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OSX vs. Thinkpad

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 25 July 2012.
Planet PHP

So in the summer of 2007 I switched from Windows to OSX which also meant switching from Thinkpad to Macbook Pro. While there were some details I liked on the Macbook Pro, like the at the time quite innovative magnetic design on the lid latch, overall I was sad to not be able to use a Thinkpad. So it also came that my first Macbook Pro had to repaired 3 times in total. Despite having bought the insanely expensive AppleCare this meant having to drop off my laptop for several days (usually 5 business days) or paying an "express service" charge. In general I believe Macbook's to be pretty decent, but not as sturdy as Thinkpads (starting with the availability of spill resistant keyboards). More over they tend to skip on connection options and are overpriced. Then again I really don't care about the price that much. I use my laptop for pretty much everything, form work to DJing to private use. But the fact of the matter is I wish I could still be using Thinkpads. BTW I do appreciate the design of both Thinkpads and MacBooks in their own way. Despite all of that I was and still am very happy with OSX. At the time of the switch the Linux desktop was certainly not ready for home use.

Today things seem to have improved. I am now experimenting with Ubuntu 12.04 inside a VM to see how things feel. And yes .. its much much better. Will have to spend some more time with it to really be able to judge things. Installation of new apps was fairly pain free. Didn't like those "debconf" windows popping up and disappearing within seconds. Seems kinda "wtf was that". I also need to learn a bit more about how windows are managed: f.e. the MySQL install was seemingly hanging, but in fact there was a window behind the current one asking me to choose a root password.

As anyone that spends so much time with their laptop, I have lots of little settings and apps. So migrating all of this to Ubuntu will likely take many months to get the same comfy feeling. Along the way I expect that some things will not be possible to do in the same way anymore. I also expect to find lots of things that are now suddenly possible that were not possible before. For development I expect the experience to be as good or maybe even slightly better. That being said .. even for development I expect to soon be using VMs for running project code, so really for development all I need is an editor. For private use most things also seem to be in place.

However where I will surely have an issue is with music related apps. Now I dabble in Ableton Live now and then but I could accept that being a job for a VM. Also maybe bitwig will come through as an Ableton replacement. Where I would have more trouble is with my DJ app of choice Traktor Pro and my workflow for organizing my music with iTunes. Well I am sure I can find a good app for Linux to organize my music but the main trouble then is the lack of integration with Traktor Pro. That being said, I don't use that many Traktor Pro features anyway so maybe I should give Mixxx another serious look. Or maybe I should just switch to DJing with Djay like I do sometimes already via my iPhone (another device I could see myself getting rid of ..). Once again I could use a VM to handle Traktor Pro as well but this would pain me quite a bit more.

The worst problem with the VM thing is of course having to use Windows in there. I briefly looked at Hackintosh since after all Apple's legal bullshit doesn't apply here .. well its not confirmed in court if it is or is not. At any rate going this route is likely to be a bumpy ride with having to wait for fixes and likely accepting that for some things there will simply not be any drivers. Also I guess it would come across as a bit iffy in the work environment. Lastly I do expect to be going to the USA now and then. Obviously I don't expect to be arrested on arrival, but well it could still blow up in my face.

Anyway, so what does this all boil down to .. is kind of what do I like more OSX or Thinkpad .. or what feels more painful switching to Linux or staying with Macbook hardware?