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Return of the Mac 1499

Posted by Zonk
from the it-went-away? dept.
Ben Gutierrez writes "Paul Graham has posted a new essay on the Return of the Mac which begins with: 'All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs.' Tim O'Reilly said some similar things in Watching Alpha Geeks . From the article: "My friend Robert said his whole research group at MIT recently bought themselves Powerbooks. These guys are not the graphic designers and grandmas who were buying Macs at Apple's low point in the mid 1990s. They're about as hardcore OS hackers as you can get."
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Return of the Mac

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  • great hardware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bad_outlook (868902) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:59PM (#12078770) Homepage
    I have an iBook, and love it, however I run Linux on it, Gentoo before, Ubuntu currently. All funcitions are supported, it's a perfect match in my opinion. Ppl that gripe "why would you run Linux instead of OSX, OSX is BSD!" just don't understand the diff, and that's fine, OSX is a fine OS for most, but for me Linux is the only way to go to have complete freedom.

    bo
  • Author is on crack (Score:2, Interesting)

    by badmammajamma (171260) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:01PM (#12078809)
    My favorite part of his essay:

    "If you want to know what ordinary people will be doing with computers in ten years, just walk around the CS department at a good university. Whatever they're doing, you'll be doing."

    Seriously, this guy lives in fantasy land. It's been a long long time since universities have done anything that has influence the software industry.
  • Anecdotal evidence: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oostevo (736441) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:03PM (#12078843) Homepage
    Here's some more anecdotal evidence (that doesn't have a statistically significant sample size, I know, I know):

    I'm at university, and I know a lot of computer scientists (particularly of the theoretical sort) and scientists of various other disciplines around here that love OS X. Just like using a functional language like Lisp versus using assembly, using OS X takes some of the responsibility for mundane, largely unnecessary tasks out of your hands and frees you to do the computing work that you need to do.

    Sure someone well versed in systems or operating system design would be able to get more out of Linux if they took the time to optimize it, but most "hardcore hackers" I know around here sure don't have that sort of time.

  • by PornMaster (749461) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:03PM (#12078844) Homepage
    I haven't seen people making the server switch... only using Macs as fileservers for Mac-heavy networks. I'm not aware of any large businesses using them, nor popular websites outside of Apple.

    Obviously there are some clusters of them that make the news all the time. I'm not trying to troll, just wondering if there's a future for Xserve beyond niche markets.
  • Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:09PM (#12078969) Homepage
    The hardware is beautiful. It's well thought out, well laid out, lasts forever (battery wise and durability) and *gets girls to come over to your table look at it*. The alternative, at least for laptops, is IBM... at twice the price.

    Now they even have a working scroll implimentation (which was a crippling omission, my NEC had a scroll stub for ~3 years before Apple thought of something).

    And yes, your brand new very pretty computer will work well with Linux just fine, so there seems to be little downside at all*.

    *Apart from lack of 3D card support, and for some reason Apple use crappy propriatery 802.11g cards with no Linux drivers. Mystifying.
  • True at CodeCon (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SiliconEntity (448450) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:14PM (#12079050)
    I was at CodeCon this year and almost everybody had Mac laptops.

    However, I disagree that this portends a wave of Mac specific software. Hackers are using these computers to write cross platform software that will run on the whole range of free Unix systems, the BSDs, and Linux. They're not writing in Objective C or putting in Mac specific code, because they know that limits their audience to the few percent who have Macs.

    They get the benefit of a good looking, easy to use development platform while developing code that can run anywhere (except Windows). It's the best of both worlds.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:15PM (#12079074)

    I work at a development house that makes network security products. Three years ago there were a couple people with powerbooks running OS X. Today it is about half of the company. Last week a senior developer was talking to me about our latest hire. He's an experienced, professional coder. It had taken him a week to get the thinkpad we gave him up and running the Linux distro of his choice and configured to work with all our servers and testbeds. Thats 40-60 hours of work gone. How many powerbooks could we have bought him with a corresponding amount of cash. He was considering mandating powerbooks for all new hires unless they had a good reason to use something else.

    OS X is making some huge inroads into the computer security field. It has certainly gained a huge amount of penetration here in just 3 years. Even some of the the managers have switched after looking over a developer's shoulder for a bit. You'd never guess Apple had a 5% market share from a walk around this office.

