Review: Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon vs. Mac OS X Leopard

Scott Granneman referees a technological cage match between Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) and Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard).

Today we have a technological cage match involving two operating systems, both UNIX- based, both mature, both with passionate detractors and even more passionate defenders, and both released just a week apart. I’m talking, of course, about Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon), with its final release on October 18, and Apple‘ s Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which was available for purchase on October 26.

The stereotype for each OS is well known: Mac OS X is elegant, easy-to-use, and intuitive, while Ubuntu is stable, secure, and getting better all the time. Both have come a long way in a short time, and both make excellent desktops. So we have two great desktop operating systems out at roughly the same time. Let’s see how they stack up against each other.

Hardware Support

Ubuntu will run on pretty much any computer with an Intel-compatible or PowerPC CPU. The distro claims that you need a bare minimum of 256MB of RAM, but expect glacial performance. In reality, you’ll want at least 512MB of RAM, with 1GB even better. You’re told to expect that the OS will take up about 4GB of space on your hard drive, which is nothing in terms of today’s ginormous hard drives. My main Kubuntu box has 756MB of RAM, with a Pentium 4 CPU, and while certain tasks can be kind of poky, overall it’s quite usable.

You can install Leopard on any computer made by Dell, HP, Lenovo, or… just kidding! You install Leopard on Apple’s boxes, or you buy a new Mac, and it comes with Leopard pre-installed. That’s it. According to Apple, you can install Leopard on any Intel-based Mac, as well as any PowerPC G5 or G4 box, as long as it has a 867 MHz or faster CPU. You’ll need at least 512MB of RAM, a DVD drive for the installation disc, and 9GB for the OS. My main Mac is a first generation MacBook Pro, with a 2 GHz Core Duo CPU and 2GB of RAM. Leopard screams on it, with the dreaded colored beachballs almost entirely a thing of the past.

The bottom line: if you have an old PC sitting around, it’s gonna run Ubuntu or Windows. No Leopard for you. If you have a Mac made within the last five or six years, you can probably run Leopard on it, as well as Ubuntu.

Installation

Most operating systems have improved their installation routines over the last few years, and this is certainly true for both Leopard and Ubuntu. In fact, both are incredibly easy to install. If you’re dual-booting with Windows, the easiest line of attack in the case of Linux is to install Ubuntu after Windows, while the opposite is true for the Mac– install Windows using Boot Camp after Leopard is completely set up.

Leopard bests Ubuntu in one area, though: multiple monitor support. It just works like it’s supposed to in Leopard, and I shuttle my laptop back and forth between a huge variety of monitors and projectors. I’ve never had an issue. Contrast that to Ubuntu, which touts its better multiple monitor support. It may be getting better, but it’s still not there yet, and I’m just glad I had my trusty xorg.conf file backed up and ready to fall back on. Both Leopard and Ubuntu are excellent when it comes to installation.


FIGURE: Configuring Graphics in Ubuntu

Ease of Use

From the usability standpoint Linux’s greatest strength, choice, is also its weakness. Ubuntu is no exception. With two major desktop environments, KDE and GNOME, that look and act much differently, along with different window managers, and with the whole shebang sitting atop X11, and Compiz if your video card supports it there’s a lot of room for variation. When it comes to apps, Ubuntu tries hard to simplify matters, but users still face an astounding array of choices.

On the one hand, this is great– you can pick the exact app and appearance that suits your needs and desires best. On the other hand, this can really confuse the heck out of users new to Linux. Not to mention, simple things like different Open and Save dialog boxes, depending upon whether you’re using a KDE or GNOME app, can prove to be annoying and deadening in terms of usability.

The Mac, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Apple has invested millions of dollars and man hours to ensure that its usability is, overall, the best in the business with a few major missteps, which I’ll cover shortly. Its look and feel is unified throughout Leopard, including even the programs that come bundled with the OS. This uniformity means that everything acts the same way– open one app’s Open or Save dialog box, for instance, and you now know how virtually every single Open or Save dialog box will work. Grok the unified menubar, and you just absorbed how every Mac app works.

