Monday, January 08, 2007

1 year of mac mini - the deception point

I am less enthusiastic about the Apple experience than I was one year ago.

I am quite enthusiastic with the hardware in general, except the keyboard. The computer is small and quiet, and there are not many competitors at this price on the market.

Experience as a developer
I feel frustrated with MacOs X as a development environment, when compared with Ubuntu Linux. I always miss the multiple desktop, despite expose magnificient look. The standard behaviour for the terminal, bash, vim, etc. are more convenient in Linux. Installing software and updates is much more convenient on Linux thanks to the open source repositories.  The key bindings for special characters is awful for a programmer on the Apple keyboard,  because non standard, and not even written on the keyboard. Installing linux on a mac mini intel is not trivial, but I am considering it seriously.

Experience as audio/web user

No particular complaint about the web, but I use Firefox instead of Safari, because of Firefox Adblock extension. Chat works well, Skype is ok. There are sometimes problems with bluetooth audio for  Skype that, I think, are related to MacOs.
Audio is good too, I end up finding iTunes ok to use, it is fast enough to manipulate 100GB of songs. But I don't use any fancy feature, except cd-burning. It makes a good jukebox, and the remote is handy, but not terrific (any wireless keyboard would do in the PC world, for 90% of the cases).
Photo is not great, I don't like iPhoto that much (especially when compared to Picasa). iPhoto is quite slow for me (and I have 2gb of RAM). I found it a pain to install TheGimp on MacOs, not knowing which X server to use. Photoshop is still not compiled for intel, and dog slow on my mac mini.
Page is not great either. It does render beautiful letters, but overall I don't find it very usable compared to more standard software like OpenOffice, and it's time limited!

Overall I think I would not buy a Mac again if comparable PC hardware exists. MacOs is not a bad OS, but I prefer Ubuntu Linux. If you don't use or like Linux then is really Vista worse? I don't think so.


  1. Fabrizio GiudiciJanuary 08, 2007 4:54 PM

    I understand this is a matter of taste, but after 1.5 years of Mac OS X (MacBook Pro and MacMini) I'm happy of the switch and I feel I work much better even in comparison with Ubuntu.

    For what concerns your missing points, you an easily fix them. For instance, use VirtueDesktop for virtual desktops (in any case this feature will be integrated with Leopard). For photos, if you don't do pixel manipulation but only colors, cropping, etc... give Adobe Lightroom a try (it's still beta and free, but it works fine and it's Intel native).

  2. I would recommend GIMPShop as the mac port of GIMP. Is free, and very easy to setup: