[NCLUG] OS X isn't Unix

Rich Young rich at ExperiencePlus.Com
Wed Sep 18 11:07:28 MDT 2002

I think all this ideological discussion misses one important point:  Apple
is a hardware monopoly.  If I want OS-X, I have to go buy one of *their*
overpriced machines, and I am subject to Apple's idea of what's necessary
and what's not (e.g. 1.44M floppy discs).  I can work on the machine if it
breaks, but if I get one of their cheaper machines, I'll need to be a pretty
patient fellow because it's all crammed into some high-style case (think
iMac).  I get access to *some* popular software, more than I get on Linux,
but less than I get on Windows.

If I want Linux, OTOH, I can scrounge a pentium-class machine out of a
metaphorical dumpster and buy, borrow or beg an OS cd from someone in the
community, legally.  (Or I can buy parts or a whole machine from a
marketplace kept lean by competition, if I'm inclined to want better
performance.)  If something breaks, parts are readily available and
reasonably priced.  *I* get to decide if I want to use Zip, or CDRW, or
floppy, or whatever.  *For me*, it's this combination of "free (libre)" and
"free (gratis)" that makes Linux a compelling choice.

Even if we grant that OS-X is "better" than Linux (something many are
clearly not ready to grant), we have to ask ourselves if its *enough* better
to justify the price differential and loss of liberty WRT hardware &

Clearly, some of us will say "yes, it's worth it" and some won't.  That's
OK.  It's important to recognize that a Mac OS-X user is doing more for
computing diversity than a Win user, even if they are arguably doing less
than a linux user.  

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