Apple Needs to Make OS X Open-Source

 
 
By John Dvorak  |  Posted 2006-04-20 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opinion: Clouds are looming if the company doesn't do so. (PCMag.com)

A cloud is rising over Mac OS X and its future unless Apple makes its boldest move ever: turning OS X into an open-source project. That would make the battle between OS X and Linux the most interesting one on the computer scene.
With all attention turned in that direction, there would be nothing Microsoft could do to stem a reversal of its fortunes.

Lets start at the beginning. Theres been a lot of fuss over Apples rollout of the unsupported Boot Camp product, which lets Mac users run Microsoft Windows easily on an Intel-based Macintosh. I got into various levels of trouble when I suggested that Apple was going to gravitate toward Windows since it would be easy to do and there was some evidence that the company might want to do it.

Some people saw this prediction as somewhat contradictory, because Ive also been advocating that Mac OS X be ported to all PCs and become an alternative OS for the rest of us on our standard systems.
Getting OS X onto PCs might be even more doable today, since researchers are reporting that as many as half of the business-owned PCs in operation now may not be capable of running Microsoft Vista. It seems like an ideal time to roll OS X over to the PC.

So whats actually happening? Well, heres what I think is going on, and also what I think should be going on. Lets start with whats going on.

The Boot Camp product is pure test marketing. Its so obviously test marketing that its hard to believe that people are foolish enough to get worked up about it. You watch a test-marketing scheme to see the results. You use the results to make predictions. We do not have enough results yet to determine whats going to happen next. The test-marketing scheme is likely to be carefully orchestrated and segmented as follows:

Step 1: Testing for level of interest. Will this initiative of running Windows on a Mac increase or reduce computer hardware sales in any noticeable way among the hacker nerds who bother to go through the process? Will this translate to a broader acceptance?

Step 2: Determining functionality without risk. Does Windows works well on Mac hardware, or not? The idea here is to put it into the wild and see what happens in a support-free environment where Apple has no responsibility to help make it work.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: Apple Needs to Make OS X Open-Source Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.
 
 
 
 

John C. Dvorak is a contributing editor of PC Magazine, for which he has been writing two columns, including the popular Inside Track, since 1986. Dvorak has won eight national awards from the Computer Press Association, including Best Columnist and Best Column. Dvorak's work appears in several magazines and newspapers, including Boardwatch, Computer Shopper, and MicroTimes. He is the author of several books on computing including the popular Dvorak's Guide to Telecommunications. His radio show, 'Real Computing,' can be heard on National Public Radio. He is also the host of TechTV's 'Silicon Spin.'

For more on John C. Dvorak, go to www.dvorak.org.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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