Any former linux users here?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by khammack, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. khammack macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #1
    I'm a long time linux user. By that I mean I've used linux on my desktop for almost 10 years. I do not personally own any PCs with windows on them, and at work I use SuSE 9.1 on a primarily WinXP based network (without incident). Suffice it to say, I know the ins and outs of linux.

    I need to replace my laptop, an IBM Thinkpad X20. It's been a great machine, very small and light. But it's old, and it only lasts 2 hours on battery power.

    Linux leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to laptops, though HP has recently released a laptop with SuSE pre-installed that has all the power management stuff working out of the box. It's pretty reasonable to assume that I could buy a new linux laptop that plays/burns dvds, lasts 6 hours on a charge (not while playing a dvd of course), and is as capable as a mac or PC at least for filling my needs. (I'm a chip designer, but I'm often fiddling with software development of some sort).

    That said, are there any Linux/unix guys around that have made the move to Mac who can share their experience?

    An example of what I'm looking for: I use Emacs all the time. Anyone fitting that description will already know it is a non-negotiable requirement that the control key be under my pinky, where it belongs. On most modern machines this means remapping the keyboard, a trivial task under linux but I haven't found quite enough reassurance that this will be so easy under OS X.

    I know I can run linux on the mac, but that won't work for proprietary apps built for the intel architecture. So for example I couldn't run a commercial CAD program for linux on a powerbook. This probably won't be a big deal, I usually run that stuff remotely. But little things like that are worth considering for someone like myself who spends way too much time using computers.

    My feeling is that I can probably do everything I want with a Mac (specifically I'm looking at a 15" powerbook), but given my experience with linux and the steady improvements I've seen, in 6 months time when I'm ready to buy something I should be able to get a comparable linux laptop.

    So what do you think? What am I missing by sticking with linux?

    -kev
     
  2. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #2
    No, you won't miss linux.
    OSX is built on Darwin and all you need to do is installing X11 on you mac and run everything.
    I switch(running both at the same time) between OSXs windowmanager (Aqua) and GNOME (2.4).
    You can also install inux on mac, Yellow Dog (redhat/fedora based) is the best distro for mac.
    Other distros include:Gentoo, Debian, Mandrake, CRUX, RockLinux, Slackin'tosh
    Check out http://www.penguinppc.org/about/distributions.php

    If you get a mac, get Apple Developer tools (xcode) (free..)

    also search around this forum for x11
     
  3. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    Montana
    #3
    In addition, there are the darwin ports and fink projects that make it super easy to get all your favorite open source apps and utilities running on OS X. It really is the best or all worlds. I've been a Unix hack since 1986. I've had a PowerBook for 3 years, and it has been, by far, the best machine I've ever owned. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
     
  4. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #4
    I used Windows 70% and Linux 30% both at home and at work before I switched to Mac. Now I use Mac 100% at home and 60/30/10 at work.

    I use emacs on Linux, but I'm not very comfortable using it. I generally need the speedbar to be effective and I only use a small number of ctrl shortcuts. On OSX it is more frustrating for me to use emacs because it doesn't use X so I can't navigate with the mouse or use the speedbar.

    Considering that you've been using Linux on the desktop all these years you're probably comfortable with digging deep in manual pages and searching news groups, forums and the web in general to find out how to do most tasks. With Mac OSX it is quite another experience because Apple has made it extremely easy to do most common things. If Apple hasn't done the dirty work for you if there's something you wish to do, then I guess you could go the linux route and start digging deeper in the unix underpinnings. I don't do that but since you seem to enjoy Linux, you probably would.

    There are two differences that I notice when I use Linux and Mac OSX. With Linux I use a lot more time setting things up and making things work. (This sometimes goes for Windows too.) With Mac OSX I spend more time doing work or fun stuff like proving to myself (again) that I have little musical talent with GarageBand. Also, Mac OSX is smoother and more elegant which I appreciate a lot, but I know some don't care too much about that.

    Changing key mappings ... I would be surprised if it's not possible, but I don't know how.
     
  5. abhishekit macrumors 65816

    abhishekit

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    akron , ohio
    #5
    Well emacs comes installed with OS X, but its not the gui version, it is run through terminal. And the keys are the same, so you don't have to remap ctrl to apple.
    There is also a gui(carbon) version of GNU emacs
    http://mindlube.com/products/emacs/index.html . Its pretty stable too, and again keys are the same.

    cheers
     
  6. khammack thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    Thanks for the responses. One thing I should clarify:

    The keys are the same, and I remap them on a PC which means I also need to remap them on a Mac. In particular, I always remap CAPS LOCK so that it becomes CONTROL. This means the control key is under my pinky. As I said above, only serious emacs users appreciate this. At one time keyboards came standard with the control key under your pinky and the caps lock key on the bottom row. Swapping them was such a big mistake...but I digress.

