Linux on a Mac is Back!! (Redux)
by Chris Rogers
February 4th, 2000

Authors Note: Hey everyone, just want to let you know that when I say UN•X I mean and of the distributions of Linux and UN•X's out there. For those keeping score at home, this is the correct version this article, originally posted in December. We are posting it again with some changes. Also I'm looking for Mac UN•X freaks that are willing to work on a new web site that I'm working on. E-Mail me if you are interested! Thanx


Ok everyone. I received some very good E-mails about my previous articles about Linux and the Macintosh Platform. Also for those of you that are "Nonbelievers" in the MacLinux way, you are going to be surprised. In fact your next Operating System (OS) just might be a Linux or UN•X OS.

Your next OS purchase just may be OS X. (BSD 4.4 is the basis for Mac OS X Server and the soon to be release client version.) For those who don't know, MacOS X and OS X Server are running on top of UN•X. Yes UN•X and Linux are arcane OSs that use command line interfaces, but that is not so with Apple's new release of Mac OS X. UN•X and Linux are not horrible OSs. The way that they work is not the way that most people would like to work with their computers. Hey! "ls -la" is not a good way to view a directory of your hard drive. It's much nicer to just have it all be there when you double click, but you have to realize that Linux is not for the average consumer. That's why companies like Apple are using their power to make it user friendly. (As if the G4s couldn't get any faster, wait till OS X is loaded onto yours... then truly you have the fastest computer in the world.)

Linux, as I have stated before, is your OS for Web servers, Network administrators, and webmasters. From that, you can probably figure out that Linux is not a wimpy system. It has to be able to send information to millions of computers daily if it's a web server, and send thousands of megabytes of data across networks. The best part is that soon, this power will come to you and your G3 or G4.

UN•X is being built into Apple's new OS. Or Apple's new OS is being built into UN•X, which ever way you want to view it. I'd just like to clarify that OS is properly pronounced "owe-ess" not "osss" (as in moss) like many people say. UN•X will add features to the Macintosh Platform you have only dreamed of. UN•X has been in the making since the beginning and has picked up some really cool things along the way that the MacOS and Windows for that matter have always missed. For example: Multitasking. This awesome feature allows the computer to perform tons of different tasks at the same time, without one hiccup. If you do this with your Mac using OS 8 or 9, you will notice that at least some of those tasks, and probably most of them, slows down a little or on some occasions, considerably.

Another great feature that UN•X will bring to the Mac is Protected Memory. This does exactly what it says, Protects your Memory. Ever had one of your applications fail, like Photoshop in the middle of your next great creation? You force quit the application [ command ] + [option] + [esc] only to find your entire computer locks up? Or maybe you are using an internet application when it suddenly freezes? Well not anymore. These will become problems of the past. Protected Memory allows each application to take it's own amount of memory and puts a small "barrier" around it. If the application fails, the rest of the system still stays intact, as if nothing ever happened. This means that you would only have to reopen the application and not reboot the entire computer. Also if the application needs more memory in the future, it will automatically add it to the amount already sent to it. Nice Huh?

The last great feature UN•X will bring to the Mac that I will talk about now is, Speed. UN•X is incredibly fast and incredibly stable. Which means that your already fast G4 Mac, will be even faster. Yes, you will still have problems reading those freaking documents because your computer scrolls too fast (the only problem with G3s and G4s in my opinion). One last thing, in OS X Server and Client, there is an application that you can open that will give you the UN•X command-line interface console. I know your thoughts, why on earth would I want that. Well UN•X has millions of applications for it now. Everything ranging from internet hosting applications, to graphic applications, and even some games. Why do you care? All of these applications are free, but you will need a command line interface to run many of them. Just think, get yourself a cable modem, connect to a server and download Quake at no charge. Neat thought huh?

For those of you still interested in my past articles on Mac Linux, I am republishing them here. Linux on a Mac, Part 1, and Linux on a Mac, Part 2

PS: Here are the links to the different versions of Linux for the Mac: and - The NetBSD port of a Unix-like system to Apple Macintosh 68k and PPC machines and - I do some development for this distribution. I'm working on getting the Mach Kernel to support larger partitions if anyone is interested.... :-) and - The one and only LinuxPPC! - TurboLinux for Intel and PPC computers - A link to Yellow Dog - Linux for PowerPC based Machines -MachTen and other Macintosh Products