  • Re:great hardware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Drooling Iguana (61479) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:19PM (#12079133)
    Why get an iBook, then? Linux also runs on x86-based systems, and that's where most of the development is focused. Sure, most of the more widely-used programs are easily ported to the PPC, but you're still limiting yourself. Really, are there any advantages to running Linux on a PPC compared to an equivalently-priced x86 system?
  • by hurricaen (868015) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:20PM (#12079144)
    at work (University research lab), we set up 3 xserves in conjunction with some disk arrays to give us 15 TB of whoop-ass raid storage. We've only had em' up for a couple of weeks, but so far so good. The colleague of mine who pushed for it does have a mac, so the seemless management from the mac I'm sure played a big role. -K
  • Service (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:21PM (#12079174) Homepage Journal
    I can get an on-site service contract for IBM gear here no problem but Apple (Siemens) will only show up if you're within 100 miles of ~ 10 major US cities.

    That's a deal breaker for local businesses, even those who use Mac desktops.

    Too bad - Tiger Server is nearly what I turn Linux boxes into but you have to run your business on hardware you can support.
  • Re:well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The boojum (70419) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:23PM (#12079205)
    Yes, I've noticed this too. I've just gone back to grad school in CS. It's interesting to me to hear how many of the profs and students love their Macs and how those who'd got Intel based machines wished they'd gotten a Mac. I used to think that raw processor clock rate was everything, but I've seen the Macs run circles around Intel machines with half-again as much clock rate. And this on CPU and numerically intensive tasks. And the folks who are using the Macs are hard-core alpha-geek types too. I've also heard very good things about the dev tools from them.

    When it came time to pick a machine for myself for the lab, I ended up going with the Mac -- and I'm someone who's never had a Mac before. Part of my motivation was the "getting stuff done". I don't care if it doesn't play games like my home Wintel box. I need good Unix/X compatibility for when I deal with the big iron. And I don't want to have to futz with dozens of /etc files like in Linux either. I'm there to study, do research and write some code and go home. From this point of view, the Mac wins.

    But I'll admit that the design and prettiness of the environment doesn't hurt. If I'm going to be spending hours every day looking at the screen, it might as well look good. (No badly aliased, bitmapped text in Emacs windows, thank you.)
  • by revscat (35618) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:25PM (#12079245) Journal

    Obviously there are some clusters of them that make the news all the time. I'm not trying to troll, just wondering if there's a future for Xserve beyond niche markets.

    There was a /. thread discussing this a few days ago on a Mac related topic, I forget which. The person posting the root message was complaining that Apple has no direct sales mechanism in place for corporate environments. If you want to buy XServes for your org, you need to do it through their website like everyone else. Also, support contracts are apparently different, and amount to "go to the Apple store."

    I don't know how valid this is, but if true then I doubt XServes will make significant inroads. Enterprise organizations require high levels of support, and like to have the name of someone they can call in a pinch.

  • Re:Then why....? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by As Seen On TV (857673) <asseen@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:26PM (#12079249)
    Compared to Mac OS X, both NEXTSTEP and OpenStep were half-assed pieces of junk. Seriously. Both of them gave you about a third of what you really needed to write top-shelf application software.

    When Apple took NEXTSTEP and wedded it with Core Foundation and QuickTime and OpenGL and the other vital APIs, then and only then did it become a complete development environment.

    Of course with things like Key-Value introspection and Cocoa Bindings and Core Data, we're really moving beyond what a traditional application development environment it and getting closer to a data-abstraction environment. While some applications won't benefit from that at all, of course, some will be able to be completely refactored in ways that make them a hell of a lot simpler.
  • by nicpottier (29824) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:29PM (#12079311)

    Three years ago I bought a Powerbook, my main environment before then was Debian on a desktop (running KDE). Although I certainly enjoyed my mac, and it did get the job done, in the end the incredible lag in hardware (in portable systems) has led me back to Linux.

    The sad thing is that three years later, my powerbook (G4 800) isn't really all that much slower than the top of the line powerbooks today. On the other hand, for half the price I bought a new laptop that is as thin, runs a resolution that blows away my old mac and is at least 3-5 times faster. (HP NC8230)

    Linux on the desktop has come a long way since I left, and I must admit I'm thoroughly enjoying Gnome, especially hacking away on the new, very excellent Mono apps now coming out. (F-Spot even at it's young age beats iPhoto in my book)

    I'm really flabbergasted at just how good the desktop now is on Linux. One huge contributing factor to that is Firefox, three years ago all we had was an aging Netscape that was horrid. Thunderbird also fills the roll for a great e-mail client. Good old emacs is my editor of choice (with a dab of Eclipse running at warp speed compared to my powerbook) and having the source for my photo viewer makes life so much better.

