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Return of the Mac 1499

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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  • OS-X based on BSD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:57PM (#12078724) Homepage Journal
    I always throught basing OS-X on BSD was a good move. Sounds more attractive to me than the old MacOS, especially from someone with a long background in c.

    That said... BSD is dy^H^Hthriving.

  • unix laptop = key (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jabella ( 91754 ) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:57PM (#12078725) Journal
    Since around 1993 I've been messing with Unix. SCO, Slackware (1.0-ish), RedHat (pre 4.0...on Sparc!), Caldera, Irix, SunOS, etc.... both in userland, on the desktop, on my own servers, and a professional sysadmin.

    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.) My g/f has one too -- more than once I was like 'just open a terminal and do....'

    The fact that she doesn't need to know what the is? That's the best part..... I get what I need, she gets what she needs.
  • by xTK-421x ( 531992 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:58PM (#12078746) Homepage
    I would switch if games didn't come out until a year after the PC version does.
  • by qw(name) ( 718245 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:58PM (#12078753) Journal

    Last year's Usenix conference was full of Powerbooks. Most of the top dogs in the industry. That prompted me to buy a PowerMac. It's the best computing decision I've ever made.
  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:58PM (#12078754) Journal
    What's your point? I don't like Dell laptops... IBM sold their laptop division to some no-name, can't be yet trusted for quality company over seas... what's that leave us? Yes, Powerbooks... they're great hardware... I'm not a Mac lover... but I have had to work on PPC hardware, and I do like the power it has over similiar x86 based laptops... and OSX is a nice unix environment with a pretty shell... now if the powerbooks still had OS9 on them, there would be no way I would buy one...

    That's the seller, an OS that's stable and powerful, on hardware that's powerful... Less to do with it being Apple, more to do with being better than Dell and HP and the rest of the crap out there.
  • well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:59PM (#12078761) Homepage Journal
    at least at my university, it seems as if apple have changed their image. No longer for graphic designers - it's for people who wanna 'get stuff done' with their computers

    Also, their laptops are pretty much class dominant, and compare favourably on price with the high-end thinkpads in the powerbook range.
  • by Eminence ( 225397 ) <akbrandt@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:59PM (#12078768) Homepage
    'All the rich hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs.' :)

    But it's true - all my friends form Unix/Linux years who can afford it buy Macs. Especially Powerbooks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:01PM (#12078798)
    Translation: I saw other "cooler" people using them, so I figured I'd better hurry up and buy one.
  • by th1ckasabr1ck ( 752151 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:01PM (#12078803)
    Our new site,, is (we hope) visited mostly by hackers. The proportions of OSes are: Windows 59.8%, Macintosh 16.9%, FreeBSD 11%, and Linux 10.3%. The Mac number is a big change from what it would have been five years ago.

    That statement would defintely hold more water if they actually had numbers from five years ago to compare to. Even though their site didn't exist five years ago, maybe check out a similar site that DID exist way back then...

  • by rokzy ( 687636 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:03PM (#12078832)
    just do what I do - get a console and save hundreds on CPU and GPU upgrades.

    as strange as it may sound, I bought my Mac to do work.
  • Re:OMG... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:04PM (#12078863) Homepage Journal
    It is true. Slashdot is a Mac advocacy site! I usually hate it when people say this, but it's true!!! Oh, the horror.

    Most /. advocacy seems to stem from the following:

    Macs aren't Microsoft (unless you used Word or something on them)

    You can install Linux on them (not that you can't even an electric toothbrush these days)

    They were an underdog, which made those really cool Apple ][ computers back in the day (some of us have the emulators installed on our PC's and still fiddle with them.)

    They had a sense of style, which the monolithic PC companies still can't seem to get (PC's, seen them lately? Was Dell/HP styling inspired by pinching a loaf?)

    They were evolving, which always inspires some hope.

    did I miss anything?

  • by ctid ( 449118 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:06PM (#12078901) Homepage
    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.

    Are you sure about that? Think about messing around on the Internet. Ten years ago that was just getting popular in universities and now it's perfectly normal in the home.

  • old news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adpowers ( 153922 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:07PM (#12078911)
    I noticed this trend (geeks switching to OS X) a few years ago. Most of the alpha geeks at Seattle Wireless were using iBooks around 2002. At that point, I knew Apple had a bright future ahead. Not only have I switched my main computer to a 12" PowerBook, but I also invested in AAPL stock. Now most of my roommates have iPods, more than half have PowerBooks, and the rest want a PowerBook. Many of my friends are switching, and it will be only a matter of time before lots of the general population does as well.
  • by JackAtCepstral ( 870238 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:09PM (#12078949) Homepage
    Here's the obligatory rebuttal. You're forgetting the software. You can put Linux on it for free, but you're not getting nearly the user experience you get with a Mac. Or you can pay for Windows and the software that runs on it. That will bring up the cost of that $450US system. Still, not the same user experience. With a Mac, it's the compete system your paying for, not just the hardware.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:15PM (#12079059)
    with the design of OS X and it's grandparent OS, FreeBSD, why wouldn't they switch?

    Glad you asked.
    1. Incompatible with windows games
    2. Not free software (as in freedom)
    3. Expensive
    4. Have to learn a new user interface

    I know not everyone sees it this way, but for me at least OSX is the worst of windows and GNU+linux combined.
  • Common People (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zapraki ( 737378 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:15PM (#12079067)
    Alright, Graham has some good points. And this discussion is probably going to turn into a classic Mac vs. PC kerfuffle, with each side claiming moral superiority.

    But, as enjoyable as those debates are, I just want to make a point about one thing Graham said:

    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.
    I think this is only very slightly true, or maybe it depends on your definition of "ordinary". To me, "ordinary" implies "total newbie." Not to mean that in a negative way, it's just how it is.

    Most people in this world don't care quite as much about computers and tech as much as we do (gasp! - sacrilege!). Sad but true.

    So honestly, I can't see the vast majority of "ordinary people" wanting to learn any of the things that people like /.ers would enjoy, like programming for instance.

    Your average Joe is *not* going to be a stylin' C++ wizard in 10 years. He's going to be using fancier machines than we're using now, of course, but he's going to want to have stuff that works without knowing HOW or WHY it works. That's how it's always been, and I can't see that changing.

  • by McSnickered ( 67307 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:16PM (#12079079)
    Google - 2 PhD students at Stanford
    Linux - 1 grad student at Helsinki University
    GNU - bunch O' long hairs at MIT

    You were saying something about the author being on crack? Those are 3 examples off the top of my head that have not only influenced but re-defined the software industry. I'm sure there are probably at least a couple more out there ...

