I have joined the dark side

There is now a Mac Mini on my desk. It is named neutrino. It is light.

This isn’t getting rid of my Linux machine(s) by any stretch. And now having used neutrino for a day and change now, I note a few things. This list might make some howl in derision, but these are my observations.

  • The default fonts and font setup on Mountain Lion is execrable. I mean, really really horrible. To the point that Linux’s is far better. As is Windows 7. I’ve got to ask, exactly WTF was Apple thinking?
  • This is not X11, cut and paste work more similar to Windows (horrible) method than Linux’s (reasonable) method.
  • There’s no gcc without additional package installs (Xcode/others)
  • Terminal.app basically, well, sucks, as a terminal. It works, but you don’t want to use it. Gnome-terminal is (nearly) infinitely better. Microsoft cmd.exe is still worse … lame by any reasonable standard.
  • Keyboard … remapping the keys so you need to use the windows/apple special control key which isn’t a control key … is not an improvement.
  • VirtualBox is peppier … though I can’t move my Windows7 instance from my old temp laptop over to this. I can physically transfer the bits, but Windows7 spontaneously dies upon startup. Yes, this is a Windows breakage. I understand that. I now have Linux Mint 14 and SmartOS VMs set up.
  • LibreOffice works nicely on OSX
  • smbfs mounting is … annoyingly broken. It took me an hour to do a mount that should have taken a few moments. NFS mounting also appears to be broken, at least on some servers.
  • Chrome, Firefox, and Thunderbird have this nice page magnification feature with a mousewheel and a control key that does not work on MacOSX. Does beautifully on Linux and Windows.
  • No iSCSI initiator outside of paid apps. Ok, may look into this for TimeMachine.
  • App installation is … er … weird. .dmg? Seriously?

All in all, its a mixed experience, tending towards negative compared to Linux desktops (Cinnamon on Mint is very good, extremely hard to beat), better than Windows (because its Unix underneath and most stuff either works or nearly works with a little coaxing).

I am looking to use this as my primary business desktop. My motivation was something that didn’t crash on my as often as Linux (mebbe once every two weeks). Linux VMs and desksides mostly for day to day work, with the Windows VM for any office specific docs.

If I can’t stand it, I’ll give it to someone else on our team. Let them use it. Before my previous desktop died, it was pretty stable. Crashes were rare … about once a quarter or half year. Used the temp laptop as a temp desktop for a while, but that crashed about once every two weeks or so.

I am preparing a replacement Linux desktop system with 12 processor cores, 32 GB ram, a few TB of fast disk, and some nice NVidia graphics. We might even run a nice fibre from our 10GbE switch to the box. That will be more for code development, testing, etc. If I find I can’t deal with the peculiarities of Mac OSX or cannot adapt it to my needs, then I’ll switch. But I am at least trying something new.

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