Morgan Jones on 25 Apr 2014 14:33:01 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Linux for Mac


My comments are inline.  I switched my laptop from Ubuntu 5 or 6 years ago and haven’t looked back.


On Apr 25, 2014, at 4:59 PM, JP Vossen <> wrote:

> As lots of you know I know nothing about Apple stuff and dislike them in general, so many--especially Walt--will laugh your butts off because I may end up using a Mac for work.  :-/
> My questions are thus:
> 1. Air or Pro?  I will be driving to and staying in DC a few days a week for at least a while.  I do not foresee heavy-
> duty computing needs, except maybe for #3.

Air for portability, Pro for power.  Unless you buy the about-to-be-discontinued 13”  Pro (non-retina) you will have no ability to upgrade memory or (I think) drive so buy the memory you want from Apple.  On the Air the max is 8gb, the retina pros go to 16gb.  The 15” pro might go higher.  Chances are you won’t need Pro power—everyone I know that uses an Air is more than happy with its speed, most believe it’s because it uses flash storage.  I use a 13” non-retina Pro so can’t comment but will probably upgrade to a 13” retina pro since it’s my primary computer (I don’t have a desktop).

> 2. I would want it to sit in the server room connected to a 10' VGA cable and PS/2 keyboard/mouse with a USB adapter.  How do I make that happen?  (The monitor is pretty old but does seem to have DVI input. It's square though, not the hated wide-screen.)

The video can certainly be done with a mini-displayport to VGA/DVI adaptor.  I can’t speak for converting PS/2 to USB.

> 3. How do I make the bloody thing Linux-like?  I know I can get bash at the CLI and that's a good start.  What else do I want to know about?
> I know that "Linux like" is ambiguous too.  I'm typing this on Lubuntu 12.04, but I use Ubuntu 12.04 + Cinnamon on my main workstation and Ubuntu 12.04 Unity on a Mini9.  (I'll get around to 14.4 RSN...)  I like Cinnamon the best, but LXDE is working nicely except that I can't re-arrange task bar buttons.
> * Gentoo Prefix?
> * How do I get Geany, ROXTerm, probably Unison-GTK working?
> * How do I make the desktop suck less (loaded question, but I've never liked the Mac desktop interface at all)?

It’s been a while since I used Macports but the last time I did it was a disaster.  I forget why though honestly.  The mac has a full shell under the hood with many of your favorite UNIX command line tools, I’d say start there and if you really need to get heavy into Linux-specific tools install Vagrant or go straight to Virtual Box/Vmware/parallels and install your favorite Linux distribution.  I imagine you know this but you will want to account for the memory usage when you buy your laptop if you plan to virtualize.

The Mac terminal is great.  I will admit to not using a lot of whiz-bang features but it has nice color/font customization, has a great scroll-back and resizes nicely/flexibly.

I administer Linux every day and switched from a Thinkpad running Ubuntu 5+ years ago because I got tired of administering my laptop.  You have to suck it up and do things Apple’s way or you will find yourself fighting your computer daily.  It’s not Linux—learn to do things the Apple way and you may find you like it.  I do obviously: the Mac is an exceptional technical workstation once you get used to it.

> There are also the Parallels or Fusion options.  Are there others?  I'm not sure I want to go there since a Mac is BSD at the core, the stuff I want should Just Run, and you end up a bit split-brained.  But…

Virtual Box works well on the Mac and, in fact, is the basis for Vagrant which, the little I’ve used it, is a great platform for command line access to Linux for testing or generally getting access to LInux on the Mac.  Vagrant is a whole other paradigm shift that I’m not so sure about but it’s heavily used and works well once you get used to its eccentricities.

good luck.

> Thanks,
> JP
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> JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|
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