Saturday, August 30, 2008

Psystar Counteruses Apple!

I don't know how many of you know about the open computer company Psystar. They are a company that sells "Open Computers". They claim to be able to install Operating systems from Windows, to Linux, to even MAC! This apple un-licensed computer has really been sturing up the mac communities. The Mac fanboys are mad I'm sure, the OSx86 project websites are worrying about being shut down, and the Psystar customers that have Mac on their computers are very concened.

On Apple's side, they say that Psystar broke the "End User License Agreement" (EULA), which is true. Apple's EULA states that Mac can only be installed and used on "Apple Labled Computers" which makes people wonder if throwing an apple sticker on their system will make it legal. Asside from that, Psystar seems to know the legal system pretty well too. Psystar says that the ELUA is illegal from the start because it prevents competition, which it most certainly does. So where does this put us, and where do I personally stand on this topic?

I personally agree with both sides of the arguement. I own a Macbook Pro, and I love it. Apple's slogan is "It Just Works", which is very true. Mac and Apple hardware were designed for each other, unlike PC's and Windows, and Linux. This makes it harder to make it as stable as Mac on Apple computers because they know what they are working with 100%. As for me on Psystar's side, I also agree. I think that Apple should release Mac to PC's too leagally. I am not saying that they should make it for the x86 platform, or to even support it at all.

I do however want the ability for people to install Mac on unsupported systems and still be legal. That means no disk hacks. They must make their hardware support it by adding or emulating EFI. As long as people can do that, than it should be legal. This would be great for long time PC builders, people looking for a cheep Mac, or just a great learning experience. I don't think that this would be as big of a hit on Apple's sales as they would think.

Most people would be faithful to Apple enough to at least buy one system (with hardware and all) from them even if they wanted non-Apple hardware. Even with the OSx86 community, many of them have Apple hardware computers also. I personally would love to build a desktop and install mac legally on it. That's $130 USD that's Apple's that they wouldn't have because I can not afford the Apple desktop that I want.

If Psystar wins, Apple may get more buisness from me,because I love mac, I just can't afford the hardware. I would still buy Accessories from them, and of cource the OS. This is just my opinion on this. I think that Psystar has the win here, though I understand why Apple did it. You tell me what you think! Lets see how this plays out too. Maybe building a Mac will be a legal dream soon too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Operating Systems

There is a lot going on in the world of operating systems, and some of it is completely invisible. Everyday companies are choosing their operating system, but what does an OS do anyway?:

What Is an OS?

An OS controls the hardware, for the user, as simple as that, it is an interface layer. Operating system have come a long way since the creating of computers, and now the os is a huge part of how a computer runs, and acts.

Which OS?

This is not really a question I can really answer for you, as all Operating systems were made for different uses, for example, Windows started off for office use, and therefore came with many office related programs for use. Linux was started by programmers for programmers, and had (and still has) far more excellent utilities to program in. Mac was originaly made for Media creation, and therefore comes with many powerful media programs.

Many people do not know the origins of an OS, and now, all oses can be used for the same kind of thing, for example, I can make documents easily in OpenOffice on my Linux machine, and I've never found it at all limiting, if I did a lot of office work, then I might need some of the more advanced features of Office, but as it is, I find no difference, and it doesn't limit me.

I can create advanced images, and manipulate images using GIMP, as well as creating films in other Linux tools. If I was a professional photographer, I may be better off with a Mac, but as I am now, ocne again, I can use Linux.

I program fairly regualy too, and in this time, I find that I have a huge range of tools available to me, and I now find it very hard to program on any other OS.

The point is, that depending on your primary task, you need to look into your OS based on that, but only on a professional level, most users never use the advanced features of a program, and therefore the alternatives, which sometimes don't have those features are just as good.

Features of an OS

As we have already looked at, the heart of the operating system makes a large difference to its default programs, but OSes are now so much more advanced then that, that it is worth looking at what you can do with different OSes


Linux is well known for its speed, and customizability, it is also community led. The way linux works (and this is true for most Linux programs too) is very unique. The code is 'Open Source' this means that anyone can view it, but there is more to it then that, any one can take the code, AND FIX IT! This means that if someone has a problem on their machine, if they knew how, they could look at the code, find the fix, and release it, which would then appear in the updates, and then you would not find that bug. This means that popular programmers have the whole community worth of programmers behind it, so bugs are fixed fast, and anyone can do it.

This also allows people to make new versions based on others with their system, for example, they could remake it with a different set of programs, and release that as their own, under their name, providing they release the source code, so others can then do the same. This makes for millions of different 'distributions' (version of linux) to choose from, meaning that whatever you want to do, it tends to have a whole distribution devouted to it.

There is also a very unique package system to allow you to get the programs. The biggest two are YUM (used on Red hat distributions) and Apt (used on debian based distributions.) They allow you to get your programmers from a huge list of possible 'packages' It is an easy and effecent process, which allows you to get any program within seconds (no browser required!)

Most Linux distributions are also available as 'Live Cds' which allows you to run the entire operating system straight off a CD. This is great for those who want it where ever they go, as well as being very useful for diagnostics.


Mac and Linux are similar in some ways, because they both share a similar base. This means that programs are often released for the two together. Mac is still a very different operating system however. Mac is also very fast, like linux, although it is not as customisable. The operating system is made for the machines, so Apple were able to fine tune things for the hardware. It is well known for being excellent for working with media, with it's powerful program base, as well as being fairly bug free.


Windows was designed for office use, as explained above. Microsoft do not share their code, and they have very little development code available, so all bugs must be fixed by Microsoft. It features a large list of programs that support it, although very few programs are installed by default.

