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HardOCP Spends 30 Days With MacOSX

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the i'm-going-on-several-thousands-of-days-with-xp dept.

OS X 708

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

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what's that smell (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397151)

it's a flamewar brewin, i tell you what.

Guy is full of it ... (-1, Flamebait)

uknowit (1108785) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397407)

Does this guy know of google? You don't have to buy software to open windows/linux files on the Mac or any other type of files for that matter. Peripherals don't work? His peripherals must be 10-20 years old? Where do these people come from? Supposedly they are technology experts. Idiot!

Re:Guy is full of it ... (4, Insightful)

pcameron41 (530230) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397453)

I love my new iMac, but I have a one year old Canon laser printer/scanner/copier that won't work with it. One year old, not 10-20.

Re:Guy is full of it ... (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397711)

Typically printers that don't work in OS X are a lot like WinModems... They use a simple raster engine and do advanced formatting in the (Windows-only) driver.

Just as typically, these types of printers tend to work poorly under Linux as well. I had this issue with a cheap Lexmark laser printer that was advertised as Windows-only. Bought it before the MacBook it was going to be hooked up to.

Re:Guy is full of it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397549)

why am i full of it? i knew there was gonna be a flamewar, so i said so. i really dont see why pointing it out would make me "full of it".


Re:what's that smell (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397455)

omg! lack of quality freeware! what ever shall we do? what a joke..

if it's *nix and open source it can be brought to os x. the mac already comes pre-installed with tons of 'freeware'.

i could have come up with better criticisms of the mac than this fud spewing, chain jerker.

can you smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllll, what the fud is cookin?!

Re:what's that smell (0, Offtopic)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397787)

Meh. I do not like the interface on OS X. I don't like Vista interface, either. For that matter, I put XP back into classic interface because it is less ugly. I have not found a GUI, yet, that I have found pleasant to look upon or use. And the newer they are, the more computer resources they waste.

This is going to show my age, but I thought the Windows 3.1 interface to be sufficient. It was lightweight and fast.

I don't want my computer to be pretty, I just want it to accomplish my task at hand.

Bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397193)

What a biased review. FTA, the guy could've been talking about a Windows PC. Subjective. Nothing to see here, move along.

money money money (3, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397217)

does anyone else find it surprising that they're still trying to push the most expensive computing platform into schools? No wonder some are switching to Windows. OMG I just called a Microsoft product cheaper! Is the problem really this bad?

Yeah, well... (4, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397237)

Sure, the Mac fanboi attitude is to buy stuff, but remember, OSX is a BSD, and a lot of the same stuff Linux has can easily be ported to OSX and probably has been.

If not - you can always try to do things the "source" way ... though that's not for the faint of heart even if it is as simple as ./configure && make && sudo make install


Re:Yeah, well... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397289)

... It's based on a bsd but most people who use the BSDs (Free, Net, Open.... Dragonfly _) consider Darwin to be the bastard disfigured child of BSD... It's not exactly the same

spelling? (not a troll) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397333)

WTF is with the spelling "fanboi"? It's almost more annoying than the fanboy attitude itself.

Re:Yeah, well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397547)

If those mac losers could actually do that, they'd be using Linux...

If you want to use a proprietary operating system, be my guest and shell out the greenbacks.

No tears but a little giggle instead.

Re:Yeah, well... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397771)

I'm not being a dick here, but BSD can't do everything that software on OS X can do... Sometimes the only way to do stuff on OS X is to buy software, or to not do it.

Fink (2, Informative)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397247)

Want FOSS install fink, and apt-get install whatever.

GNUstep apps on Fink? (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397385)

Want FOSS install fink, and apt-get install whatever.
Most apps on Fink are designed for toolkits other than OpenStep. GNUstep apps can be easily ported to Cocoa, but anything that uses, say, GTK+ will look horribly out of place on a Mac.

Re:GNUstep apps on Fink? (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397601)

Yeah, and ultimately you end up running the X server a lot, which is a bit of a memory hog on top of the already memory hoggy OSX. Worse, stuff like printing and even copy and paste can be hit and miss depending on what toolkit the application originally used and how well it was ported. Even more annoying is how some free applications suddenly become not-free when they are ported, often becoming crippleware.

Re:GNUstep apps on Fink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397655)

Microsoft have how many toolkits? Printer drivers use one, jukebox software uses another (that doesn't have any concept of system themes), Adobe have their own OSS toolkit, Video editor uses an openGL interface, ISP task bar util uses flash...

X11 apps under OSX are non-native and it takes a little getting used to but it's no showstopper. I'm not sure what you're trying to say?

Re:Fink (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397421)

sudo fink install whatever

There's also darwinports
sudo port install whatever
sudo port upgrade installed

Re:Fink (5, Informative)

Stamen (745223) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397553)

Yup, or MacPorts, and "port install" whatever you want. But shh, there isn't any open source software on the Mac, this guy says so, so it must be so.

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

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

Considering that every program that runs on BSD (1)

bheer (633842) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397253)

... (and that includes a pretty big swathe of Unix software) runs on the Mac, I'd have to say those who pay for their Mac software are aware there are cheaper ways to do things, but their time==money and they can't be bothered. They probably got a Mac to get away from the get-your-hands-dirty PC world. I even know people with both Macs and PCs, and their Macs typically tend to be less cluttered with tools and utilities, because they work more and experiment less there.

