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Apple Businesses

Flirting With Mac OS X 1147

An anonymous reader wrote to us with an article on Byte from Moshe Bar about flirting with using OS X. Taco and I are both strongly considering beginning to use OS X as a primary laptops - anyone else looking at doing this? And anyone from Apple that can get me a good price on super TiBooks? *grin*
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Flirting With Mac OS X

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  • I'm certinally considering a Mac laptop. I don't really get on with the design desktopwise, but as a laptop something like the powerbooks look really nice.

    Plus what I want in a notebook is low power consumption, good screen, easy access to the smaller number of things I need to DO with my laptop.

    Plus of course new toy syndrome :)

    I actually think Apple should be stressing this market a lot more than they are.
    • by mAIsE ( 548 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @10:46AM (#4336275) Homepage
      I am a UNIX guy, that has switched.

      I have X11 from the same code base as linux, check out XonX.


      If you are familur with the debian tools, you should check out fink, I use it everyday. 1400+ packages and growing.


      The biggest difference between OSX and Linux and the real deal winner for me, No dual booting anymore I have it all in one OS. I can run commercial applications(M$ office, Lotus Notes etc..) and Fonts look really nice (better than Windows and X11R6) inside of aqua as well as having several beutiful fonts provided by Apple, this is something Microsoft has never really cared about.

      I think it is the perfect combination and I am becoming on of those Mac freaks i used to not understand.

      Did i mention no installation conflicts with hardware!!! I love Debian but this is the hardest part of installing Debian (how do you get that sound blaster working with OSS again......)

      Just my $0.02 but I say go for it.
  • ...they are a changing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:00AM (#4334813)
    As an example, look at this very standard series of commands, used to install Perl 5.8 on my system:

    [macosx:~] cd /usr/local/
    [macosx:~] sudo mkdir src
    [macosx:~] curl -O ftp://ftp.cpan.org/pub/CPAN/src/perl-5.8.0.tar.gz
    [macosx:~] tar zxvf perl-5.8.0.tar.gz
    [macosx:~] cd perl-5.8.0
    [macosx:~] make distclean
    [macosx:~] make
    [macosx:~] make test
    [macosx:~] sudo make install

    You couldn't tell this was Mac OS X if I hadn't told you, right?

    Hell no! I mean, just because the name of the damn OS is in the prompt; I would NEVER tell it was Mac OS X!
    • prompts can be changed...
      back in the days where a funny prompt on the professor's overhead was funny, his was somehow changed to "{student X}deserves an A+$" on his telnet(i think) acct.
      good thing the prof laughed :-)
  • Mac Laptops (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Naikrovek ( 667 ) <jjohnson.psg@com> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:07AM (#4334844)
    I thought about this for a while, but the keyboards that come on Mac laptops leave A LOT to be desired. shallow keys, half-height arrow keys, etc.

    And don't get me started on Trackpads v. Trackpoints. If Apple had Trackpoints (the little nipple between G, B, and H on your keyboard) I think i could overlook the keyboard.

    And one button mice... We all know that is not enough.

    Sure, I can get an external keyboard & mouse, and I would if i were *given* a powerbook, but to me, that's just like having a Mac desktop, because it would never leave my desk. But, if were to *buy* a Mac, it would have to be a desktop, where I can replace the peripherals with something I like.

    The point: they should try to make a few more people happy. I would have switched long ago if they had a full size laptop keyboard (every key full size) and a three button trackpoint pointer. I want a Mac in a Thinkpad case.

    my two cents on the "Switch" campaign.
    • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MoNickels ( 1700 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:19AM (#4334904) Homepage
      The point: they should try to make a few more people happy. I would have switched long ago if they had a full size laptop keyboard (every key full size) and a three button trackpoint pointer.

      You mean they should make *you* happy.

      It's a different computer: use it differently. As a long time trackpad user, you'd have to squeeze my testicles in a vise to get me to use a laptop with the orange knob right in the middle of the keyboard. I've tried it, repeatedly, and it sucks. It's an infuriatingly useless device. I onced worked in an office where Thinkpads with such idiotic cursor-manipulating devices were standard. Everyone there was a Windows user, not converted Mac users, and a majority of users had mice. They couldn't stand the stupid thing.

      Same goes for the two- and three-button trackpoint pointers. Again, I've used them, and repeatedly. It almost requires two hands to use! In fact, that's how most people do it: with two hands. What a logistical and tactical waste of effort. But a one-button trackpad, it's a one-handed device. And you can keep your other hand on the keyboard to control-click, which is natural since that hand is often using other modifier keys, as well.

      Part of the reason Windows and Unix users have problems with the Mac's one button (and whine incessantly about it, to such a degree that you want to put *their* testicles in a vise), is because they tend to be unused to the click-and-hold action. On a modern Mac, this will get you the exact same action as the right-click menu. What in God's name you need a third button for, besides having another part to break, beats the hell out of me.
      • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:3, Informative)

        by Surak ( 18578 )

        What in God's name you need a third button for, besides having another part to break, beats the hell out of me.

        In a word: Emacs. Emacs on X makes extensive use of the middle mouse button. Also, X-style copy and paste. Especially in an Xterm.

        • Why use X (as in windows) with OS X (as in "ten")? Newsflash: it already has a superior graphical environment (IMHO). Having said that, I do run XDarwin on my Mac because my favourite text editor is X only. I get around the three button problem in two ways:

          1 - use an external mouse with enough buttons.

          2 - set up XDarwin to emulate the middle button.

          • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rseuhs ( 322520 )
            If it were superior it would support Unix-style copy-paste (which is much faster than MacOS-style).
            • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:3, Informative)

              by Hallow ( 2706 )
              unix-style cut and paste would be a nice option. I've been forced into a "standardized" ssh client for win32 at work... man I miss putty.

              The MacOSX gui may be pretty, and fairly functional, however it's missing 1 *great* thing X11 has in it's favor - network transparency. It comes builtin, native, with X11. You have to use VNC or a commercial remote desktop soultion to come anywhere close (and those only do the whole desktop, not just individual applications!)
      • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Negatyfus ( 602326 )
        I've also grown used to the mouse wheel...
      • And you can keep your other hand on the keyboard to control-click, which is natural since that hand is often using other modifier keys, as well.

        The reason your other hand is using other modifier keys so often is that you don't have enough mouse buttons.

        Part of the reason Windows and Unix users have problems with the Mac's one button (and whine incessantly about it, to such a degree that you want to put *their* testicles in a vise), is because they tend to be unused to the click-and-hold action.

        No, it's because we think it's shite, which it is. What in God's name you need to hang around for, when you could have a perfectly good right mouse button, is beyond me.

        Having said that, I don't think that it's all bad for Macs to have one button. It certainly encourages developers to consider alternatives to large context-sensitive menus, such as intelligent use of drag-and-drop (which to my mind is a better paradigm).

      • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:15AM (#4335151) Homepage
        As a long time trackpad user, you'd have to squeeze my testicles in a vise to get me to use a laptop with the orange knob right in the middle of the keyboard. I've tried it, repeatedly, and it sucks. It's an infuriatingly useless device.

        Whereas I hate trackpads and never use the damned things if possible.

        I like Dell's approach on the Inspiron I have - put both on the machine, let the user decide.


      • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rseuhs ( 322520 )
        Part of the reason Windows and Unix users have problems with the Mac's one button (and whine incessantly about it, to such a degree that you want to put *their* testicles in a vise), is because they tend to be unused to the click-and-hold action. On a modern Mac, this will get you the exact same action as the right-click menu. What in God's name you need a third button for, besides having another part to break, beats the hell out of me.

        You may not believe it, but I feel bored in the second I have to wait for that menu to pop up.

        And I need the 3rd button to put windows in the background, jump on scrollbars, open links in new tabs and paste selections of course.

        Did I mention that I'd like a mouse-wheel, too?

        Macs are expensive, but the price is still acceptable compared feature-wise to top PC-brands. But on Macs you are forced to buy a lot of crap which you don't need and/or will have to replace (Firewire, 1GBit LAN, 1-button mouse) which makes them really expensive compared to a PC that contains only what you are going to use.

    • Re:Mac Laptops (Score:2, Informative)

      by alvieboy ( 61292 )
      I thought about this for a while, but the keyboards that come on Mac laptops leave A LOT to be desired. shallow keys, half-height arrow keys, etc.

