Share This:

I first got into Macs when I bought a used iBook from a friend. I had played around with previous versions of the mac operating system going back to the original Macintosh. I did not like the OS. It was not terrible. It just was not anything like anything else I used. it was nothing like the CMS command line on the mainframe. There was no obvious command line way to do anything. To eject a disk from the disk drive you dragged the icon to the trash icon, which I did not know until after I had taken the computer apart to get the disk out. I had considered that, but has decided that would erase / format the disk, not delete it. That was the logical action to me.


I had at that time been reading all about the wonders of OS.X. The way that Apple has basically started over. Started with BSD at the core, wrapping in bits from Next, and building a whole new thing. A UNIX OS with a better GUI than anything else out there at the time. A low hurdle


Still, I figured it was worth the risk. It was UNIX. I knew that OS. There was an obvious command line. UNIX commands worked mostly like they should, as long as I remembered to do BSD style versions, not ATT System V style. Over time I learned the GUI, and when I was stuck trying to do something, it was easy to open the Terminal and do something. In some ways, mass moves and the like are still easier there. Unlike many, my path in to OS.X was not iPods, iPhones, or iPads. It was that I was comfortable with the core operating system.


The iBook was nice hardware. It was the first Apple product that I liked the design of. Personal opinion. I know. The iBook that was a clamsheel before it was cute, but it did not make me personally want it.


I did not like the iBook keyboard all that much, but other than that it was good hardware, Power PC CPU and all. My next Mac was a 15" Intell based Macbook with a stamped Aluminum case. Backlit keys. Nice screen. Fabulous keyboard. Everything I did not like about the iBook was fixed here, and I liked OS.X enough by then that between it and Linux, my house was emptied of MS Windows computers, one by one. If I needed a simple GUI, I had the mac. if I needed the power and flexibility, I had Linux. One by one my family members got Macs of their own. Even my extended family. My current personal unit is the 11" Air, and I like this computer better than any hardware I have ever had.


But all of that is personal use, and that is the key to this post. Mac's are creeping in to offices from the people in. Corporate IT departments, with years and years of managing MS Windows, and trying to decide if they need to support a Linux desktop or not are facing the fact that, while they weren't looking, a UNIX computer crept in from a different quarter of the field. Unlike the UNIX like Linux, this was real UNIX. BSD.


There are a thousand reasons why this happened, and it is not my intention here to talk about all of them. Rather, this is "Adventures in Linux" and since 2003 I have been talking here about using Linux as a full replacement for MS Windows, in what is largely an MS Windows infrastructure based world. With Linux there were and are ways to cope with the essentially closed standards world of MS Windows, and Apple has taught OS.X some of them. Part of it came about when Apple actually bought CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) and continued developing it not just for OS.X, but most all its UNIX predecessors. There is even an MS Windows version. CUPS solved one of the major adoption roadblocks for UNIX: Making it easy to Print. Seems easy now. Used to be so very very hard.


Everything I learned over the years from being a Linux desktop person in an MS Windows world (Still am: Fedora 17 Beta spun up right over there.) has applied to the Mac. In many ways its easier on the Mac, because there are things like MS Messenger, to talk to MS Communicator based colleagues. Office 2011 brings MS Word and MS Excel, in addition to being able to deal with those document formats with OpenOffice and LibreOffice downloads.


Google Chrome and Firefox are here, in addition to the Safari browser from Apple. Other browsers are Opera and Camino and SeaMonkey. If you don't know SeaMonkey, but remember Netscape and Mozilla's application suites, this is that made modern.


Flash can be installed, and Java is already available (though there are some issues around the versions lagging current a bit)


So, coming up soon will be a diversion from Linux (though Fedora 17 will be coming in for a post soon) as I look at using a Mac desktop in an MS Windows world.