The problem comes if you don’t like the way Apple decided to do something. Too bad, bud. It’s Apple’s way or the highway. Case in point: the new translucent menu bar. It’s awful. Someone inside Apple thinks it’s a great idea, though, so that’s what we get. But here’s the kicker: there’s no exposed way to turn off the translucency and go back to an opaque menu bar. Three weeks after Leopard’s release someone figured out how to change the opacity of the menu bar by using an arcane command in the terminal. So while there are usually ways to” fix” things the way you’d like them, don’t always expect Apple to make it easy to do so. It’s a good thing that the majority of Apple’s UI decisions are excellent, thoughtful choices that make the Mac a productive joy to use.

But not always. For instance, Leopard introduced a new, reflective Dock that many people find ugly. Again, after some searching, users figured out a command that gets rid of the ugly and goes back to an easier-to-view 2D look. Or take Stacks. In previous versions of Mac OS X, you could drag a folder to the Dock and then right-click on it to access a hierarchical menu of the folder’s contents. In Leopard, that isn’t even an option. Apple instead calls folders on your Dock Stacks. Right-clicking on a Stack produces a contextual menu instead of the contents of the folder; to view the folder’s contents, left-click on the folder.

However, left-clicking shows you the contents either as a fan that leans to the right or a grid of about 30 or so items. More than that, and you have to open the Finder, thus negating the whole point of clicking on the Stack in the first place. Once again, users have solved the problem with third-party apps that restore pre-Leopard functionality. It’s just too bad that Apple doesn’t give users more options in cases like these.

But, keep in mind, the fact that I’m reduced to complaining about the opacity of a menubar and related items should tell you how good the Mac UI really is.

However, I’m not going to let Ubuntu get off scott free. It still needs to fix many ease of use issues. The difference is, however, that since Ubuntu is open source, it’s usually a bit easier to fix the problems. Usually, but not always. Let’s talk specifics.

One problem that affects both KDE and GNOME has to do with how programs are launched. Ubuntu uses the default GNOME and KDE menus to start programs, access control panel applets, and manage other system functions. These don’t seem too bad until you check out what openSUSE has done to the K menu and the GNOME panels. The openSUSE K menu offers five tabs– Favorites, Applications, Computer, History, and Leave– that logically divide the functions one would want from a computer’s” Start” menu. In the case of GNOME, openSUSE does away with the confusing mish-mash of a top and bottom panel (Really, does any new user see the logic in that? Does any advanced user?) for a unified bottom panel, with a single Computer menu that provides access to Applications, Documents, and Places. This is far more logical, usable, and daring than the alternatives, and Ubuntu should be willing to adopt such measures when it makes sense, and lead by coming up with its own innovative ideas when necessary.

Kubuntu has its own share of UI disasters, most of them due to rushing things into the distro while they’re only half-baked. Not nearly powerful enough for experienced users (where are the tabs?), and too buggy for newbies, the Dolphin File Manager is simply not ready for prime time, and is currently a mess that needs some serious attention before its proper unveiling in KDE 4. Desktop Search is a necessity in today’s operating systems, and no incarnation in any Linux distro has yet to match the power, speed, and accuracy of Spotlight as it is now seen in Leopard. Seen in that light, the Strigi Desktop Search found in Kubuntu is just an ineffective toy. One day it might be ready, but it’s not now, and it should never have been added to Gutsy Gibbon.

Tracker, found in Ubuntu, is much better, and is good enough to use on a day-to-day basis. Additional functionality is needed- sort results by date, for instance- but overall it’s usable and accurate.

Linux has come a long way when it comes to ease of use, and it’s definitely getting better all the time, but overall Leopard is still ahead of Ubuntu (and both are way ahead of Vista). Apple makes mistakes, but overall its system is more logical, simple, consistent, and unified than Ubuntu, which still has too many elements that are overly complex, inconsistent, and fractured.

Applications

Of course, what people really like to look at– and play with– are the applications that come with an operating system. Let me say again, both Leopard and Ubuntu blow Vista away when it comes to the default programs they each provide. Let’s split things up into the kinds of programs the LM audience looks for in an OS, and see what Leopard and Ubuntu each provides. This is a general list, so don’t look for the obscure program that you and ten other people use. We’re talking general nerd usage here.

File management. GNOME uses Nautilus, KDE uses Dolphin (although Konqueror still works), and Leopard uses the Finder. Nautilus has gotten better over the years, and Ubuntu stripped out the ridiculous spatial defaults, so it’s actually quite usable for managing files. I’ve already complained about Dolphin, but at least Konqueror is still available. Konqueror provides a maximum set of features, and does the job beautifully. Its KIO support for an immense variety of protocols is nothing short of astounding, so you can browse all kinds of remote filesystems with Konq.

Leopard’s Finder works well, and while the NeXT-based column views are extremely useful, the new Cover Flow views that let you slide through previews of your pictures, text files, and movies is something that will make you wonder how you lived without it. But the lack of tabs means that I’m often left wishing that Konqueror was available for Leopard.

Comments on "Review: Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon vs. Mac OS X Leopard"

heksys

Really What is so special about Ubuntu, WHAt?. I have a few costumers that wanted to try Linux because they have heard of it online or at the store where they bought there computer. Since they know that I run Linux on my systems they ask me about it and if I can help them installing it. First question is which is better Ubuntu, Opensuse or fedora. For this what I do is that I install the one they have heard of first, which is Ubuntu, then after they have been playing with it for a week I let them my laptop(IBM T20 with a pentium 3 and 384 of memory) “in both cases there is no compiz active” running fedodra 7 GNOME on the desktop then after a day or to I let them play with my other laptop (HP pavillion, pentium 3 and 256 of memory) running Opensuse KDE and GNOME. All of them want me to install Opensuse on it because of this reasons: It looks and feels way more organize and it looks different even dough is the same GNOME gui and they can find things better and faster plus everything they try to run on it just works. Now on those systems that have good graphics I activate the compiz-fusion and thats when they go bananas, they dont want to look back. My point is that even dough Ubuntu is an advance OS and is making a big difference with potential users, is still the same desktop over and over again the only thing is the background color. No this is not coming from me, is actually coming from this want to be Linux users that really wants to change over, that said, have you guys or will you guys give and compare other Linux distros that are as ready as Ubuntu (or even more ready) a chance too!

Reply
rambotribble

You have done a very good job of comparing the strengths and weakness of these offerings, but your account has demonstrated one of the problems with trying to pin Linux down: There is such a range of choices it’s all but impossible to keep track of them.

Specifically, I’d draw your attention to Tasty Menu, a Kmenu alternative of substantial merit. It can be found on the KDE site. Another product worth mention is Mythbuntu, a Ubuntu variant which eases creating a K/Ubuntu installation with MythTV enabled.

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stevecrozz

Apples and oranges. Nice try, but this side-by-side comparison just doesn’t work because Apple supports only its own hardware.

Calling Ubuntu and OSX unix-based is probably a bit of a stretch because Ubuntu is Debian GNU/Linux based and as we all know “GNU’s Not Unix”, Apple is BSD-based and BSD is Unix-based so you could say (and Apple loves to say it) that OSX is Unix-based, but that’s taking it all the way back to the dark ages of 1970. This is why its become more appropriate to call these operating systems “Unix-like”.

And what’s this baloney about glacial performance on ubuntu with 256 MiB of ram? My Ubuntu PC has 128 MiB of ram and it performs just fine, well alright it is a little sluggish but not bad (no compiz obviously).

Also, you forgot to mention the single most important aspect of Ubuntu. It’s hard to imagine how you could miss it. Of course I’m talking about the community. With an Apple computer you might feel like you part of some elite community, but with GNU/Linux you actually are. I had a problem with my Evolution mail client the other day so I reported the bug, talked with the developer responsible for that section of problem code, followed the progress of the bug on bugzilla, compiled the application from svn and I was back in business. Where else can you find a community like that? Certainly not in the Apple camp.

So yes, the choice is not clear and it does depend on what you need out of your OS, but comparing OSX to Ubuntu, especially when you’re talking about device drivers is like comparing two homes built by two contractors. One contractor was allowed to see the blueprints and the other was forced to build it blindfolded. Thankfully there’s a big community out there to help you when your house isn’t absolutely perfect.

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einheit

To the person that said linux is not unix-based: Not sure what you’re thinking, but linux is definitely of the unix family. Linus Torvalds consulted “The Design of the Unix Operating System” by Maurice J Bach while writing the early linux kernel, and any seasoned unix user that logs into a linux box immediately says, “Hey, this is unix”.

Legally, linux can’t be called “UNIX (TM)” thus the cute recursive motto “gnu’s not unix” but neither can bsd legally be called “UNIX (TM)”.

Clearly, however, both linux and bsd are “unix”, technically speaking.

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usethisaccount

I for one am TIRED of everyone comparing Ubuntu to everything. What governing body made Ubuntu the defacto standard by which all other things must compare? Who CARES! Are the authors stretching for topics of conversation? Move on people… Nothing here to see……

I have absolutely nothing derogatory to say about Ubuntu. I have, in the past used this distro and for the most part I enjoyed the experience. But what really gets to me is the fact that when you have Distro VS. Distro or Distro VS. comparisons, what are you comparing. For the most part they all use the same open source products. So what’s the deal???

Why not educate people on what Open Source Software is doing in the Enterprise or how educators are utilizing OSS in the classrooms.

UBUNTU VS. Bah! Can we say in unison… Who Cares……

Reply
s3phiroth

Some remarks about your review.

Personally, I don’t dislike the top and bottom panel on gnome (and I’m sure im not the only one), and I find them useful. If you think about it, you also have 2 different areas on osx (the dock and the top bar). And the best thing about these two bars on gnome are the fact that they are totally customizable. Yes, new users might not care about it, but we advanced users, do. If you know how to separate things it’s totally great to have those two bars. Also, although this is not default, you can add an applet (main menu) to the panel that shows you the applications/places/system menus in only one menu. And I prefer to keep my most used apps on panel icons than having to click through a menu (like on openSUSE).

I totally agree with you when you say that overall things are too inconsistent and fractured, but I also understand that it’s a price to pay for all the “freedom”. Some new users I’ve known end up understanding that as well and they like it.

Oh, and you can actually install Konqueror on OSX. Seriously, just google for it and you’ll find it.

About the system configuration, you have a gnome control center on ubuntu, it’s just not activated by default. Back on the feisty beta, it was activated by default, but looks like some people didn’t like it (i still don’t understand why) and they moved it back to the old school menu. This control center is very much like the OSX one. I use it and I love it.

Oh and believe me when I say that gEdit is powerful. You just have to activate or install the right plugins (and most of the ones I use come on the official extra plugins pack).

And that’s about it. Nice article.

Reply
bilboa

Overall I found this to be a balanced review, and an interesting read. I’ve used Linux exclusively at home for the last 10 years or so until buying a MacBook Pro about 6 months ago, so I don’t think I have any particular . That said, I wanted to comment on a few things you said:

You complained about iTunes’ “inherent desire to rename and move your MP3s into new folders”. You can turn this behavior off simply by unchecking two checkboxes in the Advanced tab in Preferences. In fact iTunes used to ship with these options turned off, but apparently Apple found that enough people WANTED iTunes to manage their music files that they started making that behavior the default.

Your comments on iPhoto in this respect are also incorrect. In the advanced tab of iPhoto’s preferences you can uncheck the “Copy files to iPhoto Library folder when adding to library” option, and it’ll leave your files in their original location. Also, even if if you have this option checked, it still stores all the images as separate files with their original names, and just organizes them under its own directory structure, so I’m not sure what you meant by saying ” in Leopard, [the iPhoto photos are] stored in a pseudo-file that is somewhat inaccessible to other programs and the file system itself”.

For OSX movie players you mentioned QuickTime but didn’t mention DVD Player, which is pretty nice and is also included. You’re correct that both of these players will obey DRM restrictions, but mplayer is just a “port install mplayer” away from being available on your Mac; you don’t need Linux for that.

The fact that OSX doesn’t come with a Bittorrent client already installed seemed too trivial to even mention, let alone label as a “major drag”. It’s kind of like claiming in a car review that one car is better than another because it includes an air freshener right off the showroom floor. Just google for “osx bittorrent client” and you’ll find a bunch. Personally I like “Transmission”.

Other than these points, I liked the review and found your comparisons interesting. Thanks for the review.

Reply
amcguire

Several here have forgotten that the comparison was suppose to be “out of the box” systems. What my mom would get if she did it herself or had the guys at the computer shop did it for her.

Great review. Have not spent too much time with Ubuntu but he is spot on with the Mac and I have a hard time finding needed accessories that are more useful than flashy.

