Presenting Mac OS X

by James Duncan Davidson

I've added a new presentation to my repertoire: "Mac OS X, Why the Alpha Geeks are Using It." It's an obvious tip of the hat to Tim O'Reilly's thoughts on OS X, with a focus on showing to people why OS X works for Unix weenies and giving a hands on exploration of the system.

At this last weekend's Rocky Mountain Software Symposium in Denver, I gave this talk to a pretty sizeable group of people. Questions ranged all over the map, but included:

  • Does emacs run on it? (yes, it comes with)

  • How about vi? (yep)

  • SSH? (yep)

  • X windows? (yep, you gotta get it separately though)

  • vim? (compiles fine)

  • Do you really use it as your primary machine? (yes)

  • Is it stable? (yes, runs 24/7 on it)

The part of the talk that always gets a lot of applause is when I show top and point out Microsoft PowerPoint running as a process. Where else can you see that?

But the most telling part is how I spent the last 15 minutes of the presentation. I was answering questions about what my recommendations were for hardware configurations. They boiled down to:

  • How fast should I get? (as fast as possible)

  • No, but really, what's the minimum? (600Mhz, in my opinion even though my PowerBook is a 400)

  • How much memory? (348 is where things get smooth, I use 640MB on the laptop, 1.5GB on the desktop)

  • What kind of hard drives? (ide, get whatever you want)

Obviously, people are looking to buy. I wish I knew how many Macs I've helped sell over the last few years, but I know its a fair number at this point.