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my perfect machine (and sticker shock from hell)

sillypixie (696077) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 4

I finally bought my *perfect* laptop. With this laptop, I can merge my professional and personal interests, with reasonable performance and all the features.

My code has to run on a Mac, on Linux, and on Windows. I need up to all three different combinations of those operating systems to talk to each other, depending on what I'm working on.

Of course, having all those machines in one makes for a nasty software price tag :(

I finally bought my *perfect* laptop. With this laptop, I can merge my professional and personal interests, with reasonable performance and all the features.

My code has to run on a Mac, on Linux, and on Windows. I need up to all three different combinations of those operating systems to talk to each other, depending on what I'm working on.

Of course, having all those machines in one makes for a nasty software price tag :(

So I've got a Mac host system (macbook pro w/ 2gb memory), which I hope to dual-boot with Vista via boot camp, plus Ubuntu desktop and server virtual machines.

The Mac stuff is easy -- you pay a crapload for the hardware, but from a software perspective, it's easy. No fuss no muss.

The open source stuff is even better -- it installs brilliantly and just works - all of my email/browser/IM needs are met, and all of the heavy LAMP lifting is taken care of.

And then there is Windows. What an effing mess. Honestly. I never worry about this on the business side - whatever, it is just a cost of doing business. But as a personal user, it's a different story. My minimum requirements are for a licenced OS that can run .NET 3.0. An extra nice-to-have is word-processing/spreadsheet/presentation software, on some OS. Plus Visio. The number of permutations of those two things is hefty. And expensive. And worst of all, it seems horribly easy to make decisions that result in you actually paying a whole bunch of $$ and either being illegal or inoperative.

I ended up buying Vista home basic, OEM version. $109 plus tax. It seemed like all I needed, and I'm willing to take the hits on support and portability that an OEM version entails. And then I get home and happen to run across an article that says I can't use that environment for virtualization. If I install it with boot camp, and then access that via VmWare fusion, is that against the Eula? Technically it is on a physical partition. Is that enough to be legal? Who knows, I couldn't keep track of the 50,000 ways I can break the law with this stuff if I tried. Bottom line is - I've spent that $$ now, and I can't get it back, so I will make it work if I can. If I had the ability to trade it back in for something that I was absolutely sure wouldn't break the rules I would, but I'm sure as hell not going to throw that $100 bucks away and pay more to the people that are tying me up in bureaucracy in the first place. I may still have to do that -- I need a virtualized PC environment, so if I try it and it fails, back to the wallet I will go, for several hundred dollars more.

And then there's office. I won't bore you with the rant on that one, you've all heard it before. I love MS office 2007, I think it is an amazing tool, but for the $1000 (once you include visio) it would take for me to run that tool on my home computer in an equivalent capacity to what I do at work... I don't know. It isn't that I can't afford it -- it's that the ridiculous price is enough to override the joy I feel in the quality of the tool. If I could buy the OEM version there, that would be great -- but they have this OPK licensing thing that means that a OEM license is different from a volume license is different from a retail license. And if you buy an OEM license and you don't have a computer with pre-installed Office software, but you don't realize that's a requirement, or if you buy Office 2007 Small Business OEM but the actual preinstalled version is different -- well you are yet again in the situation where you have spent $$ and have nothing to show for it.

Oh well, I'll just think of this as an opportunity to yet again visit the world of open source office alternatives, I hear there have been great advancements. At the same time, I'll have to keep my fingers crossed that when VMware finally publishes a cost for their Mac Fusion product, it isn't a criminal amount.

I have sticker shock. Big-time. But I'm sure it will fade quickly, and I'll be left with a pretty great system. Thank god for what open source stuff there is, if I had to contemplate virtualizing an MS server environmnent at home, I think I would keel over and die on the spot...

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open source alternatives (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19460569)

Open office(runs everywhere) plus dia(either linux or windows, visio replacement) plus glabels(on linux for making labels). There is no way in hell I am forking over that kind of money for Microsoft Office.

Action Pack/MSDN (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19461635)

Check into either of those ... depending on what you're using the software for, you may qualify for using the Action Pack or MSDN software for work use. It's been a while since I read the licensing, but one of those allows for development use.
 

Another vote for Open Office (1)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19464119)

I slapped OO on my new laptop (damn, has it been a month already?). It took care of everything I needed except image manipulation (should have grabbed the Gimp while I was at it - ah, well!).

star/open office (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19470487)

I like Star Office myself, but then I work for Sun :)

The one thing I don't like about it is that some software "integrates" with Office, and if it doesn't see the real thing, there isn't any way to say "hey, no really, you can use this other alternative too"...assuming that there isn't some major API difference. Recently bought (at more price than I usually pay, but good software is good software) MindMapper from MindJet and found that. Won't export to PDF or do a few other things because there's no real copy of Word....

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