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13" MacBookPro/OSX or Cheaper Laptop/Linux?
Old 06-05-2010, 10:17 AM   #1
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13" MacBookPro/OSX or Cheaper Laptop/Linux?

Purchase decision time - My trusty old, hard working 5.5 YO 17" iMac G5 hardware is dying. I may be able to fix it, more details to follow - but I decided to replace it and re-purpose it if It can be fixed. I've got all my data and a recent 'image' of the drive.

Go with Apple 13" MacBook Pro? I had decided earlier that my next 'desktop' would be a laptop with an external monitor and external keypad/mouse. Our college kids have had the low-end MacBooks (G4 and C2D), and that would fit my needs. Last year, DW wanted her own laptop, and after I looked at them at the Apple Store, decided the extra $100 or so for the Aluminum uni-body was worth it, and that machine is impressive. But, another wrinkle...

Or Cheaper Laptop/Linux? Last year, I bought a $270 ASUS netbook, replaced the weird Xandros Linux on it with Ubuntu Linux, and have been very impressed with Ubuntu. Knowing that I have DW's MBP as a 'backup' in case I really need something I can't do in Ubuntu, I started thinking about getting a cheaper generic laptop and running Ubuntu as my daily machine. Well, this got interesting.

Price/Feature Comparison The MBP is $1099 edu price (just about anyone can qualify), and that includes a rebated iPod Touch. We have one, don't need a second, so I assume I can sell the Touch for $175, add a $29 adapter for external monitor, and the cost is $953 for a well equipped machine. I should be able to do much better with a non-Apple brand, right?

After some research - not so sure. By the time I search for equivalent memory (4GB), and processor (~P8600), graphics cards, and even reasonable battery life (MBP is 10 hours - I see a lot of laptops in the 2-3 hour range, seems you have to climb up the ladder to get 5 hours or more). I'm up to $750, and I'm not sure I want to risk it for a $200 delta.

I'm going cheaper, but less capable. Good Enough? OK, I got ansty and pushed the "BUY" button before getting around to posting this. My (still revocable) decision was to go down the chain a bit, get a $378 laptop that is not equivalent to the MBP specs, but will likely be 'good enough' for my mostly desktop use. Acer/Emachines E725-4520. The T4400 ( Pentium Dual Core), Intel GMA 4500M, 3GB RAM, 2.5 Hr battery(!) are all less capable than the MBP (as expected for the price delta) and no webcam or microphone (cheap to add external if I want). But I think it will be 'good enough', and that was enough of a price delta to make it worth the 'risk' to me. I downloaded the latest Ubuntu release yesterday (10.04 Long Term Support) and ran it in "Live" mode on my netbook to test it out - I'm ready to roll, and the E725 is due here today.

One more note to this already too-long post. I just could not find deals on the laptops with NO O/S (or Ubuntu pre-installed). They just are not popular enough to drive traffic with sales I guess, but it irks me that a portion of this purchase goes to Microsoft when the first thing I'm going to do is make restore disks, check the hardware, and then wipe the drive.

I hope this turns out to be a savings, and not a $378 mistake - wish me luck!

-ERD50
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:23 AM   #2
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I'd buy the MacBook pro. I usually increase the RAM and take the smallest hard drive option (even that is overkill for me). I would use a bluetooth keyboard and monitor cable, so no dock.

OR, get a Mac desktop for less, and add a netbook or iPad for travel. Just some ideas.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
I'd buy the MacBook pro.
OK, but why?

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OR, get a Mac desktop for less, and add a netbook or iPad for travel. Just some ideas.
A possibility. But is the desktop less?

One reason I like the laptop & ext monitor as a 'desktop' is that I really like the 'extended desktop' feature of using the laptop monitor for toolbars and such, and using the ext monitor for the document (or one doc on each to copy/paste or compare). And Linux does an excellent job of supporting extended desktop and two monitors (at least in my trials with my little netbook). Hmmm, turns out the Mac Mini now supports dual monitors, but then I'm spending $549 edu, would need to buy a small monitor in addition for equivalent capability, and it is spec'd a bit less than the MBP, and no webcam, microphone, etc. That isn't sounding so great to me.

