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When Is There a Good Time to "Switch" to Apple?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the best-time-to-hop-on-the-bandwagon dept.

OS X 323

AllNines asks: "With all the hype of MacWorld and the compelling keynote given by Steve Jobs about the upcoming Tiger and Spotlight, I am thinking about 'switching' (Linux user since '97) but I am not sure the time is right. It seems like the PowerBooks are getting very long in the tooth and the iPods are due for a major rev. When is the right time to jump on the Apple ship? Am I going to get burned by a sluggish overpriced laptop that is updated next month?"

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been there, done that, got the tshirt (0, Troll)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501481)

I switched a year ago. 3 months later, switched back to Linux. the overall impression I came away with is that Apple tries to make up for their gross deficiencies of the OS with stacks of eyecandy. Crashing apps galore, locked up machines, stupid configuration issues, and a crippled GUI. Installed gentoo on all my PowerPC boxes and am a happy boy now....

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

TheAJofOZ (215260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501500)

Funny, that's basically my experience with switching from OS X to Linux - except it didn't have as nice eye-candy....

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

gorim (700913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501510)

After 10 years of Linux, I was happy to finally switch to Mac OSX due to all the Linux deficiencies, stupid configuration issues, and a crippled GUI. I bought more Apples since that time. Now all of my systems are Linux-free and I am a happy boy now.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (2, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501703)

I too have been using Linux for 10 years, and my wife has also been perfectly happy with the Slackware boxes I've set up for her. However, when she bought a laptop the other week, she told me she really wanted a Mac, for a couple of reasons which are not particularly relevant here.

On the plus side, most native apps are reasonably solid and stable, and the interface is simple and easy to use.

On the negative side, we both found that interface is so simple there's not much you can do to customise it. As for integrating the Mac into my *nix (NFS) network, that was a real bitch, and it still isn't right. Apple really made it harder for me when they put all the network settings into that binary database rather than applying the simple Unix-style approach.

We were also a bit disappointed by the general lack of basic games, having been spoilt by the great suite that comes by default with Gnome. Sure, I know about Fink, but my experience is that X11 apps don't seem to render that well on the Mac screen.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

kernelistic (160323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501893)

I mount my NFS mounts at the command line, and I have yet to run into any major issues. I didn't bother with the GUI-stuff... :)

The XONX X-server project on Sourceforge works nicely. I switched to the "" package from Apple and it works even better. For anyone with an OSX machine that wants to install additional software that you have gotten used to on a UNIX machine, I strongly suggest that you install darwinports (From and let it manage your packages for you.

OSX "UNIX-friendliness" has come a long way since 10.0!

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (3, Informative)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501972)

Do a search for games on macupdate [] or versiontracker [] . You'll find a mess of games, from freeware to commercial. Try Snood.

If by interface you mean skins, there are ways to futz with it, but they caused stability issues for me, so I don't advise them. Google for OS X and "haxies". As for other ways to change the interface, there are numerous programs that replace the dock, change finder behaviors, etc, that many swear by. I've actually grown to love the simplicity, so I'm not using anything anymore, but I'm sure that there are others that will give recommendations.

Sorry, I can't help you on the network issue.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (4, Informative)

grahamlee (522375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502175)

Apple really made it harder for me when they put all the network settings into that binary database rather than applying the simple Unix-style approach.

I think someone's trying to dig up the FUD they read in 1998 and pass it off as informed opinion...let's take a look at some configuration settings for the network.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

I'm afraid the lameness filter stopped me from posting a larger chunk of that file, but the DTD is given on the next line and you can indeed download the schema from Apple. Or perhaps we want to observe which nameservers we're using?


...and so on. Looks a little, well, plain-text (or at worst XML) to me. Not binary. Perhaps you're thinking of NetInfo, which has got very little to do with network settings but is instead a directory service for name information. That's stored in Berkely DB format; yes it's binary but it's hardly the world's least-understood format.

As for integrating the Mac into my *nix (NFS) network, that was a real bitch, and it still isn't right.

Works for me^{TM} on a production network involving OS X, Linux, NeXT, OpenBSD and Slowlaris. One of the OS X servers is serving a filesystem as is the Solaris box. No problems on the Mac side; the Sun's rpc.rquotad is a bit broken so remote quotaing on the Sun machine isn't good. I expect the problem you're observing is related to using a Linux machine as an NFS server. Linux' support for NFS is not very good and never has been very good; if you're creating network mounts on a Linux machine that need to be read on anything else then you should be using Samba. Linux NFS just isn't good enough.

my experience is that X11 apps don't seem to render that well on the Mac screen.

I work with X11 all the time (on Macs and Solaris mainly), and other admins I work with are Linux/Solaris admins; I showed them some X11 action and we all agreed it looked no different from the rendering under XFree86 on Linux. In fact, that's unsurprising, as it's the same XFree86 code as many Linux distributions; the difference is that because Darwin has IOKit and Linux hasn't, you don't need to write an XF86Config-4 on OS X. Nor, indeed, on Darwin/x86.

A note to fellow moderators: marking something as 'insightful' just because it regurgitates known FUD is wrong. Try at least a small attempt to verify the truth in the statements made before deciding whether they contain any insight. A further note, the parent post did not contain any insight, just old and tired dogma.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501524)

Yeah, I tried Windows XP once too.

More seriously, you might want to elaborate on your comments, because I haven't found any of them to have ever been true. Maybe I'm just used to working around the "stupid configuration issues" and "crippled GUI" (I *do* use the Terminal a lot, after all) and it is just that the apps I specifically use never crash, but...

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (-1, Troll)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501569)

My favorite one is where I installed lots of fonts (about a thousand or so) and that kept Safari from staring - it crashed *all* the time and by extension loads of other apps and bits of the GUI would not work.
Now, at the time, nobody, not even Apple Support, realised it was a fonts issue. So I tried to use a different browser and installed Mozilla. However, you can't set mozilla to be the default browser, since you need to change the setting for the default browser of the OS in.... Safari. Which didn't work, so you can't change the setting. Now, apart from the fact that that is a really stupid place to keep that setting, and that it was *moved* there from a useful place, it is counterintuitive. After much research by myself - Apple tech support was worse then useless, a crying shame given the amount of money I payed for this marvel of modern technology - I realised it was a fonts issue - i.e. Safari, and indeed - OSX - doesn't like lots of fonts.

Advice from Apple: Install a fonts manager. My question to Apple was:" but does OSX not come with its own fonts manager?" response: "yeah, but it is not very good, you are better off getting a different one". This also means your fonts cannot be available at all times - I had to switch them on and off as and when needed. In a clunky app....

Oh, and how about a ... taskbar! I don't know how people can work without a clearly understandable, clickable list of running windows. Expose you say? sorry, but that is just a flashy hack to cover up the fact that eyecandy is more important then usability and effectiveness.

I am sorry to step on all you OSX lovin' toes, but unless you take off the pink glasses, and stop kicking everybody that does not immediately *love* anything Apple, you can never have a constructive dialogue.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

Arielholic (196983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501773)

You're still trolling.

First of all you can change the default browser in the System Preferences. The list of open Applications is in the Dock, marked by the little triangles. An then, why would you install thousand fonts? Of course, if you want that you should be able to do it, but just imagine the loooooooooooong list in the font selector. Using Linux or Windows is no different in this respect.

I'm not even sure anymore that you have ever used Mac OS X.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1, Interesting)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501827)

In case you missed it in my other post, I wonder how much effort you really put in to the problem of your default browser. You can change the default browser in Internet Explorer as well, and there are at least two third party apps that do this as well.

5 minutes in Google would have told you that.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501970)

While your storry is of course serious and Apple probably disgraced themselves, I don't really get what you are after.

Let me paraphrase three things:

a) you install new stuff on your machine, after that a application (Safari in this case) mysteriously crashes. You, as an old geek, don't come to the idea to revert the change? (And partialy reapplying it ntil it crashes again to find the particular problem?)

b) Taks bar ... you want a clearly understandable, clickable list of running windows. ?? Well, what about right clicking in the task bar on any app? Does there not pop up a list of open windows of that app?

c) You are unable to change the default browser because the default browser crashes and you need to configure the default browser with the default browser? So why don't you just right click on a ".html" file and choose "open with" and select "make this the default"?

