Sunday, November 9, 2008

Getting a Macbook Pro

I ordered a Macbook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008, MB471xx/A) this week after much deliberation. As much as it might surprise some people, this is not the first Apple computer that I've bought. I had previously bought one of the clam shelled candy colored one for my wife when she was in school, but I promptly sold it after she graduated. Apple machines and software was simply not interesting to me and the premium for their stuff was never something I was willing to pay. Even now, I wouldn't consider getting a Mac as a desktop system.

What made me initially consider getting a MBP wasn't because of the Apple name or its software. The software that I primarily use are all equal or better on Window or Linux. What got me interested was that it can run many open source Unix software on a laptop. Basically, the BSD component of OSX was what made a MBP even worth considering.

Still, it was a hefty price to pay a notebook for something that I mostly do on my Linux or Windows desktop and I would still have to keep my Windows machine around for the things that weren't available on OSX. The subsequent release of Bootcamp (update for SP3), Parallels and VMWare fusion suddenly made the possibility of reducing the physical machines I have by one by running Windows on the MBP natively or through a virtual machine. Add to the fact that my current machine is over 3 years old, it was starting to make more economic sense.

At work, I was given a MBP so I've been able to use it for a few months and see how I liked it. OSX is nice but has its annoyances like Windows does and as a desktop OS, I feel no urge to replace Windows with it. What I love is a good UNIX laptop that can also be a desktop replacement when needed.

In the end, I decided to go ahead and get the MBP. It gives me a new gadget to learn and play with. This process reminded me of the early days of Linux where the distros made it really easy to install Linux on an existing Windows machine and that helped ease adoption (well, a little opposite since its Window on Mac instead of Linux on Windows). It's just too bad that there isn't a more widely supported Linux notebook.

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