Reply
jerky

To pick nits with the whole “unix-based” comment, Linux wouldn’t qualify for the label of Unix-based. It’s a clean implementation to be UNIX-LIKE. Unix-based would imply there is some code lineage carried over from SysV or BSD, which was the crux of SCO’s argument that there was some cross-pollination(or more appropriately contamination) of copyrighted “UNIX” code. I think Apple was riding on a technicality with the previous usage of UNIX-based in the past. IIRC NeXTSTEP which is the basic for Mac OS X, has some roots in the original BSD tapes. Mac OS X 10.5 on Intel machines is now an official card carrying certified UNIX and their site has dropped reference to the “UNIX-based” and states it plainly as UNIX. In all fairness though, I don’t think it would be much of a stretch for Linux to pass the UNIX certification process but there isn’t any one to cough up the funds for the certification process itself since every distro would have to probably pay and certify separately. I’m sure someone like CentOS would’t be able to ride RedHat’s coatails if RH certified RHEL with the Open Group.

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mark76

“Kubuntu provides the full-featured and powerful Konsole, while Ubuntu has the anemic Terminal.”

You are aware that you can install Konsole in Ubuntu from the Synaptic Package Manager, right? That’s the beauty of Linux: you don’t have to settle for what you’re given out of the box.

Whether or not it functions fully outside its native environment, I have no idea.

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theseea

I don’t know too much about Mac because I had not the opportunity to meet it in Romania where I am from. About Ubuntu I must say the following in march 2007 I just started a CISCO academy curse and my PC with 384 RAM get a deadly virus on windows so.. knowing nothing about linux I was forced to tried it. I got and try the following distributions Fedora suse mandriva slakwhere and last choice ubuntu. As a newbie ubuntu was built in a way that made me learn it in 1 week how to configure it as network printer not listed as known an all main utilities. Since then I cant let it go. I works very well for my needs an it seems to be the perfect tool. More I want to tell ypu that it has a IRC client already configured to enter on unbutu help area and there are a number of permanently people that can be asked anything abt ubuntu. There i got fast, helpful and straigh answers for my problems. in the others distributions i had only to read helps and search on net abt what i need.

conclusions… be my guest to make them.

Reply
gragnar

I have found the Mac OS a nice and stable system.

All my close family members use Macs, most on my recommendation. My older (15) daughter is starting to complain about the MacOS straight jacket and does for example not use iPhoto. The younger(9) uses VLC to play videos on the Mac. Both of them use my Linux system without comment.

I use free software but find the integration to the Mac desktop is problematic. Also I find that opening a web page to download an application and returning to that page to upgrade not functional.

Add/Remove Applications and Synaptic give me access to a huge selection of software. With the Mac you have versiontracker.com

As a network administrator I found the Mac versions of many tools out of date. I moved back to linux to get access to the newest and up to date tools.

Apple does not like to credit free software. They do what they can to NOT use or promote the concepts of freedom and the GPL. On http://www.apple.com you find the words “free software” mostly used for updated you do not pay for. Apple would like us to call it freeware. Apple would like to sell you the free software they are using but do not show the respect to credit the free software community.

So the support for free software is limited. They could so easily provide or support an install/update service for a large selection of free software and so become a active members of the community. So why not?

Apple probably thinks this is dangerous.
But the danger from free software does not go away by not supporting it. In fact, the large selection of integrated free software in Linux is what makes it better for me.

Better support for free software on the Mac would be good for Apple.

Reply
anotherusername

You were on the right way to say “You can install Leopard on any computer made by Dell, HP, Lenovo, or…” but you get scared and said “just kidding!”.
Why people on the web is scared to say “Yes you CAN or maybe you MUST install Leopard on your home PC”?

Don’t mislead the readers!!! Teorically you must not install any Mac OS X on your business PC as some audit to your office may rise legal consequences. However the license agreement that is bundled with Mac OS X just request to be installed on a “Single Apple-labeled computer” at a time. The license use does not state a requirement for an official Apple label with an Apple Hardware Serial number, so again don’t mislead the readers!!!

Then what means a “Single Apple-labeled computer”? It will only be defined by layers if you are issued by Apple. So maybe you can avoid be issued if you apply an Apple sticker to the external case of the PC and argue that you are meeting the usage clause.

Even if this is not legal, is not probable that Apple go to your home to audit your home PC (don’t be a bad boy so cops don’t go to your home). The only disadvantage is that the installation process can be a little tricky and newbies may not successfully install it and obviously not all the hardware is compatible.

