Now It's Apple's Turn!

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
IBM presented their long range strategy to make the PPC (and Power Series) the processor of choice for every application, from the smallest to the biggest. This information can be found on many sites, including:



http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1558747,00.asp



Below is a copy of my reaction to IBM's move, which is posted in another topic. After that are my thoughts about what Apple might do to complete the job.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    This news is très fantastique. Awesome. IBM is outlining a long term strategy to grow market share, even achieve market dominance, for the PPC. In this strategy, IBM would not dominate the processor market, but the PPC architecture might, taking the lead away from the X86.



    The X86 computer hardware grew rapidly when it was open to many vendors to compete with their own products. Hardware was open except for one item. Intel kept an iron grip on the processor. A few others managed to compete, but there is no unity. Intel and AMD do not cooperate on standards. For example, Intel could make their 64-bit X86 extensions different from AMD if they wanted to force a show down. Any company wishing to make an X86 processor must be prepared to do battle with Intel.



    Contrast the X86 playing field with that pictured by IBM. IBM is ready to cooperate with those who wish to build PPC processors. IBM is eager to license the PPC and provide these new PPC makers with the tools to succeed. The result is that the PPC computer hardware may be truly open, with many suppliers for the processor. I can see where IBM's vision would be very appealing. In the PPC world, there will be many CPU vendors, and a hardware company is not at the mercy of a dominant CPU supplier who may favor one customer over another. Also consider countries that may wish to produce their own CPU, rather than buy it from a US owned manufacturer. IBM took the factor that made the original X86 hardware grow rapidly and extended it to include the CPU.



    Note Added: Originally posted in Future Hardware, IBM Presentation.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    IBM has a cool strategy regarding market share. Here is my take on it. IBM, by themselves, can only increase market share of the PPC and Power Series slowly, and it will be a hard fight against the dominant player, Intel. By make the PPC more of an "open" hardware platform, many others can get on board and benefit, as almost equal players or partners with IBM. If this goes according to plan, the PPC will be rapidly adopted and achieve market dominance eventually. In the process, IBM's share of the PPC market will shrink but their total sales will increase. I don't think IBM went into this lightly and without research and planning. So, I would expect to see IBM's share of the total market to increase faster, under their new strategy, than it would otherwise.



    Now, maybe it's Apple turn to do the same thing with OS X. How fast is OS X growing in the OS market, competing with Windows, Linux and others? Customers see an advantage in going with the dominant OS, which runs everything, and all systems are compatible. Also, developers see an advantage of going with the dominant OS, which means higher sales.



    Maybe Apple should license parts of OS X to other companies who wish to write their own OS. Rather than licensing OS X to clones, keep OS X as a Macintosh only system, but license those items that will allow others to run software applications written for the Mac. As others make their own OS for the "open" PPC platform using the Apple license, the market for software would grow rapidly. Since all this new software runs on the Mac too, Apple's need for developers will be well satisfied.



    As it is now, this "open" PPC platform will likely go Linux. The future of Apple in such a world may not be too bright. Apple will add a layer to OS X so it can run Linux applications, but the availability of native OS X application will shrink. Over time, people will ask, "Why bother with OS X. All the software is for Linux."
  • Reply 3 of 32
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    How can you write OS X applications without OS X? The OS X user experience is far more than mere "eye candy," you know, and so any native Mac app will necessarily run only on OS X.



    PPC is only one component of a hardware solution. Opening PPC reduces costs and creates opportunities in a large number of markets. Opening Darwin taps into the proven robustness and creative output of the open source software model. But the one area where the old proprietary model still works best is in final integration, and that includes the layers atop Darwin. Compare, for instance, the cellphone makers agreeing on a basic Linux platform which each will customize in their own way - so that everyone contributes to a robust, cross-compatible system that everyone benefits from, but which still allows each vendor to come up with their own best ideas for the final product (unlike with the Windows model, where the software absolutely dictates the hardware and the interface).



    The real solution is to sell more Macs. As it is, though, OS X has ushered in the brightest developer landscape I've ever seen for the Mac, and not just in terms of technologies, but in terms of the number of developers who are (for instance) willing to plunk down good money to go to WWDC, and who are willing to turn out OS X applications afterward.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    How can you write OS X applications without OS X? The OS X user experience is far more than mere "eye candy," you know, and so any native Mac app will necessarily run only on OS X. . .







