Apple attended this week’s Linux Expo UK, the UK’s major Linux trade show, for the first time ever, telling Linux fans why they should give Mac OS X a look, according to a
ZDNet UK article. The article says the company pitched Mac OS X as “the ultimate workstation environment for developers, researchers and system administrators.”
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While Linux and Unix are popular in the areas of servers, scientific research and high-performance computing, they’re scarce in the consumer desktop arena. Though Mac OS X is based on BSD, a version of Unix, Apple has made the operating system consumer friendly with its Aqua user interface. The combination has proved appealing to many techies, with Apple laptops, in particular, beginning to make a significant showing at Linux conferences, ZDNet UK says.
At this week’s expo in London, Apple explained how many of its innovations aimed at mainstream users can also benefit those used to working with command-line consoles. For instance, Mac OS X’s Mach microkernel supports kernel extensions so the kernel doesn’t have to be recompiled in order to add new features. And since Mac OS X has Unix under its hood, it can authenticate to Unix servers and be treated as normal Unix when on a network with other Unix-based machines, ZDNet UK notes. Finally, though Aqua is the “face” of Mac OS X, the operating system lets users run X11, a windowing system popular on Unix and Linux.
An Apple representative, who wished to remain unnamed, said that since Mac OS X is aimed at consumers, it doesn’t have problems in some of the areas that Linux does, such as multimedia performance and productivity tools. Instead of having to run a separate PC for these tools, the Mac can combine the best of both worlds for Linux users, he added.
“We’re not saying that Unix is bad, but if you want productivity applications that really work, OS X delivers everything,” the Apple rep is quoted as saying. “It just works.”