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Old Jul 11, 2005, 02:53 PM   #1
realmcenter
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Getting an iBook soon, some questions about Mac platform

I ordered an iBook this Saturday and hope for it to arrive within the next week or two. System 7.x is the version of Mac OS I have the most experience with so OS X will be a bit new to me, so some of my questions may seem a bit too elementary. I have a few questions about software and what to expect from it:

1. Is OS X as easy to use as System 7 was? This may seem like a really dumb question but the fact that OS X is Unix-based with essentially a shell on top of it, I am concerned that a lot of stuff may be more complicated. I'm by no means a computer novice and am not afraid of CLI's, just that I don't care for them much except in a few cases.

2. How well integrated is the X11 windowing system in OS X? I run a lot of programs in Windows that were ported from X11 environments that take advantage of the Windows-native windowing system but from what I have read, most OS X ports require a separate installation of an X11 system to run, rather than using it's native windowing system. I run programs like gVIM, the GIMP, and Gaim. I'd like for stuff like clipboard copy and paste to work like it does in these programs in Windows (gVIM is a native Windows port, Gaim and GIMP run on GTK+ for Windows).

3. How well does OS X play with Windows file and printer sharing? I want my iBook to be able to use a shared folder on one of my desktop drives and to be able to use my old HP LaserJet 4L printer at home. Does OS X even have drivers for old HP LaserJet printers?

4. Can I turn off unneccessary fluff in OS X? In Windows I have inane stuff like the theme engine service turned off as well as other default services to save memory and CPU time. From what I have read, stuff like the dashboard and spotlight wouldn't be a whole lot of use to me and I'd like to be able to turn off stuff that I don't want or need. I'll have 512MB of RAM in my iBook and I hope that is enough to run programs like Opera and iTunes (like I do on Windows) without watching the hard drive thrash due to having to use the paging file constantly.

I appreciate your time in answering this stuff and your patience with a Mac (at least OS X) newbie.
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Old Jul 11, 2005, 03:10 PM   #2
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1. I've found OS X a lot more polished and simple to interpret than older versions of the Mac OS. It takes a little playing around but logic seems to drive most of the command and interface structure. If you have OS X Tiger the help menu has been improved greatly.


2. GIMP takes some work to get running on OS X Tiger. You have to install X11 off of the first DVD. I had a few hassles with that. After you get X11 installed it works perfectly.

3. I've taken Macs to work and they network seemlessly. As long as the printer is shared and on the network, you'll see it.

4. Most of the fluff that comes with OS X has to be turned on by the user. The Dashboard should be easy to shut off. As long as you don't have more than 3-4 widgets running you won't notice much of a resource drain on 512 MB. It sounds like you're just going to run iTunes and web browse. 512 MB of RAM should be enough for that.
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Old Jul 11, 2005, 04:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realmcenter
I ordered an iBook this Saturday and hope for it to arrive within the next week or two. System 7.x is the version of Mac OS I have the most experience with so OS X will be a bit new to me, so some of my questions may seem a bit too elementary. I have a few questions about software and what to expect from it:

1. Is OS X as easy to use as System 7 was? This may seem like a really dumb question but the fact that OS X is Unix-based with essentially a shell on top of it, I am concerned that a lot of stuff may be more complicated. I'm by no means a computer novice and am not afraid of CLI's, just that I don't care for them much except in a few cases.

2. How well integrated is the X11 windowing system in OS X? I run a lot of programs in Windows that were ported from X11 environments that take advantage of the Windows-native windowing system but from what I have read, most OS X ports require a separate installation of an X11 system to run, rather than using it's native windowing system. I run programs like gVIM, the GIMP, and Gaim. I'd like for stuff like clipboard copy and paste to work like it does in these programs in Windows (gVIM is a native Windows port, Gaim and GIMP run on GTK+ for Windows).

3. How well does OS X play with Windows file and printer sharing? I want my iBook to be able to use a shared folder on one of my desktop drives and to be able to use my old HP LaserJet 4L printer at home. Does OS X even have drivers for old HP LaserJet printers?

4. Can I turn off unneccessary fluff in OS X? In Windows I have inane stuff like the theme engine service turned off as well as other default services to save memory and CPU time. From what I have read, stuff like the dashboard and spotlight wouldn't be a whole lot of use to me and I'd like to be able to turn off stuff that I don't want or need. I'll have 512MB of RAM in my iBook and I hope that is enough to run programs like Opera and iTunes (like I do on Windows) without watching the hard drive thrash due to having to use the paging file constantly.

I appreciate your time in answering this stuff and your patience with a Mac (at least OS X) newbie.
Just to give another opinion and add to what Eidorian posted.

1. I also think OS X is easier to use than the older Mac "System" OSes. If you are familiar with any Mac OS (or any GUI OS really) then you will find OS X easy to use and interpret. You don't even know UNIX is there if you don't want to. Yet the command line is available if one wants to use it.

2. Nothing more to add here.

3. I've add no problems networking my Macs in a mixed network. Any problems have been on the Windows side. I think as long as the Mac can see the print server then it ought to be able to print to the available printers. I did have a problem with an older HP printer (not even as old as yours) a year ago, but that was an HP problem not a Mac problem. I think your printer is somewhat old so, I don't really know what results to expect.

4. Yes, unneccessary fluff can be turned off in OS X. The OS interface is very customizable. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by and very happy with Mac OS X.
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Old Jul 11, 2005, 11:12 PM   #4
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Thanks very much for your responses, they are definitely encouraging. I will mainly be using the machine for web browsing, music listening, and word processing. Pretty light-duty stuff. I have my desktop PC to use for everything else I would want to do so not too much will be required of the iBook although if I get attached to it enough I may find myself using it more than my desktop.
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Old Jul 11, 2005, 11:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realmcenter
... although if I get attached to it enough I may find myself using it more than my desktop.
It'll happen, and your next Mac will be a Powerbook...

Congrats on your iB!

Peace!
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