Monday, August 25, 2008

Smackdown: Linux fanboys vs. Mac Fanboys

Actually, looks like both will hate this. Mac fanboys will hate the "looks like a Mac" bit, and Linux fanboys will hate the "doesn't trumpet its Open Source credentials" bit. The price? Free:
What's free, looks like Mac OS X, just works and is actually Linux? The answer is gOS, which recently launched a new beta that builds on the distro's initial success and adds new tools like integrated Google Gadgets for Linux.
The whole article is interesting, as this is disruptive on a lot of levels - to Microsoft (duh!), Apple (duh!), and traditional Linux fans:
For Linux purists and those that enjoy spending hours fiddling with configuration files, gOS will be an utter disappointment. But gOS isn't aimed at hard-core Linux users. It's aimed at otherwise computer illiterate users who simply want an easy way to check e-mail, browse the web and share some photos online.
Several points come to mind. First, this is being marketed just about exclusively to computer manufacturers (hell0, Microsoft!). This means that lack of hardware drivers is pretty much taken off the table. Driver support is a big, big problem for Linux, but if the computer ships with everything it needs, well hey, problem solved.

Second, security is both better and worse. Better, since gOS is designed to use web applications (for example, Google Apps). If there's a security hole in the app, Google will update it, and everyone's all set - presto, chango! Secure is worse, since it doesn't look like there aren't any system tools to let you patch your system. If there is a security problem in the OS (and there will be), it's not at all clear how you get the fix.

Third, it runs WINE by default. WINE is a program that lets you run Windows apps on Linux, so your kids have at least a chance of playing their games on it, you have at least a chance of running iTunes on it, etc.

Fourth, it's backed by Google's deep, deep pockets. Interesting times a'coming.

UPDATE 26 August 2008 21:30: #1 son says he doesn't trust WINE - a bunch of stuff didn't run correctly, he says. iTunes being one.

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