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Ubuntu Linux vs. Mac OS X 479

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the begin-the-battle-royale dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An article on InformationWeek pits an Apple user against an Ubuntu Linux user (although he talks about other distros as well) as to which OS makes a better desktop operating system. As might be expected, the conclusion seems to be "different strokes for different folks," but it's interesting to see Microsoft cut (mostly) out of the equation."
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Ubuntu Linux vs. Mac OS X

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  • by Heftklammerdosierer! (846009) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:15AM (#20071309)
    Ubunutu is easy to install on a Mac.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TobyRush (957946)

      Ubunutu is easy to install on a Mac.

      But it's Ubuntu vs. Mac OS X, right? Not Ubuntu vs. Mac hardware. I know next to nothing about Ubuntu, but I'm assuming you can't run it from within Mac OS X...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by morari (1080535)
      As is Windows... You still have to waste the money on overpriced, proprietary hardware from Apple though. With almost no choice over components and little options to upgrade in the future. People blast Microsoft for vendor lock-in, but Apple has always been worse. But who cares when you get something that's sleek and cool looking like a Mac, right?
      • by gb506 (738638) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:38PM (#20073003) Homepage
        Overpriced hardware? Go price out the Macbook Pro 17" w/ WUXGA screen (1920x1200) in standard config (2.4G SantaRosa, 160GB HD, 2GB Ram, etc), then go to Dell and price out a similarly configured M90. The Mac is $333.00 cheaper, and the Dell doesn't even have the latest Santa Rosa chip set!

        Sure, you can get cheaper hardware elsewhere, but you normally get exactly what you pay for.
      • by sgant (178166) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:40PM (#20073047) Homepage Journal
        Well, no. We can sit around all day and compare prices for components till the cows come home, but what I use my Mac for is about the same price I would pay for an XP system. 24" monitor blah blah blah. I won't go into the details.

        But the thing that this system runs is OS X, which other systems can't run. (and I'm not talking about hacked OS X running on Dells or other such things). So, I could with a restart run either OS X, XP, or Linux if I wanted. Another Intel based system would only have (mainly), XP/Vista or Linux to choose from.

        So even if I agree with your "overpriced, proprietary" hardware analogy, it's still a system I can run any OS I want on.

        But hey, if you don't like it, don't like it. But it amazes me why some people take things so personally. Why do you care if people want a Mac? I don't care that people want a PC or a Pontiac or a Big Mac with super-sized fries.....more power to 'em I say!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by falconwolf (725481)

        As is Windows... You still have to waste the money on overpriced, proprietary hardware from Apple though. With almost no choice over components and little options to upgrade in the future. People blast Microsoft for vendor lock-in, but Apple has always been worse. But who cares when you get something that's sleek and cool looking like a Mac, right?

        While I agree Apple is the lockin king, by controlling hardware and the OS Apple is able to sale something that "Just Works"! Apple is a systems integrator wh

    • FWIW: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985)
      ...even the PPC ones :)

      I use both Linux (Fedora Core: where Men are Men and modules are scared) as well as OSX (10.3.9 - yeah, I'm lazy - on a dual G5).

      I originally got a Mac because that's where all the affordable non-Windows 3D/CG compositing software was at that time. POV-Ray I love (on occasion), GIMP I love, Blender, umm, I love in an S&M sort of way (which is why I eventually bought AC3D [ac3d.org])... but there was no compositing thingy back then for less than ten zillion bucks, a'la Shake and Maya.

      An

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Except that it doesn't sleep iBooks when you close the lid, and Apple recommends that iBooks be in sleep mode whenever they are closed up to prevent overheating. In short, although Ubuntu runs on Macs, it has default settings that are actually capable of damaging your hardware! No thanks.
  • Print Version (Score:5, Informative)

    by decipher_saint (72686) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:16AM (#20071341) Homepage
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NospAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:16AM (#20071351) Journal
    but it's interesting to see Microsoft cut (mostly) out of the equation

    MS isn't out of the equation at all. The whole point of TFA is about switching AWAY from Vista.

    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:21AM (#20071455) Homepage Journal
      People would need to install Windows Vista in the first place to be able to switch away from it.

      The fact that Dell and others are still selling computers with Windows XP is not a good sign for Windows Vista.

