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Mac OS X Switcher Stories 795

Posted by michael
from the not-stoned-at-all dept.
spid writes "Tim O'Reilly posted an interesting article about people switching from other OSes (Mac OS, Windows, Linux) to Mac OS X. The resounding consensus is that most folks appreciate how, compared to these other OSes, Mac OS X 'just works.' O'Reilly also makes an interesting point that UNIX/Linux users, rather than Windows users, would be the best target niche for Apple's 'switch' campaign."
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Mac OS X Switcher Stories

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  • by agentZ (210674) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:35AM (#4118066)
    I'm a GNU/Linux user and have been since about 1995. I bought a Mac Powerbook laptop a few weeks ago, but ended up selling it after only a few days. Yes, it was sleeker, cooler, and generally nicer to look at than my current hodge-podge of hardware and software, but I decided that it wasn't for me. Yes, right now I have to tinker a little bit to keep things running, but I enjoy that. I realize that puts me in the minority of people in the "Real World," but I can understand how the Apple way isn't for everybody.

    Don't get wrong, I think it's a great system, especially for people who aren't computer gurus, but it's not for me. The main thing was that OS X didn't offer me anything "new." There wasn't a compelling reason for me to learn a whole new set of shortcuts and keyboard commands in order to do what I'm already doing.
    • I find it hard to believe that a few days could expose you to anything of value. It took me a few weeks to get used to the Mac way, even though I was moving over from Windows. Within 2-3 weeks I didn't want to go back. What did you do for those few days, surf the web and cd in Terminal?

      Did you even have time to try any apps? If all you want to do is use Terminal.app I guess you have a point, but then that defeats the purpose of switching in the first place, doesn't it?
    • by cjsnell (5825) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:27AM (#4118438) Journal
      Your story sounds similar to mine, except that I switched back yet again. I've been running Linux since spring '94 and FreeBSD since '97 and decided to go the Mac route about a year and a half ago. I bought a PowerMac G4, took it home, used it for two weeks and took it back. I spent a few months after that looking for the perfect computer without much success. One day, I was walking by the Apple Store in Tyson's Corner, VA and decided to give the Mac another try. This time, I shelled out a bit more money for their "Fastest" model. Instead of the puny 15" LCD that I had with my first Mac, I bought a 21" Sony top-of-the-line CRT. I purchased a the optional GeForce 3 to make Quake 3 perform at par. This time around, things worked a lot better. 10.1 was released the week after I bought the Mac and OS X became much more usable.

      As for reasons to switch from a free *nix to Mac OS X, here are mine:

      1) Asthetics - from the look of the desktop, the beautiful anti-aliased fonts, the built-in PDF capabilty, and (of course) the beautiful hardware, it's hard to compete with a Mac when it comes to a slick user experience.

      2) Support - Like *BSD and Linux, you have a great community that will provide informal support, but you also have AppleCare to rely upon.

      3) Hardware - the hardware, as I'm sure you know, is top-notch. You pay an arm and a leg for it, no doubt, but compare a top-of-the-line Dell case to any Apple case and you'll see what I mean.

      4) Microsoft Office - I know this sounds a little odd but Microsoft Office on OS X is just fantastic. I've never seen a better office suite, commercial or open source. If you use your computer for business and your job title is something other than "programmer", chances are that you will need MS Excel. MS may be the devil incarnate but they sure do make a good spreadsheet package.

      So anyway, my advice to you is to give it another shot, preferably once Jaguar is released. Two weeks really isn't enough time to get familiar with the little niceties of OS X.

      Good luck.

      Chris
    • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @12:04PM (#4119310)
      I think it's a great system, especially for people who aren't computer gurus, but it's not for me.

      I hate comments like this, because "computer gurus" is a loaded term. The implication is that someone who knows what they're doing would never use a Mac; it's only a system for people who do art and make web pages and want to edit their photos. And even if someone using a Mac writes Perl and Python scripts and so on, then you are still superior to them.

      Enough of that please. That's the kind of elitist attitude that perpetuates the horrible reputation that Linux users have garnered. I do hardcore software development. I love languages like Lisp. I write Perl scripts to automate tasks, but then I get pegged as a compute newbiew because:

      I use a GUI.

      I don't have serious objections to Windows of the Mac.

      I still find an 800MHz processor more than fast enough for commercial software development.

      I don't have an obsession with buying every new $400 video card that comes along.

      Maybe it's the faux "power users" that need a condescending term for them? They're certainly a loud segment of the computer using population.

      • by LetterJ (3524) <j@wynia.org> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @01:28PM (#4120008) Homepage
        The fallacy of equipment-based expertise permeates virtually every hobby and profession. It's based on the assumption that if one just uses the appropriate tools, excellent results will be a simple matter of fact. While the true masters of a given domain may indeed use a given toolset, it is most emphatically not the tools that guarantee the results, but the skills of the master.

        The tools-obsessed photographer worries and frets about spot meters, chemistry selection and razor sharp lenses while the master quietly makes images that impact the soul with little more than a box and some film

        The tools-obsessed cook buys copper-bottomed cookware with non-stick surfaces and an endless stream of gadgets and tools while the master chef makes mouths water with little more than fire and meat.

        The tools-obsessed musician spends all their money on optimized amplifiers and acoustically engineered instruments while the master musician wrings emotion from the cheapest pawnshop instruments.

        The tools-obsessed artist concentrates all their energy on choosing the right paints and canvas while the master creates great works of art on fast-food napkins.

        The tools-obsessed carpenter buys specialized tools for every type of joinery and finish while the master carpenter builds furniture and homes that last for generations with little more than a handsaw and a plane.

        The tools-obsessed programmer spends his time arguing about language choice, editors and platforms while the master programmer produces elegant code in any language and any platform that suits the job.

  • Switch? Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:36AM (#4118075) Homepage Journal
    Switch to OSX from Linux? OSX is an incredible OS, but as long as I have to buy proprietary Apple hardware, and pay full price for minor upgrades, Apple can forget getting any of my money. Don't get me wrong.....technically, Apple got it right with OSX. But I still like the freedom of building my own machines as I need them. Apples are great for people that need convienience most of all, and have lots of cash to burn. The rest of us will continue to roll our own.
    • Re:Switch? Nope. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sporty (27564) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:42AM (#4118121) Homepage
      I was the same way, but between OSX getting the OS right, following FreeBSD's layout (imho :) and not wanting to worry about hardware anymore, it was a clear winner for me.

      As for the minor upgrade thing, $100 a year to keep on the ball isn't bad, especially for a "good" company like apple. Yes, don't bring up quicktime, it's been said and said again. But that is a different argument. Frankly, Apple needs the support. I equate it to giving charity to your favourite free software developer, in the case of Apple.
    • The idea of proprietary hardware is something like what Palladium might end up being, where only approved code can be run on a given platform. Last I checked, Linux ran perfectly well on Apple hardware. And if you open the things up, you see pretty much the same thing you'd see inside a PC, save for a PPC processor for an x86 one, and there's nothing in the G4 that you can't read about in a spec from Motorola (same situation as Intel's chips, for the most part).
  • It's a *nix (BSD, I believe) core with a really slick interface... I mean REALLY slick. I'd love to see Gnome or KDE work like that, so that I wouldn't have to spend 3 grand to enjoy it. (I know you can get the machines for cheaper, but come on... how can you pass up SuperDrive and the top of the line processor/RAM/HD ?)
  • osX for PC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slhack3r (324207) <jnewland@gmail.com> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:38AM (#4118088) Homepage Journal
    I'd "switch" TODAY if I could install osX on my PC.

    After switching from Windows to Linux last year, I recently got a job working with 3 osX server machines and a large network of osX machines (it's a newspapaer, the boss is so sold on Macs that I can't even say PC at work). Initial scepticism aside, I love these machines. They do just work, as servers as well as clients.
    • Re:osX for PC (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SPYvSPY (166790) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:24AM (#4118415) Homepage
      A major part of the reason that "they just work" is that Apple controls the hardware. Therefore, porting OS X to x86 hardware would very likely create a rash of new hardware conflicts and convert Mac OS X into just another crummy headache.
    • by Quixadhal (45024) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @02:58PM (#4120804) Homepage Journal
      I plan on switching to osX for my next computer purchase. I applaud apple for having the balls to do what Microsoft could not, realize that his underlying OS was horribly kludged and unstable compared to BSD, and that all the customers really want is the GUI and the API. Apple made the decision to toss out all their legacy crap and reproduce the important parts atop a new platform.

