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Apple to back Linux with dedicated manager

Mac maker seeks hard working executive to ensure Linux runs great on its CPUs. Non-smoker preferred

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Apple's strategy regarding Linux appears to be beginning to take shape: the company has started searching for someone to oversee the work being done by distributors of PowerPC versions of the open source operating system. Apple has just posted a job application, discovered by Mac Web site MacInTouch, for anyone interested in becoming the company's Technology Manager for Linux. Interestingly, the successful applicant will be "responsible for making Linux developers who support Apple's hardware more successful" by helping "Linux developers get seeded with new Apple hardware to guarantee support for our new CPUs". Varieties of Linux mentioned by Apple include LinuxPPC, mkLinux and TerraSoft's upcoming Champion. The appointment signals something of a shift for Apple. With the release of the first Power Mac G3 boxes, the company appeared to move away from its earlier position of helping OS developers ensure their software was fully compatible with Apple's hardware. That's one of the reasons cited of Be's increasing focus on the Wintel world, despite the fact that BeOS runs far more successfully on a Mac than a PC. So far, none of the main PowerPC varieties of Linux will run on the latest 'blue and white' G3s, although LinuxPPC, for one, can now be made to work on the iMac. Last week's announcement that the company would be posting components of MacOS X Server under an open source-style licence led many observers to speculate that the company would wish to focus would-be Linux users' attention on its own product. Clearly Apple now recognises Linux is a factor when business customers come to choose hardware, and it obviously wants those who are set on Linux as their OS of choice will get the best results if they run it on a Mac rather than an Intel-based box. Indeed, the appointment of an Apple Technology Manager for Linux could pave the way for the Linux-based G3 rumoured to have been in preparation for January's MacWorld Expo in San Francisco (see Apple plans Linux-Mac launch for MacWorld). With the major PC vendors ramping up their Linux support, particularly as a sales option, Apple clearly doesn't want to be left out. ®

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