    Thank you for the feedback. Evidently, applications must be finely tuned to the OS and GUI. I was hoping for a way to get the benefits of Java (same code runs on more than one OS) but to avoid the virtual machine. Although this particular idea is not practical, nonetheless I believe Apple needs to address the underlying issue. What happens if IBM's strategy succeeds greatly? Let's pretend it is fifteen years from now. The PPC Family (including Power series) has 40 percent of the market and growing. Where is Apple in this picture?



    1. If Apple has a good plan to get into in a broad range of products, Apple may keep up with PPC Linux. PPC Linux and Apple may each have 20 percent of the market.



    2. If Apple does not greatly increase its market share by some means, PPC Linux will take over the growing PPC hardware segment. If Apple's total market share is only up to five percent worldwide, PPC Linux would have 35 percent, 7 times as much. If developers must split their efforts between Windows and the PPC, it will likely go to PPC Linux.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by snoopy

    Let's pretend it is fifteen years from now. The PPC Family (including Power series) has 40 percent of the market and growing. Where is Apple in this picture?



    Running its 10th generation POWER-based custom processor that makes Macs beautiful tools, finely tuned to whatever quantum theory-based entertainment product is flavour of the week.



    Apple could do it too.



    I'd also think that when Linux is a mainstream OS, it will mean that at some point the WinTel hegemony will have been broken; your choice of machine will be less based on decisions a monopoly took for you and more to what's best for the job or you just plain like. That'll be great for Apple, should it occur. And anyway, why should it be different to how it is now; people say "Yes but the software's Windows® ... why get a Mac?".



    Interesting thread Snoopy.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I have doubts about the inevitable domination of Linux simply for this sort of thing. Never underestimate the power of a poor UI to cripple good technology. It's not that Linux can't become this, it's just that it seems to be taking an incredibly long time because the vast majority of Linux developers are not designers, and they see the UI as a tack-on instead of seeing it as integral to the design of the application or system.



    ResEdit on ArsTechnica's discussion of the subject made an interesting post. He pointed out how a more popular PPC architecture would make it easier to customize and "jazz up" Macintoshes at the same cost instead of drving down prices.



    here's the quote:



    Quote:

    ...it means Apple will be able to customize the chip they use for their needs while at the same time making OS X only run on their specific customization of the chip - thus cutting out the ability for third parties to make cheaper boxes that will run OS X...



    If the POWER architecture gets that much more popular, it simply makes Apple more nimble and flexible with what they can do with it. There's no correlation between POWER becoming a de-facto standard like x86 and Apple becoming the same, but it does have its own advantages they can pursue to that end.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Here is why I think PPC Linux could become a greater threat to OS X than Windows is today. IBM's vision for the PPC Family is to have it power everything from cell phones and PDAs all the way to big corporate servers and large scientific clusters. IBM appears to believe that the commonality of a PPC architecture is a great advantage that will drive their plan to success. I'm going to assume they have a valid point.



    Would not this same reasoning apply to the operating system? Linux is in the process of finding uses everywhere it seems. PPC Linux may eventually be seen as the universal OS, which can be used for everything. So why would people want to use OS X? Today, the obvious answer is the great user interface and accessory applications, which are included. But what about 10 or 15 years from now? If there is great momentum behind Linux, a much better user interface will come. Even if it is not as great as OS X, it will likely pass the most critical test of all, in most people's mind. It is good enough. That is all it will take.



    If Apple makes any progress with market share over the next several years, that may all be lost once PPC Linux gets much better. (I am still assuming that IBM plan works here.) Apple could slide back to where it is today in the market, and we will still be concerned about the availability of software applications. Right now, Apple has a great advantage in the market. The Macintosh is onboard with the best upcoming processors with IBM's PPC line. But down the road, when many others jump aboard, this unique advantage will disappear.



    What will it take to ensure a very strong position for Apple in the upcoming PPC revolution?





    Quote:

    Originally posted by BuonRotto

    . . Never underestimate the power of a poor UI to cripple good technology. .