  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:17PM (#12079104) Homepage Journal
    Odds are you already own a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. The keyboard and mouse are USB, and the monitor output requires a $20 dongle. The machine itself is $499, and the dongle kicks the price up over $500, but it's still close.

    That of course assumes you're retiring some computer recent enough to have a USB keyboard and mouse, a computer which is still probably usable for most purposes. So it may take another two or three years before it's time for a new computer for you. At that time you can get a brand-new keyboard and brand-new mouse and brand-new monitor, or you can increase the Wife Acceptance Factor by claiming you're saving a few hundred bucks by reusing the old pieces.

    Monitors in particular haven't improved much lately. You probably even have a CRT sitting around gathering dust. Unless you have a particular sensitivity, remember that people used CRTs for years without too many ill effects. LCD screens were a luxury until really recently.
  • Re:Lemme guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by revscat ( 35618 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:20PM (#12079143) Journal

    I bet you also voted for whoever your favorite actor told you to.

    Sheep. Baaaaaaa! B-a-a-a-a!

    Sometimes taking unspoken advise from those whom you respect is a conscious choice, not mindless groupthink. There are developers out there who are better than I am, and when they speak, I listen. I also pay attention to what tools they use. This is neither blind nor foolish, when not taken to an extreme.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:20PM (#12079166)
    By using whatever monitor (and keyboard and mouse if they're usb) you already had, and getting the 1.25Ghz mini for $499 instead of the 1.42Ghz for $599.
    And if you don't want a one button mouse, then don't buy one. Multi-button wheel mice work fine on macs, and don't even need drivers for the first few buttons and wheel.

    I find it really absurd that after years and years of people clamoring for a low priced bare bones mac, now that apple has released one, many of the same people are now whining that the mini in fact *is* a low priced bare bones mac.
  • So, I was a die hard Windows user, been that way since 3.0 (3.11 and 2k were my favorite releases), but 18 months ago I switched to Linux (first SuSE and more recently FC3). And now I'm thinking of a PowerBook.

    Leaving Windows wasn't a problem, but sticking with Linux is. Sure it's very fast on my machine, and I have all the familiar Unix tools from the GNU chain, but so much doesn't work right. Linux on the desktop is close to a joke. I've tried both GNOME and KDE and neither is bug free (cf. Win2K which was very, very stable), and there are so many hardware incompatibilities that it's a pain.

    Ultimately, I want to support F/OSS, but I may have to switch because it's a productivity drain for me to discover that gnome-panel has crashed something and now Evolution can't open the File dialog. Ugh. Or figure out why gaim's icon disappears in the tray some of the time, or have gdesklets eat the CPU for no apparent reason, or...

  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:21PM (#12079178) Journal
    I would switch if games didn't come out until a year after the PC version does.

    Right. Games are key for you. For these MIT geeks? I remember my college days, and if I wasn't in class, writing code, writing papers, reading, doing problem sets, eating or sleeping, I was decompressing ( partying, playing foosball, hiking, playing music, anything NOT near a video screen ). If you have time to worry about playing Halo2 or Doom3 or whatever the -very- second it comes out, you're actually -not- the guys they're talking about in this article, as much as you might like to be.

    The games aren't key for me, either, even years out of college. I'm more interested in writing my own 3D OpenGL code than shooting an endless series of monsters someone else created. Occasionaly, I do want to do some gaming, but I generally find UT2k or even ( gasp! ) some of my old PS2 games like GTA Vice City fill that need just fine, even though I've played them through many a time... I understand your mentality, but you have to realize, it's just you and a relatively small group of your peers who feel the need to be on the cutting edge of high-performance video gaming. *Most* people are willing to wait, and the *true* tech geeks don't really have the time to spend on games that you do. If they do have that time, they eventually decide they'd rather create their own game engines.

    Also, why not have a Mac, too? I haven't used it in ages, since I can't think of a good reason to do so, but I do have my PC sitting in my shop. Real geeks collect computer hardware just to check it out, and don't get rid of it until they're either out of space. A Mac laptop might make sense for a guy like you, if you have a use for a computer on the go, since gaming on a laptop kinda sucks anyway... but then, if you have no desire to work on anything but your WinXP box, don't know *nix, and don't need a mobile machine, maybe you shouldn't bother with anything different, if gaming is your #1 use for a computer. The guys they're talking about here, though? Gaming is not the #1 concern for them. It's not even number 2 or 3...

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:21PM (#12079181) Homepage Journal
    Please note that the Mac Mini isn't really usuable at the $499 price point. A bump to 512mb is required and I don't think I would own one without a superdrive.

    Powerbooks are very pricey. Worse the superdrive is a $150.00 option on most of them which further increases the pricing.

    The key issue is relevance. People will have a hard time swallowing the price of any MAC when they can see a similar looking and peforming machine running windows for a lot less; in some cases half.

    I priced a 15" powerbook recently with a superdrive and the cost was over $2100.00. While the OS is technically superior to Windows that does not excuse the cost. I am curious which major manufacturer actually makes the powerbooks.

    On a side note instead of a mac mini I would recommend a iMac to people new to the mac experience. The all in one, comes with all needed items, is a much better option.
  • by Kingpin ( 40003 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:21PM (#12079183) Homepage

    I'm sure will surprise you pleasantly

  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:22PM (#12079195) Homepage
    Yeah, he'd have been MUCH better off if he had NOT bought a PowerMac, because since lots of other people are doing it, it's DEFINITELY a bad idea.

    Come on, people. Popularity and quality are orthogonal. We should all understand this by now.
  • by rokzy ( 687636 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:23PM (#12079199)
    my work computer is a laptop. portability is necessary.

    so my options are:

    1. high-end game-playing laptop - about GBP2000
    2. iBook + PC = GBP800 + about GBP1000 = GBP1800
    3. iBook + console = GBP800 + GBP100 = GBP900

    THAT's economy.

    I'm not saying computers are for work, but bought mine to do work. once running the latest PC 3D FPS isn't your main priority, a whole new world of computing options open up to you. and once you step through, looking back on all the money you spent just to get a decent frames/sec in a long-uninstalled game seems quite absurd.

    the way my Mac helps me Get Thing Done easily wins over any desire for games. YMMV.
  • by Taladar ( 717494 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:25PM (#12079246)
    First, you have an ibook wich are not meant to be upgraded.
    And that is an excuse in what way exactly?
  • by f0rt0r ( 636600 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:28PM (#12079289)
    Where I work, we have one hard core Mac user. He convinced 6 people to try out Mac's. It was a mix of mini-Mac's and powerbooks, and only one kept it more than a month before taking it back. Personnally, I haven't tried one out yet as running Linux with Fluxbox as the WM just rocks, plus the whole OSS ( GPL ) philosophy is something I don't want to compromise on ( assuming I would be running OS X, and not Linux on the Mac ).