Als there is a CLI command you can google for, to change the default browser with :D


Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

Gumph (706694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502004)

Oh, and how about a ... taskbar!
Errrm, what about the dock?? That looks like a taskbar to me, plus it is more configurable than the windows one and even though it doesn't show child windows within a particular app expose is a good substitute, as IMHO I think it is easier to know which window is which by looking at them as they run even if they are small than the truncated mess that is the taskbar when you have more than 7 or 8 windows open at the same time.

Why did this troll get modded up? (2, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501553)

This is so plainly a troll or flamebait that modding it up as interesting can only be done by the opposite of a Mac zealot; a Windows only person, or a Linux zealot. I'm guessing its a Linux fanatic, due to the Gentoo comment.

OSX has its faults, but none of them are show stoppers, the apps definitely do not crash wildly and the GUI is most certainly not crippled and there is no way in hell that configuration is anywhere as difficult or problematic as in your average Linux distro.

Re:Why did this troll get modded up? (1, Offtopic)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501599)

something does not fit your worldview, so it must be a Troll or flamebait? Great thinking there, Einstein! It is my own experience with OSX, got no axe to grind or anything. I really wanted to give OSX a try - just as the article poster, and found it did not work for me. Please see my other post [] elucidating a bit on the issues I encountered. If you are happy with OSX and can live with it, good for you. I on the other hand, speaking from personal experience, think it sucks.

Re:Why did this troll get modded up? (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501645)

It isn't that I see 'this doesn't fit my view, it must be wrong" it is that I see, "this guy is making claims that I, my friends, and the machines my friends work on, have never had, ever, so what is the deal?"

OS X isn't perfect. I have never, ever, ever had any 'configuration issue with it, though that is somewhat vague. Apps have crashed, normally third-party apps that were the release-early-and-often type... it happens, but not often...

As for your other posting that was linked to... That is a lame ass bug and it should be fixed, furthermore, Font Manager should be made 'non-sucky'... I fully agree.

I also agree that Safari is not the place for the Default Browser setting, it should be in System Preferences.

Expose I do find useful, not just as eye candy. And I am in an interesting mix of liking the dock, and disliking that its scale-out setting makes motor memory harder to build, and that its snapshots of windows(minimized) are hard to differentiate.

I am not a fanboy, I see your complaints and, in my case, I have experienced and agree with you. I hope you take another look at OS X when Tiger comes out, because, overall, I do see it as the best system out there... Then again, I am also looking to learn more (Ubuntu) Linux and Solaris better, so, what can I say... Open minds never hurt anybody.

Re:Why did this troll get modded up? (1)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501698)

Hey cool - this is the kind of dialogue I was hoping for!

As for the configuration issues - that is a bit deeper, as it is a combination of things. X11 integration was not good, limiting OpenOffice usage, and the J/ OpenOffice stuff (name slipped my mind) was crashing all the time, so I could not use it for my day to day work - I used this machine as a day-today office machine, you know, office apps, mail browser, etc. - so none of the core apps required for my work worked nicely - browser crashing, other browser not integrated, no good office app, fink was hard to deal with and set up.

So my alternatives were to either pony up a lot of money for Microsoft Office for OSX - something I did not want to do (but a collegue of mine did, only to find it crashing all the time when opening word documents) and spending a lot of time getting comfortable with fink.

All in all, the time, effort and money involved did not lead me to a significant better user experience. In fact, from my perspective, I spent a lot of money on OSX, was having to spend more money on office, had loads of issues, and found my productivity dropped. I reckoned to be fully conversant and productive, I would have to spend a lot of time, effort and money, just to get to a level of productivity where I already was before I started with the whole OSX experience. For no appreciable, calcuble or noticable gain. (I have tons of eyecandy already). On the other hand, I am now the proud owner of a G4 and a qube, and they are by far the best pieces of kit I own. They both run Gentoo (the only Gentoo machines I have - Debian is pedantic, YDL is out of date (you see, I can kick linux distros as well)) and are top machines.

Re:Why did this troll get modded up? (1)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501758)

At last you're actually posting something like dialog yourself.

I'm not a heavy X11 user myself in OSX, but I'll take your word for it, and will agree that you'll have a more unified experience using Linux with OpenOffice.

However, I still have to wonder how much time and effort you put into the default browser problem. 5 minutes on google would have told you that you can change the default browser through myriad other means, one of which, simply opening up Internet Explorer and changing the http and https helper apps, would have done the trick, and there are also at least two third party apps that do the same thing.

But anyway, if you're happy with Gentoo, then all the power to you. I still use Debian on my x86 machine and I'm happy with that too.

Re:Why did this troll get modded up? (3, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501676)

I just read your other post, and I think I'll stick with my comment that you are trolling. You installed "thousands of fonts", some of which were obviously corrupt, and then Safari started acting up, which begs the question whether you replaced system fonts with your own. And you blame your corrupt fonts on the OS? Not bad, and even better from a supposed technically inclined user.

As to your Taskbar comment, that indicates a) you have a preference for it, whihc is your good right, but your comment about Expose being a flashy hack immediately brings you down to troll level. Expose allows you to see, as you might know, the current application's windows (F10 by default), all application windows (F9 by default), or the Desktop (F11 by default). All of those can be changed if you like. Added to which there is added functionality such as being able to hide or quit apps from Expose and the Task switcher, drag and drop to the Expose windows etc.

If you don't like that, it's your preference, and mine to disagree, but calling it a flashy hack is simply asking to get flamed as there just as many people who hate the task bar.

Now, if you said you prefer virtual desktops, as is implemented in most Linux GUIs, then I would understand.

As it is, it just makes you look like you don't like the OS works, which says nothing about how good or bad the OS is.

(And please, how is the Font manager in the OS bad? Which other OS has a better built in Font manager?)

Virtual Desktop Managers for OS X (4, Informative)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501943)

Sorry to butt in, but thought I'd throw in a couple cents:
"Now, if you said you prefer virtual desktops, as is implemented in most Linux GUIs, then I would understand."
There are a few virtual desktop managers for OS X (a few of which are free):
Desktop Manager [] Alt []

Virtue [] Alt []

Virtual Desktop Pro [] Alt []

Virtual Desktop [] Alt [] (not the same product as above)

You Control: Desktops [] Alt []

Virtual Screens [] Alt [] (not quite a VDM, but it works)

Crap (1)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501952)

I didn't mean to include Virtual Desktop from AWOL Software, which is for Mac OS Classic... sorry.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (4, Interesting)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501633)

I only had OSX crash on me when I trying to do stuff like SMB mount from the command line, but its fixed now. Every once and awhile AQUA will crash, I just ssh into the box and kill -9 the process and its back up.

The only time I reboot is for security patchs, but not all need to reboot.

We currently play WoW on it, and underneath I have irssi/squid/vnc running, with multiple ssh sessions.

Running a dual g4, great box, needs a new gfx card, but speed wise, its great. I'd have to say I miss my native vga font for terminals (im oldschool, i like perfect fixedfonts).. But a xwindows workaround is a vga.bdf and rxvt, even colors are correct then. (iTerm is ok, but not even close to putty or konsole)

I also have a gentoo box, a sparc sunblade 100, gentoo is rock solid on it now, still 2.4.x kernel, but very stable.

I'd say if you want a unix workstation, OSX is by far the best.

Biggest downside, home/end doesnt work on command lines in OSX, and other shortcuts, key combos. I wish they would let you pick or customize your settings.

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11501710)

*I only had OSX crash on me when I trying to do stuff like SMB mount from the command line, but its fixed now. Every once and awhile AQUA will crash, I just ssh into the box and kill -9 the process and its back up.*

hilarious! this is the attitude!
you consider it stable when "every once and a while AQUA" crashes? isn't that like arguing that windows is stable but it's the explorer that crashes and as such it's not a biggie?

seriously.. "it just WORKS" and you SSH of all things into the box to fix things...

Re:been there, done that, got the tshirt (1)

Selecter (677480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502440)

maybe if you quit passingthecrackpipe around, you could run your machines right ;)

maybe next week... (2, Interesting)

mehu (92260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501486)

If you believe Think Secret [] (page bottom), the powerbooks will be upgraded next week, since the current stock is completely out. I've been looking into one for a while now, and am waiting 'til at least Tuesday. I'm not expecting G5 laptops or Tiger until at least summer, and even then they'll be way more expensive than I'm planning on spending. If nothing happens next week, though, who knows when it will. It all depends on how long you can wait.

