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Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon vs. Mac OS X Leopard 669

Posted by Zonk
from the who-is-king-of-the-jungle dept.
walterbyrd writes "Linux magazine has up a decent article comparing Gutsy Gibbon to Leopard. 'The stereotype for each OS is well known: Mac OS X is elegant, easy-to-use, and intuitive, while Ubuntu is stable, secure, and getting better all the time. Both have come a long way in a short time, and both make excellent desktops. So we have two great desktop operating systems out at roughly the same time. Let's see how they stack up against each other.'"
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Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon vs. Mac OS X Leopard

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  • My Macbook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Selfbain (624722) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @06:35PM (#21690676)
    I dual boot Mac OS and Ubuntu now and I have to say I found it far easier to install than previous linux distributions I've tried. That being said, it took me hours of work just getting it up to what I would consider basic functionality.
  • by oldmanmtn (33675) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @06:45PM (#21690818)
    A Linux magazine comparing Linux to the Mac. Gee, I wonder what they're going to conclude....
  • by delire (809063) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @06:56PM (#21690962)
    The article is slashdotted, so I cannot comment with knowledge here. That said, I do hope the fact that OS\X is artificially tied to a particular hardware platform is considered when comparing. This artificial anchor makes OS\X a particularly risky OS to become dependent upon, married to the economic ambitions of a hardware business now dependent on near identical components as so-called 'PC's' (Asustek, Quanta make around 70% of the worlds portables, including Apple's). Similarly the need to go to websites to find, install and upgrade software is also a great disadvantage for Apple's platform: Fink/Macports have fairly measley offerings compared to most desktop Linux distributions and both still suffer from the kinds of dependency problems plaguing Linux users 10 years ago (at least that is my experience on Tiger). It's 2007: where's my one-click-system upgrade?

    While I use OS\X fairly often, these two factors - along with the inflexible bolt-on windowing environment - rule out OS\X as a good general purpose operating system. OS\X is super if you believe you're dependent on proprietary software, but for those that no longer are it offers very little over a modern Linux OS these days.

  • Re:factual errors. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ickoonite (639305) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @06:58PM (#21690996) Homepage
    So, being based on UNIX ideas, wouldn't that constitute as being based on UNIX?

    Absolutely not! Were you asleep for the whole SCO lawsuit thing?

    :|
  • Re:Oh god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2007 @07:03PM (#21691060)
    "...and getting better all the time?" Just a little positive spin there. Most people don't describe an OS as getting better all the time but rather "crappy now...and nowhere to go but up"
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @07:09PM (#21691148) Journal
    You know, if we'd been buying Apples crap all this time instead of PCs, Linux never would have had a chance. Apple are much more ruthless about locking down their hardware and software than Microsoft ever were.

    Windows has a monopoly on a software method of jury rigging a bunch of hardware from different manufacturers into something resembling a modern computer. Apple turns the computer into something more resembling a television.

    Apple aren't better than Windows when it comes to freedom and monopoly. Far from it, MS has always been the lesser evil, that's why they succeeded in the marketplace. Apple is a bullet dodged that is currently ricocheting back.
  • Re:My Macbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by calebt3 (1098475) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @07:10PM (#21691158)
    That is interesting. I used to read those posts that talked about difficulties of installing XP, finding drivers, etc. It had been several months since I last installed it, and my memory had faded. Two days ago I installed XP because I was tired of the hit-and-miss nature of Wine for Starcraft, Civ4, SimCity 4, etc. Updates took quite some time, and they never seemed to end. I would restart, just to have more updates that needed installing. I now have most of the drivers, but Device Manager is being very vague about a few minor pieces. And most major third-party software needs to be installed from discs that are a pain to keep up with. I can't do anything outside of the admin account. I use the dvorak keyboard layout, but the Welcome screen is in QWERTY and I can't find any information about how to change it.

    Ubuntu, on the other hand, recognized most of my hardware (including WiFi, Ethernet, screen resolution). I know where I can ask for help in virtually any issue (including making dvorak the universal default). All updates are downloaded in a single round. Most software is available in the repositories. Anything that needs admin permissions can be run without logging out. Their are only two things about it superior to ubuntu: Games work a little better-because they were written for it-and System Beep worked before I installed sound drivers, whereas my slightly newer sound card needed a backported kernel module to be installed to work in Ubuntu.
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tatsh (893946) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @07:21PM (#21691296)
    I'm so sick and tired of these comparisons. I really don't care anymore, whether it's Linux vs OS X, Windows, Solaris, or whatever. It's so annoying and I won't even read TFA.