      Porting osX to the nightmare of unstable hardware that is the PC universe would be a disaster! The intel chip is horribly dated, and the supporting hardware architecture is one layer of kludge atop another, all the way down to the remenants of the ISA bus that *still* linger and screw things up to this day.

      Do you *really* want that to continue? Do you ENJOY fighting with IRQ conflicts, or having to look up and be sure you don't put your ethernet card in PCI slot 1, because that shares an IRQ with the ATA 100 controller, or slot 3 because that shares with the on-board sound chip. No thank you.

      I'd rather see windoze ported to the PowerPC platform, but that's just the video gamer in me talking. Beyond games, there is absolutely nothing in the PeeCee world that I can't find in the unix and/or MacOS world. Hence, the reason I will switch.

      I love linux, but I look at that hardware and imagine how much MORE it could do if it weren't held back by all the legacy crap we have to endure so that Joe Accountant can run his 1989 copy of DBase II instead of moving his data onto Postgres and keeping up with the times.

      At the risk of skirting Holy-War (TM) territory here, I will say that I did as much or MORE with my 7MHz Amiga 500 than I do with my 1400MHz Athalon PC. Why is that? Because 4/5 of the power of that machine today is throttled by paradigms from the 1980's. The hardware has continued to grow, but the methodology has stagnated. Apple took the first step towards letting all that go and moving on. Now if the unix community can do the same with X11, maybe we'll start seeing real innovation again, instead of years re-implementing the shiny button that Microsoft changed from grey to blue this week.
  • Two sides... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:39AM (#4118091) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I see how Linux users may be the more likely candidate to pick up a Mac. Familiar *nix feel, sweet desktop and windows manager, kick ass hardware. What is there not to like?

    On the other side, what's not to like? THE PRICE! Most Linux users have a Linux box that isn't the biggest and best machine, just a box with spare parts that you put together (cause, hell, it works GREAT on subpar hardware). Not many get stuff like GeForce4 cards, because the 3D gaming market hasn't really hit Linux hard. Now, to switch, you have to buy a fairly expensive machine. Personally, I'd rather spend the money on a PC, because I'm a gamer, and that's where my cash usually goes.
    • You just threw all the cliches of Linux-users together and thought you will get a +1 Interesting, right? (Well, so far, it worked.)

      I am a Linux user and have a Dual-Athlon 1600 with 1GB 266DDR RAM and a 15000rpm SCSI disk as a desktop machine. I wouldn't call that subpar hardware. You run your router/small server on outdated hardware, but not your Linux desktop.

      "Familiar Unix feel" - I don't feel familiar when I can't paste with the middle mouse button. I don't feel familiar if I get Klaustrophobia on just one single desktop. "But it has a command-line" doesn't make it a Unix.

      "sweet desktop" - But only one! And barely configurable! And not using the middle mouse button! And using unrecognizable thumbnails of pictures instead of icons!

      "kick ass hardware" - That was true a couple of years ago, but today the RAM is too slow and they use the same slow 7200rpm disks as PCs. (or even 5400?!)

      • Re:Two sides... (Score:2, Interesting)

        Right.

        1. I'm running 4 screens on my OS X box at this moment.
        2. My middle mouse button works fine, thank you - and using the mouse buttons for cut and paste is an X11 oddity that has nothing to do with the operating system and isn't used by any windowing system except X11 based systems.
        3. A command line doesn't make Unix? Well, no. Mach and FreeBSD make Unix - a purer Unix than Linux is, actually.
        4. Slow ram and disks? Disks - yeah, this disk on my iBook is slow. It sucks. It's also the bargain-basement model. As for RAM, I can't say I've ever noticed my iBook being any slower in daily use than my gigahertz work PC so I can't really take this one seriously either. Sorry.
  • As a linux user... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eugene O'Neil (140081)
    O'Reilly also makes an interesting point that UNIX/Linux users, rather than Windows users, would be the best target niche for Apple's "switch" campaign.

    As a Linux user, I agree, at least partly: Linux users are the most likely people to switch from Windows to Macintosh. I was never able to live with just Linux, I always used to have at least one Windows partition somewhere. Now I find that having a Macintosh around the house helps me sever my last ties with Microsoft. I'm still not giving up Linux, but Macintosh is a nice compliment to it.
  • by korpiq (8532) <-.NO@SPAMkorpiq.iki.fi> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:40AM (#4118095) Homepage

    Here I sit, writing on MacOSX IE 6, waiting Software Update to install new version of OpenSSL on the background. I use apt-get (fink), KDE and Emacs, develop software on this iBook and run it on *nix machines over network, be it command-line or X11, thru openssh.

    I have not switched. This was, with it's 6 hour uptime, the best *nix-laptop I could afford.

    I have not "switched", nor have I to "switch" back when someone puts out a better laptop. I just use whatever *nix is applicable to me. Yellow Dog, yeah, I would try, but I don't need to fix what is not broken.

    Apple simply did not break BSD when they created Darwin.

    • Switching back and forth between different boxes all supporting your standard toolset is "freedom". Apple is in the game as long as they support it; soon as they start "locking" (see the excellent interview of Dre), they're out. Wish it were the same for every company.

      Fix your laws, United Slaves of America!

  • The anecdotal evidence suggests too that Apple and its third-party developers do in fact need to do more to entice existing users to switch.


    Let me build my own box.
    • Re:It just works? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten (1359) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:58AM (#4118225)
      Let me build my own box.

      Then it wouldn't "just work". Say what you like about Microsoft, they support a vast range of hardware, and that's one of the reasons they software is sometimes unreliable. The only way Apple products can "just work" is if Apple maintains absolute control over the hardware their software runs on.
      • "Say what you like about Microsoft, they support a vast range of hardware, and that's one of the reasons they software is sometimes unreliable."

        The biggest reasons why MS software, esp. the OS, has been unreliable are

        * that until very recently, different versions of the same DLL couldn't coexist on the same system, leading application installers to overwrite system DLLs with older/newer versions, breaking other apps that depended on those DLLs, and

        * that the Registry was designed such that it was a single point of failure, and since both the apps and the system continually wrote to the Registry database, the opportunity for Registry corruption was fairly high. The Registry is *still* a problem. MS has recently added things like automatic backups for the Registry, but that's a bandaid for the core problem.

        Relative to those two problems, hardware issues are minor. By contrast, look at the stability of Linux. It too supports a lot of hardware, even on different architectures, yet it is far more stable than Linux.

    • Apple won't you build your own Mac box anymore than Porsche would give you the parts to build your own custom sports car.

      Some things in the world are custom-built for a reason. They tend to work better on average than a commodity system. Example: 1970's American cars vs. Japanese cars. There was a reason why a lot of us bought those Japanese cars. Inexpensive does not necessarily equate to better in some people's minds.

      You're an exception, and that's OK--it's why Apple supports their Darwin project--the Mac OS X core is open source and works for x86 as well as PowerPC iron. Doesn't have all the OS X bells and whistles, but it sounds like you'd enjoy tinkering.
  • OSX works without having to know to hack configs and source, but if you want to, the ability to drop into its unix core is still there. It is both easy to use and powerful at the same time.
  • I read an interesting article on Salon.com yesterday about a minister who had been suckered in the "Switch" campaign. The article can be found here [salon.com].
    • by toupsie (88295) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:12AM (#4118319) Homepage
      Sounds like Astrid the Priestess needs to pray to God she gets some freaking brains. She's still using Floppies for God's sake! I can't even fit one MP3 on a floppy these days. She reports that she uses "Disk Utility" often -- something smells real fishy--is Gates religious?
      • She's still using Floppies for God's sake!

        And why not? They're considerably cheaper than CDs, and they make a lot more sense if you only have a 30k file that you need to backup or take/send somewhere.

        I can't even fit one MP3 on a floppy these days.

