Should Linux be more like OS X?

In today's open source roundup: Should Linux distros look more like OS X? Plus: The Verge reviews Motorola's Moto E phone, and how to audit a Linux class for free

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Android, Linux

Apple's OS X operating system has been emulated by a number of Linux distros over the years. But does it really make sense for distro developers to take their cues from Apple? Apple is pretty much the antithesis of everything that open source software stands for, so why copy their product? examines this issue and finds that Linux should stand on its own.

According to

First and foremost, there is no debating that OS X is a fast-growing platform. It not only has deep roots in Linux architecture, it has been accepted by numerous types of users. There have been many attempts at “cloning” the OS X desktop on Linux. Some of those clones have succeeded, to varying levels.

But what is it about OS X that not only draws the users, but has Linux developers scrambling to clone? One fact that cannot be denied about OS X is the consistency found throughout. No design element has been overlooked and every window opened retains the overall look and feel better than any other desktop.

More at

Linux Distros That Look Like Apple's OS X
Image credit:

I've never understood why some Linux distro developers seek to copy OS X. It's a fine operating system in its own right, but if somebody wants OS X then why not just buy a Mac? To me it makes far more sense for Linux distro developers to focus on implementing their own unique ideas.

I wrote a review of Pear OS - one of the OS X clones - a while back and I finished the review with a reference to the Lord of the Rings. Here's the relevant section of that with a link back to the full review so you can see just how much like OS X (and iOS 7) Pear OS really was back then. What I wrote still stands, and I hope Linux distro developers take it to heart:

According to Desktop Linux Reviews:

At the beginning of the review I mentioned the old saying that imitation is the most since form of flattery. But something else popped into my mind as I was using Pear OS 8. In the Lord of the Rings there is a description of Isengard – the fortress of the wizard Saruman – that seemed oddly appropriate to Pear OS 8.

In this case Linux is Isengard, and Saruman is the developer of Pear OS 8. Apple, of course, is Barad-dur, the Dark Tower in Mordor.

Here is the quote from the Lord of the Rings:

“A strong place and wonderful was Isengard, and long it had been beautiful [...]. But Saruman had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes, and made it better, as he thought, being deceived – for all those arts and subtle devices, for which he forsook his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor; so that what he made was naught, only a little copy, a child’s model or a slave’s flattery, of that vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace of great power, Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower, which suffered no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its time, secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength.”

More at Desktop Linux Reviews

Pear OS 8 Copies Apple's OS X
Image credit: Desktop Linux Reviews

Moto E Android phone review
The Verge has a review of Motorola's inexpensive Moto E Android phone, and they seem to like it a lot.

According to The Verge:

Cutting what isn’t strictly necessary, but retaining a core of reliable performance and simple design, Motorola has set a new standard with the Moto E. No longer can phone manufacturers complacently issue hamstrung devices that only look, but don’t really act, like smartphones. Firefox OS and every other effort at building affordable smartphones will have to measure themselves against the Moto E’s comprehensive capabilities. This phone is fast and responsive, hides its compromises well, and its access to the Google Play Store plugs it into the vast and thriving Android ecosystem.

Android became the dominant mobile platform of today on the back of breakthrough high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Evo 4G, and Motorola Droid. The next stage in its growth will be driven by phones like the Moto E, a handset that’s affordable to many and good enough for most.

More at The Verge

Motorola Moto E Android Phone Review
Image credit: Amazon

I took a peek at the Motorola Moto E on Amazon to see what the user reviews were of this phone. As I write this, it has seven reviews and a five star rating. So it seems that The Verge's review was not off the mark, and people who have bought it really seem to like the phone.

Audit an Introduction to Linux class for free
If you are interested in learning more about Linux, or if you know someone who wants to get their feet wet with Linux, you can audit the Linux Foundation's "Introduction to Linux" class for free.

According to edX:

Linux powers 94% of the world’s supercomputers, most of the servers powering the Internet, the majority of financial trades worldwide and a billion Android devices. In short, Linux is everywhere. It appears in many different architectures, from mainframes to server to desktop to mobile and on a staggeringly wide variety of hardware.

This course explores the various tools and techniques commonly used by Linux programmers, system administrators and end users to achieve their day-to-day work in a Linux environment. It is designed for experienced computer users who have limited or no previous exposure to Linux, whether they are working in an individual or Enterprise environment.

Upon completion of this training you should have a good working knowledge of Linux, from both a graphical and command line perspective, allowing you to easily navigate through any of the major Linux distributions. You will be able to continue your progress as either a user, system administrator or developer using the acquired skill set.

More at edX

Be sure to watch the video of Linus embedded above for some thoughts on why it's worth it to learn more about Linux. It's great that the free audit option has been offered to people.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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