Software Development on a (New) MacBook

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#1 c0mrade  Icon User is offline

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Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 18 April 2009 - 09:16 PM

So, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to buy one of the new MacBooks when the student sales start.

If I do, it will be my first Apple computer. I really have no experiance using them, I only know what they are like through word of mouth, using friend's, and playing at stores.

The main reason I'm interested is the OS. I feel right at home on UNIX, and generally use Linux on my "PC's", but I really want something that "just works".

I know plenty of people who rave about Mac's, but none of those people develop software, so I have the following questions for any Mac users out there:

- What is your overall opinion on your Mac (hardware and OS)?
- Were there any hoops you had to jump through to get developing software on your Mac?
- Do you ever need to boot into Windows?
- Is the power of UNIX accessable from your Mac? (can you install common GNU programs? Does BSD's Ports system work on Macs?)

Thanks

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Replies To: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

#2 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 18 April 2009 - 09:17 PM

View Postc0mrade, on 18 Apr, 2009 - 09:16 PM, said:

I know plenty of people who rave about Mac's, but none of those people develop software...


I thought that would have been a clue.
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#3 c0mrade  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 18 April 2009 - 09:41 PM

View PostKYA, on 18 Apr, 2009 - 08:17 PM, said:

View Postc0mrade, on 18 Apr, 2009 - 09:16 PM, said:

I know plenty of people who rave about Mac's, but none of those people develop software...


I thought that would have been a clue.


Ah, but I really don't know any people who develop software outside of work.

And since my company provides laptops (Windows of course), none of the people at work use Macs.
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#4 Locke  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 18 April 2009 - 09:48 PM

View Postc0mrade, on 18 Apr, 2009 - 10:41 PM, said:

none of the people at work use Macs.


With good reason. ;)

I've never had a problem with a Mac, but they make me feel so stupid by making everything so easy...I'm a user, not an idiot. Although, at Apple...those words are interchangeable. :D
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#5 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:20 AM

Quote

but they make me feel so stupid by making everything so easy


I'd be more likely to find that empowering. Linux made me feel stupid by making stuff so unintuitive. Each to his own I guess. :)

A lot of people in my office at uni develop on macs. I'll have a chat with them tomorrow and get back to you.
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#6 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 05:41 AM

If you want the power of UNIX why even bother throwing a mac on"top" of it?
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#7 dsherohman  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 06:15 AM

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 04:16 AM, said:

I know plenty of people who rave about Mac's, but none of those people develop software, so I have the following questions for any Mac users out there:

I'm a freelance software developer, currently on my second PowerBook. My normal practice is to develop under OS X/fink and deploy on Linux.

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 04:16 AM, said:

- What is your overall opinion on your Mac (hardware and OS)?

I've been quite happy with both my PowerBooks. Looking at the more recent MacBooks, I'm not thrilled about the new look. (I love the aesthetics of the old G4 Titanium. The white/black plastic cases and chiclet keyboards just look cheap to me.) Functionally, though, the hardware is great. I've had minor issues with the wireless losing track of one of my access points and dropping ssh connections, but adding a 60-second keepalive to my ssh client config fixed that right up and it's the closest thing to a hardware problem I've had, aside from issues related to my first PowerBook having been dropped a meter and a half and bouncing off the pavement. (It actually survived that and lasted another year and a half before the hard drive died.)

OS X is a real *nix underneath the pretty face, but doesn't come with all the tools to take advantage of that preinstalled. Fortunately, it's just a quick trip to www.finkproject.org (and a substantially less quick series of compiles) to get X and all the other customary unixy goodness up and running.

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 04:16 AM, said:

- Were there any hoops you had to jump through to get developing software on your Mac?

I needed to install fink to get my preferred environment set up, as I didn't care for the terminal and editor apps that ship with OS X by default, and installing fink required signing up on Apple's developer site so that I could download a (free) compiler to build fink with. I seem to recall having heard that the latest version of OS X provides a more developer-friendly environment out-of-the-box, but I could just be imagining that.

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 04:16 AM, said:

- Do you ever need to boot into Windows?

I have a PowerBook, not a MacBook, so, no, I absolutely never boot my Mac into Windows. :D

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 04:16 AM, said:

- Is the power of UNIX accessable from your Mac? (can you install common GNU programs? Does BSD's Ports system work on Macs?)

fink's admin commands are modeled on Debian's apt system, but function more like ports in that fink downloads the source and builds it locally instead of using precompiled packages. So I've never had cause to try running ports on my Mac, but I would expect it's out there somewhere and should work just fine.

All the standard GNU utilities are available through fink and the common ones are part of the default fink install. Without fink, many are also available through the base OS X system - there is a terminal program which gives you a bash shell, etc. - but I've never taken the time to explore just how much is actually included in that set of apps.


View PostKYA, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 12:41 PM, said:

If you want the power of UNIX why even bother throwing a mac on"top" of it?

Because it's the only widely-available laptop that you can purchase with *nix pre-installed on it?

Before going PowerBook, I did set up Linux on a couple laptops and it was a most unpleasant task trying to deal with all the non-standard hardware laptops tend to use.
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#8 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:00 AM

Linux is becoming more common on laptops, certainly netbook style ones anyway.
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#9 abgorn  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:30 AM

View Postcfoley, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 07:00 AM, said:

Linux is becoming more common on laptops, certainly netbook style ones anyway.

It's because the Linux kernel is extremly portable and distros like Ubuntu have made usability more and more important and thereby raising the standard for other distros. Though Linux isn't idiot friendly yet, it's just user friendly. :P
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#10 markhazlett9  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:11 AM

I am a developer using OS X an there are some distinct advantages and disadvantages to using OS X when it comes to development. First off, if you have anything you need to develop for that is windows specific, like oracle or visual studio, then it can be a bit of a hassle as you need to install some version of windows on there via bootcamp of VM but both work very well when it comes to development on a Macbook. Secondly, the biggest perk for OS X is it's ability to do graphics work. In other words if you're in web development I don't think I would choose anything else. Also, if you're ever planning on doing OS X development or iphone development then you will need OS X in order to do that so that is a bonus as well.

On a side note as well not related to development, if you've never used OS X and are a windows user then there is a little bit of a learning curve to OS X. So don't worry if you're getting frustrated for the first little bit, there are plenty of resources online.

As for using UNIX, GNU apps on your mac. There are some that are already installed such as GCC, etc. However there are some that will take some configuring on your part in order to make them functional, in other words the directory structure of OS X is a little different that conventional linux, so the apps will be looking for things in folders that aren't there. However there has been quite a bit of success with it, I have just never needed to try to put any linux apps on OS X.

Hope this helps.

Cheers

This post has been edited by markhazlett9: 19 April 2009 - 09:27 AM

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#11 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:16 AM

View Postdsherohman, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 06:15 AM, said:

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 04:16 AM, said:

- Is the power of UNIX accessable from your Mac? (can you install common GNU programs? Does BSD's Ports system work on Macs?)

fink's admin commands are modeled on Debian's apt system, but function more like ports in that fink downloads the source and builds it locally instead of using precompiled packages. So I've never had cause to try running ports on my Mac, but I would expect it's out there somewhere and should work just fine.

All the standard GNU utilities are available through fink and the common ones are part of the default fink install. Without fink, many are also available through the base OS X system - there is a terminal program which gives you a bash shell, etc. - but I've never taken the time to explore just how much is actually included in that set of apps.


View PostKYA, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 12:41 PM, said:

If you want the power of UNIX why even bother throwing a mac on"top" of it?

Because it's the only widely-available laptop that you can purchase with *nix pre-installed on it?

Before going PowerBook, I did set up Linux on a couple laptops and it was a most unpleasant task trying to deal with all the non-standard hardware laptops tend to use.



If you have to "unlock" the UNIX capabilities then, by definition, it is not "easily accessible". I'd rather use an actual *nix distro then fluff on a stick.
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#12 c0mrade  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:08 AM

@KYA, next time you have some free time, set aside some space on your hard drive and install a linux distro. Then do not boot into Windows for the next month.

You will see why I want the layer OSX adds :)

Flash on linux is complete shit, it's useless trying to watch video (say goodbye to Hulu, and even Youtube is sub-standard). You will also find that you can never stop tinkering. Even in a "just works" distro like Ubuntu. I have been using Linux on my general use laptops for years, and I still haven't found a configuration that just works for whatever I want to do.

Now, if you are speaking from experience then I apologize. But at the moment it sounds like your talking out of your ass.

And if all I have to do is configure some third party software, that's accessible for me. Inaccessible would be configuring each UNIX program separately to work on OSX.


@cfoley, thanks, that would be very helpful.


@dsherohman, thanks for the input, and yes, I think the white plastic MacBooks look like crap -- but have you seen the new ones?


@markhazlett9, as above, very helpful, thanks


I did some googling and found a project called MacPorts (http://www.macports.org), anyone used it? How does it relate to Fink? Another system I've heard about through word of mouth is DarwinPorts. Sorry if this is all obvious, but it's a little confusing to an outsider.
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#13 Locke  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:29 AM

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 11:08 AM, said:

@KYA, next time you have some free time, set aside some space on your hard drive and install a linux distro. Then do not boot into Windows for the next month.


I agree with KYA, mostly. If I wanted UNIX...I'd use something that's actual *nix. And I did set aside space on my hard drive for Ubuntu. I didn't boot into Windows for the next 3 months. Why? Because I loved Ubuntu so much. Yeah, it's a pain to configure at first, but I don't have trouble doing anything anymore. You just have to find the right drivers...and trust me, they're all out there.

Someone told me OS X has a UNIX backend...I said--"So? What's your point?"
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#14 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:46 AM

View Postc0mrade, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 10:08 AM, said:

@KYA, next time you have some free time, set aside some space on your hard drive and install a linux distro. Then do not boot into Windows for the next month.

You will see why I want the layer OSX adds :)

Flash on linux is complete shit, it's useless trying to watch video (say goodbye to Hulu, and even Youtube is sub-standard). You will also find that you can never stop tinkering. Even in a "just works" distro like Ubuntu. I have been using Linux on my general use laptops for years, and I still haven't found a configuration that just works for whatever I want to do.

Now, if you are speaking from experience then I apologize. But at the moment it sounds like your talking out of your ass.


There are many distros out there. Some are quite similar to Windows in terms of friendly-ness.

If you want a cold cup of water, get a cold cup of water. If you want a hot cup of water, get a hot cup of water. The worst thing to have is a lukewarm cup of drivel which is what I think Macs are. Either bask in the total freedom *nix offers or enjoy the plug n' play compatibility Windows boasts. Why constrict yourself?
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#15 markhazlett9  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development on a (New) MacBook

Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:07 AM

View PostKYA, on 19 Apr, 2009 - 09:46 AM, said:

Either bask in the total freedom *nix offers or enjoy the plug n' play compatibility Windows boasts. Why constrict yourself?



First of all, no offense to you at all KYA, but I think that with the amount of pre-installed drivers that comes in linux/ OS X there is no comparison when it comes to plug and play compatibility. And if it's an issue and you're familiar with Grub then by all means why not triple boot your macbook and get the best of all 3 worlds?

Cheers
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