        Did you even read the complete article? Did she ever mention wanting to store MP3s on floppy?

        Remember, just because something isn't useful to you doesn't mean it isn't useful to someone else.

        Dinivin
        • And why not? They're considerably cheaper than CDs, and they make a lot more sense if you only have a 30k file that you need to backup or take/send somewhere.

          I am now buying CDs for around 20 cents a pop (and probably spending too much) so I really don't see the cost saving of a floppy that holds 1.5mb versus a CD that holds 700mb. And what program besides a text editor makes a 30k file?

          Did you even read the complete article? Did she ever mention wanting to store MP3s on floppy?

          That is a size example of how most file formats today are bigger than what a floppy can hold.

          Remember, just because something isn't useful to you doesn't mean it isn't useful to someone else.

          Yet Salon is promoting this woman as the "common man" in the article which doesn't sit well with your point. Most users have dropped the floppy.

    • Somehow, the idea that someone who's already been suckered into religion, was suckered into advertising, is not too surprising to me.
    • Haha, that's funny. The scary thing is it sounds just like my wife who insists on saving all her work to floppies and won't let me junk the drive.

      Me: baby we have DSL if you need a file while you're at school you can transfer it, its faster than loading the 500K word doc off the floppy

      her: but what if the harddrive breaks?

      me: that floppy will go bad long before the harddrive breaks

      her: I don't care, it could still happen and I want it with me!

      Women :) ... I love being married.
    • Interestingly enough, she states that most of the problems she encountered were Microsoft applications throwing up on her. MS apps misbehaving on a competitor's OS? Quel Suprise!

      [switch to black & white... interior Rick's Cafe Americain]

      I'm shocked, SHOCKED that this is happening to her. (Your DR-DOS error message, sir) Oh, thank you, thank you very much.

      [fade to present day]

      banished to the lonely "Mac user" printer port at Kinko's

      I dunno where she lives, but all the Kinko's I've visited recently (DC Metro area) have Air Ports up and running. Point and shoot printing!

      losing all ability to communicate with my Euro-traveling boyfriend

      Last time I looked, neither SMTP nor POP gave a rat's ass what OS was running.... this smells and looks like an eNORmous red herring. (but Salon, published by MSNBC, would NEVER do that, right?)

      From all her whining, my suggestion to her would be to sell her iBook, and use the proceeds to purchase a good typewriter as her needs seem to be the ability to type up sermons and little else

    • by rogueroo (242539) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @11:04AM (#4118728) Homepage
      about a minister who had been suckered in the "Switch" campaign

      My conclusion was different. She wasn't suckered . . . being suckered implies being deceived. She wasn't deceived at all. Her negative experiences have to do with unreasonable and unrealistic expectations about the switching experience. She can't print, she can't talk to her boyfriend, she misses her floppy disks, she doesn't understand CD-RW, she misses her left-clicking Windows mouse, her favorite font is gone, she can't figure out what keys perform what task.

      In other words, she expected her new Apple Macintosh iBook laptop to behave _exactly_ like her old Microsoft Windows desktop PC. And when it didn't, she blames someone else for "seducing" her. Suckered, or typical modern consumer? I think the conclusion is obvious.

  • OS X is great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GoatPigSheep (525460) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:49AM (#4118172) Homepage Journal
    Apple took a risk switching their entire OS core over and not having 'native combatibility' with older apps (yes I know it can run them but it has to load the whole classic mode which takes a long time). Apple went through a similar change when they went from motorola cpu's to the powerpc ones, and having the older code 'emulated' (although it ran just great anyway).

    Apple seems to be much more willing than pc makers and microsoft to switch to new things and I think this is very good as it encourages others to follow. I am mostly a windows user and I must say that OS X is deffinately on par with winXP when it comes to usability and surpasses it when it comes to stability.
  • Hardware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zmalone (542264)
    A lot of people are complaining about Apple's hardware, however, I have a slightly different view on it. I used to be a Mac person, and I am presently planning on going back, not because of the software (I prefer NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Linux, all of which support most modern Macs), but because of the hardware. Their laptops look nice, have reasonable battery life, and have more then enough power for what I do under Linux. As such, I'm currently planning on buying a loaded iBook as soon as possible, while the iBook doesn't look like that great of a deal if you look at it is a low end notebook, if you look at the 12.1" iBooks in comparison to PC "compact" laptops, the prices are really quite good. Sure the processors just are not keeping up with the x86 world these days, but my experiences with Apple in the past are such that I'm willing to bare that (plus their tech support ships you replacement parts quickly).
  • by Spencerian (465343) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:54AM (#4118203) Homepage Journal
    Windows and Linux users are used to having their desktops change dramatically throughout the years (for Linux users, sometimes weeks). Therefore, when plopped in front of a Mac OS X interface, the users tend to scout around and adapt pretty quickly.

    Mac OS 9 users (Lord bless 'em) are the most stubborn, inflexible, fearful sort of user you can imagine when it comes to how their Macs work. That's a compliment to Apple--it shows the power of the original Mac OS interface over its many years of tenure. When you have a good thing, you are very stubborn to change.

    But the loyalty to Mac OS 9 hurts Apple's move to OS X, of course. I anticipate having to take my client's OS 9 users through a Mac OS X orientation, watching them kick and scream in the process.
    • Great generalization. How Insightful.

      Look, the reason most Mac users aren't switching isn't because they are wedded to the past it can be boiled down to one thing: cost. The cost of purchasing new hardware, the cost of purchasing new software, and the cost of changing workflows.

      Do you think that a newspaper is going to upgrade to OSX simply because it is available? No. They have a huge investment in their workflow and equipment. They need time to ensure their systems will work under OSX.

      You think a family with a Performa is going to switch? Nope. Not if they can get by with System 7/8 while they wait to see if dad might get laid off.

      FCOL, OSX doesn't even support most printers or scanners yet. The sound subsystem isn't finished. Nobody's going to spend money on hardware or software until they are sure it is worth the investment. If you work in the A/V field where a lot of the Mac market is, you have to wait.
      • If you want a book, buy one. My message wasn't designed to answer every single nuance, save one. I've serviced Macs at newspapers as well as publishing houses, so I know your points are right. We had a long transition from OS 7.6 to OS 8 as I made tests to ensure that QuarkXPress and their internal mechanisms work with it.

        Your inclusions are also right--there are some users with non-G3 hardware who can't or won't upgrade for cost or software reasons. Here's one you didn't mention: Educators. They can't switch to OS X since much of their software is OS 9 only and doesn't work properly or at all in Classic. And I won't go much into what OS X Server does and does not do with OS X over OS 9 with NetBoot.

        There are many reasons that users aren't immediately switching. I only cited the simplest one, technology notwithstanding.

        Just last night I cleaned up a friend who has a beige Power Mac G3 with OS 8.1. Works for her and doesn't care to move to OS X just because things are fine. Your point is well taken.
    • since I have a three year old Bronze G3 Powerbook, and it's my understanding that it's too damn slow to run OSX, or OSX is too damn slow for it. Still true?
      • If you've got the ram, it'll run 'okay'. (That's a deliberately subjective word.)

        It's a largely a matter of your workflow between the two OS's: scrolling/windows are slower, true, but having all the stability and SMP makes me much more efficient. (OSX: Set qt file to encoding, surf the web. OS9: Set file to encoding, go to sleep.)

        My advice? Borrow a 10.2 cd from a friend here in a week and try it out. If you can't handle surfing with mozilla on your machine, you'll probabally go bonkers over time.

        Of course, when we finally upgrade our hardware (I would, but my damn pismo just keeps on going and going) all these speed issues will be a thing of the past. ;-)

        -asparagus
  • I sprung for a used iMac G3 about 4-5 months ago, and have been using that as my primary desktop station at home. I've been pleased with the way I can do everything I need to without the OS getting in my way (except for some printing problems).

