Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NewsForge | Interview: Bob Young after Red Hat

"Operating systems typically don't displace existing technology if they become popular, it's because they become the popular solution on the new technology model. So, you know, Digital Equipment Companies, VMS operating system did not become popular on IBM mainframe computers. It became popular because Digital convinced the world to move towards minicomputers, and it became the most popular operating system on the minicomputers that Digital was responsible for. And in the same way, Windows, you know -- Microsoft did not convince the world to unplug VMS and put, you know, sort of a Mac OS -- not Mac OS. MS-DOS, MS-DOS on Digital minicomputers."

Oh, too bad Steve Jobs didn't read this.

Meanwhile the rumors abound about Apple's future plans...

The rumor I like best (though I don't believe it) is that hackers are making the X86 version of OS X run on ordinary PCs. This, supposedly, is Apple's secret plan to take over the world. They really WANT there to be millions of bootleg copies of their OS in circulation replacing Windows and Linux systems everywhere. How Apple will ever actually make money on this plan is the REAL secret. I have a feeling they are trying to figure that out themselves.

The other rumor, not very popular with the fan-base is that Apple wants to exit the computer business entirely. I tend to accept this more readily, although I don't think the company will so easily make the iPods into a full-time job. The way they climbed back from the abyss was to do two risky things: Standardize on the PowerPC and switch to a Unix based operating system. Now they are undoing the first move and one has to wonder how much commitment they actually have to OS X. All this time and they still depend on Microsoft for too many things. Although I doubt too many people use it, the system still comes bundled with Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and advertising urging you to try out Office for the Mac. Ugh, I'm a refugee from that stuff, its the last thing I want to see logos for.

Well, we'll see. maybe in a year or two we will see Jobs interviewed as he steps down from what is left of Apple. I predict bad things, and I'm keeping a current version of Linux on my Apple laptop just in case. I would have switched earlier, but sound support is still a bit flakey for the Apple hardware. Of course companies that still DO want to be in the computer business are busy building generic PowerPC systems, and that might ultimately be my system of choice. Next time.

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