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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Apple

HardOCP Spends 30 Days With MacOSX 708

boyko.at.netqos writes "Hardocp.com has published "30 days with MacOSX" — with the same author from "30 days with Linux" and "30 days with Vista" doing the evaluation. Ultimately he likes the stability and security but other concerns keep him from recommending it. From the article: 'The hardware lock-in and lack of quality freeware makes owning and maintaining a Macintosh an expensive endeavor ... Mac OS X has some amazing capabilities, but you spend a lot of money. Indeed, it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it. Slow computer? Buy a new one. Want to convert a file? Buy a utility. Want to do simple tasks? Buy a commercial program. Peripherals don't work? Buy replacements.'"
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HardOCP Spends 30 Days With MacOSX

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  • Fink (Score:3, Informative)

    by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:29AM (#19397247)
    Want FOSS install fink, and apt-get install whatever.
  • by repetty ( 260322 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:30AM (#19397259) Homepage
    I RTFA.

    I shouldn't have bothered. To save everyone else the time here's a summary:

    1. Hate Apple, Apple hardware, and hate the Mac OS X.
    2. Review it.
    3. Result: Hate Apple, Apple hardware, and hate the Mac OS X.

    I have to admit that I didn't expect much, really, when I read in Slashdot's article summary that there's a "lack of quality freeware" for Mac OS X... the author definitely doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

    Must be a slow news day.

  • by Secret Rabbit ( 914973 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:30AM (#19397279) Journal
    Not sure he's heard of MacPorts:

    http://macports.org/ [macports.org]

    nor Fink:

    http://finkproject.org/ [finkproject.org]

    nor version tracker:

    http://www.versiontracker.com/macosx/ [versiontracker.com]
  • Re:Yeah, well... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:31AM (#19397289)
    ... It's based on a bsd but most people who use the BSDs (Free, Net, Open.... Dragonfly _) consider Darwin to be the bastard disfigured child of BSD... It's not exactly the same
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by boyko.at.netqos ( 1024767 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:35AM (#19397379)

    If it's a lack of RAM that's slowing things down, then I'm just as likely to be able to chuck more memory into a Mac or a PC. If it's the hard drive, then again, I can put a whizzier one in regardless of whether it's a Mac or a PC.

    As the guy who wrote the evaluation, I have to disagree here. Apple no longer makes an affordable "PowerMac" line where you can add new components. You can upgrade the RAM on a MacMini, but it is extremely difficult and risks damaging the case, you can upgrade the RAM and hard drive on a MacBook, but that's about it for upgrades. In order to get any decent expandability, you really need to go with the MacPro line, which is overkill for most people's computing needs and wallets. That's what that line is about.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:35AM (#19397385) Homepage Journal

    Want FOSS install fink, and apt-get install whatever.
    Most apps on Fink are designed for toolkits other than OpenStep. GNUstep apps can be easily ported to Cocoa, but anything that uses, say, GTK+ will look horribly out of place on a Mac.
  • by Caste11an ( 898046 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:40AM (#19397485)
    Mod parent up. I was shocked to learn that all of the freeware and OSS offerings I'm regularly using on my Mac are apparently unavailable.

    The article author is an idiot.
  • Lack of software? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:42AM (#19397541)
    The author is basically clueless.

    While Apple computers are more expensive up front, you do get quite a bit of bundled software, and a good, standards compliant, OS. I feel the software more than makes up for the extra cost.

    Once you've paid for your Mac, you now have the world's most flexible computer. It'll run MacOS, Linux and Windows. With VM software you can run it all at once, with few compromises.

    That means you can run freeware for all three operating systems, so the Mac actually has more free software available than any other computer. Many Linux programs build flawlessly under MacOS for instance.

    Good stuff!

  • Re:Fink (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stamen ( 745223 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:43AM (#19397553)
    Yup, or MacPorts, and "port install" whatever you want. But shh, there isn't any open source software on the Mac, this guy says so, so it must be so.