    • The whole point of TFA is about switching AWAY from Vista.

      Actually, the point of the article is never going to Vista in the first place:

      If you're a Vista-wary Windows user who would rather switch than fight, should you move to a Linux distro or Apple's OS X? ... If you're one of those Windows users who are less than enchanted by what you've seen of Vista and you're thinking about switching, you face some tough choices that can make you feel like a pioneer.

      The problem is that M$ has already forced radi

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:18AM (#20071381) Homepage Journal
    Queue the flamewars in 3...2...1...

    Seriously, religious wars aside, you pick the tool that will best meet your needs. That's largely going to be based on applications. Increasingly, there are good choices on both platforms here for a wide variety of different things. The one thing I will say -- if you're looking to do video editing, buy a Mac. 'cause the state of video editing on Linux right now still sucks. If you need Microsoft Office, buy a Mac.

    For me, I do a lot of software development work and audio production. I could pick either platform, really, but lots of factors make me choose Linux over Mac OS X -- software freedom, hackability, and cost are my 3 biggest reasons. OS X is nice, don't get me wrong, it's just not for me.
    • by lawpoop (604919)

      Seriously, religious wars aside, you pick the tool that will best meet your needs.

      Does this metaphor of OS as tools really apply? We've has the basic tools for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. They're tried and true, and have proven their usefulness. Their tasks are well-defined and certain tools haven't really changed in shape much for thousands of years.

      By contrast, the three main OSes available to Desktop users -- Apple, Linux and Windows -- aren't more than 15 years old. Are they really all that different from each other in terms of usefulness, as a saw is different f

      • by Cobralisk (666114) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:43AM (#20071861)
        It's more like the difference between a rotary saw, a hack saw and a chain saw. All three cut wood, but do it in different ways. Which one is most effective for a given task is left to the judgement of the craftsman.
      • Sounds like you're confusing operating systems with applications. I know what you mean, but the purpose of Windows, Linux and OS X is meant to be very general (unless you get a really cut down version of Linux that has been optimised to perform a certain task). It's all about the applications, as the GP said (I think they said something to that effect anyway o_0 )
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by jellomizer (103300) *
        Well using the hammer anaoligy...
        If I need a hammer then I choose what hammer is best for the job, but choosing the wrong one won't stop you from completing the job correctly it will just be ineffeciant.

        For example I own 3 hammers.
        A small light hammer
        A medium size hammer
        A heavy slege like hammer (one handed)

        When I am doing molding I like to use the light hammer because I am hammering threw light wood in tight corners. I could use the slege and get the job done but it will tire out my hand quicker also mist
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RockHorn (896105)

      if you're looking to do video editing, buy a Mac

      I wholeheartedly agree. We currently just switched from XP to Ubuntu at home, and I use a Mac laptop for work. My wife fell in love with iMovie/iDVD when we made our DVD last year, and I've been looking like mad to find a solution to keep us on Ubuntu, otherwise I'll have to by a *expensive* mac for home use.

      The most promising apps so far seem to be Kino, KDEnlive, Cinelerra. Kino is unusable because we can't seem to add still images into the movie, KDEnlive is still very early in it's development

      • by FST777 (913657)
        Three words: Firewire external harddisk.

        (DISCLAIMER: Brought to you from a FreeBSD laptop. The debate is amusing :-) )
        • by jedidiah (1196)
          Alternately, you could use a DOS/Linux box as a fileserver. They also sell consumer NAS devices that are essentially the same thing but prepackaged.
    • by blindd0t (855876)
      The article is definitely flame-bait. I think most could agree, the primary weaknesses pointed out are necessarily in the operating systems themselves, but in the supporting software. Be it drivers, good tools for video edit, programming, etc... A good operating system simply cannot get anywhere without support on this side of the fence (coughs BeOS under breath). Now, that's not to say Linux hasn't gotten anywhere in this regard, because it has clearly made very significant progress over the years. I'
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bluesman (104513)
        I don't think Linux will compete with Apple for a while. I think Linux may make huge gains at the very low end, where profit margins are so slim that Linux being free will be the deciding factor, like those new Asus $200 laptops.

        Apple holds and will probably always hold the high end where people feel like they're getting special stuff for their extra money.

