As Apple and Intel Get in Bed to Create a New Apple Intel Machine, is Linux Left Out in the Cold?

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Much has been made of the recent announcement that Apple is going to start using Intel CPUs. For the most part people think that this is either pretty cool, or no big deal, depending on where you sit.

Many people seem to think that, particularly with the advent of the new Mac Mini, this may cause more people who were previously staunch Windows users to consider moving over to Apple. The thinking goes like this: the Mac Mini is a box much like the boxes which Windows people are used to buying – you buy a box, and you add on your own monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer. And it’s priced to compete with Windows boxes.

Now in addition to familiarity of form, there is familiarity of name. Windows users will get not only the same familiar form factor, but the name Intel inside.


Others think that this whole thing is a tempest in a teapot, and no big deal.

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As Apple and Intel Get in Bed to Create a New Apple Intel Machine, is Linux Left Out in the Cold?

However, there are a few people who see neither – instead what they see is a possible death knell for the Linux desktop.

While the arguments to this end are a bit unfocused, the main gist seems to be that up until now Macs were a very minority player in the fight for desktop mindshare – and so while Windows was the clear winner there, Linux still had a stake in the game. Now with the potential for Mac to become a genuinely viable alternative in the desktop market, using the Intel processor, the Linux desktop may not stand a fighting chance.


I don’t buy it. The people who were likely to turn to Linux will still understand why they should consider turning to Linux. Those who don’t now still won’t.

There are some hardware issues which this move by Apple to Intel inside may make more difficult for Linux, but overall Aunty thinks that this is another tempest in the same teapot.

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As Apple and Intel Get in Bed to Create a New Apple Intel Machine, is Linux Left Out in the Cold?

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4 Replies to “As Apple and Intel Get in Bed to Create a New Apple Intel Machine, is Linux Left Out in the Cold?”

  1. As I said, they aren’t admitting to planning to make it possible to install Mac OS on a Dell, HP, or some random PC slapped together out of spare parts.

    After Jobs’ presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller addressed the issue of running Windows on Macs, saying there are no plans to sell or support Windows on an Intel-based Mac. “That doesn’t preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will,” he said. “We won’t do anything to preclude that.”

    However, Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers’ hardware. “We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac,” he said. [emphasis added]

    Source: CNET: Apple throws the switch, aligns with Intel.

  2. Kelson states that Apple isn’t planning on letting OS X run on commodity PCs. This appears incorrect. I can only point to the x86 releases of Darwin and OpenDarwin going back as far as 2003.

  3. I don’t buy it either. I heard a lot of the same arguments back when Mac OS X came out. Finally, a user-friendly Unix! Who will want to bother with Linux now? The thing is, people use Linux for lots of reasons, and the fact that it’s a Unix variant that runs on x86 hardware is only one of them.

    Add in the fact that Apple doesn’t plan (or at least doesn’t admit to planning) to let OS X run on commodity PCs, you’ll still need to buy an actual Mac, not just a beige box and a copy of Mac OS. Until the hardware is completely interchangeable, I wouldn’t expect the common processor to make much difference.

    Aside from the potential for emulating Windows on Mac, it will probably matter more that the CPU is different from the one in older Macs than that it is the same as in Windows PCs.

  4. …and until there’s an end-user-friendly UI on top of Linux — one which doesn’t look & feel exactly like Windows, but with different bugs — the whole Linux desktop discussion is immaterial anyway. The open source community is good at a lot of things, but funding deep user interaction research isn’t one of them.

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