Mac, Linux or both?

Mac, Linux or both?

Summary: The other day I posted a poll which asked "If you were to ditch Windows, would you go to Linux or Mac?" The results of that poll are, I think, very interesting.


The other day I posted a poll which asked "If you were to ditch Windows, would you go to Linux or Mac?"  The results of that poll are, I think, very interesting.

Out of just under 3,000 respondents, 46% indicated a preference for Linux in the event of them abandoning Windows while 43% indicated a preference for Mac.  But what's really interesting is the 11% who state that they'd switch to an environment where there was a mixture of the two operating systems.  What's interesting about this is that it means that there's a growing interesting in the adoption of a more agnostic approach to operating systems.

The numbers also fit in with the trend that I'm seeing.  If you look at the broad picture it's easy to think that pretty much every computer sold comes with Windows pre-installed.  Worldwide, the numbers of PC sold last quarter was about 60 million while Mac squeezed out 1.75 million.  Cut that another way and you have a worldwide sales market share of about 97% for the PC and about 3% for Mac (Mac sales are higher in the US but this is to be expected given the overall level of affluence).  Linux is virtually impossible to represent in these numbers. 

However, if you look at the fringes of these numbers there's some interesting dynamics at play.  First off, there are distinct segments of buyers.  Those with a basic working knowledge of Windows are migrating to Mac because they perceive it as being simpler than Windows.  Those migrating to Linux seem to be the ones who have a really good working knowledge of Windows (and computing in general).  But what that 11% who are interested in a mixed environment suggests to me is that there's a growing segment of users who realize that an operating system isn't a "one size fits all" thing.  Users with multiple PCs at home (or maybe a home office or small office) are starting to think about customizing the operating system to meet the specific needs of the system.  An era where people choose and customize their systems for specific tasks will be an exciting one, and one that becomes possible as more people have more than one PC.


Topics: Linux, Apple, Hardware, Open Source, Windows

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  • I don't understand the excitement

    I have several PCs at home, more than I can remember.

    Each one has a different purpose. Some are file servers, some are gaming rigs. Some are Media Players.

    I have 2 Macs, a Couple Linux boxes, mostly Windows Machines. I plan on getting rid of a laptop only so I can replace it with another Windows gaming machine, only to sell it and get a Mac Book.

    Nothing big, just something I like doing. But I can't say leaving Windows just to go to one OS. I want to do it all, so multiple OSes may be needed.
    • You're blind to the problem...

      ... because, as Adrian says, you have enough PC knowledge to be comfortable in any OS.

      I'd like to play the piano and I'm amazed by people who can. They don't understand what the problem is. Some years ago, I learned to fly and lots of people tell *me* that they'd like to do it but they could never manage. Why not? I did.

      When you have a skill or talent it is hard to see what troubles others who lack that skill. People are, in general, becoming more used to computers and more experienced with them and as they get more comfortable that "worry" factor decreases and they are willing to try new things - like OSX and Linux.

      It is an inevitable progression, but there will always be a massive core of those who can't cope or who, like my piano ambitions, simply lack the time or commitment. That core of people will stay on the most common distro of the lot - Windows.

      It's a sort of Darwinian evolution.
      • I don't think it's a lack of inherent ability

        so much as a lack of confidence. Admittedly, this is something that is exacerbated by certain Linux zealots who constantly talk down to people who lack that confidence.
        Michael Kelly
        • I agree

          If I bothered to make the effort that I put into learning to fly into the piano, then I'm sure I could learn to play, but there is only so much time and we all have to make choices.

          As people get more confident with PCs then they will try new things.
          • It isn't the flying that's hard

            to learn - it's the weather and the navigation!

            Though I suppose the 'unusual attitudes' training has its moments.... :)

            As for the piano - it's easy too (as far as keyboarding can take you) but the expression, the feeling, the fine points are a whole other story....( I was too mechanical as a kid - dropped it).
        • Rather than a lack of confidence...

          I'd say it may be more like a lack of interest.

          There are an awful lot of people who just want to turn on their computers, and
          then just use them. My wife uses Word, Excel and Outlook. She has no desire to
          deal with configuring her machine. I'll bet she's not the only one like that.
          • Well you illustrate another issue

            Which is the FUD issue, which only adds to their lack of confidence. Linux users do not spend any more time configuring their computers than Windows users.
            Michael Kelly
          • Bad comparison.

            I know a lot of Windows users who are always fiddling with their machines.

            My wife's office pays a guy specifically to fiddle with the computers. She, like most
            people, just wants to use the damn thing.

            I'm sure if you could sit someone in front of any computer, and they'd be OK most
            of the time. But when things go wrong, as they invariably do....
      • More like the Descent of Man

        When we allow the weakest to survive and thrive, we are curbing natural selection and de-evolving.

        Then again, Microsoft has came along way and has adapted to the changing world. So really, all OSes belong, just some have a ways to go.

        As for people, those who are afraid of change are usually the first ones killed off. This society allows those who are normally wiped out to continue to reproduce.
  • I agree

    If I had to choose one, I would take the Mac so that I could have ease of use, stability, and command line tools. But, with Parallels, I can have everything I want on a Mac. That is cool.
    • Yep, Parallels and VM Ware rock

      Since I got my Mac Pro, I have been doing a lot of experimenting with many Linux distros lately...

      as well as being able to run Win2k, win, win....
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
  • disagree with that statement!