        I think Linux will eat up the very low end then expand slowly from there.
    • by Stamen (745223) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:44AM (#20071871)
      Truly, if I'm speaking to a tech oriented person asking me what OS to choose I always say learn Unix, which one is less relevant. If you learn *nix, you can easily use OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc. If you learn Windows, you can well, use, um, Windows.

      In addition to learning the GUI stuff, learn some of the command line; you are most productive with a mixture of the two. Also, the shell (command line/cli) is fairly static, and your knowledge transfers to every OS, er, except, for, um, Windows.

      As for OS X vs Ubuntu. At work, I use both on the desktop (an OS X box right next to a PC running 7.04, using synergy to span my mouse and keyboard), and I prefer OS X; but mainly that is because I love TextMate so much; if I still used VIM primarily, I wouldn't prefer one over the other (although Cream in LInux is very nice, so that may sway me). On servers, it's Linux all the way, period.

      For home, it's a no brainer, I use OS X. I'm a programmer, so I want to tweak my shell and my editor to a very fine point, but for stuff like music and movies, I just want the stuff to work, frankly. Oh and Quicksilver, Linux really needs a Quicksilver clone (no, you don't have one, if you think you do then you've never actually used Quicksilver)
    • I'll start a flamewar with you. I also do audio production, and it's precisely the reason I switched from linux to mac. Audacity and Audour are in a sorry state compared to Logic/Cubase/Ableton Live/Pro Tools... let alone that there are basically no good mastering plugins (or any good plugins?) for this platform.

      I would be very interested to hear what software you use and what you're actually producing.
    • Seriously, religious wars aside, you pick the tool that will best meet your needs. That's largely going to be based on applications. Increasingly, there are good choices on both platforms here for a wide variety of different things. The one thing I will say -- if you're looking to do video editing, buy a Mac. 'cause the state of video editing on Linux right now still sucks. If you need Microsoft Office, buy a Mac. For me, I do a lot of software development work and audio production. I could pick either pl

  • by night_flyer (453866) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:18AM (#20071401) Homepage
    the first part of the article states:

    "If you're a Vista-wary Windows user who would rather switch than fight, should you move to a Linux distro or Apple's OS X?"

    Why would they put MS into the equation?
  • Oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mazin07 (999269) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:19AM (#20071407) Homepage
    From the description I thought the Ubuntu user and the Mac user were going to fight to the death. Too bad.
    • by psbrogna (611644)
      I think you've struck upon a terrific idea: Celebrity OS Wars. A reality show where two non-technical pop-culture icon's compete to install an OS on bare metal. It's just as good a concept as some of the other hokey stuff tv exec's have signed off the last few years. I'd watch it. Hell, I'd even bet on the outcomes.
    • ...only one leaves.
  • by athloi (1075845) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:25AM (#20071519) Homepage Journal
    Like Ubuntu versus Islam.
    • by cerelib (903469)
      It appears that Ubuntu and Islam have already formed a joint venture, Ubuntu Muslim Edition [ubuntume.com], to avoid such comparisons.
      • Holy crap, how many versions of Ubuntu are there now? So far, I'm counting:

        When is it going to be enough already?!!

        • by cerelib (903469)
          Only a handful of the derivatives are officially supported by Ubuntu. The rest can just be considered customizations. I am not a Muslim, but I really like the green theme/artwork in the Muslim Edition, as seen in the screenshots. Hopefully these groups are providing meta-packages along with full install images.
  • by Naum (166466) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:25AM (#20071525) Homepage Journal
    Article bangs on the "mighty mouse" as not really being a 2 button mouse... ...while I am no fan of it, I recently hooked my Mom up with a new IMac and played with the mouse and the button on the side does right click and the knobby deal in the middle acts as a scroll wheel, at least it worked for me... ...and on my MacBookPro two fingers on the pad can accomplish same functions as a 2 button mouse...
    • You're right. It's not a one-button, two-button, or three-button mouse. It actually can operate as a four-button mouse, with an x- and y-axis scroll wheel. It's taken some getting used to, but I've adapted to it quite well.
    • by parcel (145162)
      It actually is a two-button mouse in addition to the side buttons, it's just defaulted by OS X to both left and right click having the same action. Although the entire mouse body physically clicks, there are sensors underneath each side of the little scroll ball that determine a right or left click based on where your fingers are (pictures here [arstechnica.com], near the bottom of the page). That means that if you have your fingers over both buttons when clicking, it registers as a left click - you need to remove your fin
    • Contextual menus are (and have been) a core part of Windows for years. I don't need to hunt down a menu item in some far flung location when I manipulate an object in most Windows-based programs. Instead, I can right-click on it and see what functions are appropriate...and available, based on the object type and its state.

