I've decided to get a new laptop by the end of the year. My current Dell Inspiron 8600 one is a fountain of constant annoyance--I used to swear by Dell for laptops; that's so over. So I was considering either Lenovo or the Acer Ferrari series. My developer colleagues at Sun swear by the latter for power-user features and UNIX friendliness (some of them run Ubuntu, some Solaris). But more and more I've been wondering: is it time to consider a MacBook Pro for my laptop? primary machine? My right arm, just about?
We already have two Macs in the house, the high-end iMac G4 Lori got for her birthday 3 years ago and the high-end iMac 24-inch she got for her birthday in October. For the largely multimedia stuff she does, they are excellent, but I've never warmed to OS X, and I've spent a fair amount of time on her computer. I miss little things such as multiple desktops and the rapid back-and forth between GUI and command line. On OS X, as on Windows, going to the command line feels like going to a different land. And yes, I've heard there are multiple desktop add-ons for OS X, and I agree that Expose alleviates some of the need for multiple desktops, and I know that technically you can do everything OS X related on the command line, you just have to get used to some different conventions and layout. Despite all that, I've just never warmed to OS X.
Some of that might just be the fact that I don't use it as regularly. Probably if I did switch to OS X I would get used to power-user features and warm up pretty quickly. I'd have to learn to not resist all the magic that OS X places between you and the UNIX OS, appreciating that the magic is what provides the "just works" factor. I've long believed that excepting a few rough spots such as video projectors, Linux computers (with modern desktops such as GNOME or KDE) are much more likely to "just work" in any given scenario than Windows computers. In my observation OS X has both well beaten. I say this even though I've found that Ubuntu comes with a huge "just works" boost.
In the end my most important criterion is my colleagues. I know several people with similar work patterns to me who have moved from Linux to OS X. A few have become fed up and switched back. In a couple of cases the problem was performance, that was back in the mobile G4 era. I hear a lot of that's better now with Intel Core Duo. I do think that more of these folks have enjoyed the switch than have regretted it.
My leaning is more and more towards making the move. In the end it comes down to always challenging my comfort and shaking up my routine. The general stimulation of the platform switch might boost my energy and productivity, unless it's a disaster and proves a sap instead.
I've done some research on the Linux -> Mac developer switch experience, and I plan to do a good deal more today so that I can come to a rapid decision and claim the expense this year. I'd love to hear from any others who are or were in a similar situation. What are your thoughts?