Sunday afternoon I started a CD ripping on my 6 year old Linux box. 1 GHz Pentium Pro, 256 MB Ram, 60GB on 2 hard drives. Fedora Core 6. Went out for a walk (spring is finally springing.) Came home, walked into the apartment. "Is that the lovely sharp tang of burning electronics I smell? OH redacted!!!!" Run into the room the Linux box is in. Smoke is coming out the back. Once more, with feeling: "OH redacted!!!!"
So I unplug the box, put it on the table, and start disassembling it. Note that the power supply is hot to the touch. Run cold water over the hand that I grapped the power supply with while removing it. Look at motherboard. "I'm pretty sure there used to be chips where that charcoal is..." At this point I realize that I haven't done a backup since the end of January. I got busy, OK? No time to do the monthly in February. Besides, what's the worst that can happen?
Not sure if the power supply went, and took the motherboard with it, or the other way around. Either way they're both gone. I'm happy they didn't take the entire box, or the entire apartment, with them.
Hard drives look OK though. No burn marks, and they're not hot to the touch.
I'd been planning on replacing the box with a Mac, just not quite so soon. Fortunately CompUSA is going under and the local store is having a "Sell everything not nailed down" sale. So the iMacs are a couple hundred off of list. Drive over there, get the 24" iMac, and an enclosure for making the internal hard drives into external USB drives. Total cost, including taxes, just under $2000. That iMac is in a big box. Has a carry handle, but still big and heavy.
So why a Mac? After 12 years of Linux, why? Cost (oddly, for a Mac) is part of it. A big, gorgeous monitor like the iMac's costs about $600. Maybe more for one of that size and quality. Add in a completely new box (as the old one was 6 years old) kitted out similarly (core duo, mobo, graphics card,hard drives,etc.), including being designed to be very quiet (adds about $200), and a Linux box would probably cost as much, if not more. Another part is time: I'd have to assemble it myself. Then I'd have to install the distro myself. Then tweak everything. Too much work. I have better things to do with my free time.
So I get home, unpack the box, set it up. Takes about 15 minutes to get everything put together, plugged in, and turned on. Set up the user account, and see a gorgeous, huge, desktop. Seriously huge. My God, what a monster! Fast, too. And quiet. Everything just works. Well, except for the external disk drive that used to be the internal drive in the Linux box. OS X doesn't know ext2fs. Time to start downloading!
Quick, Robin, to
the Bat Cave Google! Which takes me to the Mac OS X Ext2 Filesystem on SourceForge. Download, install. Open a terminal window and, hey! That looks familiar! Yes indeedy, it's a Bash shell! Home Sweet Home! This being another reason I bought a Mac: It's a User Friendly UnixTM. I wonder how many Apple developers had to sell their Immortal Souls to pull that off? But I digress.
HOWTO: Mount an ext2 volume on a Mac.
Open a Bash shell.
Run 'disktool -l' to find out just which device OS X thinks the USB drive is and see that there's an unmounted volume at '/dev/disk1s1' that's formatted ext2.
Run 'sudo fsck_ext2 /dev/disk1s1' (since burning PCs tend not to shut down cleanly...)
'sudo mount_ext2 -x /dev/disk1s1 /Volumes/ext2'
The disk is now mounted.
A quick 'ls -al' determines that this is the old '/' disk. So I go to /home and copy over a few files and directories. Reasonably fast. 'umount' the disk. Break for dinner. After dinner open up the disk enclosure and swap in the other disk. Mount it.
Start copying over everything from that disk. It was the /data disk, so it had the weekly backups on it, plus a bunch of other stuff. Close to 40 GB. While that's happening, fire up the browser.
Download Firefox, install it, import the old bookmarks. This is where Mac (or ff on Mac) makes things difficult. I can't import a random bookmarks file using the menus. At least, I can't find a menu entry for this. Possibly I don't get the 'Mac Way' yet. Since the menu isn't with the app, but is instead docked to the top of the screen, I get confused as to where it is when I bring different apps up. So rather than spend time messing about with various menus looking for the 'import' entry that allows importing of a bookmarks file (rather than just a choice of importing from Safari or IE) I just open a bash shell and 'cp' the old bookmarks file over. I then go to the Moz site and get ForecastFox and AdBlock. Gmail Notifier doesn't appear to have a Mac port yet. Oh well.
Files still copying. Copying an entire 40GB disk over a USB 2.0 link is going to take awhile. Go to bed.
Today, after work: Will install X on OS X (it's on the OS DVD in the extras folder) so that I can install OpenOffice. Then download and install Thunderbird and get e-mail working.
Later this week: There's an Aple Store in Tyson's Corner mall, which is a 5 minute drive, so I'll swing by there and see what else is going on with iMac stuff. Maybe they have books (preferably from O'Reilly) on using Xcode (also ships with the iMac, on the DVD). Or classes?
Just thinking, but: Could the Mac, in the long run, be more of a threat to Desktop Linux than Windows is? It's just as Unixy and with a bash shell even. BSD instead of Linux based, but all the command line tools I've been using for years seem to be there and to work as expected. But, unlike Linux*, it's easy.
Sure, Linux is easy for me, but I've been using it for 12 years. "Why I remember, back in the day, when a distro came on a stack of floppies, and you had to hand edit all the files in /etc..."
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