About a week ago, my desktop machine was driving me crazy because I couldn’t comfortably work on anything other than NetBSD and pkgsrc themselves. With “other work” I’m referring to Boost.Process and, most importantly, university assignments. Given my painless experience with the iBook G4 laptop I’ve had for around a year, I was decided to replace the desktop machine with a Mac—most likely a brand-new iMac 20"—to run Mac OS X on top of it exclusively—OK, OK, alongside Windows XP to satisfy the eventual willingness to play some games.
Before making a final decision, I installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS a few days ago on the desktop machine—an Athlon XP 2600+ with 1 GB of RAM, a couple of hard disks (80 and 120 GBs) and a GeForce 6600GT—so that I could focus on my tasks in the meantime. I had already used Ubuntu it in the past but not as my primary system, and I must confess it has impressed me a lot. Given this, the fact that my machine can’t be considered old yet, that I already own a 20" screen and, of course, the price, I’m reconsidering the decision to buy the iMac.
Canonical is doing a good job at developing a desktop operating system that just works for most, if not all, of the common end-user needs; that should be the definition of a desktop OS, shouldn’t it? Sure, they are using components available everywhere else (modulo some custom changes) such as Debian GNU/Linux, the GNOME Desktop and an assorted set of related utilities. This, alongside the huge package repositories of Debian, provides a system with a lot of ready-to-install software that is useful to lots of people. Even more, the system itself requires few maintenance as most of it is completely automated.
That’s enough for the introduction. I would like now to compare Mac OS X Tiger against Ubuntu 6.06 LTS to see how they stack up to each other. Given that there are several aspects I want to cover in detail, I’ll be unleashing them in the following days instead of posting them all in a single message; that’ll hopefully be easier to digest. Just keep in mind that I’m speaking based on my experiences so that some comments may be subjective. I also hope that these essays will make me take a final decision of what to do with the machine I currently have! ;-)