OS X Journal: The Great OS X Migration


By

Week 1
8:37AM up 22:52, 3 users, load averages: 0.17, 0.10, 0.00

Over the past few months I started migrating to Mac OS X. Surprisingly it
has been a very gradual process, in fact happening without really realizing
it. I always expected a dramatic switch over to Apple's new OS, but instead
it just sort of happened.

About three months ago I was telling people they might want to move over to
OS X in a year or so. Now that I've pretty much made the switch, I'm
revising that estimate to soon rather than later. These people that I'm
talking to are regular Mac users. Most of them are not even running the
latest version of Mac OS 9.2. Basically they use their computers specific
things and aren't too concerned with the bleeding edge. Also, they may be
hardware limited, meaning their current Mac can't properly run OS X.

After I seriously started using Mac OS X, it was a bit of an adventure.
Every day it seemed I found something new, whether it be a feature or some
new software. About a month ago, I thought about doing this sort of journal
idea and a lot of these every day Mac users really liked the idea. I was
(and still am) a little reluctant because something like this is a
commitment of time to keep it going. I always hate starting something that
I'm not sure I can do or finish.

So, we'll see where this takes us and how long it keeps my attention. I
don't want to say it will be a weekly thing or nearly as long as this
article, but when I have the time and something interesting to report, I'll
post something up.

In the journal, I'll post up my experiences in moving over to OS X. Also,
I'm going to look for input from you, the readers. I certainly don't have
all the answers but maybe together we can figure some of this stuff out.
We'll explore Mac OS X itself, Mac OS X software, Mac OS X hardware and the
wonders of Unix with OS X's Darwin subsystem. Each article will have a
public comments section, and I'll also highlight comments and email in
future articles. Also, each article will be listed by week, even though
there probably won't be weekly entries. Finally, for fun I'll list the
uptime of my main OS X machine. I'm sure it will crash occasionally and I
will certainly need to reboot into OS 9 for specific tasks, but I'll be sure
to record those events.

The Migration

My migration to OS X started about two months ago. When OS X was first
announced years ago, I figured it'd be some dramatic leap where I'd switch
and never look back. Instead, my migration to OS X was gradual.

Since OS X was released, I'd occasionally switch into OS X to do something
or other. For months I only booted into OS X to test out the latest OS
updates. Then recently I found myself in OS X more often. More software was
coming out, some in the case of iPhoto and iDVD 2, only for Mac OS X. I was
running OS 9 most of them time, and then booting into OS X when needed.
Slowly I stopped booting back into OS 9, and instead ran OS X and booting
into OS 9 when needed. The next thing I knew, my computer had been running
constantly for 11 days.

OS X 10.0.0

Since it was released, I've had a sort of love-hate for OS X. OS 9 is
refined and fast with a lot of software, while Mac OS X is robust and stable
with limited software. OS X's limitations where very apparent with the early
releases. After a day running OS X, going back to OS 9 left me wondering why
I was wasting time with OS X. Even with the fastest dual processor G4s, OS X
was slow and sluggish. There was virtually no native software available and
even less not in beta development. Yeah, it was cool to do all things OS X
could do, but the OS at the most basic levels was excruciating to use.

OS X 10.1

Significant progress was made with the first major update. Not only in the
features department, but also in key areas of performance. Key features such
as DVD playback (which I never use, but important to others) and CD-RW
support was added. Also, I appreciated SMB support for networking to PCs.
Sure it could be done in OS 9, but hoops had to be jumped and OS X had it
built in. Personally, the key difference in OS X was the speed increase.
Everything else to me takes a back seat, because if the OS doesn't perform
well, everything else doesn't really matter.

OS X was useable, but I still wasn't really ready. Running stuff in Classic
was surprisingly effective, but there was little point in running OS X just
to run all my apps in the Classic mode. I needed OS X apps to make things
worthwhile.

Today

I'll admin the big thing that got me using OS X was the demo of Return to
Castle Wolfenstein. I was always a big Quake Arena fan and Wolfenstein
revived the good old days of fragging fellow gamers online. The problem was,
the game was only available for OS X. As a result, I rebooted into OS X to
play the game. Usually I played it in the evening for an hour or so and then
I'd reboot back into OS 9. Eventually I just stopped rebooting into OS 9.

The second key program to move me into OS X was Entourage from MS Office. I
switched to Entourage from Eudora a while back and like the calendar and
address book features all in the same program as email with Palm support.
The thing was, when Entourage X came out, it wasn't compatible with the old
version of Entourage data. There had to be a conversion, which meant once I
switched, there would be no more email under OS 9.

No going back

So basically Wolfenstein got me to boot to OS X and Entourage X kept me in
X. I still go back to OS 9 for certain things, however. While there're still
things in OS 9 I like more than OS X, I find myself in a sort of gray area.
Before, I could always jump back from my OS X adventures to OS 9 and all
would be well. Now, I've become accustomed to those cool buzzwords like
pre-emptive multitasking, protected memory, symmetrical multiprocessing and
the rest.

Once upon a time I used to do weird things like rebooting my computer so it
wouldn't crash when I'm about to do something important. Or rebooting to get
the best performance out of a particular application. I used to also be
paranoid about holding down a finder or application menu while trying to
make a decision. Under OS X, these things aren't a concern, but now become
quite evident when working in OS 9 for a while.

So right now I'm in a state of limbo where Mac OS X doesn't fulfill all my
needs, but I'm too spoiled to go back to Mac OS 9.