    These guys ( and gal ) are all security engineers with CISSP/etc certs whose job is to protect the company's assets ( which are 90% digital, billions a year ), so I would say they're pretty l337, too.

    Anyhow, I didn't want there to be some rosy picture of everyone switching to Mac's when that is not the case I think it is a strong trend just like Java applets, dot coms, and other fads once were, but how long will it last?

    On the other hand, I haven't seen anyone who was unhappy with their iPod or miniPod.

  • It's been said... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bhima ( 46039 ) <> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:29PM (#12079314) Journal
    The Masses use Windows

    The Smart use *nix

    The elite use a Mac!

  • by As Seen On TV ( 857673 ) <> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:30PM (#12079332)
    Replace "cooler" with "smarter" and you're right on. When you see people you've admired for years walking around with Powerbooks, you start to get the idea that maybe they know something you don't, you know?
  • Re:OMG... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:31PM (#12079343)
    Most PC users don't care about style, they care about price/performance. It's silly to assume that a company like Dell can't afford to hire industrial designers just as good as any who work for Apple. There's just no ROI in doing it because Apple is "cool" and Dell isn't.

    It just turns out that being "cool" is less profitable in the personal computer market.

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:31PM (#12079350)
    They are not super expensive compared to new factory built x86. A PowerBook is comparable in price to Dells or Thinkpads of similar configuration. Likewise a G5 Tower or MacMini or iMac is comparable to PCs.
  • by IdJit ( 78604 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:33PM (#12079372)
    isn't so much the Linux to Mac switch. That's not a very big jump, especially with OSX being Unix-based.

    The big thing is the Windows to Mac switchers and, more importantly, the role that the iPod plays in influencing that switch.

    Windows users who buy an iPod to use on their Windows machines end up getting a slight taste of what it's like to use a Mac. iTunes is presented in the OSX GUI style, and the iPod itself is a fine example of Apple's signature simplistic beauty.

    Once their curiosity has been raised and they see the almost cult-like enthusiasm that Mac users have for Apple and its products (and you know it's true), they start looking at Macs to see what all the fuss is about.

    Then, after playing with one in their local CompUSA, they're hooked like a heroin junkie. (but I mean that in the nicest way.)
  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:33PM (#12079379) Homepage
    Hey, what are you using right now to read my post? A monitor? Wow, there's that problem solved.

    What are you using to click on the Reply button. A mouse? Good! Two down, one to go.

    Now, what are you using to make the letters appear on your monitor. A keyboard? Brilliant!

    What were you complaining about again?
  • Re:Lemme guess... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <charleshixsn@ea r t h l i n> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:38PM (#12079463)
    I would certainly consider his advice...if I were studying acting.
  • by tegdude ( 578919 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:40PM (#12079501)
    I think the hardcore OS-loyalty is coming to an end. It's comparable to adolescence. First, the computer industry and those who used the products it produced were "immature" about certain things. It was nothing more than simple brand loyalty (except in this case the brands were operating systems and varying hardware set-ups). Now, as the computing community grows up (we all know the first major computing generation, and most of the people reading this article are Generation-X) their aged attitudes are reflected in what they buy. The old days of fighting about what's better in forums are getting old to most people. I think the time has about come where people are going to find what they like and use it, Mac, Linux, Winblows, etc. So, it shouldn't be surprising that people are going to switch to Mac. Slowly but surely the compatibility barriers are breaking like a contemporary Berlin Wall. And soon Mac, Linux, and Winblows people are going to live in the same metaphorical computing Germany. Two things: 1. There were a lot of analogies in that, I'm sorry. 2. While spell checking, I learned that Microsoft Word will not let you add Winblows to its dictionary. I'm sure there's a technical reason why, I don't care, let me have my fun.
  • by dmouritsendk ( 321667 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:41PM (#12079507)
    I was saving up money to get a G5 iMac, when it suddonly struck me that even though i still was a couple of hundred short of being able to buy a iMac i could get:

    3.2 P4(800FSB)
    1 GB Ram
    x16 DVD-R
    A pretty cool ALU case

    TWO 19" viewsonic TFT screens, with way faster update speeds than the apple screen.

    Everything in the machine is faster/better than the elements inside the Apple, the screens are larger. And it was a good deal cheaper than the iMac would have been.

    If Apple wan't my business, all they have to do is make a model with a sane price/performance ratio.
  • Re:well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TomorrowPlusX ( 571956 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:42PM (#12079558)
    Uh... I think what you've just discovered is that graphic designers have known *for years* what you've just discovered. Graphic designers "just want to get things done". They're not people enamored with computing. They want to work, and Macs let them work reasonably reliably and with minimum fuss.

    I wish people would stop acting as if graphic design isn't work. It's how I've eaten and paid my rent for six years. I even have a degree in it. Sheesh, it's not like we're selling magic crystals which make your car get better mileage. It's work, with clients and deadlines. Most of us use macs because we learned on them, and because the workflow is fast, reliable, and transparent.

    And yes, I actually did use to do graphic design on PCs, for a couple years ( on win2k ). And it really was worse. It's hard to explain how -- win2k was reliable enough -- it just got in the way of my workflow.
  • Re:great hardware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bad_outlook ( 868902 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:44PM (#12079609) Homepage
    Price: I got my G3 800Mhz iBook for ~920$ a year and a half ago.

    Power: battery staying power is much better on the macs (currently)

    Support: Devs have much less crazy hardware to support on the PPC/Apple side, thus everything being supported.

    Freedom: To explain why I feel more comfortable in Linux than OSX is inpossible, I just do. Yes, I can download/compile all that stuff on OSX, but what if I want to run Fluxbox, and not the OSX desktop? I can't. I can run both in OSX, but why? Instead I can run Linux, choose whatever the hell I want/don't want, and even have the option to run Mac on Linux and do whatever the hell I want. Listen to iTunes while in Linux? Use iPhoto in Linux? No problem.

  • Good for You (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:46PM (#12079695)
    All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs.

