View Full Version : Pre-Switch Story

May 17, 2003, 01:52 AM
I'm currently a PC user. Have been since I discovered my inner geek-ness. I've always liked the idea of using something Apple, just for the "alternative" nature of things. I just never really paid much attention, and I knew Macs were outta my price range.

But now I'm sold. And as soon as I have me some money saved, I WILL have a Powerbook.

See I discovered Linux a few years ago, and my how that was a Godsend. Say goodbye to blue screens. I was literally about ready to bash the head of a heavy steel hammer into my Windows PC. So once I learned the ropes of Linux, I found that I didn't boot into Windows but maybe less than 1% of the time (I have a dual-boot box).

Then I started hearing about OSX. Built on a UNIX-based core, yada yada. Even open-source core (Darwin). "Hmm, that's pretty neat. They get my respect for that at least."

So finally, after hearing news of Apple's X11 being released, I plopped myself down at a co-workers dual 500MHz G4 at work. He created me a full account (so I could install stuff, etc.). So I installed Apple's X11, then I installed Fink, and not much later, I was using apt-get to install Gaim (my favorite instant messenger from the Linux world).

And there I was using Gaim, on OSX, natively! No emulation here! Wow, I could use most of my Linux apps, I realized.

Then you know what I did? I opened up Photoshop.

And then Internet Explorer (there's always that one site you like, but doesn't behave right for anything but IE).

All alongside real Linux/Unix apps, on a stable, commercial OS, that's so damn pretty. And it's built on UNIX, and open source at it's heart.

It was on that day, heck that very moment, that I said to myself: "Self, you WILL own a Powerbook".

See, the PC world definitely has the commodity hardware thing going for them. I'm a techie, and Linux will always be my first love, so I will always build my own workstation. And the servers in my closet, will always be little Linux x86 workhorses (and Xserve would be overkill).

But for notebooks? Heck, I consider those pretty much proprietary & pricey coming from either camp. So yes, I will have a powerbook (soon hopefully!)

All I have to say in conlusion, is Apple did the Right Thing in terms of OSX. "Apple, Right on!". There are SO many techie types I know right now that are in love with OSX and the sexy notebooks. (Nothing against the art world, but it's great that Apple has single-handedly added a whole new audience.)

I'll follow up to this soon as I get my Mac :-D (here's to hoping it'll be a 15" AluBook).

May 17, 2003, 02:43 PM

We'll be here for you.

In fact I'm just getting into X11, and I'm curious how to use it.

Perhapse you could teach me..?

May 18, 2003, 03:47 AM
Sure I'm willing to help with X11 :-)

I'm at a new job now so I no longer have a Mac in front of me (maybe that's why I'm so anxious to buy one?), so I'll have to play it by ear in regards to anything Mac-specific.

Basically X11 is a windowing layer, it's what will display your UNIX apps that use it for display as opposed to Quartz (or is it Aqua? i forget). So once you start X11, it's up to you to also start/use any X11 apps you want.

Let me know if you have any specific questions and I'll help best I can.

May 18, 2003, 05:37 PM

To me it looks like a standard terminal shell. I take it I launch X11-compatible apps through a text command in there.

Then what?

May 18, 2003, 10:36 PM
Originally posted by patrick0brien

To me it looks like a standard terminal shell. I take it I launch X11-compatible apps through a text command in there.

Then what?

Then you use the apps you just launched :-)

I wouldn't call it a standard terminal shell. OSX has a terminal shell already built in, likely you've used it before. "xterm", the one that starts when you start X11, is just a sample X11 program (but being an X11 program, it uses the X11 windowing engine to display itself -- which is the main thing that really makes it different from the standard OSX terminal app). In fact I think you can disable this behavior that starts xterm by default, and use scripts to start another X11 program instead.

But either way, yes you can use xterm to just start any X11 app you have compiled on your system, or downloaded precompiled for OSX from another location. What you do from there all depends on what application you started (just like one would open iTunes to, well, listen to music).

Checkout the Fink project (fink.sourceforge.net) for a big source of UNIX/Linux apps that you can run if you have X11.

May 18, 2003, 11:20 PM
check out http://www.macdevcenter.com. they've got some cool stuff there for x11. and like the posts mentioned above, fink and finkcommander are great in that they take a lot of the unknown/intimidating things out of the whole deal. i'm not saying you are "scared", but it can definitely be overwhelming.
and yes, the x11 window looks and acts just like terminal. i don't hardly even open up terminal anymore--it and xterm are interchangeable.
anyway, things like x11, openoffice.org, gimp, etc., are what make this whole mac/unix/open-source thing so nice. i may pay more for the mac outright, but i get office and photoshop (not to mention the iapps) for free! it's times like these i just look at my rev a imac and :D !

May 18, 2003, 11:25 PM

My dad thinks exactly the same way you do. He also has a dual-boot RedHat/Windows2K machine, but runs most of his Linux apps on his OS X machine as well.

Also, I noticed you live in the Houston area as well. (I'm in the Woodlands, just north of Houston.) Have you been to the Apple store in the Galleria yet? It's nice to see a commercial, desktop friendly *nix OS being marketed the way OS X is.

Congrats on your future switch. :)