I’m not bowled over by the Macintosh. It’s a great OS with some great tools and like a friend said on Facebook when I first got it, it is Linux with great multi-media. I love Photo Booth, iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD all great software products that work together rather seamlessly. But are they worth double the price of a Dell for the average person. I don’t think so. I think Apple’s future is with the iPhone and maybe their upcoming tablet. They are really a desktop OS and the future belongs to mobile platforms. I think Microsoft has gotten the bugs out of Vista in Windows 7. So far it’s quite easy to operate and doesn’t have all the “yes/no” permission questions of Vista. I got Windows 7 Premium because I wanted to experiment with their multimedia tools too. I bought this Dell Inspiron 1545 because I got a great price. It was a refurb and most of my PCs are Dell refurbs. I save $200-$300 per unit that way. I wanted to install Ubuntu on it from “go” and I also wanted to virtualize Windows 7 and experiment with it. I will use Virtual Box which is really a great product and one that I’ve got almost two years experience with. I bought the machine for the added RAM, more storage and faster processor because I intend to have some more virtual machines running.
One of the things that I’ve discovered in my Mac adventure is that there is no where near the number of great open source applications on the Macintosh side of the house as their is in either Windows or Linux. I missed that. Also, I do some web application development and the tools aren’t there as easily as they are in Ubuntu. I really discovered that over Christmas break when I was building the Eucalyptus “cloud.” Apple has that software on disk that you can load on the Mac, but since its BSD Unix it’s a bit different than Linux and it just makes it more difficult. The other real pain in the butt with a Mac is its real lack of the second button on the mouse even when you are using a touch pad on a laptop. There are keystroke shortcuts you can use, but its just not as easy as with a PC or a Linux desktop. I’m used to cutting, copying and pasting with Cntrl-X, Cntrl-C etc. and with the Mac it’s a bit different. I miss the big screen of the 15 inch and Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular supports virtual desktops. That’s really not supported as well on either Windows or Macintosh.
The other plus with Ubuntu and Linux in general and this is where Linux really kicks both Windows and the Mac is you have the same OS whether mainframe, desktop, laptop or mobile device and it’s just plain stable. I’ve had no blue screens with Windows 7 and I didn’t with the Mac either. I can run Ubuntu or Linux on darned near anything and have resources to spare. I also think that Apple doesn’t use the fastest DVD/RW drives and the USB ports on the MacBook were noticeably slower than the USB on my nearly three year old Dell Inspiron 6400. Go figure! Not all Linuces are equal to Ubuntu on the desktop. Red Hat is decidedly more server oriented and their development product Fedora (which I used a lot at one time) is not the equal of Ubuntu at present. Ubuntu is more international in it’s flavor which is probably a good thing. Both Dell & IBM are favoring Ubuntu on the desktop and server and much of Amazon’s cloud (EC2) is Ubuntu oriented too.
I really think the future is mobile and Microsoft understands that well and is positioned to support that with mobile devices. Ubuntu and Linux in general is mobile oriented too. Motorola, Google and a host of other vendors are or have developed mobile devices using Linux and Apple Mac while cool is really a desktop OS and although the OS is inexpensive at $29 a copy it is very proprietary after that point. Their real mistake in my opinion is not opening up their platform like Microsoft did with Windows, but that’s because they are desktop or laptop oriented. Apple is a great company and I have always loved their innovative products, but they are pricey too. Well those are my thoughts. In short you can get two computers for the price of one if you use either Ubuntu or Windows 7. In this day thrift the $1200 Mac has a tough row to hoe. If Microsoft got smart and put Windows on a Unix core the game would be up for Apple.