It's never the right time. (3, Insightful)

Isak Ben (702274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501494)

No matter what brand you buy or what arch, there will always be another new model around the corner.

But, at least here in Iceland the Mac's hold their reselling price alot better then all the rest.

All that aside.......i'd go for the switch, i've tried alot of OS'es and arch's but it's no beloved 12" PowerBook is the best yet.

When.. (1, Funny)

noselasd (594905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501497)

someone drops a bag of money on my head ?

Re:When.. (0, Troll)

rinoid (451982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502228)

Mod this troll... or HUB (head up butt) since pricing and Apple has long become less and less of an issue when you actually compare like configurations.

You know it, I know it, the american people know it... you can buy it, use it, and pass it through your lower intestine...

Just stop. Take a breath. Go to and check things out, or if you dare, stop by a retail store.

We just ordered six (6) Minis, MSFT Office Academic, AND 3 year warranty on all machines for my wife's museum --- all for the price of my top of the line dual G5 PLUS one of those sexy Apple 23" LCDs. Mind you, I did not buy my dual with the nice monitor but am using an older 17" LCD.

I think you can get over it now and just order a Mini if you really wanted to.

Re:When.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502662)

I wouldn't buy a PC right now either unless someone dropped a bag of money on my head.

Just go for it....soon (5, Insightful)

nafrance (66955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501501)

I had a similar problem a while back - I jumped in and bought my 12" PB just before they speed-bumped it.
To be honest, it hasn't made too much difference, it's still far and away the best laptop I've ever used. Just get enough RAM!!

The thing is really, there isn't ever a 'best' time to buy anything like this. Look at the PC market - we have new motherboards, cpu's etc. coming out all the time.
At least with Apple its fairly regular that they do major updates, usually at MacWorld time!

I think the best time will be very soon. Wait till they release Tiger, and start shipping it on the Minis (or just get one and pay for the upgrade).
The Mini is the cheapest Mac available, and you can re-use all your old monitor/mouse/keyboard etc. Hell, even if you dont like it as a proper desktop, there's still the media-centre/server thing everyone seems keen to turn these babies into.....

Re:Just go for it....soon (2, Informative)

anothergene (336420) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502628)

Just get enough RAM!!
... and don't buy RAM from Apple. Way too over priced. Just buy it from your local computer chop shop. I would just make sure it named brand and warrenteed.

My advice? Wait... (4, Insightful)

Mark Hood (1630) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501505)

The best time to buy Apple hardware is a week after they introduce new equipment... That gives you the longest time between your purchase and the replacement coming out. The week gives you time to check the early adopter's trouble reports too :) Always check the rumour sites, or you'll do as a friend of mine did, and buy a 30GB iPod a week before the 40GB appeared for the same price.

Friends of mine who bought the first model of any product line (G3 towers, Powerbooks, etc) find they get all the teething problems associated with a new release, so if you can, wait for the second revision of anything.

So if you want a Powerbook, check the rumour sites - they are all estimating Q2 shipping. This would suggest a revision anything up to 6 months later (usually just a speed bump, but they tend to iron out the wrinkles too).

If you can't wait that long, buy one now - they're still great machines, even if they're superceded next week!

Following this advice I got a 30GB iPod when it was new (the 2nd rev of the 3G series) and the 17" 1GHz iMac (first of the widescreen ones, but not the first flatscreen), both of which have never given me a day's trouble.


Re:My advice? Wait... (1)

elbobo (28495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501856)

Revisions of the Powerbook line are expected in a matter of weeks. The current models have been end of lined and stocks are depleting.

The upcoming Powerbook revisions aren't expected to be G5s, but will have speed boosts, graphics boosts, and a few other rumoured upgrades.

Re:My advice? Wait... (1)

Shisha (145964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502008)

Yes, it might be better to wait and also the new update to OS X "Tiger" is expected around the end of March. You don't have to get the OS update 100% right, since they usually give them out for free to people who bought a new Mac few weeks before the OS update.

I'm just waiting for Tiger and then I'll try using a mac (after 7 years of running Linux on laptops... I don't have all the time to fiddle with things anymore).

P.S. check out if you want to run X windows apps on your Mac.

Re:My advice? Wait... (1)

Mark Hood (1630) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502246)

Good point, wait for the new OS version, and save $150!

The 'up to date' program usually only applies to people who buy hardware after the OS in announced but before it ships...

Good question (4, Informative)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501507)

It's not that easy to answer. Generally, the only way to have any idea of when Apple will be releasing new hardware is by following the rumour sites (Thinksecret, Appleinsider etc) and using large pinches of salt. Of those, Thinksecret, the one with the best record on accuracy, is being sued by Apple, so the chances of their being "in the know", in future are slim.

The register is no good as they make all sorts of wild claims which almost never come true.

Usually Apple releases new hard- and software on two regular occasions: Macworld (just past, this january) and the Mac developer conference, in the middle of the year. Buying a new Mac just before then is usually not the best of ideas.

The only way to do this, if you're seriously interested in wasting a lot of time, is to spend time on the Appleinsider forums, noting occasional leaks before Apple C and D's them, and keeping up with current industry trends.

That means, at present: The chances of an Apple G5 Powerbook being released soon are very slim, as far as I can see. The chances that Apple will first release upgraded G4 Powerbooks with the new Motorola G4 and "Freescale" processors is much higher, since those would take the G4 above 1,5GHz.

If you have the patience, wait until the developers conference is over in the middle of the year. I'm sure Apple will have announced something by then.

Any time really! (2, Insightful)

Gumph (706694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501511)

My first answer would be wait until 'Tiger' comes out, that way you will more than likely get Panther installed on the box and Tiger on CDs. At least that is what happened when I bought my Imac last year (cept of course it was Jaguar-Panther). I got two Oses for the price of one. Bargain.
on the flip side of that, you may as well upgrade now as every day on windows is a day when your PC can crash and die and get infected with malware etc etc. (Bit dramatic I know, but hey that is what too much time spent on billyware does to you!)

Re:Any time really! (1)

Gumph (706694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501535)

ooops, just re-read your question and saw you are a linux man, please ignore my last sentence, but for anyone else thinking of upgrading to a better OS - the time is now! *Gets ready for the barrage of Mac zealot lines*

Do you mean... (4, Insightful)

pdoucy (651123) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501533)

...that a laptop becomes sluggish the very moment the next revision comes out ? I didn't know about that, and my 3 year old iBook doesn't know either.
As usual when you want to buy a computer (or quite anything technology-related), you have to know what you need, and jump and buy it... Of course it will become outdated shortly, but do you really need the new one ?

Re:Do you mean... (1)

Brian Brian (849676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501709)

Here here. How correct you are. I am on a 12 inch iBook G3 @800 running 10.3.7 and love it. Now I don't play games and I don't edit movies. But for real work, iTunes, iPhoto, scheduling, web browsing, email, programming, and so on, this machine is more than acceptable. Plus it only cost me $500. Beat that with a stick. Oh, and there is that *nix thingy too! I guess the only reason to wait now would be to get Tiger for free instead of paying for it.

Wait for Rev B (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11501537)

The best time is to buy Apple hardware is shortly after the Rev B version of whatever you want comes out. This means you get something that won't be replaced for a while and which has most of the bugs removed. A good example is the 12" PowerBook which ran very hot when it first came out and also suffered from warped cases and the pads on the base falling off. The Rev B model had none of these problems.

Re:Wait for Rev B (1)

DiscoOnTheSide (544139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501734)

however, this isn't alwayas true as I bought the Rev . B Powerbook Titanium G4 (550Mhz). It was the worst performing powerbook g4 ever. the 500Mhz with a 100Mhz bus speed was faster than a 550Mhz with a 133 bus speed. The Powerbook G4 wasn't fully realized until it hit the Aluminum series. I never liked the hinges of the titanium. It all seemed too fragile... My 1.25Ghz AlBook feels like it could stop a truck...

Re:Wait for Rev B (2, Informative)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502578)

Correct: the revision A eMac had defective idap-cables (fixed in B), the revision A iMac had dodgy modem and ethernet software/firmware (fixed in B), the first few iMac G5's had noisy 220V-psu's, fixed in later machines.
Warranty still applied, but have it working perfectly out of the box is nicer IMHO.

