Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Apple's Tiger vs. Windows XP 64-Bit Edition vs. Linux

Filed under
OS

On Friday Apple released its "Tiger" operating system into the marketplace. Borrowing heavily from what we had seen in Longhorn (Microsoft's next version of Windows) last year, Tiger is an impressive piece of work. I'm not one of those who thinks that using a competitor is a bad idea, particularly if you can get it out first. You play this game to win and, as long as it's legal, in my book anything goes.

Tiger is well-integrated with hardware and provides a solid out-of-box user experience. The user interface is mature and it has a UNIX core that remains one of the most secure on the market. With a good balance of ease of use, performance, and reliability, Tiger would seem to be the OS of choice for must users over a Linux distribution.

Tiger vs. Linux

However, not all users can afford Apple hardware. The Mac Mini, relatively low-cost, can't compare to the price of a low-end Intel, AMD, or VIA-based box running Linux. We have to remember much of the third world makes a fraction of what the Western world makes income and as such those consumers are very price-driven: US$100 to them may represent as much as a month's salary so every penny counts.

For those that want to get intimate with the code, Linux, because it is fully open-source, is better. This would include both programming professionals looking to create a unique solution as well as software hobbyists. Granted, this second group only constitutes less than one percent of the market, but they, like their "hardware-modder" counterparts are very hands on and often very active in forums, sometimes seeming to be a much larger group then they actually are.

However, when it comes to the average user there really is no comparison. The extra money spent for an Apple machine is well worth the vastly better support an individual will get from Apple over Red Hat or Novell, and virtually none of the hardware vendors is excited about desktop Linux yet (primarily because it isn't profitable).

With servers, where there is a good economic model, Linux would clearly remain favored over Apple because of much deeper support from companies like HP and IBM.

Tiger vs. Windows XP 64-Bit Edition

If this were a competition based simply on names Tiger would get my vote. The Microsoft product name is almost a sentence and the acronym WXP64BA looks like a password I would quickly forget. I don't know who is responsible for naming at Microsoft these days but he, or she, seems to be working way too hard to validate my old axiom: "The only thing people will agree on when it comes to a new product name is that the person who came up with it is an idiot."

I guess we could make it worse bay calling it the "Windows XP 64-Bit Addition with SP 2 and knock three times on the ceiling if you want me Edition," but I'm hoping coming up with names like that doesn't become the next big thing in Redmond.

On the product side, Tiger has a number of features that appear to have been pulled from Longhorn's preview last year. The biggest one is "smart search," a feature that allows you to rapidly search a variety of file types to find what you need. With storage approaching a Terabyte now, this is an incredibly useful feature and one Windows users will have to get from a third party until Longhorn ships late next year.

Another is virtual folders. This allows you to group files virtually by author, topic, or other criteria making them a lot easier to find. Finally there is the use of widgets, something you can get in a third-party product called "Window Blinds" and also shown last year by Microsoft. This allows you to put little useful applets on your screen. This last is more eye candy than anything else, but I like it and it makes the OS look cool.

Standout Features

Of the rest of the features, the two that stand out to me is a higher level of security over downloaded applications than Windows currently has and stronger parental controls. While unfortunately parents often don't use the parental controls they have available to them, protecting kids is incredibly important to me and it is nice to know it is important to Apple as well.

On downloaded files you have to put in your ID and password to install an application, and given I used to go into my old boss's office and install joke applications on his machine from time to time (one made the letters of the screen fall off the bottom at an increasing rate, another made it look like he was going through a nuclear meltdown) I'm thinking this is a good idea as well.

Windows XP 64 Bit Addition ,which was wrapped with a huge amount of fanfare and hoopla at the launch (er, well, more like if you blinked you missed it), is the most secure desktop OS from Microsoft currently shipping. More of a precursor to Longhorn so that vendors will write the necessary 64-bit drivers, it is available on new hardware and not as an upgrade. It really isn't designed for the home market and the likely targets are those doing specialized research, multi-media authoring, CAD, and complex financial analysis. Mainstream it isn't, but if you need the power of a 64-bit platform and particularly if you like AMD hardware, this is your OS. The majority of us aren't there yet.

Users' Call

What will I use? I'm a gamer, and I love to modify my hardware, but Tiger doesn't support my favorite game and you don't "mod" Apple hardware. Apple has yet to come out with an OS I can use, and until they do, ugly name and all, I'm on Windows and waiting for Longhorn.

Full commentary.

More in Tux Machines

Conferences and Kids

I've taken my daughter, now 13, to FOSDEM in Brussels every year that I had slots there. She isn't a geek, yet enjoys the crowds and the freebies. When I could, I also took my kids to other events, where I was speaking. In this post I'd like to capture my feelings about why children should be part of conferences, and what conferences can do to make this easier. First off, the "why?" Traditional conferences (in all domains, not just software) are boring, ritualized events where the participants compete to see who can send the most people to sleep at once. The real event starts later, over alcohol. It is a strictly adult affair, and what happens at the conf stays at the conf. Now our business is a little different. It is far more participative. Despite our history of finicky magic technologies that seem to attract mainly male brains, we strive for diversity, openness, broad tolerance. Most of what we learn and teach comes through informal channels. Finished is formal education, elitism, and formal credentials. We are smashing the barriers of distance, wealth, background, gender, and age. Read more

