For years now, I have been ragging on Microsoft. “They suck.” “They are a monopoly.” “They put out products that are 'good enough.' They are good enough to go to market but crappy enough that once you start using them they crash and then poor folk can pay money for the upgrade.” You get the idea.
I have been slowly, over the past 5-10 years moving my life out of a Microsoft-centric world and into a Unix-centric world. While I can do most everything in the universe on Unix (write code and documents, browse the web, instant messaging, edit photos, listen to music, etc.) there are a few things that are an absolute pain in the ass. File sharing between computers has gotten easier in the past few years, thanks to the Samba project. Printer sharing is a pain in the ass, and it seems that every time I get it working perfectly, Debian comes out with an update that wants to overwrite my config files, so I have to manually merge changes in. While The Gimp is a good photo editor that really wants to be Photoshop, I am much more proficient with Photoshop because I know the menus, keyboard hotkeys, and concepts better. Do not even think of video editing on Unix. While the tools exist, they are the video equivalent of crayons. I can write documents in Unix, but when it comes to a more layout-centric desktop publishing task, forget it. There is nothing like Pagemaker on Unix.
My home network consists of a bunch of Unix machines and a single Windows machine (that has the monitor turned off most of the time). Well, Kate has a Windows box that shares the printer and such, but I am not counting that. The Windows box acts as a big fat hard drive, a printer, and a jukebox. Occasionally, I will need to do a bit more like graphics or video editing or printing a flier or something. Most of the time, it sits dormant. This really bugs me because as much as I hate Windows and Microsoft, this “hub” machine runs it. I have tried Linux, Lindows, and all sorts of Unix-y alternatives that will run on the same hardware, but they all suck for what I want this to do.
So, I have been talking about OS X forever. I downloaded and read the brief technical overviews. I have started reading the 300+ page architecture document (one of the first recommended documents for programmers). I have the O'Reilly “OS X for Unix Geeks” book.
Today, I took the plunge. I put my money where my mouth is. I bought a low-end iMac desk lamp computer. It arrives in two days and will be replacing the Intel Windows box, for better or for worse. If things go well (on the iMac front and on the keeping employed front), I may pick up an iBook or a Titanium PowerBook in another 6 months to a year.