    Good for you. All the best hackers I know are building their own machines and downloading Linux for free.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:55PM (#12079924)
    When OS X came, everyone in the Linux/BSD camp said "Cool, the best and smartest thing to do for a vendor - take OSS and build and polish it around your plattform." And everyone said they'd wait until OS X has lost it's glitches and matured. This has happend with Panther. That's why everyone who needs to get 'computer stuff done' with zero hassle and no hardware compatibility problems is flocking towards Apples OS X. Including me.
    x86 Linux is gaining ground here in germany. Corporations are pondering the alternatives to MS left, right and center, while just the other day a guy at Saturn [], a german mass market electronics chain, told me that the mac mini is selling like hot cakes with iMacs going away in its wake and that they'll stock up seriously on mac games within the next few weeks because of that. They currently have two mac compliant games in stock and plan to have 30 in stock by the end of next month!
    It's as I've said earler: Linux from below, OS X from above. We have some interesting times ahead of us in IT.
    ... Now if you excuse me, I gotta get going and try out frame skimming on Blender [] with my new Griffin Powermate [] I just got for my iBook today. :-)
  • Malware, Viruses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JackL ( 39506 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:55PM (#12079927)
    Maybe you can sell your wife the same way I did. She hated how our old windows box slowed to a crawl frequently due to malware, adware, etc. I'm sure I could have kept up on all the service patches and updates and adware programs and virus protectors, but screw it. My mac works. Always. With no complaints and no effort on my part.

    By the way. Virus protectors are as bad as the viruses themselves. Does any body else complain about these pieces of crap?

  • Re:Funny... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g00z ( 81380 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:01PM (#12080048) Homepage
    Obligitory "Me to".

    The mac mini HAS to be as serious turning point. Finally, you can buy an economy mac without paying for redundant hardware you most likely have (monitor, ram, hard drives). It's as close as you can get to being able to buy a PPC motherboard, G4 CPU, copy of OSX, and do with it as you please. I got my mini last week and was pretty much able to take all of my old PC hardware and shuffle it over to the mini thanks to a USB 2.0 HD enclosure, spare ram, exisiting monitor and USB mouse.

    I've been one of those fence riders for a long while about buying a mac, but damnit, now there is no reason not to. If you were like me and liked Linux for the *NIX'ness, but also wanted mainstream apps like Photoshop, etc with a GUI that beats the snot out of Windows, get one of these mini's. It's the best of both worlds. You can be a geek with a crapload of terminals open and still be chic.
  • by valkraider ( 611225 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:03PM (#12080106) Journal
    If more people switch, and more people buy Mac games, more games will come out on the Mac.

    (Please ignore the Mac DOOM3. It is a mistake. Please put down the DOOM3 box, and walk away. Look over there, at the other Mac games that at least run acceptably.)

    Besides, if you don't play them on the PC then who cares when they come out in relation to the PC? My only gripe is when they make games that won't network with PCs and Macs. That is inexcusable in 2005.
  • by As Seen On TV ( 857673 ) <> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:04PM (#12080144)
    Smarter? Because they bought a certain product?

    Um, no, smarter because they're smarter. We're talking about people we admire here. You don't understand my comment at all, do you? I said that when you see somebody smarter than you carrying a Powerbook, you notice. I didn't say that people who carry Powerbooks are automatically smarter than you.

    They built their own Altair? They know the registers on an Apple II? That earns my respect. That quantifies "smarter" in my book.

    Okay, so your definition of "smarter" hinges around having a pathological interest in stuff that's utterly obsolete and of no practical use to anybody. That explains so much.

    You know, I really wish your nickname were literally true.
  • by dlZ ( 798734 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:09PM (#12080266) Journal
    ..or until you marry and your significant other makes you get rid of all the "crap"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:09PM (#12080269)
    Only someone who has never seen OS X "run" (for lack of a better term) on a G3 will call this comment sensible.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:10PM (#12080281) Homepage Journal
    And you can only buy Coca-Cola from the Coca-Cola Company. And don't expect to buy Windows from Sun Microsystems.

    Your argument makes little sense. What most people who know their UNIX have learned is that Apple's operating system, unlike Windows, and like most *Nixes, doesn't get in the way. They can have as much OSS on their computer as they want to install, living concurrently and working just fine (even ditching the GUI if necessary).

    Apple is Open as in Install-What-You-Like-On-Hardware-We-Make-To-Work- For-And-Not-Against-Almost-Any-OS, but the company would not be Apple and would not give people what they bought if it were Open as in Buy-Your-Computer-With-Questionable-and-Lowest-Bid der-Parts-At-Crazy-Mike's. You can be cheap, you can be a zealot, or you can buy one computer, install what you like, get your work done, and go home.
  • by grunherz ( 447840 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:12PM (#12080310)
    One reason Apple is more streamlined than Windows is that it refuses to keep backwards compatability.

    Not flaming you (although I think that's what you want). Most anti-Mac folks I run into these days haven't touched a Mac since the System 7 days and continue to carry that prejudice.

    Stating that Apple refused to adopt backward compatibility is ignoring the fact that you can still run ancient software in Classic layer and will be able to for some time.

    Can't use a floppy?
    I haven't missed it, but I can go buy a USB external for peanuts.

    No two-button mouse?
    Never mind, I'm not going there ...

    Seriously ... have you even used a Mac in this century? Or are you just busting on them because people are migrating from the platform you like and you don't: understand why, fear change, fear being a follower or that you just plain like what you're using and get a funny feeling when others find something they like better.

    Anyway, I guess I don't understand where you get "Apple thinks it's customers are idiots" out of any of this.

    All I can say is fear not, there is enough room in this town for two OS's.

    They can switch. I'll stick with *nix and free updates, and save myself $140 every other year in upgrade costs.

    Too bad, those $140 (sic) upgrades are friggin' awesome.
  • by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:13PM (#12080344) Homepage
    I bought my PC for both. It's called economy.

    I used to think that way. Until I looked at the pile of games I have that I can't play anymore because of:

    • OS Upgrades
    • New graphics cards (less of an issue now, but I do have a lot of games that no longer work because of this)
    • New soundcard (see above)
    • RAM upgrade (I shit you not)
    • Driver upgrades for video cards or sound cards
    • Needed upgrades to get latest game working
    Then I looked at my PSOne and noted that with the exception of the CD I ran my chair over, every game I bought for it still works. Every game. The same is true for my Dreamcast and my XBox. With the exception of id Software titles, almost none of my games as old as most of my PSOne games still work. I have refused to upgrade from Win2K to WinXP because even more of my games will stop working if I do that.

    So, which is the better economy, a stack of games that no longer work added to the cost of constant upgrades to keep up with the latest titles or a stack of games that will continue to work until either the media fails or the hardware to play them on fails?

  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:13PM (#12080349)
    I'm sorry but that is a troll. What kind of pre-built machine are you seriously going to get for 450 USD? A 15inch LCD? Why would you want to artificially limit your workspace like that? Why not get a decent 19inch CRT like an LG instead?

    Does that 450USD system have onboard or dedicated gfx?
    Does it use shared ram or dedicated VRam?
    Does it include any software similar to iLife?
    Does it include Windows XP Pro?
    Does it include a DVD-Combo drive?
    Does it include CD Burning software?
    Does it include a USB Keyboard with USB ports?
    Does it include Firewire ports?