    Other things he is completely wrong about:
    * NeoOffice is the Mac port of OpenOffice, it does not require X11 to run. It works well, IMHO.
    * There are plenty of free open source apps, just like in Linux and Windows: Handbrake and MacTheRipper for DVD ripping, etc.
    * The model between the Mini and MacPro is the iMac

    I use OS X and Linux a lot, and there are some real issues with OS X, that's for sure. But this article didn't go into any of them. I could go on, but I'm sure this thread went from 3 comments to 200 by the time I hit submit.
  • Freemacware ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by wumpus188 ( 657540 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#19397571)
    I guess they haven't heard of Freemacware [freemacware.com].
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by thadman08 ( 732965 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#19397573) Homepage
    It's also pretty easy to add ram to an iMac.

    So, Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro can all upgrade ram easily. The Mac Mini is the exception, not the rule.
  • Quality Freeware (Score:3, Informative)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#19397583) Homepage Journal
    I'll admit you can't beat Linux for the shear range of freeware available, but the Mac has its own share of freeware, donation ware and cheap solutions. There are certainly solutions that you have to pay for and if they are worth it you will contribute to the development, by paying a few dollars, but if they aren't worth it then they are left to die and you quickly search out an alternative. What ever you have to say about buying software, at least you aren't promised free software only to pay out of your teeth, or the privacy of your computer, which I see happen too often on the MS-Windows side.

    MacPorts and Fink provide access to a large range of open source solutions, but they are clearly aimed at the IT savy. As for replacing hardware when it is no longer good enough, well this is not different to replacing your video player when it no longer does the job. If you have a non-compact computer then you can upgrade it all you like, but a compact computer such as a portable will always have limited upgradability, and the target audience really doesn't seem to mind. What makes a good computer depends on who you are and what you are doing with it, but the greater public once something that just works, and does not want to play around with the innards of their system unless they are forced to.
  • by NickCatal ( 865805 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:52AM (#19397745)
    Ever try the Gimp Print Drivers [apple.com]?
  • Re:what's that smell (Score:3, Informative)

    by WilliamSChips ( 793741 ) <full DOT infinity AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:58AM (#19397877) Journal
    Try Fluxbox. That's pretty much as lightweight as you can get without disappearing.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hozza ( 1073224 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:16PM (#19398275)
    Except you also say you use MS Word on Windows. Any particular reason why you completely reject the Mac version, other than the demo's watermark? Oh, BTW, the italics problem in NeoOffice can be solved with 10 seconds googling: http://neowiki.neooffice.org/index.php/Accessing_H elvetica_Oblique_and_Courier_Oblique [neooffice.org] And the Canon scanner drivers? As it says on the download page: Double-click the " ScanGear CS Installer " file in the folder. Installation starts automatically.
  • Peripherals (Score:3, Informative)

    by ktappe ( 747125 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:19PM (#19398347)
    Dozens of others have pointed out how NeoOffice does not require X11 or how he was complaining about the rock-bottom Mac not being powerful enough, so I'll concentrate on the peripherals he complained did not work with the Mac:

    * HP 1020 printer -- This is a bargain basement printing solution that HP made reliant on Windows in order to keep it under $100. It clearly states on the product page that is Windows only. Yet he somehow blames Apple and MacOS X for not supporting it. HP chose to make the product this way and he chose to buy it.

    * Canon CanoScan LIDE 30 -- Another bargain basement device; it's worth all of $25 now from various camera shops and is listed as being compatible with "MacOS X 10.1 and higher". This means it's been around since 2001 and that Canon did not upgrade the drivers on an obsolete, low-end product. And somehow this is, again, Apple's fault instead of the manufacturer's or the buyer's.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:21PM (#19398379)
    > When I tried OS X, I was looking for a good free text editor, but I didn't find one

    Free text editor from the makers of BBEdit:

    http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/ [barebones.com]

  • by vague disclaimer ( 861154 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:32PM (#19398579)
    (I still don't know which site i should use to get freeware for macs specifically)

    http://www.versiontracker.com/ [versiontracker.com]

    http://www.macupdate.com/ [macupdate.com]

