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Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers

ovation1357 Bronze badge

I really want to upvote this because I do agree with the non-OS part but at the same time I can't because I truly believe it didn't have to be that way (but I'm not downvoting either!).

Someone else could have done a much better job of supporting a wide range of general hardware. There _could_ have been a major, commercial OS which worked well on general hardware but also got dedicated support for hardware from a range of vendors that all had their own selling points but also contributed support to a common OS.

I know this could have been done in the past because we now have Linux, which not only has a whole load of big commercial contributors but also does a truly amazing job of running extremely well on a huge range of general hardware in all sorts of combinations. These days I'm more likely to encounter a device driver headache with Windows than I am on Linux, and of course on a Mac if you stray beyond the walled garden then you're just going to get fried by the dragons.

I do completely accept that there is still (sadly) a whole stack of hardware and peripherals that will only ever work with Windows because of closed binary blob drivers that would have to be reverse engineered to work on anything else and/or a complex Windows driver stack which the vendor won't port... But...

This brings me to a completely opposite point that actually we might have had over 20 years of pain and general "suckery" (actually it's over 30 and probably nearing 40), however whilst you can run Windows on a big range of hardware, Microsoft still has a disturbing level of control over that hardware. For starters it very hard to buy a machine that doesn't have Microsoft's dedicated Windows keys on the keyboard which should be a big red flag for starters (or is that a blue flag of death?) but it goes so much deeper - they have very significant influence over the BIOS - they've steered the move to UEFI to include secure boot and hardware embedded Windows licence keys. They get the OEMs to bundle Windows with every machine they sell and have even locked down mobile devices to be Windows-only. And then there are a whole host of peripheral manufactures who produce completely closed hardware which only has Windows support - some of whom may be in Microsoft's pockets, whilst perhaps others don't (or didn't) see other OSs as worth the effort.

I actually think I have Apple's increased market share to thank for the fact that an increasing number of devices officially support Mac as well (obviously increased Android share is also helping here): By adding Mac support I believe these manufactures have opened their eyes to life beyond just Microsoft and have made their hardware a little more open and/or standards complaint, paving the way for open source drivers that can potentially be written for any hardware-OS combination.

Folks continue to jibe about the never-arriving year of Linux in the desktop, yet Linux on the server is very much alive and forcing MS to change their game. And so many devices now actually provide official Linux drivers... If the age-old arguments about commercial viability are true then these guys clearly now see it as a commercially viable thing to do. I don't entirely understand why Apple isn't interested in the server market any more but that's up to to them.

Personally I don't give two shits what they do next because I've never been wowed by their shiny products and would never pay the massively overinflated price tags even if I did believe they were offering something amazingly superior...

It seems that they've already screwed over a great number of people by ditching 32-bit support, especially when some of the very popular (and indeed even commercially important) software hasn't got a production-ready 64bit offering but now they're taking a brave step to adopting what I'm certain is a superior architecture (and I'm hoping may genuinely stimulate Linux on ARM as well) but which they will execute in their usual way of saying it's this or nothing.

Personally I doubt they'll produce a supported VM - it's way too far outside of their comfort zone and would likely require a whole load of work to make it stable.

What I'd love to see is the jilted Apple users voting with their feet and migrating to new software on other platforms. It might happen.

Fair enough - GIMP isn't going to replace Photoshop anytime soon, but Photoshop is available on Windows on genetic x86 hardware and from what I've read - the gap is much narrower between things like Illustrator and Inkscape, and I think the likes of Scribus is for desktop publishing is also held in quite high regard. There's open source video editing software which is being widely used by commercial content producers. I believe the BlendR has a genuine place in 3d animation and effects now. Krita looks amazing. Whether it's Linux or something else, there really is an ever-increasing range of excellent open-source software which supports a wide range of architectures and often runs on multiple OSes as well. If there's any trend of moving away from expensive Apple kit with all of its hardware and software vendor lock-in, to a more open environment that there's just a possibly the Apple's shift to ARM might accelerate that.

Could Apple's jump to ARM be enough to cause not only a swing away from their products but also a reset of the 'industry standards' on some of the expensive propriety software and especially the property data-interchange formats that currently mean that switching software but isn't an option in some professions?

Time, as they say, will tell. I remember the time that Apple was nearly dead-and-buried but then made a small success of the iMac and rose from its own ashes with the iPod - I envisage another time in a few decades when their stuff is irrelevant and people can barely give it away. Hard to imagine given how vast, rich and powerful they are now but then: the bigger they come, the harder they fall.


I really don't like Apple or Microsoft and I'm probably an insane commie-socialist who naively believes in the possibility of a free and open world of software and hardware

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