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Apple Businesses Operating Systems BSD

BSD User's Review Of OS X 406

Posted by Hemos
from the time-for-the-your-check-up dept.
Lally Singh writes: "Getting bored with the latest distribution? Or getting tired of searching for drivers for your 8 bit soundblaster (in)compatible? Then listen to one BSD user's opinion of Mac OS X. And stop complaining about the hardware. Give a Powermac or one of the portables a chance before knocking on it."
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BSD User's Review of OS X

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  • Our friend's browser count for Mac OS X is a little low. He includes:
    Internet Explorer, OmniWeb, and Mozilla.

    He neglects: Opera and iCab and Lynx. I'm posting this from iCab, which
    I love (though it can't seem to handle hotmail and crashes on a few things, it's overall snappier than IE. I can almost quit and restart it
    in the time it takes IE to come up with a new window after switching
    back from another app). I don't know how any Unix geek could possibly
    leave lynx out of the pantheon of browsers.

    As for Mozilla: uch. I can't even get beyond the splash screen on my
    machine. I almost think it doesn't count.

  • by Metrol (147060) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @06:55AM (#2125636) Homepage
    With FreeBSD I have to edit /etc/rc.conf or tinker with ifconfig. Even then I need to make sure my default gateway is set just right. Making such changes can be problematic for a novice. As a part of a popular desktop, it must be easier.

    Okay, he did mention the most of the right files and all. Still, he managed to install FreeBSD without ever looking at "sysinstall"? Okay, maybe sysinstall doesn't have all the transparent glossiness there, but by gosh, all the basic network settings can be done right there. A user need not ever know that rc.conf exists!

    With this router I can also run DHCP to auto-configure network systems on my private network. Within moments I had connectivity to the internet.

    Again, DHCP is an option right in sysinstall. You do not have to go hunting through a 3 foot high stack of how-to's and man pages. This is right within the installer, which you can call back at any time.

    With BSD systems you may not even have driver support and therefore have no sound at all.

    I've successfuly got going 4 different sound cards with FreeBSD. One of which was built on to the motherboard, two were PCI, and the last was ISA. Each one needed the very same tweak to the kernel. Okay, kernel tweaking may not be for the newbie, but it did work each time.

    I won't even get into the troubles this guy had with getting the compiler to work. Again, the real FreeBSD would have been WAY easier.
    • Okay, he did mention the most of the right files and all. Still, he managed to install FreeBSD without ever looking at "sysinstall"?

      He wasn't talking about installing. Everyone knows that initial network configuration is made easy in the install. He was talking about migrating to and from different network environments. For that the only good way I know is to write scripts that modify /etc/rc.conf, etc. I'd be willing to bet that is how Apple implemented their "Locations" feature. This would be something for The BSD folks (and Linux distros, fot hat matter) to look at. Maybe more Linux than BSD because it's more oriented toward the desktop, and hence laptops.

  • by Julius X (14690) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @08:47AM (#2148142) Homepage
    I don't understand for the life of me why this guy kept bitching about not being able to compile things...seems like this guy had more trouble than I've ever heard of to get to these things.

    And then there was Apache...why oh why did he feel the need to recompile Apache, when OSX comes with a Native Version [apple.com] of the damned thing that is far easier to use and confiugre than our standard *nix Apache.

    *Sigh*
  • a bit of humor (Score:2, Insightful)

    by athagon (410963)
    to paraphrase from the article, and quote a bit "There is a known issue where an iBook does not wake up after it goes to sleep, so the workaround is to simply to turn off the sleep feature. Eventually there should be a fix.". i can just see the headlines now! "apple's secret plans to murder helpless ibooks in their sleep! authorities baffled, criminal on the loose! WILL HE BE CAUGHT?" =D
  • > Getting bored with the latest distribution?

    What?! Since when did your OS become a style choice? It's not something you should change just because you "get bored" with it! It's a tool that you select based on your needs. (That's not to say anything of the other "tools" which seem to frequently post stories to /. nowadays.)

    -Chris
  • Hardware (Score:3, Funny)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3@nosPAm.phroggy.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @09:54PM (#2168244) Homepage
    And stop complaining about the hardware. Give a Powermac or one of the portables a chance before knocking on it.