  • Re:what's that smell (Score:4, Informative)

    by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:45PM (#19398815)
    You should have just ran "Focus on Mouse" AppleScript that comes in the root directory of Gimp.app DMG file.
  • by JohnnyGTO ( 102952 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:48PM (#19398891) Homepage
    Wow did these morons even try to get beyond their preconceived beliefs? Three years ago I was a Windows devotee when I was given a Powerbook and I never opened my Toshiba laptop again. Sure there's some software out there I can't run with out Windows but I wasn't running it on the laptop anyways. The dedicated stuff like Milestone Enterprise, software for my pcr1000 (needs a real serial port) and some utilities all ran from a dedicated XP box. Today with a MacBook Pro they all run on the mac using Parallels. As for X11 and Open Office come on I walked my 65 year Father (who breaks O/S's be entering the same room) through loading the Apple dvd, installing X11, downloading OpenOffice and running the program. Take them off my list of test sites.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by mmarlett ( 520340 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:50PM (#19398943)

    I semi-agree with you on this -- on the current MacBook line you can't even replace the Airport card without performing major surgery, and getting the RAM in there is a complete bitch. On the other hand, I currently use two Macs in my house: a last-fall's MacBook and the one I'm using right now -- a formerly top-of-the-line PowerMac that turns 6-years-old next month.

    "Affordable" is what you make of it. I bought this thing for less than $4k six years ago. My modifications are probably still under $4k. I've bought five HDs (usually I keep filling them up; I had one fail) and used it as the main production computer for a weekly newspaper for three of those years. I've replaced the DVD drive and just last month the CPU fan started making some noise, so I freshened it up. Oh, and I've worn out three keyboards. Not spilled anything in them, just wore them out. I type a lot.

    I wish I had some idea of the number of hours of actual use this machine has had. I've owned it for far more that 50,000 hours and had it on and running (not sleeping) most of that time. $4k for 50k hours would be 8 cents an hour. You figure most people use their computers for 8 hours a day for two years (roughly 3000 hours) and then get a new one, and even if they're $600 machines then it's still 20 cents an hour.

    I don't know how one would adjust for inflation (well, I do, as it would be about $4,600 in today's dollars) or adjust for the fact that you can just add a lot more to a MacPro than you could those old PowerMacs. I mean, you can drop anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 now. I can build one that I'd be real, real happy with for $3,800.

    And as far as software goes, I can't possibly disagree more. Excluding games (yes, they have them for Macs), I've purchased exactly three commercial software packages for business use -- Office, Adobe Creative Suite (back before it was called that and then upgrades), and Stuffit Deluxe. Everything else I've ever used has been freeware or shareware or was bundled with the OS. I generally don't use Office or Stuffit now and today's earlier post on CS alternatives have got me investigating those, though it'll take a small miracle to pry InDesign from my hands. But you clearly just had no idea what you had or how to use it -- and were comparing it to something you did know, which is not the same as being a total noob.

    In the end, though, you get what you pay for.

  • by bynary ( 827120 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:53PM (#19399015) Homepage
    my ass. There is plenty of high quality freeware/shareware available for Mac OS X. HardOCP either doesn't know where to look or ignored what's out there. Check out Apple's download section [apple.com] or macupdate [macupdate.com]. Shoot, just do a Google search for OS X Freeware [google.com].
  • by jmc ( 4639 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:54PM (#19399025)
    Couldn't agree more.

    One of the best parts of my switch to OS X has been the quality of the freeware, and the ease of finding it. Some of my personal favorites: Adium (IM), Colloquy (IRC), Smultron (text editor), Transmission (torrent client), Cyberduck (FTP), Xee (image viewer), backuplist+ (backup), etc, etc. All are nicely featured, well polished products. The counterparts I've managed to find for XP all feel like half assed crap in comparison.

    I really couldn't believe that quote about the lack of freeware in the article summary.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by boyko.at.netqos ( 1024767 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:13PM (#19399437)
    It's a typo - and you're about the 12th person to notice it.

    Look, when you type up a 14,000 word article, you're going to make a mistake somewhere in there. NeoOffice. OpenOffice. Similar programs. Similar names. Exact same function. Any surprise I got them a little mixed up at the end? I've already sent a correction - it'll get changed soon.

    Sorry to be snippy, but I've been breaking my back on this article and 90% of the criticisms are from people who haven't even read the damn thing (not you, but... people...)