Re:Considering that every program that runs on BSD (2, Interesting)

br14n420 (1111329) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397689)

As someone who switched over to OSX for work reasons late last year, I agree.

I'm not very big on the "THIS OS RULEZ!" way of thinking, but after using wmaker and xp all these years, the logical interface of darwin really helps with productivity. Since I was being a butt about them supplying my laptop needs, I, of course, did not factor in any additional software costs over the $1299ish basic macbook price.

Shortly after the macbook arrived, I had the same impression that I'd have to go get a whole new suite of apps for big money. Then after some reading, I installed dev tools from the DVD, followed a quick guide to get x11 starting on boot and it was pretty much done. Apt has 90% of the software I need. Can't beat that, except with 91%!

So here I am, six months later and still have not spent a dime on my mac's software. I use firefox to browse, thuderbird for email, neo office for my spreadsheets and documents, gimp for photo editing, and the rest is pretty much the stuff that comes pre-installed from the factory: iPhoto, photo booth, iTunes, etc.

I know you didn't mention this, but it's something I do see a lot -- even years after it was deemed untrue: Lots of folks consider macs useful only in creative positions. It's actually 'better' than Windows for engineering/support in my opinion, only because of the apt access to openssh client/server, and the ability to run X apps from remote hosts straight out of the box (and cleaner than cygwin).

On a completely different topic, the folks over at HardOCP don't really seem to be "power users" or whatever "hard hittin`" term they use to goose up their reader's egos about how much they are on the "inside" of the PC scene. It really seems to amount to a bunch of gamers who really like to talk about very small numbers differences compared between two games on opposing video cards, and not really the more complete, user who is years beyond the enthusiasm of new game titles, and more into using systems as tools. Not as badges of epeen. :)

The Results Were Pre-ordained (4, Informative)

repetty (260322) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397259)


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

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

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

Must be a slow news day.


Re:The Results Were Pre-ordained (2, Informative)

Caste11an (898046) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397485)

Mod parent up. I was shocked to learn that all of the freeware and OSS offerings I'm regularly using on my Mac are apparently unavailable.

The article author is an idiot.

Re:The Results Were Pre-ordained (3, Interesting)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397569)

Yeah, the freeware point was the one that seemed to me to be the most ridiculous. I've found the average quality of free- and donation-ware on mac os x is *much* higher than on windows, and very often, the first tool I download for a job does it very well. On windows (assuming I have a task for which I have not yet found a good freeware tool) finding the right tool can involve trying dozens of different solutions before I find one that works as advertised.

And one further point - the *only* machine that it's a pain to install RAM in is the mini - every other machine (Apple TV excluded) is a piece of cake.

Ignorance can be brought about by bias (4, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397579)

My girlfriend uses Windows, which I also use at work. I've got OS X 10.4 at home on an aging PPC mac mini. Frequently I'm asked "can I do that on my machine", and my response is... you have to buy a program. Everything on my mac, I got for free (except little snitch), and there's _lots_ of quality freeware and shareware out there. And then there's fink.

Indeed, it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it. Slow computer? Buy a new one. Want to convert a file? Buy a utility. Want to do simple tasks? Buy a commercial program. Peripherals don't work? Buy replacements.

I couldn't agree less.

Hmmm (4, Insightful)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397269)

it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it. Slow computer? Buy a new one.

Which other operating system can I use that doesn't require me to buy a new computer when this one feels too slow? If it's a lack of RAM that's slowing things down, then I'm just as likely to be able to chuck more memory into a Mac or a PC. If it's the hard drive, then again, I can put a whizzier one in regardless of whether it's a Mac or a PC.

Re:Hmmm (5, Informative)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397379)


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

As the guy who wrote the evaluation, I have to disagree here. Apple no longer makes an affordable "PowerMac" line where you can add new components. You can upgrade the RAM on a MacMini, but it is extremely difficult and risks damaging the case, you can upgrade the RAM and hard drive on a MacBook, but that's about it for upgrades. In order to get any decent expandability, you really need to go with the MacPro line, which is overkill for most people's computing needs and wallets. That's what that line is about.

Re:Hmmm (2, Informative)

thadman08 (732965) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397573)

It's also pretty easy to add ram to an iMac.

So, Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro can all upgrade ram easily. The Mac Mini is the exception, not the rule.

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397581)

As the guy who wrote the evaluation, how come you didn't find the mountains of free open source software for the Mac? I've never bought a utility for my PowerBook, save a piano tuning utility (and I've not found an open source piano tuning utility yet for any platform).

Re:Hmmm (4, Interesting)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397769)

I did find mountains of free, open source software. It's just that the free software that I did find for the most common tasks - word processing and graphics editing, were buggy and too unstable to be used - even compared to their counterparts on other OSes. There is some good quality freeware out there, like Transmission and Colloquy, and I mention them - but BitTorrent and IRC aren't what I need to get my work done.

Re:Hmmm (1)

pcameron41 (530230) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397585)

Bought a new iMac a few months back. Upgrading the RAM was trivial. In fact, Apple went out of their way to make it easy for me: there is a separate opening in the case so you don't have to remove the cover (like you would for a hard drive upgrade).

