Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Oct 2009 12:51 UTC
Editorial A couple of years ago, a professor at my university had a very interesting thought exchange with the class I was in. We were a small group, and I knew most of them, they were my friends. Anyway, we had a talk about language purism - not an unimportant subject if you study English in The Netherlands.
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Obviously Mac OSX is the greatest OS currently available...

Well, that is the big question here, isn't it? Is OS X the greatest OS out there? Apple (and cult fans) tells us it is, but to know for sure, you have to make a leap of faith and buy a beige box in a pretty dress for a pretty steep markup.

When you do make the leap of faith, you either discover Macintosh + OS X is computing Valhalla or you find you basically bought an expensive but bog standard x86 machine, with a run of the mill *Nix with a prettied up shell.

I think most people would like to find out if the "Think different", "I'm a Mac / I'm a PC" and "It just works" marketing magic of Apple is the honest truth or just a puff of smoke up our collective rear.

we'd like to know and preferably before we pour twice the price of a comparable and decent Windows machine into Apple's coffers. Because going Mac is adopting a niche (just like Linux / BSD / Haiku is) and with that comes limited hardware and software support. Then the high price and the inconvenience of less choice better be outweighed by the "magical" Apple integration advantage.

...or why would there be so much discussion / debate on how Mac OSX should be available to be installed on non-Apple hardware.

I think to find out if OS X truly is that magical OS that brings you Unicorns and ponies all the while it's doing your computing tasks, without running the risk of being ripped off by Apple for a mediocre PC with a nice casing and delivering an OS that works Ok but isn't that panacea that is touted in all the hype.


As an aside. Personally, my rational side tells me that Apple kit is just a pretty x86 PC with a polished Unix. Something one can also pretty much get by just getting a good non-Apple x86 machine and installing a nice BSD or Linux on it. The problem is that my lofty idealist side really want's to believe there is a magic blue pill that makes computing not suck. It's my rational side that wants an easy hackintosh to have that red pill to shove down my idealistic throat.

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NathanHill Member since:

Wow. You haven't tried Mac OS X? It's way more than a *NIX shell with a fancy skin or whatever. Not sure if it is Unicorns and ponies, but it does make using Windows or any version of Linux feel like slumming.

I don't think Apple makes beige boxes any more, by the way. If you want, you can pick up an older G4 Mac or something for like $100 to try Mac OS X out on. It won't be super fast, but it will give you a great opportunity to see how neat Leopard is and all the great software out there.

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r_a_trip Member since:

Well, I've played with OS X, with the interface at a few shops and it is snappy, snazzy and works well. I've dropped an app-bundle in the application folder on a machine from a friend and that worked OK, but...

Windows is decent these days. Linux is decent these days. I suspect BSD is too (haven't bothered yet). Mostly all work out of the box (although Windows needs a little more hand holding with drivers).

I know my way around computers, so I may be biased. The "it-just-works" factor doesn't really rank highest on my list. I can solve most problems fairly quickly.

I use Ubuntu at home (not because I need the "noob factor", but the distro is targeted by developers more and that broadens available packaged software). And it mostly just works out of the box. The minor niggles I can solve within an hour and it is "set it and forget it".

Except for glitz and some proprietary design in the housing, what does Mac and OS X bring me more than Apple branding? The innards of Apple machines are really bog standard x86 components. EFI, while nice, is just another way of initializing a PC. I don't need a top of the line x86 processor (doesn't even have to be Intel). It will be two years tops and then they are antiques ready for the museum anyways.

I'm curious about OS X, because I'm a geek and like to poke around new stuff and see how stuff works. It be nice to know how Apple solves stuff from a technical standpoint, but I'm absolutely not dependent on Apple to craft an enjoyable computing environment.

I'd like to see for myself how "super" OS X really is, instead of relying on the Apple marketing or the gushings of people around me who I suspect couldn't solve/configure their way out of a wet paper bag, even if their lives depended on it. So these people do seem to have Valhalla in OS X, but I suspect my experiences wouldn't match theirs simply because I'm versed in handling computers.

The trouble with trying out OS X is you have to get Apple kit and these machines are simply not what I want in an x86 box. They are configured with a decent Intel proc, but the rest is fairly stock. Graphics are not top of the line, RAM size is OK. Hard disk space seems to be scarce on the cheaper models. But the mix is exorbitantly priced. I don't need an all in one. I don't need an aluminum case. I don't play soccer with my machines and I like some modularity. On the hardware side, for me, the veil is pierced for Apple's myth.

Buying obsolete PPC hardware, to try out a superseded version of OS X, is certainly out of the question. I've got enough electronic junk as it is.

On another note. Funny you thought that beige box meant an older Apple G4. Back when the PPC line was the bee's knees of Apple, beige box was the choice derogatory term in the Apple community for an x86 IBM Compatible PC.

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