When Is There a Good Time to "Switch" to Apple? (1, Flamebait)

Pres. Ronald Reagan (659566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501545)


Don't use bug-ridden Windows or counterintuitive Linux anymore, switch NOW! You won't regret it!

Why? (0)

Ogerman (136333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501547)

When is the right time to jump on the Apple ship?

If you've really been a Linux user since '97 (but I'm thinking this is just bait), you really don't have much incentive to "jump ship" to Apple err.. OSX. You certainly don't need the user-friendly config tools if you survived back then. The slick eye-candy? Not likely.. Your use habits are more CLI-centric than most people. Furthermore, you would know that + KDE/GNOME will have caught up in another 1-2 years but that really doesn't add much value anyhow. (composited window transparency, which is available today, is the only notable exception)

I've been using Linux since '96 and I could care less about OSX, besides adopting a couple of its neat GUI ideas into the Free desktop. I can understand Windows users wanting to switch -- for them it's a huge leap forward in all aspects. But for us long time Linux users, it's just another mildly interesting member of the Unix family tree.

Good reasons. (5, Informative)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501605)

Ease of use: The OS is very stable, as stable as anything in the Linux world. The apps are generally of better quality than stuff found in the Linux world, although you can use those on OSX as well. The GUI and applications all use the same user interface, which means that you don't have wildly differing interfaces such as is the case of GTK+ and KDE apps. (Think GIMP and OpenOffice and tell me why most apps don't even follow the GNOME HCI guidlines).

The OS is incredibly easy to configure compared to the various competing KDE/Gnome distros (which is exactly the problem there). And if you need the terminal and wish to do stuff by hand, it's there, and you're free to do what you like with the system's innnards as it's OSS and well documented.

The OS, apps and hardware are tightly integrated, which means that problems like hardware compatibility don't exist.

The software and hardware are both of high quality, which really means something if you've used Dell or no name brands.

It goes way byond things like Eye Candy, which says to me that you've never actually used the OS for a period of time yourself.

Re:Good reasons. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501680)

you might also just plain not like the osx. it's a possibility. there are annoyances in it, you just don't hear about them that often.

but anyhow.. you're missing the thing you're replying: if he really is a linux user from '97 none of the stuff matters, really. you just gave the standard macster response as to why it is soo perfect.

how about a spotlight mention in there too?

basically the reason for why a linux head, who uses it as the desktop beast as well, would be the hardware and the possible switch to mac osx. first, the mac hardware is not exactly cheap and they like all other manufacturers have had quality/design problems every now and then(it's made in china like everything else too).

so the question to ask would be: does he really need a new computer and does he really need it to run macosx - in which case the right time to buy a mac would be now(if you want a mac you want a mac and it doesn't really go further than that.. you're already paying premium no matter when you're buying it anyways and the reason why the hardware is 'better' is purely because it runs macosx).

Right and wrong (2, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501813)

I agree that the reasons I gave look like your average Mac zealot, but the guy asked why the original would prefer OSX over Linux.

Those reasons, cliched or not, are real.

I should have put in a disclaimer that OSX is not perfect and that there are occasional hardware problems, but my experience on the whole over 15 years of using PC's (from Windows 2.11) and Macs (System 6) is that Apple's hardware is among the best there is overall.

I've had PC hardware from no name chinese brands that fail rapidly, Dell stuff that fails often enough to be a real problem (I used to be a Sysadmin for Windows and dell machines) and IBM stuff that is as good as or better than Apples, but really, only HP and IBM are as good as Apple in terms of hardware quality in my experience.

And your comment about a Linuc head only going for the hardware is simplistic, don't you think. OSX has a lot of features and gimmicks that are nowhere to be found in Linux (and vice versa, of course) and those could be valid reasons for wanting to use it as well. It's not just the hardware.

Re:Good reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502154)

Think GIMP and OpenOffice and tell me why most apps don't even follow the GNOME HCI guidlines

Maybe you should try openoffice on OS X before making these claims. I wouldn't call it Apple guidelines, do you?

Re:Why? (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501838)

I've been using Linux since '96 and I could care less about OSX, besides adopting a couple of its neat GUI ideas into the Free desktop. I can understand Windows users wanting to switch -- for them it's a huge leap forward in all aspects. But for us long time Linux users, it's just another mildly interesting member of the Unix family tree.

Speak for yourself! :P

I've been running Linux on Macintosh hardware since 1996 and I use Mac OS X as my primary system (even though I develop solutions/software on Debian, FreeBSD and Solaris systems for a living).

May of us see the virtue in having a system which 'just works', and as good as it Debian and GNOME don't quite do that for me (and KDE doesn't delivery the funtionality I'm looking for, I prefer the GNOME style of implimentation). I'd much rather have Debian as a server, but I can't say the same about a desktop.

I agree that KDE/GNOME and will catch up within a couple of years and with the better performance of an accellerated window manager and an even better (but already very impressive) GNOME/nautilus driven environment I'll be tempted to switch back.

OS X is about the *apps* (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11501986)

You're missing the point. A useful computer is not one with a stable OS or one with a GUI interface (computers have had those for ages, even back to Windows 3.1. Well, maybe not the stable OS bit.)

The main benefit of Mac OS X is the quality (and integration) of the applications. You can drag-and-drop any file onto any application, and (if it understands the format) it will open it. You can use any application's print command to get a PDF, which can be searched in the same preview window. Hell, in Tiger, you'll be able to look for a phrase anywhere in any document of the system. Want to know the signature of the Runtime.exec() method? Type in 'Runtime.exec()' in the spotlight bar, and it will bring up the JavaDocs and PDFs that have that phrase on your system.

All Cocoa apps have access to text-to-speech synthesis (thus; it's easy to use a remote phone to dial up and have it read your e-mail contents over the phone, which is very useful if you're a road warrior) via the built in services. You can open a URL in any application with a single keystroke, or send a file to a bluetooth device.

It syncs with your phone, your printer is discovered automatically, and if you've got a SlimServer running on your network it's already in your browser's bookmarks.

Oh, and you can get hardware that works. No, you don't have to google across multiple websites to find supported hardware, or see what the initialisation string you have to hard-code in a config file. You plug it in. It works.

Problem with your system booting up? Boot it and hold down Command+T, then plug another Mac box in with a firewire cable; you can browse the mac as a very large and expensive firewire disk.

And for those of you that love multi-button mice; yes, they work out of the box. No config file changes, no having to configure apps for each key combo. It just works.

As an operating system, Mac OS X and Linux are very similar; Unix was designed to be.

As a user experience, Macs Just Work.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502077)

I've been a Linux user since 2001 and am also currently thinking about jumping on the Apple ship. I think I'm just getting fed up with all the fiddling, really.

Example: wireless card on my laptop kind of works, but causes a kernel panic in FC3, suspend-to-disk kinda-sorta works after a lot of fiddling, nautilus CD burning kind of works, but seems to burn a lot of coasters on my brand-new burner and there's no way to change the burn-speed, YAST2 is kinda nice, but slow and clunky.

I spend a lot of time reporting and dealing with annoying bugs in distros. I like all the polish I see in MacOSX, the nice configuration tools. I'd like to just be able to use my computer.

I use Linux because the x86 alternative (Windows) is *so* awful. I mean, I'm a free software developer and even I can see good reasons for switching.

Re:Why? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502253)

That is one reason why I bought a 12" Powerbook at the end of Novemember. Tiger is due out in April. If your looking to buy , hold off until then. If you buy close enough to the release date you do get a free upgrade.

G5 powerbooks won't be out until at least June, if not even August. Though I must admitt I haven't had a speed problem on a 1.3ghz G4 yet. I run Fire, iTerm, Firefox, iTunes all at the same time. Add Photoshop, X-Chat Aqua, and force the Powerbook to run two displays(lcd, and 19" flat screen) and I can force the fans to turn on. Sluggish nope, it still responds quickly, unless I have photoshop doing a large image manipulation.

What's better, it's small and light. Want to sit in front of the fire place? go for it, for light web surfig the fan won't come on, it stays that cool. My only wish is that Apple would build the Newton 2.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502214)

> If you've really been a Linux user since '97 (but I'm thinking
> this is just bait), you really don't have much incentive to "jump
> ship" to Apple err.. OSX. You certainly don't need the user-
> friendly config tools if you survived back then

Depending on the type of person you are. I've used Linux since late 1998, and switched last year to using OSX full time.