      Not the only problem - here in Portugal we have lots of difficulties to find Portuguese keyboards for Apple products: usually, you must order them directly from France, and sometimes you just can't find them (hard to find new keyboards for laptops). So, if you want a last-generation Apple here, will for sure come with a non-PT keyboard. .
    • troll (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:36AM (#4334974) Homepage
      This issue about 1 button mice comes up every single time. And every single time the people who actually use Macs point out that:

      1) Multiple button action is accomplished by using the option and command keys along with the mouse button

      2) This interface offers no disadvantages for a laptop over the multi-button mice

      3) For desktop units the interface offers no disadvantage; but you can always use your current USB mouse if you don't want to switch

      This discussion hasn't happened once or twice it's happened something of a hundred times here. At this point bringing this point up can only be based on one of several things:

      1) Naikrovek once to argue that option and command keys do not in fact work.

      2) Naikrovek decides that all Mac users have formed a conspiracy to lie about the fact they find this interface of keyboard + button easy to trick PC users. In reality Mac users hate the mouse.

      3) Its a troll.

      Which is the most likely?
  • i got one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sniggly ( 216454 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:07AM (#4334845) Journal
    I got a Ti Powerbook g4 with the latest OSX - this is a good version but originally i didnt get teh dev cd with osx, the 10.1 upgrade had to come in the mail to me for some $30 (incl shipping) a few weeks after it was released (without dev tools) - only now with the 10.2 jaguar do I have a gcc compiler shipped by apple.

    And even so I run mandrake 8.2 on it much more than I run OSX because all GNU and OS tools on mandrake are free while the Mac programming community seems to make a sport out of adding an aqua interface to a nice free BSD app and charging $29 for it.

    Also I have a nice collection of programminng tools on the mandrake ppc that I am familiar with (apache, postgres, php, mysql, kate, vi, emacs...) I really tried to run stull like that on osx but it takes a long time to figure out just how - much more time than I want to spend on it. Even so you might even need to run Xfree for OSX to really get what you want which is overkill on my 400mhz g4 with 256 MB and a kinda slow harddisk.

    So if you are a developer used to linux or bsd OSX really is a tough call. You have to wonder why you need it, snazzy osx & aqua like interfaces are aplenty for kde & gnome so that shouldnt be a reason. And you can also spend the money on a nice 19" flatscreen!

    I have to say for apple tho that the hardware is great and OSX is very nice compared to windows - if you need an OS for stability. But windows has MSIE 6.0 (osx has 5.5x) - OSX has MS office but OpenOffice isnt really there yet..
    • I have a nice collection of programminng tools on the mandrake ppc that I am familiar with (apache, postgres, php, mysql, kate, vi, emacs...) I really tried to run stull like that on osx but it takes a long time to figure out just how - much more time than I want to spend on it.

      Sounds like a failure on your part, since I have all of those, except kate, running on by Mac under OS X, and all I did was follow the recipes and directions. Before OS X, I'd never compiled an app before, ever.

      But windows has MSIE 6.0 (osx has 5.5x)

      So? What's 6.0 got that anyone gives a shit about? And are you using it under Mandrake? No. There are a crapload of browsers out there for OS X: Explorer, Netscape Communicator, Chimera, Mozilla, OmniWeb, Opera, iCab. Try them all. Hell, you can even use Dillo under XDarwin if you want.
      • Re:i got one (Score:2, Informative)

        by Ilgaz ( 86384 )
        Someone should say him Mac IE =! Windows IE. I saw/used Mac IE 4.5 for instance (while Windows version was 5 or 5.5), it even had its OWN DOWNLOAD MANAGER.

        I hate IE on Windows part but on Mac it has better standards support etc. Near (if not full) w3c standards compliant. Oh and it also acts like a program, not "god" of System. Sits in its OWN directory, doesn't touch to system.

        Even MS admits that their Mac Office XP is better in sort of ways from Windows version.

        Geez, MS can trick anyone that easy, I guess thats what they intended to do.

        Before ranting on how old,crappy,dinosour versions of MS apps ships to Mac, check http://www.microsoft.com/mac and get some reality.
      • When I got the mac the OSX version was 10.0.4 - I couldnt compile anything without the dev cd (which i specifically requested upon ordering the machine). I started looking for apps ported to OSX from open source projects. Not until after I got the developers CD was I able to install some applications while others didn't quite cut it.

        I needed the laptop at that time to do what it needed to do which was to allow me to do my work on the road. Mandrake 8.2 ppc did that for me with all the familiarity I needed.

        Maybe my comments come out harsh and are undeserving of a modern ti powerbook with 10.2 on it.

        I am not Mac's target customer. They did target me as a unix developer and I liked what I heard about OSX (its unix with a great desktop). Still if I had thought things out I might have gotten a P3 laptop that would accomodate the release of redhat 8.0 next week.

        When Apple starts selling systems based on those ibm 64 bit g4's I might stand in line for one of those though. And also I can't deny the ti powerbook is a sexy thing.
    • Re:i got one (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Mutant ( 167716 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:44AM (#4335016) Homepage
      (apache, postgres, php, mysql, kate, vi, emacs...) I really tried to run stull like that on osx but it takes a long time to figure out just how - much more time than I want to spend on it.

      Maybe I'm missng your point, but :
      • Apache - click on 'System Preferences -> Sharing -> Start Personal Web Sharing'. Apache is running a few seconds later. Web pages are dropped in a folder named 'Sites'. Apache is part of the standard 10.2 distro.
      • emacs, vi - open a terminal window and type emacs or vi. Either will be running pretty much immediately, and both are part of the standard 10.2 distro.
      • MySQL - Fink [sourceforge.net]not only has MySQL but also a bunch more packages (Postgresql, myodbc, X11 for example) ported over, all set to install with just a click of the mouse (or two or three, but you get the idea).

      I'm not sure you've spent enough time trying OS X.
    • RTFM (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:48AM (#4335029) Homepage
      The dev CD is always available for download from Apple's website. Since you can mount images directly on a Mac you don't even need to burn the thing to install it.

      As for your list:
      OSX ships with: apache, mysql, php, vi and emacs so I can't see how those were hard

      "fink install postgres" will take care of getting postgres installed and working

      and I don't know what kate is.

      And yes I agree that Aqua is probably too slow with a 400mhz G4 + 256 megs + slow HD running multiple apps. That's just the "don't run too much of an OS for your hardware". OSX is probably the heaviest OS out there right now because it does way more than the others.
      • Re:RTFM (Score:4, Informative)

        by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:52AM (#4335393)
        OT, but just a quick comment -

        And yes I agree that Aqua is probably too slow with a 400mhz G4 + 256 megs + slow HD running multiple apps.

        Actually, I run a G4 466 with 256 MB and the stock HD - and the performance is very close to my Athlon 1.6Ghz at work. That is, ever since Quartz Extreme appeared. On a middle-aged G4 like mine, a new video card + QE does wonders, as it takes all that Aqua overhead off the CPU.

    • On systems with Mac OS X preinstalled, the dev tools installer is in /Applications/Installers/Developer\ Tools/. No need for a CD. No need for a download.
  • Just sell a few shares of VA Software - oh wait...
  • Go for it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by matthew.thompson ( 44814 ) <`matt' `at' `actuality.co.uk'> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:10AM (#4334864) Journal
    10 months ago I used Linux and Windows at home exclusively but wanted a laptop for taking stuff to work and writing on the train.

    None of the Windows laptops cut it with battery life or displays so I looked at the iBook. I plumped for the 600Mhz DVD Rom drive beast. It's since been with me to Singapore - great for watching DVDs, work most days, bed for writing, downstairs infront of the TV for emailing, the kitchen for recipes. (I got the airport card as well - nothing to break off so I don't feel scared using wireless networking while actually moving!)

    I use nothing but OS X on the beast (Up the RAM to at least 384Mb) and it's great. Proper terminal window to connect to my personal servers, MS RDP client for configuring Works' Windows 2000 boxes. Internal modem for connecting to other networks, Bluetooth for connecting whilst on the train. Best of all IT JUST WORKS.

    I've definately reached the point where I no longer want to have all my machines as play toys - the iBook is a workhorse and just keeps on slogging. It'd without a doubt the best PC I've bought so far.

    My Name's Matthew Thompson and I'm a system administrator and freelance journalist.
    • +2, witty troll. +1 humorous for those that caught the reference. -2 for those who, lacking the background to recognize the style of the post, didn't even take note of the unblushing praise that is rare without some form of payment.

      You forgot to play the silly background music and to flash the Apple logo afterwards.

