Mac users love their machines; Windows users put up with their machines because they don't believe there's anything really better. - Wil Shipley
I bought my Mac iBook simply to review it for my Unix/Linux website. I wasn't totally unfamiliar with Macs; I've been doing computer consulting for a long time and had some exposure to the older Mac operating systems. I at least knew what the Finder was, knew what Set Startup did, and so on. Most of my experience has been Unix, though, and of course that was what attracted me to OS X.
I really didn't expect to fall in love with the machine. Oh, I don't mean the iBook specifically, but OS X definitely. I used the machine to prepare my review, and was planning to write it up to sell on Ebay, but I was having so much fun with it that I decided to keep it for a while. I started transferring work I was doing on my Linux box to the Mac. Soon enough I just stopped using the Linux desktop entirely and began using the iBook for everything.
It has taken me a while to fully understand why. The Linux OS is still up and running and I do use it for file storage, network backup, and other things. I've just stopped using it as a desktop. But why? I spend most of my time at the command line anyway, and only use the GUI for browsing and not much else. Firefox is my browser on either problem, so what's the difference? It would seem that I'd see Linux and Mac OS X as equivalent.
But they aren't. The Mac desktop is smooth and polished. Linux, whether it's Gnome or anything else, is still a little rough around the edges. I don't do much in the GUI, but when I do, I want transparency - I don't want to think about what or how; I just want to do whatever it is I need to do and get on with my work.
I know this isn't an entirely satisfactory answer. Part of the reason I stayed with the iBook was that at that time, a laptop fit my lifestyle: we had a vacation home we went to on summer weekends, and taking the iBook was a lot easier than taking a computer and monitor and keyboard. I didn't want the hassle of Linux on a laptop; it can be difficult if you don't pick your hardware carefully. That's just sheer laziness: it was easier to buy the iBook than plan out what I'd need for a Linux laptop.
Perhaps laziness is at the bottom of this. I want to do my work. I don't want to fiddle and fuss with hardware and software. That may sound strange, because that's just what I do for the major part of my income, but actually it makes sense: because I have to do that as my work, I want an easy, stable platform to work from. I need Unix underneath, of course, and I want real Unix, not anything like Microsoft's Services For Unix. The Mac iBook gives me what I need.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Tony Lawrence
Show me your flowchart and conceal your tables, and I shall continue to be mystified. Show me your tables, and I won't usually need your flowchart; it'll be obvious. (Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man Month)