I just don't like the iMac AIO form factor. I now have a probably dead iMac, but I bet the 17" monitor has plenty of life in it, but it is all 'glued' together to the motherboard, so it's all sunk. I don't want to put >$1,000 into an AIO design. Keep it modular so I can replace the monitor/CPU separate as needed.

It's also nice to be able to just pick up my 'desktop' and take it somewhere and know I have all my 'stuff' - but I would (and have) used the little netbook when traveling and don't need everything.

Thanks for the feedback.

-ERD50
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Old 06-05-2010, 12:34 PM   #4
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I think you'll be fine either way. I haven't spent over $500 for a laptop in years and years, and I am perfectly happy with what I have. Gotta run or I'd say more. Hope you are happy with your new laptop!
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:24 PM   #5
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I think you'll be fine either way. I haven't spent over $500 for a laptop in years and years, and I am perfectly happy with what I have.
Thanks, I expect I will be fine, but I doubt I'll be perfectly happy with anything, it's just not in my nature .

A bit more seriously, one person's 'happiness' with a product is pretty irrelevant to another person who may have very different expectations or usage profiles. Many people are perfectly happy with Keystone Lite, but I wouldn't touch the stuff. Humid tropics versus four seasons, etc.

Being a long time Mac user can make one appreciate some of the value that may not be apparent to many. When I had this HW failure, I went to my external hard drive 'clone' and booted DW's MBP from it, and 'her' computer suddenly takes on all the properties of 'my' computer - all the preferences, apps and data are there, and I'm up and running in no time - not missing a beat (well, I did miss a 'beat' as the clone was a month old - but I did have a more recent data backup).

Then I re-partitioned DWs MBP, and was able to get my limping iMac powered up in 'Target Disk Mode' and it ran long enough for me to get an up-to-date clone on to her 2nd partition. Now, I just hold the 'option' key when I boot, and select my 2nd partition and I'm running as my old self, and she isn't even aware that there is 'another computer' hiding in her precious MBP (except for having to ask me for it back so she can check whatever)! All of this is very simple for anyone with just a little knowledge/experience with Apple systems.

As I understand it, this is a lot more complicated on Windows, as the system is going to assume you are pirating it when it sees you boot from a disk you didn't initially install on. I also think this is a little more complex on Linux, you need to reset some pointers to get a clone to boot, but I think I can learn this process.

I've also seen Windows users struggle or have to add programs for things that are just so simple on a Mac. It's tough to put a price on this stuff. OTOH, I get really frustrated with some of the bone-headed (IMO) things Apple does, and there is little recourse. I don't always like their HW offerings (although I do think the entry level iBook/MacBook, and MacBook Pros are very nice and a good value for what you get). And ironically, some of the things they've done lately are the kind of 'improvements' that make the system harder for me to use (their new 'improved' find functions are plain weird). I'm finding some of these things to actually be better implemented in Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Workspace Switcher is 10000x better than Apples 'Spaces' - I use Workspaces w/o a thought in Ubuntu, and it's very flexible w/o being complicated at all. I spent 5 minutes with Spaces on my iMac, didn't like it and never went back to it.

But with Linux, troubleshooting can be a pain. If you find the answer, it's usually in geek-speak, and I'm just not there yet in Linux. At least the Apple solutions are generally written so a reasonably knowledgeable user can understand them, w/o having to know how to recompile a kernel or what-not.

-ERD50
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:32 PM   #6
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OK, I'm back after an utterly delicious Cajun/Italian lunch with Frank. (burp! happy sigh! Ah, the marinara!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Thanks, I expect I will be fine, but I doubt I'll be perfectly happy with anything, it's just not in my nature .

[...]