    Once again, we come to the conclusion, that different operating systems do the same things differently! Wow! Yet another person wasted another few days trying out two OS's rather than getting any real work done. So cool!
  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @07:39PM (#21691474)
    More than likely, the truth. Lately Linux has been big on exposing, and then fixing, it's faults. You see, the problem with geeks is that when we fix a bug with an ugly hack, we forget about it. An honest assessment is often welcomed, and rapidly followed by a better fix.

    For example, look at the ESR rant about cups. http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cups-horror.html [catb.org] Part 2 goes on to say how cups developers contacted him as well. And have you seen cups lately? It got better. So, I think the article will point out some significant faults. And I bet you won't find many of them next year...

    The real fun part will be looking at this article in a year and see how many Linux faults got fixed, and how many Mac faults are still there.
  • by 4e617474 (945414) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:03PM (#21691720)

    This is getting a bit weird. I'm all for Linux, but c'mon.... What in Linux "just works" like the Unified Mac Experience?

    I move a window to the edge of my screen and it snaps into place at the last second so that it's exactly at the edge of my window. I can keep any window I want on top of or behind other windows so that I can work with two windows at once without having to constantly Alt-Tab between them or make them ridiculously small. When I browse an audio CD, it displays the tracks in a series of folders that shows me what the files look like ripped and encoded in all of the audio codecs I have installed ready for me to drag and drop onto my hard drive. When I zoom in on a jpeg, my photoviewer applies an algorithm to blow it up without pixelating it. When I want a piece of software I just pick it out of a list and it's there... oh wait. I don't remember any of that from using a Mac.

    Okay, "Just Works" just like on a Mac... hmm... I put my thumb drive or a data CD in and the mounted volume appears on my desktop? Media just plays for me right in my browser? My music organizing software recognizes my MP3 player and offers to load it for me? No wait, it didn't care what brand I used. I actually had a much easier time mapping to a printer shared from Windows than any of the dozen or so attempts I've heard of people making on a Mac, but I'm willing to assume they were all nincompoops or picked a printer that wouldn't have worked for me either and call it a push.

    But seriously, I can't hardly think of a Linux user-unfriendliness headache that I haven't seen dramatically improve in the last two or three years, at least not one I care about. If you don't believe me, try installing the new Nvidia manufacturer drivers. It prompted me to kill my X server first, warned me that it didn't mean by dropping to single-user mode, found my kernel sources without any help, said something about them being a little off and creating a new kernel interface for me (again without any help on my part), then offered to update my xorg.conf file for me, which it did, beautifully. I swear the only reason that driver install didn't do everything it had to do without asking or informing me is that the average Linux user would have considered it rude. Maybe if (assuming you haven't) you used a Mac long enough to discover all its warts and you weren't trying administer 8 machines, use Win98 as a webserver, and get Linux to run CAD software on a shoestring budget, you wouldn't have Macs up on a pedestal.

  • Re:My Macbook (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paanta (640245) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:12PM (#21691836) Homepage
    You just described why Mac OS is a better day to day operating system, and Linux is the vasty more configurable one.
    I should have to sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg-plow to get a GUI, ya know? Yet, it's nice to know I can if I have to.
    I don't think either OS is poaching much from the other's pool of users.
  • by brad-x (566807) <brad@brad-x.com> on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:26PM (#21691974) Homepage

    The article presents Ubuntu and MacOS as equals, if even only recently.

    The author, as such, appears to have slept through the last 30 years, in which the original Macintosh established the desktop metaphors Microsoft poorly reimplemented and Linux re-re-implemented many many times over.

    Many commenters are also operating under this illusion; the statement that 'While the Mac may present a more unified visual appearance, that's the only benefit it has over Ubuntu' is unbalanced for quite a number of reasons - the design and construction of MacOS and Macintosh human interface guidelines shape aspects of the use of a Mac from the subtle to the impressive. By comparison, there are few if any human interface guidelines or cohesive metaphors between multiple pieces of free software that are not driven by the egotism of their authors. I won't even touch on the pandemic of duplicated effort caused by the free software community's inability to collaborate, and the fractured, partly functional selection of software that has emerged as a result.

    When speaking of user interface quality it's important to be objective. Try not to state subjective experiences like snap-to-screen-edge or focus-follows-mouse being far more efficient when this clearly can only be true for you. While Linux software attempts to satisfy the whim of every computer geek who ever used it, Apple spends an incredible amount of time and energy making a single, unified interface that will work as best as possible for the entire range of users.

