God help me, I drank the Kool-Aid

by Steve, May 23rd, 2010

Being a hard-core server guy, I always scoffed when people would ask “PC or Mac.” Neither, of course, I actually prefer Solaris. At home, I typically have maintained a Windows desktop or two for the fam, running on commodity intel hardware (the kind Dell and HP dump as loss leaders for $400-500 a pop, including a decent monitor). Our Web server runs Linux, of course, and it serves as yet another desktop, running OpenSUSE with the KDE desktop manager.

The kids have become equally comfortable logging on with their Linux accounts or using the Windows desktops. I always figured someday I’d just convert the Windows machines to Linux, but as long as they’re working, why borrow trouble.

Now, I’ve dabbled in digital recording, and I decided I’d set up the Web server to do double duty as a home recording machine. That didn’t work out so well, for a number of reasons.

  • Installed Rosegarden from packages using Yast.
  • Had to get a real-time kernel from a non-standard repository.
  • Had to get jackd properly installed, and talking to alsa
  • I think I’m finally getting somewhere, but alsa keeps forgetting about my sound card, and, worst of all…
  • I recently upgraded to OpenSUSE 11.2, and with that came KDE 4, which totally borked the desktop. Xorg will run at 100% CPU if you have more than one desktop session logged in. Tried to downgrade to KDE 3. That didn’t work. Tried to just switch to Gnome. That didn’t work. Tried to reinstall KDE 3. That didn’t work. Tried to reinstall KDE 4. That didn’t work. Removed monitor and put unit back under the desk to be a dedicated (headless) Web server. That works.

So, while I really appreciate the spirit of open source software, and have long been a proponent of it on the back end, I’ve also been patiently waiting for it to be ready for the desktop… it’s closer, but still not there.

On the other hand, Apple has had the creative arts as a captive market for decades. Since what I really want is a machine that I can plug in and use as a recording studio, Apple is the logical choice. From hardware to drivers to OS to apps, there are no disconnects or mismatches.

It comes loaded with RAM and a really nice, built-in monitor. It’s not the first Mac I’ve owned; I had a Quadra 604 in the 90s and the University put a first gen Mac in my dorm room way back when first gen Macs were brand new (yes, 1984).

Now do you think I’m cool?

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