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Linux User Reviews Mac mini

 
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:31 pm    Post subject: Linux User Reviews Mac mini Reply with quote

Linux User Reviews Mac mini
Monday November 28, 2005

Thomas Driemeyer has written an article entitled "When a Linux user buys Apple's Mac mini." The article details one Linux user's experiences with OS X, and we found it to be an interesting read. "In early 2005, Apple was announcing the Mac mini computer. It was the answer to what I was looking for in a computer, so I bought one. This is a report about the early months with my new Mac, and how it compares to a Linux computer. (I have never owned a Windows computer.) In short, I am now both a Mac and a Linux user - Apple gets GUI simplicity, usability, and coherency right, and Linux everything else.

When switching operating systems, there is a strong tendency to whine about all the things missing in the new OS, or that are done differently and require a change of habits. The advantages become obvious only after some time. I'll do my best to take that into account and present a balanced review. There are a few fundamental problems that I cannot ignore though," Thomas Driemeyer writes for Bitrot.de.



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idek
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YES! I am also a linux user. I really like my mini. The exterior design is awesome, the interface looks great, it's a sharp package. But if I try to use it as a productivity machine like my linux box, or to be honest, even my windows box, it's shine diminishes.

This guy wrote the essay I've been meaning to write. To be honest, I've been so busy trying to find tools for things like photo editing and most importantly coding that I haven't had time to right about my disappointment.

I really like my mini, but it is quite sad how much better it could have been.

BTW, awesome logo, I might have to make use of that Smile
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castaway
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

idek wrote:
But if I try to use it as a productivity machine like my linux box, or to be honest, even my windows box, it's shine diminishes.



Why are you less productive with OS X? Are there certain apps or something you're missing? I find myself more productive with OS X.
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resuna
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand the argument that Mac OS X is somehow missing applications that Linux has. I'm particularly puzzled by the people who insist they need to run Linux as well to run their KDE or Gnome based apps. You have a complete UNIX under the hood, you can run your KDE environment in your X11 window, full screen, and switch back to Mac OS X... so at the very LEAST you get your "dual systems" without a switch box.

The usual response to this is that they want the apps to run in the Mac OS X environment. Hello, they don't do that if you use a switch box or dual monitors either...

The author seems somewhat confused about history, since NetInfo is older than Win32 and the Registry... *and* it avoids the main problem with the registry by remaining a system repository: they don't try and cram user and application configuration in there as well.

NeXT isn't responsible for the poor performance. That can be laid in the lap of Quartz and the massive memory requirements of maintaining all windows (including all scroll buffers) in memory as bitmaps. My NeXTstation with its 68030 running at 40 MHz is very responsive... it's certainly better than any X11 environment on a 486 or first generation Pentium 90.

He also shouldn't be blaming the Finder beachballs on NeXT either. Finder is based on a carbonized version of the old Mac OS Finder. The NeXT file manager is multithreaded and handles resource contention well, and rarely beachballs even under heavy use. Finder is still as messed up as it ever was on OS 9.
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resuna
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh god...

They should have used X11. Before you scream, let me explain: Of course I am not talking about exposing arcane APIs like Xlib or Xt, or going anywhere near obsolete junk like Athena or Motif. I am talking about interoperability on a network, based on open standards. The system should not care on which computer a program runs and on which display the windows show. The network is a shared resource on which programs and data should move freely, in the sense of Sun's old battle cry "the network is the computer". And X11 including OpenGL and other more modern developments is the only open standard that can ensure that.

The system they started with supports remote network access at least as well as X11, and is less impacted by latency. If they were interested in providing that kind of remote network access to applications they could have done it with NeXTstep. I don't agree with all their reasons for taking the remote display out, but I strongly suspect that the low bandwidth and high latency you get over the network meant that using OpenGL as extensively as they did would simply have been impossible. Even PCI isn't really fast enough for Quartz.

I've run OS X with Quartz Extreme enabled over a PCI bus, and the bus was so choked with traffic that I had to switch from my 10/100 ethernet card on the PCI bus to the onboard 10 megabit interface... unless you're using a gigabit network with cut-through switching and no routing you just don't have the bandwidth to support the user interface.

OpenGL extensions to X11 let you get some of the same kinds of capabilities for applications that talk OpenGL directly... but can you do it over the network with anything like reasonable performance, if at all?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
They should have used X11.


I have to agree with this statement and most of the comments in the GUI section. Remote-displayed X11 apps are never quite as responsive as local ones but cricially they are far more responsive than VNC. I remote display Mozilla and Gimp onto my Mac mini and most of the time their performance is very acceptable.

I just wish that Aqua was built on X11 so that I can remote display an Aqua app onto an Linux machine. Even remote displaying an app from an Xserve onto another Mac would be a move in the right direction.

Mac OS X is the best desktop around - but Apple really could benefit from embracing Open Source and Open Standards more. These two, and fully integrating X11, are probably the three biggest barriers to getting more people to switch from Linux and Unix.
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resuna
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kuro wrote:
Remote-displayed X11 apps are never quite as responsive as local ones but cricially they are far more responsive than VNC. I remote display Mozilla and Gimp onto my Mac mini and most of the time their performance is very acceptable.
You do know you can run X11 apps on your Mac Mini, right?

I don't see how they could have built Aqua on top of X11. They would at the very least have had to write and publish a Postscript- or PDF- based extension to X11, like the Display Postscript on the NeXT but without the ruinous license fees Adobe demanded, and for you to get any benefit from THAT on your Linux box they'd have to donate the code to XOpen or X.Org or someone. They might have been able to build it on top of Fiesta/Berlin but the timelines were way off even when it looked like that had a chance of actually turning into a product.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using SUSE 9 with KDE for the past two years. I'm looking forward to getting a mini and putting my Linux days behind me. To be honest, I've grown tired of the Linux community.
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rosco
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kuro wrote:
Quote:
They should have used X11.


I have to agree with this statement and most of the comments in the GUI section. Remote-displayed X11 apps are never quite as responsive as local


I run Gimp on my Mini under X11, it's no drama at all. Even a Linux reject like me can do it.

I don't understand why you'd want to run it remotely, but maybe that's just me...
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idek
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several reasons why I am still a bit dissapointed with the mac, to elaborate more....

There are small things, like not having any ergonomic keyboards with the mac keys, not a big deal, but for a company that prides itself on such design skills, they missed the boat there.

One of the things I hate most about windows is all the *magic* where stuff happens and you have no idea what it's doing, or how to fix it when it doesn't work. That's what I like about linux, you can get in there and see what's going on, though some times you'd rather not. Well I was hoping to get more of the linux side of things here. But I get folders that show up only in the finder and not the terminal, and other folders that show up in the terminal but not in the finder, WTF!?

I think my biggest problem is that I'm not used to the mac, I'm getting better at it, I think I was just hoping the learning curve would be less steep because of my linux experience.

oh well
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resuna
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

idek wrote:
But I get folders that show up only in the finder and not the terminal, and other folders that show up in the terminal but not in the finder, WTF!?
The Finder doesn't normally show hidden files (but then neither does the Gnome file manager), but so far as I know there's no files that show up in Finder that you can't "cd" to or "ls".

So... WTF?
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