    Ubuntu just as good? No. Free software just isn't there yet. If it were, Dell, HP and Acer would have dumped Microsoft quite some time ago in the home market. People want cheap and easy. Not necessarily good, just cheap and easy. Linux doesn't even qualify as that yet - the market has spoken as always.

    The Mac is capable of empowering users (even seasoned Linux users) to do far more with much more efficiency, but one must accept the application of its metaphors rather than demanding that it work the way they want and complaining bitterly when it won't.

    Troubling that slashdot always posts articles like this. Slashdotters are by far the worst enemies of good user interface design. :P

  • by nuggetman (242645) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:39PM (#21692100) Homepage
    Letting you install Windows or any other OS with Boot Camp is a prime example of how locked down Apple's machines are.
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:46PM (#21692182)
    You're missing the years prior to open firmware when it was quite impossible to install another operating system without having Mac OS installed first.
  • by Egdiroh (1086111) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:49PM (#21692220)
    My Bad. I suck and forgot to format that. There are supposed to be a few breaks in all the text. Here's a broken up version:

    The terrasoft people may beg to differ with you.

    And if you insist on being revisionist and ignoring all Linux distros for Mac, please be sure to logically consistent and stop using all utilities and programs they spawned, like yum.

    Also why is a computer that is made with mix & match components something resembling a computer and a computer that is treated by the vendor somewhat like an appliance a TV? A more apt comparison is to say that Apple is a high end home theater integrator that custom makes it's own cables, while Microsoft is like the monster cable products, inc. Which is to say that the two corporations are largely different in what they do, even though they are in a similar arena.

    As for freedom and monopoly, they are two different things. Apple isn't really monopolistic, yes there music store isn't completely open, but that haven't really pushed to get artists to only publish to iTunes to lock out non-ipods. In the appliance model itms content that is DRM'ed is like vacuum cleaner bags, you can buy ones that lock you in to one vendors vacuums, they don't have a monopoly as a supplier of bags for all vacuums, and you can use 3rd party bags with their vacuums. Further I would say that MOST people don't want to build everything they use for themselves, the want people to make it for them and have it just work. That's pretty much the way it is for all consumer goods. Sure hobbyists lose the many of the perks they gained when that category of product type first became a commodity item, but no one is making you be a hobbyist. However I do think it's pretty bogus to imply that a more consumer oriented treatment of the consumer computer market would be a bad thing. What you are putting forth is that good and evil are subjective relative to hobbies. Basically you are putting forth a world model were it is morally right for athletes to be above the law caused darned if that doesn't make our sports better.

    To preemptively address one response to this comment. Consider this: Lot's of different companies make refrigerators, and lots of companies make food that requires refrigeration, but you don't often have to worry about whether you the food you buy is going to be compatible with your refrigerator, or when you take leftover out of your fridge to give to someone else you don't have to worry if they will be compatible with the other person's fridge. And all of this happened with out any sort of monopoly pulling the strings.
  • Re:My Macbook (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:50PM (#21692232)

    You just described why Mac OS is a better day to day operating system, and Linux is the vasty more configurable one.
    Linux runs on anything: my set-top box, my laptop, my Nintendo DS, my DSL modem, my wireless access point, my bar code reader, my cat, etc. etc.

    OSX is designed to run on Macs.

    If I came out with a new CPU and wrote an operating system around it, yeah, I bet it'd run pretty well there, too.

    </fanboy>

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:58PM (#21692330)
    OS\X? I'm sorry, but I have a hard time taking seriously most posts that misspell or miscapitalize the common topic of their point. And to people who spent a lot of time working with the stuff it's like reading a post that confuses 'loose' and 'lose' or 'whose' and 'who's'

    It's been out for 6 years now at no point have I ever seen it referred to as OS\X. In the same manner It's not Windows\XP or X\P or ViSTA. They're not MACS or MACs or MaCs. It's not an IPOD or an Ipod or an iPOD. FreeBSD is just that, not FREEBsd or FREEBSD or FreEBsD. Macintosh System * was used before the clones came out at which point it was changed to Mac OS 8, then 9 and X followed.

    Capitalization and punctuation as important to my built in English parser as spelling and grammar.
  • Re:My Macbook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @08:58PM (#21692334) Journal
    Oh come off it. Linux is cool and Mac is cool. I'm using Mac right now for general stuff and have Ubuntu ready to run in parallels. Sometimes I just want things to work, sometimes I want a lot of control and the ability to do much more complicated stuff. Geeks need to make their peace with simplicity because sometimes the simple choice is the better choice, and geeks just have the benefit of understanding more complex stuff as well when they need to.
  • by mr_matticus (928346) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @09:06PM (#21692398)
    That's utterly absurd.