  • by mocm ( 141920 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:14AM (#4334880)
    I have had a tiBook for 1.5 years now and I have tried using OSX from time to time. I can't say that I find it very appealing, but I am probably to used to Linux (I use KDE, Gnome and simpler WMs on several computers). I just couldn't get OSX to feel right. Every configuration (other than those meant to be done by "normal" users) is a pain (well NIS, NFS and automount is).E.g. I could not convice the network setup that my domain has no .xxx at the end and WiFi didn't work at first, either.
    Even with the rootless X11 it's not much better and switching to X11 only doesn't make sense. In my view the only advantage over Linux is the DVD player, which is not Linux fault.
    As nice as OSX may be for Mac users and newbies as a long time Linux user I have to say it is just to proprietary and constricting for me to use.
    • by Arkham ( 10779 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @09:40AM (#4335731)
      I used Linux (RH 6.2, RH 7.1) for over 2 years, and I think it's a great OS. But it's not an OS that regular users can use like OSX 10.1.5 and 10.2. It's harder to be productive in Linux than OSX. I've said it before, but the fact remains that OSX is significantly easier to set up and use on a daily basis than Linux.

      Want some reasons that regular people like OSX better? All the control panels are in one place and follow a consistent design. You can get Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Flash MX, and AOL for it.

      Want some reasons that many geeks like us like OSX better? Excellent free development IDE (ProjectBuilder & InterfaceBuilder) that makes native apps with an audience of 5 million paying customers. Great commercial tools like BBEdit, Oracle, Sybase, SQLGrinder, and JBuilder Enterprise, that make developing for production systems as easy as developing on Linux.

      The DVD issue is really a money issue. With Linux, there's no one willing to pay the money to legally play DVDs. When I worked at ZapMedia, we had a software-only DVD player working under Linux. We had to pay for it, but it can be done. With MacOSX, a small portion of the purchase price covers the R&D and licensing required to have this feature.

      I have a 600MHz iBook/DVD that I carry to work every day. The office is all-Windows, but thanks to OSX's built-in SMB browser [apple.com] and CUPS printing [cups.org] support, I can do everything that the Windows machines can do. I might be able to make that happen with Linux using a compiler and a lot of free time, but my experience with Linux in the past is that it's not nearly as simple or obvious.
  • Make the change!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RealTC ( 536594 )
    Well, several months ago I switched over from using Linux/Windows to OSX under an iBook. If it wasnt for OSX then there would've been no way the change would have happened. The best thing about OSX is that:-

    1) You have a BSD backend...command line baby!!!!
    2) Its very stable....very very stable!
    3) its not windows......important part!
    4) Has a totally cool desktop.
    5) The iBook doesnt heat up as much as the Intel/AMD laptops and is efficient with battery power.

    Sure, you have just one mouse button, but mostly I use an external wheel mouse or trackball anyway with 2 buttons.

    And no, this isnt an ad for Apple, but after getting tired of XP crashing it was a good persuasion(typo?) to move to OSX.

  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:23AM (#4334919)
    I don't get it--why do people keep moaning about Linux GUIs? I use an OS X machine daily. It has a pretty interface. It also has a few really slick applications and accessories, foremost, perhaps, its 802.11b support.

    And it's not like that OS X has figured out how to eliminate user confusion, as you will find out when you try to talk computer novices through installations or system configuration over the phone. Yes, even OS X has lots of GUI tarpits: the printer system, AirPort configuration, and network configuration are pretty bad.

    But when it comes down to it, I just don't see much difference between Gnome, KDE, OS X, and Windows. All of them let you move files around in roughly the same way, all of them associate files with applications, all of them have lots of dialog boxes with buttons and little rectangles to type into, etc. And all of them run roughly comparable sets of applications. What more do you want?

  • Not a microkernel (Score:4, Informative)

    by selkirk ( 175431 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:23AM (#4334925) Homepage
    Well, you see, Mac OS X is a UNIX. Under the surface it runs a 4.4 BSD kernel derived from FreeBSD 3.2. That, in turn, runs on top of a Mach 3.0 message-passing microkernel. Microkernels were all the rage in OS research about 10-15 years ago, but are now generally considered to be underperforming for most purposes.
    This is misleading. The Mach kernel in OS X is not a pure microkernel.
    Kernel Programming Mach Overview [apple.com]
  • Last January (that is Jan 2002, if memory serves) I bought a HP Pavilion laptop (yes, the one with the USB IRQ issues). I sometimes wish I had bought an Apple laptop/notebook instead. They have GREAT battery life, a beautiful OS (with hack appeal) and guaranteed to be free of incompatibilities, because Apple is in full control of both the hardware and the OS.
    OTOH, I am fairly happy with the laptop I have. It runs Linux just fine, and after applying the usepirq patch every piece of hardware works (except the winmodem, I never bothered to try and get that to work because I don't need it). It is fast and has an excellent display. The only thing that drives me up the wall is the heat it generates. I have a stack of CDs under it to give it enough fresh air - putting it on my desk results in overheating and forced shutdown. I've heard that PowerPC CPUs run cool, so I think that they would really be a better choice. And it saves one from paying M$ tax.
  • The part in the article about OS X lacking a package management system got me thinking. Since portage (flirting with Gentoo [gentoo.org] and it's babealicious) is more or less ports-based, supports recompiles (almost demands them, actually) and is all around probably pretty portable, why not get it running on OS X? From where I'm standing, it would help Apple users with system management and it would help Gentoo users with faster/better ports and ebuilds.

    Just an idea. Discuss amongst yourselves.

    • by shiva600 ( 323459 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:35AM (#4334970)
      You should check out fink [sourceforge.net].

      Excerpt form the start page:
      "The Fink project wants to bring the full world of Unix Open Source software to Darwin and Mac OS X. We modify Unix software so that it compiles and runs on Mac OS X ("port" it) and make it available for download as a coherent distribution. Fink uses Debian tools like dpkg and apt-get to provide powerful binary package management. You can choose whether you want to download precompiled binary packages or build everything from source."

      I guess that`s pretty much what you are thinking about.
    • by MoNickels ( 1700 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:36AM (#4334973) Homepage
      How many times does this have to be pointed out for OS X newbies? There is an open-source, community-driven package manager for the Unix underpinnings of OS X: It's called Fink [sourceforge.net]. It's a port of the Debian tools, including apt. It currently has 1452 packages at various levels of stability, including many of the major applications required for development. It works very, very well, from a command line or via happy little Aqua app called Fink Commander [sourceforge.net]. If you do use Fink, use the CVS tree: the maintainers are very conservative about adding apps to the stable tree, so most of the interesting action is in unstable.
    • Fink [sf.net]. It's basically apt for os x, bringing most if not all the tools you commonly use on Linux to os x. I can literally use apt-get, which made my transition to os x that much easier as I previously used debian at home.
  • apt-get replacement (Score:2, Informative)

    by fungai ( 133594 )
    from the article: "Something you will miss when coming from a Linux distribution are tools like apt-get or rpm to easily get and install packages and resolve dependencies. "

    well, i most certainly, definitley don't miss rpm, but apt-get for the mac is called fink [sourceforge.net]
  • by Ubi_NL ( 313657 ) <joris@id[ ]l.nl ['eee' in gap]> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:28AM (#4334949) Journal
    I'd switch to OSX today if it ran on my hardware.
    But, looking at laptop prices, the Macs aren't that much more expensive than Dell. However, looking at the specs you do get a lot less MHz for the same money. But are those figures really comparable (like...erm..comparing Apples to Oranges..whahaherm)??. Seriously; can anyone comment on the price/performance for Apple laptops vs (Dell,Compaq,Sony}?

    • by doghouse41 ( 140537 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:52AM (#4335043)
      You can have a Multi-GHz CPU, a laptop that runs cool, serveral hours of battery life, pick any two options...

      Seriously, CPU speeds have reached the point where I don't see the value in paying to stay on the bleeding edge of CPU speed.

      I've been using a 600MHz laptop with win2K the last couple of years for development, mail, wordprocessing etc, and I don't feel in any need to upgrade. I'd much rather just wait till the machine dies of it's own accord over the next year or two, rather than go out and buy a 2.5Ghz laptop that will be no faster, have no more battery life and be equally obselete in 6 months.