As I understand it, this is a lot more complicated on Windows, as the system is going to assume you are pirating it when it sees you boot from a disk you didn't initially install on. I also think this is a little more complex on Linux, you need to reset some pointers to get a clone to boot, but I think I can learn this process.
Reading through the lines, it seems to me that you really want an Apple product. So I am going to reverse my above position. Although you may not be perfectly happy with it (my sympathies on not having this capacity in your nature), I think you should shell out whatever it takes to get the laptop that you really want. Cancel the order.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:14 PM   #7
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Reading through the lines, it seems to me that you really want an Apple product. ... I think you should shell out whatever it takes to get the laptop that you really want. Cancel the order.
I can understand what you are saying, but it is tempered by two things:

1) I already have access to an Apple MBP in the house, and...

2) I also really want the Ubuntu/Linux machine, to get more familiar with the OS. Making it my daily machine will force the issue with me. There are many things in Ubuntu that I like better than OSX, and it's good to get a little exposure to different ways of doing things.

Plus, the $378 isn't such a big commitment - if I really am not happy, I'll find a home for it and won't be out much. Maybe by then Apple will upgrade the MBPs (i3/5/7?), and I'd be even happier with them.

Hmmm, looks like my new computer will be going back - I got Windows loaded (and reminded how much I hate it ), so I could create the restore discs before I wipe the drive, and 3 DVDs in a row (one of a different brand) failed to burn. Fortunately, I have an (old,old,old) external burner that I've used with OSX and Ubuntu, and W7 recognized that and seems to be burning OK. Sounds like a bad DVD burner.


Quote:
OK, I'm back after an utterly delicious Cajun/Italian lunch with Frank. (burp! happy sigh! Ah, the marinara!)
Rub it in! I love NOLA food (who wouldn't?), but as a short time tourist there, I didn't get much of the Italian influence (but plenty of Po' Boys, Gumbo and Crawfish). Hope the oil spill doesn't affect the supply too badly

-ERD50
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
But with Linux, troubleshooting can be a pain. If you find the answer, it's usually in geek-speak, and I'm just not there yet in Linux. At least the Apple solutions are generally written so a reasonably knowledgeable user can understand them, w/o having to know how to recompile a kernel or what-not.

-ERD50
You may have answered my question here ERD - I was curious about the plug and play aspects of a current Ubuntu release. I'm running about a 3-4 year old version (Feisty Fawn or some other weird Ubuntu release name) for a home file and print server on an old beater PC and I have run earlier Ubuntus, Fedora and Red Hat for web servers over the years. I can fight may way through linux forums to get various things working but have always found it to be a PITA. For that reason I never got into Linux for everyday use -- just backend stuff in the basement.

I currently have Windows 7 on a netbook and on the main family PC and have been pretty happy. I would be willing to try a new version of Ubuntu on a cheapo laptop but I would like to be able to use common peripherals, bluetooth devices, etc without digging up a "howto" or forum entry everytime I try something new. Are they there yet for that sort of everyday use? For example, will Ubuntu find and activate the built in wifi interface on the laptop automagically when you install the OS?
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:37 AM   #9
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I'm not smart enough nor do I have time enough to deal with Windows anymore. Trying to top that off with backups and wipes and "what if it doesn't work" would drive me over the edge. I just got a new MBP about a month ago so that I could avoid MS and it's related headaches. I got an iPad at the same time (I'm lovin' it) so I haven't spent the time I need to spend getting to know it yet, but so far, I like it much better than the Windows machines I have had. Next up will be a replacement for DW's WinVista machine (don't ask...).
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:37 AM   #10
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You may have answered my question here ERD - I was curious about the plug and play aspects of a current Ubuntu release.

...

For example, will Ubuntu find and activate the built in wifi interface on the laptop automagically when you install the OS?
In my limited experience, I would say almost all things are working right after install. A few exceptions on a few machines. With 9.10 and the desktop version, IIRC everything worked fine on my ASUS PC901 netbook, maybe a few model-specific special function keys are disabled (like a separate key to turn bluetooth on/off, stuff like that), but that is not a big deal to me.