  • Reply 8 of 32
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Eh, nobody knows what's gonna happen "10 to 15 years from now". Heck, even Longhorn might be out by then
  • Reply 9 of 32
    messiahtoshmessiahtosh Posts: 1,754member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chucker

    Eh, nobody knows what's gonna happen "10 to 15 years from now". Heck, even Longhorn might be out by then



    What a gloriously, funny, true, and hilarious statement.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I would bet that for linux to truly become popular and threaten OS X, it would have to come wrapped up and repackaged in a private proprietary framework and UI. Linux, in its true self, is only the base system. If someone comes along like what NeXT and then Apple bid for FreeBSD and it gains traction with its horizontal business model (selling the OS or OSes, not the whole widget), then Apple could be in trouble. At the same time, that company could be Apple itself. We still think Apple is stuck with OS 9 technology, but in fact, with the POWER architecture and FreeBSD and linux frameworks under the hood, makes Apple particularly well-suited to take up the torch, or at least come along for the ride. Their advantage is mature and highly adaptable software and hardware platforms. Their disadvantage could be the necessary (as of now, and it's the way I like it) coupling of hardware to go with its OS.



    Personally, I think the merits of the horizontal model for platform dominance are fewer now than in the 1990's; and I think the merits of an integrated solution, without the dichotomy of software vs. hardware, are growing. Computers are becoming less of a one-size-fits-all box. Apple would do much better if people and companies (and investors) stopped thinking of computers as a la carte hobbyist "beige boxes" and instead spoke of discrete markets for applications and solutions. The basic hardware architectures and base operating systems could be similar and interoperable (along with file formats), and Apple could dominate in select markets with select solutions. I just don't see another MS or MS business plan (which was really dependent on its Office suite to do what it did) coming out of the woodwork.



    And now I'm tired and rambling. I'll find out tomorrow if this post made any sense....
  • Reply 11 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BuonRotto

    I would bet that for linux to truly become popular and threaten OS X, it would have to come wrapped up and repackaged in a private proprietary framework and UI. Linux, in its true self, is only the base system. If someone comes along like what NeXT and then Apple bid for FreeBSD and it gains traction with its horizontal business model (selling the OS or OSes, not the whole widget), then Apple could be in trouble. At the same time, that company could be Apple itself. We still think Apple is stuck with OS 9 technology, but in fact, with the POWER architecture and FreeBSD and linux frameworks under the hood, makes Apple particularly well-suited to take up the torch, or at least come along for the ride. Their advantage is mature and highly adaptable software and hardware platforms. Their disadvantage could be the necessary (as of now, and it's the way I like it) coupling of hardware to go with its OS. . .









    If we consider IBM's interest in Linux, I think a better user interface is somewhere in their plans. Hopefully, their goals will not be as ambitious as Apples, and I don't think they will. IBM has a different focus than Apple.



    Taking off from some comments you made, Apple might do well to compete with Linux. Since Apple controls the open source code for Darwin, that would be the logical place for Apple to stay, rather than developing for Linux. Could Apple promote Darwin as an open source system, an alternative to Linux? It would seem to be an advantage if most PPC open systems used Darwin, rather than PPC Linux. (I'm assuming there would be fewer differences in the code, to move an application to OS X.)



    Apple could do two things to promote Darwin. First, Apple could make a respectable open source GUI for Darwin. Nothing like OS X, but something simple and better than what is available for Linux. Second, Apple could augment Xcode, so it produces code for open source Darwin as well as OS X. A developer could easily make an application that can be installed on either a Mac running OS X or any PPC computer running open source Darwin.



    The benefit of this will be greater if and when IBM's vision for high use of PPC processors becomes a reality.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    Quote:

    Originally posted by snoopy

    If we consider IBM's interest in Linux, I think a better user interface is somewhere in their plans. Hopefully, their goals will not be as ambitious as Apples, and I don't think they will. IBM has a different focus than Apple.



    Taking off from some comments you made, Apple might do well to compete with Linux. Since Apple controls the open source code for Darwin, that would be the logical place for Apple to stay, rather than developing for Linux. Could Apple promote Darwin as an open source system, an alternative to Linux? It would seem to be an advantage if most PPC open systems used Darwin, rather than PPC Linux. (I'm assuming there would be fewer differences in the code, to move an application to OS X.)