    Does this mean knocking on the iMacs without first giving them a chance is perfectly acceptible? ;-)
  • by pjbass (144318) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @09:54PM (#2168246) Homepage
    I'm glad to see that OSX is shaping up to what it promised. I saw it in beta and on its first official release on my buddy's dual-G4, and did nothing but drool. It's pretty. And it's pretty quick too. I'm glad to hear that someone who has better access to it and knows what to look for in the OS gave his thumbs up. Apple needs this boost, and it never hurts for BSD to chalk up another feather in its cap.
  • CC? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jessemckinney (398160) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:03PM (#2168290)
    This guy did not use the developer tools that came with OS X. They are downloadable from the apple site. I don't think that I can believe what this guy says if he can't even get the right set of tools.
    • Re:CC? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Offwhite98 (101400)
      I am that guy...

      At the time Apple did not have the Developer Tools available for download. I actually waited for a few weeks and finally resorted to Darwin, which is the same tools anyway, minus the Project Builder apps.

      But after 10.0.4 came out they also made many of the tools available to ADC members. Regardless, the tools I got from Darwin already worked.
  • Consumer Unix (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LeyDruid (124591) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:06PM (#2168296)
    I'm having fun with OS X on my new 866 G4 tower (plus dual-booting LinuxPPC ;-) . It's fairly quick on my machine, but I'm looking forward to the 10.1 speed jump.

    OS X doesn't get everything right, but I think its probably the closest any Unix variant will come to the general consumer's desktop. OS X is a usable Unix distro, but has the niceties that most home users expect, and really require. Yes, translucent buttons on top of a port scanner are a requirement. Sure, its nice to grep for things, but my next-door soccer mom neighboor isn't going to. But I can use SSH to administer my website. This duality makes OS X the most usable OS - almost. Not enough native apps yet. :-p

    Later,
    Goss
  • by Zorkon (121860) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:06PM (#2168299) Homepage
    Contrary to popular belief in the x86 world (of which I was a part until recently), Apple hardware is not only very spiffy looking, it's very well engineered IMHO.

    After a series of problems with 4 Sony Vaio notebooks (two PCG-748s, a Picturebook, and a PCG-F630), my girlfriend and I decided to look for alternative mobile computing solutions. Both of us being Unix/Linux users, we were drawn to the Apple Powerbooks/iBooks (the new model, not the clamshell).

    The notebooks feel solid. They have excellent battery life (I got 4.5 hours on a charge at the Ottawa Linux Symposium, while surfing wirelessly the whole time). The G3 and G4 processors feel fast. You don't have to have a 1 GHz Intel beast in your notebook - performance isn't measured solely by MHz, and especially not across different chip architectures!

    Sure, I had some minor complaints - only one mouse button for instance. But both YellowDog and LinuxPPC allow you to easily remap keys to mouse buttons. Guess what? That Apple key, and the "enter" key, on either side of the spacebar, just above the mouse pad on a G4 Titanium make excellent mouse buttons! Not to mention full USB support for external keyboards/mice when "docked". Built in antennas for wireless networking reduce the cost of a wireless network card... here in Canada, an 802.11b wireless card typically runs around $220 Cdn, whereas the Apple Airport (OEMed Lucent 802.11b card) runs about $140. And the G4 Titanium's screen is simply the most georgeous thing out there IMHO.

    Price-wise Apple hardware isn't all that bad these days. Sure, the G4 Titanium is expensive when compared to a Dell Latitude. But the G4 Ti is the top of the line Apple - it has more in common with the Dell 8100 series... and when you compare those two, the difference is $50-$100 Cdn.

    Ultimately, it's up to the individual user to decide which notebook best suits them. But at least give an Apple notebook a chance before dismissing it. They are really quite nice (and quite popular with the Linux coder crowd at the Ottawa Linux Symposium - there were many, many, many Powerbook G4s, and a few iBooks).

    • Sure, the G4 Titanium is expensive when compared to a Dell Latitude. But the G4 Ti is the top of the line Apple - it has more in common with the Dell 8100 series... and when you compare those two, the difference is $50-$100 Cdn.

      I agree, the Ti is an awesome laptop, but let's allow it to stand on it's own merits. It STARTS at US $2599. I just configured a Dell 8100 for $2,148.00 through their 'small business' store.