Re:Hmmm (1)

fattmatt (1042156) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397683)

"you can upgrade the RAM and hard drive on a MacBook, but that's about it for upgrades."

sounds like the same upgrades available to every single laptop I've ever owned or supported (100s of models at this point in my career) ... except for, dare I say... the 1990s era PowerBook processor upgrades and hacks that were available at the time. go figure... is there any truly upgradeable laptops available from any vendor running any OS? (I am not sure ... it's a serious question.)

Re:Hmmm (1)

CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397693)

Fair enough. but I have issues with other things mentioned in TFA. Good freeware is available for basically anything, although it takes a bit more looking than with, say Windows. Someone else already mentioned MacPorts, Version Tracker, and Fink for this purpose. And I can't make sense of the comment about peripherals. It's not as if, with a Windows computer, if a game controller breaks, another one just magically appears for free. (Note that I'm not among the Linux-using enlightened here, and that very well may happen using Linux. :-) The fact that you need to buy replacement peripherals for Macs is not at all unique.

Re:Hmmm (1)

jay2003 (668095) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397777)

Most people do not care whether the components are replaceable. The /. crowd can replace their own components but the average user is going to be paying expensive (relative to the cost of the hardware) and probably not very good technicians to make the swap. Considering how cheap the average computer is these days, its usually not worth it if you have to pay someone else.

Additionally, the lack of expandability point is becoming less and less relevant as the demand switches to laptops where no system is very expandable.

The reason I like my Macbook is that while it probably cost more to buy, it's MUCH cheaper in terms my time dealing with annoying problems and my time is short supply.

Re:Hmmm (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397779)

It is not difficult to upgrade the RAM in a MacMini - that's ridiculous. It is no harder than swapping out the battery on an iPod which apparently the retarded people of the world also have a problem doing themselves.

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

monomania (595068) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397821)

Where your argument falls apart is your construal of "most people's needs". If you had put forward the thesis that your target for evaluation was the casual user who wanted a computer for basic daily computer needs (some WP, some email, web browsing) than the idea of "overkill" of course makes sense because the Mac Pro is a professional's tool for professional uses. As for the Mac that targets the "typical user" you infer in the conclusion -- well, the issues you raise of upgradability, exandibility, and professional applications, (or Unix apps and their availablity, functionality, etc) -- are moot for this user -- yet in the openeing you appeared to be evaluating a Mac Mini (!) from the standpoint of a Power/Professional user(!!). You yourself are confusing audiences for these products in unfolding your own arguments. You are confusing your own arguments in the balance of the review in fact. WHAT are you reviewing and WHO for? Please decide before you start typing.

And your entire argument of little or no freeware, that's just daft. Aside from the Unix/X11 apps, there are thousands of Mac OS X native freeware apps that fill nearly ever niche. I know that in thirty days of searching it's hard to find them all (easier if you are looking for something specific rather than saying 'where's the freeware?') and not surprising you didn't find them (although a little search of VersionTracker would have clued you in) -- but that's a very different matter than saying there are none.

This strikes me as one of those reviews where some communication with an actual professional Mac user could have made all the difference. Reminds me of a review of the Mini I read when it first came out, from a PC user who'd heard that MS Office ran on Macs, inserted his PC-version CD install disk, and had it fail. As he had (or utilized) no other resource than his assumptions, he wrote (and published) that the claim of Office running on Mac's was false.

Yours is not journalism, but anecdote, and not well-informed for the weight of the conclusions it posits.

Re:Hmmm (1)

mifunevalentine (673883) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397639)

It's not a function of the OS. It's the hardware lock-in he's talking about. You can go to Newegg and buy a motherboard and processor upgrade for far less than the cost of purchasing a whole new iMac. DIY hardware guys don't like the fact that you can only legally run OS X on complete systems purchased from Apple, and that the systems aren't designed for piece-at-a-time upgrades.

I like Macs, but I also like building and upgrading my own machines. I completely understand what he's saying.

No quality freeware?!?! (1, Informative)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397279)

Not sure he's heard of MacPorts:

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

nor Fink:

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

nor version tracker:

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

Re:No quality freeware?!?! (3, Interesting)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397587)

SecretRabbit: Not sure he's heard of MacPorts:... nor Fink... nor version tracker.

SecretRabbit, not only have I heard of MacPorts and Fink, but each one of them gets a seperate page in a 13 page, 14,000 word article.

Re:No quality freeware?!?! (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397719)

Exactly, he didn't appear to do much research on what software was available. In the article he says: We also ran into problems in trying to get work done. I really should have, as a reporter, been able to show you the difference in quality between VLC and Apple's DVD Player. I couldn't because the OS would not let me take a screenshot while a DVD was playing.

It is true that the OS doesn't let you take a screenshot, but there are plenty of freeware third-party applications that can do it. I've tried out a number of different ones. I doubt he spent the full 30 days with Mac OS X.

Re:No quality freeware?!?! (1)

tholomyes (610627) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397815)

It's more accurate to say that the Finder's shortcut won't let you take a screenshot of a DVD; the built-in command line util "screencapture" will, however, and "ScreenCapture GUI" is a quick download that will give it a frontend.

Re:No quality freeware?!?! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397783)

Actually I thought that OS/X ran most of the free software that Linux does. It is Unix after all. Yea you might have to run under X/11 but it should work.
As to Mac owners buying software... That is a good thing. That means that if you want to develop an innovative program the Mac is the place to do it. Mac owners tend to be willing to pay for quality software.
Even if you are of the FOSS or death group this is a good thing. It should mean that people the use good FOSS on the Mac are willing to pay for it even if they could get it free of charge. Even RMS doesn't have a problem charging for software. He just thinks that you should have the source when you buy it and have the right to give the source and binary to others. Mac owners that can not contribute code to a project might be more willing to contribute money.

humm... I wounder if RMS would feel that was a free enough license. A source only distribution license. You can give anyone the source but are restricted from giving them an executable?

Priorities (1)

Soch (188557) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397309)

Seems like a weak point to criticize on. I mean, I haven't got a ton of money, and I recognize that from time to time I will spend a little more money being a mac user than I would if I were a PC user, but as the report admits that the system is more reliable I don't see why that is a bg deal? Is anyone who is serious about their computer NOT going to spend money on it?

I dunno, I always thought this was why being myserly was a bad thing - you penny pinch, and you end up with things that don't work right.

Re:Priorities (1)

boolithium (1030728) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397825)

I know this is what you want to believe, but it just aint so. Good PC vendors inside a machine are equal to the stability of any mac (mind you I have a couple macs as well as pc's). I will agree with you on one viewpoint, which is that if you don't want to learn about hardware, you have less of a chance of getting screwed by buying a mac. However a mac is silicon and copper just like a pc. An unix kernel is a unix kernel. The point of the article is that mac still keeps opensource software at arms length, which forces owners of macs to purchase software that is freely available to linux and (most of the time) windows users. On my macs I run linux, so the most of these apps are available to me anyway. If I were to put OS X back on them, I would have to install X11 to return functionality. I would also need to download gnu tools and begin compiling everything I wanted to run. Hey apple builds good hardware, but they just don't get the opensource community, and in the end they only hurt themselves and their users for it. The guys at MIT are the ones who built a stable OS, not apple. The only thing apple really did was to build the closed source aqua layer, which prevents opensourced apps from running properly.

Someone who doesn't look doesn't find (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397313)

I've had no problems finding free software to do most everything I want. In fact, the only commercial applications I have on my PowerBook are GraphicConverter (which came bundled with it), Microsoft Office 2004 (which I wanted for work) and Transmit (which I really don't need, since it duplicates built-in functionality, but I liked the way it worked).

Almost anything on the Mac can be solved with freeware.

NeoOffice needs X11? (3, Interesting)

Jonny_eh (765306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397317)

"While AbiWord and NeoOffice are both available through X11, neither had the full functionality that we needed, not to mention that we had a hell of a time getting them to work at all."

If I'm not mistaken, NeoOffice is a native Mac app that is as easy to install as any other, and integrates just fine with the OS. Is the author think of openoffice.org?

Re:NeoOffice needs X11? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397751)

Thats funny cos a couple of stories back people were complaining about how sucky the X11 implementation was on Mac and how NeoOffice was so crap and slow that even a broken version of OpenOffice.org was better. Funny the way the attitude changes around here with some criticism.

Re:NeoOffice needs X11? (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397763)

Even if he's thinking of OpenOffice, it's not that hard to get working. Install X server, which is the same as installing any other native Mac app and comes on the OS X discs, then install OO pretty much the same as any other Mac app if I remember right. If you're capable of following clearly written directions and/or technically capable/familiar with X, you then go comment out one line in a config to not have the xterm pop-up if you don't want it.

Hardware Lock-In (2, Insightful)

NeoTerra (986979) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397319)

On one hand it limits the available options and raises prices because of a lack of competition, but on the other hand it makes the product more stable in a sense of no mystery products/drivers that could break something else on the system. The review seemed fair in what I got out of it.

NeoOffice Inaccuracy (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397337)

They characterized NeoOffice as "being available through X11". Methinks they must not have even bothered to download and try it. The entire point of NeoOffice is to not need X11. There are valid criticisms that can be made about Neo's load time, Office compatibility, interface quirks, memory requirements and so forth but needing X11 isn't one of them.

Peripherals don't work? (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397343)

Peripherals don't work? Buy replacements.

Isn't this what you always do when your peripherals don't work? ;) I use FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Mac OS X, and occasionally windows at home and none of them can magically fix a broken mouse.

Article summary: The UI is pretty, there is less freeware, Minis aren't good for games.

Wasn't all of this known to the author before he wrote this detail-light article?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397347)

Indeed, it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it.

Not just preferred, but official.

Let me tell you all (again) the story of my Blue and White G3, Revision 1.

This particular hardware has a CMD IDE chip. Apple screwed up implementing it. Various people claim that it is a problem with the chip, but the identical chip is used in oodles of other hardware (including early UltraSparc workstations) and it works fine there. So Apple blew it. What did they blow? If you use UDMA transfer modes with it, most devices will experience data corruption. The problem occurs most when the CPU is heavily loaded (if you have one of these systems, a bit of testing will bear this out) but it can happen any time. And it's easy to load the CPU (even if just for a moment, which is long enough) when it's a ~300MHz G3.

Apple published a TIL (TechInfo Library) document on the subject. Their solution? Either purchase an add-in IDE host adapter, which for the mac at the time cost something like five times as much as for the PC, or purchase software like FWB Toolkit to disable UDMA transfer modes on the disk. That's right; Apple's solution is to spend money to make your computer slower. No logic board replacements were proffered.

