I’ve been staying high and tight with a 10″ screen netbook for about 3 years now. Naturally, being a programmer/Unix sysadmin/explorer of the net and such can be pretty testing on such a system. After all of that time, I finally snapped. I need(ed) a screen that would hold a web browser, a commandline console, and anything else I wanted to have up. After all, it is for recreation and work at the same time. It’s MINE, and it’s my time.
So, looking around at monitors, and knowing the problems I’d have with Windows and multiple monitors if I chose the wrong card, the wrong monitors, and shook my left foot the wrong way, etc. (I think you get the picture) With Linux, multiple monitors are great, but you can kiss gaming goodbye unfortunately. What’s a man to do?
Well, I know that Apple is Unix, just as Linux is Unix. Well, maybe not quite the same, but the undercarriage is there. I thought about it… I have a headless server already, and I’ve already experienced iOS on my iPad. The user-friendliness is astounding, and only gets in the way when your ready to destroy something. (other than the jailbreaking that needs to be done.. ) But I need a big screen for home so I can do multiple things at once and not have to scroll as much. I also want to enjoy….
So I threw down the shackles, and picked up an Apple iMac…. 27 inches of screen, can’t beat that! So tonight, I took it out of the box, slapped it down, and all I had to do was plug it in and turn on the wireless keyboard/mouse.
Impressive, it comes with stock 3.2 Ghz processor, 4GB ram, and 1TB drive space. It can run anything a “PC” can with the bootcamp boot manager. Most off, I’m not going that route and I’m doing virtualization with Linux and Windows in OS/X. I can toss in 16GB memory in, and I’ll be doing that in a couple weeks. Most of all, I’m just impresse with it’s clean seamless application stack. Without a worry, I was able to start up X11 in the Utilities folder, and instantly SSH to my server to run the firefox browser and display it on my screen. That opens up a whole world of opportunity, as it’s talking X/Window protocol. I’ve thrown in most of the apps I’ve commonly used… Libre Office, Firefox, Adium Instant Messenger, a VNC viewer (a mac one named ‘chicken of the vnc’), Virtualbox VM software, and Wine windows code runner. Granted, I haven’t tested Wine, but it’s a DMG that was packaged, and uses XQuartz. If it’s packaged, I’m pretty sure it’s been tested. I’m going to try running MS Money 2002 directly through Wine on OS/X to avoid forcing myself to run a full version of Windows XP in a virtual machine simply for financing.
I’m installing CentOS Linux in a virtual machine right now as I’m typing this, and it’s very fast. No lag on the processing, and everything just “goes”. Actually, installation just took 2-3 minutes… quicker than most Xeon servers I’ve installed it bare-metal on. It’ll be interesting to see how things go when I setup multiple virtual machines with different versions of Linux on and create a virtual server room. I’ll do that when I have 16GB installed, of course.
Being able to make a DVD with only a few clicks, at the same time as I’m sync’ing itunes with my iPad, with a monitor sized 27 inch screen computer… hella better than I’ve ever experienced. The Apple cinema screen clarity is icing on the cake. Everything just flows, never any flickers.
I’ll toss the Apache web server and PHP onto OS/X to do testing as well… kinda cool to be able to do all of this at once.