    It boils down to this: "Apple turns the computer into something more resembling a television." That's exactly right, and framing it as a Bad Thing(tm) is not unexpected, but certainly ludicrous. Linux wouldn't have gotten off the ground on Apple machines, no. That would be contrary to the computer-as-an-appliance model.

    Under no contorted version of reality would Apple ever be the sole vendor of computers. If everyone followed the Apple model, you can be absolutely certain that Linux would have a better hold on the marketplace. Getting the hardware and software from the same people (IBM, Apple, Amiga, SGI--the "dinosaurs") would have ensured that some cross-compatible development would go on; a common reference design for low-end competitors to cut costs, and customizable for each vendor.

    Most computer resellers wouldn't have had the resources to develop an end-to-end solution on their own; the thought of using something free and not having to get in bed with another corporation would have clearly been desirable. Microsoft won because it got there first, not because it is or was the "lesser evil" (are you kidding me?!). Microsoft solved the problem of manufacturers having to do their own OS and support, making it cheap for them to enter the market. There was no such thing as Linux; there was no cheaper option, so they sucked it up and signed on with MS. It was the cheapest, easiest path.

    If the other model had succeeded, you'd see all kinds of companies jumping at the chance to have a free OS that they could have tweaked to their desires, and be beholden to Microsoft for security, connectivity, or making their products functional. It's the detached expectations that created the 800-pound gorilla. If each company were expected to develop and sell a wholly working product like Apple does, the budget brands would be using Linux to do it, and there'd be no OS monopoly--just several different OSes that worked together.
  • by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @09:12PM (#21692456) Journal

    Maybe I'm just giving up to easy, but I have a hard time getting over the single mouse button.
    Boy, did you hear about that Windows 98 tech demo with the blue screen of death? Funny stuff! I'm having a hard time getting over that lol
  • by Junta (36770) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @09:18PM (#21692518)

    The author, as such, appears to have slept through the last 30 years, in which the original Macintosh established the desktop metaphors Microsoft poorly reimplemented and Linux re-re-implemented many many times over.

    By that reasoning, nothing is as good as what Xerox has, because they established the fundamental metaphor first. Nevermind they didn't take that project out of the prototype phase themselves, they must know better than Apple because they did something with a mouse first. It's simply not accurate to say ideas cannot be built upon and improved by anyone other than the first. The first one to establish something doesn't *necessarily* follow the most prudent evolution of the ideas. What the state of things 30, 20, 10, or even 5 years ago isn't automatically overriding of the situation of *today* (though certainly heritage influences the current, hence Microsoft being able to moderately screw up and lag in innovation and still maintain a lead).

    As to the statement that there exists no meaningful HIGs in the *nix desktop world, that's just not true. Gnome and KDE both have their own HIGs, and if you stick to that software, the HIG is consistently obeyed. Ubuntu by default presents a pure Gnome environment, and generally you have to pick something out special to deviate. OSX and Windows are not immune to this. In OSX, if running an X11 app, it sticks out like a sore thumb and almost certainly doesn't follow the Apple HIG. Even without X11, some companies like Lotus release software that doesn't follow the HIGs (Notes looks equally hideous and out of place on all platforms). The point being, you can't fault a wide architecture for giving choice, and compare it against a specific implementation. You must compare a distribution to OSX. If you said Apple lays a better framework than Gentoo for a coherent HIG, then I'd have to admit it. Among the various Ubuntu flavors, each has picked and preferred a HIG. OSX, Windows, and Linux platforms can all be subject to misfit applications that refuse to obey HIGs or even use the most common toolkit. The following behind HIGs in the Linux desktop world is not so small as to be counted out.

    Try not to state subjective experiences like snap-to-screen-edge or focus-follows-mouse being far more efficient when this clearly can only be true for you.

    Obviously, it can be true for more than one person, but I think you must have misspoken, that sentence didn't parse to my eyes. The power to do these things in a relatively standardized way is not a bad thing, however you slice it. Windows can do focus-follows-mouse, and no one accuses them of trashing the user experience because of it, and subtle edge-resistance isn't going to hopelessly confuse someone not expecting it, and certainly a non-default option of it won't.

    Ubuntu just as good? No. Free software just isn't there yet. If it were, Dell, HP and Acer would have dumped Microsoft quite some time ago in the home market. People want cheap and easy. Not necessarily good, just cheap and easy. Linux doesn't even qualify as that yet - the market has spoken as always.