      Here's the rub - adding that functionality to a program is not free. It takes effort. A bunch of effort...especially if you do it well...and if the program allows you to right-click on
      • by prockcore (543967)

        Feel free to flame away...about how right-clicking is a broken (and ill-advised) UI paradigm...and implies something wrong with the balance of the UI design...but frankly, I disagree...and so do many others.


        It's a little ironic that so many OS X users claim that context menus are broken, when Fitts Law (you know, that law they use to justify the menubar at the top) specifically states that context menus are the easiest to hit.
      • by Doctor O (549663) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @05:47PM (#20078105) Homepage Journal

        it would not change the fact that the code just isn't there in most applications to exploit the second button...at least well

        That's simply not true - I use the right mouse button in all applications I use, and I notice almost no differences between my OSX, Ubuntu and Windows boxes.

        Maybe you care to name a handful of applications which fall under your above mentioned category? Maybe I'm just getting you wrong or you haven't even used a Mac much.

        (And about that middle mouse button - I have set it up with Exposé's "show all windows" feature, and that boosts my productivity with a lot of open windows *greatly*. Just middle-click to see all windows and left-click on the one you want to switch. I'm eagerly awaiting an Exposé clone for X11, it just ain't coming...)
  • iTunes for Ubuntu (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrDitto (962751) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:28AM (#20071575)
    Take a look at the success of the iPod. The Slashdot community may not get the "lame iPod", but you can't argue with its success and market penetration. Nearly all my friends have one. I have one and I love it. Now how on earth are we possibly going to consider a switch to Ubuntu without having iTunes available?
  • Just mulit-boot it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rortega007 (1135069) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:35AM (#20071733)
    Hey im new around here so wutzup. How about just have all three OSs?! I multi-boot with OSx86/WinXP Pro/Ubuntu/SUSE OSED, theres gotta be people out there like me that do this right? Why fight over which girl you want when you can just have them on speed dial and switch em when you need to?
  • from TFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by penp (1072374) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:42AM (#20071853)

    Likewise, Apple takes pains to make setting up a Mac as simple as possible. When you buy a Mac, it comes in a box with a minimum of packing materials, and an envelope of documentation. You unpack the Mac; plug the CPU into the wall socket; plug the keyboard, mouse, and monitor into the CPU; and switch it on. It detects an Internet connection (if one is available), and walks you through a two-minute configuration and setup with an easy-to-follow wizard.
    You want me to do what with my processor?
  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:45AM (#20071887)

    I'm a skier, been skiing for over 7 years now and (if I dare say it) I'm pretty reasonable. I'm not an expert, but as long as it isn't icy moguls (or moguls for that matter) can handle most of the pistes ... and I enjoy it.

    Now snowboarding looks cool. You can do things you can't do with skis, it certainly looks like fun and you can do some great tricks. So I gave it a go, several times. The problem was that here was I, standing at a resort with my snowboard on and looking at what I could do. The black down the mountain? Nope. The long red? Nope. The winding blue through the trees? Nope. The rubbish green which snakes past the lifts. Well, sort of as long as I didn't mind falling over a bit.

    So here am I, completely unable to go off and explore the mountain because the tool I was using to do it, I couldn't use properly. I hadn't invested the time and the effort to learn and here was I, unable to get the best out of it.

    So what should I do? Spend the next week (and only week of my holiday) falling about on a green run? Or slap back on my ski's and head off and explore the mountain, try all the runs, get to the summit and check out the blacks down the back - plus a little off piste?

    I did what, I suspect, a lot of people did. I put my ski's back on. My weeks holiday in the snow is precious. I don't have the time and money to fly abroad to ski again multiple times a year so in the end I wussed out, picked what I knew was comfortable and that I could do and went with that.

    I rationalise that my holiday was too short to be sitting face down on a green run when I could be taking full advantage of what the mountain had to offer. I did the training and the falling over 7 years ago when I was learning to ski - it's taken me years (literally) to get where I am now and, in one fell swooop, I don't want to go back again to that.

