My Fiancee’s New Mac

Among other things going on in my life, my girlfriend and I need to replace our current laptop. It’s a Dell Inspiron and it’s a little over 2 years old. We figured we could afford a laptop each before the end of the year. I decided on a Dell Studio 1558. I’ve actually wanted one since when they first introduced the Studio line in ’08. Then she dropped a little surprise on me.

“I want a MacBook Pro.”



Up until now, I had thought she was in cahoots with me against Apple and MS. We were going to get her a netbook and put KDE with the Netbook interface. Apparently, not anymore.

I asked “Why?”

“Change, mostly. I’m used to Ubuntu and I don’t want Windows and…well, they’re really pretty.”

She said that last bit with her big eyes looking up at me and a big pout. But, I had to give her that. I’ve always liked the design of the hardware. She explained that she had nothing against Ubuntu or Linux. For awhile, she had her desktop looking really little kid-ish. But I set her up with the theme Ellana from the Bisigi Project and Docky in dock mode. Kinda girly, but still sleek, simple and adult looking.

It was mostly change. All OS’s do the same things. Just differently. She wanted to give OS X a try. How could I tell her “no”. It’s her money, she’s definitely had enough exposure to Ubuntu and other distros. I think a lot of Linux *cough*- freedom! lovers like me often think “If you’ve gone FOSS entirely, why look back.” But, FOSS is not for everyone.

Well, there’s no use changing her mind. Once she has her mind set on something, “not a power in the ‘verse” can stop her, more or less. But the least I can do is make it as little *cough* evil! as possible. If such a thing can be done.

I’ve been making a list of all the Free, Open Source and/or multi-platform apps she could use. Now, I share it with you.

  • Google Chrome – she hated it on Windows (for some reason), she loves it on Ubuntu and she wants it on OS X. Not exactly open source, but Chromium is, so close enough.
  • Mozilla Firefox – Some sites still won’t accept Chrome. Almost all accept Firefox. And there are a few extensions that Chrome doesn’t have, like a simple YouTube downloader. Oh, and Safari is crap.
  • Growl – Open Source notifications like the Ayatana notifications (or is it the other way around? I forget.)
  • Adium – She never did use Pidgin on Ubuntu. But iChat was one thing that caught her attention. When I told her about Pidgin and how it can do EVERY SINGLE CHAT PROTOCOL you can think of AND Adium is basically the same thing. She was pleased. iChat is nowhere near as capable.
  • – something of a hat trick. Loved it on Windows and Ubuntu. MS Office is too expensive for college students already paying for 2 laptops (yet some still pay for it).
  • Quicksilver – She was always impressed when I hit a few keys, a box popped up and something happened all so fast. I was using Gnome Do, which is a Quicksilver clone. I have since stopped using Do, because of lack of development while huge problems made it unusable. We got Docky out of it, though.
  • Dropbox – 2GB of free cloud storage. What more needs to be said? (Besides it not being open source.)
  • VLC – plays anything and everything you throw at it. She might not need it, but I’m sure she’ll run into a file that a Mac can’t play.
  • HandBrake – easy video conversion ;). We both love it on Ubuntu.
  • Extra!! – Spore – I know, it’s not free in the slightest sense, but I never could get WINE to run it. She loved Spore. Now she can play it again.

Since our current Dell is pretty much mine, we’re going to get hers first. Around October is what we’re aiming for. She wants the 13″ Macbook Pro with 2.4 GH proc. and 250 GB hard drive. She gets a student discount and that will put it at about $1,200. (My new laptop costs about $900, with bigger hdd, same RAM, bigger screen, better resolution, slightly slower processor. Something to keep in mind.)

If you have any suggestions for free and/or open source Mac apps, let me know.


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