    By your logic, OSX 'just isn't there yet' either, because the market en masse hasn't ditched Windows entirely. The market reality is that an intrinsically better platform is *not* going to automatically win over the market magically. The market reality is one of a great deal of maintaining the status quo. Microsoft from a business perspective got their product out there in the most accessible form early on, and because so many people use windows, so many people will continue to use Windows, even if you can claim it to be worse than the competition. Application developers are in the same boat, they target the platform that is popular, helping to contribute to a deadlock of microsoft. Microsoft's technical work in the mid 90s was on par with the Mac experience, and the Linux experience was no where to be seen. By the time OSX and Linux could be argued as being superio

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @09:56PM (#21692842)
    The Mac is capable of empowering users (even seasoned Linux users) to do far more with much more efficiency, but one must accept the application of its metaphors rather than demanding that it work the way they want and complaining bitterly when it won't.

    This was rated +5 Insightful? How is it insightful to say that you can get the most out of an interface by using it the way its designers expected you to?

    The rest of the post is just a trollish assertion that if you don't recognize the inherent superiority of the Macintosh, you either have no taste or just don't get it.

    Here's an idea that platform partisans will never get: Tastes differ. To each his own.
  • Re:My Macbook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @10:21PM (#21693016) Homepage Journal
    Well, I can tell you from personal experience that if you have reasonably common hardware (and Apple hardware is still not quite 'reasonably common', despite using Intel chips) Ubuntu is an OS that 'just works'.

    Yes, you sometimes have to work around things on exotic hardware, very new hardware, or if you're trying to do something very specific that is outside the mainstream. In order to get a system that 'just works', you have to buy hardware that's known to work well on Linux. That's it. Stick with hardware that's been around a bit or has vendor support (like Nvidia graphics cards). Get an Epson or HP printer (and install Stylus Toolbox [sf.net] if you have an Epson printer). Use the well-supported Connectix Webcams. Get a scanner that's known to work with SANE. You get the idea. If you follow these guidelines, you will find that Ubuntu 'just works' every time. Or, if you're not quite so ambitious, go out and buy a machine that has Ubuntu pre-installed. Dell sells them.

    Unfortunately, people don't realize this and then dismiss integration issues as Linux being 'too immmature.' That's crap. If all your hardware is known to work well under Linux, you won't run into these integration issues.
  • by brad-x (566807) <brad@brad-x.com> on Thursday December 13, 2007 @10:31PM (#21693110) Homepage

    By that reasoning, nothing is as good as what Xerox has, because they established the fundamental metaphor first. Nevermind they didn't take that project out of the prototype phase themselves, they must know better than Apple because they did something with a mouse first. It's simply not accurate to say ideas cannot be built upon and improved by anyone other than the first. The first one to establish something doesn't *necessarily* follow the most prudent evolution of the ideas. What the state of things 30, 20, 10, or even 5 years ago isn't automatically overriding of the situation of *today* (though certainly heritage influences the current, hence Microsoft being able to moderately screw up and lag in innovation and still maintain a lead).

    Xerox established the beginnings of the technology, and the concept of using multiple panes of information on the screen to simulate paper. They by no means developed any metaphor; the interfaces on the Alto computers were horrendous works in progress at best. Apple created the desktop metaphor in its fullness.

    Among the various Ubuntu flavors, each has picked and preferred a HIG. OSX, Windows, and Linux platforms can all be subject to misfit applications that refuse to obey HIGs or even use the most common toolkit. The following behind HIGs in the Linux desktop world is not so small as to be counted out.

    For the moment we'll put aside the fact that all the human interface guideline documents from the various open source desktops don't amount to a fifth of the documentation provided in Apple's HIG and begin dwelling on the fact that if we limit ourselves to the selection of applications that are native to each respective desktop environment, our selection drops to dramatically fewer applications than are available for commercial platforms.

    "We're doing it too" isn't good enough. You have to be doing it as well, or better. Linux based desktops do not succeed when tested on the general public. Most end-users are completely lost even after extended use.

    By your logic, OSX 'just isn't there yet' either, because the market en masse hasn't ditched Windows entirely. The market reality is that an intrinsically better platform is *not* going to automatically win over the market magically. The market reality is one of a great deal of maintaining the status quo.

    The market reality as I said is that the customer picks the cheapest thing they can stand. The reason Windows PC's prevail over Macintosh desktops is due to this. The combination of Windows and generic PC compatible hardware is the cheapest thing the market at large can stand to use. PC manufacturers are itching to switch to Linux. The compatibility is sufficient for the end-user at this point, but the usability isn't there.

    Application developers are in the same boat, they target the platform that is popular, helping to contribute to a deadlock of microsoft. Microsoft's technical work in the mid 90s was on par with the Mac experience ...