    In short, my predicting is that the pendulum is going to swing the other way again, Mac portable hardware is no longer cutting edge by any regard, and the Linux desktop is now fantastic.

    I can honestly say I'm not missing Mac OS X one bit.

    -Nic
  • by Have Blue (616) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:31PM (#12079342) Homepage
    This trend may finally give Apple an opening in the business world. A very common objection to using Macs in the workplace is "We only know how to support PCs." By "subverting" the techies themselves, they are influencing the people the decision-makers will consult for the next upgrade cycle. It may still be true that nobody ever got fired for choosing Microsoft/IBM/etc, but at least Apple will be considered a real possibility now.
  • What amazes me most (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bonch (38532) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:33PM (#12079373)
    What amazes me most is how short of a time it took for OS X to get put together. Most everyone agrees that the first release was more of a public beta, but even X.0 was an amazingly mature product for something completely new that had been started mere years earlier. I heard a report that as many as 10,000 engineers had worked on OS X at some point in the course of its development years.

    I'm sure it didn't hurt to have NextStep to build off of.
  • Re:Then why....? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:34PM (#12079385) Homepage Journal
    When NeXTStep came around, most people weren't particularly interested in doing video editing and 3d graphics. The NeXT machines maxed out with like a 25MHz '040 or something (maybe 33) and you just didn't have the cojones to do most of that stuff anyway. You could do 3d graphics if you threw enough hardware at it, but that was SGI's game, not NeXT's.

    It's great that Apple has added so much to NeXTStep but the fact is that NeXTStep was an incredibly powerful system from a variety of viewpoints, it didn't take Apple long to extend it and given what a crapfest some of the older versions of MacOS were (like 7-9.x, IMO, though there is a case to be made for 9 having its uses I guess) I suspect that anyone could have done it if they started with the same code, that is to say NeXTStep.

    Anyway, don't count openstep out. It's not good for much now, except extending openstep, but with the proper development it could provide everything OSX does today and more. The biggest problem openstep faces is the lack of interest in development - it seems to have come a long way, but it's been a long time as well. I was excited about it so long ago I forgot I was excited.

  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:38PM (#12079456) Homepage Journal
    OS X takes some of the responsibility for mundane, largely unnecessary tasks out of your hands and frees you to do the computing work that you need to do.

    Well, not really.

    Imagine that the most popular shoe model pinched your feet every time you tried to take a step. Imagine this could be because by in large people don't choose their own shoes, but use the ones that their schools or employers buy for them, and that these shoes are cheap. Imagine you lived your entire life in those shoes. You would think that walking was painful. You'd either avoid walking, or carefully plot your trips on foot to minimize distances and avoid surfaces that exacerbated the problem. Now you put on a pair of nice New Balance walking shoes. "These shoes take all the effort out of walking," you think. "They're actually doing the walking for me."

    The design principles that underpin the Mac's superior usability have more to do with doing what the user says, in a way that is predictable and straightforward.

  • by strider3700 (109874) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:38PM (#12079460)
    Well lets see, 1995 I was just starting my compsci degree. Things going on in the labs mostly consisted of online gaming, Collecting vast amounts of porn (pictures some movies) and some mp3 piracy but most machines could barely play them. Burnt CD's are amazing and pricy but there are some. Windows 95 rules.

    Jump forward 2 years to 97 and it was pretty much the same but mp3 piracy was much more common. Everyone on the dorm network had thousands of songs and everyone left it all available to anyone who wanted it. Porn was now mostly video but most clips where under 50 meg. Cartoon series are available but pretty crappy, it was still cool to see the transformers again after all of those years. making mixed Cd's is common, but still not cheap. Yep I'm still on win 95

    Jump forward 2 more years to 1999. I've got my own place but highspeed is available so I'm on DSL. Gaming isn't as common but you actually have to work at this point. Mp3's are common, everyone has any song they ever wanted, new stuff is spread almost instantly. I've cancelled my cable to save money and I'm downloading good quality copies of the two shows I watched. I'm not the only one but it's still rare. Anime is starting to be available in good quantity on the networks. For the first time I'm able to download full size rips of movies but they are few and far between. I remember being at a bar and having a discussion with a musician/friend about these great "new" Mp3 things. She thought it was great. I've switched to win 98 and for class I dual boot to redhat. It took me 2 months to get sound working under redhat.

