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[tlug] Linux-compatible Mac laptop?

Joseph Essertier writes:

 > Is there such a thing as a linux-compatible Mac laptop on the
 > new-computer market today?

They all are, although whether you'll be able to get it working with
minimal work is another matter.

 > I want to order one in the next few weeks, if there is.  Any
 > recommendations?

 > What do I want?

 > 1. speed -- booting applications quickly, nice graphics (mostly
 >    photos, probably some video), music

Why use Linux when you can use the far superior Mac stuff for that?

The Mac is a world of pain for use as a server, I've heard (the Xserve
support group is a horror show of territorialism and NIH syndrome),
but as a personal workstation and development box it's worked out very
nicely, starting with Jaguar, and continuing through Panther and
Tiger.  Of course I also use a lot of Linux (and a couple of NetBSD
boxen just for variety), but the only time I get frustrated with the
Mac is when I'm doing disk-intensive work like "find / ..." (mostly on
Panther, which I suspect is showing symptoms of DLL hell).

Almost all of the software you'd want for Linux is easily available
through the Fink and MacPorts projects.  X11 software is a little
annoying because you lose a bit on keymap control and UI
incompatibilities (X apps usually want to use the Apple key as the
"Meta" modifier with assignment under app control, while many of them
have standard interpretations in Aqua).  But you get used to it.

The remaining issue is MS Office.  NeoOffice (the Aqua port of is *not* anywhere near MS Office compatible for the
user.  The UI is even worse than MS Office's.  You will probably
experience annoying display glitches.  But that's true with Linux too,
although my experience with Linux is very limited, so it may be just
that one correspondent's files.  (I believe it's a problem with font
substitution and different rendering engines, not the file format.)

On the other hand, I've not had trouble exchanging files with MS users
even though they displayed incorrectly for me, and although my
experience is as limited as I can make it<wink>, there are plenty of
others who have testified that (despite the scary warnings about
unavailable features) file exchange is pretty much 100%.

I'm not telling you *not* to install Linux on your Mac; just that you
should ask yourself if you really need it.

 > 2. not-so-difficult installation of Linux, specifically Debian and Ubuntu
 > What do I not care about?  
 > 1. size of screen
 > 2. new, fancy hardware

New Mac means new fancy hardware.  You'll get used to it ... quickly.
Beware: it's addictive.

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