Michelle Chen 技術雜談:Why and Why Not Macbook from a Linuxer's Perspective

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Mac OS X is a variant of BSD Unix and Macbook becomes popular among Unix/Linux users. Many developers choose Macbook as their development platform as this artile says. This article tells you the pros and cons of Macbook from a Linuxer's perspective.

The the Unix side of Macbook:

  • Shells are choosable and configurable, e.g. Bash or Zsh.
  • No ttys. Access the shell from a terminal emulator like iTerm 2.
  • No package management software like yum or apt. However, Homebrew are available as a third-party solution. The packages of Homebrew are numerous.
  • Most commands are available but parameters are different. Alternatively, you can install GNU tools via Homebrew.
  • There are some examples in BSD-style mangages, good for learning.
  • It's easy installing the packages or modules of various programming languages like Perl, Python, Ruby, and Node.js. Just a command from the end-user's view.
  • The system management are totally different between GNU/Linux and OS X. Much less configurable /etc/something in OS X.

The pros:

  • More commercial software on OS X than on GNU/Linux. For example, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe Photoshop.
  • Long battery life. 6 hours or more.
  • Awesome touchpad.
  • No driver headache.
  • Windows is available through Bootcamp, Parallels Desktop, or Virtualbox.

The cons:

  • The choices of hardwares are limiting. For instance, Apple adapts ATI graphic cards in recent models, so good-bye CUDA. Some good alternatives are the laptops of Dell or HP.
  • The C/P of Macbook is not good if all you need is the Unix part.