Could Dvorak be right, and the Mac move hurt Linux?

Summary:The Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD. Windows offers a lot of services for Unix. In a way we're all Linux now, and all that's left to argue about are the terms of the world's surrender.

Dvorak
In his latest Marketwatch column (no link -- registration only) John Dvorak predicts Apple's move to Intel chips will hurt -- Linux.

It's not as crazy as it sounds. Software vendors play a market share game. That is, they look to support products with market share. Right now Apple has a miniscule market share, and Linux is poised to engineer some success on the desktop. If Apple's move to Intel raises its market share that might be at the expense of Linux. Cogito ergo penguin.

Well, yes and no.

Let's give the devil his due first. There are some folks now working on Linux stuff who would rather be making money. They're the ones who complain loudest about the GPL obligation to share their enhancements with the community, who rail about their costs and, after a few beers, spread the FUD about Linux not having a business model. They're only here because they're afraid Microsoft will engulf-and-devour their next Big Idea, which they haven't had yet but are certain to get if they can righteously dream of owning a football team after the Big Score.

I can easily see these folks moving to Mac development. More beer for the rest of us, I say.

But look people. The Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD. Windows offers a lot of services for Unix. In a way we're all Linux now, and all that's left to argue about are the terms of the world's surrender.

Should the Macintosh pull in more desktop market share, however, that's coming from Windows. Should Macintosh pull in some server share that might come from Linux, but I expect to see pigs fly before I see any Linux servers hot-swapped for Macs.

Besides all this is theoretical, it's entertainment, it's speculation. An Intel-based Mac is still a Mac. The full transition is still two years away. A lot can happen in two years.

But at least now the game's afoot. And we have a little something to talk about.

Topics: Operating Systems

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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