    I still use Linux on my laptop at work, but my Linux desktop at home has been pretty idle.
  • Linux and Mac OS X (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peatbakke (52079) <peat@nOSpaM.peat.org> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @09:59AM (#4118230) Homepage
    I know a lot of Linux geeks who have made the switch to OS X for their day to day desktops (I'm one of them), but it's not the right market for Apple to pursue. Windows is definitely the place to do it -- everyone in the Linux camp is there because they made a conscious decision to use Linux, whereas a vast majority of the Windows world isn't aware of the fact that alternative operating systems exist (heck, they don't even know what an operating system is).

    Linux a perfect system for those who enjoy working with computers and need to do things which are beyond the scope of your typical office suite of software. Linux is an operating system which is able to bend over backwards to fit an extraordinary range of platforms, and get the job done in an amazing number of ways.

    Mac OS X appeals to those who don't need that extraordinary flexibility, but still want the stability and control of a UNIX system along with their "normal" applications. It's a compromise, and my personal opinion is that it strengthens the Linux / Free Software community tremendously, as it puts a command prompt two clicks away from the average user's fingers. Those who want to explore now have the option to do so, without the extraordinarily steep learning curve it takes to "get into" UNIXes.

    Regardless -- there's way more money to be had by converting Windows users with hip marketing campaigns. Geeks will float about on their own free will, and I'm sure OS X will be a better OS for it. It's proving itself to be a magnificent platform, and Apple doesn't need to spend any money to spread the word in that regard.
    • Mac OS X appeals to those who don't need that extraordinary flexibility, but still want the stability and control of a UNIX system along with their "normal" applications. It's a compromise, and my personal opinion is that it strengthens the Linux / Free Software community tremendously, as it puts a command prompt two clicks away from the average user's fingers. Those who want to explore now have the option to do so, without the extraordinarily steep learning curve it takes to "get into" UNIXes.


      Yes, and that's one of the main reasons why (as a Mac user) I don't particularly want to see OS X taking market share away from Linux. The OS X and Linux communities have a lot to give each other, and Microsoft is the enemy of both. As you said, OS X gives a lot of people exposure to Unix that they wouldn't otherwise have, and Apple really does gove back to the open source world; and on the other hand, just as importantly, the explosive growth of Linux has created a lot of great open source *nix software that can easily be ported to OS X. There's a real synergy between the OS X and Linux worlds, and it would be a pity to see that go away. There's plenty of room in the world for both -- let's not adopt the Microsoft worldview that "there can be only one."
  • My personal opinion (and I'm sure I'll get marked as a troll for it, but I have karma to burn) is that if OSX could run on PC architecture, Linux on the desktop would in all sense and purposes be "dead".

    Well not totally dead, but corporations would be far more ameniable to switching to OSX than they would Linux. It's not Microsoft, yet runs Office (so ensuring they can still use powerpoint, word, excel, outlook etc) and as many people have say "it just works". And once the corporations move, people get comfortable with working with something different and they eventually purchase it for home because that's what they've used and understand.

    It isn't going to happen for various technical and business reasons, but it's something to think about anyway.

    (cue lots of people either confirming the technical impossibility, telling me i'm dumb because i find OSX easier than KDE/GNOME, asking why I can't use OpenOffice instead of Word or just plain accusing me of trolling etc.etc)


    • Actually, I think Apple would be wise to help Linux and BSD receive desktop environments, as that would help balkanise the PC hardware market again. When the computing world is less dominated by Microsoft, then Apple can shine again as "best of breed" amongst all of the other desktop units instread of looking like a wierd alternative.

      I think this would also be better for computer customers, as then the accent would go to more open, transportable file formats. What difference does it make if you use MS Word or OpenOffice, as long as both programs use an open file format?

      (Pssst... I think this is slowly happening anyways. It's just happening at a glacial pace.)

      I don't think they'll do OS X for Linux, mainly because they have a lot of stuff in it that belongs to others (Adobe etc.) and can't be ported without straining relationships. But they can insure that Unix compatibility remains high, as well as possible helping the KGE and GNOME teams improve their offerings. Maybe eventually offering AppleWorks for KDE/GNOME, figure out how to release QuickTime for Linux without breaking any licenses, or iPod support, or their internet services for Linux...there's lot of opportunities out there.

      "Divide and conquer" ought to be Apple's strategy, but they're not playing Monopoly or Risk. They're playing one of those games where the coolest player wins, not the player with the most territory.
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) <jhummelNO@SPAMjohnhummel.net> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:02AM (#4118248) Homepage
    Basically, it boils down to "make it work".

    I love Unix - I love the power and the stability. I still use Linux as a server system (though, I admit I wouldn't mind trying out an Apple server just to compare).

    But the biggest reason why I switched just deals with making it work. Do I have to worry about whether my clock program, which has the features I want, works under Gnome or KDE or not? Will I be able to cut and paste between Emacs and Mozilla? How do I install the serial port adapter software - oh, wait, I'm using Red Hat, and the designer made it to work with Suse....

    Again, it's not that Linux is bad at all, it just takes that much more work to tweak. Want to change resolution in Xwindows? Get out to a prompt and run Xconfigurator.

    Then I use OS X, and I get the best of both worlds. I get the power of Unix (I spend more time in Terminal than anything else), but I still get a slick interface and programs that look great. I don't worry about whether the program I'm looking at needs Windows Manager or something else - it fits in. I can still run Gimp (because I'm too damn cheap for Photo Shop) under XDarwin.

    I'd love for Linux to make huge desktop roads, but that will take a change of paradigm[sic]. Linux developers will have to give up some things - say "Let's stop the KDE vs Gnome arguments, and say *this* is the standard - let folks experiment with things if they want, but we will heretofore say *this* is the way to do things", then go out and make it. They'll have to have an Interface guideline, and try to hold to it. They'll have to get follow up programmer who don't just focus on cool technology - which we need, and I thank God they make it - but then they need someone to come along after them and say "All right, let's put a good interface on this puppy."

    Is OS X better? Probably not - the stability is about the same, the speed is probably less than Linux, but the interface is great. Linux is faster, but isn't as pleasing to work with.

    So that's why I switched. I keep up with the Linux stuff for my servers, but my day to day gaming/typing/communicating is done on OS X.

    And just to self pimp (or for more on this subject): Penguin2Apple: How a Linux Lover turned to a Macintosh [gamerspress.com]
  • From the article:

    In other words, switchers appear to be adopting Mac OS X at twice the rate of Mac OS 9 users. Linux users, and Windows users who also use Linux or another Unix, appear to be the most common switchers.

    Does anybody else see something wrong with this statement? First, what percentage of his sample of alpha-geeks used Mac OS 9? We don't know. In general Mac has what, 5% of the market? So lets make things really simple and assume that the list he emailed consists of 1000 people. 50 of them use Macs. Of these 50, 5 have switched to OSX, a rate of 10%. Of the remaining 950, 10 people have switched to OSX, a rate of 1.05%. So what does "rate" mean to Tim?

    More interesting is his claim that OSX is more appealing to those who already use some flavor of Unix as opposed to those who currently use Windows.

  • O'Reilly is wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toupsie (88295) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:05AM (#4118274) Homepage
    O'Reilly also makes an interesting point that UNIX/Linux users, rather than Windows users, would be the best target niche for Apple's "switch" campaign.

    Just from the whining posts of "OS X is cool but Apple is a big, mean, evil proprietary hardware manufacturer", you can see that O'Reilly is completely wrong in suggesting Linux users are a perfect niche target. Apple should focus their ads 100% towards Windows users--people that expect to pay for what they use. There is no point going after the Linux folks. The attitude of "if its not free its evil" is not one you are going to change with white backgrounded commercials. Plus why would you focus on 1% of desktop users instead of 95%?

    Unless Steve Jobs wants to lay prostrate in front of Linus and RMS and wail, "I am not worthy, I am not worthy!", there isn't an ad that is going to convert a hard core (masochistic) Linux desktop users.

    • Just from the whining posts of "OS X is cool but Apple is a big, mean, evil proprietary hardware manufacturer", you can see that O'Reilly is completely wrong in suggesting Linux users are a perfect niche target

      What you are saying might be true for Linux hobbyists, but it doesn't apply to corporates who might be considering a Unix desktop, especially one to unify their former Mac and Windows users. Only one of those groups is willing to spend money on an operating system. Apple could well enjoy much greater success than Sun [sun.com] on the desktop of non-technical users.
      • What you are saying might be true for Linux hobbyists, but it doesn't apply to corporates who might be considering a Unix desktop, especially one to unify their former Mac and Windows users. Only one of those groups is willing to spend money on an operating system. Apple could well enjoy much greater success than Sun [sun.com] on the desktop of non-technical users.