50 Essential Linux Applications

If you’re a refugee from Windows, you may be finding the Linux world slightly confusing, wondering how you can get the all same functionality you had in Windows, but still enjoy the freedom that Linux offers. Never fear! Linux is not some scary, difficult to use monster that’s only used by hackers and programmers, it’s actually becoming more and more user friendly every day. Read
more

today's leftovers

  • Debugging gnome-session problems on Ubuntu 14.04
  • Introducing snapd-glib
  • An awesome experience!
    GUADEC has been a week full of memorable moments. As my friend Rares mentioned in his post, our newcomers group was welcomed by friendly community members right as we arrived at the hotel. For someone who has never attended a similar event before, this really helped with getting into the conference atmosphere. In the first couple days of the conference, I found myself meeting a lot of people that I knew from IRC. It felt really nice to finally know the person behind the internet nick. I was especially excited about getting to meet my mentor, Carlos Soriano =). In between the presentations I also took the time to prepare my own lightning talk about compressed files in Nautilus. Speaking in front of the GNOME community for the first time was a unique experience.
  • Commvault Announces Support of Red Hat Virtualization 4 with Commvault Software
  • Modularity Infrastructure Design
    The purpose of our Modularity initiative is to support the building, maintaining, and shipping of modular things. So, in order to ensure these three requirements are met, we need to design a framework for building and composing the distribution. In terms of the framework, in general, we are concerned about the possibility of creating an exponential number of component combinations with independent lifecycles. That is, when the number of component combinations becomes too large, we will not be able to manage them. So that we don’t accidentally make our lives worse, we must limit the number of supported modules with a policy and provide infrastructure automation to reduce the amount of manual work required.
  • more, less, and a story of typical Unix fossilization
    In the beginning, by which we mean V7, Unix didn't have a pager at all. That was okay; Unix wasn't very visual in those days, partly because it was still sort of the era of the hard copy terminal. Then along came Berkeley and BSD. People at Berkeley were into CRT terminals, and so BSD Unix gave us things like vi and the first pager program, more (which showed up quite early, in 3BSD, although this isn't as early as vi, which appears in 2BSD). Calling a pager more is a little bit odd but it's a Unix type of name and from the beginning more prompted you with '--More--' at the bottom of the screen. All of the Unix vendors that based their work on BSD Unix (like Sun and DEC) naturally shipped versions of more along with the rest of the BSD programs, and so more spread around the BSD side of things. However, more was by no means the best pager ever; as you might expect, it was actually a bit primitive and lacking in features. So fairly early on Mark Nudelman wrote a pager with somewhat more features and it wound up being called less as somewhat of a joke. When less was distributed via Usenet's net.sources in 1985 it became immediately popular, as everyone could see that it was clearly nicer than more, and pretty soon it was reasonably ubiquitous on Unix machines (or at least ones that had some degree of access to stuff from Usenet). In 4.3 BSD, more itself picked up the 'page backwards' feature that had motived Mark Nudelman to write less, cf the 4.3BSD manpage, but this wasn't the only attraction of less. And this is where we get into Unix fossilization.
  • PNScan Linux Trojan Resurfaces with New Attacks Targeting Routers in India
    A trojan thought to have died out resurfaced with new attacks and a new and improved version, launching new attacks on routers running Linux-based firmware located in India's cyber-space.

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • 4 tips for teaching kids how to build electronics
    Kids are naturally curious about how things work, and with a new trend in hardware companies creating open source hardware products, it's a great time to teach kids about electronics. But modern technology can seem too complex to even begin to understand. So where do you start?
  • Oil companies joining open source world by sharing data [Ed: No, oil companies, sharing data is open data and not open source. More openwashing, like greenwashing]
    The oil and gas industry has long collected huge volumes of data, but it hasn’t always known quite what to do with it all. Often, the terabytes aren’t even stored on computer systems that readily talk to each other. Industry insiders are used to it, said Michael Jones, senior director of strategy at the oil and gas software maker Landmark. But it’s not OK, he said. So, about a year ago, Jones and some of his oil industry colleagues set about to fix it. This week, at Landmark’s Innovation Forum & Expo at the Westin hotel in northwest Houston, the company unveiled the beginnings of a collaborative its members called groundbreaking. In a move to drive technology further, faster — and, perhaps, take a bigger piece of the burgeoning big-data market — Landmark is pushing its main computing platform into the cloud, for all to use.
  • Interactive, open source visualizations of nocturnal bird migrations in near real-time
    New flow visualizations using data from weather radar networks depict nocturnal bird migrations, according to a study published August 24, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Judy Shamoun-Baranes from University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues.
  • Go! Speed Racer Go!
    I finally reached a point where I could start running the go version of sm-photo-tool. I finished the option validation for the list command. While I was testing it I noticed how much faster the Go version felt. Here are the python vs Go versions of the commands.
  • Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services will be presented at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference
    The revision of the European Interoperability Framework and the importance of data and information standardisation for promoting semantic interoperability for European Public Services will be presented by Dr. Vassilios Peristeras, DG Informatics, ISA unit at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference which takes place in Leipzig on September 13th and 14th 2016. The title of the presentation is “Promoting Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services: the European Commission ISA2 Programme” (slideset to appear here soon).