      $450 is nothing to sneeze at, and will buy you a shitload of memory, giant hard drive, case, docking station, whatever. The Dell also has the best laptop video card avaiable (GeForce2go) whereas the Mac has the older ATI graphics.

      So Apple is not quite there yet on price, but they are getting closer with the portables. Unfortunately, the G4 tower and iMac are getting further away...

      • You got a good deal... although that may be because you're located in the US. Here in Canada, Dell is selling the 8100 for quite a bit of $$$. As I mentioned, at the time I purchased my G4 Titanium, there was only a $50 difference between a Dell 8100 and the G4... not the $450 difference you claim. But then again, if you're in the US, you'll probably be able to save that $450.
      • Well, I'm glad you own a small business. Now how about me, who is just a consumer? What is the equivalent price? And no, I'm not going to go check myself because you just priced 2 different computers through 2 different schemes, and I don't know how you priced your small business computer. Come back with a consumer price please.
      • Apple has a rather bad habit of introducing a very competitive machine and then not bothering to update it until it's quite uncompetitive. The best time to buy is right after introduction. There are rumors about new TiPBs in the late September time frame.
    • some advise (Score:5, Funny)

      by 6EQUJ5 (446008) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @12:13AM (#2168820) Homepage
      "...my girlfriend and I decided to look for alternative mobile computing solutions."

      Don't say that you have a girlfriend on slashdot. You lose a lot of credibility around here.
      • heheh... Good point. However, I should point out that she's a computer science / chemistry girlfriend who hates chick flicks, builds her own 'puters, and codes some bad-ass C++ and Java. ;)
  • Fundamental? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by "Zow" (6449) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:28PM (#2168391) Homepage

    Okay, I've just started reading and already I've hit:

    As a member of the BSD faithful I want to have access to the fundamental tools that I find with the other major BSD platforms, like a web and database server, compilers and network utilities.

    I guess the author & I have a different idea of "fundamental". My idea of a fundamental is being able to dd to a raw device. I'll grant that compilers and network utilities can be fundamental depending on the application, but web & db servers? Besides, it's not like you couldn't get all four of those under MacOS. I think OS X is much more impressive under the hood as opposed to just the benefits of adding a CLI.

    There, I've said my peace - flame away.

    -"Zow"

  • huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ogerman (136333) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:08PM (#2168555)
    Getting bored with the latest distribution? Uhh.. No. But the latest Debian Testing is absolutely excellent I might add.

    Or getting tired of searching for drivers for your 8 bit soundblaster (in)compatible? Umm.. They exist, but why would I use an 8-bit SoundBlaster?

    You'd think Linux and FreeBSD sucked or something. Why should one have any interest whatsoever in a proprietary operating system running on overpriced hardware? Sorry, but proprietary is going the way of the dinosaur. Survival of the fittest. Adapt or die.
    • Re:huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by osgeek (239988) on Wednesday August 08, 2001 @05:02AM (#2150605) Homepage Journal
      You'd think Linux and FreeBSD sucked or something.

      I don't think that anyone's saying they suck. It's just that a lot of people have been waiting for someone to put together the power of UNIX beneath an easy-to-use GUI, coupled with application support that still only seems to exist in the commercial OS arena. Apple appears to be the first company to pull it off. Linux and *BSD still have their places, but I - for one - want to "have it all". If I have to pay a slight cash premium to get it, so be it.

      Also, consider this: I get paid $100/hour for consulting. What does it cost me to muck around with my X configuration for a few hours to get it to work with my video card? (Not to mention my sound card configuration and the extra screwing around that you always have to do when installing any peripheral under Linux) A few hours of not having to screw with that stuff, and the Apple hardware suddenly isn't a premium investment after all. In my business, I really have to consider the Total Cost of Ownership.

      Sorry, but proprietary is going the way of the dinosaur.

      Says you. Personally, I love open standards and open software - but they haven't been the answer to everything. Despite the fact that the GNU project has been around for every bit as long as the Mac (since 1984), they still don't have an OS that my mom could install and use. Why is that? Will they ever put together a total user experience like Microsoft, Apple, and to some exten Be have? I hope they will, but who knows? Maybe the whole Free/free software model will never provide a viable alternative to the commercial software world.