        Wasn't O'Reilly's comments directed towards current Linux users not future ones? If they are thinking about Linux/UNIX they must be Windows users, so why advertise to a Linux user that has moved from Windows? The investment has been made. Get them before they make the wrong switch.

  • Don't get me wrong - i use Linux for server applications because it's rock-solid.

    Having said that, i don't know why this campaign of "It just works" isn't raising more eyebrows.

    First of all - OS9 apps don't "just work" on OSX - there's a lot of cajoling to get older OS9 apps to run properly under X.

    And, correct me if i'm wrong, Apple is still limited in the number of applications that are developed for the platform. Sure if you want to wait 6-8 months after the windows version of a game or app is realeased to have it ported to Mac, that's great - but i'm impatient.

    As far as hardware is concerened - well at least NVidia cards work. But you certainly don't have as wide a variety of hardware available that's Mac-compliant - completely disregarding the hardware that the OS runs on!

    OK. Make the campaign "It doesn't crash as much" or "You don't have to restart all that much anymore"...but say what you want - Windows 2000 and XP have taken Windows stability a long way since 95/98. Sure there are still some annoying points that i wish would go away (which is why i don't use Windows in a server environment) but on the whole i rarley encounter crashes anymore. And who leaves their machine on 24x7 anyway - i doubt all of those mac-usin' graphic designers do. They're all the artsy, crunchy, lets'-preserve-our-electricity types.

    Bottom line is this - "It Just Works" is misleading at best.
    • How's this for annecdotal evidence.

      1) I wanted to burn a CD for my father's windows machine on my G4 PowerBook a while back. I started looking into mkisofs and cdrecord before I discovered that the Apple included cd burning software burns disks in hybrid mode by default.

      2) After the CD thing I wanted to piggy back off of a Windows machine's Internet connection. I figured no problem, they both have ethernet ports, I'll get a crossover pigtail and do that. But my crossover cables and pigtails were packed in boxes three states away. A little bit of research and I find out that Mac OS X will detect when you're plugged into ethernet 'straight-though' and cross the cable with software.

      These two things alone made the whole Mac experience for me.
    • And, correct me if i'm wrong, Apple is still limited in the number of applications that are developed for the platform.
      As you yourself noted, you can just run stuff in Classic mode. In general, running 9 apps under X has 'just worked' for me, although I have had problems with a couple of apps that use MIDI.

      Same thing with this person quoted in the article:
      The biggest impediment to my complete migration from 9.x to OS X has been the cost of the software -- the unadvertised cost of switching. I first paid Apple $129.00 for OS X (and the company apparently expects another $129 for 10.2 when it's released later this month). Forget that I had purchased Microsoft's Office 2001 for the Macintosh (OS 9.0 compatible) in 2001 for $239.00; Microsoft wanted another $239.00 for the OS X version less than a year later. An upgrade for BBEdit set me back another $65.00.
      This is complete nonsense. I've used both Office and BBEdit in Classic mode, and they work fine. There's no need to buy the native OSX versions if the price is a problem.

      Sure if you want to wait 6-8 months after the windows version of a game or app is realeased to have it ported to Mac, that's great - but i'm impatient.
      Well, if you want the latest games, with no delay, you only have one option: Windows. So you either need to use Windows all the time, or else maintain a Windows machine just for the purpose of playing games.

  • Well, I've been admiring the new iMac?, eMac?, the really cool looking single unit with the flat screen, for some time. I've also been lusting over the really nice looking Aqua interface. Anyway, the other day I had the opportunity to drive one of these machines for a day.

    I started out with great excitement and anticipation. OS X presented me with various music and video applications which, I naturally couldn't resist trying. The picture was good and the sound from the little clear globe shaped speakers blew me away. Literally, they almost knocked me out of my chair, as the volume was set too high at first. I still marvel at the quality of the sound that comes out of these small speakers.

    After a few minutes I tired of the quicktime sample movies and decided it was time to get to work. It suddenly became far more difficult for me to use this Mac. I found that there were a plethora of multimedia and surfing apps presented to me by the desktop but getting to the root of the file system and finding an xterm were much harder. It took me a fair bit of time to figure out how to get at these apps and several other productivity apps that I needed. It seemed as if Apple had intentionally hidden these apps, perhaps to keep it simple for less advanced users.

    After about 30 minutes I also found that the *so cool* looking flat panel monitor was just too mall. The actual display area seems like about 14", I'm not sure what it really is. I am sure though that it is too small for extended use when you are trying to get work done.

    All in all, I found my experience with this slick little Mac to be surprisingly cumbersome. I had expected the much touted, dead simple ease of use that Apple is famous for and I didn't feel that I experienced it. And, with the small screen I came to realize that I could never use this machine for an extended period of time.

    Don't get me wrong, I still think that the Mac with OS X is fine. There's no doubt it's the coolest looking computer yet. I also know that with OS X it can probably do anything a Linux or Windows box can.

    But, in the end I feel that I'm better off with Linux KDE and Mosfet's Liquid theme mimicing the Aqua interface. The simple fact is that this setup is just as capable, if not more so, than OS X and the difference in cost between a great Linux box and this cool Mac is mind boggling. Sorry dudes, no offense meant.
  • Who is switching (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tig (6017) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:11AM (#4118306) Homepage
    I work at a university, and I can see clearly who is switching.

    Those who say they wont switch here are probably system administrators. Since I do sysadmin as part of my job, I can say that that part of me is a control freak, and loves the power of linux. That is also the reason why Linux has it hard on the desktop: only macosx, lycoris, lindows are even thinking of deprecating root in their OS'es.

    The part of me which programs is split. Doing scientific programming today is easier on linux because of the number of high quality numerics/graphics libs available for X11. This will change. However, have you seen the simplicity of macosx? Every app is a directory. No gtk compatability problems(for those who remember). Copy the app anywhere. click, go. For command line people, change defaults using the default command, since all apps use plists. Open any file by saying open bla.pdf. It will use the default app. use open -with if you want a specific app.

    The linking model is simple. The loading model is simple. applescript scripts most apps and is way easier to use than COM or bonobo. Still linux is a familiar model to lots of people. So I know people now, grad students and post-docs and engineers, whose desaktop is a macosx box and who program on linux..the professors dont program much so macosx works well for them. This student/scientist/engineer/programmer is the only remaining market.

    But at the end of the day its the apps. Excel is available. And itunes and iphoto just rock.

    There was a time when i liked struggling with linux to get all this working. At some point, one just wants to code. One dosent want to deal with dependencies, etc. You will say apt-get and I'll say hallelujah, its a great thing, but why cant i just install the freaking app where I want it too, and delete it by trashing it. rpm --erase??? Who would think of that?

    The sad part is, most of what macosx has done could and still can be done on linux. Make a restricted distribution. Share earnings with app developers. Choose 10-15 best-of-breed apps, thats all. Thing of the next evolutionary step in these apps, rather than remaining behind the curve. root should only be a single user mode thing. Like gentoo, make init scripts dependent on whats running and whats not. Simplify the runlevels to single-user, and multi-user. Reduce hardware complexity by certifying systems based on linux friendly manufacturers. run daemons not as root. Get rid of the start, or hat, or whatever menu. Get rid of the XP like icons(see redhat8 beta). Give gtk a default look which dosent look like grey shit. Use a tasteful muted color scheme. Make sure pcmcia and usb and firewire just work on plug in. Use hotplug and devfs like mandrake do. Get rid of one million etc config files and use gconf and alchemist like redhat do. Simplify the gnome2.0 desktop. Check out the innovations in oe-one's desktop. Use autofs pervasively. Implement per process namespaces. Implement a simple event layer on top of bonobo, pipes, mimetypes, clipboard, etc to make scripting the desktop trivial. See plan9's plumbing. Unify zsh(bash) and nautilus to use same mime system. Allow apps to be manipulated as directories. When such directories are opened in either, allow hooks to be called which can start or install apps into a dependency database. Create a pasteboard server like in macosx. Implement gnustep over gtk2.0...