    This is a common myth among apologists. The interface presented by Windows 95 was widely recognized as much superior to its predecessor Windows 3.x, but also recognized as chaotic, arbitrary and failing to respect sensible desktop metaphors that make a graphical interface discoverable. Right from 1984 to the present day, the Macintosh HIG has been superior to the graphical offerings from Redmond.

    The OSX world of 'just drag and drop the appfolder' can still leave you without required Library bundles, so it too is damned to having arbitrary installers for complex apps just like windows. Even if you can drag and drop it, that doesn't mean bugfixes/security fixes will come down for you automatically without some other arbitrary service to track it for you.

    Centralized package management is a pretty minor concern. A user installs what a user wants, whethe

  • Re:My Macbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mdwstmusik (853733) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @10:34PM (#21693140) Homepage

    You may have a point about it being easier to install Ubuntu on a random untested piece of hardware than OS X, but. on the opposite end of the spectrum, installing Mac OS X on a Macbook Pro (made for use with OS X) takes fewer clicks and requires less dialog pages be clicked through than installing Ubuntu on a Dell Inspiron 1420 N (made for use with Ubuntu)).

    Oh yea!..well...upgrading Unbuntu from Feisty to Gutsy only takes '1 click' from the package manager...so there...take that... ; )

    Seriously, what you say may be true, I don't know. I've owned 5 Macs in my life, and they've all come with then OS installed. I wasn't even aware that you could buy a 'naked' Mac. (I suppose that you could completely wipe the hard drive for the joy of re-installing the OS, but I've never had the pleasure.) However, if you're comparing upgrading on a Mac to a complete install of Ubuntu (or other distro), I'd expect there to be more dialogs on the complete install.

  • Re:My Macbook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lav-chan (815252) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @10:43PM (#21693228)

    Yes, you sometimes have to work around things on exotic hardware, very new hardware, or if you're trying to do something very specific that is outside the mainstream. In order to get a system that 'just works', you have to buy hardware that's known to work well on Linux. That's it. Stick with hardware that's been around a bit or has vendor support (like Nvidia graphics cards).

    The first sentence seems to contradict the others... and the implication that Linux 'just works' on any hardware that's not 'exotic' or 'very new' is laughable.

    I mean i like Ubuntu and everything, i've used it (and several other varieties) fairly extensively, but there are still a lot of things that don't work. WPA encryption didn't work on my not-new and not-exotic wireless card, or any of the different but also not-new and not-exotic wireless cards of the two people i know who've played with Ubuntu at work. ATI video cards are also not new and not exotic, so that arguement doesn't really apply there either. Couldn't figure out how to get my HP printer to work (maybe it ultimately would have if i was smart enough, but jeeze), and although i did eventually get my sound card to work it took about 2 hours of trouble-shooting and research and locating and re-compiling drivers and so on, et cetera et cetera

    It's clear that OS X kind of cheats by having a small pool of 'blessed' hardware that it's explicitly designed to run on, so it isn't really fair to compare Linux in general to that particular set-up. But let's be serious, it is not a 'just works' system on common hardware yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2007 @10:57PM (#21693372)
    Macs are for people who don't want to fuck with their machines all the time (Linux) or get fucked by their machines all the time (Windows).
  • by apparently (756613) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @11:03PM (#21693426)
    Is that noted in the comparison?
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @11:11PM (#21693482)

    Even when making bullet lists of user-friendly features, distributions have implemented a lot of niceties nowhere to be found in Windows or OSX.

    I can think of a couple, but the same is true in the reverse. Both OS X and Vista have features that have not made it into Linux distros yet.

    My favorite example is the yum or apt facility.

    Actually, there are a couple of nice package managers for OS X that handle both Linux/BSD ports and native OS X apps. It would be nice if it was there in a default install though.

    ...it provides a common methodology for third parties to register repositories of their own and not have to provide tools to help with dependencies themselves or to have their own update programs.

    Which is nice, but realistically that does not happen for commercial software. Linux package managers lack the ability to handle Web and Bittorrent downloads or software registration, so commercial entities buy installer systems that do handle those instead. Commercial software is not only not kept up to date on Linux, but installation generally requires you to run a random binary and uninstallation is a mess.

    Linux wins when it comes to installing OSS freeware, but OS X wins on installing commercial software from Web sites or from CD/DVD. The sad thing is, the OpenStep style packages OS X uses are the perfect vehicle for extending Linux style package managers to better handle this type of software, but no desktop Linux developers are interested because most of them are of the opinion that they only think people should run freeware/OSS and all of them are scared of making such a big change. I sometimes fear Linux will never make any large improvement again, simply because there is no one who can make a decision to make a big change.

