Gary Beach, publisher of CIO magazine, poses an interesting question: Can Apple win new corporate desktop real estate by offering an iMac loaded with Linux? Mr. Beach thinks Apple can. In a recent editorial titled iAn Apple for the Enterprisei, Mr. Beach explains that corporate IT shops are hungry for Linux. He says:
Apple should make a special iMac model for enterprises that runs a Linux client OS. In the process, Apple would increase its share of the home market as well. Efforts to make an advanced, easy-to-use graphical user interface for Linux - most notably those made by former Apple software evangelist Andy Hertzfeld and Eazelis Guy Tribble - were ahead of their time. Eazel and its graphical file manager product called Nautilus failed because of market conditions, not product conditions. The enterprise was not ready for broad-based Linux in 1999 and 2000.
But thanks in part to the long IT spending drought, Linuxis market appeal to CIOs and the enterprise is high.
Mr. Beach believes that it would be a simple matter for Apple to offer a version of Linux for its desktop systems, saying:
Some say it would be fairly simple for Apple to get a version of Linux to run on the new iMac. The challenge remains in the graphical user interface (and all the back-office stuff like drivers, plug-and-play and networking). But it can be done.
Steve Jobs, if he is serious about making Apple into a feared technology power, should round up the old Eazel players, pay them hoards of money and announce the new iMac Linux machine at this summeris MacWorld Conference & Expo.