OTOH, support for every peripheral I've plugged in has been as good/better than in OSX. No problem with printers, ext drives, my old,old ext DVD burner, my old, old scanner (no longer supported in OSX), everything I've tried works fine so far.

This E725 that I bought - I read that the Wireless is NOT supported out of the box - but it sounds pretty simple, there is a driver to install that works, so I'm not to put off by that. I think the screen brightness controls need some tweaks to work, but that also didn't sound too bad.

You can get 10.04 onto a flash drive or ext usb drive and test it out in 'live' mode to check compatibility w/o touching your current O/S install - very nice. Ironically, I found the desktop version to be better for my netbook - it includes the Workspace (virtual desktops) feature, which makes using the small screen so much easier.

BTW, the DVD drive does seem functional on my E725, I found some DVD-RWs and it made recovery disks with those, so maybe its just fussy with media. Anyhow, I hope to install Ubuntu today, decided to keep Windows on there (with network OFF) as a dual-boot option, JIC I ever need it, and to get a fresh look at W7 (not impressed so far).

-ERD50
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:22 AM   #11
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I'm not smart enough nor do I have time enough to deal with Windows anymore. Trying to top that off with backups and wipes and "what if it doesn't work" would drive me over the edge.
Your mention of backups reminded me about "Dropbox." It is a web based service and application combo that synchronizes a directory on your HD with other computers (another PC, a Mac, etc) and with a network drive on Dropbox servers. They give you 2G free with charges applying if you want more storage for photos or whatever. I have seen it mentioned on a few postings on tech forums and get the impression that a lot of techies are using it in lieu of (or in a addition to) using a USB key for transferring files between machines. I have been using it for a brief time and like it. I particularly like being able to keep my Password Safe data base up to date on multiple machines with a network backup. PS is a password encryption program - with my pathetic memory I like having passwords available and up to date on the main machine, laptop, netbook.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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But with Linux, troubleshooting can be a pain. If you find the answer, it's usually in geek-speak, and I'm just not there yet in Linux. At least the Apple solutions are generally written so a reasonably knowledgeable user can understand them, w/o having to know how to recompile a kernel or what-not.
I'm perfectly happy with a 17" HP Win7 notebook. Because of my work and school needs, a Macbook was out of the question. Now for your question. Mac or Ubuntu? I would say Mac. I use Ubuntu on an old PIII notebook. It has been fun, and provides education as I try to update things. However, it takes substantially more time than a Mac (I have a desktop 7500 and daughters 13" Macbook). So, I'd rank Mac above Ubuntu for you. Since you bought Ubuntu, I'd say you have to buy a Mac now, and then also Windows 7. Ok, that's just me, as I service systems and inherit a lot of "junk" and then use it for 3 more years.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:38 AM   #13
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OP, you could buy a mac mini for $549 (education price), it has some of the advantages of the imac without the AIO disadvantages. You add your own monitor, mouse and keyboard. It also has a small footprint.

Also take a look at the refurbished store on Apple. They had the white macbook for $759 the other day.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:42 PM   #14
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I can understand if you want to get a Mac because you trust the brand, but otherwise, there is really no good reason for buying a Mac. It is perfectly possible to put a Mac OS and the accompanying software on any computer. Manufacturing quality and customer support of Macs in particular aside (which are actually pretty important criteria), its best to look at physical specs vs price. As I said, you can put any OS on a computer these days.

