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Mac-optimized Linux Distro

PowerPC Macs - MacRumors Forums -
tl;dr: Who'd be interested in a Linux distro with a familiar OSX look-and-feel, decent performance on PPC Macs, intuitive user experience (App bundles / software centre instead of package manager to install apps) and a bright future through the latest software?

I'm part way through porting the excellent Crunchbang Linux to the PowerPC platform (I'll hopefully have some progress on my blog in the coming days) and am toying with the idea of an OSX-esque Linux distro specifically optimized to get the last drops of performance out of these machines. I would like to gauge the interest in such a distro, because it is no small undertaking.

Now there will be people from the Linux camp gathering up their pitchforks and torches, but the truth is that there are a lot of PPC users out there still (I've had over 1,500 downloads of my Flash 11.5 hack, I'd be interested to see how many downloads the Mountain Lion theme has had), and not many of them have the patience nor time to learn Linux. I know Ubuntu exists for this purpose (among others), but let's be honest, it's severely bloated. While the Ubuntu derivatives are much better (Lubuntu, Xubuntu), the user experience for a non-technical person is not going to be fun - especially as they don't hold your hand all the way like Ubuntu does.

The problem is OSX works wonderfully, but it is long abandoned. There is a core group of developers who still do some brilliant work (TFF etc.), but that is it as far as app development goes. I'd be hard-pushed to find many popular apps which are still developed for PPC - it seems they've all dropped off these past couple of years. So while the OS still works fine (let's not forget security issues mind!), we are stuck with the prospect of next to no new apps. People like the eye-candy, the way it just works, and the quality apps.

Such a combination is rare in a Linux distro and is why I am suggesting such a thing in the first place. Taking the best from both worlds is what I envisage. A familiar OSX (Tiger?) look coupled with a carefully thought out selection of software built with PPC optimizations and an intuitive way for managing apps (I wrote an OSX-style app bundle implementation for another distro I was working on) and I think you have a really nice solid base for a future-proof OS for daily use.

I started a thread the other day saying what technologies were keeping our Macs alive and relevant - I don't think any of them were tied to the OS. We have hardware which is still perfectly relevant and useful in this day and age (graphics hardware, USB 2.0, wireless etc.) as well as a rich and open platform for apps on the web (HTML5). Taking advantage of all of that in such a distro would be an amazing bonus.

Thank you for staying with me thus far, it was a lot to read! I'd be interested to hear comments.
Date: Jun 25, 2013   

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