    Those with a basic working knowledge of Windows are migrating to Mac because they perceive it as being simpler than Windows.

    It's not the simplicity! but lack of malware and viruses!

    Simply, we users can concentrate on productivity, and not on maintenence!

    We had 10+ years of maintenance of Windows.. enough is enough!

    Since Mac=Unix and Linux is open source Unix

    Suggesting, Macs are for stupid or rich or both - is Stupid too!
  • Why shackle yourself with Apple's proprietary junk?

    If you want the freedom of *nix, it hardly makes sense to get the only consumer version that [b]artificially[/b] and [b]onerously[/b] ties you to the most controlling company ever created. You can fool some of the more technically ignorant out there that OSX is better than Windows because no one has bothered to publish the malware that they've written for OSX (and with [b]so[/b] many vulnerabilities, you are [b]fooling[/b] yourself if you think your Mac hasn't already been pwned). However, doing an item by item comparison of OSX vs Linux ends up looking [b]very[/b] bad for OSX. But... it does seem to be the machine of choice for the stupid rich!
    • Hmmm

      Are you aspiring to become rich and stupid?
      • Well, we already know...

        he's the latter, if not the former.
    • Please excuse NonZealot

      He has a hard time living up to his name.
    • NZ is really Bill Gates. He is. Really.

    • Your post shows little aside from personal dislikes

      Apple's PC's, I have never bought, used, nor even experienced but I do know it isn't "junk". There are other views which don't reflect your questionable convictions. To put this in a way you can understand, I look at all options, good, the bad and the very ugly.
      Microsoft's DOS and Windows OS was my choice since the 88 mhz green screens. This is no longer an option to me because I can't agree to Microsoft's license terms and conditions so this OS is no longer a choice or option. This leaves linux in whatever distro I can find that I like and can live with but I certainly wouldn't rule out Mac's notebook Pro or the G5 desktop. Why ? because I have read too many reviews, too many opinions and read too much about Mac's new Leopard OSx, not to. I still use XP but it is my last version of Windows and I'm not happy about it as I like Windows but I don't like Microsoft. I did manage to go to Apples website, did some tours, went through their Leopard OSx demos and it's apparent it's anything but junk. This is a very serious, professional OS that appears to begin where Vista left off. I agree, Mac's are proprietary, they definitely overcharge and gouge users for memory upgrades and hardware upgrades. I do understand why they work better and it's because they are proprietary, they totally control what goes in, the OS, the software and how it's all configured. HP, Compaq, Dell and many others build computers as well but they don't have the same control over everything that goes into them. This is why they have had so many issues with Vista and third party software, hardware and their drivers. None of these PC builders have the amount of control that Apple does when they build their PC's simply because they don't have their own OS, their own hardware or software. Mac's aren't cheap, they cost a lot but it's like a Ferrari, they cost a lot but there is no point in getting mad about it as you could afford one, you just don't want to spend the money. I see your point but I'm buying a new Mac with it's Leopard OSx and I will be keeping Ubuntu and Xandros on my other PC as it cost me over $ 3400 and I'll never get that money back either. We all have our choices to make and I wish you well in the ones you make.
    • You ARE a Zealot.

      You protest too strong.

      There are a lot of alpha dogs switching to Mac. Don't you read the news?
      Keep you head in the sand and you will miss what's happening around you.
  • Some thoughts & Comments.

    I agree that in general we are moving towards a more open & heterogeneous environments.
    And that Mac's can be a premier choice for a casual user and/or technophile.

    Especially if you are an enthusiast or professional and likely to have several if not many machines, systems & platforms. It may or may not be necessary but if interested, why not, find out for yourself what added benefit & value it may have to offer.

    After all then you have a system that can run practically any system.
    And the choice is still yours.

    About the Numbers...

    Looking at Apple unit sales compared to all other PC's world wide is very misleading if not out of context. Being an OEM (a very unique one) you need to compare to other OEM's, who would be their direct competition. Apple does not have that much presents outside the US, as say Dell or HPaq. Or it is like comparing NEC, Hitachi or Fujitsu computer sales in the US. Also 1.75 million units per quarter is respectable for almost any OEM.

    It also seems to me, though I could be in error, 60 million per quarter is high even for the total of all new computer sales, including Mac's, Sun & others worldwide.
    Yes those numbers are always in flux, but I do not think the 200 million per year has been breached yet. Last I heard the projection is between 175 & 185 million for '07, however I could be wrong as there could be better/newer data.

    It is also interesting to note only about 50~60% of the New Computer sales are from OEM's
    The rest are ODM, White boxes & Custom built.

    While there is no accurate way to count freely distributed community based Linux.
    Commercial Linux that comes with New (business) Systems has been well over 5% since '04
    So it is not out of line for Community Linux to be the same or even twice the size.
    Then of course there is also BSD, SUN, Ecomstation & others...

    So Why I think Windows (any & all), While definitely Dominate & in the vast majority.
    is probably closer to 80% than 90%.