Signs of a coming Linux/Apple world?

by Hans on 2005/04/18

Here’s an interesting article that I came across on Computerworld.com reporting on the increase in use of Apple computers in the life sciences.

I know that in my particular “lab” (i.e., The Centre for Global eHealth Innovation), most people seem to be moving away from Microsoft Windows machines and to either Apple’s Mac or to Linux (or both!) with an ever increasing popularity of Open Source. This shift seems to have been in progress for about a year and looks like it will continue. I know that I’m planning to dive into the Apple world (I’m currently saving to get a 12″ Powerbook).

Why is this happening? Personally, I can’t say that I find the Mac OS to be so amazing that I have to drop Windows XP. In recent years, I’m growing tired of all the constant updates, security issues, and unreliability of Microsoft’s Windows. Sure, Windows computers are cheaper than others, but I think I would prefer something tightly integrated that I know works without having to do hours and hours of research. Maybe in the “scientific/academic” community, there may be a similar thinking going on. I know that I’m giving Linux and Open Source a good hard look, but I’m just not technical enough to warrant switching everything over (although the Linux installation and configuration is getting much better and easier to do).

Do these small things suggest things for the future? Maybe. These things that I’ve noted and observed seem to be occuring in the “research & development” types. The Centre for Global eHealth Innovation is located in a hospital (University Health Network), and the hospital is still a Windows-based environment. Actually, I don’t see this hospital (or any other) switching to Mac computers any time soon. Linux *may* get a look as a server somewhere, but I just don’t see too many “corporate” types (at least in health care) switching. Hospitals just can’t afford to gut the infrastructure that’s been built-up over years and years. Unfortunately, the infrastructure is mostly based on Windows boxes and tied to vendor willingness to support non-Windows computers.

Is there a Mac/Linux world out there in the future? Maybe, but it sure seems a long time coming. Linux may have a better chance because of the US government’s work in developing the Vista (Open Source) system. I know that Linux and Open Source are not the same things, but they both represent a different way of thinking.

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