...and I mean that in a bad way.
I was issued a Macbook Pro when I started work, and I've been using it pretty regularly for the past few months. I had a choice of either a Macbook or a Thinkpad, and I chose the former because I hoped that it would be a more "real" Unix than Cygwin under Windows.
And the friction's certainly less than it would be under Cygwin. Just off the top of my head:
- The OS X filesystem behaves like a real Unix filesystem, so you don't have to remember a mental mapping between native filesystem paths and paths as seen by your *nix applications (as you would under Cygwin).
- Fink's package management tool more closely resembles apt or yum, and is therefore easier to use, than Cygwin's GUI package browser.
- Fink includes ports of most big complex *nix software packages, whereas KDE (for example) simply isn't stable under Cygwin yet.
- Xquartz "rootless" window mode works better than Cygwin's XFree86 (although Reflection X, if you're willing to pay for it, is better than either).
Still, there are a few nagging issues that make OS X distinctly inferior to a native Linux installation:
- Copy and paste between native ("Aqua") applications and X applications is spotty to nonexistent. Googling reveals at least one tip for working around the problem --- keep xclipboard perpetually open --- but I don't want to keep an extra app open just to make my clipboard work.
- Option-tab switching among X applications and native OS X applications is broken. The Quartz window manager just doesn't raise X applications to the front when you Command-Tab to them. You have to Command-Tab to X11, and then Command-backquote to cycle among X11 windows. Extremely disruptive to my workflow. Exposé only partly compensates for this problem.
- I cannot figure out any combination of Xquartz, Xmodmap, System Preferences -> Keyboard, KDE Control Center, and xemacs/init.el settings that makes the Command key behave like Meta in XEmacs and Alt in KDE applications. Through some twiddling, I have managed to map Option to Alt and Command to Meta, but it's pretty annoying to switch between using Option-[key] under Konsole and Command-[key] under XEmacs.
- There is no insert key, which makes Shift-Insert (a common keyboard shortcut for "Paste") impossible.
Rumor has it that some of the above problems may go away if I install a different X server, but I suspect that doing so will merely cause other things to break.
Anyway, don't get me wrong, the Macbook is a very nice machine: it's fast, it's well-designed (except for the single mouse button and lack of Trackpoint pointing device), it's sturdy, and the UI is pretty. But I was hoping that the Macbook would be strictly superior to Linux on my old Thinkpad --- that I'd have everything I used to have, plus some additional nice stuff --- and that's not the case. My next personal workstation will most likely be a Linux box, like the main workstation in my office at work.