How to avoid the Apple tax?

Tommy Trussell tommy.trussell at
Mon Aug 27 13:47:14 UTC 2007

On 8/27/07, Brad Johnson <lists at> wrote:
> The hardware locks you into
> the software (Apple OSX Tax) and the software locks you into the
> hardware.
> This is different from Microsoft in that you can put Windows on any PC
> hardware you want. Considering market share, pound-for-pound, Apple is
> being MUCH more restrictive and in the the Open Source arena,
> restrictive = evil.

As a long-time user of Apple hardware and software, I don't mind
paying for the OS and the hardware. I disagree that the package costs
significantly more than a Windows PC, especially when you factor in
the time and effort required to set up and maintain it. Of course you
can save some money on a Windows PC but then you pay the "Microsoft
Tax," and the "Antivirus Tax" and the "Medication Tax" (for all the
migraines from worrying about malicious software). Ubuntu is not
without its taxations, either, but for the most part they're shareable
-- payable via community involvement.

HOWEVER... again as a long-time user of Apple and non-Apple hardware
and software, remember the "lock in" comes more from the APPLICATIONS
than the OS. I've NEVER had trouble copying my Apple files back and
forth among different systems, because Apple HAS to make the files
interoperable. But, if I try to OPEN files using other vendor's
software, there's almost always trouble.

The real trick, as I have been learning over the past couple of years
using Ubuntu on Apple and non-Apple hardware, is to set up a situation
where you retain control of your own data.

For example, although my wife's Mac uses OS X, I don't encourage her
to use iPhoto because once the photos go into its directory structure,
it's a hassle to get them out. The GNOME equivalent may or may not be
better technically, but if she wanted to use it I would encourage it
over the Apple application because I know we can access the data from
other platforms if needed. (For the record, I don't use a photo
management application yet -- so far I've been happy enough copying
the photos to directories "manually.")

To me the real "evil" of proprietary applications is the lack of
import/export with other applications. The closed operating system
utilities provide fancy decorations on the jailhouse to keep you from
noticing the bars on the windows and doors. You don't notice the bars
until you try to leave....

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