[Melbourne-pm] Getting a Mac Power Book

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Mon May 28 01:53:12 PDT 2007

On Monday 28 May 2007, Alec Clews wrote:
> I know this is not a Perl question so my apologies. However I figure there
> might be knowledge and opinions on the list.
> I have a serious case of Mac lust and I'm thinking of sinking some money
> into a Power Book (but not yet, there are rumours of new machines in June)
> The questions I have is as follows:
> * What can OS/X offer that Linux can't
> * What is the downside of migrating to OS/X?

Well, I started writing a page against Apple here:


From my impression Apple Inc. is often as bad as Microsoft and sometimes even 
worse. The applications that Apple sells for Mac OS X, or provides with them, 
tend to be much more limited than their Linux equivalents: 

1. Amarok is much better than iTunes.

2. There are much better image management for Linux than iPhoto.

3. KDE and Beryl are more usable than the Mac OS X desktop, which Windows, KDE 
and even GNOME users will find alien and unusable. Mac OS X has no virtual 
workspaces by default.

4. Microsoft Office for Mac OS X is crippled and does not support Hebrew and 
BiDi as well as MS Office or OpenOffice.org.


I talked with someone on IRC and he directed me to a web-gallery. The gallery 
contained small thumbnails, and when I tried to view the large image, it took 
ages to view the larger image, which didn't seem too large. As it turned out 
the image was scaled to be small, but was in fact very huge in quality and 
dimensions (and as a result file size). I told him it was unusable for me 
(and I have an ADSL ~200 KBytes-per-second connection), and that it sucks, 
and he told me : "Well that's what I prepared with iWeb which integrates well 
with iPhoto on Mac".

Even earlier, there was that:

http://osdir.com/ml/culture.hackers.israel/2005-11/msg00091.html ("Look ma, no 

Also note that many applications that work perfectly on Linux and X won't work 
on Mac OS X, because of different OS semantics - these are often bugs in the 
application which is primarily developed on GNU/Linux on an x86. As a result, 
using FOSS in Mac OS X is more of a challenge than on Linux. I'm not claiming 
it's Mac OS X fault's just that it's a fact.

Note that if you buy an Intel-based Macintosh, you can always run other 
x86-based OSes on it, including Linux (such as Mandriva), and Microsoft 
Windows. You can also run them within an emulator such as VMware. Note that 
for Linux, the Nvidia-based graphics card may give you some grief:


> * Is OS/X as good as Linux for running and developing OSS software? Some of
> the things that I particularly interested in are: GNU Cash (possible to
> install I believe but not a supported platform); Apache, Perl and  all that
> goes with it (i.e. CPAN), MYSql (I believe there is a port supported by the
> vendor), svk.

Apache, Perl, MySQL and SVK should have no problem running on Mac OS X. Perl 
development has had a problem in which one had to use GNU tar instead of the 
Mac OS X tar because the OS X tar has placed the OS X-added file system 
metadata attributes for Makefile.PL under a dot-file that ends with PL. It 
happened several times already:

1. http://advogato.org/person/fxn/diary.html?start=401

2. http://lists.scsys.co.uk/pipermail/catalyst/2006-April/thread.html#6918

One can easily workaround it, so it's not that critical.


The reasons I'm not going to buy a Macintosh are:

1. I'm too used to the Windows->KDE conventions to ever believe I can get used 
to the Mac OS X desktop. Even GNOME gives me enough grief.

2. I've recently developed an allergy to most non-free software. If you want 
to know why (and it's not considered OT here), I can forward parts of a 
message I wrote about it to writers at mit.edu.

I don't think proprietary software is unethical or illegitimate, or that it 
should be outlawed or anything, and am still using high-quality non-FOSS 
software sometimes (but usually I try not to depend on it). 

However, I prefer not to use it or depend on it. If other people do - that is 
their choice, and they may (and often will) suffer the consequences.

3. Mac hardware is over-priced, and is basically still a Pentium machine. 
OTOH, I can install a modern Linux distribution such as Mandriva (my 
favourite one, and the one I'm typing from) on any machine that runs Windows, 
and chances are that it will work very nicely. 

I realise that the Intel-Mac computers are higher quality and tend to last 
longer than random desktop x86 computers, but the price is still not 
justified, and shelling out all the money at once is not justified.

4. Mac OS X upgrades cost money. OTOH, upgrades of Linux are free. So I'll 
need to pay more and more.

5. I've heard a lot of bad things that Apple did, and do not trust them. 



	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish      shlomif at iglu.org.il
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
    -- An Israeli Linuxer

More information about the Melbourne-pm mailing list