    Apple could do two things to promote Darwin. First, Apple could make a respectable open source GUI for Darwin. Nothing like OS X, but something simple and better than what is available for Linux. Second, Apple could augment Xcode, so it produces code for open source Darwin as well as OS X. A developer could easily make an application that can be installed on either a Mac running OS X or any PPC computer running open source Darwin.



    The benefit of this will be greater if and when IBM's vision for high use of PPC processors becomes a reality.




    I think you are absolutely right. Although Linux is quite impressive, the one thing holding it back is having a very user friendly GUI.



    And Apple has always been an expert in taking a difficult task and putting an easy face on it.



    I also think your idea for using Xcode to help compile Darwin based apps. I guess the main goal here is to push Darwin. Right now, only Linux and Mac OS X/Darwin are the main OS'es on running PPC. And I'm sure Apple would prefer Darwin to become more mainstream since it is the underlying code below Mac OS X.



    Just my two cents.



    Mike
  • Reply 13 of 32
    talksense101talksense101 Posts: 1,737member
    Apple should embrace Linux and build the next version of OS-X on top of it. xCode should allow cross development for Linux and OS-X. This will allow Apple to survive in it's niche even if someone comes up with a quad CPU G5 monster running Linux.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    I think you'd all be interested in Eric S. Raymond own horror story at http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cups-horror.html



    konelli
  • Reply 15 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by talksense101

    Apple should embrace Linux and build the next version of OS-X on top of it. xCode should allow cross development for Linux and OS-X. This will allow Apple to survive in it's niche even if someone comes up with a quad CPU G5 monster running Linux.





    Is there some advantage to having OS X built on Linux, rather than BSD Darwin as it is now? I've read that BSD, and OS X, are more secure than Linux. Also, since Apple has a great deal of experience with Darwin, Linux would need some big advantage for Apple to switch. I can think of one good reason not to switch, but I am only guessing here and could be wrong. Linux is not under Apple's control, and changes will be made to it by someone else, not Apple. Maybe these changes will be good for Apple, or maybe these changes will cause Apple to scramble to keep Aqua and Quartz and all the other goodies working properly.



    I think it would be easier for Apple to promote an open source package for Darwin. It just might catch on and eventually be more popular than Linux. Then too, maybe it wouldn't. But the development cost to give Darwin a kick start should not be very much. It would seem to be a low risk venture. Apple could partner with someone else, who would distribute and support it -- maybe a startup company called Blue Hat?
  • Reply 16 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Maybe the potential benefits of promoting open source Darwin are not obvious. Here it is in a little more detail along with my assumptions. Please do shoot it down if there are flaws. It's just an idea that floated into my head after I started this thread. After reading BuonRotto's second reply, I decided to go ahead and post it.



    Assumption 1: Open source does not mean all or even most applications will be free. I think the OS will be free, except for distribution and support fees, but only a few of the necessary applications will be available as open source. Open source platforms will attract developers, just as Windows and OS X do.



    Assumption 2: Open source will continue to grow and will become especially important on PPC hardware. If IBM's vision becomes a reality, open source on PPC could surpass open source on the X86. This possibility would certainly be realized if China adopted the PPC as their standard, so China could produce their own chips with IBM's help.



    Now, the question is, what OS will dominate open source PPC hardware? As things are today, most people would say Linux. But as Chucker so nicely pointed out, however, "Eh, nobody knows what's gonna happen 10 to 15 years from now". This statement is certainly true, but could hasten a company along on the road to extinction if it's taken to mean they cannot prepare for 10 to 15 years from now. But should Apple simply be content to survive the possible changes coming down the road? I don't think so. A company like Apple should be thinking of ways to shape the future 10 to 15 years from now.



    So I ask, why does it have to be Linux that molds the software future for PPC open source hardware? Unless I'm mistaken, it would benefit Apple greatly to have software written for an open source Darwin OS, with a simple but good open source GUI. If Xcode could spit out this Darwin code as well as OS X code, developers could have both versions on a CD-ROM. Any application written for open source Darwin would work on OS X too, if it's developed with Xcode. If Xcode is the best tool for open source development, OS X goes along for a free ride, so to speak.