For me, it wasn't that I got to know Linux well enough to use it without the gui tools and convenience of OSX, it's that I got to know it despite the lack of those. I didn't find OSX much more interesting than another nice looking window manager on linux, until six months in and I found myself just using the Mac to do everything, and realised I was dreading the little annoyances I'd managed to get used to and work around when I went back to my Linux machines.

But that's just me, and not anyone else. I'd recommend getting a mac as a 2nd machine for starters. If worst comes to worst and you hate it... hey, sell it. They hold their value well and you haven't lost much.

Re:Why? (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502339)

I have been using Linux since 1994. Then I decided to switch 2002, I wanted a good laptop and at the Time the 667Mhz powerbook was the best laptop for the price. Linux is a good OS for servers, OK for desktops, but not the best for laptops. Linux wireless interface seems needlessly complex, some of the drivers are picky, and laptop centric features like enabling and disabling the tap click on the glide pad. Handling many of the extra keyboard features like volume control. Yes I am sure someone will give me links on how to fix these issues. That isn't the point sometimes our time is a little more valuable to spend hours downloading, and configuring all these little patches to make linux work good on your system (If they don't work then you need to do some cleanup work). Apple makes the hardware and the OS. The OS recognizes the hardware and works well with it out of the box. It also handles 3rd party devices cleanly and easily. Most of OS X eye candy actually is designed for a reason, and quite well, the shadows help the eye recognize which window is on top when they are next to each other, the transparencies are just enough for a person to notice movement behind an object but not mess up your ability to read it. The fancy minimize and maximize graphics help the eye follow where the windows went and let you know that you haven't just closed the window, and if something did happen when it was minimizing you would know that it happened, some color throbs to show that the application is still responding, All the eye candy is respectfully done vs. say Clippy, and actually rather out of the way and unintrusive.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

GiMP (10923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502466)

I've been using Linux as my primary OS since 97 and I've been considering getting a Mac -- and leaving OSX on it.

In 2000, I bought a Powerbook Pismo (g3/firewire) with the intention of running Linux. It runs Linux marviously, and there isn't an application (other than Macromedia flash) which it cannot handle fine -- even with the (now) older 400mhz processor. I extensively use the airport adapter , so the only cable I use with it is the power adapter, and I keep the machine in my living room.

Now, I'm afraid when I decide to replace that laptop, I won't be able to use the new machine in the way I used the old one. ACPI under Linux is awful, so I can't buy x86 -- and the Airport Extreme cards don't work under Linux.

What is a geek to do? Run OSX, kill the Dock, run an X11 server, and compile your own apps (or use something like fink). It isn't pretty, but its the friendliest Unix laptop -- even if it isn't Linux. Nobody says that OSX can't be "just another Unix" -- it just hides it by default.

Re:Why? (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502631)

I know why I use my iBook G4 (12" screen) instead of the Dell 5150 (15" 1600x1200 screen; 3.06 GHz proc) running Debian testing, and it's not just the OS/GUI: it's the whole package Mac offers.
  • Hardware / OS integration: nigh perfect.
  • Battery life: amazing.
  • Mobile networking support: awesome -- switch between RJ45, 802.11b/g with ease and no fiddling with supplicants, ifconfig, ifup, ifdown, etc.
  • CLI: open source iTerm is my favorite replacement; feels like home (BASH as default shell nice nod GNU users) Default apps: very good and improving; the only place I don't use Thunderbird as mail client (in a GUI) is OSX, where I use Apple's Great support for multiple accounts, lists, GPG, etc.
  • Open source apps: use the Fink, Luke.
  • Closed source apps: instead of Wine there may be native versions of Windows apps (or VirtualPC, but I've not used that recently)
  • Clipboard sanity: Linux/X clipboard functionality is so much better than 2 years ago but is not as consistent and useful as Mac OS X's. Sounds tiny, but I copy/paste between terminal sessions all day long.

I got tired of thinking about the computer when I just need to use it. That's the main reason my Dell sits idle. It's not that Linux can't do enough, it's just not fully fleshed out for a Desktop OS nor especially as a Laptop OS. Linux remains my absolute preference for a server OS.

Did someone say, "What about Windows?" Yeah, that's the OS my kids use on their non-networked machine for edu-tainment. Otherwise, I have no use for it.

Full disclosure: I switched temporarily in 2002 to a TiBook G4, but switched back to Windows/Linux as my Laptop OSes due to work requirements and the immaturity of Mac OS X in a Windows environment at that time. With OS X 1.3, I have none of the problems with printers, really networked resources in general, that I had previously. I wrote about "Switched Back" at that time. Things have improved so much I *know* I won't be switching away again. Not unless something insanely great comes along...

Funny question (1)

bw5353 (775333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501557)

It depends on what you do with your computer. I would say that any model out there today runs well enough for web-browsing, e-mail and word processing. If that's all you do, there is no need to wait for better machines. I'm typing this on a two year old G4 laptop, and in spite of the fact that I have enough money, I can see no excuse to upgrade to a faster model.

If you do (or intend to do) a lot of editing of big images or video editing or compiling big applications, then you are probably more concerned with speed. Check out the benchmarks, or try a machine out with your nearest Apple dealer. It could be that the present machines already beat your current linux box.

Re:Funny question (2, Funny)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501719)

but if all he does is web-browsing, email and word processing surely he could just keep his current linux box and spend the grand of dough on hookers and have more ROI?

he's maybe trying to figure when would be the time to buy a mac so that it would not sink in $$$ value instantly after a week(or just a mac guy pimping in drag).

When? Depends what you want (0, Flamebait)

Grab (126025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501572)

If you're a sucker for things that look cool, you've got deep pockets, and you don't care if it doesn't perform, then by all means go for it.

Alternatively, if you have any kind of budget, or if you want a computer that actually *does* stuff instead of just sitting there like an artist's doorstop, you might want to stick with PC-based stuff. Without exception, anything PC-based is faster and cheaper. If you really need something that looks cool, shop around for a nice-looking laptop or a fancy desktop case.


Huh? (1)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501613)

What makes you think you can't "do stuff" with a Mac? Or Linux, or Windows, for that matter.

It's an excellent, well designed, stable, powerful OS coupled with excellent quality hardware and all the applications you need are there unless your definition of doing stuff means playing Half Life.

Re:When? Depends what you want (1)

hexdcml (553714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501694)

whoa. a troll. Macs aren't expensive - comparison's been done over and over again, they are roughly on-par with PC's, what's more, the intangibles - things like the user experience, iLife apps and OS are worth a lot more. Please, grow up.

No crashing, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11501875)

I have a toshiba laptop and used it for a yr, it was a very expensive model £2000+ but I needed it for analysis of large data files. It was fine, the best computer experience I had EVER had. Then my friend got an ibook which she was used to at work, I tried it. I was disgusted that PCs have ANY market share at all. I just didn't beleive that you didn't have to be prepared for crashing all the time, you have to tiptoe around windows machines, if I do this now whilst that program is connecting to the printer it will crash, the number of security updates, the list goes on and on. Okay, if you are a dunce and you don't want to take the time to learn a new OS then that is your stupid fault. How anyone can even say that a PC comes close to the mark goes beyond any semblance of sanity. I now have a G4 powerbook, it was cheaper than my old toshiba was ~£1500. And it is also better than my Toshiba at running the windows software I need for my analysis using virtual PC. People who sing the praises of PCs really get my goat, are they really that stupid?

Can't help you out . . . (1)

zo219 (667409) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501592)

. . . never had a sluggish Powerbook, and that's all I've owned since 1992 and - hang on! - the 170. 16MB RAM, that baby was hot!

A smart way to save bucks is to buy new the next-to-newest model. I'm writing this on a 17" 1.33 with max third-party RAM (never pay for Apple RAM, oh nooo) and it is an immensely cool tool.

i just switched (5, Insightful)

ralinx (305484) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501594)

My iMac G5 arrived yesterday. I haven't had much time to play around with it but so far i'm very impressed with it. OS X is a bit weird at first, but after a short while you'll feel very comfortable with it.

