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Mac Thread, What's so good about Macs anyway? in Technical; I suppose it makes a good desktop PC for non technical users. My question is more addressed to geeks. Is ...
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    What's so good about Macs anyway?

    I suppose it makes a good desktop PC for non technical users.

    My question is more addressed to geeks. Is there something in Macs and/or Mac OSX you can't get on any other platform.

    I think Linus Torvalds says he now uses a Mac so it must have something going for it as a geek machine.

    A certain southern based EduGeek is not convinced (check out the FFS forum ). Help them keep the faith.

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Nothing really; in my opinion they're just expensive PCs.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    1. You don't have the same level of problems with Viruses/Spyware/Worms.
    2. Both the hardware and software are produced by Apple, thus they can promise it'll all work together nicely.
    3. The core OS is based on BSD and thus technically superior to Windows.

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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by ITWombat
    I suppose it makes a good desktop PC for non technical users.
    Or even for technical ones.

    My question is more addressed to geeks. Is there something in Macs and/or Mac OSX you can't get on any other platform.
    Of course not. There isn't anything in any platform (assuming we're talking about general use and not esoteric stuff) that you can't get on another platform.

    I'm a damn sight more productive using a Mac & Windows than I would be / was when just using either one by itself.

    A certain southern based EduGeek is not convinced (check out the FFS forum ). Help them keep the faith.
    Actually they've got a fair point. ACLs are new to Tiger (IIRC) and either way, Apple could have done a much better job if they'd forced their coders to work with crayon while wearing boxing gloves.

    All software and hardware sucks, it's just a question of degree. All software and hardware has skeletons in the cupboard, it's simply a matter of whether or not the way you use the system makes you encounter them too often.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Where to start ...

    I can't really just cover the geek stuff. It is hard to seperate it from the general user stuff really.

    1. The core OS is based on BSD ... it is stable for pretty much everything (though I know of a number of things that will crash them every time) and the thought of just working on something that is not likey to throw a wobbler appeals to me. The fact that the few things that do cause a problem can be quickly isolated is the geek aspect that I love.

    2. Don't forget the UI. Never forget the UI. Design is nearly everything with Apple ... and the effort that is taken to make sure that the design does not overcome functionality (ok ... I won't talk about certain models of PowerPC ... and the cracks in the Cube were purely to add *character*). The UI has so many functions that allow for esae of use that I would have loved or had to get powertoys for on Windows but come as standard (Exposé, Dock, Dashboard, snap to folders... ) and I know that Apple will not be satisfied with what they have so far ... and that there will be more and more stuffed developed. Now we get to the hook. The UI is developed over the core in such a way that if I was a half decent coder I could build things onto it myself. It also means that things that others develop I am very happy that they will work.

    3. The security stuff is a bit of a red herring for me. Yes, there are fewer things to target because it is built on an inherently more secure system, but there are as not as many people targetting Mac OS X at the moment. However, I am happy that anything that does crop up can be plugged quickly and any 3rd party add-ons will integrate far easier, with less overhead than windows versions.

    4. There is something perversely enjoyable to running the most stable setup of XP Pro on a MacBook.

    5. Yep ... they are more expensive than a box from HP / Dell / IBM (but not Sony) but I know that every time I buy I will be more than happy ... and it will be a machine that I can happily use for at least 3 years without having to do upgrades to come with the overhead of the latest SP (apart from the XP install ... I'll have to see how that goes).

    6. Hardware and software designed by the same company ... but for a quirk of fate we may have had Steve Jobs as the 'hated megalomaniac' rather than Bill Gates. The links between iApps is a key factor for me, and the fact that sections of the overlaying code allow for other apps to hook into one another is a breath of fresh air.

    7. There is yet to be a version of Windows that matches it. There are several things I do like about windows ... and there are a number of things I like about various Linux distros ... but for me Mac OS X remains the benchmark.

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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    The core OS.
    The stability (as a consequence of the first point really)
    The integration (hardware/software)
    The applications- the iLife suite and the Pro tools are simply better than anything you can get for Windows.
    The security- I don't (unlike Tony) buy the "Mac share is smaller thus less likely to be targeted" line, but because of its Unix underpinnings OS X is much harder to write viruses for and less likely to fall over if infected the way Windows does. Apple tend to patch better and faster than Microsoft anyway, so it's less of an issue.
    As Tony mentioned, the UI is much better. Far superior to anything Windows (even Vista) offers and only surpassed (I think) by some of the things happening in the XGL development flow.


    Geeks? I use VPN, OpenSSH, Apache, PHP, MySQL, Moodle, GIMP, Gunumeric, Inkscape (mostly from Darwin Ports or FINK) on OS X. I use the command line most days for many tasks, and I am learnign Objective C using XCode as a development environment. Geek factor? It's definitely there- and not even with the Unix side. You can take any of the applications that come with OS X and script them with Applescript, tune the OS, set security and firewall preferences, tweak individual applications, and be far more productive using iLife and .Mac for example than you can in Windows. Having used Windows since late DOS days, I can say OS X blows away the competition easily for an integrated platform.

    That's without mentioning SAMBA, networking, OS X Server and so on...

    But is there anything you can specifically get on OS X you can't get on any other platform? Probably not unless you are being subjective. For me the answer would be no; there is too much integration in OS X that makes my computing life so much easier than any other platform. It "gels".

    :-)

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Nothing. At least thats my experience after 5 months.

    OS X server:

    The issues I have with os x server

    Print quotas are broken

    Print service is unstable

    LDAP service breaks with valid, signed certificates - but works with a self signed on the server. There is no fix as far as I can tell. I imported the cert, os x sees it properly, lets me use it but ldap simply hangs forever with no sensible error messages even in debug mode.

    ACLs are broken, very broken (see FFS).

    VNC server (as supplied) is broken, can frequently be crashed and ties the machine up.

    The managed preference system is extremely limited.

    I selected the firewall in server admin, looked at the rules, I didn't turn it on, but os x decided that it would do it for me, I was locked out of the server!

    OS X (client)

    Stability seems to be a myth so far for me, they simply hang - unmount a volume, hang. Double click and icon, hang. Logout, login, hang. No reboot button for some reason, either have to ssh in or press the power button and wait.


    I have encountered all these issues, most with a fresh, blank install of os x 10.4.3 (patched to 10.4.7).

    I am most annoyed by the horrendus flaw in ACLs and it has caused me some issues with AD integration.


    I had hoped for so much from the Macs but I am thwarted at every attempt to make them do sensible things, things that do actually work in general on windows. It seems the took all the good bits of BSD and threw some damn awful unstable UI on to it. I never get any crashes from the BSD side :|

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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy
    Nothing. At least thats my experience after 5 months.

    OS X server:
    <SNIP!>

    I selected the firewall in server admin, looked at the rules, I didn't turn it on, but os x decided that it would do it for me, I was locked out of the server!
    Quite a fair bit of server is immature, shall we say, especially if you try to administer it via the GUI tools. I've basically divided my work on server into "bits I know work" and "here be dragons".

    OS X (client)

    Stability seems to be a myth so far for me, they simply hang - unmount a volume, hang. Double click and icon, hang. Logout, login, hang. No reboot button for some reason, either have to ssh in or press the power button and wait.
    Now this - in my experience - is very unusual. The only time I've seen an OS X client machine hang like this, it was due to hardware issues. Not to suggest your experiences are any less valid of course.

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto
    Quite a fair bit of server is immature, shall we say, especially if you try to administer it via the GUI tools. I've basically divided my work on server into "bits I know work" and "here be dragons".
    As much as we often moan about Microsoft, I never get the feeling with Windows server that when I do things it isn't going to work. Obviously sometimes it doesn't but this is more unusual. With OS X server, I turn things on and hope.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto
    OS X (client)

    Stability seems to be a myth so far for me, they simply hang - unmount a volume, hang. Double click and icon, hang. Logout, login, hang. No reboot button for some reason, either have to ssh in or press the power button and wait.
    Now this - in my experience - is very unusual. The only time I've seen an OS X client machine hang like this, it was due to hardware issues. Not to suggest your experiences are any less valid of course.
    I would have thought it was hardware too, had it not happened so often on all of them. Hardware wise things have been rather unfortunate too.

    So far, a dead psu in the only G5 workstation. A dead board on 1 or 4 Macbooks, 4 batteries to return from the macbooks. The 35 imacs have been fine so far, apart from the above crashing :P

    I do like some stuff about the Macs though, remotely installing and configuring os x server on the g5 server was impresive, especially without even a graphics card or keyboard / mouse. That said, would it have been so difficult for them to put a graphics card on board? Everyone else seems to manage it!

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    I'll be honest ... OS X as a client is very nice ... in a server environment, Apple are lacking. I put Tiger Server on a par with NT 3.51 as a client server system ... for a server platform in it's own right (Web, Mail, Streaming, File Sharing) I like each individual part.

    Leopard server loks like it might take it to NT 4 ... or even W2K (at a push).

    I would dearly love to se a port of karoshi onto OS X ... the functionality it would bring would be very nice ...

    The best way of using OS X server and OS X Client together is actually with a third party product.

    As much as people may dislike CC3, Ranger and their ilk, MacAdministrator is the dog's... We are not using it at the moment (it will be financially viable next year once we have a few more machines) but OS X server to deploy the images and hold the MacAdmin share for deployment of software, security settings and print control (on the Macs), Server 2003 for authentication ...

    I know there are a few more coming onto the market now. LanREV seem to have a similar system too ...

    Because there are not that many major companies that are soley OS X based there does not seem to be the same level of client - server development we have seen from Microsoft. Most of the work seems to be done by Higher Ed institutes in the US (MacEnterprise.org anyone) ... even the more respected Macophiles in the uk seem to be in educational institues (David Riddle at Goldsmiths ... and the honourable Roberto should not be forgotten)

    I have not given up hope though ... one day I will find the magic tutorial the will talk me through setting up an integrated environment of 2003 Server, XP client, OS X Server, OS X Client, Edubuntu on the desktop too ...

  11. #11

    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Was watching the video podcast of leopard ( yes I know this is the next mac os release etc ) but I must admit the demo they did using core animation was superb and I hope they do something like that with albums etc in itunes so that you can click on an album, view what tracks are available for that album and then have the highlighted tracks as ones you have purchased or have on the system then click the one you want etc.

    Only just started recently with macs again about 4 months or so ago ( Possibly longer ) and I have enjoyed it thus far and there is just so much to learn lol.

    Time machine looks good. I agree with them on the video clip cos It would be nice to go back in time ( especially to have this holiday again lol )

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: What's so good about Macs anyway?

    Beware Time Machine! Have amounts of storage capacity to spare and be careful anount moving large files from one drive to another ...

    Time Machine is not good if you are a mobile user that lives to the limit of their machine.

    I have looked at large capacity host-powered external drives and only LaCie are any good really ... I do have an 80GB Philips USB powered drive and it is pretty pants. I also have an aging 40GB LaCie Pocket drive (now rebranded as the 'rugged drive') and it is fine for most things ... just to small for anything major.

    I have a large amount of storage at home but hate having to copy things to and from the server to work on them and the thought of Time Machine eating up my resources is frightening ... heck, I turn o fsystem restore on any XP clients I have since I hate the space it wastes.

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