    The OSX world of 'just drag and drop the appfolder' can still leave you without required Library bundles, so it too is damned to having arbitrary installers for complex apps just like windows.

    Whaaa?!? Umm, the only things that require an installer and can't be drag and drop are things that install kernel modules. Even MS Office is drag and drop. Some software does use installers, but mostly so they can install DRM or manage licensing and registration.

    Even if you can drag and drop it, that doesn't mean bugfixes/security fixes will come down for you automatically without some other arbitrary service to track it for you.

    This is true and one of the reasons I wish Apple, Sun and some major Linux devs would get together and agree on an extended version of OpenStep and a protocol for updating from repositories, Web, FTP and bittorrent as well as an official protocol for licensing an registration of commercial software. I doubt it will ever happen though. Trying to push a big improvement for desktop Linux is like pulling teeth and is often derailed by Linux server users who classify anything like that as "unnecessary bloat." It is one of the reasons I don't see Linux on the desktop really making a lot of headway anytime soon.

  • Re:My Macbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stamen (745223) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @11:35PM (#21693638)
    Yeah, it takes time to acclimate. I'm a unix junkie, and an ex Linux on the desktop user who switched over to OS X a few years ago. It just takes time to appreciate everything and get comfortable.

    Once you find the good apps, such as iTerm instead of Terminal, figure out how to install XCode, MacPorts, and XWindows things start to feel good again. There are some warts, such as mounting Volumes where you like, but overall it's a pretty good setup. I'm in the command-line most of the day, but I can still run Photoshop, iTunes, and Office without using something like Wine.

    Some of the open source OS X apps are excellent, such as Adium compared to GAIM; Adium is GAIM done right. Treat yourself to VLC, Handbrake, and the oh so awesome QuickSilver.

    Some little things are nice, such as having the Command key, which lets you use Command-C for copy, leaving Control-c for the command-line; I never liked using shift-control-c in gnome. Some of the little things are weird, but this is because of BSD user-land, not OS X specifically.

    I finally switched from VIM to TextMate; which is a good/bad thing; TextMate rocks, but I really miss the dual modes of VI; too bad TextMate went with Emacs keys; oh well I still get to visit my old friend when I'm on a server. FYI, try MacVim if you are looking for a GUI vim on OS X.
  • Re:My Macbook (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ivan the Terrible (115742) <vladimir AT acm DOT org> on Thursday December 13, 2007 @11:42PM (#21693686) Homepage

    OS X is the only OS I know of where I can consistently hit "Install", go to lunch - and come back to a working machine.

    Most of the stuff on /. won't survive first contact with facts.

    Does your sig apply to your posting?
  • by brad-x (566807) <brad@brad-x.com> on Friday December 14, 2007 @01:07AM (#21694240) Homepage

    I will take a slightly contrarian point here. The "Mac HIG" was originally horrible. In promoting a "common" menu bar that forced applications into a particular mode

    The purpose of the global menu bar is to present document windows as spaces in which to do work, and not as applications. When you switch to another document window, the menubar at the top of the screen changes to present options appropriate to working with that document.

    Still, NFS on OS-X *REQUIRES* the command line (by default, I do believe that there are some 3rd party GUI tools).

    It has always been possible to mount NFS servers from the Finder desktop.

    NIS also has problems (pretty intense command line work for setup) -- and NIS auto.master maps for automount don't work.

    NIS is obsolete in the UNIX world.

    Before hammering Xerox PARC, please have a close look at Squeak (and, yes, it is available on Macs).

    Didn't mean to knock Xerox PARC at all - much respect to them, there was genius there.

  • by Mr. Picklesworth (931427) on Friday December 14, 2007 @01:25AM (#21694378) Homepage
  • Re:wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday December 14, 2007 @01:44AM (#21694472)

    Linux (Ubuntu, Debian and Redhat, as well as many others) have a nifty little package manager where you can install a program for almost anything you can think of.

    Hang on, you originally implied that with Linux, you didn't have to install third-party applications. So, it turns out you do have to manually install applications.

    Where is this feature on a Mac? Well, www.versiontracker.com would be a start. And that helps you decide what to install. On Linux, how does a new user decide which package to use? A package manager in itself is not going to help much. Most Mac apps are extremely simple to install (usually drag-n-drop to applications folder) - so I don't see how that is any more difficult than installing using a package manager.

    How does having a package manager equate to applications being "automatically installed", as you imply in your earlier post?

    but they still don't do 100% of what every user wants to do with their computer.