You're probably gonna get a lot of "wait for the new product announcements" or "wait for Tiger" comments, but seriously, why should you wait? New products might be announced next week... maybe the week after that, maybe the month after that, hell you might end up waiting until June. Or you could just buy one now, and you'll be sure that whatever you buy will most likely still run the latest versions of OS X and other software in 4 years time.

Re:i just switched (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502031)

OS X is a bit weird at first

"Weird" is in the eye of the beholder. I find its ifconfig less weird than Linux's, for example,, but that's because I used BSD-derived versions of ifconfig, which is what most UN*Xes use.

I.e., for any given pair of UN*Xes X and Y, there's probably something in Y that users of X will find weird. You can substitute "Linux", "FreeBSD", "NetBSD", "OpenBSD", "DragonflyBSD", "Solaris", "AIX", "HP-UX", "OS X", etc. for "X" and "Y" - and you can probably even substitute particular Linux distributions for "X" *and* "Y" (e.g., "there's probably something in Slackware that users of Gentoo will find weird").

Personally, I think that if there's any purported flavor of UN*X that can't be substituted for "X" for any value of "Y" that corresponds to a flavor of UN*X other than the value being substituted for "X", that purported flavor of UN*X isn't actually a flavor of UN*X. I.e., an inherent part of being a UN*X is that it has to do something differently from all the other UN*Xes.... :-)

Of course, you could be referring to the GUI rather than the UN*X layer, in which case the OS X GUI might be considered "more different" from the other major UN*X GUIs then those others are from each other - or maybe not; GNOME 2/GTK+ 2 seems to have lifted some of their feel from OS X, at least in recent versions (the GtkFileChooser looks a bit OS X-influenced).

ifconfig warning (4, Informative)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502448)

Careful with that.

Because Mac OS X uses the netinfo database for a lot of config data, doing things like ifconfig by hand (even modifying the /etc/ files directly) can lead to inconsistent results.

Use system preferences and the net info manager wherever possible. There are command line variants for most of them, but they aren't well documented.

I'm not saying don't use ifconfig - just be sure you know what you're doing.

Linux and OSX are both good (4, Informative)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501621)

I have been a UNIX user since 1990, Linux since 1994 and I got my first Mac just over a year ago when the G4 iBook appeared. The main reason I bought the Mac is that I use my laptop for almost everything I do, it is my portable office, and I decided to give Apple a chance after my third Intel based laptop in as many years keeled over.

I always ran Linux on my laptops and with a bit of care an x86 laptop for Linux is a great tool but to get the best compatiblity I couldn't really go for the budget machines and ended up spending £1500 last time on a Toshiba. It was dead after a year. The surface finish (silver paint) rubbed off and scratched, the case cracked and chipped, the battery stopped holding any charge (just after the guarantee ran out) and the backlight died. The Mac was £500 less, and with OS X, the OS it was designed for, it is more than powerful enough.

Learning to use OS X has taken a bit of time but I have made a decision that my next desktop machine will also be a Mac because I love the UNIX base, the interface, the fact I can use X11 apps too. I also like having the menu bar at the top and also like the dock. Some others in the Mac community laugh at me because I do my development using vi in an xterm but what they hey, it works for me! At least I have syntax colouring turned on :-)

The hardware is well made, it has already outlasted my last three x86 laptops and shows no signs of failing. It doesn't run hot, the battery life is excellent, the performance is also good. Having played with the new iMac G5 I can't say I notice it being blazingly faster than my 933Mhz G4 so I think the desire to jump into a G5 laptop is misplaced, the G4 is still a pretty good chip and excellent for mobile applications. Sticking a G5 in is going to increase the heat output, shorten battery life and probably not really increase performance all that much. Just get a lot of RAM for the Mac, I have 640MB in mine and that makes it a very smooth experience.

Would I run Linux on my Mac? Possibly, but to be honest I like OS X, I like the fact that most open source software is also available for the Mac. Sometimes I choose to use the Mac native app, other times I use open source. I like NeoOffice but have MS Office X too. When NeoOffice becomes fully aqua (widgets and all) then I will use it all the time. I certainly won't be buying another copy of MS Office, I'll just keep the one I have for compatiblity but do new docs in NeoOffice. Firefox is better than Safari. I tried using Safari but the slow page rendering annoyed me so I switched back. I have changed from Thunderbird to Apple Mail which I like a lot.

All in all, I think there is a lot to be said for the Mac. Does it mean I don't like Linux? No, I still have a Linux desktop (at least until my next machine) and I will keep Linux on my servers and continue to use open source apps on my Mac.

Spotlight (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501691)

I'm sure it's not the only reason that you want a Mac, but Beagle is quite similar to Spotlight and likely to be realeased at a similar time...

Re:Spotlight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502067)

Was that supposed to be a joke?

Tiger pre-installed (1)

Chancha (729541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501695)

Whenever Tiger is out, it will come pre-installed on all the new macs, and thus save you 100 bucks to upgrade from Panther if you get a mac before that. It is scheduled to be released within 2005 Q2. As far as Powerbooks are concered, the new update is long due and supposedly will happen within 10 days (according to rumor sites).

At the workplace, when Apple introduce Mac "Metro" (5, Interesting)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501792)

I have been looking at a friend's Mac Mini, and if it has 512 Meg of memory installed, it is a suitable replacement for Win9x/NT/Win2K and XP for a business desktop for the next five to seven year hardware upgrade cycle. However, IT management wise, there is no real signifcant advantage to deploying Mac Mini as networked desktops in bulk, incomparison to switching most the existing hardware over to a combination of diskless thin and slim ( running most programs on the client ) systems running Linux.

If Apple were to introduce a Mini like diskless slim client, it would probably blow both Windows and Linux away. The diskless Mac "Metro" clients would connect via Gigabit ethernet to a Mac "Metro" Station, the latter performing the role of a raided iSCSI/Fileserver with an inbuilt network switch to directly connect each client.

Sample Mac "Metro" client specs:
Using the Mac Mini as a starting point
Ditch the DVD and Hard drives,
Make one to two Gigabtyes memory as standard,
Upgrade the 100/10 Mib network to 1Gig,
Boot using PXE,
Run all programs on the client in ram, using iSCSI read only access for a common system partition, and dedicated zones server side for each client for swap and read write disk space,
Cheap price, these diskless systems should be well under $100 US

Mac "Metro" "Station" specs:
Combination fileserver and high speed network switch,
Sell four, eight to forty eight ( plus one/two uplink ) port variants, each can support the same number of Metro clients that connect to their own dedicated port,
Raid array as standard, scaled to the number of clients supported,
Filesystem versioning ( Revision tracking and control ) as standard for all document directories and intergrity checking for all filesystems,
A DVD R/W ( or better ) drive for upgrade nd backups.

At a low/suitable per client price, such a system could blow Microsoft out of the business desktop market.

Re:At the workplace, when Apple introduce Mac "Met (1)

and by (598383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502061)

You said business desktop, right? Really, Linux on the desktop is fine and dandy for us nerds, but it's not OK for business-at-large. Your average office worker knows Word, Excel, etc., not OOo or gnumeric.

In other words there is a *huge* advantage to the Mac in your example, even in terms of IT management: namely, you won't be getting helpdesk calls all the time about how to use a word-processor.

You can net-boot the Macs and run them diskless. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11502062)

You can net-boot the Macs and run them diskless. []
The NetBoot service in Mac OS X Server enables multiple Mac systems to boot from a single server-based disk image, instead of from their internal hard drive. This allows you to create a standard configuration and use it on all of the desktop systems in a department or classroom -- or host multiple images customized for different workgroups. You can even create server configurations and run all of your servers from one image. Updating the disk image on the NetBoot server updates all of these systems automatically the next time they restart.
The functionality is built-in to pretty much every Apple system.

Dropping the Client HD to take advantage of RAID (4, Informative)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502141)

At least in terms of reliability, a multi RAID server + Gig ethernet setup is better than imaging drives across each client system. The Mac Mini has athe slower 2 1/2" Hard drives, I think that a common shared RAID array could deliver better performance as well.

