Saturday, September 1, 2007

Some thoughts about Mac

I've been playing with my new Mac for the last few days. I've been really surprised. I thought that it will be much easier to do all this stuff that I do on my Ubuntu. Unfortunately it is not. I've been trying to run pygames cause lately I've been adding an Arabic language support to one of games that runs on that engine. Guess what? By default Mac ships with python version 2.3, this is so old. Now days we have version 2.5. It's getting even worst, I would like to upgrade my python to never version, but there is no package management system that would be up to day. There is fink but it doesn't have a new python also. I was able to find .dmg for python 2.5 and it installed without any problems. Unfortunately to run pygame you need to take care of some dependencies - PIL, SDL, PyObjc and so on, because there is no package manager I had to surf thru the web and find all the packages by hand. Good news is that they worked - installed without and problems. Then you have to compile pygame by hand - it reminds my of GNU/Linux 10 years before, I had to do exactly this same. I've compiled pygame by hand cause I wanted to run on python2.5, there is .dmg for pygame working on python2.4. To compile by hand I had to find source code, find dependencies, and compile just to find out that I've missed some dependencies. Dependencies have dependencies and this cycle never ended. Let's face it this sucks. Not many people use pygame so I thought that I could install eclipse here. So again I've checked the Java version - 1.5.0_07, but I would like to have 1.6 update 2, unfortunately this version is not ready for Mac. What about Jave EE, it's getting even worst, forget about it! There is no way I'm going to play with different frameworks on Mac cause everything here is just a pain in the ass, from the easy development point of view. I understand that it is fun to program on Mac in Haskell, SML or hacking RoR but I just can't see how to develop some java apps on new engines (I mean edgy). Mac has also a good side, I truly enjoy all the gadgets, iLife set - not including iTunes - I prefer Amarok - and again trying to make it work under Mac is painful. I really think that Mac is a good environment for desktop. It has MS Office (the app that I miss on Linux), and all this apps for movie, music and picture gameplay. And everything looks nice, and works out of box (I mean camera, Skype ...).

Conclusion. I'm going to install Ubuntu as my development system and use Mac just to play with my pictures and movies. I hope that in the next 3-5 years Mac will be ready for up to date development (edgy). Well it is ready to up to date development if you like to spend a lot of time trying to compile things, or developing on Windows is a thing that turns you on.

I've played also with dual boot. It is really easy to run Windows on Macbook Pro, but here goes the real problem - overheating. When I started an app that uses plenty of CPU resources on Windows I was scared almost to death. Macbook was so hot and fans were running really fast and really loud but were still unable to cool the darn thing down (temperature over 70° C). I've heard recently on /. about Macbook that catches on fire and burned a house. This is an extreme but it made me thinking how gamers can use Macbook pro, I just can't imagine running WoW for more then 2 hours and still be brave enough to keep it going. Don't get me wrong, the machine will hold it for more then 2 hours I'm just concerned how long will it take till something will really brake down. Macbooks are pretty expensive and I would be really sad if I would overheat my box and had to replace motherboard and CPU for a new one. I would have to think about some system (system of fans or cold water) to dock my Mackbook. This system would have to cool it down. As for now I will try to not overheat it.

Overheating is not a new thing to Apple; do you remember firmware updates last year? I thought that from that time on Apple would be more serious and cool laptops better, but as far as I can judge “it is not like that”. I’ve been interested how hot are apple products developed for a desktop use. Do they get so hot also? I’ve read on blogs that gamers don’t have problems in running games on non laptop machines, but they are not saying if the cover is hot or not. Especially I’ve been interested in the newest product.

To sum things up I would like to say that I truly enjoy hacking this system. It is a fun thing to do when you return to your home after work. Just like in old days, so many things to discover, and so many paths to take. I feel like I’m young again.

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