hardware business.  Hobbiest developers, no matter
how smart, can't go to Logitech and say "We demand the next QuickCam
support linux!", they'll get laughed at.  If you were working at logitech,
you'd laugh at them too.  If you were nice, you would give out the specs
to make it work... but not everyone sees the value in that .. yet.

But it's starting to happen on the server side already.  With more
companies starting to use linux on the desktop, it's only a matter of
time.  When companies, Novell, redhat, and IBM are nagging logitech and
others.. there will be a very quick change of attitude.  When giving up
the specs to your web cam means thousands or more in sales, it's an easy
trade-off.  (and wait until they realize that theywon't always have to
keep up with OS releases on their own anymore!)

   -- noah silva

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