  • by Altus ( 1034 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:16PM (#12080402) Homepage

    whats your point? that the mac mini isnt upgradable but these cut rate PCs are?

    they have the same target market... the low end. sure, you can put a bad ass card in that cut rate PC and you will have a cut rate PC with a bad ass video card... still not a good gaming PC for a variety of reasons. yes... you could keep upgrading it but by the time you are done it wont look very much like the computer you started with.

    the mac mini trumps similar PCs with its video hardware and that is all there is to it. Its not fair to compare the mini to computers that are in a totally different class. The mini is not meant to be a gaming powerhouse but it does have pretty darn good video hardware.

    you simply cant say that about cut rate PCs
  • by d34thm0nk3y ( 653414 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:16PM (#12080404)
    My kid brother can aforde a mac mini on lunch money... Please this argument is old and false.

    Most people would prefer their next computer to be an UPgrade...
  • by Fancia ( 710007 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:16PM (#12080407)
    Personally I don't find NeoOffice/J, the Mac version of OpenOffice, very good, but a lot of people seem to like it. I went for a word processor called Mellel [], which is rather inexpensive and which I find works quite nicely.
  • by EggyToast ( 858951 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:17PM (#12080412) Homepage
    My dad used to do the "You need a car and a truck" thing. Until he was done landscaping the yard. Now he has 2 cars.

    For an extremely small fee, you can get a load of rock delivered. Or you can rent a U-Haul or similar for $20-$50 depending on the load for all moving needs. That's a one-time fee for a one-time job. That's a lot cheaper than buying the truck outright, not even taking into account the insurance payments involved.

    It's not exactly equivalent for PCs vs Consoles, but it's getting there. The gametypes are different, but what's left on PCs? First person shooters, which are usually getting ported to consoles (without the driver conflicts), sim games, and real-time strategy games. Oh, and MMORPGs which aren't graphically intensive anyway. Why spend so much money for what amounts to relatively few games? Why buy the cow (that needs expensive food and someone to clean up after it) when you can pick up milk for a few bucks down at the grocery store?

  • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:19PM (#12080470) Homepage Journal
    What amazes me most is how short of a time it took for OS X to get put together.

    What really made MacOS X work is that Apple already had a very secure decently sized niche market for Macs. That is, there was a guaranteed devoted userbase that:

    (1) Hardware manufacturers bother to write and include drivers.
    (2) Software companies bother to release OS X versions of their applications.

    That means that "things just work" - hardware works, and there is enough software, all built for the specific platform, that it all plays together nicely.

    Imagine, for a minute, that there was a Linux distributor (Call them X) that standardised on a fixed platform (say GNOME for example), and had enough guaranteed userbase that Adobe wrote a version of the Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) for GNOME, Microsoft released MS Office for GNOME, and lots of other serious software companies also wrote GNOME versions of their commercial applications. All of a sudden distribution X would be a viable platform that had all the software you need, and it all works seamlessly together inside GNOME. 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.

    You can redo the whole gedanken experiment with KDE if you like, you'll get similar results.

    What made OS X really work was the guaranteed userbase and the fact that it could run old mac software to ensure a smooth transition of that userbase and an immediate supply of software. Honestly, if a small startup company wrote a brand new OS that was as good as OS X but lacked the userbase, and hecne software and hardware support, it would just potter along and probably eventually die or get bought out (see BeOS, NeXTStep etc.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:26PM (#12080613)
    It's pretty obvious that there are Apple (marketing dept.) implants trolling Slashdot. Every week they have to post something like this to keep the relevancy of their organization at least gasping for air.

    "Hey everybody! Haven't you heard?? All the "whatever" are switching to Mac! Isn't it time you did too??"

    Yeah right. Sit down, fanboys.

    Corporate America made Bill Gates a billionaire and then the stupid, home-user masses, having no independent knowledge of what makes a good computer system, followed Corporate America's lead and made Gates even richer!

    Corporate America still thinks Apple is a toy for children...oh, I mean the cool, hip, 18-35 demographic that wants a sesame street system to pretend to be creative on with iGarage, iMovie, etc.

    Now Corporate America is fed up with Gates and is pushing the greasy grunge Apple crowd to the side (again), in favor of Linux.

    Apple: always a bridesmaid.
  • Re:OMG... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:32PM (#12080741)
    And lets not forget apple likes too...

    Sue fan sites []

    Tried to use the DMCA [] to remove content from source forge

    Promise upgrades but never follow through(ibook [],performa)

    Use DRM to lock product(itunes) to device(ipod) [] and threaten to use the DMCA to protect the lock in

    Reciever of numerous customer lawsuits from selling used products as new [], and to lie about about the battery life [] on ipods

    For a company with only less than 3% market share, they sure seem to get sued a lot for shoddy products or unethical business behavior.

    And this post will probably last 5 minutes before apple fanboys troll, or flamebait it even though i just posted facts.

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:33PM (#12080764) Homepage Journal
    I bought the x86 machine I was speaking of and saved about $350 on a machine that has more horsepower and generally is better in everyway execpt power consumption.

    Your mistake is thinking that Apple is a hardware company. They're not. They're a software company that sells hardware with their software. They're not alone there, Cisco has a similar business model.

    You saved $350 on the machine, and didn't get the most important part... Mac OS X. If that's not the part you wanted, if you're satisfied with Windows or Linux, then you probably shouldn't have been looking at Macs in the first place.

    Me, when I switched from the PC to the Mac, a couple of years ago, I "upgraded" from a P4-1.7 and 4x AGP graphics to a used G3-400 and a PCi Rage 128. The "Mac Tax" to get a machine comparable with my PC would have been about $650, not $350, even if I bought a used Mac... so I got something slower and less capable.

    In the intervening time the "Mac Tax" has dropped from a factor of two or more, to about 50% more. I think you're just a wee bit churlish to complain that it's "insanely expensive". It's not... Macs are still expensive, but at least they're not completely unaffordable for the ordinary joe any more.
  • by kwerle ( 39371 ) <> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:37PM (#12080832) Homepage Journal
    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.

    Holy crap.

    I like to call OSX NextStep 5.0. Of course NS had been around since the mid-late 80's, so OSX didn't exactly spring out of Steve's head in 2000.

    10K engineers? Crap, I should think not. What a disaster that would be - kinda like windows (OK, I'm trolling).

    Let's see - supposing that NS happened in '85, that's 20 years (holy crap, I'm getting old). To have had 10K different engineers working on it over it's whole lifespan, it'd have to flip 500/year.

    Hell, in the NeXT days there weren't a total of 500 engineers. I doubt they ever broke 200.