      By the time I get to that stage, I'm guessing that the marketeers driving M$ product development these days will have the Windows ship locked up so tightly with Palladium and DCMA compliance that a Mac with OSX will be the only option. (And the 2Ghz Ti powerbook available by then will still be 3 times faster than what I have now!)
    • by MrAndrews ( 456547 ) <mcm.1889@ca> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:58AM (#4335072) Homepage
      My first-gen TiBook (which I admittedly got second-hand from a liquidating dotcom) cost, when it came out, a good $2000 less than my Dell Inspiron 8000. The TiBook is theoretically under-powered, but it easily holds its own against the top-of-the-line Dell. And what's more, the TiBook can stand up to a 3-year old's bashing and smashing, while my Dell gave me exactly 7 months of service (discounting the blue screen of death the first time I turned it on) before falling apart (hardware and software) so badly I have to run it closed plugged into a CRT all the time to avoid the godawful screen. A very expensive desktop.

      Macs may not be as fast as PCs (anymore...and for how long?) but they make FAR better hardware. The reason I don't own a 2-button mouse is because Apple has yet to make one. 3rd-party hardware always feels so creaky and crumbly to me... just like the hinges on the Dell. You don't appreciate a Mac till you grab an iBook by the top of the screen and carry it into another room, just swaying, not even considering how stupid it is to do that.

      Now for desktops, building your own might be a better idea, but for latops, no one beats Apple. There are no other small-form-factor power laptops around.

      (the Dell's fan is whirring today which is why I'm so sour on PCs right now)
    • by Compulawyer ( 318018 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:34AM (#4335271)
      I have a Dell lattitude C600 with 512 Mb RAM and an 850 MHz PIII mobile processor. It runs a highly tweaked Win 98 version. I also have a TiBook with an 800 MHz G4 and 512 Mb RAM running OS X 10.2 (Jaguar). Let me say that the TiBook is MUCH more responsive.

      I tell people that you don't care about speed benchmarks. The only thing you REALLY care about when using the computer is response time. I define that as the time it takes for the computer to execute the command you just gave it (i.e., file saves, close window, open application, etc.). There are too many other variables that figure into designing a computer too pay attention to, even for engineers.

      When I compare the amount of time I spend waiting for my Dell to do something versus my TiBook, I feel it is worth the price difference in saved time (BTW, I am a lawyer and make my living charging for time - less time waiting = more productive lawyer = happier clients). You can always make more money - you can never make more time. I am grateful for the time the TiBook has saved me.

    • Instant on (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @11:31AM (#4336652)
      The instant-on feature of the Powerbook makes it worth something like eight times the money, considering you can get an easy days use out of one battery by only opening the laptop when taking notes. Great for conferences...

      I've seen too many people wandering around the office with laptops open because they don't want to wait through the wakeup cycle... if it even wakes!! And of course they are trailing cords because they have to have the thing plugged in most of the time to last a day.

      Then you have the great network switching ability, moving between various wireless and wired networks can be done without thought.

      Oh, and obligatory reference about the hardware being better quality as others have noted.
  • Every time this comes up, I post my request. I've posted to Apple, to Intuit, on the enwsgroups...

    Please Intuit - please make a UK-version of Quicken for OS X. Please. Please...

    There's a Mac OS X version of Quicken. There's a Windows version Quicken for the UK. Surely it can't be too hard to transfer the config from one across to the other? Can it?

    Without Quicken, I have to stay put. I know I could emulate, but that's not really switching away is it? A shame, because I would snap up a Mac or two otherwise (one iMac, one portable).


  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:32AM (#4334961)
    I think as Moshe continues to use it, he will either turn into a dedicated Mac zealot, or he will discover that OS X isn't quite the smooth integration of slick GUI and UNIX that he imagines.

    For example, he may think he was editing /etc/hosts, but reality is somewhat different. He may copy files with "cp" and discover that some important bits didn't make it. Cocoa looks really nice and descriptive (and I really like Objective-C's named arguments and object model), but it also has its dark sides, for example in the areas of resource management, error handling, and type safety. He'll also discover that there are two different kinds of path names that don't quite mesh and three different sets of APIs, no single one of which gives him complete access to the machine. Carbon and Cocoa applications take different key bindings and handle text differently. A "ps" and some graphics benchmarks will show him that Aqua really has a very hefty footprint and isn't all that speedy. He'll also discover that the Apple file systems (HFS+, UFS) are not all that great compared to what he can get on Linux (ext3, ReiserFS, XFS, ...).

    Don't get me wrong: I think it's great that Apple is using a UNIX base, and I think they have done a great job with migrating from OS 9 to OS X. There are some really great programs on that platform. And I think there are quite a number of things Linux would do very well to copy from OS X. But the suggestion that OS X is the heavenly integration of UNIX and GUI that the world has strikes me as not realistic.

  • by alvieboy ( 61292 )
    [macosx:~] cd /usr/local/
    [macosx:~] sudo mkdir src
    [macosx:~] curl -O ftp://ftp.cpan.org/pub/CPAN/src/perl-5.8.0.tar.gz
    [macosx:~] tar zxvf perl-5.8.0.tar.gz
    [macosx:~] cd perl-5.8.0
    [macosx:~] make distclean
    [macosx:~] make
    [macosx:~] make test
    [macosx:~] sudo make install

    # apt-get install perl

    Easier, hmm?

    • Re:Sooo many... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:29AM (#4335240)
      Sticking a frozen dinner in the microwave is easier than cooking dinner yourself, too. I can cook, so my food tastes better.

      It's difficult to understand the emphasis on packaging systems. It seems, sadly, to be the most important factor differentiating one Linux distribution from another. Aren't they just necessary bandages to patch over the lack of adherence to standard libraries and file systems?

      I've used RPM's, apt-get, Slack's tgz's, Gentoo's portage and FreeBSD's ports. They all are great if you work only within the packaging system. Start installing outside the packaging system and, sooner or later, something will break.
      Happened to me every time. You can try to prevent this by tracking and recording where all the files go, plus their versioning info. But, if you're going to do that, why bother with a packaging system?
      • Re:Sooo many... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dephex Twin ( 416238 )
        Sticking a frozen dinner in the microwave is easier than cooking dinner yourself, too. I can cook, so my food tastes better.
        I would say it's more like going to a restaurant compared to cooking dinner for yourself.

        Some people like the joy of tinkering with recipes and making their own food. Other people just want to eat something delicious and be waited on, and get on with more important things in life.
  • all you'll get from us is a pile of yes and no votes, plus personal preferences which will want to make you tear your hair out - trackpoints, close boxes, true microkernels, silver vs black paint, raw mhz -

    try it on a desktop which you can prolly shake loose faster than a spare tibook

    try smalldog or similar for NOS or openbox or refurb tibooks if you must

    make sure it's jaguar and try it.
  • by standards ( 461431 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:59AM (#4335074)
    Really? I just bought a Dell Latitude x200 last night... for my brother-in-law who isn't interested in "switching".

    I did some shopping around first - and I just simply couldn't find a laptop as nice as the Mac titanium laptop... light, thin, big screen, built-in DVD. The Latitude was the closest I could find for the money.

    But unlike the Mac, the Latitude has no built-in-DVD and a much smaller display. The performance of the Dell by no mean screams over the Mac (The Dell is a 800mhz P3... not even a P4).

    And the price of the Dell with the DVD/CD-RW and the other basics isn't any better than the Mac price. Really.

    For a laptop, I like thin & light... I don't want to lug around a big thing on business trips. Unless the market changes radically in the next month, my next laptop purchase will be a Mac. For the first time.
  • Not looking back (Score:3, Interesting)

    by weefle ( 22109 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:04AM (#4335097)
    I have three boxes under my desk at work. One running Windows XP, one running Debian, and one running Jaguar. The Windows box has been awakened from sleep maybe three times since Jaguar came out, and all three times it was to run NessusWX [securityprojects.org] or some Novell client application that won't run on Mac OS X. I have used the Debian box for netselect a few times (can't seem to find a Mac OS X port for that one yet), and that's about it.

    But the Mac... Mail.app filters my junk mail very efficiently. Chimera [mozilla.org] does tabbed browsing almost as well as Galeon. iCal [apple.com] is young but already extremely cool, letting me keep track of my schedule and tasks. Terminal.app's ANSI colors suck, but it's a good emulator otherwise. Oh, and Fink [sourceforge.net] and XDarwin [xdarwin.org] let me sudo apt-get install gimp and almost anything else I could do on my Linux box.

    Oh, yeah, and I can run Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

    I've switched, and I can't see going back.

  • Karma to burn... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jerky McNaughty ( 1391 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:08AM (#4335115)

    A few of my co-workers are getting these machines, but I would prefer to stick with Linux, partly because I don't want to learn the quirks of yet another operating system.

