Any system administrator types out there??



Hey All.. new here.. awaiting for my new mac laptop. I just wanted to get the opinion of a few administrator types on "the switch" - I understand that designers and what-not love mac's because that's what they were brought up on (anyone will have a rough time convincing me you "can't" get an x86 based machine to do photo-editing on-par with any mac, but I digress - this isn't the place to bring that argument up :D ) - I'm more interested in individuals who made the switch for superior hardware/software integration and stability of the system..

Honestly I'll buy into the whole "it never crashes" thing when it happens, the other advantages of owning an apple notebook are enough for me to attempt the switch at this point. I've never had a PC last me longer than 6 months before it starts "acting stupid" - and I'm no 'n00b' either.. I (along with 5 other guys) admin ~180 some odd windows 2k servers and around 20 UNIX boxes (varying flavors of hardware/software, I won't get into that here though) - and I've been playing the system admin game for around 10 years at this point, and have been playing programmer for as long as I have memory. - I'd be interested to see other admin/programmer types opinions on OSX - do you often feel the need to tweak it? - and if so, do those 'tweaks' eventually result in you re-building the box?? - That's basiclly my problem with my Windowze ExPee installs, and my linux installs (been mostly SuSE 9 lately.. kde 3.2 rocks!) ..

I love linux, dont' get me wrong, and I can't see me switching for ALL of my machines at any point (still need my box for lanning :)) - If this ibook works out well I think I'll be looking for a 15" powerbook in about a year or so. Sorry if this came off pretenscious (sp?) at all - and **** I've already puchased my new ibook (last night) - I guess I'm just fishing for someone to pat my head and tell me it's OK to buy apple :D

- G

PS - great forum you have here, been reading for a while now getting information -

and pps - here's the dirt on my new toy :)

model - 12" ibook/800mhz

name - sirius-b (<- first white dwarf star discovered.. I thought it was clever), is on it's way with airport extreme,

toys - bluetooth, 384 mb ram, and stock everything else.
( I was thinking of upping the hdd.. but my old gateway had a 30 gig hdd, and I never ran low on space on it. )


baal said:
I've never had a PC last me longer than 6 months before it starts "acting stupid" - and I'm no 'n00b' either.

I know the feeling... Oddly, I've had my PB for about 6 months now and it seems to have just really hit its stride... Maybe Apples somehow get *better* with time?


I can't comment on Win2k. or on large network use, but I'd say that OS X.2 (and X.3) are both much more stable than Classic OS's and Win NT/95/98 and XP. I find that OS X requires far less tweaking/fine tuning to get features and accessories to work properly (based on trying to do similar things in OS X.2 and WinXP Pro).
Jun 11, 2003
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Mount Vernon, WA
Your Mac's Specs
MacBook Pro 2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM OS 10.5.2
I am a web developer/sys admin type and before os x I had to have my mac for design work and then a pc for my programming work plus a whole bunch of other needs.. then OS X came out and I upgraded.. and havent had to use a PC since.. and believe me.. Im quite happy about it :)

I install compile programs on my personal box, a powerbook, and then on a couple of xserves that I sys admin.. It is really awesome.. I have not had any problems at all with any of them. I've had my powerbook for a little over 2 years and have never had a problem with it.. internally.. I did have a hinge go out on me, but that's the only thing. And on the xserves, the only problem I had was when trying to change the IP address.. it really screwed it up, but that was before Apple provided the IP changer script :)

Anyways in other words.. you're going to love it :)
Oct 27, 2002
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Your Mac's Specs
17" iMac G4 800MHz 1GB RAM
I am an AIX SysAdmin... Responsible for supporting thousands of machines, and I can tell you that our Win2K boxes need to be punched daily, and our AIX boxes need to be rebooted by actions of the SysAdmins, IE: hardware stuff, OS upgrades, etc... And I can tell you that OS X is on par with our AIX boxes. I reboot my iMac only when I need to do some sorta update or some badly designed software requires it. Other than it stays up. Also, you will find that there are apps out there that are just not programmed right and will milk your machine for every last drop of RAM. This is however NOT an OS X flaw, but a design flaw by the programmer. So I'd say you should be quite happy/suprised at owning a home machine that doesn't fail on ya :)

As for the iBook, I have an 800MHz 12" iBook, and I love it, and my fiance basically has taken ownership of it :) So it is a good buy for stuff like surfing and e-mail, etc. Mine is the G3 version, so the G4 might be good for some of the hardcore media stuff, but I haven't used the G4's versions, so I can't comment.