That isn't the worst of it, though! When Apple rolled the TIL into their new Knowledge Base (KB) the article was deleted. I used to have the TIL document # noted down and actually searched for that, and could not find it. The information on this problem is available on lowendmac.com, by the way... The point here is that Apple not only treated their customers like shit by selling them flawed hardware, then knowing and admitting they were flawed, and suggesting a ridiculous solution (spend more money) but they then later attempted to bury the evidence of the incident by eliminating the best reference to it on the web.

If this is the kind of company you want to patronize, that's your business. But Apple has never been shy about making users spend money, even when it's Apple's fuckup that you're working around.

Re:I've said it before, and I'll say it again (1)

CrazyBusError (530694) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397727)

"the identical chip is used in oodles of other hardware (including early UltraSparc workstations) and it works fine there"

You're kidding, right?

Google for 'sparc ide dma problem' and see how many hits you get. Those things were atrocious (ask any ultra 5 or 10 owner). That's not an excuse for Apple as such, but they certainly weren't the only company that got bitten.

re: This is *hardly* just an "Apple" thing.... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397741)

I used to have a high-quality Epson flatbed scanner (ES-600C I believe it was?), purchased for over $800 in the late 90's. When Microsoft released Windows 2000, it was deemed "no longer supported" by both Epson and Microsoft, because it used a parallel port, and they didn't feel like developing an updated driver for it. My only solution? Purchase a whole new scanner, and relegate this one to the junk pile.

I also had an expensive Diamond Stealth 3D video card at one time, which was never supported with working drivers in Windows 2000 or XP. XP would "auto detect" the card, but selected an unusable driver each time -- and an exhaustive search for an alternate driver turned up nothing but frustrated users who had to junk the card, or save it for old Windows '95/'98 machines.

These things happen all the time in the computer industry, unfortunately. In the case of the rev. 1 B&W G3, a class action suit was probably in order - just like people did with Toshiba a few years back, when they discovered they used a defective floppy controller chip in almost ALL of their laptops, which could cause incorrect data to be written to diskettes when the system was heavily loaded.

But one such situation doesn't make me say "Never buy an Apple product!" -- just as Toshiba's big floppy controller screw-up doesn't make me necessarily avoid all their products today.

security and stability is a fallacy (0, Troll)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397351)

PC security and stability is easy. take the money you would have paid for a macbook and buy 2 dells. then, if you get a virus or any sort of error, you can swap it for a brand new one while you are having the other one fixed. 100% uptime, guaranteed.

i sold my broken dell on ebay and keep my spare in it's case wrapped in $400 cash money like tycho from penny arcade does with his CD player.

Re:security and stability is a fallacy (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397723)

Hey, that's reasonable logic. Along those lines, instead of paying $30k on a new car, I can just look in the newspaper and buy 20 crummy used cars for $1,500 a piece. Sure, they'll break down a lot, but when that happens I can just take another one out of the garage and drive it instead. Brilliant.

Your idea is dumb for most people. If my computer craps out, a new computer straight out of the box is not a good replacement because it won't have all the software/files that I need. But even if I sort that out, then I'm still stuck with my other broken computer that needs to be fixed/replaced, which is going to cost me more time and/or money and hassle.

For someone with a decent job and a reasonably busy life, the hassle of replacing/repairing a broken computer can easily have a value over your $400 cash money.

This is typical HardOCP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397357)

full of opinion, without any actual facts to back it up... you could almost find and replace OS X with Windows and have the exact same story. meh

course why would you listen to me, I'm an anonymous coward...

Amen (0, Troll)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397359)

Amen to that, buy a mac and you got a expensive brick..till you buy some software that will
actually make it do something.

Re:Amen (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397405)

Amen to that, buy a mac and you got a expensive brick..till you buy some software that will actually make it do something.

I'm not a mac fan and I think that people who buy Macintoshes are fools. But with that said, the Mac OS comes with a richer suite of applications than Windows does, that's for damned sure.

Of course you get more with Linux. Shock, amazement. But Apple actually gives you several easy to use applications which still don't have reasonable analogues on Linux. Not as in "they don't come with" but as in "they don't exist". As annoying as iDVD is, for example, it beats the living shit out of both dvdstyler and qdvdauthor for ease of use.

Re:Amen (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397607)

Come now, we all know that if Windows came bundled with what Apple machines come with, there would be more antitrust lawsuits. Whatever your opinion of their respective companies, the comparison isn't fair when Windows is legally restricted from bundline more.

Re:Amen (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397791)

Whatever your opinion of their respective companies, the comparison isn't fair when Windows is legally restricted from bundline more.

It's not just that Apple bundles more, it's that what they bundle is more useful. Quicktime, as lame as it is, is nearly infinitely better than Windows Media Player. iMovie is worlds ahead of the Windows offering. Mac's Mail.app is dramatically better than what Microsoft provides, too. That's more what I'm talking about.

Re:Amen (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397713)

What, you mean just like every computer platform? Unless you learn to go out and look for quality freeware that is. Almost all the important F/OSS projects have Mac ports. Plus a number of interesting Mac specific projects, although you may have to research a bit to find them.

There's a lot that can be done with a Mac out of the box. For one, it actually comes with useable Web-browser and e-mail client (Much like linux and unlike Windows). It also comes with the iApps which give usuable utilities for many tasks.