    Tell me - what application bundle does do 100% of what every user wants to do with their computer? There are certainly plenty of things I want to do that I can't under Linux. Hell, there are tons of things that I want to do, that I can't do on any platform, because those applications simply haven't been developed yet.

    Under Linux, it's much closer to "feature complete", as far as application availability.

    Utter horseshit. under Linux, you can't even get many types of app - for example, there are no Photoshop-class image editing apps, and no professional video editing apps. Frankly, your contention is ridiculous. Consistency of quality and usability is also much better with Mac apps. If a new user chose a Mac or Linux app at random, it's likely that the Mac app is of better quality and usability. Having a ton of average-to-poor apps available hardly compares to having many first-class apps available.

  • Re:My Macbook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfc (842110) on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:10AM (#21695184) Homepage
    That your ATI videocard or youe wireless card doesnt work under Ubuntu is probably due to the fact that some hardwarevendors has been less than willing to provide drivers and to publish specifications so that the community could provide drivers.

    "you have to buy hardware that's known to work well on Linux" is not necessarily the same as "my not-new and not-exotic wireless card, or any of the different but also not-new and not-exotic wireless cards" due to that.

  • Re:My Macbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slaSLACKWAR ... com minus distro> on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:16AM (#21695226) Homepage
    Indeed, any OS that's designed for the hardware it's running on is trivial to install like that...
    Windows does it with vendor supplied restore cd's...
    Solaris does it on sparc hardware
    IRIX did it on sgi hardware
    Amigaos did it
    Ultrix was one of the easiest os's i ever installed, asked me for like 1 confirmation and then got on with it.
  • Re:My Macbook (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slaSLACKWAR ... com minus distro> on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:23AM (#21695260) Homepage
    If the GUI layer of modern windows fails, the entire system won't boot because it no longer has any non gui interaction.. (the boot to command prompt option still uses the gui, as does the supposed gui-less 2008 beta which just loads a command prompt window inside of a graphical environment with the window manager but no explorer). I'm sure many people have encountered windows systems which failed to boot, some of those problems could be the gui layer failing completely.

    If the GUI of OSX fails, you get dropped to a commandline shell, i have had this happen to me when the videocard in my G4 wasn't seated properly, also OSX will not try to run the gui if it doesn't detect a videocard (like in a server).

    What linux does need, is a "recovery mode", where it loads a minimal X using vesa or generic vga drivers and lets you reconfigure it properly (this is exactly what windows does with safe mode).
  • Re:My Macbook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lav-chan (815252) on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:24AM (#21695270)

    My point is that having to buy very specific devices in order to achieve a usable system does not make Ubuntu an 'it just works' operating system on common hardware; at best it makes it an 'it just works' operating system on restricted hardware, in the same vein as OS X. Given the discussion in this article comparing the negatives of Apple's 'closed' system to the beauty and freedom and elegance of Linux's 'open' system i think this is relevant (unless you are the type of person who can write your own drivers). Linux is, again like OS X, definitely not a viable option for many many people unless they want to go out and buy specific hardware for it.

  • Re:My Macbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rolfc (842110) on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:31AM (#21695304) Homepage
    If you buy a computer, for example a Dell, with Ubuntu it is definitely a viable option, but if you build your own, you need to do some research, as you would have to do if you wanted to build a Windowscomputer.
    That is a question about how much you want to yourself. If you are happy with buying a computer with Ubuntu, it is an option as viable as a Mac, but you still have the freedom of Linux.
  • Re:wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday December 14, 2007 @07:14PM (#21704296)

    P.S:

    The point of my posts was not to say that the Mac is superior in every way, or has all software covered. My point was that the way that the "finding and installing applications" argument was presented was too simplified, and out of touch with reality. It's not a task that something like a package manager can solve. It requires social solutions, like support networks, and reliable software review sites.

    The other thing i disagree with is the idea of "the average user." I don't think such a person exists. If so, I've never met him. Most people have their own interests and tastes, and don't want to be constrained by what's "average." I think it's this attitude that stops many people from trying new things. I think some of these average users are pushed into that role, because of talk about "complex or specialized" software. What is special to one person, is normal to another. If you grew up playing a musical instrument (and having never used a computer) then music composition software might seem completely normal to you - but seem weird and specialist to somebody else. Likewise, Excel is considered "normal" software by many - but if somebody has never had any need for a spreadsheet, it wouldn't really make any sense to them.

    I think the "average user" is a myth that should be abolished. It's insulting to both people and software. It's the kind of thing perpetuated by the corporate world, who want every employee to fit a mold, and for everybody to use the same thing.

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