    Jump ahead another 2 years to 2001, I've since graduated but am working in the industry so here's what I see when talking with other programmers. Mp3's are old news, it's like the radio but you get to pick what you want to listen to. The market is slowing down and hardware upgrades aren't as common so I didn't see much in new gaming taking place. Counter strike was big. Movie downloading was really taking off though. once you could get a movie on a cd with good quality is was nice. swapping at work took place but most grabbed off of kazza. Everyone has highspeed connections now. For some reason porn is still mostly smaller clips, but they are in the 100 meg range now, high quality copies of complete scenes. Burnt Cd's are common place. I'm back to straight windows 98.

    It's now 2003, mp3's are actually risky to download but I didn't find much want to dl anyways(and no I didn't buy a single cd that year, or any year since 2000 for that fact). Kazza has gone to shit and there isn't a lot out there to replace it with. the market is bleak around here but you can get some work now and again. I'm rally into anime at this point and it's all over the P2P networks, it just takes awhile to collect. The guys in the office also like anime but we don't trade just recommend and then download. I've basically given up completely on tv at this point except for 1 show. Cable is free so I watch it on tv. I learned that year that I almost prefered the ripped versions with the commercials removed. They are available 1 day after the show aired though. Near the end of the year I get an Ipod, All music (ripped or bought)cd's are now stored in boxes. I run win2000 and suse, later I switch to gentoo. linux is the primary desktop at this point.

    jump ahead to this year. I have a great new job and lots of extra spending money. I'm watching lots of movies in theaters but not renting any I find. The PPV on cable is pretty good and if they don't carry it bittorrent is just a few clicks away. I've stopped burning cd's completely unless needed for install. All media is stored on the harddrives and available on my network. I have a capture card to collect new shows but I barely use it. The tv sits on BBC 90% of the time for the news and I'm thinking of cancelling cable again. At work all the rage are online games like final fantasy. Everyone seems to play a different one
  • Re:True at CodeCon (Score:3, Interesting)

    by As Seen On TV (857673) <asseen@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:42PM (#12079544)
    A word about cross-platform software. The days when your application logic and your presentation layer were bound up in the same executable file are long over. We first learned the value of n-tier design in the early days of web application development, and the principles have taken over completely.

    Example: The only way you'll be able to write a 64-bit application for Tiger is to have a presentation layer and a separate, faceless task. Apple isn't going to take the time to port Cocoa and the other UI-related frameworks to 64-bit because (1) it'll be a significant amount of work and (2) programs linked with 64-bit versions of the front-end frameworks will launch and run more slowly. Instead, all the core OS libraries will be delivered in 64-bit versions. Developers will write front-end applications that communicate with back-end tasks through some messaging protocol like distributed objects.

    With that said, the days of writing cross-platform software are also over. See, your core application logic will reside in a faceless back-end that can run on any platform with a simple recompile. Meanwhile, you'll have very small and very simple front-end applications that are specific to each platform you want to support. Want a Windows version? You'll write a Windows front-end. Want a Mac version? Write a Cocoa front-end. Want a Linux version? Spend a month fighting with X and then give up and go back to working on your Windows and Mac front-ends.
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:48PM (#12079750) Journal
    The worst thing about OS 9 (and earlier) was system extensions. In theory, they provided some great functionality as a type of OS plugin. In practice, they were a pain in the ass, and led to most of the instabilities of OS 9 (and earlier). At least this was my experience.

    My bread and butter is video, and to run FCP under 8.6 or 9, I had to run with a very trim extension set. If I wanted to do anything else, I had to reboot the machine with a different set of extensions. Major PITA.

