Mac OS X promises four million new Unix users “and it’s a market full of friends with whom we should be working,” Paul Murphy writes for
, a site dedicated to “driving enterprise evolution.”
Apple’s Mac OS X systems, including the new Xserve rackmount server, run the Mac OS X layer on top of Darwin, an open source BSD variant with a MACH kernel. The success of Mac OS X could “revitalize interest in PDS technologies and such associated goodies as well as the GNUstep initiative to provide the benefits of NeXT’s development environment under Linux,” Murphy writes. The Xserve also contradicts the common wisdom that Intel boxes are always cheaper, Murphy adds.
“The desktop Mac OS X shell is a revenue generator for Apple, but Darwin is freeware and so people buying Apple’s Xserve product are not being charged separately for the OS,” he explains. “The result is a Mac server that costs about the same as a Linux server and, therefore, considerably less than a Windows server.”
What’s more, recent benchmarks by xinet show the Apple server well ahead of the Dell running Windows 2000, Murphy writes. Comparable results running Linux aren’t yet available and “the performance comparison, particularly on less obviously Mac-oriented tasks, will almost certainly be a matter of dispute for some time,” he adds.
“That Xserve demonstrates both the cost advantage of the open-source model and the network advantages of Unix to a far wider audience than we’ve ever had before,” Murphy said. “Given that the OpenOffice.org people now have the developer release of their suite running under Mac OS X, we can expect, furthermore, to see that message explode out of the server rooms and onto the desktops of people who, as a group, have had to endure a lot of social pressure against their choice of the Mac even while, or perhaps because, Microsoft struggled to catch up to the original and now obsolete, Mac OS.
Apple should ship almost four million Unix desktops this year, and each one of them represents a new opportunity for open source ideas to take root and for products like OpenOffice.org to find users, he writes.
“From a purely business-driven perspective, four million new Unix users a year is a market that’s ours to lose,” Murphy writes. “From the more personal and interesting perspective of Unix evangelism, these are the guys to have on our side because they demonstrate that computers can be used in quiet, effective ways that contribute to the organization and don’t require inordinate amounts of support. It is past time to welcome the Mac community into the general Unix and open source movements. After all, we’re all working to expand and apply the same set of ideas, with the same set of tools, and for the same personal and business reasons.”