    But another big part is (*gasp*)... freedom. I don't get the source to everything in OS X. I can't easily modify anything, recompile, and reap the benefits of my change. I'm not a free software bigot that feels free software is the best thing in every situation (I do, after all, work on proprietary software every day).

    Plus, what do I use each day? fvwm. xterm. Emacs. Mozilla. gcc. Perl. Ruby. That's really it. OS X really doesn't give me anything over what I currently use, the hardware is closed, the OS is closed, and it's expensive.

    I also don't care about pretty. Come look at my desktop if you don't believe me. My Emacs doesn't even have scrollbars or the cute little toolbar. I got rid of that stuff ages ago in the name of screen real estate.

    OS X doesn't make sense for me, but I can understand why it makes sense for others since it probably runs the apps they want to run.

    But for me, I'll stick with Linux. But when they bring that little fishtank screen saver up on their OS X machine, I'll agree that it looks pretty damn sweet!

    • Freedom (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @11:43AM (#4336749)
      You can get the source for the basic OS, just not Auqa or Quartz. If you want to alter the Mach or BSD layer, go ahead.

      What do I use every day? Mostly Emacs and Mozilla and Java tools. OS X does give me something using those, in that I don't spend as much time configuring or fiddling with the system and therefore get to do more things with Mozilla, Emacs, etc.

      I am a great believer in the GPL, and frankly I think OS X is the best possible combination of the Open and Closed worlds right now. When you want things to work they do, and if you want to use Open alternatives they are there and you can work on them. You could run only X programs and ignore Quartz if you liked.

      I don't care about pretty but I do care about efficiency, and OS X is the most efficient system I've found. That's why I use OS X.
  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:15AM (#4335150) Journal
    1. Slashdot editors switch to Mac laptops
    2. They discover OmniWeb, which underlines misspelled words in textarea boxes as you type
    3. Slashdot readers suddenly begin complaining that the editors have "forgotten" how to spell "properly."
    Seriously, I would wait on buying a TiBook if I were you. Apple crippled the processors [macslash.org] in every model after the first generation. An 800-mhz TiBook with 32 megs of video ram may outperform a 500-mhz TiBook (8 megs vram, which makes a difference OS X) on most tasks, but the 500-mhz TiBook from January 2001 still encodes MP3s faster than the latest models. There's something fundamentally wrong with that. I would wait until Apple can produce a laptop that soundly outperforms its Jan 2001 model.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The first generation of TiBooks use the PPC 7410, which is a first-generation G4. More recent TiBooks are equipped with processors from the 7455 series, which are significantly different from the 7410.

      Firstly, the L2 in the 7400/7410 series is not mounted inside the chip. Thus, 7400/7410 based Macs have a larger L2 cache (the 7410 allows for up to 2 MB) than the 7455, but it can't access the L2 as quickly. The 7455 has 256 kB of on-chip L2 and support for up to 2 MB of L3 cache. However, the 7410 can't prefetch data to the L2 since it only serves as an evacuation space for the L1. The 7455, on the other hand, may use the L2 and L3 caches to prefetch data.

      Secondly, the 7455 has more functional units than the 7410. The first generation of TiBooks have two integer units (32 bit), one 64-bit FPU and dual 128-bit SIMD units (AltiVec units). The newer 7455-equipped TiBooks have twice the amount of integer units and SIMD units, but the number of FPU:s still is the same.
  • It works for me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Compulawyer ( 318018 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:23AM (#4335198)
    I'm a patent attorney in a law firm that is Windows-only. However, I can't in good conscience use the computer the firm supplies me (a highly-tweaked Win98 box) to do most of the work I need to do because of security concerns. (YOU try telling a client that their new invention was stolen because someone copied the files off your machine -- then try to defend yourself in a malpractice lawsuit and a disciplinary proceeding in front of the bar association - not me, TYVM!)

    I've got a computer science background and have used every version of Windows since 3.1, 3 different Linux distros, 2 versions of Solaris, BeOS, and versions of the Mac OS since v.6 and think that OS X 10.2 is by far the best I've ever used. In fact, I didn't realize how rusty my UNIX was until I got my new TiBook.

    With the TiBook, I have a LOT fewer worries about security, partly because of the amount of control I have over the machine, and partly because it simply is not Windows. There is a native Mac app for just about everything I need. For the one or two programs developed in-house that are Windows-only, I use Virtual PC - I simply made a copy of the hard drive with a free utility and copied it to the Virtual PC I set up with an ethernet crossover cable. BTW, gigabit ethernet rocks!

    I'll leave it to others to talk about the hardware (screen is great, firewire, etc) but I can honestly say that this machine and OS are the best I have ever worked on. It has been a complete solution for me. It is great sitting on my porch and surfing the Internet with the 802.11b network I set up. The AirPort base station also supports PCs. Oh, and did I mention that I have more free time now that I don't waste an hour (or more) a day rebooting my machine?

  • Yep (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Sp0ng ( 24354 ) <mspong@gmail.cMOSCOWom minus city> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:25AM (#4335210) Homepage
    I used to have 4 computers in my room which got regular use (as well as a few in the corner that were usually off). 1 P2 running Win2k for TV/movies/games/occasional desktop use, 1 P2 running OpenBSD as my dialup/NAT box, 1 Alpha running Linux for development/browsing/desktop use, and a SPARC running Solaris as a fileserver.

    Then I bought a Mac and threw OS X on it (10.1 at the time, 10.2.1 now). Then I got my Powerbook working again (I thought the hard drive had gone, when in reality the fan just wasn't coming on) and installed OS X on that too.

    OS X replaced all the functions which were previously being done by my Linux, OpenBSD, and Solaris boxes, and my Windows box, which is the only one of my non-Mac computers which has even been turned on since I bought the Mac, is now a glorified TV. OS X is the perfect OS - it does all the day-to-day desktop stuff I need (web browsing [mozdev.org], word processing, development, graphic design) as well as the Unix server stuff. What more do you need?

    And before anybody complains about the user interface, try using it for a week first. Don't expect it to act like X. Use it the way it's meant to be used. And don't complain about the performance - it runs well enough on my 292mhz G3 Powerbook for me to do my work (commercial game development), so it'll run fine for just about anything else, especially considering that most people run it on hardware far more powerful than mine.
  • by peatbakke ( 52079 ) <peatNO@SPAMpeat.org> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:25AM (#4335214) Homepage
    If you want a cute little machine that has enough horse power to run office applications, surf the web, do web development (web level photoshop work, PHP, Apache, MySQL, etc.), last more than a couple of hours away from a wall socket, and run with the stability you expect from quality hardware running a quality OS, the iBook is fantastic.

    If you want a slightly sexier machine with a nicer screen that can do all of the above plus video editing and a bit more serious Photoshop work, the TiBook is a pretty good choice.

    Laptops aren't about horsepower or upgradability. Laptops are about the convenience of not being tied to a desk.

    I have a hard time imagining a modern laptop that can't "get the job done." I've used new Dell laptops and new iBooks, and I'm still glad I purchased the iBook at the end of the day. They both got the job done, but the iBook's batteries last longer, and since I do web development and photography for a living, it's awfully nice to have an OS that lets me run Apache, PHP, Perl, Jakarta, and MySQL alongside Photoshop, Office, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla.

    Regardless -- you can always take advantage of the return policy if your (t)ibook doesn't do what you want it to do. It's worth a shot. :)
  • by bsletten ( 20271 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:28AM (#4335230)
    That's Yet Another Vote For Going For It.

    I got a Ti PowerBook last fall and love it. As people say, things "just work", it is a joy to use, OS X is a great blend of Unix and beauty, etc.

    The price issue is usually a red herring. Apples to apples (pun intended), you get within a few hundred bucks when comparing them against a Dell or something like that. Style and ease are worth a few hundred bucks IMO.

    Get one now if you need one now. But waiting a bit (maybe till MW in Jan.) might be good if you can handle it. The PowerBooks are the oldest line without having been rev'ed and there are rumors of 1GHz+ versions coming out in the next few months.

    There are a lot of Apple detractors who complain about single-button mice, price, etc., but kind of by definition these aren't people who have taken a serious look at them. A lot of really bright, talented, hardcore people that I know and respect have taken the plunge and couldn't be happier.

    If you are making your computing platform decisions based on using GNOME or KDE, then nothing is going to help you look at alternatives.