Personally, as an advanced computer user, customer support is pretty low in criteria for me, but manufacturing quality is extremely important, and since they go hand-in-hand often, quality matters. It is crazy how fast certain companies change in quality though, I am particularly thinking of gateways and lenevos, which went from very good, to trash. They both now use very cheap Chinese manufacturers and impossible to understand Indian tech support (same with Dell). HP has long had a pretty horrible quality reputation, nothing new there. Many manufacturers, particularly Dell, Gateway, and Acer will sauter the RAM or even the hard drive directly to a laptop, making them impossible to upgrade. This is a very important consideration to lookup, as it depends on the model. Finally, Dell makes it nearly impossible to use AHCI mode, even in laptops, which is very useful for allowing the new SSD drives to function at full speed. The higher quality manufacturers are Samsung, Asus, Sony (Microsoft), and Apple. There may be a few others I am not listing.

That said, about price, use a tech bargain search site like techbargains.com. This is what I did so that I got 15% off coupon at overstock, which allowed me to buy a Samsung 1.6Ghz Atom, 1GB RAM, 6-hr battery, N-card, 250GB netbook for $215. Obviously I bought a 2GB 200-dim RAM chip to upgrade the RAM for $40. I then put the OS of my choice on it, wiping the junkware on it (almost all computers are pre-loaded with some junkware these days). For most users 4-8GB is overkill, that is mostly only needed for very heavy graphics processing, like gaming (which is what I use my high-medium level desktop for). If a 10-12 hr battery is desired, I saw dozens of N450 chip netbooks with 6-9 cell batteries in the $280-$325 range. Just be careful of RAM upgradeability and the manufacturer issues.

That said, about netbooks/notebooks, they are not great primary computers (my last one, a fairly high-end tablet laptop, lasted 3 years, and had multiple hardware failures I had to fix along the way, since I very heavily used it, it had horrible overheating issues). Netbooks/laptops are particularly less durable without a ssd (which put out almost no heat). They have very poor cooling by design, so they have 30-60% of the lifespan of a desktop, depending on how roughly they are used. It is better in the long run to have an inexpensive desktop and a netbook if you are just looking for occasional portability. I've only spent about $550 total on my desktop and netbook, that is almost half the cost of just one macbook pro, but with much better overall specs, don't make the same mistake I did with my first laptop.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:24 PM   #15
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Update (posting from Ubuntu 10.04)

Well the install itself was EZ and quick, and it hasn't taken me long or been frustrating at all to tweak it so far. The Wireless driver I needed popped up for install after the second boot on wired internet, and I found a simple config change to get the brightness keys working. I've got a bunch of apps installed and a quick test on each: Audacity, GIMP, XSANE (yeah! My old scanner came back to life - unsupported in OSX), I've got wireless networked printing from my Linux netbook and DD's MacBook (the printer just showed up in the list - EZ!), bookmarks loaded into FireFox (and Adblock plus two seconds later - the Internet is UGLY with all that stuff), Adobe Flash loaded (yuck! but needed), and tested extended desktop mode with an external monitor, and set up a bunch of panels and things. I've only done this about 1 1/2 times before (one install, one upgrade), it's really not tough at all - it'd be even smoother with better documentation (which is something I might help out with in the future).

That was EZ - Now, the ONE thing that made this take most of the day was that I decided to keep a partition with that Win7 I paid for - who knows, I might need it once in a blue moon. It took far too much time to find out that there are a bunch of hoops to go through, and Win7 has 'cleverly' placed some essential file in the middle of the hard drive, and it takes super-geek efforts to move it (now WHY would they do that? ). I half gave up, and just re-partitioned the drive in half, and installed UBUNTU on the other half. Oh, Win7 also uses THREE of the FOUR Primary partitions on a drive for itself, so I had to learn a bit about 'extended' partitions and adding logical partitions under that for the Linux /,swap and /home. I would have liked to have two installs of Linux on this, just to play around, maybe I'll figure that out later.

So I took all the super-cautious steps and never had to repair Win7 as most say you will - so I can boot into it if I choose (after all this, I probably never will).

Bill Gates owes me 6 hours of my life back .

