20 July 2003

Making the Mac Switch

I'm composing this item on my new toy. After a few days of fuddling with Mac OS X, I am wowed - it is both elegant and functional, even if I am still stumbling with some of the quirky obstacles for someone new to Macs.

I've never enjoyed working on a laptop computer, but this one is pure joy. It weighs less than some frisbees I used to toss around, and even without a mouse that was a requirement with other notebooks I've used, I've found the track pad to be remarkably responsive unlike the Dells and other Win-tel notebooks I've fumbled with.

The mail application included, thus far, seems to be an answer to my epic search for a simple mail client that eloquently performed and included a display presentation that made sense. I loathe all of the mail clients on the market today - MS Outlook, Navigator Composer, Pegasus, Eudora, Emacs, etc. all have their pluses, but are deficient in some key respect. So, I've managed with web mail, or my own python POP mail scripts or simply reading it on the server.

But the big bonus discovery was the ease in which I could get GNU Linux software up and running in short order. Two painless downloads, point and click to install, and then I had the Apple X11 environment operational. From there, I downloaded and installed Fink, a Mac OS X package manager that simplifies software package management by indexing available packages and automatically sorting out the dependencies. Thus, all I have to do is issue a simple command (or use the GUI Fink Commander utility) to install desired goodies like The Gimp, Freeciv and any other Linux/Unix piece of software.
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