[Gllug] OT: Mac OS X for a linux user

John Edwards john at cornerstonelinux.co.uk
Thu Sep 7 10:21:06 UTC 2006

On Thu, Sep 07, 2006 at 04:42:23AM +0200, salsaman wrote:
> Jack Bertram wrote:
>> I am vaguely considering moving off my current two-home machine setup (1
>> Linux for everyday; 1 Windows for Microsoft Office/Money) to a single
>> iMac 24" - basically to save space.  I'd migrate all my email to my
>> linux hosted server.
>> Has anyone used OS X in anger? 


>> Is it sufficiently linux-like that I'd be at home with it?

Probably, see below.

>> Does running CrossoverMac work well?

Pass, I've not used it. But Microsoft Office and Money are available 
for OS X, though I do not use them either.

>> Can you run the normal X or Gnome programs that I'm familiar with
>> on the desktop without fiddling too much?

Yes, with Mac Ports (was Darwin Ports). See below.

>> As a veteran CLI user, it's a slightly scary prospect moving to Mac but
>> it might be worth it for the gorgeous screen and the lack of boxes under
>> the table...

> You can always run a dual boot on it. It should be even easier now that 
> Mac has gone OSX based.
> Back when Macs still used ppc, I heard rumours that Gentoo on mac 
> hardware ran better than OSX on mac hardware.

I won't say "better", maybe "leaner" as you are not force to load the 
whole Aqua GUI interface. Mac OSX on ppc needs 512MB RAM to be speedy, 
on same say that 1GB is needed on Intel.

> Apple's boot camp also supports Linux.
> There was also a project called Darwin that was porting Linux tools to 
> OSX, but I read reports that the project was dead because Apple stopped 
> cooperating with them.

Are you thinking of Darwin Ports, recently renamed to Mac Ports, 
but very much alive ?

It's based on the BSD ports system and works rather well. Most of 
the packages that are available on a Linux or BSD distribution are 
available, from lynx to Perl to Gnome to Apache.

It appears that in the transition to a new domain and website some 
of the introductory docs have been moved, but the FAQ is here:

The old pages are here for the moment:

It may be you were thinking of Open Darwin shutting down? It 
was trying to development the underlying OS X (without GUI):

There is also a system that uses prebuilt binaries called "fink", 
which I used before changing to Darwin Ports because I found it 
did not have a wide range of packages and updates were irregular.

On the Apple install DVDs you'll find the X server, programs, 
and also the GCC compiler and other development tools.

The two major stumbling blocks I found from Linux are poor Ext2/Ext3 
support (it's only third party beta code is available), and the main 
file utils (mv, cp, etc) are BSD and do not support the extra options 
of GNU (eg the '-a' option to cp). Another annonyance is that a Mac 
keyboard has no # key and you have to use Alt key, which does not 
work in some situations (eg VNC, SSH in some terminals).

Most of the administration of OS X is done through the GUI rather 
than editing text files. But the GUI is better thought out than 
Windows, and you are prompted for your password when making major 
changes (a bit like sudo).

The only reservation I have is that the Intel Macs are still first 
generation, and problems have been reports with the laptop though 
I have not heard much about the iMacs.

|    John Edwards   Email: john at cornerstonelinux.co.uk    |
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