I'm Not a Macintosh Man

Firstly I’m going to disclose the fact I have a Mac, it’s an old G3 iBook which has three very important features, it’s got good battery life, weighs very little and has easy to install and use wireless. This is what I call my convention computer and it gets taken to all the tech events I attend; but thats about it.

I had a discussion with a couple of GLLUG members this weekend about laptops and the fact soon emerged that I’m not exactly fluent with the Macs GUI. While I’m a firm believer of investing time with your tools three main problems stop me from using my Mac seriously. In addition to the iBook I also own a couple of older Dell Latitudes, each of them runs Windows (2000 and currently a 2003 eval copy.) These machines bear the brunt of my working hours.

Firstly they have better keyboards, everything is in the right place and fits under my fingers, while I could learn the iBooks layout it’s not worth the investment considering all the other machines I use on a daily basis (while providing support and similar circumstances) use a layout similar to the Dells; I’ll also mention here that the G3 iBooks keyboard feels really flimsy. Rant: Never put the function key at the bottom left, that’s where the Control key lives!

Secondly the OSX Finder sucks. I’ve used KDE, GNOME, OSX, Enlightenment etc and I always end up coming back to Windows Explorer, as a file manager its UI is better and it allows me to navigate with the keyboard, especially the arrow keys. The third reason, and this is the real killer for me at the moment, is the lack of virtualisation software. Running under Windows on X86 I have the excellent VMWare, the slightly less usable Virtual PC and if I’m running Linux the almost built in UML

While the Mac has Virtual PC (or at least the version of it Microsoft are willing to ship it is, in my opinion, the weakest of the three options available for Windows. I’ll admit it, I’m a VMWare fan boy, I’ve used it at numerous companies and it just rocks on Linux or Windows. Once VMWare and UML get ported to the Mac, I can afford one with a decent keyboard and the Finder is actually enjoyable to work with I’ll consider using an Apple laptop on a daily basis, until then I’m keeping an Intel Inside.

As a footnote I’m mightily surprised at the number of Free Software and OpenSource people that use OSX. It’s a closed operating system, not to mention the fact that the owners are pretty good at getting look-a-like themes shutdown. If I’m going to use a closed propriety system I may as well keep my skills relevant to the 95% of the computer using world and stick with a Windows box.