This is sort of a mixed up review.  Pretty much all of the negetive things I’m going to say could be made irrelevant with practice.  I only used the product for a few days, so I am by no means an expert.  But I need you to validate my feelings, so here goes.

While upgrading my main machine, I used an Apple iBook, with OS X version 10.3.8/9.  It’s a 500MHz PowerPC G3 with 384M of RAM.  I bought it from Ed last year so I’d have a platform for testing websites in a Mac environment.

My first impression is that it’s not even a tenth as "intuitive" and "easy to use" as I’d been promised.  Easy installs, easy-to-use software, all that stuff.  Installation of software is arguably not any easier than installing comparable software in Linux, which is saying a lot, both about how far Linux has come, and how NOT cool I found OS X to be.

The default Mac internet software is barely adequate.  For browsing, Safari is ok, but Firefox rocks all over it for functionality.  iChat is cute, but AdiumX is TONS more powerful and flexible.  I didn’t try the email app, but I suspect that I’ll always like Pine better, so it wouldn’t be a fair comparison anyway.

There was stuff that I really liked.  I moved it back and forth between networks several times, and that was REALLY easy.  I liked it like crazy.  The built in screen savers rock too.  I still have it running on my desk here with that one that slowly zooms in or out on nature scenes.

I loved having a built in terminal and ssh client/server.  That was great.  The extra stuff they tried to build into it (a GUI for starting an FTP transfer via the command line) was pretty useless, but I didn’t have to use that part.

To sum up, I realize that the vast majority of my gripes could be resolved with a few months experience working with it, instead of a few days.  On the other hand, I’d always believed down in my heart that OS X offered something Linux didn’t, something to draw more and more of my geek friends away from Linux.  Personally,  didn’t find it.  It wasn’t faster.  It wasn’t cheaper.  It didn’t offer me more or better software.  So for me, Linux is the path of the future.

3 thoughts on “Mac OS X

  1. You said installation in OSX is “arguably” harder than in Linux. I’d be interested in hearing that argument.

    Installing an application in OSX is like this (for real):

    1) Download application image
    (OSX automatically mounts the image, opens a pretty finder window which 9 times out of ten has a big pretty icon in it)

    2) Drag big icon to Applications folder

    3) You are done.

    That is it. I’m not lying. To uninstall software, find that big pretty icon in Applications, and drag it to the trash.

    Yes, if you want to get into obscure things like installing X-based apps (OpenOffice, e.g.), or installing stuff with Fink, it gets a little more tricky. But just a little.

    Is Linux easier than that?

    I am by no means a raving Mac fanatic, but… well, I have to say you’re wrong on the installation issue. No offense intended.

  2. Yeah, I gotta agree with Joel on the installation thing: installing native OS X apps is pretty much a drag-and-drop. Some things involve installing a package, but those use wizards, so again, not too tough to install.

    “Easy to use” is always relative, but on the whole OS X is more intuative — mainly because Apple’s UI guidelines make sense and most vendors follow them. Linux is catching up in this area, however, which has been nice to see.

    Besides the GUI, OS X is a pretty slick UNIX. Tiger added some really nifty features, too, so you might want to give X another shot, just to try out the unixy stuff.

    BTW, a 500MHz G3 just isn’t going to cut it when it comes to OS X. I wouldn’t run it with anything less than a 1Ghz G4 with 512MB or RAM. Anything else is going to be DOG slow. Linux scales much better.

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