I think the real take home point from this article is that expertise on one platform doesn't fully transfer to any other platform. Amazing revelation, I know. Just because you already know your laundry list of preferred apps on windows, and how to tweak around, doesn't mean you won't have spend some time learning and finding replacement apps.

My time costs more than the apple tax. (3, Insightful)

plalonde2 (527372) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397361)

Well Duh. I'd much rather buy my way out of the situations he names than spend my time scrounging around for semi-adequate "free" solutions a la linux, or borked spyware crap a la windows. Maybe his time is free, but mine isn't.

Editors, this article is pure flame-bait... (2, Insightful)

mstroeck (411799) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397375)

There is not a single bit of actual information in that article. It's pure, unsubstantiated opinion, and in many cases it's simply wrong. Why do you post crap like that?

Re:Editors, this article is pure flame-bait... (2, Funny)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397515)

Considering this comment was made less than 10 minutes after the article got posted to Slashdot and the article is 14,000 words long, I want to congratulate you on your speed-reading abilities.

-- Brian Boyko
-- The Writer of That Article.

Yeah, like you read it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397681)

He didn't have the budget to provide hard evidence: [blockquote]We also ran into problems in trying to get work done. I really should have, as a reporter, been able to show you the difference in quality between VLC and Apple's DVD Player. I couldn't because the OS would not let me take a screenshot while a DVD was playing. And, as mentioned, we couldn't get a hold of a decent word processor and had to do the bulk of our note-taking in a WordPad-like application.[/blockquote]
Come to think of it some people around here think anything remotely negative about Apple constitutes flamebait.

How is that different from other platforms? (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397377)

The quote in the lead-in seems to be a bit of flame bait to me. How do you answer the questions asked with other platforms where the answer means something to business and not the hobbyist? Obviously, it's a complex answer and there are different answers depending upon how and where you are using the platform and whether or not it's critical to business practices. I'll read the article, but on the surface it seems that the reviewer may have taken more of a home user/hobbyist point-of-view for the review and that would be nice to know in the lead in. Again, I will state my stance for the record, right tool, right job. Being an IT manager I already have answers for the questions, but I'm curious to see what folks say in this thread.

Plenty of Free Utilities (1)

boscosmith (883836) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397387)

I don't know what he is talking about. I run OSX at home and Fedora at work and it is far from difficult to find freeware for every need I have. I do my coding in Pythonusing ActiveState, I write my articles in TexShop, I do scripts in TextWrangler (which is excellent). I have 11 programs open now, of those only Adobe Illustrator and Pages are closed and cost me money (over and above the OS). The others, safari, firefox (both at the same time, don't ask), terminal, textwrangler, azareus, skype, itunes, preview, and omni outliner didn't cost me a penny. I could go on. Realisitically, whenever I need to do something new, convert a file, edit something that I'm not familiar with, or create a program, I find it is easy to come across quality free programs online. Check the apple.com website, search for software, you'll be surprised.

Uh...isn't that SOP? (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397397)

Peripherals don't work? Buy replacements.

That's what I normally do when my peripherals break. I suppose you could learn how to fix an optical mouse or something, but really it seems like it would usually be more cost-efficient to just buy a new one.

What nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397417)

One of the reasons why Macs are popular with developers is that the cost of an Apple is cheaper than the time they'd otherwise spend maintaining linux - while just about every linux app can be ported (to darwin not cocoa) or compiled with minimal effort.

The author of that article is a fool.

Everyone wants something for nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397429)

"Furthermore, the lack of freeware requires either resorting to illegal activity or resorting to paying out the nose for commercial software."

So the only option to get software is to steal it or find some schlep to make you something for free????

Choice quotes:

'And, as mentioned, we couldn't get a hold of a decent word processor and had to do the bulk of our note-taking in a WordPad-like application."--- So on your Windows machine you use what? Something stolen?
"The OS is sadly chained to the anchor that is Apple hardware, and I am less enthusiastic about that."
"Not everyone needs BlueTooth and WiFi - and I would have rather had a computer I could use."

Lack of freeware? (4, Insightful)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397495)

I have never had a problem with a lack of freeware for the Mac. There are a couple pieces of shareware I have paid for because I like the software and want to support the developer, but that was never a matter of functionality. The only other piece of software I have paid for is Apple Remote Desktop, and that could be replaced by VNC, ssh, and shell scripting if necessary. He mentions that he can't find any DVD shrinking software. He must have not looked very hard, as I know Mac the Ripper is just one of many free programs that do just that.

Yes, you do have to pay for MS Office and Photoshop, but no shit. You have to pay for these on Windows as well. He states that the free options like Abiword lack all the features necessary, but that's going to be true of any Office or PS knockoff. So not only do you have the option to buy Office and PS (just like on Windows, and unavailable for Linux), but you have a number of free alternatives, most of which aren't any harder to install on OS X than on Linux.

All told, the author is either ignorant of or biased against Macs. He complains about the Mac Mini lacking a more powerful graphics card and more RAM, but he fails to point out that it's a $600 entry level machine. He also complains about OS X not running on non-Apple hardware. That's a business argument for another day (and one that he would have a hard time winning), but it shouldn't be relevant to a technical review.

Windows (2, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397503)

Wow. The description is not at all like my experence with OS X. However is frighteningly describing my usual Windows experence.

