Owning a Mac – Day One Notes

technology.pngFor various reasons, I had to acquire a Mac. I wasn’t thrilled about this, but it’s a straight-up business expense.

As I’ve played with the system (c’mon, new geek toy!), I’ve been struck by this basic fact: It reminds me of GNOME. GNOME with the eye candy turned up to 11, Unity running, and few built-in options to turn it all off.

Yeah, I know, it’s a comparison that would have been impossible only a few short years ago when Linux was considered “unfriendly to users” – and now I’m comparing OS X (10.6, fwiw) to Ubuntu’s default environment and window manager. But they’re similar – eerily so, at times. (Main differences: Installing applications is so easy on OS X it was counterintuitive to me, I do not understand doing everything through a dock, and the Ubuntu Software Center was more helpful (and less expensive) than the App Store.) 1

And now I know why folks got twitchy at Ubuntu 10.04 and even more are not happy about 11. Ubuntu is definitely aiming to be as easy to use as a Mac. Which isn’t a bad thing; I can now definitely say that switching from Windows to Ubuntu is just about as difficult as switching to a Mac. And unlike a Mac, it was relatively easy in Ubuntu to turn off all the graphical bells and whistles to make the performance snappier. When your primary selling points (and OS-defining characteristics) are graphical bells and whistles… well, color me unimpressed.

And given the price difference – well, I’d recommend you give Ubuntu a try first, y’all.

Hell, it looks like I’m going to have to build WINE from source. grumble

1 I have no need for Garage Band, iLife, and other Mac-only software. So far, that’s the only compelling reason I can see for shelling out the extra for the OS and hardware.