Apostasy has never been so shiny.
At FSOSS on Friday, I got to see John “Maddog” Hall compare the OpenMoko phone he was advocating to the old Nokia he had clipped to his belt; he was enthusiastic that he could fit an entire Debian distribution on the 8Gb MicroSD card, and answered my question about its usability by saying that it could be made quite usable, which is presumably true. I was already resolved on the matter, but this certainly did shiv the point home.
And so 24 hours, almost to the minute, after the end of my talk I walked out of the Apple Store with a new Macbook Pro, and I expect that all the presentations I do in the future will be done in Keynote. And 48 hours after that, I’ve got to say it’s pretty great; absolutely solid build, like typing on a metal bar. And the hardware is light and beautiful, by a wide margin the best-made and best-designed piece of hardware I’ve ever owned, not a single creaky hinge or flimsy piece of plastic in sight. The multitouch trackpad that I thought would be a hard adjustment is turning out great; gestures are great, the keyboard is nice and responsive and the webcam works at all, something that was never true on my old Lenovo.
Most of the apps that I spent most of my time in, for the most part free software, they’re all here. Firefox, Pidgin, VLC, Handbrake and so forth, they’re all here and substantially prettier than their Linux counterparts. And there’s other stuff here that wasn’t even on my radar, like Quicksilver, Nocturne, Caffeine and Things, among others, and little things that use to be tedious and manual and occasionally hard aren’t, like syncing my media player and getting my photo manager to not import the same photo twice.
So I’ve installed some software, remapped capslock to command and imported some SSH keys and… that’s pretty much it. I’ll be migrating my data later this evening, and that’ll be pretty much that. On the list of things I haven’t had to do, you’ll find “sudo vi /etc/modprobe/modprobe.d/blacklist”, “sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf” and “runlevel=0″. It makes me a tiny bit sad that it has an nVidia graphics chip in it since the nVidia drivers are largely what killed my presentation the other day, but I suspect that the number of people who are going to lose their jobs if nVidia ships buggy, defective crap with OSX to be quite a bit larger than the number who’d lose their jobs for shipping bug-ridden, defective crap to the Linux community, a number I believe to be zero.
So far my only legitimate complaints are that the terminal.app settings aren’t quite right by default and that I can only resize windows from the lower right corner. That hasn’t been my only hangup, in truth, but the distressing thing is most of my little hitches have been due to all the little physical habits that I’ve unknowingly cultivated to work around the various indignities that linux-on-a-laptop forces on you. If I move around the house I don’t need to walk around with the laptop half-open so that it doesn’t stumble down the linux-power-management rabbit hole. I can close the lid on this thing and it won’t completely lose its mind and, wow, the novelty of that sure hasn’t worn off yet. The webcam works, so that when my parents call me with Skype and tell me they can’t see me I don’t need to make excuses, and not having to make excuses for your technology is, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, pretty sweet.