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richlion

Hi,
I think the article is quite good, because I myself never had a chance to have a good look at a MAC OS. I just don’t have the money to buy a MAC, not to mention pay for an operating system when I can find that it does not suit my needs. I cannot afford to buy aomething I will not like to use. As we can see, it’s really hard to find a perfect operating system, even MACs are not perfect. There also a lot of things that will improve in Linuxes and there so many things now working out of the box, that I simly don’t see any other operating system offering so much flexibility.
To me it doesn’t matter if the Ubuntu was taken as an example. I used Mandriva for many years and now I have a Gentoo/Sabayon installation, this for sure is not a very easy to use system for a newbie, so I can understand why Ubuntu was taken as an example. I did have a look at Ubuntu thanks to a few live CD’s. As for me, personally I would not choose Ubuntu. I also tested PCLinuxOS. What I see is that Linuxes are making really huge steps ahead in easy installations, setups, etc. I recently started a wireless connection in not time, where as on a Windows XP belonging to one of my collegues – it took me two hours of browsing through documents to get things started.
What I like about Linuxes is the way I can easly configure a Linux environment (I use only KDE). I can configure virtually everythhing – fonts, colours, schemes, buttons. When I look at Konqueror, this has become my absolute favourite. I can set up everyting, change the icons, add menu items. Konqueror gives me access to every part of the system without any hassle – it’s a tool almost for everything. I have easy access to folders, home location, system folder, medias, web pages, just one click on the right sidebar…. Moving my files – absolutely all is there what I need, browsing pictures, videos. And this just one tool has improved a lot in the recent few versions.
Amarok – I cannot find any other tool that suits my needs, easy access to all my files, 500 radio stations. And what I like is that this program does not try to think what I would like to do, instead let’s me do it by myself.
I think the article is a nice peace of collected information. If I would have to choose to pay for a stable system I guess maybe a MAC OS would be the first system I would try to look at, but after reading this article – I know I am going to stay with Gentoo/Linux for quite a while. MAC OS? Not thanks…
I also know what is the benefit of a Linux disto. We have so many distros, which may cause confusion, but there is a positive point of using an Open Source operating system. All distos try to take advantage of all the good ideas from each other. When I saw the OpenSUSE meny I could only say – brilliant. So in the end a MAC or Widnows OS – thay lack the flexibility and are all a closed product, so we have to wait ages to have any new ideas implemented, where as in Linux all we have to do is wait 3-6 months and we can expect a lot of new features not available in other OS within a short time.

Regards,
Richard

Reply
progon

The Macintosh operating system cannot be compared to other operating systems. It fills a computing niche that has long since disappeared. The reason that Apple moved to FreeBSD, with the operative word being Free, was because Apple could not extend its own code base into a modern networked programming world any more than the old Windows before NT core came along. The old, old Windows crap was single user to the core and had to be replaced with NT core, which is a heavy duty server core OS designed to take on the Network big boys at Sun and IBM.

In order to deal with a fully wired and networked world Microsoft went with NT core to replace all its old code base and to make sure that their OS would stay modern. The old Windows core died with windows ME and nobody cried at all since with its death went all the single user problems that had been hammered into the code base over ten years. Apple went to FreeBSD as its core since the BSD license said that they could use it in any way they wanted to use it Apple got a fully functioning core OS from the FreeBSD open source programmers and the open source programmers fixed all of Apple’s core OS problems for them. So ask yourself this, when Novell and other groups are done putting a pretty face on Unix how well is Apple going to look then? Until recently, the Compiz/Beryl groups were working at odds but now they are united and Ubuntu and all the other linux variants are putting in the Compiz-Fusion which is now out there and maturing at a blazing pace. Check back next summer or next year at this time and tell me what you see then? Right now, the movement to a much better presentation foundation for Linux is just starting. KDE 4 may or may not be worth writing home about when it comes out but it will be one of over a dozen different graphical front ends that will run on any hardware out there.