As you can see, all three are very different, and as already explained, and what you do very much chooses which OS you should use.

What next?

Well first, post a comment, and tell me what you think, then you need to consider one very important point: Are you using the right OS? If you don't use your computer for any professional task, then it might also be a good time to try some of the other OSes, and see whether they are better for your needs, just remember to keep your eyes open, and try new things, you'll never know how much better it could be if you don't try it!


Mac: Mac can now be run on any PC, full guides here:

Linux: One of the most popular distributions is Ubuntu, which is available to try without any changes to your computer, available here:

Windows: Buy a disk from a store, if you don't already have it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Games and Unix

One of the biggest arguments on why Unix is not going to beat Windows is games. Sadly for them, they are wrong. There are many options on how to play games in Unix based OS's, like "Wine", Vritualization, and Dual booting is a good way to retain game ability without looking at Unix as your main desktop. I'll go through these options, but keep in mind these are not the only options, but those that I think are the best.

Wine is a program being worked on every day, and allows many executable files (.exe) to be run in Unix. While this is not many people's favorites, some people swear by it. I have found some success with it in Ubuntu Linux, and Mac OS X, but I personally do not use it often because I do not use that many supported programs. Not to say that it is bad, but I use some weird programs at times. I do recommend it for older programs though. This usually runs them well. Sometimes better than Vista can run things from windows 98 and 95.

Vritualization is the next option that I recommend. It allows you to run (in most cases) any BIOS based operating system. Most do not support EFI, but then again, Mac OS X is the only OS that commonly uses EFI, and can not be virtualized by law (with exceptions now thanks to VMware Fusion). But for the gaming purposes, You can run Windows and Unix based operating systems with VMware products, and Virtualbox. VMware keeps their projects closed, so people can not edit them, while Virtualbox OSE (Open Source Edition) is open source and free. Please support open source when you can. It will save you money and help out the independent developers.

The last option that I will talk about is Dual Booting. This allows you to have two (or potentially more) operating systems that your computer can run. Mac now offers "Boot Camp" to allow windows to run on Apple computers as if they were PC's. This is great for gaming as you cab restart into windows, play a game, and come back to your desktop. This does require your hard drive to be partitioned, but it is so simple, you may not even know that you are doing it. Removing Windows is even easier. When it comes to PC's, if you have Windows XP or Vista already installed, you can dual boot with almost any Linux Distro (Distribution). The installers range from easy to hard.

Ubuntu Linux has come up with an amazing installer called WUBI (Windows Ubuntu Installer). This allows you to intall Ubuntu linux on a PC with windows, and requires no partitioning of the hard drive, no CD's to be burned, or used, and no additionally bootloaders to be installed. It uses the Windows bootloader to cloose between Ubuntu and Windows when starting up, and the install is held in a folder in the hard drive. It's litterally as easy to install as using any regular windows program, as it is one. Give it a try today!

Questions, Comments, Money to donate? Contact me at (The donation comment was a joke for those who do not know)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Security and what it means to you.

One of the things that Unix is know for is security. Most of you will remember Windows before Vista, is that you would never have those annoying pop-ups every 2 seconds asking if you want to do something. Every time that you tried to open something, or pretty much do ANYTHING. Well that was Microsoft trying to get there security up.

The problem with windows XP, although it may be nice, it would never ask if you wanted to do something. This let viruses run themselves without ever consulting you. They knew that they could. Think about it this way. That's like your neighbor just walking into your house and eating your food, like you never existed. Not too nice now is that?

In the Unix world, this is different. In order to change anything that affects your system, such as adding or removing a program, running a program for the first time, changing anything that was installed for your operating system to run, and many other things, you need to enter your password. This is initiated in the terminal, or the script by using the command "sudo" before anything that needs administrative privelages.

What this ultimately does, is it protects the user from anything that they don't want happening, because they are required to enter there password. This can be a good thing for those people who often forget passwords, because you will never forget this one. It's not to the point where it is annoying, but it is enough to keep you secure. This is implimented in Macintosh, Linux, and other Unix based operating systems too.

Why Unix?

This post is all about why Unix, and not something else. For all of you non-geeks, Unix is the base of an operating system, like MS-DOS. I'm sure that EVERYONE has heard of Windows XP, or Vista before. That is based on what is called DOS. Way way back when there was only text on computers, DOS, Unix, and other operating systems were created, so the computers could be used. Today, we no longer see the text unless you go to a command line like "Terminal" in mac and linux, but everything that you see and use is based on that text.

I am not here to say what is better, as everyone has there own opinions, but here to ask you to give Unix a chance, and not ignore it like most people do. First off, the only operating systems that use MS-DOS is, well, MS-DOS, Windows 95, and all other Windows versions up to date! This has been the most popular operating system, and the most prone to getting viruses, and being hacked.

Unix is the second most popular operating system available. There are some huge advantages to Unix. There are HUGE amounts of operating systems that are based on Unix, which gives you a much larger choice to get exactly what you want. Macintosh is based on Unix, and is quickly becoming as popular as windows. Another name that people may know better than Unix, is Linux. Linux is another rising operating system. Linux is not necessarily an operating system itself in most peoples eyes, but a base that allows customization easy for programmers. There are definitely hundreds if not thousands of different Linux distributions (or distros) out there to choose from.

That' it for this post, but more will be comming soon. Come back to read up on why you might want to switch, and how easy that it really is to install, even if you want to keep your copy of Windows running also!

If you have any more questions, or comments, or ideas for upcomming posts, let me know!