    Once you took the time to do all the tweaking, OS 9 could be pretty good if you were doing one thing at a time. It was what it was. However, I really don't want to go back. For it's shortcomings (which I find few and far between, YMMV), it is miles ahead of OS 9.
  • by Senjutsu (614542) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:48PM (#12079752)
    If you mean "they sent an email to a colleague (perhaps talking about tuning R.E.D. values)" then maybe. Yes- pointless websites existed 10 years ago (did you mean WWW as opposed to the internet?)- but so did printing out stereographic images from the internet (can you see the sailboat? Stare at it longer!). I haven't seen anyone doing that in ages. I also haven't seen too much quicktime VR (although some realestate web sites to have virtual tours like that).

    So ten years ago, they were using what was intended to be a research tool to communicate with their friends and download pointless and silly bits of entertainment, and you don't think they were ahead of the game?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:02PM (#12080091)
    This is not true. While not massive in size, Apple has good worldwide technical sales and product managers for Xserve and Xserve RAID. Their sales groups seems to be broken down by "Education" and "Everything else" although I think they also have dedicated sales staff for the digital content creation markets as well as the K12 vs "Higher Ed" educational levels.

    Anway my company works quite a bit on Xserve clusters, and we deal with Apple sales for corporate markets quite often. Drop me an email if you are having trouble finding "corporate" Apple Xserve sales info and I'll do what I can to make the proper introduction/referrals.

    PS- Xserve RAID connected via fibre channel to a Linux filserver *rocks* as a cheap yet large storage/NAS solution.

    my $.02

    _ chris at bioteam dot net _

  • Mach vs Darwin (Score:4, Interesting)

    by toonerh (518351) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:02PM (#12080095)
    Linus doesn't like Mach, he says it is inheritly slower than "his" kernel. I think he is probably right, but not by an amount that really matters. Apple has been focusing on "micro-locking" critical sections in Mach for Tiger (and I assume even more for the next rev). This trend started as FreeBSD 5 tried to catch up with Linux 2.6, enough though the FreeBSD 5 kernel is unrelated to Mach. Why are they doing this? They are preparing for the day when there will be n cores, for n = 4, 6, 8... I remember an statement (was it Minsky?) that an n-way multiprocessor sysstem has performance of order n/log n. This does not have to be true in the future, and even if it is - we still win.

    Also Apple has IOKit and "prebinding" which remove the need to keep multiple old copies of the *nix libraries for every binary you don't want to rebuild with every new release, and every device driver as well. Even Windows has this to some extent, this was an esssential feature for the non-hacker to use MacOS X, and damn nice convenience for hackers, too!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:06PM (#12080184)
    You can come over and hide behind my VAX 11/780 cabinet. It will stop most small arms fire. Not to mention dispense alcohol. [glendale.ca.us]

    Pull up a chair, grab a beer, and we can watch the fireworks.

  • by good-n-nappy (412814) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:09PM (#12080263) Homepage
    I'm in the same situation. I hate spending my time tweaking settings or compiling crap in Linux. So for now that means I use Windows.

    My hang-up with switching to the Mac is that I feel even more locked in than on Windows. Limiting the hardware does not seem like a tenable long term solution to me. So do I really want to switch to a platform with such a limited potential market?
  • by SunFan (845761) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:15PM (#12080385)

    The most Mac-like of the Linux/UNIX systems will be the commercial ones from Sun, Novell, and Red Hat. They are current enough to make the user feel good, but have been stabilized enough to not make the user go prematurely gray.
  • Re:unix laptop = key (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:18PM (#12080445)
    > I've got a mac now. The first of my life, from someone who wasn't ever a mac guy (and was probably more 'anti-mac' than most.)

    Me 2. I couldn't agree more.

    Three of my good friends who are power users (they used to run Linux on the desktop and server) have all switched over to Macs. Apple has one thing that Linux lacks -- consistency. But that's the advantage of "commercial" software.

    For power users:
    Pre OS X felt like such a straight-jacket. I used to ridicule the "menu bar at the top" GUI. Now that I've done some dev on it, the whole Mac experience is just more consistent, then the half-baked Windows UI. Apple really has taken the best from Next, Mac, and Windows. Is it perfect? No, but for the most part, things seem to "just work." Ever try coping multiple files totaling over 1+ Gig across on a Windows Box with some of the files already there? Where is the "No to all" button? It's all the "little" UI touches that Windows misses. It all adds up.

    For developers:
    XCode - doc markup, version control, and a half decent IDE "free" on the 4th OS CD. This is a great way to "win" Window's developers. Microsoft learnt this long ago -- without developers, your OS is going no where.