    "Why didn't you try Fink and MacPorts?"
    "I spent 2000 words on Fink and MacPorts, and both get their own page."
    "Why do you complain about Microsoft Office not being free for Mac when it costs the exact same amount for Windows?"
    "Because the Windows platform has OpenOffice for free and the Mac platform doesn't."
    "Why didn't you just use NeoOffice/Abiword?"
    "I tested both and neither were stable."
  • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:14PM (#19399461) Homepage Journal
    Evidently you've never compiled your own Linux kernel. The kernel has a special option, set by default, to disable DMA on the CMD IDE chip, because the chip is buggy and using DMA on it can cause data loss.

    The only fault with Apple is that they didn't issue a free driver update to disable DMA on those chips. I won't fault them for not replacing the chips, because no PC maker I'm aware of did either, and the things were fairly popular in the mid-'90s.
  • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:18PM (#19399541)

    When I tried OS X, I was looking for a good free text editor, but I didn't find one (I like Notepad++ on Windows and Gedit/Kate/Scite/Geany on Linux: light apps, with syntax highlighting for tons of languages and tabs, that's all I want).

    Normally I am all about free software, but if you really want good syntax highlighting, tons of language support (some support you have to download separately), in a nice Cocoa app, you should really consider buying TextMate. It the only apps I've paid for in years. Well worth it, IMO.

  • Re:what's that smell (Score:5, Informative)

    by chuckymonkey ( 1059244 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (notrub.d.selrahc)> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:43PM (#19399995) Journal
    Ok, this guy is a journalist. Not a geek so he is speaking from the average user point of view and doesn't need your credibility card. All he was trying to do is see if an average business USER would be able to use the OS effectively.
  • Re:Why informative? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hettch ( 692387 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @02:30PM (#19400871)
    Have you, sir, ever used a mac? Dashboard has a huge honking icon on the bottom. Spotlight is ALL OVER the OS. In the top right of the (almighty) top bar right next to the clock that you look at all the time, in the top of a finder window, in the top of any file open/save dialog. Textedit has a huge honking icon on the bottom that looks like a pen and paper. I'm sorry, but a complete stranger to an OS could sit down and find these things and click them. If someone doesn't click these things, the fault lies completely on the user. I honestly have no idea how apple could make these things easier. With a name like "textedit", one would think its purpose would be known, and with spotlights presence all-over the place, you have have to click it at least once.

    I give you that it is hard to find the GNU software and fink is a pain for someone new to open-source packages and the like. However, a google for "open office mac" yields Neo-Office as the 2nd link, and I believe it is still linked to from open-office.org's website as well.

    My point: The casual user CAN sit down and be extremely productive and "get their work done."

    /soapbox. Sorry for the tone, but I was just responding to you.
  • by Mattintosh ( 758112 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @03:25PM (#19401759)
    The Mac Pro [apple.com] is the only Mac currently built for any serious upgrades or expansion. If you click that link, you'll find that the case is anything but compact, and is quite probably the best case ever for upgrades.
  • by rthille ( 8526 ) <web-slashdot@ranga[ ]rg ['t.o' in gap]> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @04:16PM (#19402549) Homepage Journal
    I won't buy another HP nor Epson printer, the HP color AIO we had decided the ink cartridge was too old, and then when replaced for ~$50 (large cart. from costco), there was an error on LCD indicating (according to google searches) that a weak gear had broken and the printer was useless. The multiple epsons we had would gum up unless used constantly.
    I did some research and ended up with a Brother AIO. The printing seems to work fairly well, but the scanning software is crap. It will often claim to be unable to contact the device while the configuration software can access it just fine. I'd cross Brother off my list, but I discovered that if I put a flash memory card in the printer, I can scan to the card and then access the card via FTP from my mac. That's good enough for me.
  • by nomad89 ( 979788 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @04:41PM (#19402897) Homepage
    I guess 30 days simply isn't enough time to discover the multitude of OS X resources, and software sites. A couple that I've used through the years, and have helped me find some fantastic software are: All of the above sites list a multitude of software ranging from commercial, to as-free-as-can-be. I wouldn't expect anyone to find every single program they need within 30 days, as 14 years later, I'm still discovering fantastic Mac apps. Take what you read with a grain of salt. Just because one person doesn't see something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
  • by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:49PM (#19403975)
    No freeware for OS X? Look around in here and you'll see most everything you need - without spyware:
    http://www.versiontracker.com/macosx/ [versiontracker.com]
  • by eldepeche ( 854916 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @06:16PM (#19404261)
    You've obviously never done this. I upgraded the hard drive and RAM as soon as I bought my MacBook, and it took less than five minutes. You have to:

