On many (older) Macs, OS X cannot be installed at all,
so Linux is a
great way to use UNIX on those Macs.
Actually you can install it on a couple of
"unsupported" Macs with the
freeware XPostFacto for example, although I don't think that it makes much
sense considering the way OS X performs on my old G3/266 :-(
There are other UNIX
alternatives -- *BSD, for example -- but Linux is the most popular
and, I believe, easiest to use of those possibilities.
Especially easiest to
Why don't you try the nice SuSE distribution?
Well maybe better wait till 8.0PPC is released...
OS X better?
Define "better". Better in what way? If you want your Mac to do
server tasks, then Linux definitely has the advantage here -- better
performance, better compatibility with other UNIX platforms
(especially other Linux types), proven stability and so on.
For a lot of server
jobs OS X should work nicely as well (especially as a
Workgroup Server. I'm not sure how it performs under really heavy load). The
most popular servers have been ported to OS X and there is a wide range of
"UNIX software" available through Fink (Fink uses Debian tools like dpkg and
apt-get). Most of the time OS X does require more resources than Linux
though. The login panel alone eats quite a couple of Megs of your RAM
(although by changing /etc/ttys you can probably boot into a console). And
as far as stability is concerned: seems to be ok so far (didn't heave a
single system crash since 10.0).
In many ways, for example, software development on
Linux is more compelling an option than on OS X.
As you mentioned before: probably
depends on what you are developing :-)
Linux also generally runs faster (and feels *much*
faster) on the
same hardware than OS X.
I see you don't use KDE ;-)
After all, Linux runs quite well even on
very old hardware (like an old 486 PC or 68K Mac), so naturally it
will benefit greatly from the greater firepower of a newer Mac. Also,
Mac OS X's graphic layer (Quartz/Aqua) is very processor-intensive
and the whole system feels sluggish as a result, especially in
comparison to Linux.
True, true, true
This may change once OS X 10.2 and QuartzExtreme
come out, but I personally am not hopeful in spite of breathless
The problem is that older graphic cards won't be supported at
all and 32
Mbytes (on the card) are required for optimum performance as they put it.
As a concrete example, I recently was talking about
DivX movies with
colleagues. A colleague saw another colleague using an iBook with
Linux, and they were using xine to watch DivX movies and DVDs, at
very high quality -- much better than under OS X with QuickTime and
the DVD Player *on the same computer*, indeed the colleague remarked
that he'd never seen DivX movies play so well before.
DivX performace is a bit
of an unfair example considering that there is
still only an alpha version of the codec available for OS X. Anyhow you can
still use Xine under OS X as well if you like ;-) (did I already say Fink?)