I am wondering if I am turning into a Mac Fanboi…

I recently bought my first Apple computer (I don’t really include iPods or iPads as computers), in the form of a 13″ MacBook Pro.  This purchase came shortly before the release of Ubuntu GNU/Linux 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat), of which more later.  Over the years, I’ve had computers running Windows 3.1, 95, 2000, Me, XP, Vista (possibly my least favourite) and most recently Windows 7.  Since about 2000, I have been using Linux, starting with an ancient version of Red Hat, then Mandriva, and for some years now, Ubuntu.  In fact I’ve rarely used Windows except for specific applications in several years now.  The Windows 7 desktop PC was bought and promptly set up to dual boot; the Vista notebook (a Sony Vaio) was so woefully underpowered for Vista that it was first used as dual boot with Ubuntu, then the Vista partition scrubbed.

The trigger for this purchase was my experience giving a presentation at a conference recently.  I had an 8 minute (!) presentation to give: this was straightforward, except I wanted to include a brief video.  My Linux notebook running OpenOffice.org flat refused to project the video, using Powerpoint 2003 via Crossover Office, I couldn’t even embed the video.  Switching to my Windows 7 desktop PC and its trial version of Office 2007, I was delighted to be able to embed the video and get it to function.

Of course I needed to check the presentation at the conference.  Powerpoint 2003 on an XP machine wouldn’t run it.  Powerpoint 2007 on the projection system wouldn’t run it.  Powerpoint 2008 on the Mac presentation system wouldn’t run it.  This was less than 24h before I was to deliver the presentation.  I ended up processing the video on the Linux notebook and regenerating the presentation on Mac Powerpoint 2008.  Nerves of steel I do not have, so this was undesirable pressure.

I’ve had the MacBook Pro for a little over a fortnight now: other than iWork (which I obtained at a significant reduction), all the software I’ve installed has been open source: Firefox, Chrome, GIMP, Inkscape, Mendeley, OpenOffice.org, and FileZilla to name a few, thereby recapitulating quite neatly my experiences with Linux.  The hardware and build quality of the MacBook is second to none (it’s annoying to have to buy an adapter to make a presentation, but the power brick is so small as to be genuinely portable).

In the meantime, I’ve updated a venerable Sony notebook and a Dell desktop to Ubuntu GNU/Linux 10.10, with no issues.  No astonishingly obvious changes visible so far.  Gnome-Do doesn’t seem to play with Docky; the Ubuntu Software Centre is a bit easier to use (but I don’t use that very often); Trash is renamed “Rubbish Bin” in dialogues, but not on the desktop.  I dare say a bunch of other stuff will become evident in the coming weeks.