      I have computer needs now, though, and I'm not going to let software religion get in the way of meeting those needs.
      • Also, consider this: I get paid $100/hour for consulting. What does it cost me to muck around with my X configuration for a few hours to get it to work with my video card? ... A few hours of not having to screw with that stuff, and the Apple hardware suddenly isn't a premium investment after all. In my business, I really have to consider the Total Cost of Ownership.

        Exactly. I keep trying to explain this here -- in fact, I've been trying to explain it to people for about ten years. Back in the early 1990's, people said Macs were sooo expensive and slow compared to PCs. I moved from a Mac to a Windows shop, and at the time, I noticed that everyone on PCs was spending literally hours a day doing nothing but tweaking their configurations to keep them running. Every time there was any software install, that person would lose at least a day of work; add a peripheral, and the impact was a week. It wasn't even controversial -- the PC architect took those as the stated costs of using Windows, and I'm just quoting his rules.

        By contrast, in the Mac shops I was used to, the Macs just worked, and the Mac users could just do their work. Installing software and peripherals had costs measured in minutes instead of days. "Now how much would you pay?" What do you think the productivity cost per user is in that environment? Linux today seems to be barely above that early-90's Windows 3.x TCO level.

        Despite the fact that the GNU project has been around for every bit as long as the Mac (since 1984), they still don't have an OS that my mom could install and use. Why is that?

        We keep getting told that free software improves so rapidly, but somehow its user experience still hasn't reached the level of a commercial operating system from seventeen years ago, and its compiler hasn't reached the performance (compilation or runtime) of commercial compilers ten years ago. I think it's time to face up to the fact that projects people do in their spare time as tinkerers may never catch up to those that are funded, staffed and managed based on the potential for financial reward.

        (This leaves open the question of free software that is funded in hopes it will provide commercial benefit, but looking at Mozilla as an exemplar would not result in a positive conclusion.)

        Tim

      • Re:huh? (Score:3, Informative)

        by JoeWalsh (32530)
        Despite the fact that the GNU project has been around for every bit as long as the Mac (since 1984), they still don't have an OS that my mom could install and use.

        Have you tried SuSE Linux 7.2, or Mandrake 8.0? Both install very nicely. SuSE will auto-detect your hardware for you, setting up X and so on. If you can install a Microsoft OS, you can install SuSE Linux 7.2. And if you can use a Microsoft OS, then you can use SuSE Linux 7.2 as well.

        Check it out, if you get the chance.
  • by JM (18663) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:25PM (#2168619) Homepage
    I am a long-time Linux Fanatic, and this OSX thing is getting scary and interesting at the same time.

    Imagine this scenario:

    Mom: I want to have a computer to use the internet, and have Office so I can work at home once in a while.

    Son: No problem, I'll get you a nice Athlon and install Linux and StarOffice

    Mom: But I need the *real* Office, because the export filters sometimes mess my documents

    Son: OK then, I'll install VMWare! You know, Linux is really stable compared to Windows...

    Mom: I wasn't talking about 'Doze... I read ./ too, you know ;-) I want OSX. You know it runs Apache and MySQL too? You can even compile bash if you want.

    Son: Sorry Mom, but give me *one* good reason why OSX is better and I'll shut up (Buwha ha ha!)

    Mom: It has the real QuickTime with the *Sorenson* codec, and you've spent 2 years trying to make it work under Linux.

    Son: DOH!

    • malamac@trammel:~> which python
      c:/Python/python
      malamac@trammel:~> find c:/Program\ Files/ -name Apache.exe -print
      c:/Program Files/Apache Group/Apache/Apache.exe
      malamac@trammel:~> net start mysql
      The MySql service is starting.
      The MySql service was started successfully.

      malamac@trammel:~> echo $SHELL
      d:\root\bin\zsh.exe
      malamac@trammel:~> uname
      Windows_NT

  • by q-soe (466472) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:40PM (#2168689) Homepage
    I was thinking about this the other day - in my work i deal with NT4 and Win2k servers and destops but in previous incarnations have worked with supporting UNIX, Novell and Macs and find myself scratching my head over the 'macs suck' line. On my desk here i have a notebook (DELL) a PC (Dell) and a terminal (WYSE Winterm) and they all do different jobs, and thats the thing with macs.

