Crap Nullpointer Exceptions

This is the blog of John Dulaney, a hacker of Fedora, SCAdian, player of Music, blacksmith, sailor, and consumer of Bacon.

Why to not buy a Mac

So, I know that there are a lot of people out there that have love affairs with their Macs.  This made sense back when Mac had different hardware.  However, this is no longer the case.  The following specs are for comprable Dell and Apple models:

Macbook Pro 13 Inch (1)

  • 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR2 Ram
  • 320 GB SATA drive, 5400 RPM
  • 5.3 GHz I5 processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • 7 Hour battery life
  • 13 Inch display
  • $1199

Dell Inspiron 14R (2)

  • 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR2 Ram
  • 500 GB SATA drive, 7200 RPM
  • 5.3 GHz I5 processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Could not find estimated battery life, but it should be comparable.
  • 14 Inch Display
  • $649.99

As you can see, the Macbook is slightly inferior in terms of hardware, and yet is twice as much in cost.  Now, some can say that the extra cost is for the operating system, but that is quite odd, since that can be freely downloaded from Apple’s website (3).  So, if you buy an Mac, you’re either overpaying for hardware by quite a lot, or you’re paying for free software.  Would it not be cheaper to buy the Dell and drop the Apple software on it?  Of course, the issue here is that much of the software that Apple sells is not Free, which warrant’s another discussion in and of itself.

Since the vast majority of Apple’s user base seems to believe in Creative Commons licensing, Freedom, etc., then why are they going with something that is (a) proprietary and (b) restrictive (compared to Free and Open Source Software)?  Seriously, what a load of fail.

(1) apple.com

(2) dell.com

(3) http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1456.1.26/

 

PS, I might play around with creating my own binary-compatible spin to demonstrate to the Worshippers of Jobs.

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4 responses to “Why to not buy a Mac

  1. cameron June 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I’d be interested to see a custom built machine or Del machine running OSX. That is THE reason I buy and use a Mac. (That and the sweet logo on the front and bragging rights…). I think the other thing I’m paying for is AppleCare and peace of mind to know that since I’m a non-hardware computer guy, I won’t have to personally mess with it when my computer breaks. That alone is worth the extra 1000 bucks. People don’t usually insure Frankenstein computers.

    • John Dulaney June 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      So, you’re paying a crapload extra for software you can get for free and to fit within marketing? Odd.
      As to the Applecare plan is an extra $240, whereas a similar warranty from Dell (and note, I am simply using Dell as a convenient example, since they share motherboards with the Mac) is free. Seriously, the only reason to buy a Mac is because it is cool to buy a Mac, and that is not a real reason.

  2. James O'Doherty July 28, 2011 at 3:43 am

    While the kernel and BSD subsystem used in Mac OS X might be free to download, the Mac OS X operating system with its proprietary graphical shell and the Cocoa frameworks aren’t freely available. In fact, they aren’t even licensed for use on anything except Apple hardware, so you’re whole “getting the software for free” argument isn’t exactly legitimate. People don’t buy Macs to run Darwin and X11, they buy them to run Mac OS X and Photoshop or to write iOS apps.

    Nevertheless, I have to agree with your premise that Mac OS X doesn’t offer any significant advantage over Windows or Linux such that it would justify the high markups on Apple hardware.

    However, the hardware itself still has its merits. The high gloss screens on the Macbook Pro laptops are quite exceptional for design work and look better than many destkop monitors, and the large, multi-touch trackpad with its software supported gestures makes it real easy to multi-task and browse through text and files. Finally, the battery life in these new unibody Macbook models is generally better than most PC laptops.

    It’s actually hard to find a laptop with similar build quality and attention to usability without paying a similar premium for something like a Sony Vaio or a Lenovo Thinkpad.

    And that’s why you pay the premium, because you usually know what to expect, where with a lot of PC manufacturers, especially HP and Acer, it’s really hit or miss. The fact that the Macbook Pro also happens to be hip and cool thanks to all of Apple’s marketing, gadgets, and consistently good industrial design these last several years is just an added benefit for a lot of users.

    That’s why when I recently decided to buy a new laptop, the Macbook Pro was at the top of my list. After doing a lot of research though, I settled on a Thinkpad X220 with the premium IPS screen, since I know the battery life and durability of the hardware would be even better despite having roughly the same specs as the 13″ Macbook Pro.

    Even with ecoupon codes, no operating system license, and an academic discount though, I still only saved about $200 over the equivalently spec’d 13″ Macbook Pro.

    So no, I wouldn’t say that $1000 isn’t a bad price to pay for a quality laptop and that you shouldn’t buy one, but you are right in assuming that a lot of people just buy Macbook Pro’s just because they’re cool looking.

  3. Michael Driver July 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

    I don’t buy laptops because they “look cool” or because some marketing company (Apple) tells me to. Apple is over hyped, over priced, shiny plaything manufacturer. They have always been a good marketing company. They have a cult following. But, they only have something like 10% of the computer market. I, myself, will never buy anything Apple makes. I can spend my hard earned money a lot better than that.

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