    My next PC is going to be a Mac.

    The 17" PowerBooks are sweet -- the next revision should have great 3D performance. The current ones have "good" 3D performance. Gaming is the only real reason to stay away from Macs.

    --
    XCode tip - trying to add a file that doesn't show up in the file dialog? (Stupid Mac File Dialog :)
    Press '/' and you can type in any path you wan to add any lib(s) you want.
  • Can I switch? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wemmick (22057) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:22PM (#12080534) Journal
    I'm more than a little tempted to get a mac. But, could I get by in with a mac in my non-mac work world? There are two ways to answer this question. I could just jump in and see, or I could identify all programs I'm now using at my job and do the appropriate web research to see what's available for the mac. I don't have the time or patience to do the research nor do I have the time just to jump in and try it now either.

    There's a better way. And I think the marketing types at Apple should pester some of their techies to make it happen.

    I want to install a new program on my work computer (running WinXP Pro) that will track every program I run for two weeks or so. At the end of that period it should report to me how much of what I ran is available under Mac OS X.

    I've written more details [wemmick.net] (same from google cache [64.233.161.104]) on this, but some key points are that it can show alternatives even if the same program exists (e.g. Office), it must be open source, it must be honest about the mac capabilities (e.g. "program X will work for most users, but may not be compatible with a corporate server environment because of blah blah").

    Of course, this might work to convince people to switch to a linux desktop as well, but the linux desktop has bigger issues to cover than just application compatibility.

  • by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:29PM (#12080672)
    " In other news, open source fanatics dislike Microsoft."

    No exactly. Everybody dislikes microsoft the open source fanatics are doing something about it.
  • by Synbiosis (726818) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:33PM (#12080758)
    windows does not however come with iTunes (sure it includes "disappearing border" WMP), iMovie (as opposed to "how many times can i crash a 299 Dell Box" Movie Maker), GarageBand (hmm Recorder?) a calendar, cron, webserver, ssh server, perl interpreter, and let's not forget the secure and tabbed browser (Yikes!!!).
    Considering you can get stuff similar to all all of that software (with the exception of GarageBand & iMovie) for *free*, I wouldn't see that as an issue.

    Even then, not everyone is in a band.. I don't really see why GarageBand is part of iLife, IMHO. It seems like something only 10% of people would really use.

    I never really understood why everyone always salivates over iTunes. Unless you own an iPod, it's just a pretty ram-sucking jukebox program.

    Foobar2000 + ColumnsUI gives you all the same features, with 1/4 the RAM usage.
  • by RedBear (207369) <redbear@reYEATSdbearnet.com minus poet> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:39PM (#12080871) Homepage
    But lets be honest, if I can get an AMD system with a 15inch LCD screen, Sempron 2200 proc, and half a gig of ram for about 450usd

    Show us this marvelous machine that costs $450 and includes a complete operating system and equivalent software to match iLife and AppleWorks (or iWork for another $80), and an LCD monitor that won't make your eyes bleed, and 512MB of RAM that's worth having. Seriously, show us this machine. You were talking about something with no software, right?

    how am I gonna convince my wife that I should buy a 600usd mac mini

    That's easy, just sit her down in front of one for a few minutes.

    , plus 250usd for the monitor, plus the keyboard and the silly one button mouse?

    (1) Odds are you already have a perfectly good CRT monitor at home or you can get one for $120. If you want a decent LCD, you'll pay for it whether you get a Mac or a PC. Any monitor with a standard VGA or DVI connector will work with the Mac mini.

    (2) Odds are you already have a keyboard. If not, USB keyboards go for about $25. You do not need to buy one from Apple. Any USB keyboard will work with the Mac mini.

    (3) OS X has been around for what, five years now? And for five years now, OS X has had context menus and support for mouses with two or more buttons. Mine has 5 buttons including the scroll wheel/button. You do not need to buy a "silly one button mouse" from Apple. Any USB two-button scroll mouse will work with the Mac mini.

    In the end, as so many of us have realized already, the cost is now very low, and very well justified.
  • by crovira (10242) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:42PM (#12080914) Homepage
    your academic and corporate environments.

    They are raking it in doing their own stuff for their own reasons and doing such a great job of it that everything and everybody else looks, well, a little green at the gills in comparison.

    Tha fact that it works for you and what you need is entirely imaterial to Jobs.

