I have been using computers, to some degree, since my parents bought the family a Commodore 64 in the early 80’s. I would spend many afternoons just playing around. For me it was just something to occupy time … really not much different then the Atari 2600 that we bought soon after. It wasn’t until college that I started using computers on a daily basis and really got pulled in (or bitten by the bug). In college we had access to Windows, Apple, Vax/VMS and Unix (SGI’s Irix). Windows was familiar (Apple was not … although we had a brief encounter in the 3rd or 4th grade … Apple IIe), I liked the power of the Vax … the SGI’s were a something in a class all to themselves. With Irix you had a truly kick-butt UI … but you had the shell at your finger tips.
After college it was mostly Windows and then I started to use Linux more often … first Redhat and then Ubuntu. Ubuntu is great but the UI has always been pretty lame. Sure you can tweek it and make it look like anything you want, which is great. My biggest issue with Ubuntu (or any version of Linux) is lack of MS Office. I use MS Office daily and also need software like Project and Visio. Of course there are all kinds of open source alternatives but the need to collaborate with others that are most likely using MS Office makes this a precarious adventure at best. I worked on one project where we were passing a document back and forth. I was using OpenOffice and everyone else was using MS Word. We lost a lot of hours having to fix the formatting each time I edited the document … it’s not worth the time lost. So, the last 4 years have been a battle (for me) between Windows and Ubuntu. I kept switching back and forth … sure I can dual boot but it’s a pain to have to do that and lost time while rebooting. Virtual Machines are an option too … but fundamentally I have a problem with kicking off another OS to perform a single task.
I switched to a MacbookPro a few months ago and I would have to say that this is pretty close to what I am looking for in an OS. The UI is nice, I have access to the bash shell when ever I want it. The performance is fantastic. There are a few gripes (close window button locations) but for the most part it’s good. I haven’t even thought about Windows or Ubuntu since I started using the Mac. The big issue for me right now is not having Visio … I still need to have a Windows VM with Visio. I hesitated for a long time before getting a Mac because of 1) Cost and 2) Was afraid of a ho-hum experience. I did turn on my Windows 7 laptop the other day to work on VMWare because I was concerned about compatability of the image ( I have to provide to someone who will install on ESX). I was assured that there is a migration process which is good … because I had to switch back to the Mac because the performance on the Win 7 (Dell Latitude with 4GB of RAM) was horrible. I have two VMs running now on the Mac … it’s a little laggy but not too bad. I am pricing out an upgrade to 8GB as well … I think that this laptop will scream with 8GB of RAM.
[Update 5/22/10 5:31pm]
VM’s made in Fusion (on MBP) migrated very easily to an Ubuntu based VMWare Workstation. Very few changes were required:
1) Before starting I changed the Display (VM – Guest) to the lowest available (it was set to use the Host’s).
2) After booting I installed vmware-tools
3) Rebooted the Guest OS.
That’s it … dead simple.