OSX notes

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Ubuntu on a MacMini

Installing Ubuntu 7.10 on a MacMini was really, really easy. It automatically detected all my hardware and everything worked without any configuration at all. The one trick I had to look up was how to boot from the CD. It turns out that you simply hold down the 'C' key while you power on the MacMini. After that installation goes smoothly just like any other x86 installation.

I totally replaced OSX. I did not fool around with any repartitioning of disks or dual boot with BootCamp. I always hated dual booting. A lot of other people also run Ubuntu under VMware or Parallels. I love virtualization, but I wanted a pure install.

Why Ubuntu on a Mac?

I like Apple hardware. My MacMini is nearly silent; it looks nice; it's small; it's powerful enough. There are a lot of reasons I decided to finally switch back. OSX is fine as a kiosk computer -- a machine with a few limited functions that anybody can use without reading any manuals. But I found that for a "serious" dev box it was too limiting. Sometimes the Mac way is not the "best" way.

  • GUI tweaks -- there were innumerable small user interface features that you simply cannot get on a Mac (not easily or not without paying money). I cannot live without window resize bars on all four corners of a window. I cannot live without focus follows mouse.
  • Development tools -- Turning a vanilla Ubuntu machine into a platform for developing software is trivial. I run a few `apt-get install` commands and 10 minutes later all my tools are installed and configured the way I like them. I know that it's possible on a Mac using Fink or Darwin Ports, but these tools are flaky, hard to use, and only offer about a quarter of the number of packages available on Ubuntu.

After trying OSX for about 6 months I had to ask myself, "what's the point?" Ubuntu is easier to use and is a better tool for software development. I can do the same stuff I could do with OSX and I could do it more easily.

I have some regrets. I wish I had the time to get more familiar with Mac software development. I would have liked to get some experience with Objective-C and Cocoa. But I don't need that for the type of work I do.

Not that OSX is "bad" in any way. It was just too limiting for me.

Focus Follows Mouse

To turn on Focus Follows Mouse in Mac OSX Terminal App do the following from a terminal (note that you must restart the Terminal App):

defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string YES

To turn off Focus Follows Mouse:

defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string NO

Linux and OSX command equivalents

List both mounted and unmounted disk devices:

Linux
fdisk -l
OSX
diskutil list

SSH login

Start System Preferences. Click on Sharing under "Internet & Network". The Services tab should be highlighted. Check Remote Login.

Now you should be able to login remotely using SSH.