Apple ‘Switch’ Campaign Shifts to UNIX Crowd

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple Computer this week targeted UNIX users (in addition to Microsoft Windows users) in its drive to “switch” non-Mac users to its OS X platform.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker Tuesday released the public beta of X11 for Mac OS X 10.2 or “Jaguar”. The common windowing environment and open source XFree86 project for UNIX operating systems lets X11-based applications run side-by-side with native Mac OS X applications on the same desktop. Apple said the final version of X11 for Mac OS X would be made available later in 2003.

Apple VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller reported some 25,000 downloads in the last 24 hours as the company continues to wave its new title of “highest volume supplier of UNIX-based systems.”

“Mac OS X is really catching on with the UNIX community because of its standards-based approach, familiar tool sets and rich foundation for building modern applications,” Schiller said.

Schiller also said there have been more than 300,000 downloads of its new Open-Source Browser – Safari since its release was announced 24-hours earlier. Apple said 50 percent of downloads of Unix 11X were from the Safari browser and that upwards of 20 percent of all Apple traffic has been from Safari.

X11 for Mac OS X comes with software, client libraries and optional developer toolkits that lets developers build almost any X11R6.6 application with a simple recompile. Apple said its version of X11 is completely integrated with the Aqua user interface for better “cut and paste” between X11 and Mac OS X applications and full access to Aqua controls for zoom, close and minimization to the Dock.

“A lot of our developers are getting excited about the new applications they can build. We’re starting the process by laying the groundwork with our computing and graphics capabilities,” Schiller said.

While the six-month-old “switch” campaign targets mostly Microsoft Window’s users, Apple is also aggressively looking at other non-Mac environments to see where they can best fit in.

Even though it has not released stats on how many UNIX users are making the switch, during his keynote Apple CEO Steve Jobs reported 7.8 million unique visitors to the company’s Switcher Campaign Web site since June. Jobs said around 68 percent were running the Windows operating system.

To get the latest upgrades, Mac OS X users have to download a v10.2.3 Combo Update. The software covers security the latest versions of Address Book, AppleScript, Classic compatibility, Disk Copy, Disk Utility, Help Viewer, iChat, Image Capture, IP Firewall, Kerberos, Mail, OpenGL, Print Center, Rendezvous, and Sherlock. It provides audio, disc recording, graphics, printing improvements; AFP and WebDAV networking and Windows file service discovery improvements, as well as USB, Firewire and SCSI device compatibility enhancements.

According to Mac-related bulletin boards, Apple was having problems with its server farms mid-Wednesday. The company was not available to comment on the issue.

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