    In short, I guess I'd believe 10K engineer years over the life of the product - maybe - if I saw some more numbers. That 10K different engineers actually worked on it? Naw.
  • by PygmySurfer ( 442860 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:40PM (#12080879)
    Dell sells $299 all-inclusive systems with Windows and WordPerfect included. Try again.

    Does that include DVD mastering software? Movie editing software? A music creation program? When people talk about the Mac experience, they're not talking about word processing.
  • by topper24hours ( 853597 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:51PM (#12081102)
    How did all the bullshit "If I could afford one" crowd survive 5-7 years ago when ALL computers were over $1,500? Oh yeah, you are talking out of your asses... you are afraid to try something new so you insert the lame-ass exscuse "too spendy". Got your PSP right? iPod? Car? insurance? green laser pointer? pda? Ok then... I call you on you argument!!!
  • Re:right click (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_rev_matt ( 239420 ) <slashbot&revmatt,com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:56PM (#12081185) Homepage
    You're looking at this all wrong.

    Anyone who says "But it only has a one button mouse" has effectively held up a big flashing sign saying "Hi, I'm ignorant and have no clue what I'm talking about but feel the need to say something anyway."

    Add those people to your foes list because it's doubtful they've got anything useful to say on any other tech subject as well.

  • by arminw ( 717974 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:59PM (#12081237)
    ...My process has always been one of upgrade...

    So throw out your old big, noisy Windoes box and UPGRADE to a small, quiet Mini. By the time you do all the upgrading you are taking about you will have spent as much or more, especially if your time is worth even minimum wages, than what the Mini costs. In the end you will still have a big, noisy, ugly PC box with a lot of outdated software. Guys like you would complain if Apple gave their computer away for free!
  • Re:OMG... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:02PM (#12081292)
    # Sue fan sites
    Oh the shock and horror. Apple is a "corporation" which has to protect its IP and trade secrets from being leaked to the competition.

    # Tried to use the DMCA to remove content from source forge
    See above.

    # Use DRM to lock product(itunes) to device(ipod) and threaten to use the DMCA to protect the lock in
    I have news for you, the labels want and demand DRM. But it can be easily circumvented legally with a thing called a CD-R disk.

    # Reciever of numerous customer lawsuits from selling used products as new, and to lie about about the battery life on ipods
    Those lawsuits are being pushed by disgruntled resellers, not consumers. Have those cases been proven?

    Does the competition speak honestly about their battery life? No. Companies like Dell and Sony forget to mention that their "numbers" are based on testing using the lowest bandwidth settings with no user interaction.

    YMMV but I've experienced battery life on my 2nd generation iPod which exceeds Apples claims for battery life but then again, I don't use the backlight and I'm not deaf. What this means is I usually listen on Shuffle mode and my volume is less than a fifth of full volume.

  • by Chris Tucker ( 302549 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:07PM (#12081366) Homepage
    So Abreu sez:

    "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, how am I gonna convince my wife that I should buy a 600usd mac mini, plus 250usd for the monitor, plus the keyboard and the silly one button mouse?"

    Pardon my French, but what the goddamn fucking fuck are you using to access /. right this instant? (Assuming you're not using a laptop.)

    You obviously HAVE a keyboard. You OBVIOUSLY have a monitor. Odds are that you have SOME kind of input device akin to a mouse or a trackball.

    That's whay the Mini is sold without all that other stuff. If you're upgrading from a Windows desktop, you already have the peripherals.

    And, frankly, unless the Apple Enforcement Gundams are pointing guns at you, you are not being forced to even contemplate buying a Mac Mini, no more than you are being prevented from buying that AMD system you mentioned.
  • by wickedsteve ( 729684 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:19PM (#12081556) Homepage
    I love my Mac but PC is the way to go for gaming. I can't stand console controls, low res TVs (compared to monitors) and don't want to pay more than my existing ISP bill for multiplayer games. For hard core gaming Macs and consoles can't come close to PCs. But I honestly believe Macs are just as good or better for almost everything else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:23PM (#12081617)
    Actually, I think much of the "anonymous-cowarding" in mac-related articles is due to the fact that people have learned there are too many "mac nazis" who will mod them down if they have something non-positive to say about the mac.
  • by Naum ( 166466 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:34PM (#12081763) Homepage Journal
    ...personally, I made the OS X switch in 2003, and it was my first ever exposure to Apple's world, and my days had been spent in Linux/UNIX, PC and MVS realms... ...I even liked running Linux on the desktop, but spent a lot of time tinkering to get stuff to work, and frequently simple stuff that just works on Mac/Win platforms is a chore on Linux (USB back a few years ago, wireless, syncing other hardware...).

    However, my powerbook purchase brought the joy of computing back into my life. I frequently read the comments of those who decry the overpriced Mac when compared to constructing your own box (which I used to do - and I still believe that a Mac is equivalently priced with Dell/Gateway/IBM hardware, when all things are factored in properly) and while true on one level, it misses the mark on the total picture. That is depending on your interests and usage desires:

    • Time spent on system administration tasks is time not spent on other activities. Time is a non-renewable resource and I'd rather spend it writing software, using software (i.e., playing a game or other activity) than fiddling with the system to figure out why things arn't working or what's gunked up the box. I never see this factored into "cost" metrics -- that is, if you figure conservatively, your time at $20 per hour (maybe more, maybe less, I'm just gauging on median 40K salary), each additional 10 hours you spend a month administering your Win box is $200 per month difference. Which means in the span of 3-6 months, the Mac OS X will prove its cost superiority.

    • It really is the best of both worlds -- the shiny, eye friendly Aqua GUI plus having a full fledged *nix/BSD system at your disposal. Running MySQL/Apache/Perl/Python/PHP all on a local box where I can have my own testbed sandbox before presenting to clients. Yes, Win platform is capable of doing same thing, but to me, it's a kludge, and again, back to that time thing, where I waste time setting it all up and then dealing with the discrepancies between that environment and the *nix environments where the software will eventually run. And running PuTTy or Exceed is a weak substitute for an anti-aliased terminal window, custom setup. The one major thing that bugged me about OS X, that I missed from running Linux, was the virtual desktops, until I discovered this gem [].

    • I realize there are specialized software needs that may not be met with OS X, but for most, the available software plus the F/OSS normally primarily in the domain of Linux OS is available to run on Mac OS X. And I don't even run Fink anymore, I just have a few X11 apps (Gimp, and a few others...) that I compiled and built and placed them within the X11 environment.

    Life got a lot simpler when I replaced my wife's Win XP box with an iMac. No more weekly degunk sessions, antivirus, malware consternation and constant admonitions for her to be vigilant about keeping her machine clean were necessary. And she took to it like a charm -- things were unfamiliar (and still sometimes she stumbles on a Win -> Mac how-to-do question) but she is enthralled with it now and spends more time on email/web browsing than she ever did on the Win box. The iLife/iPod deal is just gravy and really we've experienced firsthand on how much more hassle-free life became after the Mac switch.

