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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund

From: Noah Slater
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 02:35:14 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17 (2007-11-01)

On Wed, Jan 16, 2008 at 09:55:10PM +0000, Jon Grant wrote:
> Anyone know if it is possible to get a refund for Apple's Mac OS X..?
> I'd love to buy one of their "Air" laptops if there is a way to get it
> pre-loaded with GNU+Linux or a refund... got a USB stick with Kubuntu
> ready to go.. ;)

My advice is don't bother.

Apple hardware is:

 1) VERY expensive,
 2) not upgradable/tweekable,
 3) not officially supported by Ubutnu

The upshot of this is that:

 1) you could get a similar spec laptop for WAY under half the price,
 2) when you want to upgrade or repare you HAVE to use an apple
    registered repair shop using official apple parts
 3) all manner of subtle things will break with Ubuntu because the
    hardware simple doesnt get as tested as regular i368 machines.

To go into further details:

 1) I am the (once proud, and long suffering) owner of a PowerMac G5
 2) I have run Ubuntu for 3 years on my PowerMac
 3) I regularly have to rescue the system after a dist-upgrade because
    Xorg suddenly doesn't work with my Macs slightly custom video setup
 4) I am now fluent in OpenFirmware (trust me, if you don't know, you
    don't want to know) because of the amount of times yaboot has
    messed up or my firmware has got confused and I've had to tweek
    settings or bless drives or figure out OpenFirmware device paths
 5) various applications will segfault or similar due to obscure
    hardware differences
 6) all kinds of problems with the keyboard/mouse (when I say
    problems, I really mean differences with what is assumed to be a
    standard setup by application designers) will cause you to become
    fluent in the likes of `xmodmap' and `xrdb' just to get your
    system usable to any standard degree.
 7) you will be frustrated by little hardware tweeks apple have made
    to make the thing look nicer while significantly breaking some
    fundamental function of you computer. An example would be my Mac's
    lack of a CD eject button. When my OpenFirmware decides to b0rk
    it's self after an upgrade because yaboot got the wrong device
    path to my primary hard disk (did I mention I hate OpenFirmware?)
    I literally have take my computer appart and manually force the
    CD draw out of the drive, which I cant imagine is healthy for it,
    just so I can put in a Live CD and rescue my system.

Finally, and most importantly for me, or at least, this was the final
straw on the camels back which made me vow never to purchase Apple
again so long as I might live:

 1) When my PSU exploded one night (!) (yes, things like this do
    happen to computers after a while, so you may as well plan for the
    eventuality) it took out my PowerMac's mainboard. I had to take
    this to the Genius Bar (in Sheffield!) to have it fixed with
    Apples proprietary hardware, this being my only option. It cost me
    close to 600 pounds to replace the PSU and mainboard.

I could have bought a new computer for that money, a good one too.

If I had been using a standard computer, lets compare prices:


Motherboard, average cost about 80 quid?
Motherboard, average cost about 50 quid?


Noah Slater <http://bytesexual.org/>

"Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so far as
society is free to use the results." - R. Stallman

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