David Chappell


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Is the Mac the Real Unix Desktop?  
# Monday, December 29, 2003
Sitting in Starbucks the other day, I noticed the guy next to me had one of those beautiful 17" Macintosh PowerBooks. After I beat down my envy (why can't the maker of any Intel-based machine show even a fraction of Apple's style?), I also noticed that he had nothing but white-on-green-background text windows open, all running vi. He was busily writing C++ code.

In case you haven't noticed it, the Mac has become the coolest Unix client out there. Since Apple's decision to base the Mac's operating system on a Mach microkernel and to offer a 4.4 BSD Unix interface along with its traditional personalities, the most au courant Unix guys seem to have adopted the Mac. A friend who attended the latest ApacheCon tells me that even at this open source love fest, the leading lights were mostly carrying PowerBooks rather than Intel-powered Linux laptops, perhaps in homage to the Mac's open source Darwin foundation.

Linux on the desktop has been struggling to achieve the Mac's market share. By making the Mac a great Unix system, Apple has made this goal even harder to reach.

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