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Why Apple may be the big loser in the Linux onslaught
technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology
Simple gray rule

Why Apple may be the big loser in the Linux onslaught

July 18, 1999

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1999, Al Fasoldt

The biggest loser to the onslaught of Linux might not be Microsoft after all. It might be Apple.

Microsoft has a lot at stake. There's no question about that. But until now the computer that stood as the rational alternative to a Windows PC was a Macintosh -- from Apple, of course.

That's all changed now. The obvious alternative to a Windows PC is a Linux PC. Say what you want about the Mac's ease of use and svelte design. The facts are clear: Linux PCs are much cheaper than Windows PCs to own and operate and they're far more reliable. Given the big price differences between PC hardware and Mac hardware -- Macs cost hundreds of dollars more -- this means Linux PCs are a great deal cheaper than Macs to own and operate. And they're just as reliable as Macs in normal use and probably a lot more reliable in heavy-duty use.

Add to this the huge superiority that Linux PCs have over Macs in operating-system design -- Linux is a modern multitasking system that takes firm control over everything that's going on -- and you've just written off any chance Apple might have had for a comeback.

But what about Apple's secret weapon, the new operating system called OS-X? (The "X" is a Roman numeral, so you'd better pronounce this "oh-ess-ex" or your Mac friends will laugh.) OS-X is based on the same heavy-duty approach that Linux uses, and should be much better than all other Mac operating systems. But it will have three big problems:

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