Greetings from Jim Dennis
The theme for this month seems to be "vendor support for Linux." From
the responses to my open letter to Dell, through the common problems
with "winmodems" and "winprinters" and even to the impossible dream of
running MS Windows applications and accessing Microsoft proprietary
formats from native Linux applications --- we continue to fight uphill
battles with so many vendors.
This isn't new in the broader Unix world. Readers of A Quarter Century of Unix by Peter H. Salus should recognize this as a as an attitude that has dominated hardware vendors for almost thirty years. They've been prdicting the "death" of Unix (and the "death of the Internet) almost since from the beginning.
There is some hope on the horizon. As some of you may have heard or read Corel Computer (the hardware division of the famous software company) is basing it's NC (network computer) on a Strong-ARM version of Linux. Within a week or two after that Corel Software announced their intention of porting the rest of the applications suite to Linux (their WordPerfect 7 and 8 have been available in Linux versions for some time).
A little further afield it appears that Apple Inc is starthing to make some sense with their future OS strategy --- by "thinking different", or "outside of the box" in a manner of speaking. Specifically they've apparently decided to skip the planned version of Rhapsody with its "blue" and "yellow" boxes that separated the MacOS and the Mach/NeXTStep (Unix) personalities. Apparently buried in their announcement for MacOS X ("ten") is the i rumor that your "NeXT" (Rhapsody) native applications will co-exist on the same desktop with yor MacOS programs --- and that the MacOS API's will be seamlessly supported with all the multi-threaded support that the Mach microkernel can provide. Of course you have to hear that as rumors, or read between the lines with a considerable background in the Macintosh architecture since it is not apparent from their own press releases, or from the San Jose Mercury News articles on the subject. The San Francisco Examiner sings a similarly hollow tune. However, I'm not alone in my opinion as we see in David K. Every's article.
I suspect he knows way more than I do on the subject.
Oddly the MacOS Rumors web site seems to have no mention MacOS X on their site.
What does this have to do with Linux? Well, I can only continue to speculate that mkLinux binaries will eventually run under MacOS X (Rhapsody). I can also still hope that, with the progress in the G3's, and the plans for the G4 generations of the PowerPC platform, and hopefully the continued availability development of the DEC (Compaq) Alpha processor, we'll see some real choices and competition in the market place. Linux is the one OS that crosses all of these (and Sun SPARC's and SGI MIPS and others). Some form of Unix is available on just about every platform, whether or not it supports Linux.
As we look beyond the world of PC clones we see that there is some vendor support. There is some hope that Microsoft's legacy will be the separation of hardware vendors from their "control" hegemony. Before Microsoft it was the norm for computer manufacturers to almost completely control the availability of software for their platforms --- Unix has undermined that control for over two decades. The popular backlash from Microsoft's own unique form of control --- over the collective Wintel platform --- may finally completely sever the puppet's strings. The trickles of vendor support that you're seeing now is largely a survival strategy. So not only will these vendors give up the efforts to control their customer's range of software choices, they'll be glad they did it, considering the alternative.
Answer Guy #1, January 1997
Answer Guy #2, February 1997
Answer Guy #3, March 1997
Answer Guy #4, April 1997
Answer Guy #5, May 1997
Answer Guy #6, June 1997
Answer Guy #7, July 1997
Answer Guy #8, August 1997
Answer Guy #9, September 1997
Answer Guy #10, October 1997
Answer Guy #11, December 1997
Answer Guy #12, January 1998
Answer Guy #13, February 1998
Answer Guy #14, March 1998
Answer Guy #15, April 1998
Answer Guy #16, May 1998