    Now if only Gates would cotton on to the fact that Apple's starting to eat his lunch by NOT even trying to compete with Microsoft but by putting out by putting out great stuff that's really usable.

    I'm sure that "How Apple Won The War By Not Fighting It" will make great reading in my dotage.
  • by ad0gg (594412) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:23PM (#12081631)
    # Sue fan sites

    Please name one other company that sues their fan sites.

    # I have news for you, the labels want and demand DRM.

    So so why does apple threaten to use the anti cirumenvention part the DMCA against real if real goes ahead with their harmony project thats allows ipod owners to play real media files? Sure sounds like using DMCA and DRM to hold a lock on a market. I don't think labels would care if ipods ran real media files, nor do i think customers would mind the abililty to run real media files on their ipods and would actually prefer a choice in their online store selection. And choice is the keyword, apple doesn't want their customers to have a choice.

  • by richever (238948) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:30PM (#12081709)
    Gaming is the only real reason to stay away from Macs

    I played game a lot on my previous PCs. So much so that one reason for me recently getting my first Mac, albeit a minor one, was that, I thought that since the Mac has so few games written for it that I won't be able to find games to play on it. Therefore I wouldn't be playing computer games as much as I would be on a PC. I needed to curtail the time I was spending gamin on my computer.

    Wrong!

    It turns out that more and more games are being written for Macs. Like Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Talk about stealing my life away. And on a Mac too!

    Rich
  • by GizmoToy (450886) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:34PM (#12081760) Homepage
    So, just out of curiosity... You claim that 6 people in your office tried out Macs, and took them back... one when it was more than a month old.

    Apple doesn't allow you to return Macs more than 14 days old. Something's fishy here.
  • by Explodo (743412) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:11PM (#12082285)
    I used to hate MS, but after using Linux for a couple of years, I dread having to work on Linux. If you complain about MS being insecure, then why do I have no problems with either of my MS machines that are always on and virus and spyware free? In addition, they're never rebooted...ever! The only problem I have with MS is the fact that it costs so much to get a new version of MSDev.
  • by Dobeln (853794) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:47PM (#12082767)
    Just a few comments here - it's important to flesh out these fallacies a bit more:

    1.) "Appeal to authority" is usually a nice, rational way to go. After all, if successful people are taking path X, why shouldn't I?

    2.) "Appeal to popularity" - this is also a nice way of economizing with regards to time and processing power - if other people with similar tastes like X, that could very well be an indication that X is good for me too.

    I.e - the requirement for the above mentioned ways of analyzing your surroundings being fallacious is that the facts supporting them are somehow wrong or distorted.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:50PM (#12082805)
    Presuming you also have hardware coming with distribution X drivers, dsitribution X would be quite reasonable competition for OS X - it would certainly have the "it just works" factor.

    GNOME is great, but it certainly does not 'just work', and it's not lack of hardware support, or lack of Photoshop and Office, that are the reason for this.

    When people say, 'it just works', they aren't referring solely to the hardware (although that is part of it), but the software (OS) as well. How do you set up the firewall in GNOME? How do you format and partition a hard drive? How do you integrate your digital camera with your screensaver? These are just a few random examples--all possible under GNOME, but not even remotely as well designed as under OS X.

    I'm guessing you aren't very familiar with Mac OS X. GNOME is great, and I use it daily, but it's not just lack of hardware vendors' and application vendors' support that's keeping it from 'just working'.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @08:38PM (#12083931)
    Use what the distro provides, or use Firestarter or similar.

    Exactly my point. I prefer shorewall myself on Linux, but on OS X, it's extremely simple, built-in, and 'just works'. The point is that the Mac 'just works', and Linux takes much more effort to do the same task. Firestarter doesn't 'Just Work' nearly as well as the firewall in the Mac OS X System Preferences.

    I'm not sure, I haven't tried, but why is that important?

    Because it's one of the countless things in OS X that 'just works'.

    I'm sure there are things you can do simply in GNOME/Linux that are more tricky in Mac OS X

    Not many.

    How do you sort email into virtual folders like in Evolution? How do you manage multiple WiFi connections with a click or two?

    Mail in Tiger has these virtual folders, WiFi management under OS X is dead simple--nothing else out there even comes close.

    If someone sat down with GNOME adn Linux, standardised everything, and could promise developers a large(ish) userbase that would all hew precisely to those standards - I think that distribution would quickly become as "easy" and "just works" as Mac OS X.

