Mac OS X 10.5.6 is out today. Are you excited? According to all the Apple-oriented buzz, it's a much-anticipated release. It has lots of fixes and some cool enhancements but do you want to know what would sell me an Apple product?
(And it isn't a hip new release of their current proprietary OS.)
iLinux would sell me more than one Apple product. In fact, if iLinux were a reality, I would rebuke all other hardware and software in favor of it. For now, iLinux is a figment of my own imagination. I think Apple should develop it for its fleet of products from its iPod to its iPhone, to its iBook, iMac, and iWhatever. Linux runs on almost anything and iLinux could power everything Apple.
It's shocking to me that Apple would abandon its old operating system for a FreeBSD/NeXT hybrid instead of using Linux as the foundation for its next generation OS X. FreeBSD is a good operating system. It's fast, secure, and developed by some great folks but the problem is that it is too "lunatic fringe" and not mainstream enough to be widely supported like Linux is. And NeXT (NeXTstep) was pretty cool but was plagued with problems of its own and never really caught on in a big way. So, why did they make the very odd anti-establishment decision to go the way they did? Only Apple can answer that for sure.
My first guess is that they wanted to maintain the somewhat proprietary nature of their system. My other guess is that it may just be another poor decision in a long string of poor decisions that have come from the good people at Apple.
I think it's time for Apple to step back, take a good look at the Desktop operating system market, and think seriously about using Linux for their OS of choice--that is if mainstream and widespread adoption of their products is really what they're after. Otherwise, Apple is destined to be a "gadget" company that also throws away a lot of money into an OS that only they support. Seems like they've already tried that and it didn't really work out all that well for them.
So, maybe the idea of iLinux will take hold for them. It would be great for Apple, a natural fit for the already Linux-converted, and an easy switch for their current customers.
The downside? Their products would be open to massive modification, cool hacks, much buzz, and a host of supporting products, and millions of converts would flock to them. Sounds like a pretty good downside to me.
Their products would become the technological Volkswagen Beetle.
So, how about it Apple? iLinux?