    I think a lot of people consider Windows vs something else in the same way that I consider skiing vs snowboarding.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheMeuge (645043)
      That's all well and good. But I think your analogy is flawed.

      It took me about 3 weeks to stop booting into Windows on laptop after I installed Ubuntu. And that's considering that I've never ever hadn't even laid my eyes on any flavor of *nix before.

      Your analogy of skiing and snowboarding is flawed, because you're comparing both levels of skill and levels of difficulty that are not applicable to OS usage. The fact is that (again following your analogy) most of us are not doing the black diamonds on our Windo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If your skis were made of unsuitable materials, and poorly designed, your analogy might be more appropriate.

      I think a lot of people consider using Windows to be much like using cardboard skis.
    • by starglider29a (719559) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:09PM (#20072345)
      Great analogy.

      Now, imagine that someone skied up beside you, turned your skis the way they wanted, stole your lift ticket, and finally broke your skis halfway down a black diamond run.

      Then imagine that on the way up the ski lift, you are informed that in order to prevent ski theft, you will have a slope protection agent. "You are trying to turn left. Cancel or Allow?" But when you get to the top of the lift, you learn that you have to replace your favorite skis with more expensive skis. Then you need to upgrade your boots to this special limited selection. And none of them will fit into the bindings on the skis.

      Now, you are realizing that the choice of an expensive-ish (not really) snowboard ready-to-ride, or a roll-your-own board shop will get you down the hill in one piece. Cancel or Allow?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by l33tDad (1118795)
        I just don't get all this crap about the "cancel or allow" bit. Yea, it's kind of a pain in the ass, but my Linux box asks for the SU password all the time to run system commands and do most installs. How is the Windows thing worse?
    • by freeweed (309734)
      And I moved halfway across the continent just so that I could do both on a regular basis.

      Similarly, I've made other "sacrifices" to ensure I can always keep current with many different OSes. All depends on what's important to you in life.

      I do find myself always returning to skiis however, but that's just an individual preference. I didn't know that until I had given the alternative a good tryout though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:46AM (#20071907)
    Ubuntu, OS X, Vista, who gives a fuck, use what you want to use, stop wasting everyones time.
    • I'm not sure why you're here on Slashdot if you don't want to see "OS wars" type articles. What next, you going to complain about office jokes in Dilbert?

  • How could anyone at slashdot take seriously a reviewer who refers to the computer case as the "CPU" and uses such language as "You just plug the CPU into the wall and away you go"? ...
  • I use both (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:12PM (#20072435)
    I have both ubuntu and a Mac on my desk at home. I use just one monitor. The are very much alike except for one big thing and that one big thing is huge. I can't run Photoshop or Apple's Final Cut, Aperture or even iTunes on my Linux system. The other thing is that Mac OS X will not run on my non-Apple hardware. So I use both.

    At work I'm on Linux almost exclusivly with some things running on Solaris.
  • - We mustn't fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!
    = The Judean People's Front?!
    - No, no! The Romans!
  • by _LORAX_ (4790) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:19PM (#20072583) Homepage

    But if you're willing to live with lock-in, Apple is a great choice for computing. Installation isn't a problem -- Apple does it for you. Networking is easy. Productivity is a dream. The Mac offers a broad variety of entertainment options. It's a secure platform. It interoperates well with Windows. It's highly stable, and offers solid backup choices for the data losses that are inevitable on any computing platform.

    Right now, Apple is smokin', and its customers are happy. But if the Apple gets rotten and starts coming out with inferior products -- as it did in the '90s -- its customers will have the choice of suffering, or making the painful switch to another platform.

    Until then, I'm sticking with the Mac. It's a great computer.

    So how does this article say "different strokes for different folks"? It's clearly states that OSX is the winner for most people looking to switch away from Microsoft.

  • this goes against all what I said before, either way OS/X is good, I am an ubuntu religious myself but OS/X got its merits, I think the dock is friendlier than a taskbar and apple sets standard on looks and that stuff. But what makes OS/X good is that it is unixish and it uses cups, I just noticed my hp printer works totally out of the box in ubuntu and that was because it was built to be compatible with OS/X and thus it is a cups printer. Without OS/X hp wouldn't care.

