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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund

From: Andrew Savory
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 09:05:06 +0100


On 1/17/08, Noah Slater <address@hidden> wrote:
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.

Good advice, bad reasons ;-)

AIUI, OS X is significantly cheaper than Microsoft Windows, so the refund is likely to be negligible compared to the cost of the machine.

Actually, I find the whole refund thing slightly curious - you wouldn't go to Ford and say "give me a refund, I want to install my own car radio". If you can't find a supplier who unbundles [hardware from software|cars from stereos], that is pretty much your problem.

Apple hardware is:

1) VERY expensive,

Not particularly. The price/performance of Apple vs. others has long since been in favour of Apple. I've bought both Apple and non-Apple hardware, and so far the TCO of the Apple hardware is way lower than the non-Apple. The Apple stuff has proved more robust for me. YMMV.
2) not upgradable/tweekable,

Tell that to my laptop running a bigger hard disk and more memory than Apple shipped it with! If you want to put new gfx cards or processors in, sure, go buy a noname intel box.

3) not officially supported by Ubutnu

However, I know lots of people running Ubuntu on Macs. If you're planning to upgrade or tweak your hardware, I don't think "official support" is going to be a problem.

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.

I don't think "i368" (sic) is supported either ;-)

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

pshaw, I've hard that problem on my non-Mac laptops.

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

OpenFirmware is awesome, and it's a real shame it got ditched in favour of EFI (or whatever it is) in newer machines.

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.

Weird. In what way is yours a non-standard setup? Do you have mouse buttons missing, for example?

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.

Your frustration is other people's elation. Personally, I love not having a fugly hardware eject button.

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.

Perhaps you should have - a Mac Mini is a good buy at that price point :-P

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


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

"Standard computer"? Heh. "If I had been running a standard operating system like Windows, my word processor  would have been able to print".

As for the costs: if you buy a BMW, you pay more for parts than if you buy a Ford. When you bought your Mac you knew you were buying a "premium" product that would cost more because it's got a smaller share of the market.

This flame brought to you in the interests of balanced arguments and asbestos underwear sales.


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