Will Linux hurt Apple more than Microsoft?

Slate has an interesting article up that questions whether the popularity of Linux may hurt Apple more than it hurts Microsoft. The crux of the argument is that a free alternative like Linux, which runs on a wide variety of readily available cheap hardware, is a far more attractive alternative to Microsoft in trying economic times.

Apple does have a usability advantage of Linux, and OS X is undeniably sexy. However, as some Linux distributions look to emulate the Windows GUI and manufacturers sell budget systems with Linux pre-installed to eliminate hassles, fewer potential /switchers may be able to justify Apple's price premium.

It's important to note that Slate is owned by Microsoft. Still, the article makes some pretty compelling arguments for Linux taking over the number two spot on the desktop. Content creation professionals will no doubt flock to the new G5s, but will Apple's eMac and iMac lose out to much cheaper Linux-based alternatives?

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