    So, I'm not swayed by saving a couple hundred dollars. Just like I wouldn't buy a Kia or a Yugo, I'm not going to opt for a bargain basement PC over a quality machine like a Mac. No, it's not perfect and presents its own set of flaws, but at this juncture, it seems to be the product of greater quality for me.

  • by Frobozz0 ( 247160 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:37PM (#12081809)
    I don't know how much you value your time, but mine is worth more than pennies an hour. Given the amount of nit-picking you're doing about $50 worth of hardware, given the far superior software package, security, and visual appeal, you aren't someone who will be swayed.

    My god, people will come up with all sorts of excuses. You can pay $500 for something you want that will work as advertised, or paying 80+% of that cost for something that won't.

    And sure, I can come up with some freeware crap-fest software to install on a Windows box to make it sorta work if I wanted. But that's just pathetic... I'd spend hours doing it, the software would be anemic, and my OS would be crippled.

    Where's the comparison again?
  • Re:Then why....? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:42PM (#12081896)
    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.

    Yes. And note that Next/OpenStep had very similar technologies in a different form with Enterprise Objects Framework.
  • by steve_bryan ( 2671 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:42PM (#12081898)
    So you are just itching to buy yet another keyboard, mouse and monitor? With iMacs that force one to acquire the built-in monitor there were complaints about the forced bundling. Now that Apple has an option that doesn't require you to buy a new monitor we still hear nothing but whiny complaints.

    For anyone who has owned a computer the cost of upgrading to Mac OS X is no more than $600. The excuse that it costs too much is gone. Find another one.
  • by badmammajamma ( 171260 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:44PM (#12081926)
    Actually, DARPA created arpanet. Thanks for playing. In cases where the DoD does pay universities to do this research, the concept (read: leadership) actually comes from the military -- not a fucking university that's simply following a paycheck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:45PM (#12081945)
    Well, in this case:

    Only someone who has never seen OS X "run" (for lack of a better term) on a G3 will call this comment sensible. not only non-positive, but is non-factual and downright flamebait.

    And yes, I own a G3 iBook. It's all about the RAM, bay-bee. Load it up with a lot of RAM and you can get over the really slow harddrive.
  • by snorklewacker ( 836663 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:51PM (#12082020)
    Yes, yes, fitt's law is all nice and good and that ... but top menus makes the foreground application modal. Everyone who's used the wrong app's menu when using a mac in school, raise your hand. If you wish to access the menu of an application that's not foreground, you have to focus it then head to the top. God forbid you're a focus-follows-mouse user (which admittedly is a small poweruser niche).

    Maybe the answer is to simply support both, and have app-specific menus appear and disappear when you activate a "show menu" window decoration, or tap the alt key or something, and just remember the setting. I hate to say "make it a preference", as it's a copout for design, but this really does seem to demand one.

    There's also more radical notions like pie menus, but they have their own problems..
  • The worst thing about system 7 was everything. The worst thing about OS8 and OS9 would be extensions. More importantly the worst thing about these operating systems was the lack of memory protection (and later, the lack of adequate memory protection) that let applications stomp on each other trivially. If one had the applications, I'd say AmigaDOS was a more useful operating system than MacOS all the way up until X came out :) (At least it reboots quickly.)

    Anyway, if you only wanted to do one thing at a time, I think MacOS6 was superior to MacOS9. At least it ran on antiques. Granted there were things it didn't do that needed to be done but it usually worked and it was very small.

  • by kisrael ( 134664 ) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:14PM (#12082315) Homepage
    You might want something with a DVD player...I couldn't load iLife w/ garageband when I wnet that route.
  • by Khuffie ( 818093 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:24PM (#12082444) Homepage
    Ya, but for the same price, you can get a far more powerful PC.
  • by RedBear ( 207369 ) <redbear@red b e a r n e> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @07:05PM (#12082978) Homepage
    That's impressive, by in my opinion Linux (which I have used various flavors of for several years for desktops and servers) still doesn't cut it for the average home user. Many users want a few simple apps like Photoshop Elements, and of course they can't have that on Linux. Instead, a bunch of idiots like you and me point them at something called "the GIMP". We say, "Look, it's free!" They say, "I don't care, it sucks, I want Photoshop Elements." We are not necessarily smarter than them.

    There definitely isn't a set of applications for Linux to match iLife/iWork. IPhoto alone has no match on Linux. Besides which, we all know what happens with most of these Linspire machines. People buy it for the hardware and throw a pirated copy of Windows and about $1,000 worth of other pirated software on it. Unfortunate but true.

    So, I see the machine, but I don't see the legal software and the usability that goes with it. Of course, that's just my opinion, but it's based on direct observation that tells me Linux still isn't quite ready to compete with OS X except in niche markets (where it usually kicks butt). As a general desktop OS it is sorely lacking. I mean, lately I've tried some of the very newest and most "user friendly" distros like Knoppix, Kubuntu and Mandrake 10.1, and none of them will even auto-mount a simple USB key on the desktop!

    And I've never yet met a Linux file manager or desktop environment that made it easy to navigate (or even find) the various drives inside and connected to my computer, at least not in any way similar to how it works in the Windows/Mac/BeOS file managers. Linux still seems to be stuck on the whole /dev/hda3 thing instead of translating all that garbage into something a normal person can understand, like a drive icon on the desktop with the volume label displayed under it. What a concept, huh? Of all things, KDE still displays the device name and mount path on the desktop under the drive icon, as if that would actually be useful to the common user! I like KDE in general, but give me a break. "/mnt/storagedrive3 [/dev/sdb2]"? How is that useful to the average person? Volume labels have been around forever. Why aren't we using them, like every other sensible desktop OS?

    These kind of things should be considered showstopper bugs if we want average people to use Linux as a desktop. We do want that, don't we? So far I haven't really seen any Linux software even going in the right direction.
  • by Bishop923 ( 109840 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @07:52PM (#12083448)
    The mini isn't even a contender - it's $500 price tag gets a more powerful workstation complete with monitor & periphals from a PC vendor.