Re:You can net-boot the Macs and run them diskless (1)

BurntNickel (841511) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502403)

And you can neetboot from linux: []

Re:At the workplace, when Apple introduce Mac "Met (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502658)

*Make one to two Gigabtyes memory as standard,*
* these diskless systems should be well under $100 US*

you know the old robot saying "DOES NOT COMPUTE"? you aware that apple thinks 425$ to be a fair price for 3/4 of a gbyte? or does the calculation just assume that prices will drop in which case you could just as well keep the specs as same..

depends on your needs (2, Interesting)

idlake (850372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501891)

Whether it's a "good time" depends on your needs. Do you need a laptop, a web browser, and MS Office, but little more? The mac is the machine for you. Do you need a particular commercial software package that runs on mac and windows only? Buy a mac.

Other than that, don't expect too much: macs have their share of installation and management problems, the hardware is pokey, and battery life of the laptops is not competitive anymore either. Fink is supposed to give you many linux packages, but linux software still feels out of place on the mac. And OOo is at best an emergency solution on the mac, given its poor x11 performance.

On the desktop, it' not even a question really: installing something like SuSE is so easy and gives you so much great software that the mac really pales in comparison.

So, unless you have a specific reason to get a mac, like software that runs nowhere else and that you have to have, I think you are better off buying a laptop with linux preinstalled: you get far more software and it all just works out of the box; no installation or fiddling required. Whatever you do, be prepared to pay a big premium in hardware and software merely to match what you get with linux.

Re:depends on your needs (2, Insightful)

stebe (412517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502289)

The original poster was asking *when* would be a good time to buy a Mac, not *if* they should buy a Mac.
That being said, lets clear some things up- for one, a laptop with Linux pre-installed is not going to be any better a value than a Mac laptop. Price them out. Dollar for dollar, the iBook is one of the best laptop values out there, compared to comprable Linux, or Wintel, rigs.
As for Linux having more available software, I am not convinced. If you find Fink to be lacking pre-built binaries of your favorite Linux software, you always have the option of building from source, or even harnessing the power of X forwarding and running the apps. remotely from your Linux machine(s).
I bought a Powerbook a couple of years back. It worked flawlessly out of the box, no installation or fiddling required. The Powerbook has had a couple of problems over those two years, though I am sure my less than gentle treatment is partially to blame. (who knows though, a Linux laptop might like it rough) Despite the minor troubles, I still feel as if the Powerbook was the single best purchase I have ever made in my 30+ years as a consumer, though please do not tell that to my Beanie Baby collection.....

The powerbooks are due to be updated (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501894)

this Tuesday if the rumor sites are correct(probably nothing major like a g5 powerbook, but a g4 speed boost more than likely, though they are pushing the limits of that chip). I personally would wait until at least next Tuesday to make the decision. If new powerbooks don't come out, you may just be better off with a top of the line iBook. The price difference is too great as it stands for the bit of extra power you get with a powerbook(unless you like big screens, the iBook max rex is 1024x768)
I think you will be glad you took the plunge!

Just switched - very impressed (5, Interesting)

technogogo (708973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11501969)

I just got a bottom of the range iBook. It was for my wife who wanted a cheap laptop for email and surfing. We already had 3 PC's in the house - main one and kids have one each. I built these PCs myself. I also run Linux and have 15yrs IT experience (unix sys admin.)

Basically did not want another XP system in the house. I spend too much time updating XP, zonealarm, adaware, spybot etc etc etc etc on the 3 existing PCs. Then checking no nasties have sneaked past. Simply did not want a forth system to hassle me.

I did consider a cheap laptop with Linux but the windows tax put me off. Also from playing with employers laptops and linux I know that not everything works - like power management - without tinkering. I know how to fix that kind of thing but did not want to have to, if that makes sense.

For my wife I wanted a simple appliance. Zero admin overhead. The iBook fitted the bill. All I can say is that it is fantastic. Its only the 12inch lowest spec (with a 60Gb drive.) Not even put extra memory in it yet. But its plenty fast enough for everyday use. Battery life is amazing. The iLife programs are a lot of fun. No registry. Whole apps are single files. Not files spewed all over the system. Mac OS has proper multi-user with fine user privilege controls. So no worries about the kids accidently resetting the wep key - even if they are using an admin account (it prompts to re-enter passwd.) Lots of interesting and useful features that are so easy to find. I felt at home with Mac OS immediately. I was pleasantly surprised to find there is no shortage of software out there - for example, I found a great DVD ripper within 5mins of looking. I love it. Now we fight over who gets to use the iBook! I did not expect to be even using it.

Re:Just switched - very impressed (1)

white1827 (848173) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502405)

I bought a new 14' iBook this week. I was absolutely amazed by how much I love this machine. Not just for it's ease of use and security, but for the amazing software that comes on it. Even as a programmer it's great to use. I'm totally in love! --- IT Manager

How About Now? (1)

eRondeau (844349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502003)

The best time to switch to Mac is before some new virus attacks and kills your PC. So how about now? Honestly, until you've run with a Mac and with no worries about viruses and spyware and IE popups and all the annoying little things that make using any PC frustrating...... The best time to switch is when you're ready to stop worrying about your computer and start enjoying it again.

Apple meeting their own expectations... (4, Insightful)

rollthelosindice (635783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502014)

It is a real testament to the progress that Apple has made in the past few years that a post like this could be made and digested as accurate. Let's look into things....

iPods are only about 3 years old. They have had multiple generations already with different wheels, button configurations, and improvements. Why would they be in need of a MAJOR revision? Probably because in such a short amount of time they have achieved HUGE market penetration and its hard to image what life was like with those crappy pre-iPod mp3 players. What other product has had so much success in such a short amount of time? Perhaps sliced bread... Powerbooks are getting long in the tooth? Do you mean just the fact that they still use a G4 or the design? The current model of Powerbook was introduced 2 superbowls ago, IIRC, replacing the titanium models. Do you want a G5 laptop? Well you'll have to wait. Intel doesn't launch a new processor and have a laptop immediately available. Why should the expectations be different for Apple/IBM. Speaking of IBM, has the thinkpad design changed drastically at all over the past TEN years? Maybe a little lighter, but I would say that laptop is much longer in the tooth.

Now, how about the fact that you are considering migrating from linux and an MP3 player is one of your major deciding factors. Who deserves that credit? Would you be paining over a Creative 64MB rio mp3 player?

Apple has changed the way people consider their computers and accessories so much over the past 3-5 years, that sometimes people lose track of time and perspective. If you want to migrate to apple here is my advice. Do it today. If it doesn't go well, you can go back immediately. That way you won't lose another night sleep pondering what life would be like in OS X vs. KDE/GNOME (yes I know OS X runs X11, I use it.)

May 2004 (1)

ctar (211926) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502023)

Personally, I made the same switch in May of 2004 - it was the perfect time for me. OSX had become much better as version 10.3 - OSX allows me to keep from completely losing my unix skills - and the app I use for work started providing a Citrix solution over the web, which worked flawlessly within Safari. And, the powerbooks had just had a drop in price for the G4's.

I'd read the previous Slashdot story, where it suggests the G5 laptops will come out soon. Usually, Apple will upgrade specs, but keep prices fairly similar to the existing lines, so for the same prices as G4's, expect G5's within the next few months.

The only other thing I could think of waiting for is a higher-capacity DVD, but that sounds like its gonna be about 8-12 months out before it ends up in laptops, etc. Good luck!

now is not a bad time... (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502070)

...if you want a Mac desktop.

however, even if you are in a laptop market, it's never a bad time to switch, i think. next-gen PB will be a speed bump, most likely. rumored dual-core G4 or G5 are highly unlikely, and even without those, i wouldn't call current PBs "sluggish." i have a two year old PB - 867 MHz G4. it's been doing great because CPU speed is one thing but OS X is quite another. (the difference, however, will be perhaps less "shocking" for you since you use linux, not windows.)

if you were thinking of Mac mini/iMac, go for it now. otherwise, if you can afford to, might as well wait a few months at most for PM/PB update/price drop. i imagine something will happen with the iPod (since you mentioned, even though it's not a Mac, per se) by the two year anniversary of iTMS in late April.

Whenever. (1)

yardbird (165009) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502080)

My PowerBook is over three years old. I keep trying to convince myself it needs replacing, but it still does the job great. The differences between the Mac you get today and the one you get in three months are purely incremental. Plus three months of lost productivity/fun.

Re:Whenever. (1)

galtsavenger (615185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502637)

Well said!!

