LINUX BLOG SAFARI

Real Geeks Prefer Apple?

Much of the technology world may have been at CES last week, but there was apparently still plenty of time to discuss events announced there and elsewhere on the Linux blogs.

Indeed, there’s always time to debate the merits of Linux versus other platforms, we at LinuxInsider always say, and most recently the focus on Slashdot was Apple, sparked by an article in Apple Matters titled “Apple Is Killing Linux on the Desktop.”

No fewer than 1,217 comments had been put forth in the week of discussion that ensued, spanning the spectrum in their reactions to the article’s assertion.

Good for Grandma?

“Apple might be good for a grandma or for a graphic designer, but for a programmer it’s an annoyance,” asserted gsasha.

“I love Linux, but I do believe that the article has a point and that Apple’s significant resources in (1) spending money on proprietary drivers and (2) developing software that is in some cases superior is cutting into Linux,” countered Pausanias.

Taking it even further: “I work for a very geeky company,” shot back Swampash. “Development is our bread and butter, and we’re doing it pretty well based on the past couple of annual reports and analyst forecasts.

“EVERY SINGLE ALPHA GEEK in the company has moved to using a Mac in the past 18 months. Every single one of them had to fight hard against an official ‘Windows desktops’ policy set by HR in order to get permission to use a Mac,” Swampash added.

“If you don’t like Macs, fine. But don’t say ‘programmers don’t like Macs,’ because in my recent experience programmers prefer them over every possible alternative,” he concluded.

Fear of ‘Free’

“Ironically, I think Linux sputters in the marketplace because it is a marketplace, and people are highly suspicious of ‘free’,” Slashdot blogger yagu told LinuxInsider. “I actually think if someone were to market in the mainstream a real Linux machine for real money, more people would take note and probably buy it, and they would be pleased with the results.”

The Linux Loop, meanwhile, picked up on a discussion also under way on Slashdot about news from Wednesday that Mary Lou Jepsen, former CTO at OLPC, has launched a new venture, Pixel Qi, that aims to create a US$75 laptop.

“How much does a $75 laptop from OLPC’s CTO cost?” wrote Linux Loop blogger Thomas Teisberg. “If history really does repeat itself, the answer is not $75, but $150. Frankly, it seems highly implausible that after the OLPC project failed to make a $100 laptop, the OLPC CTO thinks she can make a $75 dollar laptop.”

Competition = Good

“Ostensibly Ms. Jepsen claims this is a way to take some of the technologies patented during the OLPC effort and getting them to a more massive market thus bringing economies of scale,” yagu noted. “She claims this can both help evolution of technology in general (I agree) and benefit efforts like OLPC by bringing prices down (I also agree).”

While some appear to be raising their eyebrows at Jepsen’s timing and motives, “I welcome any and all real competition in creating new technologies,” yagu added. “In a real competitive market — still something we’re working on — competition accelerates technology.”

A new price point has already been established for a new definition of laptop directly as a result of the OLPC, Lee Felsenstein, a blogger with the Fonly Institute, told LinuxInsider. “It’s already happening elsewhere, and I don’t see why Mary Lou, who has shown herself to be a superb designer, should not go forward with it.”

Marketing Problems

OLPC’s problems stem from its marketing and implementation approach, not its hardware, Felsenstein added.

“It makes absolute sense for Mary Lou to produce a product that uses what they’ve learned and puts it out on the market in a way that’s free of the problems at OLPC,” he said. “If they don’t do it, someone else will. I’d hate to see it all be dragged down and get a bad reputation — this is the right move.”

Finally, one last item worth noting on this week’s safari is a handy list at All About Linux of some of the better Linux and Unix forums. Check it out, discuss, blog, and enjoy!

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