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Mac OS X doesn't come cheap

In response to the Jan. 22 article by Joe Wilcox and Stephen Shankland, "X11: Apple's secret formula":

Although I generally enjoy reading articles, I have to say I am shocked by the argument that Mac OS X is cheaper than competing Unix desktop solutions.

Sun Microsystems' main focus, at least in the recent past, has been on reliable server technology, not on workstations. Yes, they are not competitive. However, I do not understand how there was no mention of competing x86 solutions running Linux in that part of the discussion?

Most people know that Apple computers have a horrible price/performance ratio, which can be easily shown here, too. A quick look at the Dell Computer site reveals that you can configure and purchase a Pentium IV with hyper-threading running at 3GHz with 1.5GB of RAM, 200GB HDD, DVD+R/RW and wireless networking for less than $3,700.

Even benchmarks and tests on video editing and photo/graphics editing, typically Apple's performance strongholds, have shown that a 2.4GHz PIV will blow away a Dual G4 1GHz by margin of more than 50 percent. So I am sure that the above-configured Dell will outperform your proposed "cost-efficient" Mac configuration by a large margin. Linux can easily be installed on this Dell machine and yes, Linux supports DVD+R/RW and wireless networking very well, despite your vague argument that those technologies are not typically available on a Linux workstation. Likewise, the argument about a lack of Sun portable computers is a nonissue since there are gazillions of x86 vendors with laptops that run Linux very well.

Martin Stolle
Montreal, Quebec