    You get my point. There is so much thats already there but just missing a bit. It needs people with that extra bit of innovation, and that extra bit of compansation a app-royalty scheme would generate to push it across the edge. It needs that part of me that is a system administrator to let go. But it may be too late.
    • Well, some of your points are good. But PLEASE don't make the mistake of assuming that simple is better. I've covered all these points many times before, but I'll do it again.

      You will say apt-get and I'll say hallelujah, its a great thing, but why cant i just install the freaking app where I want it too, and delete it by trashing it. rpm --erase??? Who would think of that?

      Oh please no! Not appfolders again! Appfolders have so many disadvantages it's not even funny. They are far, far, far too simple for even most apps, which is why there is not one, not even two but three different ways of installing software on the Mac: Drag'n'drop, Apple Installer, 3rd party installers (ie Wise). Appfolders don't meet many developers requirements. Some more disadvantages:

      • No dependancies. This is the biggy. Contrary to seemingly popular opinion, sharing code is a good thing, and should be encouraged. Appfolders don't let you check if something the program needs is installed, so all apps are huge and monolithic. Eurgh. It also means that only Apple can really ship updates to the OS, as users would have to manually do the update themselves. And guess what? They charge a lotta cash for the updates.

      • No install time customisation. Ever noticed that when you install Office, you can choose which features you want? That's a popular feature. So popular that the latest versions feature install-on-demand. Can't do that with appfolders. This makes the problem of monolithic apps even worse.

      • No user interaction. How do you present EULAs? (hint: can't use DMG backgrounds as they must be click through). How do you check serial codes? Oh - you need an installer/

      • Menu customisation anyone? I find this soooo irritiating with the Mac, I have to start all the apps from the Finder. Okay, now what if me and my brother want different list of apps? We both use lots of different apps, quite literally hundreds, and don't want them interfering with each other. The only way really is to create a subfolder and try and organise by "both use them", "I use them", "you use them". This doesn't scale to networks without all sort of horrid symlinking, which sort of defeats the point.

      In short, appfolders seem like a good idea, but actually aren't.

      The sad part is, most of what macosx has done could and still can be done on linux. Make a restricted distribution. Share earnings with app developers.

      I don't understand this. What's a restricted distro? And last time I checked, SuSE and RedHat did actually pay their developers.

      root should only be a single user mode thing. Like gentoo, make init scripts dependent on whats running and whats not. Simplify the runlevels to single-user, and multi-user. Reduce hardware complexity by certifying systems based on linux friendly manufacturers. run daemons not as root.

      Huh? What? Even MacOS supports multi users not as root. Only 2 runlevels? Why???? It's not like the average user will even care. Why reduce flexibility for no increase in usability? Certifying systems? Sorry, this is the real world, a lot of people have systems that were modern once, then they upgraded, or that were built to order, or that they bought from the shop down the street and so on. The answer is to make Linux hardware support perfect - not to reduce user choice!

      Get rid of the start, or hat, or whatever menu. Get rid of the XP like icons(see redhat8 beta). Give gtk a default look which dosent look like grey shit. Use a tasteful muted color scheme. Make sure pcmcia and usb and firewire just work on plug in. Use hotplug and devfs like mandrake do. Get rid of one million etc config files and use gconf and alchemist like redhat do. Simplify the gnome2.0 desktop

      Wow. A lot more suggestions. Why get rid of the start menu? 95% of the world are used to it. You can always use Gnome, or E, or WindowMaker if you don't want one. The new RedHat null icons are hardly XP style, I've seen them. If you mean cartoony, well switch themes! There are plenty available. Yes, the GTK default theme is ugly, but changing that took me 1 minute on gnome 2. The theme files are tiny! Simplify Gnome 2? How simply do you want, it's about as simple as you can get. They need to add more features, which will mean more complexity! FYI GConf is just a front end to a load of XML config files ;) Devfs support is not yet 100% bug free, so not all distros use it yet - it's coming, be patient.

      The rest of the ideas aren pretty good, but they are hardly necessary for a slick desktop. Unified mimetyping between shell and nautilus? Yeah, it's a cool idea, but hardly critical. You want to see them? Well, you know what'd I'd say ...

  • I got an older G4 with OSX.1 on it last spring, and was a bit timid to use it after being a KDE fan for so long(just about 5 years now). Here are some thoughts I wrote at the time : [five2one.org]

    Pretty, clean, responsive(low end G4 with 256Mb), not nearly enough options to dig under the hood(especially during installation), give me an 'expert' mode, or give me death! :) Hard to find some things, super easy to find others. I can't tell if my 'iDisk' is actually on a server at Apple, or a local cache of stuff on a server at Apple. A mount is not really a disk mount, like me Mr. 6 years of Unix would think of it as. I like the Dock. I really like iTunes. I reallly like iPhoto. I didn't like not having root access out of the box. It's no lie, Mozilla really does suck on OS X. :( /bin/tcsh has got to go. Configuring everything is a snap, and the XML based config files are cool. If I could find them.. The directory struct. is gonna take some getting used to, as is remembering that programs don't close when you click the 'X" on the top window bar, only that window does. SSH support(albeit an insecure version) out of the box is nice. The software updater package thingy is slick. I'm haven't totally figured out how to add new users, although its rumored to be under this 'Netinfo' thing, which is like a seperate control place for the Unix stuff.

    So here I sit nearly 6 months later, still enjoying my Mac, but it splits time with my Linux box as well via a KVM switch. Some tasks are just better suited for certain tasks than other. The proof of that for me was coming back from South America and being able to plug my Sony Handycam right into my Mac via firewire and using iMovie to pull video clips right off the camera, editing them, and making a 'home movie' that turned out really nice.

    The coolest part was I hit 'record' and it wrote my 'iMovie' back to a blank tape in the Handycam. Sometimes it is just nice to have things work like that without having to config anyting. Not that it's my primary machine(mandrake 8.2 still holds that role) or anything, and the iMovie software is just a small unique example of something I really like about my Mac, but as a Linux user for nearly 6 years, there's a lot I've come to appreciate about Mac's and OSX in particular and I think others in similar situations may feel the same way...

  • Wow. What an improvement! It doesn't seem like I'm running a mollasses machine anymore. I use OS X at work, and win xp/98 and Beos at home.

    At first I was glad to come home to 98 for ease, XP for stabillity, and Beos for zippy speed. OS X 10.1.x had me hating the Mac. Many of the problems plaguing my Mac was due to bugs and features that I (still) can't believe they left out.

    With 10.2, alot of the 'bugs' have been fixed, windows open a TON faster, the machine is far more responsive, and I have handwriting recognition too (which is just cool).

    Arguably, It should have been that way at the start, rather than me beta-testing 10.1.x. I can't say I'll be auctioning off my p4 1.8 (which still smokes the mac) anytime soon, but Apple is definitely becoming more tempting.

    If Apple gets faster hardware than my PC (blah, blah gigahertz/flops, whatever. IE opens in 2 seconds on my P4, and 8 on the mac 733) or if OpenBeos makes a strong case (which it will!) will make some of my decision to switch or not for me. The preceeding sentence was exceedingly poorly crafted. Thank you.

  • It seems like most of the comments here have been along the lines of "I won't switch to OSX because it doesn't run on x86 and therefore I can't build my own box". But it's clear that people who really want to build their own box is in the decided minority, and Apple would be crazy to go after this market in particular. And if you have an OS where users can build their own box, then you necessarily open yourself up to compatibility/driver/etc. issues.