    If you need a Linux fix, spend $80 and get Connectix's emulator and run it in a window or dual boot w/ Yellow Dog.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • by deadsquid ( 535515 ) <asx@d[ ]squid.com ['ead' in gap]> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:37AM (#4335288) Homepage
    I purchased a Ti back in April to replace my Vaio and ThinkPad X21. I was tired of switching between Linux and Windoze on a regular basis, and wanted something that would allow me all the toys I wanted, the office apps work demanded of me, and a development platform that could go where I went. I also wanted integrated wireless - I _hate_ the antennas that stick out.

    I've had a mixed bag of an experience. I'm very used to right clicking items for properties/context-sensitive menus, and the "click-and-hold" drives me insane. That few tenths of a second is just enough to interrupt the flow of using the trackpad, and I use a two button mouse whenever possible.

    The click-and-hold also makes the dock less than useful for navigating around the apps if you have multiple windows/instances open and are looking for the familiar "taskbar" approach. I also find the jumping icons instead of a simple flash to grab my attention annoying. I have a couple other beefs about the interface, but nothing I can't deal with. Navigation between apps is icky, and that was my point.

    I use the powerbook (funny how we don't call it a laptop) in a variety of places and have a serious beef with the "Location" feature for networking. When I switch to a known area, and switch the location, it seems if chance plays heavily into whether the net connections are used. It's very unreliable, but I seem to have found the majiic sequence necessary to get it to work most times.

    That all said, I'm pretty happy with the rest. The apps that make up OSX, such as the DVD player, iPhoto, and iTunes are well thought out, and I wish they were available for other platforms. Third party software has helped with things like PocketPC support, and apps I'm used to with other OS's.

    I use Office X (thank you Microsoft, for not allowing me to upgrade cross-platform and fucking me for some more $, thank god for tax writeoffs) so I can use Entourage, Word, Excel, and PPoint as office apps, and I prefer the OSX versions to their windoze counterparts. This lets me fit into the environments of most of the companies I work with. StarOffice/OpenOffice is ok, but I prefer to use the Office Suite when I can.

    Finally, I have mysql, apache, and a bunch of mods installed so I can do app development/screwing around without the need for another box or rebooting/using an emulator when I want to use. It's also really nice to have a console/term window on an environment designed for use by regular folk.

    The hardware itself is mostly great - beautiful screen, three types of networking, firewire, usb, and the combo drive, and battery life kicks ass. The gripes I have are its size and weight (it's a little too big for my tastes, I was spoiled with the X21), the trackpad could have been designed a little better and including scrolling capabilities would have been nice, and a hd light would have been welcome as I sit and wait for stuff to launch, wondering if it's doing anything.

    All in all, I'm happy with the switch to the Ti as my laptop. I don't think I'd use it to replace my desktop, as I still can't play CS and a bunch of other games on it, but for a all-in-one travelling companion it's very hard to beat. I'm happy I made the switch.

    • by neo ( 4625 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @11:10AM (#4336495)
      You'd think you didn't have $12 left after buying that damn computer...

      I'm using a two button mouse on my Mac right now and it works just fine, out of the box. Hell, it's set up to a KVM switch.

      I didn't have to install any software, it just worked.
  • by rjamestaylor ( 117847 ) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @10:19AM (#4336040) Journal
    I *did* switch to using a TiBook G4550 w/ 768MB RAM as my primary laptop. This worked well until my web development went from general public-access sites to b2b sites that had standardized on Win/IE[56]. The result--I switched back to Win2k on my Toshiba 2805. Supporting a Windows world via MacOSX is not pleasant.

    There were other reasons why I wasn't ultimately satisified with OSX (pre Jaguar...I never did see Jaguar), so see my journal [slashdot.org] on the subject for more info.

  • by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <vincent.jan.goh@ ... m minus math_god> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @10:28AM (#4336111) Homepage
    I had OSX on my G3 300 Powerbook. I sold it to someone in California. Then I sold one of my mountain bikes. It looks like I'm selling my PC as well. Why?

    So I can buy me a sweet Dual-G4. Sure, I'll only be able to buy the bottom model, but dual 867s is more than enough for me to do my daily grind on. OSX on the Powerbook sold me. I loved it so much, but I'll admit that it was occasionally a bit laggy. It was excellent for being a remote terminal when I had headless machines around me. I only half switched before, because of the cost. I've decided now that I'm sick of fighting with my machines. The cost of my time is now more than worth the money I'm going to spend. I'm sick of trying to get things like Gnome 2.x to compile (took me a week because of some Xft problems) and then discovering that Gnome 2.x is possibly the worst user interface that I've ever had to beat my head against. I know where I stand with OSX. I start up the computer, it works. I do my work on it, that's all. Add Space.app into the mix, and I've got multiple desktops, and the world is a glorious place. :)

    So Hi. I'm Jan Sacharuk, and I'm a games programmer.
  • by CompVisGuy ( 587118 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @10:38AM (#4336206)

    I bought an iBook about two months ago, and below is a review of the machine. I jusst bashed out the review, so my apologies for the poor structure etc.

    I am a PhD student, and I wanted a laptop for the following reasons:

    1. To write papers and my thesis on, using LaTeX.
    2. To watch movies on if I'm travelling to/from meetings and conferences.
    3. To surf the web and send/receive email.
    4. To edit code. I didn't want to actually run my code on the laptop, becasuse my experiments often take several days to complete on a high-end PC.
    5. To 'log in' to my work machine to check if code is running, channge settings, get a file etc. My work machine runs Windows (sigh), so the laptop has to talk to that remotely.
    6. To use on the uni's network, and use my 'home' account (in this case a Windows account).
    7. To drive projectors, for presentations at conferences.

    I'll focus my review on the above, but first I'll talk about the reasons I picked an Apple.

    Laptops are expensive. But in my line of work (OK, I'm a student, stop that sniggering at the back...), I need a computer that I can use when I'm running an experiment on my main machine. It helps to be able to write code/papers on a laptop, so I can sit in front of the TV, or at my girlfriend's place, or in a coffee house.

    I originally wanted a Dell, so I could install Linux, but there are problems with this:
    1. Linux isn't supported by Dell.
    2. Drivers for laptops often come out ages after a new laptop has rolled off production (if at all), and their quality varies. So there's no guarantee that Linux will work and be stable on a laptop. I accept that desktops are another matter -- I have RH7.3 on my home Dell desktop running fine.
    3. Dell's aren't cheap.
    4. I don't really want to have to pay for a MS OS that comes pre-installed if I'll never use it.

    A friend told me about a TiBook that his work colleague has and how wonderful it was. I started checking out the apple.com website, and became quite interested in OS X. Then I saw a colleague's iBook. That convinced me. I could do everything i wanted on the iBook. I bought one.

    Firstly, the price of the iBook was cheaper than a similarly-specced machine. It's a 700MHz G3 (which I reckon gives similar performance to a 1GHz Celeron) with 256MB of RAM and a 16MB 3D graphics card. The screen is a 12" 1024x768 TFT LCD. I opted for the CD-ROM version, rather than the DVD-CD/RW combo option because of price (I already have a CD/RW on myn desktop, and I'll discuss the DVD/movie watching later). Apple give an educational discount, which means that the machine cost me just under £1200 (UK Pounds) and that included a 3 year warranty (also discounted). At the time, I could have bought an entry-level Dell laptop, without the 3 year warranty, with a similar spec (but perhaps a DVD drive, and definitely a larger screen (well, in terms of inches, the number of pixels would be the same)).

    The first iBook arrived dead. It didn't work. The Apple helpline people were friendly and efficient, and ordered me a replacement, which arrived just over a week later. Although this was a bummer, the Apple helpline people sounded amazed that this happened, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that my experience was unusual.

    When the second one arrived, I was amazed. The design is flawless. There isn't a laptop (or desktop) in the PC world that is as well designed as the iBook. The screen, although seemingly small, is wonderful. It allows the laptop to be small, but you still get the full 1024x768 pixels at 24bit colour -- because the pixels are smaller than those on a 14" screen at the same 1024x768, text and graphics look much nicer -- I have to look very closely to see the pixels. The screen has a well-designed hinge that has the effect of taking the screen away from you when you open the computer -- not like PC laptops that just have a simple hinge. The ports are nicely arranged. The speakers are adequate. The machine has no fan to cool the processor (Apple select chips properly, instead of doing an intel and designing chips that they can write a big number next to and rely on people's stupidity to buy the 1GHz PC because it will be "faster" than the 700MHz Apple [I used to be a chip designer, so I know what the right thing to do is]).