    Have you ever actually looked at the specs of a Dell or HP $500-$600 machine?
    Dell Dimension 3000 $596 []
    Looks something like:
    2.4 Ghz Celeron D
    256MB RAM
    80GB HDD
    48x CD ROM or a 48x CD-RW or a 16x DVD-ROM
    Integrated Intel Graphics
    Only USB2 ports
    Case: Standard ATX case
    OS WinXP Home
    Apps: Wordperfect 2005, some craptastic re-badged Ulead stuff, Trial versions of Quicken, McAfee, etc

    The periphrials:
    A 17in standard CRT
    A basic Keyboard/Mouse set

    Mac Mini: $599 []
    1.42Ghz G4
    256MB RAM
    80GB HDD
    Radeon 9200 32MB
    Combo DVD-ROM CD-RW
    USB2 and Firewire ports
    Custom Case, basically a Small Mini ITX case
    OS: Mac OS X (10.3 now, 10.4 whenever it comes out)
    Apps: iLife 2005, Appleworks, Quicken 2005

    Now I'm not going to argue that a G4 would hold it's own against a P4 clocked at 2.4 Ghz in most cases, but the Celeron is a different beast, built for economy instead of power. I'd imagine that performance-wise we are at a draw, with a bit of a lean towards the G4 given the OS and Apps are built to exploit it's abilities.

    On the RAM front, it would be nice if everyone was a little less stingy, Neither XP nor OS X runs well with only 256MB. Again though Apple has to get the nod based on the fact that the PC's integrated graphics is going to slice a chunk of main memory off the top, so instead of 256MB you are really only going to get 224MB

    HDD we are at a draw, You can open up the Dell and add another HDD internally, or get a USB 2 drive (depending on how many ports you have open) On the Mac Mini, you can't add a drive internally but you can add Firewire or USB 2 drives.

    Graphics-wise you have to give the nod to the Mac-mini, the 9200 isn't exactly a powerhouse, but it's nicer than the Intel solution, the fact that it has it's own memory is a big plus as well.

    Optical Drives: Mac Mini you get the Combo drive, on the PC you have to choose between the CD-RW and the DVD-ROM.

    Ports: Both have USB2.0 ports, the Mac has a Firewire port, if you have a digital video-camera this is certainly a plus. Firewire is also going to give you over-all beter transfer rates for external drives.

    Case: The Dell is much larger, but gives you some flexibility with internal expansion (though even that can be limited, many don't have an AGP slot), the Mini is tiny and attractive to those without much desk-space, though you are stuck with only external periphrials.

    OS: It's hard to compare WinXP Home and OS X, XP Home is compatible with pretty much every bit of hardware out there, though most hardware makers are supporting OS X now. You can't really talk about software compatibilty since you can get equivalent applications for either platform. In terms of Games, this PC doesn't have the "umph" to run most of the 3D games out there and the ones that it can run have OS X equivalents. Under the hood you simply can't compare the two, you would really have to compare it to XP Professional which is going to cost you an extra $80.

    Bundled Apps: iLife simply dominates the competition. You aren't going to find the same quality of software on the PC without spending extra and even then...

    Would be nice if Apple included iWork instead of the older Appleworks. Dell probably edges ahead here with WordPerfect.

    Nice to get a full version of Quicken rather than a the Trial on the PC.

    Obviously for the brand-new computer user it is nice to get the monitor, keyboard and mouse with the Dell, though chances are the user is going to want a better Display especially if they are limited on space. 15in LCD's are fairly cheap and 17-19in LCD's are coming down. The keyboard/mou
  • Re:Can I switch? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dr.badass ( 25287 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @09:35PM (#12084527) Homepage
    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

    This is roughly...impossible. Rarely, if ever, will there be a perfect 1-to-1 relation, nor will there be any way of understanding how important a particular application is to you, nor can they know of every available product, nor can they provide such a service without there being some sort of implied endorsement of one or another product.

    A more realistic proposal might be a kind of community site (moderated or wiki-style) and allow people to enter in their own findings and ratings of alternatives. Such things already exist, in very scattered and unhelpful fashon, but there is no single reliable site for such things.

    Surely you wouldn't be opposed to researching compatability if there were a single authoritative site for such information.
  • Re:Can I switch? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @09:40PM (#12084571)
    Just wondering, did you feel the breeze as the original poster's joke flew by over your head?
  • Re:And? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by messiuh ( 206505 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @10:32PM (#12084958)
    What's your point? I don't like Dell laptops...
    Okay, so I don't like Dell laptops either. I truly believe they are the cheapest, low grade, and generally most pitiful made modern computers.
    IBM sold their laptop division to some no-name, can't be yet trusted for quality company over seas... what's that leave us?
    Okay, so I can't completely blame you for being ignorant, as the media has completely mis-lead the entire public on the IBM/Lenovo deal. Please understand, they didn't literally sell off their divison, they own a large stake in it. Thinkpads are thinkpads, and will remain thinkpads. IBM is still doing R&D, and is still doing support. They are trying to take advantage of the cheaper costs because Dell (The Walmart of the industry) has the country thinking $750 is a great price, even for a laptop put together with elmer's glue. ThinkPads will remain the most robust laptops on the market moving forward.
    By the way, Toshiba and Sony make really cool laptops too. Don't start the "Sony price" thing, because powerbooks are ... price heavy?
    Less to do with it being Apple, more to do with being better than Dell and HP and the rest of the crap out there.
    I happen to love Apple and their hardware. One other thing Apple has a LOONG way to go is support. HP and IBM's support are lightyears beyond anything Apple has to offer. And God forbid you buy an Apple from a reseller and not Apple direct. You might as well have bought a Dell to Apple tech support, because they want nothing to do with you or your machine.
    This entire post was written on a dual 2.5ghz Powermac... and will be later reviewed for comments on an XW6200 HP workstation @ work :-)
  • by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:34AM (#12085823)
    I would personally love to get a Mac, but they are super-expensive compared to what i can get an x86 one for.

    You may be interested in this. []
  • by Freultwah ( 739055 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @04:08AM (#12086783) Homepage

    Please. Communism is an economic ideology, democracy is a means to govern. You could have a communist democracy if you were so inclined, only you should first ensure that all the people that participate in it are ideal. Just as in anarchy.

    If you want to compare, go ahead. Only compare items from the same drawer. Capitalism in and of itself is not guaranteed to be democratic. See Pinochet, Franco, Perón etc, all for free trade under the guiding hand of a dictator.

    Yes, it is a common misconception that there was ever communism in the Soviet Union. And no, there wasn't. There hasn't been communism anywhere on a scale like this after the hunterers and gatherers. It's an utopia; please, stop mislabelling a noble idea of Plato with the stained record of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was never communist, not even in name. It was an oppressive form of socialism, led from the fifties on by gerontocracy. It may have been striving (in words) to achieve a Marxist state, but even that never came even close.

    We could go more in-depth, but one thing must be clear from the beginning: the Soviet Union was never communist. Not even the KPSS. This may, however, not be the best place to discuss this and as usual, there are tons of ways to mince words, so that at the end, everyone feels stupider.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.