    And I think the reason Apple isn't targetting the Linux/Unix market is that there just isn't enough people using those machines to make money selling $2000 boxes...
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:18AM (#4118375)
    I have been a Linux user sience 1994 and I like linux and I still do, Then I started working and I no longer have the time or the will of tinkering with a Linux box tring to get every peice of new hardware to work, and I never like PC archecture. So I switched to using Sun Hardware, and I was much more productive with it, Applications that I wanted to use generally ran better, and much more smoother. Then I switched to OS X. And I find that I am the most productive with it. GUI when GUI is best the terminal when CLI is best. The GUI is clean and out of the way, (unline CDE, GNOME, and KDE and Windows that tries to impress you with all the graphics) I found that using OS X is just more productive. And there is a larger selection of comerical software for OS X, (Open Sourse Software has a great software selection base but it still not there for everything I need). Just as the comerical says "it just works."
  • by hey! (33014)
    I'd used macs for years before I had to abandon them because none of my clients used them. I'm also a very long time Unix user (Since System III). So, OSX is a natural for me right? I have at TiBook with OSX and I would love it.

    Except for the damned dock.

    This is an incredibly misbegotten feature. First of all, let me state my UI bias: the user should be in charge, the UI elements should just sit there until called upon. I favor responsiveness over intrusiveness. The dock is cutesy, and keeps calling attention to itself with the stupid Genie effect (if I tell you to go away, just do it), and having icons bounce up and down. So right off the bat I was ill inclined towards the thing. In its default configuration it robs the user of valuable real estate. Yeah, you can do alpha blending, now go the hell away so I don't have to look through you to see the bottom of my documents.

    The only thing that makes the dock tolerable is that you can use the System Preferences to make it tiny, hidden, and to turn off the idiotic genie effect.

    The sad thing is that all the functions of the dock are done better by the apple and upper right hand menus of MacOS 7-9. These functions are clearer and separated in space. When applications needed to get the user's attention, they didn't have to jump up and down, they just flashed the upper right hand application menu (if I remember correctly).

    The problem with the dock is that it is overloaded with functions. As I keep telling PDA developers I work with, overloaded UI elements are a very poor substitute for good design. The Dock really undermines the Mac experience. I find KDE much more responsive and less intrusive.

  • I was Mac junkie for years, before finally being converted to GNU/Linux a couple of years ago. I think OS X is cool, but it has the worst GUI to ever come out of Cupertino. It's sluggish, many things don't have keyboard shortcuts that should, and in general Aqua is lacking in places where X Window Managers excel.

    For example, why is there no support for virtual desktops? In a perfect world I'd have a monitor bigger than Rhode Island, but in reality I'm often using 15-inch Apple Studio Displays. I'd like to be able to have more than one window open without having a messy pile-up on my desktop.

    In general, I find that I just can't work very fast in OS X, so until such work-flow issues get resolved, there's no chance of me using OS X as my primary desktop.

  • by frankie (91710) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:28AM (#4118458) Journal

    ...because other (former) Linux users are doing the job for them. Between Tim O'Reilly, plenty of folks here on / and various others, it would be difficult for geeks not to know that OS X is "Unix Inside (tm)". [google.com]

    • Jordan Hubbard [salon.com] (pre-employment): "it was impressive just how much "Unix stuff" did work exactly as I'd expected."
    • David Coursey [zdnet.com]: "if all I wanted was a Unix (or Unix-ish) OS I could actually use, I'd choose Mac OS X"
    • Chris Coleman [daemonnews.org]: "I didn't have to dual boot. I could use my Unix applications on the same screen"
  • Another switcher. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yonder Way (603108)

    I'm another Linux user switching to OS X. Vice Chair of my LUG, Linux user for five years, and believe it or not it was other LUG members that talked me into taking the plunge.

    I needed a notebook for two main purposes.

    • Videography - The thought of using Broadcast 2000 under Linux on some flaky PeeCee notebook struck me as an unwise business decision. I needed something that "just works" and it should look very sleek and professional in front of my clients.
    • Writing a book - I needed something that would run a decent well known word processor or typesetter for writing books with. KOffice and OpenOffice just don't cut the mustard here. Publishers would laugh me out of their office if I used those file formats.

    I ended up going way over budget and buying an 800MHz G4 "Titanium" Powerbook. It was a rocky start because OS X is missing some of the features I love most about Linux. But then I started diving into the applications and (here it comes) it Just Works.

    Clients love it when I open my backpack, pull this thing out, and show them the progress of their video on this. Better still, it has all kinds of ports on it. I can hook it up to the SVideo jack on your television set, audio outs to your stereo, and show you your movie the way it will look once it it on a DVD. That feat would be much more difficult on a PeeCee portable running Linux (or even Windows) and would almost certainly require a PC Card adapter with a dongle. This is much cleaner as it only requires two cables plugged directly into the back of the TiBook.

    My major gripes are pretty easy to name.

    • No X11 - Apple chose to make a totally proprietary GUI which hurts me in two ways: (1) I can't run X11 apps without installing XFree and (2) I can run remote GUI sessions to my X Terminal that has a Matrox G450 and dual 21" monitors.
    • Cost of applications - Buying any applications for this box requires taking out a second mortgage on your home. On the upside, high quality open source apps are starting to find their way to native ports on OS X. Audacity runs great here, and a lot of us are looking forward to Open Office (which I would prefer to use for "everything else" but the book writing).

    Overall, I am very happy with this purchase. I find myself using the Linux box less and less for desktop stuff, and the OS X box more and more for that purpose. It was a lot of money but I feel much better about it now because it is much better integrated than any PeeCee notebook I've seen.

  • Oddly enough, the GUI is a big part of what's keeping me from switching. There are three main things keeping me from buying an iBook and going Mac:
    1. No multi-workspace/multi-desktop functionality in Aqua.
    2. Poor keyboard on iBook (flimsy, and I still haven't found a reliable way to swap Caps Lock and Control).
    3. Low bang for the buck. Yes, I'm well aware of the "MHz Myth". Unfortunately, it's only partly a myth. Given enough of a lead in clock speed, even the P4 (broken crap design that it is) can be pretty damn fast. The 700 MHz iBook is pretty damn slow compared to a comparably priced Athlon, PIII or P4 laptop. Add that to the slow memory speeds on all but the latest destop machines and, well it isn't pretty.
    The speed thing I could probably deal with as a trade off for stability and reliability. The keyboard is a much bigger issue, as is the crippled UI. Fix those things, and I'd be inclined to start using OS-X. I'd still have my *nix, and access to a decent array of comercial software as well (more for my wife, who is a photographer, then for myself, mind you). I probably wouldn't really "switch", but rather add OS-X based Macs to my stable. Perhaps if they are as out of the box funtional as folks say, OS-X could even displace Linux as my primary environment.
  • by 47PHA60 (444748) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:49AM (#4118612) Journal
    I switched only because I needed a new video editing PC. After several years of building my own boxes with Windows NT and 2000 and 3rd party hardware, Adobe Premiere is still not easy to learn, nor is it very stable, nor is it very fast. And the 3rd party hardware makes me shudder with revulsion: buggy drivers and a lot of vendor denial.

    The cost for the PC hardware I wanted was about 2700.00 USD. Then I looked at my other PCs: one is very stable, one does not work with any version of Windows but runs for 100 days with Linux, another one was sort of flaky until I installed OpenBSD (this is why it's good to have many OS choices; if it's a hardware problem, it should die under ANY OS, like my Thinkpad with a bad motherboard used to do).

    When I looked at the Power Mac dual G4 1GHz, I saw the tradeoffs: slower bus, less MHz in the CPUs, and so on. But, I get 2 firewire ports digital video out and OSX all included. I also saw several movies in the past 2 years with a credit to FCP. The price was $200 over what I would pay for a tricked out PC.

    I went to the Apple store where they showed me how to download and edit footage right in the store. I have never seen a PC store with a setup like this.

    I was surprised at how fast the Mac replaced my Windows PC for everything I do: Office, e-mail, software development. The hardware is not the latest or sexiest, but it works better. The computer _feels_ faster, because I never have to stop working to appease some sudden need the OS has.

    I think that the world of cheap commodity hardware and all-compatible software is still a dream; believe it or not, Intel, Motorola, Sparc, they're ALL using proprietary technology that locks you into a vendor's plans, whims, and mistakes. Get used to it. When buying the Apple, I chose a different route: pay a premium for "commodity" hardware with a lot of added value. Dell and Gateway have gotten so big that they cannot afford to lose any money; maybe being the biggest company is not always the best thing to do.