Wait for Tiger (2, Interesting)

indianropeburn (669243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502084)

Waiting for Tiger will give you a good chance to see if they are updating any of their hardware systems soon as Apple usually makes various boosts to other products along with major releases. Even if hardware updates aren't in close sight, Tiger has a lot of promising features and it's nice to stay up-to-date on an OS without having to pay for it. If you are really worried about loosing a chance at a top of the line machine, buy a refurbished one. Recent Macs have excellent resale value and you can be sure that you will make back most of your money selling it in trade of a newer computer for when they arrive. Also, not having a top of the line Apple isn't a huge deal as they have a long shelf life. I used a 400MHz G3 for six years and it was still extremely useful for graphics/ sound/ video editing (although far from the best). Of course, more power is drool worthy and since two months ago I own a 2x2GHz G5 :) Jump into it whenever you are comfortable, my only suggestion of avoidance is to not buy a brand new machine a month before the next Macworld.

Not until you really need to! (2, Insightful)

maximthemagnificent (847709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502167)

The simple truth is that hardware and software will always get faster and cheaper, so don't upgrade until there's something you need to do that your current syhstem just can't handle. And then don't look at the adds for 2 months, or you'll wind up feeling bad! (:

Post smells suspiciously... (1)

Corpus_Callosum (617295) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502222)

Why would this be a post of a "Linux" user switching? This, like many articles on slashdot since Ballmer beat his chest about attacking the OSS community where it lives (uhum... here?) looks to me like a psychologically tuned meme designed to undermine Linux users' pride in their choices...

Let's stick to windows users switching to OS X. We all know that Linux users love it too, but it is highly unlikely that they would "switch" - just buy a mini or a laptop to augment their collection of hardware.

Re:Post smells suspiciously... (2, Interesting)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502382)

Actually most of the people I know who switched to OSX are hard core Linux/Unix users.

Better power management for laptops (Linux's power management is still a sad joke), a unix OS with a nice consistent GUI AND the ability to run X11 apps, and a larger selection of quality commercial software available (if or your workplace are in to that kind of thing) are all pretty good reasons to consider the switch.

I still have a Linux desktop but I will probably never go back to a Lintel laptop.


Re:Post smells suspiciously... (2, Interesting)

hoser (95281) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502456)

looks to me like a psychologically tuned meme designed to undermine Linux users' pride in their choices...

You think Microsoft's strategy is to sow doubt in the minds of Slashdot readers? I really doubt MS is quite that desperate.

And you wanna hear a psychologically tuned meme to sway slashdotters to OS X? Okay, here's one:

"I have never once had to edit a config file, look at a command line window (unless I wanted to) or search the Net for drivers."

As for your question, AllNines, you outta at least wait til OS X 10.4 comes out if only to avoid the cost of upgrading the OS should you buy a Mac before it's released.

It seems unlikely that the next round of hardware upgrades make a huge difference in terms of performance (In my case, I'm running an almost two year old 1GHz G4 Powerbook with 512MB of RAM and I have no trouble running OS X 10.3, Office, Safari, iTunes, etc.) so as soon as Macs start shipping with Tiger pre-installed, go get one. You won't regret the switch!

It always amazes me (1)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502280)

how many people decide to ask Slashdot these tpyes of questions, rather than do any research themselves.

Not that there won't be some good replies to this question, but who do you want controlling your financial decisions? Yourself, based on research, and personal needs/wants, or a bunch of nameless people who really have no incentive to give you accurate and unbiased information?

Again, I'm not saying that there won't be any good responses or anything, but it seems that these "what should I do" questions come up an awful lot, for a geek-based forum, and people tend to take the responses as gospel, rather than verifying the information, or doing any research themselves.

The article yesterday about possibly moving to China, and wondering about censorship was a great one! Where else are you going to easily find out that kind of information from people, but these "what should I buy", and "what's best for me" questions... Go to Google, search previous discussions here, go to pricewatch and do some comparisons, and go to your local CompUSA, or Applestore, and try one yourself.

Only you can determine what's best for you.

switcher!!!! (2, Informative)

s/nemisis (7175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502306)

I switched to an iBook G4 1GHz back in August 04. I got my ibook about 5 weeks before they were upped to 1.2GHz. Will i notice that 200MHz? nope. hell my printer probably has a 200MHz processor in it. I won't miss it. I can tell you that i would have missed this iBook. I've run Debian, RH, windows 2k, xp, 98, 95, 3.1(1), and I use a lot of different systems and operating systems at UM and i can tell you that this was the best purchase i've ever made. I'm actually happy that my dell laptop died and made me buy this machine, that i (by the way) bought simply because with my education discount was less than a grand. I have read above that you should wait for tiger to come out, and if its not an emergency, then wait for tiger, but otherwise.... just do it. i was angry and unhappy at first that i wasn't using kde and that there wasn't a start button, but once i get it configured nice for me, i don't even like sitting at a windows machine. makes me uncomfortable. I'm really disappointed that Matlab still runs in X11. it makes things less easy for me than windows, but good thing is i don't have to deal with that very often. I'd say, plan on sitting there for a week getting used to it, and you'll love it. I've come a long way since my days of making fun of apple supporters, and apple has done nothing but put their best foot forward.

On Switching (5, Insightful)

droleary (47999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502315)

When is the right time to jump on the Apple ship?

In general, the time to switch platforms in any direction is when you've finally got everything running smoothly on your current platform of choice after some major disaster. I'm sure that seems illogical at first, but it stems from the fact that you do not want to switch when you're in the middle of an emergency. If things have always been smooth, there's no need to switch at all. If things are becoming a reoccurring mess, resolve to switch, but then still clean up the current mess! It'll make the switch that much easier when you're not trying to transition all the mission critical stuff a once.

Am I going to get burned by a sluggish overpriced laptop that is updated next month?

Only if you're a fucking idiot. If you think a Mac is sluggish today, why the hell would you buy it? It doesn't matter if a vendor is updating their systems next week or next year. Either what they're offering today meets your needs or it doesn't, and if it doesn't and you still buy it, then you should probably be fired (or beaten by friends and family). The march of technology still guarantees any purchase you make is an expense, not an investment. Stop pretending you can wait to "buy low" because you will never, ever be able to "sell high".

Maybe soon. (2, Interesting)

PythonRules (166738) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502361)

If you are dead set on a laptop then you should wait. Buying a G4 just doesn't make a ton of sense to me right now. But for a little perspective lets look at the big picture and take it from there.

By the end of '05 we will see the extension of Apple into the movie distribution business. Think NetFlix without the mailers. All you will really need for this is a Mac Mini next to your HDTV either on a ethernet wire or connected wirelessly. Buying a Mac Mini now and learning the ropes of OS X and the iLife apps wouldn't be a bad thing or a waste of money.

Then when the rest of the Apple product line is upgraded to G5's (portables and eMacs) you can get a desktop or portable to anchor this system (personally I'd get an iMac or PowerMac). Hang a big firewire based HD off of it and you've got an entertainment hub. Throw an Airport Express or two by your stereos (not the one next to the TV since the Mini will hadle that) and you can now beam music and video around your house. Or show your photo on your TV set.

Don't forget to load the free Xgrid on the Mini and any other Mac you might have to create your own cluster. Once you get hooked into editing your home movies and making DVD's you'll appreciate the distributed computing.

I think with the big picture in mind, rigfht now is a fine tine to buy. Get a mini and learn the ropes or an iMac (or PowerMac if you just have to have dual processor and a FSB that won't slow it down) and start on that end and slowly build out your digital home entertainment system where music and video can be accessed and viewed when and where you want it.

NOW (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 9 years ago | (#11502606)

I forget which rumor site says it, but the best time to buy a computer that fits your needs now is now. I don't see any reason not to buy today. Products scale incrementally except for processor change like G4-G5, which don't come along very often. Even if Apple released a G5 PowerBook today, it'd be better to wait a few months for Apple to work out the issues. They won't leave you out in the cold if you buy a computer with problems, but it's annoying to have to get it repaired, even if you don't have to pay for it.

I find that it's best to wait until a product comes along that makes you want to upgrade. Anticipating specific future products leads to long waits and disappointment when the final product isn't what you expect. If the PowerBook is compelling to you now, you should buy it now. You won't regret it. If it's not, then wait until Apple releases something you want to buy (if you're waiting for a PowerBook G5 specifically, you could be waiting a long time).
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