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Apple seems preternaturally constrained by engineer time; I can't see why they would devote a scarce resource like that to qualifying drivers for anything older than Windows 10 Anniversary Edition.

They have incredible amount of cash reserves. An investment in Linux drivers would go against their mission of OSX penetration. It has nothing to do with being unable to do it.

You can't just throw money at a problem and it magically gets solved. Adding additional requirements puts strain on your core team, there's no way around it.

If you could 100% compartmentalize this, have people working on it independently, maybe you could minimize impact, but how can you justify that spending?

They know the open-source community is capable of working to fix problems like this.

Seems to me your statements are contradictory. The open-source community has no contact with Apple's core team. Either the open source community can't do it, or Apple could do it without adding strain to its core team.

Every employee of Apple adds to the organizational weight. If they're throwing money at something that money needs to be accounted for, there needs to be check-ins and reviews and...

The open-source community can do it. Look, we got Linux on the PS4. This isn't even hard by comparison.

They could sponsor a developer or provide hardware to willing developers.

You really don't get how Apple works, do you?

I agree that it's not a lack of resources, but I don't think it's about OSX penetration. They don't seem to care much about OSX penetration anymore. If they did, they would make a wider range of OSX devices and sell them at a more competitive price or license it to other hardware makers who would do so so they could get OSX into more hands.

It's about control. Apple doesn't want YOU to replace OSX, they want to do it themselves with something they control, not let you gain control.

Just like any other computer manufacturer, it was an historical accident that PC compatibles turned out differently.

However thanks to the razor thin margins and the desktops being replaced by laptops with docking stations, they are a dying breed.

I don't think they care about OSX penetration, but they care about their competitive advantage of controlling both the software and hardware. Stuff like retina display was hugely easier to introduce by Apple than any other constructor thanks to having OSX in house and only their hardware to support.

Investing in Linux would not be a problem it just means that is becomes just a tiny bit harder to do whatever they want on the hardware side. I'm surprised they still maintain Bootcamp.

It's not about the money.

Apple prefers and has done a lot better with smaller, more focused teams.

It's worth remembering that a Mac virtually never supports an OS released before it. They usually ship with a special build of the current version, and later point releases of macOS support the hardware directly. I wouldn't call that a scarce resource problem, but a convenient way of not having to create backwards compatible hardware. Just build hardware sensibly within your corporate world view, perhaps tweak it a bit for the latest version of Windows, and that's all you need.

They could pay a third party to do this and provide them with the necessary documentation of the internals (which probably don't stray very far from standard hardware).

A simple announcement as in "We're working on it. Expect Linux drivers in 6-12 months." would suffice to calm the waves.

In our bubble we see waves, Apple is just seeing huge sales numbers.

Has Apple ever released Linux drivers before?

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