Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Apple goes Intel -- Implications and predictions

Wow. In a stunning move Apple has decided to go to Intel processors. Being an ex-NeXT guy I can tell you that I've always known that OS X was leading a double life on intel processors. This might actually be some very exciting news.

A few questions come out of this event:

Q1) What does this mean for Linux?
Q2) How will this effect Windows?
Q3) What does this mean for GNUstep?

A1: Basically nothing. Mac OS X cannot compete with the price of Linux or the *BSDs. It's $129. FLOSS will always be very cheap or freely available.
A2: It will likely have a good deal of impact on Windows. There is already a project called MacWINE whose purpose is to allow the Mac to run Windows programs. Once OS X is running on Intel, I predict that this project or something very much like it will become a centerpiece of OS X's collection of standard programs. This would remove the common excuse most people give for not using a Mac: "There's no software for it."
A3: This could be an opportunity for GNUstep to shine. If GNUstep can become the equivalent of Wine for OSX, then it bodes well for GNUstep. Additionally, Apple is unlikely to port its APIs elsewhere (i.e. to other environments) so GNUstep will be necessary to fill this gap.