I’ve been working on setting up a new macbook to function as a desktop replacement machine. My current desktop machine is a hodgepodge of hardware, all getting old, running centos 4. I don’t have strong requirements for a desktop machine, I do most of my work on server machines, so I mostly just need something that can handle a few dozen terminals and browser tabs. The macbook, with 2 processors and 2 gb ram doubles up my desktop, so I figured I’d give it a spin. (Note, I’m sort of an anti-apple guy; the last apple hardware I owned was my folks IIGS, but given I’m familiar with Solaris/(Redhat|Debian|Slackware)Linux/Windows/BSD, I figured adding OSX into the mix wasn’t a bad idea) Step one is of course to get the essentials needed to maintain productivity. I was surprised how little effort this took. Adium (IM client, which I think is a poor mans Gaim, but it’s the mac fav), Viscosity (VPN), Firefox (there are a couple of plugins I want that make Safari inconvenient), and Git (for side projects). One big concern I had was that I’m a big fan of remote X apps, and I’d heard of this being a problem for OSX, but this “just worked” for me, which I was very happy about. It’s interesting to me that my list is so short. There are actually several things I will probably want to install in the next few weeks, but I’ve put them off for now. I actually haven’t installed Postgres yet, that will probably come soon, along with Apache, but those aren’t immediate requirements. Luckily, we use Zimbra at work (there’s a phrase you don’t hear often), which means I can just use web email/calendaring for now; but I’ll want to configure mail.app before too long. I’m also missing gvim a little, and I’m sure there will be some other things, but for now I am ok. Of course there are some things I don’t like, though a fair amount of that is just unfamiliarity with the platform. I really miss right-click; I miss re-sizing windows from any side (rather than just the bottom corner), and the macbook keyboard misses some important keys I’ve become accustomed too (page up/down, delete vs. backspace) and it’s mouse is an awkward combination of button and trackpad (rather than separate buttons and trackpad). I think people used to argue that these were better from a usability standpoint, but the common practice is against it, and I wish Apple would get on board. Another issue I have is cycling between windows and tabs within applications, which is not as smooth as it is in Linux; I chalk that up to Linux users higher level of disdain for the mouse than OSX users, but hopefully I can configure my way out of it. On a final note, a lot of people talk about their love of the mac hardware. I find this to have both upside and downside. The hardware is nice by itself, but the ways it fits with osx is great. I think Linux apps are better in general than what you get with OSX (and they’re free), but from what I’ve heard, the suspend/hibernate interaction isn’t as good, and you end up tripping over some little things like that that make this just not quite as enjoyable.