    About me and technology: I work in a Windows NT/2000/Solaris 7-8-9 shop. By day I am a systems architect building Solaris, Windows, and OpenBSD systems for security and business automation. I program in python, perl, java, and C++.
  • by pelorus (463100) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:50AM (#4118619)
    I run Mac OS X. I'm a LAN Administrator and Network Designer. My job would be harder using Windows or Linux. I need access to the CLI and DOS is a joke. I need access to Office and Office v.X is the best version out there. I need X11. I need a good Java VM for some of our network adminstration tools. I need a portable with a long battery life. Pretty much a no brainer.



    My wife runs Mac OS X. She's a Project Manager for a International Medical Informatics project. She doesn't need the CLI but needs WebDAV, SMB, NFS and whatever else the project throws at her. Need to communicate with a hundred people all in different countries with different machines? You can't just send them Word files. I'm pretty amazed that a single platform can cope with both of our workloads.



    My good friend runs FreeBSD. He swears by it. He writes little networked apps. He's recently got himself an iBook for development because he figures he can do 90% of the hard development work on any of his machines and then by just adding a pretty little GUI in InterfaceBuilder, he can sell the little apps to Mac people as well. He's not aMac guy but he tells me how much he's spent on hardware upgrades in the last two years and I'm amazed. Sure, PC hardware is cheaper, but is it necessary to upgrade everything every month???



    I don't care what platform you use. Just leave me to use Mac OS X. You on Linux? Want to show me a cool app? Recompile and we're there.

  • by alistair (31390) <alistair@hotld[ ]com ['ap.' in gap]> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:55AM (#4118658)
    As a Linux user of 4 years now, I bought a new iMac a few months ago and have to say I have been nothing but impressed. I have a beautifully configured Linux box at work, but the thought of going home to the same thing after a 9 to 10 hour day didn't fill me with joy, plus I was concerned that I would be forever recompiling KDE betas when my wife wanted to check her email, which wouldn't lead to a happy family life. Yet I refuse to have a dull Microsoft box in the house.

    The iMac has proved a superb compromise. Both my children are addicted to the various DK educational software the shop on Tottenham Court Road threw in. iPhoto is superb and the integration of Digital Cameras and Camcorders with the rest of the OS is seamless, my four year old can now take the camera and edit photos on the box without much help. And underneath it all is UNIX, it connects easily to my broadband connection, and all my IMAP, LDAP and SSH sessions to my corporate network work fine, making it the perfect machine to use for working from home (and it looks good too).

    So I wouldn't described myself as someone who has switched from Windows or Linux, rather Apple achieved a sale where nothing would have been bought in it's place. I am confident I am not alone in this market segment, one of my friends with children the same age has bought an iMac for exactly the same reasons, and I know of others considering it.
  • by mccalli (323026) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @10:58AM (#4118681) Homepage
    I would love to move over to a Mac, but software holds me back.

    • No UK Quicken. Essential for me - I run both my home accounts and my one-man business off it. I have data stretching back seven years.
    • No standards-compliant video conferencing. This one might change - I've heard rumours that it's being worked on.

    That's it. Whilst I can temporarily live without the video conferencing, I consider the lack of an accounts package on a home machine to be a truly serious ommission. I realise this doesn't affect the US, but in the UK it kills the thing dead as a home machine. Virtual PC won't do by the way - if I'm switching environments I'm switching environments and don't want to run half and half.

    Please Intuit. Please. You have an OS X-native Quicken, and you ave a UK Quicken for Windows. Surely it can't be beyond the wit of mankind to combine these products and produce a native UK Quicken?

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • A switch? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Liedra (109120) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @11:56AM (#4119231) Homepage Journal
    I didn't so much "switch" as fall into OS X's loving embrace.

    Having seen the Titanium PowerBook G4s on display in the Apple shops, that drool-worthy stop outside the display window became a regular pausing point on my way home from Uni. The student discount price made it even more attractive, so after a while of saving up the sweet silvery sexiness that is a TiBook was mine.

    A Linux user of 4 years, I used to boot into Windows to play games like Baldur's Gate II, knowing that I would be able to combine the excellence and stability that I'd come to take for granted with Linux with the ease of use and hardware integration that Windows offered, but with a much sexier look and feel, and no hideous Start bar, I was hooked instantly.

    I tried for a while running rootless X in order to have my favourite Linux apps (XChat for one - available through the rather excellent 'fink'), but soon gave that up because even with the "Aqua-esque" themes, GTK and the WMs I was using just didn't quite make the aesthetic grade. I've since found an XChat-alike (Snak) and either ports of or apps that are similar to the ones I used to use under Linux. Sure, you have to pay for some of them, but I found that I didn't have a problem with this (I'm not really in the FS philosophy camp, preferring the BSD license anyway) and figured that if the programs I used regularly under Linux were shareware I'd probably pay for them too ;-) (It's not like they're much, I think the most I've for shareware far has been US$20).
    There are, of course, plenty of excellent free (and Free, for those who care) apps available for OS X.

    However, the best point of OS X is all the excellent bundled software that comes with it. iTunes is simply divine, iPhoto is ... man, that program *rocks*. I'd "switch" to OS X from Linux just for that. The inbuilt PDF stuff is also very cool, and the fact that I can run Photoshop and the (surprisingly excellent) MS Office brings OS X a suite of much more stable apps than are available under Linux.

    Don't get me started on the *hardware*. The networking is as simple as a very simple thing, wander between WLAN and traditional cables and OS X doesn't miss a beat. Not to mention that the Airport cards are seriously kickarse. Great range (due to the aerial being lined up the screen), and fantastic integration with the OS. Under Linux I'd be fiddling around with ifconfig and routing tables and such - not so under OS X.
    Turn on Apache with a checkbox, ready to go. FTP? No problem, another checkbox. SSH? Certainly! Check that box too! I hear 10.2 has a seriously nice firewall configuration tool coming with it, I'm looking forward to *that*.
    The display is something that has to be seen to be believed. Never have I seen such luscious crisp images on a laptop LCD. And the machine is *quiet*. Unless you're doing something graphics-intensive or spinning up the seriously kickarse combo drive (CDRW/CDROM/DVD), it's virtually silent. A fan kicks in when there's some excitement happening, but in my experience it's only when I've been playing games/watching DVDs or using the combo drive a lot.
    And yes, you *can* use a 3-button mouse.

    So where does that leave my trusty desktop Linux box? Acting as a local mail server and backup machine ;-) I didn't think it would ever come to that, but I've taken the sweet delicious Apple bait, hook, line, and sinker.
  • by limako (45118) on Thursday August 22, 2002 @12:15PM (#4119396) Homepage Journal
    I was in Target the other day. While the wife was looking for lightbulbs or something I checked out the software. I couldn't help overhearing two teen-aged boys who were also looking at the software, while they weren't kicking and pushing each other. One boy said, "We're getting a new computer -- we're getting a Mac." Often when I've heard teenagers say things like that, they will spit it with venom, but this boy didn't. The other kid said, "Yeah? How come?" and the first boy replied, "Because our PC SUCKS!" I think that if the economy picks up just a bit, Apple could have a real hit on their hands -- I wonder if there isn't a substantial number of people who bought a PC, discovered that it SUCKED and have decided that, if they ever buy another computer there's no way in hell that they'll buy a PC again.
  • Amen brother! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle&hotmail,com> on Thursday August 22, 2002 @01:17PM (#4119894) Homepage
    Favorite quote from the story, respondent John Lyon explaining to Tim O'Reilly why he hates Windows 2000:
    I'm not pleased that MS seems to rearrange where all the admin tools are from NT4 to NT5 to NT5.1. Active Directory is crap. It makes NDS seem like child's play. Or maybe I'm really dense about the DNS server.

    Yeah, I'm a recovering MCSE and the only reason I can see to move tools around is to drive revenue in the training division.

    My other Win2k gripe relating to Active Directory is that, by design, you HAVE to use their goofy-ass DNS server. Further, said DNS server must be on the domain controller.

    Why in the world does DNS have to be on the same box as the domain controller? I mean, if you're running a huge enterprise, having iron to do both functions simultaneously and also buy a redundant box that gets expensive. Tell me how much Dell stock Gates owns, anyway?

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