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Benelux JBoss User Group, 29 February 2008

11 Feb 2008

min read

Until recently, my desktop PC was running Linux, like all of the other desktops at Lunatech. Since it was time to get a new PC with powerful hardware, I took the opportunity to join the laptop users and switch to an Apple Mac for software development. I now have my favourite development machine ever, and not just because it is shiny either.

Note that I do not particularly care whether you use a Mac; I just wanted to explain why I am so happy with mine.


The new Mac Pro is not so much a PC as a 20 Kg aluminium beast. I got fairly basic specifications with extra memory - two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors with 5 Gb of memory. I now have plenty of memory to run Eclipse, JBoss and PostgreSQL, along with the other applications, and everything is really fast. Happiness is JBoss Application server starting-up in nine seconds.

A better operating system

However, the real improvement is running OS X 10.5 (Leopard) instead of Gnome or KDE. Gnome and KDE are not bad, but OS X is so far ahead that it just seemed stupid to have a better operating system at home than the one I use for most of the day at work.

One of the benefits is better hardware integration - more things just work: web cam and video chat, Bluetooth, printer set-up, sound and monitor set-up. Linux cost me a lot of time to get sound and 1920x1200 resolution working last year.


Some of the software is just the same to use on OS X as on Linux:

  • server software, such as JBoss Application Server and PostgreSQL

  • Eclipse

  • NeoOffice (OpenOffice)

  • Firefox

  • Gimp.

However, some of the other software I now use regularly is a great improvement over what I had before:

  • Apple software that comes pre-installed - Safari (web browser), Mail, iCal (calendaring), iChat (chat client), QuickLook/Preview (file viewers) and Address Book

  • OmniGraffle - diagram software

  • Colloquy - IRC client.

  • GraphicConverter

    • bitmap image editor

I have been using GraphicConverter for years, since I never really need Photoshop, but it would be nice to find an image editor with a more modern inspector-based user-interface like the iWork applications. I have not yet fallen in love with any of the newer OS X image editors, such as Seashore, Pixelmator and Acorn, although they look nice and have potential.

Peter Hilton is a senior software developer at Lunatech Research.