Why? Well, I had a few reasons. Windows is the standard for most office applications, and it’s great for gaming, but I find it to be a real pain to code in. I’m not talking code for Windows applications, I’m talking code for web applications. Most of my code is perl and PHP and I really have no interest in fighting with Windows to get a stable development platform for these. Sure, I can remotely access the files I need, but then I’m tethered to an Internet connection. I had gotten around this (somewhat) by installing Linux on my Windows machine via VirtualBox. It worked wonderfully, but it’s slower that way, and there are still minor problems with accessibility, things not working, etc.
OSX seemed to fit the bill, though. By default, it comes with apache and PHP, you can install MySQL easily, and it’s built on top of BSD. I can drop to a terminal prompt and interact with it the same way I interact with a Linux machine. In fact, almost every standard command I use on my Linux servers is already on my Macbook.
Installing Apple’s XCode developer tools gives me just about everything else I could need, including a free IDE! Though, this particular IDE is more suited for C++, Java, Ruby, Python, and Cocoa. Still, it’s free and that’s nothing to scoff at. I have been using a trial of Komodo, though, and I’m leaning towards buying myself a copy. $295 is steep, though.
What really sold me on a Mac is the move to Intel processors and their Bootcamp software. I play games, and Mac doesn’t have the widest library of games, so having a Windows machine available is a must. Thanks to Bootcamp, I can continue to play games while keeping my development platform as well. Now I have OSX as my primary OS and a smaller Bootcamp partition for playing games. With the nVidia GeForce card in this beast, as well as a fast processor and 2GB of RAM, I’m set for a while..
There are times, though, when I’d like to have Windows apps at my fingertips, while I’m in OSX. For that, I’ve tried both Parallels and VMWare Fusion. Parallels is nice, and it’s been around for a while. It seems to work really well, and I had no real problems trying it out. VMWare Fusion 2 is currently in beta, and I installed that as well. I’m definitely leaning towards VMWare, though, because I’ve used them in the past, and they really know virtual machines. Both programs have a nifty feature that lets you run Windows apps in such as way as to make it seem like they’re running in OSX. In parallels it’s called Coherence, and in VMWare it’s called Unity. Neat features!
So far I’ve been quite pleased with my purchase. The machine is sleak, runs fast, and allows me more flexibility than I’ve ever had in a laptop. It does run a bit hot at times, but that’s what lapdesks are for.. :)
So now I’m an Apple fan… I’m sure you’ll be seeing posts about OSX applications as I learn more about my Mac. I definitely recommend checking them out if you’ve never used one. And, if you have used one in the past, pre-OSX days, check them out now. I hates the old Mac OS, but OSX is something completely different, definitely work a second look.