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Ubuntu Linux vs. Mac OS X 479

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.
  • Print Version (Score:5, Informative)

    by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:16AM (#20071341)
  • 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...
  • 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?
  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:30AM (#20071629)
    I know next to nothing about Ubuntu, but I'm assuming you can't run it from within Mac OS X...

    Actually, you can via virtualization (Parallels, VMware, etc).
  • by kdemetter ( 965669 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:46AM (#20071913)
    Dell also sells computers with ubuntu preinstalled .

    http://www.dell.com/open [dell.com]
  • by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:58AM (#20072105)
    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 Windows systems. We're doing the blues (yes, I know). And after having switched about 10 people to Ubuntu, I can conclude that anyone who has a reasonable understanding of the concept of how to use an OS, will not have any trouble using Linux, and will happily finish out their vacation on a snowboard.

    Now this may be different for a grandmother who relies strictly on memorized procedures to check her email. But anyone who has a dynamic understanding of what they're doing, should have the basics covered in a week or less.
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:20PM (#20072603)

    But who cares when you get something that's sleek and cool looking like a Mac, right?

    Yeah, damn them! And screw their drivers too! How dare Apple actually put out a product that works better than Windows and Linux by virtue of controlling the hardware platform thus allowing unprecedented integration! Bastards!
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:33PM (#20072911)
    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.
  • 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 MushMouth ( 5650 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:55PM (#20073353) Homepage
    You can get a used G4 mac mini on ebay for $200 if that is all you care about. You could also get something that would fulfill all those requirements off the sidewalk most any saturday. The bottom line is that the "brand name" vendors are all around the same price for the performance. Maybe apple doesn't build something low enough end for you, but you can find that low end in the used market. (Actually apple's tend to have high resale values, so you can easily sell your used machine at a decent price to fund a new purchase)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:00PM (#20073447)
    Ubuntu dropped commercial paid technical support for PowerPC. They are still releasing official PowerPC releases, with updates and everything.

    http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/releases/feisty/re lease/ [ubuntu.com]
  • Re:from TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:01PM (#20073471) Homepage Journal

    You want me to do what with my processor?

    The new Core Duos pull more current than you'd expect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:17PM (#20073753)
    It's not even that hard. People were running OSX on generic hardware almost as soon as the x86 version was released. http://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/Main_P age [osx86project.org]
  • I also use both (Score:2, Informative)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:35PM (#20074089) Homepage Journal
    And I have to say that Ubuntu is pretty disappointing, even compared to other Linux distros.

    File/print sharing is impossible to setup through the GUI (even though the GUI will let you tinker and give you the impression that samba is supposed to work). You have to edit smb.conf radically to get anywhere. Luckily I have a running Xandros Linux system that produces working samba configurations that I can copy to Ubuntu.

    Once you basically get sharing working, the GUI still provides no convenient way to actually mount shares.

    OS X has all this covered in the GUI, and quite elegantly too.

    Security: Ubuntu is very poor in this area and I do not recommend it for any laptop user who is not an IT expert. They only recently got WPA working, and the rest of the OS lacks standard firewall, VPN and disk encryption configurations. In OS X, these capabilities are built-in controlled with the click of a few checkboxes.

    As for other Linuxes, SuSE also covers the above essential features although samba is rather awkward (at least it is workable). Xandros covers these features in spades (especially samba). Unfortunately both distros are now in bed with Microsoft and I am helping a friend switch to Ubuntu as a result.

    I'll only touch on the mishandling of widescreen monitors and getting different sound apps to coexist-- these are typical Linux maladies. The rotten sound architecture alone (where access implies an exclusive lock on the sound card unless special precautions are taken by the app programmers, the exact opposite of how audio should be handled on personal computers) pretty much makes Linux ultimately unsuitable for 70% of the desktop users out there.

    The Ubuntu "just works" philosophy seems to operate on the assumption that ease of use is achieved by avoiding any features that might possibly cause problems or confusion. IMO the clean interface lulls people into a reverie that raises their tolerance for all of the frustration and CLI work they'll be lured into. Granted, a GUI ought to be clean, but also must be capable, and Ubuntu's does not achieve the latter.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @04:05PM (#20076601)
    Anyone that cares to can search Google about "hacking modelines" in MacOSX.

    Mac OS X doesn't even use modelines, silly. If you're talking about modelines, you're talking about XFree86 or X.org. You may have heard that the native windowing system in OS X is not any form of X11. (If you haven't, you're hearing it now.)

    You are almost certainly confused.
  • Cloning Mac OS X (Score:5, Informative)

    by RedBear ( 207369 ) <redbearNO@SPAMredbearnet.com> 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
  • by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @05:36PM (#20078009)

    Actually, the Rolls Royce analogy may be apt. But really I think it's more like a BMW analogy. Both Toyotas and BMWs are nicely built, one has more luxury trimmings than the other, but all in all they still get you from point A to point B. Both are likely to experience problems during their lifetimes, and the difference comes out then. With the Toyota you will receive adequate service after bitching at the warranty guy, whereas with the BMW you will receive prompt, courteous service that addresses your concerns quickly and completely.

    Having owned both Macs and PCs (guess which one I'm on now), I can tell you without a doubt that this is true. When my Toshiba broke down I had to bring it to the retailer, deal with a support tech who was more than unwilling to help me, and in fact tried to deflect every malfunctioning bit as normal behaviour, or somehow make it seem like accidental damage. I was extremely dissatisfied.

    Compare and contrast to when the hinge on my MacBook Pro broke. I phoned it in (no Apple store where I was), my call was answered in less than 5 minutes (try THAT with any other major consumer laptop manufacturer!). The tech took my serial, verified my warranty coverage, and immediately passed me off to a product expert who is more familiar with case issues. The other tech answered in less than 2 minutes, and the first tech even stayed on the line to summarize the problem for him, so I don't have to repeat myself. The second tech immediately gave me an authorization number for the repair, and my laptop was back to tip top shape in a couple of days.

    Time taken with PC: 2 hours.
    Aggravation: 10

    Time taken with Mac: 15 minutes.
    Aggravation: 0

    Many people will feed you with BS about how Macs are unbreakable or such other BS. They break like any other laptop. The difference is in how you're treated after that fact.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:41PM (#20079905)
  • by daBass ( 56811 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:16PM (#20080173)
    Having worked with the entire line of Dell laptops and MacBook/MacBook Pro, I would say they best comparison to a current 17" MBP in the Dell world would be an M90 or XPS. The Inspiron may have the same specs, but the build and screen quality just isn't there. There is a reason these Latitudes are so much cheaper and you get what you pay for!

    If you go for 15", a Latitude D820 built to the same specs as an entry level MBP 15" comes to within single digit percentages of costing the same. (If you include Apple Care, which you should as Dell warranty as standard on these things is superior to Apple's, otherwise the Apple is cheaper.) Again, anything less than a Latitude does not compare to the MacBook Pro on anything other than specs on paper.

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