But other than that, so far so good. Oh, mail is next week's task - planning on Thunderbird (the Mozilla/FireFox people make that). And SketchUp under WINE, Google has only released Win & OSX versions of that (yes, it runs under WINE, even on my little netbook)

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... Since you bought Ubuntu, I'd say you have to buy a Mac now, and then also Windows 7.
Well, I have plenty 'o Macs around me, and a Win7 install that I'll probably never touch - oh, and Ubuntu is free, not sure what you meant by 'bought'?

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Originally Posted by ikonomore View Post
OP, you could buy a mac mini for $549 (education price), it has some of the advantages of the imac without the AIO disadvantages. You add your own monitor, mouse and keyboard. It also has a small footprint.

Also take a look at the refurbished store on Apple. They had the white macbook for $759 the other day.
Considered it, but I really want a two monitor set-up. I find two smaller ones to work better for me than one big one, and it just works out well for one of those to be a laptop. Hmm, the white MB for $759 would not be bad - but if I'm going Mac I really want the FireWire port. Sure, I gave that up with this EM725, but it's also just $378 (with a 15" monitor built in, and portability). We did set my Mom up with a (now 5 YO) Mac Mini, and it has served her well.


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It is perfectly possible to put a Mac OS and the accompanying software on any computer.
Yes it is, considered a 'HackinTosh' also (with a retail version of OSX - technically illegal I guess, but I would not lose sleep) but I get concerned that for every upgrade there are a bunch of fixes to get it working again. Plus, I do want to learn my way around Ubuntu some more.


Quote:
That said, about netbooks/notebooks, they are not great primary computers ... They have very poor cooling by design, so they have 30-60% of the lifespan of a desktop,
Yes, that may be. Though my son's MacBook is going strong after 6 years, including 4 away at college. I think I will put this on a little stand for better airflow though - good point.

Thanks all for the suggestions and feedback - ERD50
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:24 AM   #16
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Thanks all for the suggestions and feedback - ERD50
Thanks for the report. It sounds like things have gotten a lot easier with the recent releases.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:29 AM   #17
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Update with Thunderbird Email
Old 06-10-2010, 10:41 AM   #18
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Thanks for the report. It sounds like things have gotten a lot easier with the recent releases.
OK, so here's more (and my 'user' impressions in the next post...) -

To really wean myself from running my clone on DW's MacBook Pro, I had to get email running on UBUNTU. Decided on the Thunderbird Email from the FireFox people.

Looks like that was a good decision, I just added the 'Lightening' extension for Calendar and to-do's. Looks good, however...

Migrating from OSX Mail.app was tedious and a pain. In retrospect, none of this appears to be Linux related, no 'under-the-hood' problems, it was just a pain to get things moved/converted and up-and-running, which would likely be the same regardless of O/S. All complicated by a few things:

1) I have only set up a email a few times, and the last time was about 6 years ago. I'm actually pretty ignorant of email workings, I barely understand the diff between POP and IMAP. It worked with the ISP directions/settings at the time, so I went no further.

2) My email setup has slowly grown bigger and more complex over the years. Six different accounts aggregated into the Mail.app reader, a bunch of folders to organize things, a bunch of rules to sort things. Most people would be freaked out to know how many emails I have stored - I just find it easier to keep almost everything than to try to sort needed/un-needed/might_need_someday. I am a pack rat, both physically and electron-wise.

3) This surprised me - Mail.app will output in some standard formats, and Thunderbird imports in some standard formats - but there was little overlap. I had to jump through hoops to get it done. Nothing was all that hard, but it all took googling to read and decipher and figure a plan. Part of that involved uploading my contact list to my GMAIL account, and then using GMAIL to export the list.

4) Operator Error (surprise! ) - I think I imported the contact list three times thinking it wasn't working, until I realized I just had the 'display names' being shown rather than the 'first/last names'. Oh well, I got my contact list cleaned up in the process (using a OpenOffice Spreadsheet, looking for 'funny' characters, etc), so it wasn't all for naught.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westernskies View Post
If this thread doesn't bring the bunny out of the woodwork, nothing will.
Shhhhh - while he made some great contributions to this forum, his FUD spreading on all things Apple shut down any reasonable discussion on the subject. I don't miss that at all. BTW, I *still* have not had any malware issues in OSX or Linux, so while I always add the caveat 'that could change tomorrow', it's been another couple of years added to my almost-worry-free malware life.