    I've heard many say that it ought to be possible to remap this key on a Mac, but I haven't heard from anyone who has done it. That would make me feel quite a bit better.

    Anyone?

    -kev
     
  7. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #7

    yeah!

    Take a look here http://www.gnufoo.org/ucontrol/ucontrol.html
    and here: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?RemapCapsLock
     
  8. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #8
    Hm ... I didn't know that it was common to use the caps lock as ctrl for emacs. I do know that my pinky can get very tired after working for some time in emacs though, so maybe I should try it.

    How do you do it in Fedora Core 2?
     
  9. khammack thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    Definitely try it. I actually map both the CAPS LOCK and CONTROL keys to generate CONTROL, whereas some just swap them.

    cluthz's post has a link to a nice page that talks about remapping keys in every OS, not just OS X:

    http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?RemapCapsLock

    I use xmodmap personally; check the link for more info.

    -kev
     
  10. caveman_uk Guest

    caveman_uk

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    #10
    I came to Mac os X when I was looking for a Unix laptop...I was using Gentoo Linux on my x86 machine. I can't comment on Emacs because I was more of a nano/pico guy myself but I can honestly say I'm glad I switched. If you've got more questions...fire away. :D
     
  11. DanTekGeek macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #11
    mac os is essentially the greatest linux destop distro ever made. exept that its not linux.... :p
     
  12. armandocerna macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chico, CA
    #12
    I used to be a hardcore gentoo user I would always walk past the mac stores and drool at the hardware. One day I decided that it was stupid to make my linux desktop look like a mac why not just the real thing. So I put down the cash and scored a 12" g4 ibook and listed my gentoo box on ebay. I have no regrets except that I wish I switched sooner.

    Armando
     
  13. jaromski macrumors regular

    jaromski

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    zion
    #13
    was pro-linux now pro-mac

    yeah same story for me i was a big linux fan in college i started redhat but when redhat was around version 6.2 i switched over to debian for a challenge. and back then debian was even pickier and harder to install than it is now. and yes i did walk to school uphill in the snow both ways...debian was/is great but it tends to fall behind the bleeding-edge distros a few years. but it is very lean, incredibly stable, and i appreciate those aspects over the redhat/suse/<insert bloated distro here> i have heard gentoo is great but another learning curve i don't want to attempt...

    things changed for this spring when i sprung for a new 12" powerbook. mac truly is the best desktop experience i have encountered and my wife won't use anything else. so we got her an old-school blueberry imac 400mhz fully-loaded on ebay for $250. she is stoked.

    at any rate mac is the best of both worlds. you have great commercial apps, even a few games, plus you can get all the benefits of debian- fink for the open source packages for mac, X11, there really is nothing linux can do that mac can't do better. plus aqua kicks some serious ass in (dare i say) competition with gnome / kde...lightyears ahead of those desktops.

    unless you have some x86 hardware lying around you want to repurpose as a server or something mac is the way to go.

    my two cents

    jaromski
     
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #14
    I was desktop linux user for a couple years (starting with Red Hat 7.0) before I bought my Powerbook in September 2003 - previously I'd been a Windows user, and used DOS before that. I haven't missed Linux much at all; but then I was never big into emacs OR vi so I don't know if you really want my opinion. :D

    You can find almost any *nix app you want via the fink project, as was previously mentioned. Those that aren't available under fink can usually be compiled (assuming their source is available of course) - you may need to monkey around with automake/autoconf just a bit, but it's generally pretty straightforward.

    The main reason I moved to OS X was because things just work. I know it's a mantra, but it is true. Linux is very powerful and configurable, but I got tired of having to fiddle around so much just to get my Clie to sync reliably, or my scanner to work (SANE supports quite a few scanners, but quite a few more are marginally supported or not at all), or my wireless to work (my particular chipset hadn't gotten much development), or etc. etc. I realize a lot of these problems are not "Linux's fault" as it were, but in the end I don't want to spend all my free time messing around with my computer. So if you really like fiddling with devices and system settings, and like spending your weeknights tweaking your .conf files to try to get everything "just so" - and I know a fair number of people who do - OS X may really not be for you.
     
  15. locovaca macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Iowa
    #15
    The other thing to consider about Linux on Macs is that Airport Extreme is not supported- no drivers yet (thanks Broadcom!). If you're looking for wireless ethernet and want a Mac that'll run Linux you'd do best to look for an older *book which has the old Airport cards, which are supported 100%.

    That said, I still run Linux on my servers and anything I need to do I just use remote X over the network on my servers.
     

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