Is Mac OS any good?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by bonedriven, May 5, 2013.

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  1. bonedriven

    bonedriven Registered Member

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    Hello guys,

    I haven't used a Mac OS at all. The only product I ever had from Apple was an iPod 4 nano. Only recently I noticed lots of Macbook users (especially those men in business suite :D). Also I heard people even switch from linux to Mac OS, which doesn't seem logical to me...I only know that they are both Unix based.

    Can anyone here who used both shed some light and make comparison?
     
  2. merisi

    merisi Registered Member

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    A Mac is something I've considered buying but I can't help feeling it's more style over substance. They tend to use the same processors and drives that you find in a Windows pc and you're paying twice as much for the brand and the OS. What worries me about Apple is that they think their current security model is perfect yet there are more cases of Macs getting infected. The difference is that I wouldn't even know how to begin securing a Mac as there's nothing like AppArmor or the Windows based security programs found on this forum.

    Saying this, I've only heard great things about Macs from friends that use them and it has a history of being a secure and solid OS. With a Mac you end up with a much more user friendly version of Linux and most people that use Macs totally swear by how brilliant they are. I suspect if you were sensible with how you used a Mac you'd be ok but for me the bottom line is price. If I spent what I did on say an iMac on a Windows PC I could get a much more powerful system and a series of programs to make it more secure. In an ideal world I'd have both lol.
     
  3. NormanF

    NormanF Registered Member

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    Mac OSX is basically BSD with a proprietary Apple Cocoa user interface. Its pure Unix and you can run Linux programs on it by installing the X-11 Window Manager.

    Its very reliable and for what you get - its a top-notch computer and operating system beautifully integrated to work together. And Apple's customer service speaks for itself. :thumb:
     
  4. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    Apple Mac OS X is basically a mash-up of the following:The actual core of Mac OS X is XNU which stands either for "X is Not Unix" or, recursively, for "XNU is Not Unix". In turn, XNU is based on the Mach microkernel originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University. This Mach / BSD-core XNU OS came to Apple with the purchase of NeXTSTEP around 1997. When Apple began to upgrade it, add to it, and more fully flesh it out... it became an OS now more accurately known as Darwin which Apple openly released under the Apple Public Source License.

    However, Darwin is just an OS core and does not include the GUI / windowing interface and many of the programmatic frameworks that would allow it to run Mac OS X applications. It is in these application programming interfaces (APIs) where Mac OS X really differentiates itself from Unix. These APIs are often collectively referred to as Cocoa. Along with XNU, the purchase of NeXTSTEP really brought with it Cocoa and the programming language Objective-C. Together, Cocoa and Objective-C function as part of a very tightly integrated development environment which Apple freely releases to Mac users and developers as Xcode.

    Some from the Unix / Linux world might view Cocoa as somewhat restrictive in interface presentation, but I wouldn't say that's necessarily a fair characterization. Cocoa provides Mac OS X developers with many Apple interface elements and "human interface guidelines"-based GUI structures for essentially free. It is actually a surprisingly good programming environment for rapidly creating GUI programs, if you like the "Apple feel". If you don't... well then... it's probably a bit like swimming upstream.

    In short, OS X really isn't Unix. But most Unix utilities can be compiled for OS X, and many of them have... which gives the OS X terminal application, and system administration a very Unix-y feel. Apple even published a whitepaper called OS X for UNIX Users.

    Operating system programmers and developers could probably argue for weeks, months, or even years over the relative merits of the Mach microkernel architecture versus the monolithic kernel architecture of most Linux and Unix operating systems. But really, those details are lost on most users and even most programmers, as they are so low-level that they are effectively hidden from them by the various APIs within the system. And it is here, in the APIs with Cocoa, that Apple actually has a very tight environment in which they have spent a lot of time coding and polishing. OS X developers inherit much of that effort for free.

    Is it good? Depends on who you ask, and for what purpose. Most users and developers find it to be a very easy to use operating system, that does what you want and generally stays out of your way. It might not be as "customizable" as a Linux environment, but many view this as a positive because it means less time lost "tweaking" the window environment and applications to display as you want... if you are prepared to accept that Apple has for the most part done a decent job in their default GUI and OS selections.

    Is it perfectly secure? Or is it perfectly robust and free from updates and patches? Of course not. Only an idiot would call any operating system perfectly secure, free from malware, and free from patching requirements. However, because of its Unix lineage that came from a "multi-user" mentality (with a root vs standard user approach) it is arguably generally more secure than the typical Windows environment (which came from a single user, everyone-is-admin historical mentality). OS X is probably on par with most Linux distros in terms of security and patching. However, this is somewhat changing due to the increasing marketplace popularity of Apple Macs, and now that it is more "profitable" for hackers to target OS X.
     
  5. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Thank you, Alec :) That is the best OS X summary that I've ever read!
     
  6. bonedriven

    bonedriven Registered Member

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    Thanks a lot for the writing Alec ! So
    1. "Apple is Unix based" is a general misconception.
    2. Whether you are gonna like it is still personal taste. But it is for sure a solid and nice os to use.

    In comparison, why do I like linux?

    By learning to use linux I can learn basic knowledge of how computer is built up, and basic knowledge of how internet works. While after many years of using windows, I had to learn like what is "registry", which I believe is no real knowledge of computer.

    And the disadvantage of using OS X, is also that you won't have much adventure feeling like you have in linux, which I know sometimes is just unnecessary trouble... Secondly, you are sucked up to its ecosystem, so you may need not only a macbook, but also an iphone, ipad etc?

    Sorry but that's my random disordered thoughts. :argh:
     
  7. Wild Hunter

    Wild Hunter Former Poster

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    This would be true about 10 years ago.

    But since Vista, Windows has been considered far more secure than Mac OS X in the eyes of true security experts. Windows 7 and Windows 8 continued this trend...

    Windows Vista - $10k hack challenge winner says Vista's code more secure than Mac's

    Windows 7 - Security Expert: Windows 7 Is More Secure Than Mac OS X

    Windows 8 - Windows 8 Is the Most Secure Operating System on the Market – Security Expert

    Conclusion ---- Mac OS X, like every other operating system, is vulnerable to attack. And there are plenty of security researchers who think it's less secure than Windows.

    Oh, and Windows 8 already has more market share than Mac OS X Mountain Lion...
     
  8. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    No the Mac OS is evil. ;)
     
  9. Wild Hunter

    Wild Hunter Former Poster

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    Why?

    And there we go again... from a discussion on technology to a discussion on morals..

    So boring, but so recurrent in the UNIX area... an area of this forum that some GPL fundamentalists even claimed to be their "exclusive territory" on more than one occasion. :D
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  10. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    lol
    I have to agree. :D :D

     
  11. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    Because Apple insulted my intelligence by selling its BS to me.:D :D

     
  12. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Good for what?
    Under what terms?
    Mrk
     
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