    The battery life is amazing (I keep using that word). I can work for 4 hours on a single charge, listening to music (though not spinning the CD). Sometimes for 5 hours.

    When you close the lid, the machine sleeps. When you open it it wakes up, often before the lid is fully open. Because of this (and the excellent reliability of the OS), I have shut down/rebooted less than 10 times since getting the machine. uptime tells me that the machine has been up for 6 days (I have never had the whole OS crash on me). Show me a PC laptop that has been up for 6 days! When the iBook sleeps, a white light snoozes from inside the machine, gently pulsating -- this shows evidence of good design: PC laptops use horrid LEDs chopped into their sides without any thought. This excellent level of design is carried throughout the iBook.

    But the real test is whether I can do all those things I wanted to.

    1. To write papers and my thesis on, using LaTeX.

    Yes. There is a free LaTeX distribution called TeXShop which is excellent.

    2. To watch movies on if I'm travelling to/from meetings and conferences.

    Obviously the DVD-equipped models allow movie-watching, but what about my CD only iBook? Well, there is a free movie player called VLC that will play MPEG files, DVDs and VCDs. I can easily rip a DVD to VCD, and then play that.

    [Note: I am only ripping DVDs that I own a copy of -- I do not advocate breaking copyright laws. Those in the US may be limited by the DMCA (write to your representatives, people!).]

    3. To surf the web and send/receive email.

    Yep. The bundled IE5 is a bit crap, but Opera just released their beta of Opera6 for Mac OSX. I am currently using Mozilla for both web (with their mouse gestures plugin!) and mail. It's fine.

    4. To edit code. I didn't want to actually run my code on the laptop, becasuse my experiments often take several days to complete on a high-end PC.

    A little trickier. I have yet to find a really good text editor under OS X that I like. I use jEdit on the PC (an excellent Java-based text editor), but even though this is available for OS X (and even gets the OS X widgets), it is a little slow. I guess this is a JVM efficiency thing.

    I have used Fink to download XEmacs and NEdit for X windows (OS X ships with an X server, and OroborosX is a Window manager that gives your X windows the look and feel of OS X), but I don't really like these. NEdit isn't as powerful as jEdit, and XEmacs is just weird, as a former PC user, but maybe I'll keep trying.

    On the code front, OS X ships with Project Builder, an excellent IDE for application development on the Mac, which IMHO is better than MS Visual Studio. Since moving onto the Mac I've gotten back into C/C++ development. It should be easy to write UNIX apps that can then be compiled on Linux and other Unices.

    Because OS X is UNIX, there are loads of apps and libraries out there just waiting to go.

    5. To 'log in' to my work machine to check if code is running, channge settings, get a file etc. My work machine runs Windows (sigh), so the laptop has to talk to that remotely.

    I used to use the Remote Desktop feature of MS's Netmeeting. Now I use VNC and the OS X VNCThing client to access my Windows desktop.

    6. To use on the uni's network, and use my 'home' account (in this case a Windows account).

    Yep. Easy. I can't print over the uni's network yet, but then I haven't really tried very hard. I understand printing in OS X 10.2 Jaguar is better. I could probably easily print from the command line, but this is a bit 1970's for me.

    7. To drive projectors, for presentations at conferences.

    Yep. Easy. Plug and go.

    There's only the text editor that's the sticking point, but maybe someone will reply to this post with a suggestion.

    Other nice things about OS X:
    * Aqua. Lovely. It looks wonderful -- the anti-aliasing is much better than in WinXP. Although KDE and GNOME are fine projects, Aqua is much better IMHO.
    * Being able to use one spell-checker in every OS X app.
    * Built-in speech synthesis -- I can get the iBook to read me stuff on the web as I work on something else.
    * Speech recognition -- I can tell the Chess game where I want to move my pieces!
    * More than the one button mouse. I sometimes use an optical MS Wheelmouse, and it works fine without needing to install drivers. Left-mouse, right-mouse, and the wheel all work fine (even in many X-windows apps).
    * "It just works". It's one of apple's mottos, and they're right. It does just work.

    In conclusion, the iBook is the best computer I ever used (and I've used most major computers from the days of 8-bit processors and most major OSs). If Apple keep up their good work, I will never go back to a PC again.

    • A little trickier. I have yet to find a really good text editor under OS X that I like.

      Try BB Edit [bbedit.com] (Lite = free, Pro = commercial). It's generally considered to be the BEST text editor for the Mac. I wish something like it was available for the PC.

      I used to use the Remote Desktop feature of MS's Netmeeting. Now I use VNC and the OS X VNCThing client to access my Windows desktop.

      Not sure if that's the same as MS's Terminal Server Client, but if so, MS just released a freeware version of that for the Mac as well.
  • by danielacroft ( 167383 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @10:55AM (#4336354) Homepage
    Was a windows user (had tried linux (RH|Mandrake) on a number of occasions but it didn't stick) for about 8 years or so I guess.
    Switched in May 2002 to a 667 DVI G4 PowerBook w 512MB RAM and 60GB HDD. I added an airport afterwards. Bought Jagwire.

    Good Stuff:
    *nix goodness - I'm studying comp sci externally (work full time) and I need a *nix machine for that, I also need a box that I can do the usual PC stuff with (word docs, spreadsheets, etc), the PB is that. :)
    No, really, it just works. The other thing it does is just not work! It basically ignores stuff that it doesn't understand. For example I installed a 3COM nic PC Card in the card slot. It tells you that it's there but there are no drivers for it so you can't do anything with it. I would love to get a *nix driver for an extra NIC if there aren't osx drivers but I'm using multi-homing for now. Point is that it doesn't crash or complain.
    MS software - Like it or loath it, MS software is a requirement for some people, I am one of them (yes that's right I don't want to worry about compatibility with open office or apple works).
    Stress level - gone way down when using my PB as opposed to my PC at home or work. (I've sold my PC)

    Bad Stuff:
    One button - personal preference of course but the one button just annoys the hell out of me.
    No Drivers - now that is annoying, I want to add an IR port (BT just works thank goodness) but I can't find anywhere that has drivers for any IR on OSX.
    Waiting - waiting for new versions of stuff that has been out for a while is just annoying.
    UI - some of the GUI is a bit evil (those damn window buttons are too small for my liking). Button combinations for different stuff (shift + opt + cmd + ...) is often hidden and sometimes not standard (Preferences in apps: cmd + y or cmd + ; or nothing)
    Mhz - 667 G4 != 2.0Ghz P4m, no marketing (lies perhaps) please, it's just plain wrong. It might be like a 1Ghz PIII if I'm lucky, perhaps a little more but that's it.

    Overall the performance is excellent. I only have the 667 but it really does run fast enough at the moment. Of course of if you put me infront of a quad 3Ghz+ Hammer I'm sure I'd notice, but I don't care. Battery life rocks, Try playing a whole DVD and then still having 30% battery life (I had 52% left once but I'm ignoring the outlyers). The TiBook is an excellent machine, if you can spare the $$$(^3) of course.

  • by al3x ( 74745 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @11:03AM (#4336432) Homepage
    I'm happily typing this on a new white iBook 700MHz, rather decked out with a 40GB harddrive and 384MB of RAM. It may not have the raw horsepower of my roommate's Dell Inspiron 8200, but it also weighs a third of that behemoth, has more than twice the battery life, and most day-to-day operations feel faster, and the whole experience is more pleasurable. What do I mean by "pleasurable?" Example: as a longtime Linux user, I prayed for decent antialiasing system-wide (well, except for the terminal). OS X's PostScript-driven graphics layer makes everything look gorgeous, sharp and readable. It's like looking at a printed page, maybe better. And I can keep my terminal and anything under x-font size unantialiased if I so desire. That's pleasurable. It makes the machine I interact with hours a day enjoyable to use. Things just work, by and large. If I want to tinker, I can, but after years of spending hours and hours to get, well, ANYTHING working (somewhat self-inflicted: I used Gentoo, which I still love on the server side along with OpenBSD), it's amazing to just plug in devices and have them work the way they should. I forget who said it, but "Linux is only free if your time is worthless." With college, I don't have the time to tinker endlessly to get a printer working when I've got a paper due. There are tons of open source apps that have either been ported or are being natively developed for OS X. This is a slow transition for the Mac community, however, and you'll still find lots of shareware and commercial programs out there, particularly in the utilities/customization arena. But as someone who's learned to accept that commercial development works for some products and open source for others, I think the OS X community has the right idea in accepting and supporting both. I could go on for hours about how nice it is to have an OS that's actually integrated with its hardware, all the little aesthetic details and polish that Apple throws in, but most readers have heard it all before. I can safely say that as someone who's lived and breathed Linux (with forays into *BSD) for the last six years, I feel utterly satisfied with my switch, and I can reccomend it to anyone looking for a great desktop (or laptop) platform.
  • MacOS X Security (Score:3, Interesting)

    by herwin ( 169154 ) <herwin.theworld@com> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @11:07AM (#4336468) Homepage Journal
    The security boffins at Qinetiq in the UK like Mac OS X a _lot_--it's locked down out of the box! Unlike certain unnamed vendors, Apple takes security seriously and is extremely responsive in releasing security updates.
  • by krray ( 605395 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @11:09AM (#4336482)
    I'm in my mid 30's, have/had MSCE (DOA now :), RHCE, and CNE certificates, multiple degrees in computer science, and just been buried in the computer business for 15+ years. Today I'm the MIS/IT MGR where I work (and partly own :). Anyway...