Oh yeah, as far as lastibility, I've had mine for at least 6 months, and I am NOT looking for another laptop. I honestly don't know when I would be looking for a new laptop. I find my iBook more than adequate for my needs. Only reason I would get a new laptop is because X86 laptops are cheap, and Gentoo rocks! :) but I can put Gentoo on my iBook too if I wanted :) So I guess I'm still not in the market for a laptop :)

Just my insight....


Macs are much less work to configure and maintain

OK, all operating systems crash at sometime or other. However, the one up that Apple has is that it designs the hardware AND writes the software. They NEED to be better at it than other vendors. There's no chance to blame the hardware or the software IF you wrote/built both! Also Microsoft Office for Macintosh is great! I like it better on a Mac than on Windows!

Having used both Mac and Windows (Windows NT and W2K) I have to say that Microsoft has come a long way in making things work out of the box, but they're not there yet.

For example, at the school where I do some volunteer sys admin work I saw a student struggling with his digital camera trying to install the correct drivers for his camera and downloading his pictures to store them on a floppy. When he asked to try one of the Macs, of course I said yes.

He expected to have to install drivers but by the time he'd plugged in his camera to the correct port OS X had already detected a camera and that there were picutres to download. He was stunned when I told him to stop looking for drivers and showed him the folder with his photos already there. He could also burn his pictures to a CD. He's hardly ever touched a PC again. (this capability is because of Unix's kernel design in which the basic drivers are already included in the kernel, unlike Microsoft's micro-kernel approach in NT).

New Window XP boxes are making their way into the school at this point and I'm the NT/2000/XP expert it seems. I've spent four times as much time configuring these machines as I would and Macintosh runningn OS X. OS X setup consists of adding a user iwth administratice privilages, enabling root, adding a regular unprivilaged user and a few applications. Done! One restart only after insalling the initial update.

The XP boxes I had to edit the local secutiry configuration in the Administrative services contol pannel to make the logins work the way we wanted. THEN I had to remove Notront Anit-virus from the machines (we have other security measures in place) which means turning off the service before uninstalling AND rebooting the machine. Of course there are the reboots after installing the OS least 5 restarts when you take into account the applications which require restart.

I have to spend soo much time turning OFF what Microsoft leaves on by default. Apple has all those things already configured. Networking has to be turned on instead of connecting by default. Updates? Well. there are WAY fewer critical secutiry updates with the Macs and fewer forced restarts. The Windows Registry is partialy to blame for this. Installing applications on a Mac is fequently done by just drgging the application to the Appllications Folder and using it. Uninstalling software in Windows frequentlly requires editing of the registry by and uninstall program. Mac programs uninstall lby dragging them to the Trash and emptying it. All that's left is (maybe) a small preferences file.

In 3 years of maintaining these machines I've never had to re-install. Complaints about how slow they are getting are usualy becuase the users have way to many applications open or they have filled the hard drive choking the system. Making sure that old applications and old files are removed remedies the situation.

Having worked in broadcasting and recording as well, All the audio technicians I met swore by Macs, even before OS X, for the simple reason that Classic Mac OS was a stripped down OS with NO networking built-in. That's a not fun for a computer geek but when you're editing audio and video its a god send. A VERY basic rule when editing audio or video is Turn off ALL networking and printing. If you don't, you WILL have dropped frames. On a Mac, turning off all network connections is dead easy even for a non-privilaged user. With windows this is more complicated.

As for tweaks, you don't have to tweak it at all. Most things are already there. Early releases of OS X were missing some of things in the BSD subsystem which is frustrating if you just have to have the latest php, apache or Perl. The web server works out of the box just by turning it on in System Preferences --> Sharing. IIS is absent in W2K thankfully! The only thing you have to do with Apache is tweak the configuration file to enable php and CGI scripts and a few other enhancements that should only be used by experienced System Admins. But most users will never use their webserver and it remains off. In short, by installing Apple Developer Tolls you can tweak to your hearts content, even compile from source. But none of that is neccessary in most working environments.

Unfortunately, Linux is not quite ready for prime-time in audio and video editing. There are some high end applications used in the film industry (LOTR used a render wall lf LInux servers), but they aren't available to us mortals. I think much of that will change with the release of the 2.6 Linux kernel.

David Fedoruk
Certificate in Internet Systems Administration (UBC)

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