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Operating System Cognative Dissonance

I've come about 85% of the way to deciding to buy a mac laptop to use as my desktop computer. 15% reservations about it. I was at about 90% before I talked to dan yesterday.

On a day-to-day basis, the things I care about are: emacs (aquamacs), firefox, being able to turn on sshd, being able to use my media (photos and audio). This is all good.

Also there are my coding projects, which I currently do on my linux desktop. I want to be able to turn my linux machine off and still be able to develop in macland. Most of my remaining 15% reservations are about the development switchover.

Fink has lots of great unix packages. But if I buy (*suck in breath*) an intel-based mac, it looks less happy-shiny. The latest news I can find is that intel/fink currently relies on hackery and compiling from source. That's not the sort of coding project I'm looking for, when I really want to just install things to get a project done.

I just want the perfect operating system, 's that too much to ask?

Maybe I should just give up doing dev work on the same machine, and specifically boot a second machine for it. Maybe I should give up getting a mac laptop and buy a slightly cheaper intel laptop. Maybe I should get the mac, use it for what it's good for, and assume the rest will come along soon enough. Like Parallels- I could theoretically run virtual linux, and have the server stuff under the hood? If it's not stable yet, probably it will get there eventually.

*sigh* what a waste of brain-power, cognative dissonance is.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 15th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
my guess is that the fink situation will resolve pretty quickly.
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May. 16th, 2006 12:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Those were some seriously fun RTs to read. :)

"still waiting for fink..."
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May. 16th, 2006 01:15 pm (UTC)
I know I want to; it looks like good technology... except for those laptops which overheat, whine and moo.
May. 15th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
Hm... this is strangely interesting. I'm not sure *why* you (or anyone else, for that matter) would want to *program* in assembly code. Xcode is pretty nifty and nice. But then again, try to find from other folks what they say -- if I understand things correctly, Xcode will probably use an assembler, it is, after all, the Unix way of doing things. If I wasn't being lame right now, I'd research it for you, but in any case, I *thought* that Xcode was largely reliant on gcc and gcc probably calls some gnu-assembler (even though they were complaining about gas, maybe it's a different version?, and how come, gnu stuff tends to be pretty well synchronized?).

More stuff to think about -- most mac users get stuff from the Mac side of versiontracker.com -- I'm sure you can find stuff like mplayer already compiled and ready to go there, mac users don't usually compile anything.

Even more stuff to think about -- do you *need* a laptop now? Because the mac desktops are several times cheaper. You could get a desktop now and see how you like it. Also, while I know people with an Intel Mac laptop who are very happy with it, there are lots of people complaining about various things like bad wi-fi reception and overheating, you may want to wait a few more months to get one unless you absolutely need one right now.

Good luck!
May. 16th, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder about versiontracker; it should be pretty useful. And yes, the whole point for me to use "fink" or "darwinports" is to avoid needing to compile stuff myself.

I do actually want a laptop now. I have a work-related conference in a month, and my existing (300mhz intel-based) laptop just lost its ability to use the battery. Since I only paid about $600 for it, 5 6 years ago, and replacing the battery would be about $150 (if that's the problem; I think it's the power supply) I figure it's pretty much time for an upgrade.

I could buy an inexpensive laptop now, and plan on getting a newer mac in some number of months. I'd be open to this, and I've been looking out for inexpensive reasonably-recent mac laptops, but I haven't found any and I don't want to buy an expensive interim laptop.

For what it's worth, I've been playing with a friend's loaner mac G3 tower for the last month, and I do like what I've seen. But I do want a laptop...
May. 17th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
Hm... work-related conference, could you possibly borrow a work laptop for a couple of months or at least for the conference?

More stuff to think about -- the Mac Mini is really tiny, even if you need to carry a keyboard and mouse, it will all fit on a backpack and be lighter than a laptop, the only problem is you'll need access to a monitor wherever you go. And really, desktops are not suited to be used *during* a conference with only chairs and not tables.

Also, if you end up with one of the Macs that has no video card (like the Mac Mini or the new MacBook), you may not be able to run stuff that needs studly video cards, like FinalCutPro and/or Aperture, so that's one thing to decide now unless you want to upgrade the computer later.

Speaking of MacBook, yes, they just released a cheaper less studly laptop yesterday, to replace the iBooks.

And also, Macs tend to hold their value pretty well, and that's why you don't see them for cheap on eBay, I still have and use (occasionally) a 400MHz Blue&White G3 (it was once a top-of-the-line, fastest desktop around period) and it's surprising how much stuff still works just fine and most of what doesn't is software that *really* needs the vector processor (AltiVec/Velocity Engine) that G4/G5s have or a studlier video card (that computer has maybe 16Mb). And even though I'm using an iMac G5 most of the time now, I still have the iMac G4 in the living room and it's still a lovely machine (I got the G5 because I do have some software that still needs Classic, which doesn't run on the Intel Mac anymore and I'm gonna wait for them to release in Universal Binary before I jump).

Speaking of eBay, if you get a Mac from another person you don't know, get one locally so you can test it before taking delivery, you don't want ot be stuck with a lemon.

Also, some people I know got pretty good deals buying refurbished Macs straight from an Apple Store or their website (click on the big red tag "Save" from the Apple Store).
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )