Mac Rising

November 05, 2007

Nearly five years after first purchasing a couple of Macintosh computers (largely due to OS X) I find myself "switching" again. As a software architect I spend considerable amounts of my work day developing models and diagrams using proprietary tools that only work on the Windows operating system. Two years ago, when I had saved enough money, I purchased a ThinkPad laptop expressly to be able to work with the Rational tool set on my own machine.

Windows XP is a good, relatively stable platform; it serves its target demographic fairly well. However, it lacks some of the ease-of-use features that OS X contains. It feels like there are more applications that work the way I wish to work available for the Mac.

I use both Windows XP and Mac OS X on a daily basis. I am very comfortable with either operating system; both have their strengths and weaknesses. But I find myself drawn to OS X over XP more and more. Both of my Macintosh computers are aged now. With G4 processors they are each two generations behind the leading edge curve. Even so, they are both responsive enough to allow me to accomplish the things I want to do with a computer; whether that is email, web surfing, developing new code, or reading electronic books.

For the past of couple of weeks I've been experimenting with Ubuntu 7.10, and I am finding it very easy to use and configure. I like tinkering around with the various configuration files and settings. Since Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD, exploring the Debian-based Ubuntu distribution is like coming home again. I know where to look for things, I know how to perform basic system administration already. I am planning on getting a second hard drive for the ThinkPad and installing Ubuntu on it so that I can have pure Linux machine to play with and learn from. But I suspect that I will still return to the Macintosh for the majority of my computing.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.