    The GUI could be the thing that sways open source to Darwin. It should give Darwin the usefulness to be used in a typical business office, but not so good as to hurt Mac sales. It could then be the thing that boosts Mac sales. If an company is using PPC Darwin systems, a Mac would fit right in. Most of their software would work on the Mac as well as the open source Darwin machines. So they might add some Macs, and there would be no complaint from the IT folks.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    The question, snoopy, is: how do you find the proper place of such a Darwin between "an OS X for poor people and second-class citizens" (as perceived) and "an OS X that has everyone the 'real' OS X does, without the price tag and the marketing stuff"?
  • Reply 18 of 32
    jlljll Posts: 2,709member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by snoopy

    Would not this same reasoning apply to the operating system? Linux is in the process of finding uses everywhere it seems. PPC Linux may eventually be seen as the universal OS, which can be used for everything. So why would people want to use OS X? Today, the obvious answer is the great user interface and accessory applications, which are included. But what about 10 or 15 years from now? If there is great momentum behind Linux, a much better user interface will come. Even if it is not as great as OS X, it will likely pass the most critical test of all, in most people's mind. It is good enough. That is all it will take.



    Is $129 really that much money for an OS with support?



    Linux isn't free when used profesionally anyway. It's funny that when Oracle 10g is released for Mac OS X Server and Xserve G5 it will actually be cheaper to run Oracle on a Mac than on a Linux machine, since that requires a far-from-free Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS.



    And please remember that BSD x86 can run Linux binaries - perhaps BSD/OS X will have the same capabilities on PPC. Advantage: Mac OS X
  • Reply 19 of 32
    henriokhenriok Posts: 537member
    Linux is now really taking off and one should do best not to ignore that. A lot of applications are going to be written directly for Linux and even if one could quite easily do a OSX-port of such an app they'd have to run i X11 witch sucks.



    Apple should release Cocoa for Linux and other Unixes. I really think that developers would like to have a great API and toolbox for doing great apps, apps that through a mere recompile will look and work great in OSX and vice versa.



    I guess that there's some things in Cocoa that are not in GNUStep but since almost everything is open already just opening up Cocoa completely shouldn't be that hard for Apple.



    If they don't want to open up Cocoa then they might at least try to convince IBM to back it up on their PPC/Linux-platform. Why settle for Qt?
  • Reply 20 of 32
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JLL

    Is $129 really that much money for an OS with support? . . .









    I agree with you completely that $129 US for OS X should not be a problem. Yet, why do people run Linux rather than OS X? I think there are two reasons. First, OS X only runs on the Macintosh. Most buyers are attracted by lower prices and greater selection of generic, or open, hardware platforms. Second, hardware vendors can all offer Linux Unix, whereas only Apple can build and sell an OS X platform.



    As market conditions appear today, Linux market share will likely continue to grow. It may be a safe bet, therefore, that a good GUI will be available several years from now. When this happens, such a GUI could become the de facto standard for software development. Mac OS X may easily run Linux binaries, but what happens when most applications are written for a unique Linux API and graphic subsystem? Based on limited software knowledge, my guess is that OS X applications will have to be ported from Linux, much like they are ported from Windows today.



    My proposal is that Apple intervene and shape the direction of an open source OS. If Apple develops the open source GUI and graphics subsystem, possibly it could be made OS X friendly, so porting between systems is much easier. Such a move could ensure that OS X has more applications than it would otherwise. It also seems logical that an open source OS based on Darwin BSD would be easier for Apple to work with than Linux, and Darwin is under Apple's control. There would be no unexpected surprises in store with the underlying OS.



    Blue Hat, or whatever it's called, could be an independent company in partnership with Apple, or an Apple subsidiary. It's my guess that an open source OS based on Darwin BSD should be available for both X86 and PPC hardware, to give it the best possible opportunity to grow market share. As I mentioned before, the open source Apple GUI should be much better than what Linux has to offer, so there is good reason to switch. It also needs to be much less that the OS X experience, so there is good reason to move on to the Mac.
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