A new PC, and I’ve gone “Mac” for this one
Posted by markharrison on February 14, 2008
I pity Microsoft at the moment – Vista is being poorly received by the lucrative corporate market and their latest debacle (in failing to release SP1 to IT professionals ahead of the general consumer launch, preventing IT support firms being able to give their clients any sensible assessment of the product) seems to be alienating the important IT support market.
For a long time, my servers have been running on Ubuntu, which is combining excellent stability, low cost of ownership (it runs very well on older hardware), and minimal support burden. This is true for both FabInsurance.com , which runs a high-availability Ubuntu cluster, and for YourPropertyExpert.com / YourNegotiationExpert.com which run on a single server.
However, for the third time in as many months, my “trusty” Dell Laptop refused to boot on Sunday, so I took the plunge, and bought a Mac Mini at the Apple store in Bluewater. (As ever, the Dell came back to life without explanation on Monday morning, but I need a reliable machine!)
The only bad things I’d been hearing about Apple were from people who complained about the price – and they inevitably had no experience of the machines, other than to refuse to buy them.
Increasingly, I’m seeing my IT friends move away from Windows on the desktop, either to Ubuntu desktop or to Macs.
I already HAVE an Ubuntu desktop machine – the children use it for web surfing, and it is very, very, stable.
However, I wanted to try the “third way”, so I could have an informed opinion, so I spent a few hundred quid on an entry level Mac, and I have to say, I’m very, very, impressed.
In terms of applications, most of what I want to do these days is web-application based – I read my mail in Google Mail, I read my Blogs in Google Reader – so any of the big three would have coped with 90% of my requirement.
In terms of office suites, again little to chose – I have OpenOffice.org on both Windows and Ubuntu, and the Mac variant, NeoOffice.org shows how amazingly good “free” software is these days. (I’ve written before about the economics of free software.)
Some of the things that needed extra software in Windows are “just there” in MacOSX – an SSL client a VNC client are part of the standard Leopard install. Unless you’re an IT person, you may not need either of these, but I’m still CTO of a couple of startups, so I do 🙂
So, the combination of Ubuntu servers with Mac desktop seems to work very, very, well.
Update: OK, there appears to be an “issue” between Safari (the standard Mac web browser) and wordpress.com, which means that blog posts lose line breaks. Installing Firefox seems to have fixed this problem 🙂