Out of the very few posts that I have made on this blog, one of them is about the MacBook Pro with Touch bar by Apple which was released in 2016. A few months have passed since I wrote that very negative review, and things have changed. Not my mind, but my gadgets. Here’s why: It was an accident.
I listed my old MacBook Pro on Facebook for sale some time last year, and forgot about it completely. While I was travelling in London, someone messaged me asking me if I’d sell my computer for $1250. Considering I bought it 5 years ago for $2000, I happily agreed that when I come back to Australia, he can have the laptop. Perhaps it was the wild New Years party, or the fact that pretty much half of my wallet got stolen while I was in London, but I forgot about this thing completely. So one day some random person turned up to my house to pick up the laptop… And there it was. Gone.
Although I have a tower on my desk, I still need a laptop – I love working in bed too much. I had a good candidate: Dell XPS 15. 4K screen, excellent build quality, and Dell. Sounds like a dream, right? However, I had a very lengthy thought about it, and decided to buy a ridiculously overpriced stupid laptop instead. I bought a 15 inch MacBook Pro with Touch bar for 4000 dollars. I can’t stay away from macOS.
For legal reasons, I’ll say that I may or may not be using macOS on my PC (Hackintosh), and it may or may not have worked like a dream. As a tutor for a first year university computer science course, whatever problems there can be, I’ve seen them. And you know what? I can resolve most if not all of the problems with relative ease if it were on macOS or Linux. If it’s on Windows, forget it. Were something to go wrong on a Windows machine, my response would be: get VirtualBox, and install a Linux instance on it. There is a really good reason for this: I can’t be bothered. Don’t misconstrue this as me being lazy. It’s because Windows is just such a nightmare to work with if you are a developer for any kind of software that requires some kind of compiler.
For the course I tutor, we use Haskell, which uses the GHC compiler, which in turn uses the GCC compiler. Haskell also uses Cabal as the package manager, which compiles everything from source when you are installing anything. Lo and behold, ./configure, and make doesn’t work natively on Windows. So you’ll need to install some kind of Linux core, be it MinGW or whatever it is that Windows people do. Then they will go wrong, and you have no idea where all the installations were, so you can’t delete them and start afresh. Sometimes they don’t recognise the versions of different programs because GCC doesn’t work on this particular version of Windows, etc. etc.
Speaking of versions, who the **** is in charge of choosing the Windows versions? A 5 year old? You had Windows 2000, then Windows XP, then Windows Vista, then Windows 7, then Windows 8, then Windows 8.1 (which is when everyone thought Microsoft finally got its act together with versions), then Windows 10, then what? Windows 10 Creators Update, Fall Update, and Anniversary Update, and who knows which update it is on right now. WHY??? The result of this is that nobody knows which version of Windows they are on. Yes they are on Windows 10, but … which Windows 10?
What do I need to do to install stuff on macOS? I just open terminal, ./configure, make, sudo make install, and that’s it. If it doesn’t work, rm -rf whatever, and start again! Oh, and which version of macOS am I on? I can find out easily from the menus. Don’t you mistake for one second that I am one of those diehard Apple fanboys. macOS has a lot of flaws: the recent security flaw where you can log in as sudo without a password, or the plain password storage, or the bloat it’s got (*ahem* Siri *ahem*). However, what’s better? It’s the best of the worst. You may say – Oh if you are this fussy you should be on Linux. No I don’t want to be on Linux because I use software like .. Microsoft Excel, Photoshop, Lightroom, and other stuff. Sure I can use LaTeX or at a pinch LibreOffice and GIMP but NOBODY ELSE DOES.
In conclusion – I gave into Apple. Not because I’m locked into the eco system, but because their OS is just so darn good at catering for my needs. On that note – Apple, please. Focus a bit on what you focused on before: developers, power users. I know you have to make money by making the system as good as possible for the general population who aren’t power users, but please. Just have a small team working on the OS to make it better for us geeks.