    I remember drooling over the NeXT. Way outside my price range though, but enjoyed working on them with my job at the time at North-Western in IL.

    Here at work we grew up on the network originally with DOS, then WFW3.11, 98se, and finally 2K. I skipped 95/98 due to HORRIBLE networking issues. At one point I took a Win98se box home to FORCE myself to completely learn the OS. What a joke! At least my Linux box was moved to the basement and not just re-formatted. The Windows box literally lasted almost 6 months and went flying out the Window one day with too much of the garbage.

    I sat there dumb founded. What do I do NOW? I love Linux, but the pissing match between KDE/Gnome, their complex setup/usage and so forth have kept them off my corporate desktops. Did I want to go back to Linux as my main GUI? I did then.

    This was six months before OS X beta when I started reading about it. I bought a Cube for myself three months later and used OS 9 for three months. OS 9 was OK, and boy did I have it decked out and functional very quickly.

    OS X initially was just OK. Coming from a Unix background it was obviously the right choice. As of 10.2 it's game over (for us :). I'm using source code I wrote ten years ago and compiling it on OS X no problem. Take _any_ package out there (ssh, ftp, apache, whatever) and compile/use it -- or just look around ... it's probably already installed. For example the "df/du" commands that ship with OS X stink, go grab the fileutils package, compile, and install.

    It just works. And works. And works.

    I personally now have a PowerMac (gave the Cube to my brother for home use), parents on the iMac, and a Powerbook for roaming (mostly the wife). Corporately I use a Mac daily (bouncing between all the OS' w/ VirtualPC -- 98se, 2K, XP, Linux, etc) as well as many Powerbooks in the field.

    Interanally we're switching to Mac 100% as the existing equipment is depreciated (4 years) which is a concept Microsoft just does not "get". I thought it was simple accounting... I wish I had an extra 100K laying around so I could by a Mac for everybody _tdoay_.

    I will say that my Mac users _never_ call me for help. I endlessly hear from Windows users though... Applications crashing (reboot needed), BSOD _still_ in 2K (though much more rare), configurations mysteriously getting munched, etc.

    I have seen the Mac crash. Wow, the last time it happened (the 2nd time, 1st I saw was on BETA) the wife thought world war three had started by my reaction, "WHAT!? NO WAY! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!. I DON'T BELIEVE IT. IS THIS THE END?" -- as she came running upstairs to find out WHAT.

  • by valmont ( 3573 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @01:38PM (#4337770) Homepage Journal
    from a win2k dell laptop to an early model TiBook 400mhz/384MB RAM/aiport/10GIG hd ... is in my journal [slashdot.org]. Another journal entry [slashdot.org] also outlines some of what i've found to be the nicest features of OS X on my TiBook.

    Keep in mind i wrote all that quite a few months ago. Now with Jaguar, things are even smoother, faster, just works even better.

    In more recent developments ...

    Where i work, a fairly big corporation, engineers are switching in strides to OS X laptops, usually TiBooks . Even the hard-core "Mac dissers" just can't get over how cool those machines are. I am one of the early adopters here with my ol' 400mhz and only 10GIG hard drive, they're all using later models with faster CPU and brigher screen.

    It is simply starting to make less and less sense for professional developers and engineers to be running windows versus OS X, unless you are developing windows software. OS X is just too powerful.

    My gf just bought a 700mhz iBook. She loves it. She gets around computers fine but had *never* used a mac before. She adapted just fine: M$ Office for OS X, browsing, emailing. I got her one of those USB microdrives so she brings Office files home from her work desktop PC. She's already playing with iTunes and iPhoto.

  • User review (Score:4, Interesting)

    by K'tohg ( 115837 ) <suki AT tritarget DOT org> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @04:33PM (#4339285) Homepage Journal

    My account of a Linux geek turned Mac

    I loved Linux, BSD, Sun, etc. anything with a propper Bash shell. I would hiss at others as they entered the room with there new Windows ME based hardware. I would scower at others with their up-side-down Apple logos and their shinny happy faces. *shudder*

    With Mac OS X all of that has changed. Now I'm one of those shiny happy faces. So why did I switch. Simple: "Based on Unix." Yup That's why. When I saw that a nice and functinoal interface that didn't get in the way ontop of a Unix environment I was almost sold.


    The hardware is very superior. First thing I noticed is compatability. Not once has my machine fretted about hardware. It has been very polite by either supporting my hardware 100% or nicely letting me know that it doesn't know how to talk to the device.

    My TiBook came with two USB ports, A Firewire port, A 1000 Kb/s RJ-45 Jack, A monitor port, S-Video port (with Composite Addapter), 56 Kb/s V.90 Modem and a PCMCIA slot. Eveyone I talk to is amased by the slot loading DVD drive.

    The keyboard is nice. It's slim and black with white letters. That in my book is cool. However the keys are weak and shallow. And the Control key is in the upmost worst spot it could be. So thanks to the ease of use of USB I use my "Happy Hacker Keyboard" Plus a Logiteck Optical mouse (3 button w/ wheel).

    As for power my machine really kicks but. I got the lower end model at 550 MHz G4 and it's fast. Most of the time I have multiple apps running. Photoshop, Word, iTunes, Mozilla, Terminal (w/ multiple ssh and updatedb at 0000 midnight) and my machine doesn't break a sweat (It's got a fan too)

    By far my favorite feature is "sleep mode" all I do is close the lid and the machine suspends itself and a spiffy glowing pulsing LED turns on lighting up the room like a night light. It's that simple. I even had the battery drop out and when I quickly returned it in a panic I found everything was still ok. It is roubust and durable. And it's mad from titanium.

    The only two draw backs I saw is the pain on the edges chip off needing a paint job at somepoint. And the price. Apple hardware although superiour is more expensive.


    So far OS X is the best desktop for a Unix environment I have ever seen. It out trumps GNOME and KDE and tottaly obliverates Windows. I may loose some geek factor in favor of ease of use but to be honest Terminal is for those geek things. It it intuitive enough for a kid yet powerfull enough for a serious gamer. Allot is already customizable by default. The look and feel can be customized by a third party app. A few of the Enightenmant features I miss. Mainly the middle mouse button paste. The virtual destop is missing too. And most missed is the sloppy focus. But aside for that the interface is easy and doesn't get in my way Like so many others.

    In my eyes OS X compares as if it were just another windows manager on a really well made BSD Distribution. If it ever came to Intel it would rule the world but the hardware is why you should by a Mac. In fact you should get it because it will remove some of the extra thought you use to use the machine and put it to better use. Really the interface does a descent job of freeing you from thinking about it as much. But I'll save more propaganda for more qualified reviewers than myself.

    • Easy to use
    • fast
    • dependable
    • perfect multitasking
    • compatability w/ windows networks, Unix, And good hardware compatability.
    • Looks uber slick
    • This is the Docker pants amung computers
    • It's a little pricey
    • Doesn't have as much commercial software (But you Unix geeks should be used to that)
    • $120 for an upgrade from 10.1.5 to 10.2
    • It places fear and resentment to those companies who have been sleeping around with Microsoft

    Please forgive the poor quality of this review it's my first time. Questions/comments can be addressed in emails or slashdot reply posts.

    I am proud to say my Mac is 100% OS X. I have deleted my Virtual PC's so no more windows and Classic (OS 9) has been remove. Fink [sourceforge.net] [sf.net] saved my sanity.

Forty two.