Windows won the OS wars because it did not do Vendor hardware lock down like all Microsoft’s competitors did. Leopard is locked down to the hardware from Apple and in spite of moving to an intel core base Apple can’t make money selling Leopard at all as an OS all by itself so in order to use Leopard you have to have all the vendor lock down from Apple instead of the freedom to have whatever hardware you want to run. The reason that Apple can’t make money selling its OS in a free and open market is because Apple would then have to do what Microsoft and now Linux did, which is get hardware agnostic and it would take about twenty times the money already spent on Leopard to make it totally hardware agnostic.

In the hardware agnostic world we don’t have smoothly integrated hardware and software from a single vendor and yet both Vista and Linux are superb general purpose workstations that anyone can go buy or install for free. You mentioned at least ten odd ball things you did not like in Leopard and you probably will never get fixes for those things in the proprietary world of Apple, ever. Apple seldom, if ever, listens to its customers and its designers don’t seem to be in sync with their customer base at all.

Apple is not to be admired but dumped. It is everything the Linux world is against and is the last of the hard core vendor lock down computer companies left for the Penguin to eat up. That time is not too far away. Right now, I can run any version of Unix or Linux on my Vista box as a virtual machine and I have my XP copy running on Ubuntu in VMWare virtual machine.

You can do the same thing on the Mac, use virtual machines to run other operating systems but the problem is that nobody can run the Mac software without having a Mac. The really sad part is that the Mac would not be there if it were not for all the work done in the open source world for them. The older, single user core Macs were horrible. Why did it take Apple so long to get a winner here? They have had only one architecture to work with at a time. Is Apple just hardware churning to get business? Of course they are. Their OS is no more intuitive than any of the Linux front ends out there and in fact the Linux front ends are pretty easy to learn and use on a daily basis.

Gnome is rather odd to me and I definitely agree that the Gnome front end in OpenSuse should be adopted in all the Gnomes. The KDE front end in OpenSuse I do not like, though. The usability studies done by Microsoft for Vista showed that the OpenSuse Gnome front end was a winner and this design and practices is in Vista. Vista also moved the most likely to be used elements int the Vista start button and organized the file system around the same elements of usability that Novell did with Gnome.

In usability studies done a long time ago and in the present Vista wins hands down in ease of use and for new users. Microsoft pretty much owns the notions of making windows useful and once you run one Windows program you pretty much have them all learned was by design at Microsoft and not accidental at all. The usability guidelines for Windows developers are ancient and still with us. Vista can and will take user front ends into a more web like user experience using the Expression tools for Vista.

The era of desktops being the reason for computers is long over. The winners in the modern era are still going to be the operating systems that can be used on any hardware and the operating systems that make it possible to do workstation tasks will continue to win here in the future. Linux ate up all the old school unix vendors like Sun and even IBM because it is free and better on all measurements than their very rich cousins in the main frame world. This was done by volunteers who are, even on a bad day, far more responsive to end users than Apple or any of the old vendor lock down pros ever were.

Microsoft, though, is equally smart and a hard competitor. The Mac is the computing world’s weak sister and deserves derision instead of praise. Open up the Mac and make it work on all hardware and lets see how well Apple does as a competitor on just any old box like Microsoft or Linux does. The code base in the Mac should be working a whole lot better than it does considering they have no cost for the core OS and are using off the shelf hardware what happened? Why are there still problems with the Mac? Well, their code base is why. In order to churn hardware they have had to constantly re-work and re-do their software and their software base has been shown to be very buggy. Vista had about twelve critical issues last year but Apple averaged ten a month. This means that if you want a secure and problem free computing experience you have to go with the workstation pros at Microsoft. Linux software is also constantly being monitored and updates fly fast and furious but Apple is the one that lies about its competitors and lies about how buggy its code base really is. But they were caught out in their lies about Vista since Vista is much better for day to day work and Vista and all the Linuxes run on damn near any hardware you can imagine and still works better and is more bug free than a single architecture OS like the Mac the Mac users should just dump their Macs and go with either a commodity Windows box at half to one third the cost of a Mac and get far better performance out of them.

I have Vista on a core two duo but it runs like a raped ape. I also have it on a single procesor with just a gig of ram and it also runs well. I add in an extra meg of memory stick ram and it runs even better. So explain to me why I can get world class performance out of XP class boxes using XP, Vista 32 or Linux and explain to me why the Mac look and feel some how trumps the power of the operating systems you are dissing here? Now, take the Mac OS and run it on the same low end hardware you ran Ubuntu on and tell me who wins? What, you can’t get Leopard to run on anything other than Apple hardware? It seems to me that if you are going to compare these OSes the least you can do is run them all on the same hardware. If you run Vista on the Mac using boot camp you will find it not only runs faster but is far more dependable and has a much larger software base at over 100,000 plus applications for Windows. Linux also runs over 30,000 applications and the Mac, even using FreeBSD software, only has 20,000 applications written for it. If you take out the open source software for the Mac you will find you are down to roughly five thousand native Mac applications.

You did mention this weakness in Windows and in Linux, the over abundance of software and choices. These choices can mean the difference between your company succeeding and failing or your kids succeeding or failing in school. The Linux and Windows world allows for right sizing and if you don’t have money then you can easily get the free software you need or the very lost cost Windows software you need if you do have enough money to pay for software. But if you go out today and check you will see that you can buy your family three computers for the cost of a single Leopard equipped computer and if you go with open source you can even go with 50,000 software tools and suites in the Linux world. You can certainly compare Apples and oranges but all you are going to get is that they are both round. FreeBSD is quite ugly and needs a face lift but Linux is getting that face lift now and this time next year you will probably be wondering why you thought the Leopard crap was so cool after you realize how much of it was stolen directly from the open source world it will make you wonder why anyone can support Apple for any reason.

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orangemoose

Give me a break about the Ubuntu commumity. Half the time your post languishes with no response and the other half someone emails you an unintelligle mish-mash of sudo commands.

Reply
pmpope

You can’t sell fashionistas freedom. I tried outside the Apple store in SF. One hepster chickadee wanted to do a ‘trade up’ {which is a consumeristic social experiment} for a piece of machinery that only runs on a Windows-like environment (i.e. Windows or Mac). Though I was willing to ‘trade up’ free software that I had burned to CDs she couldn’t get to the idea that what I was offering for her status symbol was actual freedom ['...there are three different Linux Operating Systems in this bundle of free CDs] Though I was willing to lower myself by accepting her proprietary cookies crumbs all she could think of was a pricetag to define freedom ‘How much is it worth… In dollars?’
I finally set the whole kit-n-kaboodle up against the Windows of the MAC store and headed back through town.

The reason for this story is I’m kinda done with trying to talk people into doing things that are good for them. The whole GNU/Linux is the best thing that could possibly happen for the modern computer realm and the World. The European community, various Asian communities, the Central and South American communities know this to be true. Come on, folks. Put your egos away and apt-get yourself some individualistic freedom today.

Reply
mhazen

Nice Manifesto.

Try using Ubuntu on a machine made sometime in this millennium for a modern OS.

Ubuntu is “special” because it comes smartly configured, with easy to use tools, with a plethora of available applications which are installed easily, and properly built. It is very easy for users with a bare minimum of knowledge to get up and running as an effective desktop, as opposed to most distros where the desktop install is just the *start* of the process.

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mirandasoft

While this article is comparing Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux with Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard, I must say that with my Apple iBook G4 is having hardware problems, running Red Hat’s Fedora Linux on my Compaq Laptop is the alternative solution, or a “quick fix” in technician terms. Ubuntu, though has the Tagalog language, it is still a Debian distribution. (I come from the ‘Red Hat vs. Debian vs. Slackware’ competition world…) This article should’ve been titled, Canonical vs. Apple, because that’s what we’re really talking about. Ubuntu, in my experience, belongs to the Newbie world. Yes, it looks nice and attractive, but it’s still a Debian distribution. Before I got married, I thought I would marry a woman, named, “Debbie,” because I had worked with .deb files, way too much. I used to like apt-get from the terminal. As for Ubuntu, using the terminal is a sure way of breaking the distribution packages. Mixing repositories in a Debian package, such as Ubuntu, is more dangerous than installing Unix software in Mac OS X Leopard. The “Ease of Use” segment of this article focuses specifically on Eye Candy rather than Usability. It did forget to mention that KDE and GNOME are also working in Mac OS X Leopard. The “Applications” segment of the article is too short and general. Most people are unaware that since Linux is open source, the source codes of most, if not all, Linux software can be ported over to Mac’s FreeBSD Unix system… Most Linux packages has. Since Leopard can run Mac OS X and Linux applications, running Ubuntu limits you from running Mac OS X applications.

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