Saying OS-X has no freeware is both wrong directly (there is plenty of good freeware for OS X) and indirectly (Alot of open source unix apps compile directly, have premade binaries, or have ports going)
Using fink one even has the full apt functionality from debian and debian based systems.

Although things have been changing slightly in the past couple years, freeware for windows is harder to find, and before then almost impossible. Everyone was on the bandwagon of crappy worthless shareware apps, and worse, apps labeled as freeware but require a serial to unlock, by definition shareware.

I'd say only recently has windows even come close to a freeware pool like the OSS crowd has enjoyed, and continue to enjoy under OS X.

Lack of quality freeware... (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397517)

No freeware, maybe. But one of the things I really like about OSX is the amount of high quality, reasonably priced useful mini apps there are for it. Things like TextMate (or TextWrangler, which is free!) and Transmit are worth the money. There is a lot of "freeware" for the PC, but a lot of it would be better termed "crapware".

Lack of software? (4, Informative)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397541)

The author is basically clueless.

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

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

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

Good stuff!

I switched to Mac... (1)

Kroc (925275) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397559)

To get away from the anal retention on PC.

On Windows, I hated shareware with a passion. I would go out of my way to avoid having to pay for anything. Software was something to be hoarded. Things could not be more polar on the Mac. Mac software is often of such high quality, and with great attention to detail, that you want to pay for it. With no spyware, nor viruses on the Mac either, you are not in a constant state of paranoia about what you are installing onto your machine.

The author is stuck in a PC mind set, and it takes longer than 30 days to unwind and realised that life is more important than fighting with Windows shortcomings, even if you sacrifice a little choice for something that you can actually /enjoy/.

I never used to /enjoy/ using Windows XP, even though I knew it so well.
It's the opposite with OS X, and that makes one hell of a difference in the long run.

OS-X economics (1)

secPM_MS (1081961) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397563)

I liked OS-X, but I found Apple's business model to be too expensive for my tastes. I bought an early iBook and ran 10.1 (The iBook also came with the earlier OS, I beleive that it was OS 9). A year or so later I found that to get security updates to my OS, I had to go out and buy the newer version of the OS for ~ $150. This is in addition to the ~$100 iMac (if I recall it correctly) service I was running. Apple was very good about replacing the iBook motherboard each time it burned out, typically after 9 months use. By the time I gave up on the notebook, I had been through 4 motherboards. So much for Apple hardware quality.

For comparison, I bought a copy of XP and added 512 MB of RAM to my old Windows 98 box (1.7 GHz P4) 3 years ago. Microsoft does not charge me for my security updates (and at this point there are probably fewer updates to XP SP2 than there are to OS-X) and will continue to support XP for some years yet. My XP system still runs my legacy executables, such as Math Rabbit, that I am using for my second set of children.

Apple makes elegant and expensive consumer products. In many respects, they are what Sony should be. I don't value, nor play such conspicuous consumption games.

Quality Freeware (2, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397583)

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

MacPorts and Fink provide access to a large range of open source solutions, but they are clearly aimed at the IT savy. As for replacing hardware when it is no longer good enough, well this is not different to replacing your video player when it no longer does the job. If you have a non-compact computer then you can upgrade it all you like, but a compact computer such as a portable will always have limited upgradability, and the target audience really doesn't seem to mind. What makes a good computer depends on who you are and what you are doing with it, but the greater public once something that just works, and does not want to play around with the innards of their system unless they are forced to.

I don't rebuild my car, I have a warranty (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397609)

I don't really care that you have to apply money to the problem. I don't rebuild my car or do more than the simplest of large appliance repair either. I don't understand why this is a negative. Shouldn't it just be a buyer decision like purchasing an extended warranty?

apple's sad focus on flashy consumer glitz (3, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397659)

I am now Windows free for 3 years, loving OSX.

I am sadly disappointed in the support that apple has given the open source community. there are a LOT of free applications that do work well on mac osx, but apple does not seem to care. there is almost no official support for integrating open source applications. dports, fink, etc. - none of them really work well. you walk into an apple store and they say "if you are typing into a shell, we don't want to (read:can't) talk to you," literally. selecting and promoting open source software would be a way for apple to take a commanding lead in the os market, but they don't.

apple should have a marketing campaign like: "set yourself free" or something like that and let people choose them as a real windows alternative.

He's right and he's wrong. (2, Insightful)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397673)

As a musician who uses Macs almost exclusively (disclaimer: I use other platforms for other stuff, not a rabid Macboy), I've constantly over the years been both rewarded and punished by the platform. He gets it right when he complains about the hardware upgrade schedule. It's only been recently that I've found a nice balance between my OS, hardware, and all the intensive stuff that my software needs to do, without having to upgrade one of those three things in a six month period.

Where he gets it wrong though is about the freeware. I've found a wealth of freeware and tinkering advice for getting more into/out of your Mac--I'm always amazed at how much is actually out there, considering the relatively small user base. And that doesn't even count projects like Fink, if you want to do real tinkering. So he's right and he's wrong, but it seems he entered the argument with his mind made up, and that's the real mistake.

Oh cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397695)

Hardware lock in; repeat after me, Apple is a hardware company. They sell machines. The OS is just PART of the idea of bying a mac.

Paying your way out: ok, so teh Mac mini is a bit small, but the rest of the line up are made the same way that PCs are made. Want to replace a harddrive, do it, you dont need a mac-hardrive, a PC one is just the same. Nedd to replace RAM ? use PC-RAM, its the same RAM.

