At Mac Musings: OS X Is Holding Back the Mac, Dan Knight suggests that Apple should abandon its BSD based Mach kernel and switch to Linux.
It is an interesting thought, but not very likely for the obvious reasons: tremendous investment in the current OS, the cost of development, and the resulting "me-too" OS. Maybe Apple could make a better Linux than anyone else has so far, but so what? How would that help Apple?
Dan says it would help performance:
The problem with Mach is that microkernels are inefficient because of all the communication taking place between different parts of the operating system. A monolithic kernel is more efficient because processes don't have to move in and out of the kernel.
Umm, OK, let's just take that as absolute truth (in spite of the fact that there are people who would argue that and insist that even if it is true the benefits outweigh any disadvantage). Whenever anyone talks about speed hampering anything, we have to remember that hardware keeps careening along getting ever faster and faster. Charges of inefficiency, bloat or anything else in that line are about as important as worrying about the color of the case: it barely matters to anyone except a few gamers and some folks doing massive number crunching. Nobody else is affected, or if they are, they won't be next week or next year.
What do you spend your day doing? I'm browsing web pages and typing - one of which is limited by my cable modem and the other by my finger skills. Sure, now and then I'd like something to happen faster, but it's pretty rare. Speed is not something I think about much nowadays.
So Apple switching to Linux would only be bad news for them. Not that I won't be running Linux in a virtual machine on my Intel Mac the minute that becomes possible. This isn't about the value of running Linux on Macs; that's a given in my world. But I see no incentive for Apple to move its kernel to Linux.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-03-17 Anthony Lawrence
On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?"...I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. (Charles Babbage)