    1. Remove the battery, turning a lock with a coin (I guess you can't do this if you spent your last cent on your new laptop)
    2. Unscrew three little screws (they stay attached to the metal piece that holds in the RAM and hard drive) and remove L-shaped cover
    3. Pull two levers to release memory
    4. Insert new memory
    5. pull tab to remove hard drive
    6. Remove caddy and place on new hard drive
    7. Replace hard drive
    8. Replace metal piece
    9. Replace battery

    It used to be a pain in the dick, as I learned when I tried to salvage parts from a dead iBook, and then I didn't even care if I broke something. The new notebooks are impeccably designed, though.
  • lack of freeware? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dr Floppy ( 898439 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @06:42PM (#19404553)
    I run mostly freeware, I will concede that sometimes its not easy to find on the first page of a google et al search but if you set up a newsletter on macupdate or versiontracker, and various mac user websites (iusethis.com) you can find nearly any kind of program you might need. Or gasp, compile open source code in Xcode. Finding freeware for the Mac or windows is just like looking for something good in the Linux repositories you have to look around, sometimes for more than thirty days or camp out on an IRC channel. IMHO I dont think this guy took much time searching for the software he wanted.
  • by NateTech ( 50881 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @02:20AM (#19407583)

      "We'd start testing on Apple's lowest-end computer, a $600 Mac Mini. We wanted to see if a low-end computer could handle the Mac OS X operating system. We would then move to a higher-end $1500 MacBook."

    Both are the bottom of the barrel for performance in their respective classes of machine. One in the desktop category, the other in the laptop category. He didn't even hit "mid-grade" in the performance curve of the overall Apple hardware lineup (presumably because he couldn't afford them), but complaints about performance in the article must fall on deaf reader's ears who understand that Apple has ALWAYS under-powered their lower-priced machines.


    "Additionally, each program does not terminate when you close all its windows. To do so, one has to either choose to quit the application from the menu bar, or right click on the icon in the dock to quit it. This is a boon when you want to keep an application resident in memory because you know you'll use it frequently, and a bane when you close out the windows and forget to close the application."

    A skill learned by most regular Mac users is keyboard shortcuts. (Truthfully, by any user of any OS... if they're smart.) A simple Apple-Tab (analogous to ALT-TAB in Windows and in virtually the exact same keyboard location, not much "learning" to do there) and Apple-Q to Quit the application selected, and it's gone in two keystroke sequences.

    Just like Windows... ALT-TAB, ALT-F4.

    Plus, the OS will swap out anything that's not truly running/doing anything... any modern OS will -- it's not sitting in active RAM making your machine sluggish, unless you left the application DOING something...


    "Yes, there is right clicking in Mac OS X - there has been for some time - and Apple even sells two button mice now. If you're on a notebook without a mouse, holding Ctrl while clicking the trackpad works as well. Right clicking in the dock brings up a list of commands, which include quitting an application. Holding down the alt button while doing so brings up an alternate list of commands - including a "force quit" option for misbehaving applications."

    He also never read the manual or looked at the online help -- all Mac laptops today ship with touchpads that understand multiple finger-presses. Drop two fingers on the pad, and hit the single mouse button, instant "right-click" functionality. (Working on my wife's older iBook which doesn't have this functionality or my work IBM/Lenovo laptop that also doesn't have it drives me crazy now...)


    "Though the Mac Mini does not have a DVD burner, there was an option to save it as a disc image (an .img file)."

    You can buy Mac Mini's with DVD burners, or add external ones. No brainer. Apple's consistent use of "Combo Drive" for CD burning drives, and "SuperDrive" for DVD burners, is a bit obtuse, I'll admit. Clicking and reading the specs on the two choices for Mini's makes the option abundantly clear for anyone REALLY shopping for a Mac.


    "Had Apple sold a computer configuration that was easily upgradeable at a lower price point than the quad-core Mac Pro line, I probably would have made the decision to go with it for my evaluation."

    He completely disregarded the iMac, probably on aesthetic, not technical merits. Then complains that there's no "mid-range" machine he could have purchased.


    He didn't do a very good job for a professional reviewer... but we're all used to that from tech writers these days.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.