I am switching to a MAC The computer has not arrived yet, but I am prepping for it.
I have spent so many years now working with Unix systems, it seems like second nature to me. The biggest change prior, for me came about 5 years ago when I jumped from tcsh to bash. I still have my Minix 5 1/4 disk from 1988-89.. I have a slackware release of Linux with a 0.9 kernel.. Geez, I have been doing this for a long time.... I have been employed where some version of windows was required, and I always found a way to run linux. The worst case was running KDE from Cygwin, because of Corporate policy. Of the Unix variants, I have tried or worked on almost all of them. HP/UX, dgUnix, Solaris, AIX, BSD, Linux, Digital Unix, Xenix, Dynex, just to list a few. It has been a long and winding road from the Fortune 32:16 systems and AT&T 3b1 & 3b2's that I used early on in my career. I have managed single systems and large networks. I have been a member of USENIX and SAGE and attended the LISA and USENIX conferences many times.
Over the last several years many of my friends and colleagues have switched over to MACs. I have teased them about their shiny little boxes, the price points, and that they ( the computers ) were just overgrown iPods. However, I have to admit, during that same time, I saw excellent code written on the computers, and some really nifty applications being utilized on the MACs. I used to tease my friends that if I ever got a MAC, the first thing I would do is install UBUNTU. That is what I did whenever I got a new computer with windows installed on it, and I assumed that I would do the same with the big iPod.
Well, the company I work for, ( OpenLogic ) is buying all the developers shiny new 17" Macbook Pro's. My first thought was, "I wonder how hard it will be to get Ubuntu on that?". I started reading up on how to install Ubuntu, and how I could get other "favorite" applications on the new box. I read about Boot Camp, so I could dual boot, OSX or Ubuntu.. ( Side note... I call it OSX, as I get further along, I may switch to calling it Leopard or Snow Leopard, or 10.5.5... etc.. ) I made a trip ( pilgrimage? ) to the Apple Store. It was just like I remembered. Ipod to the left me, Ipod to the right of me, oooh, something shiny. I played with the 15" Macbook pro's as the 17"s were not in the store yet. I had some of my Mac aware buddies with me, so I could ask pertinent questions. First? How do I get a terminal up? Finder? you gotta be kidding me. I could see the Ubuntu disk sliding into the slot on the right side so clearly. Then "IT" happened. Nope, it wasnt the Apple store employees asking me for the 5th time if I needed help. IT wasnt the the lightness of the laptop, the shine of the case, the gleam of the beautiful screen, not the speed of the processor or the "it just works" wireless networking. Not even the promise of integration of microsoft office. ( Actually, that is not a plus for me anyway. ) "IT" is the trackpad. Using the new trackpad totally hooked me. Click anywhere and it works. It is big and useful and handy and cool. Using gestures (multi finger swipes) is awesome. After 5 minutes, I was hooked on the trackpad, and on the keyboard. I love the little chicklet keys. I began to re-think my "put Ubuntu on it" approach to the impending arrival. If I am going to be able to take full advantage of that big cool trackpad, I am going to need to keep OSX on the box. Openlogic, had purchased VMware fusion for me to put upon my new MAC, so that I can work with open source packages for a variety of operation systems, and my next thought moved me from installing Ubuntu on the MAC, and just have a vmware image of Ubuntu, if I needed to get any "real" work done.
I left the store ( mothership? ) with that thought in mind, however something was really nagging at me. Oh, it could be the voices of all the Mac fanboys that I have teased over the course of time, haunting me as I reflected on how much fun it was to play on the Macbook. Possibly, but more than likely it was my inner voice telling me that I should get the most out of this experience. I should bite the bullet. I should not try and turn the Mac into a Linux system, but rather see what the Mac had to offer. Learn the system as well as I know the Linux system. I needed to shift my thinking so that "real work" would be done on the Mac. Sure, there are certainly going to be things that I do not like. I am positive that over time I may have some clear and objective criticisms of OSX or the Macbook itself. At this point, I have vowed to keep the system native. I have gone so far as to vow to use only the native applications that come with the system. If over the course of time, an app, does not meet my needs, then I can say that I gave that app a fair evaluation and move on to an alternative.
I plan on blogging my findings as I go about the switch. As I wait for the Macbook to arrive, I have been reading up on the OS, and asking questions of my friends that know about them. If you have any good advise, feel free to send it along. Check in here every once in a while, and see how I am doing going "Cold Turkey" from my linux systems. ( I will have to use them from time to time to do my job. But, my main day in day out environment will be OSX. ) Oh... and If I teased you about your shiny little Mac... I am sorry.
** Authors note ** Yes, I know that I never capitalize the word windows.
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