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2005/08/01 Apple Macintosh more popular than I thought

© August 2005 Tony Lawrence

news.yahoo.com/ s/mc/applemaking biginroad sinbusiness withosx (link dead, sorry) reports on the growing popularity of desktop Macs in business. It really surprised me to read:

The report found that in businesses with 250 employees or more, 17
percent of the employees were running Mac OS X on their desktop
computer at work. In Businesses that had 10,000 or more employees,
21 percent of employees used Mac OS X on their desktop work computer.

A lot of this is surely Macs replacing Unix desktops rather than Windows, which probably means most of this is engineering or other technical people - people who wouldn't use Windows anyway. Putting Macs on those desktops isn't surprising, but I was surprised by the percentages. They seem high to me..

But never mind: it's good to see Macintosh gaining traction. The survey company also says that companies that were considering Linux are buying Macs instead. That probably bothers some Linux fans, but consider that keeping Windows out gives more credibility to Linux later or for other apps. As I've said elsewhere, the coming switch to Intel CPU's may offer the possibility of running Linux under virtualization on Macs, and a Mac user is much more likely to do that than a Windows user would be. So it's not necessarily all bad news for Linux, either.

(Addendum 8/1) I had to add some more text because at least one reader here assumed I was unaware of things like Yellow Dog Linux. Yes, of course there are native Mac ports of Linux. However, these are often not current, and there is definitely not the wide choice of distribuutions that are available on Intel. If we have the ability to run native Linux and native Windows, and native whatever other "hobby" Intel OS you like, I think that makes Apple Macintosh an incredibly attractive box.

I agree with Drag's comment below that Linux has problems on the desktop. I know that offends some Linux folk, but the reality is that the Macintosh desktop is smoother and less troublesome for the naive user. As I said above, I don't see Mac as a threat to Linux; I see it as helping folks get away from Windows and, once we have Intel, possibly introducing them to Linux by way of their Macintosh use.

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Mon Aug 1 04:03:18 2005: 906   drag

hehe. Probably running OS X under emulation in Xen along with Linux. That Xen stuff is pretty fantastic looking.

The neatest snazzy feature that Xen offers is the ability to migrate operating systems from one computer to another while they are in operation. They developed a technic of migrating over the memory space gradually between computers so that when the final transition is made the actual change over is as quick as possible. For testing they hosted a Quake 3 lan match with various client computers with the server hosted on Linux on Xen. They changed the server OS from one computer to another during the game match. Now keep in mind that these games require realtime interaction with the server and latency and delays in the service mean that players are abruptly halted during mid-game. The final change over took the server out for 30-50 msecs of downtime. The players didn't even notice that their server was on entirely new hardware.

I think that having Apples beginning to gain acceptance is a good thing for Linux. Linux right now has many flaws in its user enviroment that makes it difficult for non-technical users to adjust. And when a person has been using Windows for 10-15 years it makes it even more difficult. Since OS X is very unix like and Linux is very unix like then having cross-platform apps and such that work (such as games) between the two OS's is very easy compared to working with Windows.

There is a lot of things that Linux is just better at Apple, too. For isntance server and database performance is much higher in Linux then in Apple. 3d performance in Linux, when given decent drivers, is better in Linux then in Windows. File system performance and probably reliability is very good in Linux, too. Security in general is better with Linux. Also Linux is more suitable for custom and embedded platforms, and is much more popular for HPC roles.

So I figure that Linux fills many rolls that OS X has a tough time in. They are complimentary and mostly compatable. So with Linux + OS X in the workspace you have a unix enviroment to make a arguably superior work enviroment then what is aviable thru simply relying on Microsoft products.

But then again those percentages do seem high. Makes you wonder what there sample size and targets were.

Mon Aug 1 12:20:59 2005: 907   anonymous

From Limeybloke; Interesting post but Mr Lawrence you can already get several flavours of Linux for Mac, although the Intel transition may help by negating the need for a seperate PPC distribution. Developers have had OSX , XP, Debian Linux and Solaris all running on their pre-release MacIntel machines. As for "drag" I have to tell you that it is Linux that is Unix-y as it is not actually unix though very similar whereas underneath OSX is BSD unix in a distribution called Darwin that Apple keeps as an open-source project . BSD is the most secure OS in the world according to the MI5, CIA, FBI and NSA

Mon Aug 1 12:42:50 2005: 908   TonyLawrence

Yeah, you can get Linux for current Macs, but it's not always current Linux, and you definitely don't get the wide choice of distros that you would (will) with Intel processors. And as I've mentioned here before, I hope to be able to run Windows under a vm also..

But I think Drag is right, and personally I'd love a world of Linux servers and Macintosh desktops - a whole heck of a lot better than what we have now!

By the way, I understand that you just popped in here, read one post, and assumed a complete lack of knowledge based upon what you read. It's my fault: I did say "under virtualization", but I should have spelled out what I meant and why I think that's important. I have written about Linux on Mac at various other places around here (and there's a link in the article above to my thoughts on the Intel switch) , but I do sometimes forget that new folks dropping in don't have any reference to things that might have been thrashed over just yesterday. See (link) if you like.

Mon Aug 1 17:32:52 2005: 910   anonymous

The wording of this article is misleading. Macworld had the same story, and later updated the paragraph:

The report found that 17 percent of businesses with 250 employees or more were running Mac OS X on their desktop computers. Twenty-one percent of businesses that had 10,000 or more employees used Mac OS X on their desktop.

< (link) >

So twenty-one percent of the large businesses have some Macs, somewhere. Big difference from twenty-one percent of the employees using Macs.

Mon Aug 1 17:39:29 2005: 911   BigDumbDinosaur

So twenty-one percent of the large businesses have some Macs, somewhere. Big difference from twenty-one percent of the employees using Macs.

And your point is what?

Mon Aug 1 17:59:03 2005: 912   TonyLawrence

I agree that is a different statistic, but I'm not sure it changes my surprise. I agree with BDD - "what's your point?"

It appears to me that Mac has a stronger representation in business than I thought it did. The problem may be all in my head: certainly Macs have often been found in certain industries and certain departments. But these stats seem high to me - I don't mean I'm doubting them, just that I'm (happily) surprised to see Macintosh have such a strong showing.

Tue Aug 2 00:32:06 2005: 920   anonymous

Limeybloke; Sorry, FWIW you read me correctly as far as reading one post is concerned . I didn't mean to be an arsehole , but if you realise there will be people less clued-up than youself reading then you do need to be more exacting. I only post such comments when I feel important points are being missed and so that the average mac-ignorant windoze user won't suffer from even more misconceptions than usual.

Tue Aug 2 02:31:38 2005: 922   TonyLawrence

No need to apologize: it was entirely my fault.

Sat Dec 29 01:34:29 2007: 3354   TonyLawrence

I wonder what OS X's penetration is now..


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