Paying your way out part2, the software: www.macupdate.com and www.versiontracker.com All (free) the utilities you need.
Oh, and does your Vista Dell computer come with MS Office ? I think not.

Typical lazy anti-apple FUD mixed with some truths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397721)

I'm far from a whiny Mac fanboy, but the linked article is heavy on generalities and short on specifics.

Just what ARE his Word-processing requirements - if he won't buy MS Word, doesn't want to pony-up for the cheaper iWork, and can't stand TextEdit - AND he doesn't want to bother test-driving the WONDERFUL Nisus Writer:

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

Shareware / Freeware? Christ, here's a whole heap of goodness, neatly organized and searchable:

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

And what the FUCK is wrong with making a computer that is supposed to run as sold - e.g., so you can't take the OS off and slap it on another piece of hardware?

And every bloody peripheral I own works without drama. Plug it in, the hard drive mounts, the scanner scans, the digital camera disgorges its pictures.

The one real issue he mentions that drives me crazy is the wonky memory-management issues in OSX. When it has enough memory, all is good. When it runs dry, bad things happnen - rather, nothing happens and the machine grinds to a halt. Let's hope Leopard sorts this out.

Utter lack of research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19397739)

The article writer should have spent some time doing actual RESEARCH before he even started on OS X.

Freeware? The Mac community has always had an abundance of high quality free and shareware. VersionTracker anyone? Besides, what's wrong with shelling out a couple of dollars for software that's oh, I don't know, USEFUL??? Shitty attitude that everything has to be free. You miss out on soooo much.

Adding RAM to a Mac mini? Gimme a freakin break- I've installed RAM in dozens of minis (former Mac Genius here) and it requires two putty knives and a small screwdriver. Five minute task; instructions easily found via Google.

I don't get the bitching about Office and Photoshop. DUH. Either use a version of OOo or pay for MS Office. Same as Windows. And Photoshop...well, either pay, or limp along with the GIMP or Elements.

In short, this article is piss-poor and the author needs a swift kick.

Nice tech article. (3, Insightful)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397759)

From the article:

Additionally, the hardware lock-in - a lock-in that is Apple's choice - makes it hard to get exactly what you need. The Mac Mini I purchased originally would have been fine to complete this test if it had come with more RAM, but replacing the RAM was so daunting a task due to the ultra-compact form factor, I didn't bother.

So you're telling me that an author from HardOCP, an overclocking website, considered the task of adding memory to a computer to be too daunting to bother with? Come on. It tells you how to add memory to the computer in the manual.

Lack of quality feeware? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397767)

I guess they didn't install macports? :-)

While I will agree that OS X suffers from the the same syndrome WIndows (and DOS before it) does - that is, anyone who can write a line of (Objective) C deserves $20 for their pet project - I don't find it to be a much of a problem. First of all, OS X is far more functional out of the box than Windows, IMO. So I don't need to download (and possibly pay for) all kinds of extra utilities to get up and running comfortably. Of course, I'm coming from a Linux background so maybe I may have a very different idea of "functional." For one thing, you've got the full commandline suite. There's a decent terminal program (although free alternatives exist). There's archive file management. You've got disk image manipulation. PDF reader built in. Etc.

Aside from the initial investment of $1800 for my Mac Book Pro, the only other thing I've paid for is TextMate. Everything else was free. I don't really know why this cost myth keeps perpetuating. The only valid "con" that I think the reviewer has is the hardware lockin/limitations. But what can I say other than that is the price we pay for solid hardware/software integration. I am reminded just how valuable that integration is every time I hear a Windows or Linux user complain about their video or sound drivers. Or every time I see a PC boot that BIOS from the 1980's.

His drive fails, so he blames OS X? (4, Insightful)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397775)

I'm not sure what caused it, but somehow my USB external hard drive ceased to work at one point and was rendered useless on all OS platforms. After running a few apps and commands, perhaps due to some degree of simultaneousness, something caused it to start working again. This was unsettling and unpleasant, but there was no data loss.

Wtf? If my external drive ceased to work, and it did so on anything I plugged it into across multiple other OSs, I would blame the drive, not the OS. This guy is grasping for reasons to blame OS X for stuff and for ways to give it a bad review. Typical FUD: my drive died, while using OS X, so Im cautious about using any drives with it cause it obviously kills drives!! heh. His other complaints are just as laughable, blaming OS X for making people buy hardware? Name the last Windows version that did not require a Major upgrade in hardware over the previous just to run? Name an OS that wont go faster without buying more ram or faster processors? It like saying "my car wont accelerate any faster unless I replace the engine with a bigger one, so I must be a crappy driver." And the comment on lack of quality free software, how many quality free aps can you get for windows? Almost anything from the Linux/Open Source/*nix world will compile on OS X, there's even this project called Mac Ports that makes bringing normal FOSS stuff into the native OS X environment easier. Gimp is a prime example. If you look around, there is plenty. This guy is just spewing FUD, looking to complain about everything, riding the thought that to get better viewer ship for his articles he has to be negative, just like the major TV news is these days.



iTunes ... (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#19397807)

is about the only decent bit of pre installed software. Just what % of users really spend their time making podcasts or home videos? There is a darn sight more freeware for windows than there is for the mac. It's better quality and more UI consistant. I am a Mac convert as well.
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