    What I am trying to say is that the

  • OS X Hands down (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SnapperHead (178050) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:47PM (#20073213) Homepage Journal
    I switched from using Linux and Windows to OS X when the Intel Macs were released. I gotta say, it has been by far my must enjoyable computing experience.

    I only really used Windows for a few games and certain jobs, I could never really stand using it. Besides all the common problems, it just never felt right to me. I didn't like the filesystem structure, or how MS was trying to be different ... only to be different. Not to be better. I do not enjoy doing non-stop defrags, virus scans, etc. I out right refuse to work with Windows servers, no amount of money will change that.

    Now, on to the Linux world. I have been using Linux for a very long time now. I think its by far the best server platform (for me). However, Linux fails on the desktop part. Lets face it, having access to a billion different desktop managers is nice and all. However, there is gross incompatibilities with config files, for things like bookmarks, menu items, etc. Its hurting Linux more then anything.

    Moving on to the day to day installation of applications, upgrades, installing new devices, etc. Linux is by far the worst, even MS is better in this area. I couldn't image someone compiling video drivers for their kids computer. Every single application has its own way of installing, and they all install differently and in different locations. OS X has by far the best method, either drag the icon from the disk image or run the *standard* installation application. Lets also face it, Linux doesn't have the creative applications that were mentioned in this article. Photoshop, Final Cut, iTunes, etc. (and no, Gimp is NOT a replacement for Photoshop) The fact that Linux is also a community effort is going to hinder its success on the desktop.

    Now, on to OS X. By far a million times more stable then WIndows. Equally as stable as Linux. Shares some of the same benefits as Linux, such as tighter system security, no defraging, no spyware scans, no viruses scans, etc. Where OS X shines is that the GUI is really nice and simple. OS X does have a slight learning curve if you are coming from another OS. However, my grandmother had no trouble getting "on the internet and surfing" where she had never been able to do that with a Windows machine. People complain about that top menu bar, but over time you learn to love it. The dock is also a great way of having your most used applications with quick and easy access. I don't need a giant applications menu. Lets face it, we all have quite a few applications installed that we use once in a while. No need having it in a giant menu.

    Yes, people also complain that OS X only works on Macs. (Sure, some hardware besides Mac works, don't know how well) Guess what, thats a good thing. I think this is the reason why its so stable. Apple knows what hardware it will be used on and how to use it properly.

    All in all, OS X works perfect for me for a desktop and Linux for the server. (However, haven't played around with OS X server yet ... so, dunno yet) Linux has a lot to catch up on and so does Windows. The question is, who is going to catch up first. Without a doubt, I think Windows is dying and going down hill rapidly. I think OS X has a much stronger shot at being the new king.
  • Cloning Mac OS X (Score:5, Informative)

    by RedBear (207369) <redbear@redbearn e t . c om> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @05:10PM (#20077637) Homepage
    I am blown away by the fact that the Mac OS X reviewer failed to mention SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner on the page about backups. They linked to a page that mentions it, but it should have been at the forefront in big, bold letters. This IMHO is one of the best features of Macs and Mac OS X, that any idiot can make a clone of their entire system onto any internal or external media. If that media is a FireWire hard drive, the clone will be bootable on any Mac with a FireWire port (and the same processor type, PowerPC and Intel can't boot from each other's drives without some hacks). This means that for any PowerPC Mac going back about 8 years to the first iMac with a FireWire port, you will be able to clone the system drive of any other PowerPC Mac onto a FireWire hard drive and boot from that drive on any other PowerPC Mac in that range. The same goes for Intel machines, although they can also boot from USB devices. (There are reports that some PowerPC models can also boot from USB drives since about Mac OS X 10.4.5 came out, but FireWire is a much better choice speedwise anyway.)

    So if your hard drive dies, you have a bootable backup that works just as well as the internal drive (if you're using FireWire, USB is a little slow). If the computer dies and you have access to another Mac, you can boot from your backup drive and it will be just as if you were still using your own computer, barring any extreme differences in memory and processor speeds. With enough RAM available the processor speed makes very little difference under general usage like web browsing, email and office applications. When you get your computer fixed (or replace a failed hard drive) you can then clone your backup drive back onto the drive in the computer, reboot, and it's like nothing ever happened. Click a button, walk away for about an hour, and get back to work.

