Will my ibook, Running Mac OSX Shame my Linux Laptop?

by Steve Mallett

While at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference I fell in love with the MacIntosh ibook. I felt slightly ashamed. I've been telling everyone that Linux runs great on my laptop, it does, & that they should try it too. I tried to suppress my desire for the ibook. I lost.

While at the conference I tried my hardest to get a wireless connection going. Everyone around me was hooked up, surfing, emailing, blogging, irc'ing while at the conference. In the conferences, at tutorials, during keynote speeches. How arcane, I thought, I was not connected. I had to stick to listening to what the presenters were saying. Ok, that's joke. I wanted on the network. Bad.

I don't count myself as a serious hacker. I'm an above joe-average guy using linux as my OS & love using open source. So, I did what joe-average guys do who want to figure something out. No, I didn't get someone else to do it for me. I read the manual, howtos, and bought a 'wireless networking' book to coach me through. Four days later I was still out in the cold.

I spoke of my envy for the ibook to a colleague there who nodded his head and spoke the no more truer words quoting Larry Wall, "Easy things should be easy and hard things should be possible." Amen.

Surely a wireless connection should be somewhere between easy and possible, I thought.

So, I fibbed a bit. At the end of the conference I did ask a guy to see what he could do to get my wireless working. Hey, I needed to make sure I was't doing *something* stupid that was getting in the way of my linux-lappy and wireless nirvana. "Ah ha," he exclaimed, "this isn't working." Ok, I wasn't stunned. That took some of the sting out of my cable-tethered wound.

After getting home & looking into my wireless predicament I've come to realize that it is just plain difficult. It is possible though. Others have done it and I'm sure it will get easier. However; the ibook had shown me the way. I hope.

Mine should arrive today. I ordered it on my last day of the conference. I'm going to delve into its mysterious ways of running FreeBSD (Darwin & open source) under that slick GUI (I'm not sure that this is open source). If it is the darling that everyone else claims it is & it looks like it is, this will be my new recommendation to people who want to take a first plunge into the open source world.

Let's find out...

Will my open source side be disappointed or exuberant?


2002-06-07 10:04:12
I love my iBook. You will find yourself getting into all sorts of new things (from digital photography to Swing programming). Because it makes the difficult possible.
2003-12-31 07:22:53
I have also recently switched from a Linux laptop (Dell 600m) to a Mac (PowerBook G4). It has been about one Week now and I am still trying to get used to the high level of abstraction that makes the Mac environment so user friendly. Thankfully I still have a similar UNIX style command prompt. Physically the PB is built well, much more strudy and mobile then my previous Dell. I hope as the author does, that my Mac will indeed shame my Linux laptop. So far so good however, I have not yet fallen in "love" with my little PowerBook as so many other Apple owners exclaim. Hopefully that day will come when I tell others "I am a Mac user" as proudly as "I am a Linux user".