Last autumn I was given new tools to do my development and research. So this is what I am using now:
- 17″ MacBook Pro with 8 GB of memory and upgraded Intel i7
- 2x 27″ Thunderbolt displays
- Promise Pegasus RAID (4 TB)
Someone may think that “hey, what a lucky guy!”. Instead, I would say “boohoo, what an unlucky guy”. You see, I am an long time Linux user. And I mean long time – I used it then when it was almost unknown. I have used practically every operating system there is and has been. I have used Windows for development. It was a big pain, since it crashed like a clockwork. But I had to use it, because everybody else in the team and all customers used it, definitely not because I liked it.
Everything else I did on Linux, especially my own development stuff. And in my current work, I am the one who decides the platform, so Linux it is, and has been for more than a decade, of course. But now when there was some money in the budget for new workstation, I thought what the heck – lets try OS X. I had used OS X several years before, but back then it was not suitable for me. But this Lion seemed to have all those features I missed back then.
My plan was to virtualize my development environment (Linux guest in VirtualBox). This has actually many advantages and it works quite well on a powerful machine. I can easily take snapshots and backups of my development environment and even transfer it to an other machine. And OS X should be stable and all that marketing liturgy.
Basically everything seemed to be OK in the beginning. But now I start to see same kind of crappy behavior as in Windows. OS X crashes approximately once a week, and there are all kinds of annoying glitches even more frequently. First of all, this Thunderbolt seems to have cramps frequently. Suddenly the USB hub in Thunderbolt display stops functioning totally. Anything connected into it is not recognized at all. That usually foredooms the next problem. Soon there will be no picture in Thunderbolt display, although the system seems to think there is. Anyway, the screen is totally black (no BSOD, ha ha).
Next thing is that whole system starts to behave unstable, and several times not even normal shut down process works – you have to press that power button for a long time to power it down. Nice! Today this happened twice practically ruining the whole day. On several occasions it has managed to destroy several days worth of development. So, thank a lot, Apple
So, in summa summarum, Mac looks nice, and you get lots of envious and respecting looks just by showing it around, but in my opinion it is not suitable for serious and demanding development. It is suitable for trendy fancypants who have this so called Lifestyle. But considering that with a price of Mac you could get maybe two computers with better hardware where you can install Linux, and then happily live and develop for the rest of your life.