Recently on the Ubuntu Users mailing list there has been a thread on the ‘Apple TAX’ which started as somebody posting about purchasing an Intel based Apple without OS X, but has developed on to a discussion that seems to be comparing the inclusion by Apple of OS X with their systems to the inclusion by Dell and other PC manufacturers of Windows with their computers. I started off putting together a reply to one of the posts in that thread, but having typed it out I decided not to add fuel to the flames on that thread but to post a blog entry instead.
I may well be about to upset the applecart here, but personally do not see Apple including an OS with their hardware as a TAX. Part of this may be historical in that their platform started out back in the days when the primary development model was to create both hardware and OS in tandem to create a new platform. I’m thinking here of platforms like the Amiga, Atari ST, Acorn Archimedes and even IBM’s original intent with the IBM PC (I suspect). The majority of it, though, is the fact that I do not see it as in my remit to demand of Apple the removal of their freedom to create a product to the
specification that they choose. I would see that as against that basic principles of freedom on which Ubuntu, Linux and other free software is based. Apple have a product, and they have defined that the market they are targeting it at is that of people that want a package deal of a computer built, installed and ready to use. That is completely up to them.