Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mac and Open Source

Mac support for multiple OS's is starting to generate some serious "wind beneath its wings". Reports are starting to trickle in on the iPod generation going straight to Apple for the college computer. Odd things are happening as the changes ripple through with early adopters giving way to more mainstream users using Macs for Mac and Linux.

O'Reilly Network -- How Does Open Source Software Stack Up on the Mac?
Recently on the O'Reilly Radar, it was noted that several well-known Mac folks are switching to Ubuntu Linux. One of them, Mark Pilgrim, directly juxtaposed several of Apple's stock apps to open source software (OSS) alternatives on his blog, and this got me pondering how well Apple's stock apps really stand up to some of the alternatives out there--especially from the OSS community. For that matter, how many high quality OSS alternatives are there for Mac users?

It turns out that OSS is doing amazingly well for the most part. As might be expected, there are still some gaping holes to be filled, but in many others, Apple would do well to start taking notes. I'm going to take a brief look at the landscape for some of the most common stock apps and assign each of those application categories some health grades. The more high-quality alternatives to Apple's stock apps there are, the higher we'll grade the category's health, and vice versa.

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