    With a properly implemented cloning schedule you can recover any system, including a Mac OS X server, in about 5 minutes (as long as it takes to restart the computer, hold down the Option key, and choose to boot from the latest backup drive). I could teach a monkey to do it.

    No resetting hidden magic identifiers.

    No reinstalling a hundred different drivers for different motherboards, video cards, network cards, etc.

    No, "I'm going to refuse to work at all because there is too much different hardware." (I tried to Ghost a Win2K system from one laptop to a virtually identical laptop once. The clone failed to function, ended up having to reset the registry and reinstall most of the pre-installed software.)

    No, "This copy of your operating system needs to be reactivated because the hardware changed, you dirty pirate." The non-server version of Mac OS X doesn't even require a serial number, so of course there is no product activation crap to make your life more difficult. Even the server version can be freely cloned and moved to a different system. It requires a serial, but there is no product activation.

    No shutting down the system and booting from some special magic CD just to do a clone. That's right, Mac OS X can be easily cloned LIVE, while it's running. It can be cloned automatically on a schedule, so the user doesn't have to even have to think about it.

    The target media can be smaller than the source media, as long as there is enough room for the data. It's a smart clone, only the relevant data gets copied. That's all automatic too, the user never needs to go through any complicated preferences or command-line arguments. No need for defragmenting the drive or anything like that either.

    In short, Mac OS X is the first operating system I have ever encountered where it is incredibly easy to make a complete USABLE system backup that doesn't require jumping through hoops for hours to restore the system. Any non-technical user can be told in one short paragraph how to keep their system backed up and how to recover from a typical hardware disaster in a matter of minutes. Observe:

    "Here is your external backup drive. Her
    • Cloning UNIX (Score:4, Interesting)

      by argent (18001) <<moc.agnorat.6002.todhsals> <ta> <retep>> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:15PM (#20080165) Homepage Journal
      It's really that simple, folks. I defy anyone to show me a way to do any of this so easily with Windows or Linux.

      Carbon Copy Cloner is a wrapper around a command to make a disk bootable, plus a recursive copy.

      That's all cloning *any* single-partition UNIX system takes. Linux is a bit more complex because they don't support single-stage booting so you need to run *two* commands to make a disk bootable, not just one.

      The only reason you need a GUI program on OSX is because getting that "recursive copy" bit right is way too complex and tricky compared with the same operation on any other UNIX.

      And it's a MAJOR step back from doing the same thing on classic Mac OS... *that* was a matter of a single drag in Finder, because they built that "make the disk bootable" operation into Finder. And they *still* haven't been able to make Finder copy all the fiddly metadata they keep whacking onto the side of HFS like a tumor.
  • by astrosmash (3561) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:11PM (#20079593) Journal

    ... its quality.

    There's nothing stopping anyone from installing and switching to Linux; the process couldn't possibly be cheaper or more simple. Yet few people try it out, and far fewer people (outside of first-year Comp Sci students) stick with it as their primary desktop. Why? Isn't it time to stop with the excuses and start looking at the software?

    In the mid-to-late 90s, Linux desktop development could have started on one of two paths:

    1. Linux as a true alternative to Windows, for people who don't like Windows.
    2. Linux as a substitution for Windows, for people who can't afford Windows (or just don't like Microsoft).

    Of course, they (Gnome and KDE) went with the latter, the rationalization being that it would be easier for Windows users to switch to a familiar Windows-like desktop. (That it's much, much easier for developers to copy Win95 instead of designing something original is just a bonus, I guess.)

    The downside to this approach is that the Linux Desktop, as a Windows clone, offers few compelling reasons for Windows users to switch. The best the Linux Desktop can achieve is "almost as good as Windows" which isn't much of a selling point for people looking to get away from Windows.

    The bottom line is that the Linux Desktop has not been, and continues not to be a compelling alternative for Windows users, even for those who appreciate having a good bash shell close at hand.

    And it's a shame. Most of the features that compelled me to try out OS X were right there in NEXTSTEP as far back as 1993. Yet both Gnome and KDE decided to model their GUIs off of Windows 95 instead. Because of that, the Linux Desktop is as disappointing to me now as it was in 1998.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

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