OS X - what next?

This last month, I've been living at my ma's while me younger brother's been living at my flat with his girlfriend and a friend of her's. And it really made me realise how dependent I am on Nayru, the desktop. As "user friendly" as OS X is (which is what Farore, the laptop, is running), there are just so many things that are so much easier with Linux - which means I haven't done such things in the last month. So. I'm currently in a dilemma. Should I drop OS X entirely in favour of Linux (the "user friendly" Ubuntu, the familiar Gentoo, something else?), or should I begin using something more familiar(/Linux-like) with(in) OS X, like Gentoo/Mac OS X?

The options

Let me explore the three above listed options a bit, plus two more. (Hail Eris.)

Option 1: Ubuntu

This would be a system that apparently should be Easy™. It would lack a lot of the configurability I'm used to from Gentoo, but OTOH it would be precompiled packages, a widely used distro (with a lot of newbies asking newbie questions), and thus, problems should (theoretically) be more standardised and thus easier to find answers to. It would also help me in becoming more versatile, learning how to work another distro. (Which was one of my arguments for choosing the MacBook over the HP Windows machines (that would have instantly been replaced by Linux anyway).)

Option 2: Gentoo

Wiping the disk and installing Gentoo on it. (Or, installing Gentoo on it, and then wiping OS X.) This would be the most familiar option. I've used to using both Gentoo's native Emerge and (one of) the alternative manager(s) Paludis. I have a fairly good grasp on things from cron jobs to server setup. However, Gentoo is, well, Gentoo. Meaning that it has quite a number of quirks. Including the ability to spontaneously stop working once something has been upgraded. And since every setup is unique, one is often left to figure things out on their own. (And while this is often a great learning experience, some times (quite often, actually) these things happen at times where they're most likely to infuse a state of panic.)

Option 3: Gentoo/Mac OS X

This would essentially still make the system OS X, just with the benefits of a package manager. However, the system would still be one I'm not nearly as familiar with as I am with Linux, and a lot of things are still easier to do in a GUI than on the command line. (I find that doing administration things on the command line tends to be faster.)

Option 4: Learning how to do things "the OS X way"

As in... sucking it up and figuring out how to set up an Apache/MySQL/(PostgreSQL/)PHP server. Set up CVS, Subversion, and Git. Find a proper text editor with syntax highlighting. Find a proper SSH/SFTP client. And other issues I'm currently fazed by.

Option 5

Something completely different. Do let me know what I missed! :)

Making a decision...

So what should I do? Please comment and let me know your thoughts. I'm kind of leaning towards option 1, but...


I think you've forgotten to

I think you've forgotten to reply to my comment :) Anyways I have quite much experience with Windows, Linux and OS X and personally prefer OS X.

"As in... sucking it up and figuring out how to set up an Apache/MySQL/(PostgreSQL/)PHP server"
- OS X comes with Apache and PHP. I believe PHP is disabled as default but you just have to uncomment a line or something like that to activate it. There is a MySQL package for OS X on their website.

"...Set up CVS, Subversion, and Git ..."
- Server or client? I think client versions of those three(and probably servers too) can be installed with macports. Macports is kind of like apt-get but builds from source.

"...Find a proper text editor with syntax highlighting ..."
- TextMate is a powerful text editor which is very flexible. I mostly use Smultron(another good text editor) but I think I'll migrate to TextMate.

"...Find a proper SSH/SFTP client ..."
- Have you tried Transmit?

"...And other issues I'm currently fazed by."
- Hit me! :)

Perhaps you already knew about these (wonderful)applications etc. Hope I can make you consider option #4 as a strong candidate :)

Didn't forget

I didn't forget, I just hadn't gotten around to feeling I'd finished the list of things I find easier to do on Linux than I've found in OS X. I'm still not feeling, but I will list it (and ping you in IRC ;)) when I have.

TextMate and Transmit are both closed-source and non-free, thus non-options in the worlds of my economy and ideology both. (That's another issue of mine, the Mac software world seems to have even more people charging for their software than in the Windows world, with less FOSS alternatives. If only the FOSS community for Mac/OS X was as strong as it is on the Windows platform... :/)
Smultron is for 10.5+, and I'm on 10.4 (and no money to purchase an upgrade).

How do you launch Apache? I know Linux and where files are placed etc. pretty well, but since Mac OS X has a, well, "funny" way of placing some stuff, I'm really rather wary of trying to poke at anything. (One of the items on my list is "Having a sensible, standardised file hierarchy (ie., following the FHS)" - where standardised is more than just OS X.)

Yes, there are lots of retail

Yes, there are lots of retail software for Mac. I find it is easy to find free software too though. Anything specific that you cannot find? Have you considered running X11 in OS X? That way you can run X11 apps alongside with your mac apps.

Doesnt OS X only put OS X stuff in "funny" places? I might be wrong. E.g. preferences, OS X apps etc.

To activate Apache go to System preferences, and then sharing(at least it is under sharing in Leopard, might be different in older versions). There you can activate web sharing.

Looking forward to the list :)

Option #4 in my opinion

Option #4 in my opinion :)
What do you find easier in Linux than in OS X?

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