Opportunity for Apple to sell Leopard as a standalone OS

Leopard, the next version of Apple's operating system, is to be released in October.

The timing for such introduction highlights the opportunity for Apple to offer the option of a standalone Leopard; e.g. the OS unbundled from Apple's hardware.

Two reasons contribute to an excellent timing for Apple to offer an unbundled operating system.

  • Vista's troubles. Vista's failure to deliver on the expectations created by Microsoft is such that end-users prefer Vista's predecessor, XP.
  • Increased use of virtualization. Virtualization has reached volume adoption and is now a needed function for software development and for other applications on the desktop and on the server. It is conceivable that a year from now consumers may buy computers able to run more than one operating system. In fact such computers may have no operating system other than a virtualization function as part of the hardware, bios or flash configuration.
These developments, problems with Vista and availability, acceptance and use of virtualization, result in a great opportunity for Apple.

Should Apple sell Leopard as a standalone operating system, for installation on a computer or under a virtual environment such as VMware, Virtuozzo, Parallels, Linux-KVM, XenSource, and Sun's xVM, will benefit consumers and Apple.
  • Consumers. Consumers have an alternative to Microsoft even if a standalone Leopard license is supported by Apple for operation on a virtual environment only.
  • Apple. Apple benefits by expanding adoption of its operating system beyond the present niche and enabling agile 64-bit Leopard to run on dual and quad Intel and AMD platforms directly or through virtualization.
Supporting vast combinations of hardware configurations is indeed a problem for any OS. However, offering unbundled Leopard for operation under a virtual environment is an attractive option.

Licensing Leopard for operation under a virtual environment simplifies support significantly given that video, disk, network and other devices are
virtualized, defined by each virtualization tool, thus avoiding support for vast number of devices, associated drivers, and contributing to stability.

We need now to develop in more than one OS. It is not a nice-to-have function; it is needed for several areas including cross-platform development.

I trust Apple will see the benefit of licensing Leopard standalone so I can install it on my mobile development environment: MS Vista, VMware and Ubuntu-64 as guest. I was skeptical, but VMware Workstation, on Vista-32-bit, supports 64-bit guests; it performs well and it is stable.


Of open source, open minds and open culture

I came across the blog referenced below identifying 10-principles proposed by the author from experience in software work.

It took more than software to evolve towards the Internet, Web, GPS, associated applications and services, the 'open' communications world of today and the results and culture of 'open source'.

Open source is about people, ideas, creativity, tools and technology, working with others through ongoing peer review to achieve results thought impossible in context of time, resources and conventional methods, processes, organizations and management.

The result is communities of dedicated people, members of projects, tasks, applications, and recently corporations, formal and mostly informal, working together productively to define and resolve problems, deliver results, effectively and in a responsive manner.

Often it is not about cost. It is rather about the cost of not doing it, of not delivering results in a timely manner, of missing a window of opportunity, of failing to offer solutions, of failing to offer value, of becoming irrelevant.

Open source brings to mind the potential application of same culture, communication and tools to define and address challenges in fields other than computing where intellectual property, patents and copyrights represent serious obstacles to development.

Here is a definition of Open Source, from opensource.org, that may be applied to fields other than information technology:

Open source is a development method that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process.

Areas that come to mind to apply open source methodology and culture include:

  • Education
  • Health
  • The environment
  • Energy
  • Government
I list below the 10-principles referenced in the subject blog.
  • Adoption precedes monetization.
  • Lots of customers is a greater barrier to entry than lots of intellectual property (IP).
  • A business' brand is its greatest asset in driving sales. Not its IP.
  • Lower barriers to evaluating and using your product.
  • Sell customer value, not vendor value.
  • Product use should breed re-use and further sharing.
  • A collective product best serves a collective market.
  • Invest in service and your product, not sales.
  • Transparency breeds trust, and trust breeds revenue.
  • People make a business.