Thinks Mac OS X & Linux Can Work Together, Cites Windows OS Costs

We have long said at TMO that the enemy of our enemy is our friend specifically when referring to Linux. The world of Linux users has taken a mixed look at Mac OS X. Many see OS X has the cool new kid on the Unix block, while others feel that their Linux machines are in some way threatened by the new Mac OS. From our position, Linux users and Mac users share a common enemy, the world of Windows, and as such each can help the other. A new article at takes that same approach, saying that the success of Mac OS X in the corporate world will help open doors for other alternatives, such as Linux. From (page 2 of) the article:

Apple should ship almost 4 million Unix desktops this year, and each one of them represents a new opportunity for open source ideas to take root and for products like to find users. Equally importantly, each time a Mac moves into an office environment it gets harder to maintain the fiction that homogeneous (meaning all Windows) systems are cheaper or easier to run. Correspondingly, it should get easier for people to use Linux or BSD to extend the life of existing servers -- and thus better serve both their Windows and Mac user communities while reducing corporate data processing costs.


Is this happening now? While the definitive results wonit be in for a year or two, anecdotal reports seem positive. In response to my request, an editor at asked readers to comment on their observations. This produced much thoughtful comment and e-mail, much of it suggesting that some readers see changes in the behaviors of people who previously acted as if non-Windows choices simply didnit exist.

  1. Many people reported an increased cost sensitivity and willingness to listen to pro-Unix arguments both in, and beyond, the server room.
  2. Many people reported an increase in social acceptability for the Mac. Several, for example, talked about colleagues who had previously treated Windows as an absolute requirement now wanting advice on using a Mac at home or asking for help understanding the differences between Linux on the PC and Darwin/MacOS X on Apple hardware.
  3. Several people also commented that they are seeing the Windows bigots in their organizations becoming increasingly hostile and defensive while turning up the volume on such nonsense as "Macs canit be networked" or "Linux canit support Windows Clients."

Another very interesting aspect of the article is the breakdown the author did on the OS costs of servers. According to the article, Windows desktop OSes have increased in price by 500% since 1981, and Windows server OSes have increased by 655% since 1985. By comparison, hardware costs for each market have decreased by 85% and 49% respectively. More importantly, the steep increase in pricing from Big Redmond has led to OS costs being more than 50% of the total cost of the machine in some cases. For Mac OS X Server and Linux, this is not the case. Check out the tables on page 1 of the article for more information on OS pricing.

We recommend this article as a very good read.