    You are wrong. 'Just working' requires more than standards, it requires standards and processes that are designed for usability. Linux is not designed for usability. Windows has more driver support, and more major applications than Mac OS X has, but it's nowhere near as usable ('just works') as OS X is. What makes you think that's all Linux needs?

    No. You need to be able to promise a captive userbase, and no Linux distribution can do that.

    Wrong again. All that's required is effort put into usability. Why do you think you couldn't start 'Usix: the Linux that Just Works!' and build a Mac OS X-like Linux? That's not much different than making 'Gentoo - the Linux you compile from source' or 'Debian - the free GNU/Linux with superb package management', etc.

    The problem with Linux, from an 'It Just Works' prespective (which is the perspective we are talking about here) is that 'Just Working' isn't a priority, and that has *nothing* to do with lacking a 'captive user base' (whatever that means).
  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @08:44PM (#12084016)
    Don't know how anyone survives with anything less than 1 ghz these days.

    By not running an OS that requires Norton and Zonealarm? These days, I mainly use my 1.5 GHz PowerBook (obviously not running any flavor of Windows, except in Virtual PC), but, before that, for development and Web browsing I mainly used either a 450 MHz Pentium II desktop or a Dell Inspiron 8000, both running FreeBSD. Heck, our other laptop is a 700 MHz G3 iBook (again, obviously not running any flavor of Windows), which works fine for Web surfing.

  • by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:06AM (#12085688) Homepage Journal
    I agree entirely. Had MacOS X been poor it would have failed. I'm simply trying to point out that it didn't have to be magic either. These days unless you are very niche, an OS needs good support from application developers to get anywhere, and Microsoft has a stranglehold on most developers. If you don't get the app developers, you don't get any applications, and no one wants to use the platform... and so it dies.

    Mac and Linux are two wannabe mainstream OSs that have managed to survive. MacOS X did this by being able to promise app developers a guaranteed market, and so they got a lot of serious commercial app developers on board.

    Linux managed by being open and letting developers do whateer they want with it - thus appealing to a wide range of developers who want to tinker. It also managed to become to poster boy for open source, which again, attracts all the developers. The upside for Linux is that it never had to be able to promise market share - the people who wrote apps for it just wanted a platform they could do whatever they wanted with. The downside is that Linux app developers are a broad bunch who will write whatever they want. That means that while Linux has managed to aquire a fairly strong set of applications, there are a lot fewer guarantees that they all play together nicely, or really have much of anything in common at all.

    The truly interesting point, as far as I'm concerned, is that there really isn't much more room in the OS market. Either you have to be an open source poster boy and attract the developers that way, or you have to be able to guarantee some market share. In the mainstream desktop market, I don't see any new commercial OS doing that.

    Jedidiah.
  • by kwerle (39371) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @01:04AM (#12085961) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, if we're counting everyone who ever touched BSD, gcc, emacs, etc, etc, then I'd believe 10K. But never 10K Apple employees - and probably not even 10K Apple+NeXT EngineerHours over the life of the produce from NS 1.0 to OSX 10.3+
  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @01:32AM (#12086086)
    Why? What advantages does it offer? Give concrete advantages, not platitudes or "religious" reasons. Leave the religion of "GNU only software" to the likes of RMS.

    Freedom "includes" a freedom of choice. What is wrong with OS X?

  • by reidconti (219106) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @01:35AM (#12086104)
    OTOH, I sent in my 3 year old iBook (way out of warranty) for a logic board repair (bad video).

    Apple had a box delivered the next morning, and I sent the laptop out same day. Two days later it got to Houston, was diagnosed, repaired, and tested. All in the same day. Then it came back in 1 day.

    I got the thing back, and the logic board was never replaced. They replaced my LCD and it now works flawlessly. I can't imagine those LCD panels are cheap, but I thank Apple for replacing my SCREEN under a logic board recall. And they lost themselves some money, because my only reason to replace my zippy 600mhz G3 iBook would be hardware failures. Oh yeah, also, they replaced one of the little rubber feet that fell off a few days ago.

    Personally I find it odd that the G3 logic board repair coverage would even extend to a 3 year old laptop. I mean it is a laptop, we expect it to fail eventually, in some way, right?

    happy camper.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy

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