    I used to think mac's sucked until i worked on them and supported them - they dont - the G4 is a mind blowing machine for what its intended for - trust me it can and does piss on any wintel or IBM compatible equipment in the fields of Graphics manipulation, Desktop Publishing, video editing and related functions(and dont start talking to me about SGI or such like - i dont call a pro machine priced at $15k US a general use machine and this therefore wipes out AAVID etc - i mean for general business and home use). The mac is exstensively used for web design and graphic work, in advertising it remains king and dont look now but they are still making major sales in the home user market.

    Why ?

    Think about it - they are user friendly - very much so in fact - need to reinstall the os, then just copy the files onto the hard drive and reboot (this i believe does not hold for OSx - i have a 9600 power mac at home with my pc's but it wont run the latest release), installing most software is also that easy, and configuration of internet and ISDN is so simple it will make most windows people cry (and dont get me started on linux config)

    The mac is becoming every day a more attractive platform - the only thing against it is price - in aussie the G3 starts at $3895including a CD-RW drive which does not include a monitor - sure you can bung a standard VGA on it but if you do then you are missing out - the newer LCd monitors apple have are mindblowing.

    If the price for these machines comes down to around $2000 with a monitor (or a top end of $3000) then they would become a serious market player (remember this is the entry level - the top end starts at $7699 less monitor (but with the apple superdrive DVD burner) and a monitor starts at $1399

    I would buy one at that price - the 9600 i have is going on 4 years old and still shits on my PII 866 with 512k of ram for photoshop work - the OS is not as bad as you may believe and is worth a look

    The only issue is that there is limited free software (and warez for all the l33t haxors)on the mac, thats due to the higher cost of developing for what really has been seen as a pro platform, but this is changing all the time as more and more people move into macs in the home market, thus driving things forward. Come on GPL people - money where the mouth is an start developing for the MAC OS under this license. (i think it can be done)

    So the next time you dismiss an apple as a toy or dying go out and play with one for a while - you might be surprised and be carefull you may fall in love ! After all this is a company that has been declared dead more times than i can count and they are getting stronger by the day again.

    PC User - MAC Lover - Microsoft by neccesity - Open Source by choice - free speach for all - thats my story whats yours ?

    PS for all the mac and tech lovers out there you can contact Steve Wozniak (inventor of the Apple i and one of the true hardware pioneers of the PC industry) at www.woz.org or email him on laura@woz.org - a chance to talk to a legend if thats your cup of tea
    • remember this is the entry level - the top end starts at $7699 less monitor (but with the apple superdrive DVD burner) and a monitor starts at $1399

      I guess you missed the price cuts in the last couple of months. A 867MHz PowerPC G4 with the superdrive DVD burneris $2,499.00 and the 17" flat panel screen is $999.

      Granted you can get a more powerful PC for $3,498, but not with a DVD burner and a screen like that.

      -Erik
      • I guess you missed the price cuts in the last couple of months. A 867MHz PowerPC G4 with the superdrive DVD burner is $2,499.00 and the 17" flat panel screen is $999.

        Cretin, he said he was in Australia. Check out the Australian Apple store [apple.com]: 867Mhz G4 with Superdrive is $5,495.00. 17" flat panel screen is $2,299.00. If you want to convert those into US dollars, that's roughly $US2830 for the G4, $US1185 for the screen. And that's with the Assie dollar in its current wretched state - the comparison used to be even more heinous for Apple.

        If you think Apples are expensive in the USA.. boy, you should see the rest of the world.

        • > If you think Apples are expensive in the USA..
          > boy, you should see the rest of the world.

          Isn't that also true of Compaq's, Dell's, IBM's, etc? You pay more because there are often huge import taxes that have to be paid to get a machine into the person's country. In some places, computers are taxed to pay for environmentally-conscious disposal of the components later. In other words, it costs to bring a CRT into the country because it's a mess that will need cleaning up later.
          • >If you think Apples are expensive in the USA..
            >boy, you should see the rest of the world.

            Isn't that also true of Compaq's, Dell's, IBM's, etc?

            Probably. But where Apple's desktop machines always suffer is by comparison to the price of built-from-parts PC's. Yeah, I know, not exactly fair, but it happens. Anyway, in Australia, the difference is greatly magnified. We're talking easily triple the price of a kick-ass frankenstein PC for a kick-ass Mac, sadly.

            That's why the only Mac I'd ever buy would be a laptop. They look so much nicer when they're only competing with name-brand PC's, not cloneboxes. :-)

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