Mac is Back

Get ready hombres... there's a new Unix in town, and its name is Mac OS X. Actually, if you haven't been living under a rock for the past year or so (which is something I'm sometimes accused of, by the way), then you probably already know that Apple's new Mac OS X may be all eye-candy outside, but it's mostly good ol' FreeBSD Unix under the hood.

PUBLISHER’S STATEMENT

Mac Is Back

by Adam Goodman

Get ready hombres… there’s a new Unix in town, and its name is Mac OS X. Actually, if you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year or so (which is something I’m sometimes accused of, by the way), then you probably already know that Apple’s new Mac OS X may be all eye-candy outside, but it’s mostly good ol’ FreeBSD Unix under the hood.

“Okay,” you say. “We know that already. That’s not news. Why are you telling this to us now?” Good question. Here’s the answer: for the past several months, members of our editorial team have been meeting with some of the people on Apple’s Mac OS X team, and we’ve been continually blown away by everything we’ve learned and seen.

The bottom line is this: when it comes to Open Source, Apple really “gets it.”

Everyone we’ve met with has expressed a sincere interest in getting Apple much more involved in the Open Source community. And they’re not just paying lip service; they’re hiring boatloads of people directly from the community and letting them take the reins. For example, Jordan Hubbard, formerly with the FreeBSD project, is now an Apple employee. And Apple is not exclusively hiring BSD folks, either. They’re snatching up people left and right from Linux companies that hit a dead end after the VC bubble burst. One of those is Eazel (a company that attempted to bring the Linux desktop to the mass market), which has yielded two executives for Apple in Bud Tribble and Brian Croll. Even more interesting is the fact that both Bud and Brian have worked for Sun Microsystems in the past. So it’s clear that Apple is creating a unique strain of hybrid commercial / Open Source Unix DNA within the Mac OS X team.

“This is all well and good, but what’s it got to do with Linux?” you’re asking. A lot, actually. While one could make a good case that a desktop Linux market might emerge “real soon now,” it doesn’t appear to be happening at the moment. Meanwhile, the Mac is a well-established desktop platform, and it’s now a super-fertile breeding ground for developing new Open Source projects as well. Open Source developers have been flocking to Mac OS X because it’s a great environment to work in. I’m certain that a lot of the software they’re hacking away at on Mac OS X will likely end up being deployed on a Linux box somewhere, since not many organizations are using Apple hardware for server applications.

The implications of having a standard Open Source Unix on the desktop, Linux on the server, and Open Source applications being developed and deployed on top of both are really quite staggering, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day. Don’t worry, though, you’ll be hearing a lot more from us about Mac OS X in the not-too-distant future. For now, please check out our review of Apple’s Titanium notebook running Mac OS X (pg. 10).

We’re interested in hearing your thoughts on all of this. Some questions I’ve got are: How many of you have tried Mac OS X already, or are running it right now? What has your experience with it been like, and has it changed your views on Open Source, Linux, and Unix? I’m really curious to find out. Please send me your opinion of Mac OS X or speak your mind by sending mail to editors@linux-mag.com.

See you next month,


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Adam M. Goodman


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Linux Magazine /
June 2002 / PUBLISHER’S STATEMENT
Mac Is Back





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