Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Planning to switch to a Macbook Pro and OSX

I'm still using my HP HDX 18 notebook, it is 3 years old now. And last year I bought a Macbook Pro 13 for my wife, ever since that time I felt pure envy. So I decided to buy a Macbook Pro 17 to myself when the Pre-2012 versions become available.

Because I hate using two operating systems at the same time (aka dual boot) I need to decide which operating system I should use, Ubuntu or OSX. So I thought listing what I like and hate will help to choose one.

What I like about MBP and OSX:
  • The build quality of Macbooks are incredible.
  • Multi-touch trackpad is awesome. After using my wifes macbook pro a couple of minutes and switch back to mine, I still tend to keep scrolling with two fingers (very intuitive), which is obviously not working.
  • OSX has better support to MBP hardware (arguable)
  • You can get more juice out of your battery (even with powertop and custom hacks under linux you get around 6 hours where as you get 7-10 hours in OSX)
  • Wake up and sleep are incredible, still can not believe how fast it sleeps and wakes up (inevitable)
  • Native gamma adjustment tool is incredible, still can not get correct gamma response under linux with the only tool for me is nvidia control panel (need more r&d on this subject)
  • All Adobe programs (Photoshop and Lightroom mostly) are working natively (but I need to state that I hate Adobe), using alternatives like Gimp sometimes doesn't satisfy your needs as CMYK files can not be read in Gimp and trying to give a chance to Wine will leave you with no pressure sensitivity under PS CS 5, CS3 works fine though and for Bibble, eventough their creative photo retouching tools are absolutely better than Lightroom (I think it is because Lightroom doesn't want to step into Photoshop's shoes) I'm still not liking the vibrance tool in bibble (it is more or less like saturation where it should not change the skin colors) and the performance in linux compared to windows is very slow.
  • Diablo III will work natively under OSX where as under linux the only chance to get this adorable piece of art to work is Wine, although wine is very nice and most of the time smooth, running a windows program with wine is not comparable to running it nativeley under OSX (I wouldn't think that I was going to say that I'm liking an os because of a game but it is true I'm very excited about Diablo III)
  • OSX is based on FreeBSD, so you will feel at home with the terminal and shell commands
  • It has the same tools with linux like rsync so my backup script will still going to work (o-oh I forgot that OSX doesn't support ext4 and my external backup drive is using EXT4, so I need to convert it to EXT2 or HFS or something else)
  • space/preview is working adorably (Gnome-Sushi is not working that flawless)
  • drag&drop was not so fun before
  • The way that the applications are installed and placed on a consistent place (/Applicatons)
  • Pycharm and WingIDE are working in the same way as they are in linux.
What I don't like about MBP and OSX:
  • No numeric pad, so it seems that I need to get use to it (no deal breaker)
  • Houdini under OSX doesn't support Qt and PyQt4, at least I couldn't manage to run it, even though I compiled the Qt, Sip and PyQt4 against houdini's python 2.6 (this was the deal breaker for me, when I was trying to finish a project on a Mac Pro and OSX, where in the middle of the night I installed Ubuntu and 30 minutes later of my switch I was working happily under linux with everything working smoothly)
  • Another for Qt, compiling it for Maya 2012 OSX and then writing a bash script to link all the dylibs to Nuke's Qt libs took like 3-4 days to figure out, where as under linux it is enough to copy the PyQt4 folder and the Sip related files to nukes site-packages folder, and as I mentioned before Qt is not working for Houdini OSX (may be I'm missing something).
  • No apt_get, this is a horrible deal breaker, I heard about macports, but they say that time to time it will leave you with broken packages where you can't downgrade nor upgrade.
  • The OSX community is not very technical compared to linux (though there are very successful open source package developers who are using OSX), it becomes very important if you try to build a pipeline over the three operating systems and can not find a solution for something very simple.
  • Application based alt+tab switching still confuses me how do you switch between windows of the same program, expose? (but I've liked the gnome-shell implementation, where you can use the arrow key after alt+tab while holding alt key) As Chris has pointed using command+~ (tilde) switches between the windows of the same application and I found that using command+tab and arrow keys shows the preview of the windows of the chosen application, so I think I'm going to be fine when I start using osx, apparently it the lack of information that hardens my experience in osx. 
  • May be I'm missing something but why the green plus button on the tittle bar is not maximizing the window to the screen sometimes. Seems that it is fixed or working as predicted in OSX Lion.
On the other hand, there are couple of things annoying me in linux:
  • like the high cpu usage bug which is still not solved for the last 3 years I was in the linux world
  • I slowly started to feel tired about always fixing something
  • It started to feel like it is not complete as a package
  • Applications are spread out all over the system, you can find things installed under /usr, /usr/local, /usr/local/share, /usr/share, /opt/, /var, /var/local, /var/opt etc.
  • still can not solve the Samba speed issue, and NFS is using UTF-8 in Linux and ANSI in Windows, so having a windows server with NFS, any Turkish characters in the filenames (which means that I need to kill somebody by the way) will leave you with a file name with "?" characters in the best condition.
  • others mentioned above
But I need to state that I'm in love with Ubuntu and if I finally decide to switch to OSX completely, it is going to be like tearing my heart off, if I will not turn back in 2 weeks.

But change is good time to time. So it seems like I'm going to give another chance to OSX besides, it was Houdini who made me left OSX before ;)

posted from Bloggeroid


Drew Whitehouse said...

Re: macports, try "brew", it seems to work better. Make sure that, as they recommend, /usr/local is owned by you, no more sudo for installing.


Good luck, I have both Mac and Linux for Houdini, and
I probably use Mac 95% time now.

Chris Lesage said...

In MacOS CMD-tilde (~) switches between windows of the same app. Or did you mean Linux? (I mimic this in Windows as well using VistaSwitcher.)

Ozgur said...

Thanks Chris it really works, also found that using cmd+tab and arrow keys shows the previews of the windows of the same application, I think I'm going to be ok after I start using osx, but need to learn the shortcuts...