-ERD50
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User Impressions - UBUNTU/Linux
Old 06-10-2010, 11:20 AM   #19
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User Impressions - UBUNTU/Linux

OK, in a less technical vein - what is it like just using it?

So far, I'm really liking it. Maybe this is a bit of a 'honeymoon' period, and in a few months certain things will be bugging me, but I don't think so, and I think there is a reason why.

For the most part, when I'm working with something, I'm pretty much finding that it does what I want, the way I want it (or is very easily configured to do so). I don't think that is just 'luck', I think it is because with the open source model, the programmers are users - so they do things the 'right way', from a user viewpoint (or provide options for individual preferences).

Most people think of Linux as being for geeks, but I can say that I could put this installation in front of my Mom or MIL, and they would go through the same learning as with Windows or OSX. It just isn't that different from the user standpoint. If you use a browser, email, word processing and spreadsheets and those basics, it's all there and it all works. Now, as I've said before, troubleshooting can get pretty geeky, but so far things are working well for me.

I really like how easy it is to customize it. Just right-click a 'panel' (the task bar/dock equivalent), select 'add to panel', and list of customizable add-ons pops up. You can download new ones and they just add to that list. And once a panel 'applet' is installed, just right-click it to set the preferences. It is all very easy and very consistent ( I prefer this to going to the 'system preferences' and searching out which one to use in OSX). Maybe later I'll list the add-ons I'm using. I'm quickly getting this configured to be much more to my liking than OSX. Yes, you can get 3rd-party configs for OSX too, but I always worried about getting dependent on them, and then having them 'break' on an upgrade. I *think* that is less likely in Ubuntu (nothing is 'secret' the way Apple keeps new releases secret), but we will see.

A bit of 'techy' stuff: Plus, I get the impression that the code is more streamlined, I've got a bunch of stuff open and installed, and I'm only using 600MB of RAM, never seen the swap used unless I hibernate, and my install is taking just 3GB of hard drive space in root, well, plus another 5 GB allocated to swap (far more than I need, but why not?), and maybe another 1.5GB in the Home folder for installed apps (and I have a lot already).

Ahhh - something I don't like in Ubuntu, and I just got so used to it in Mac OS and OSX that I forgot what a pain it is in other O/S: If you make a 'shortcut' or 'link' in Windows or Linux, and later move the file you referenced, it 'breaks' the link. On the Mac, it updates the references if you move a file (it maintains a database), so these links (called 'aliases' on the Mac) never 'break', unless the file is actually gone. So it's a waste of time to create links now in Ubuntu until I get everything where I want it. I'll search - maybe there is an app for that. Being a pack rat, I need links to find all the stuff I have buried 7 levels deep across dozens of folders.

Ahh, it looks like 'Beagle' will give me the 'Spotlight' functionality I had in OSX, I'll try that out. I had a love/hate with Spotlight - it is fantastic (instant indexed searching of anything), but the output is often in a form I cannot use easily (for some ungodly reason, they limit the columns to a fixed preset few, and they are not the ones I want, and some are not selectable for sorting - really, really strange).

Next up is seeing about importing music and picture files, but I think I'll take a break for a while.

-ERD50
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:53 AM   #20
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I have been using Ubuntu for about two years. I keep my netbook and one of the desktops in a dual boot configuration. As I have said on here before, if you don't need some sort of Mac or Windows program then Ubuntu might be the best OS.

I use Microsoft's Expressions Web to manage several web sites. I have not found anything in Linux that works as easy for me. It might just be I don't want to go through another learning curve, but I keep Windows for that program.
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