Drooling over Apple gadgets: To bite or not to bite

No contest. You can’t compare an apple from a penguin. There’s no point pitting Powerbooks against Linux PCs. This I’ve been conditioned to think. But for a long time now, I’ve been problematizing whether I should someday change my way of computing life, budget permitting. Nuh, not into Microsoft (I said budget permitting, didn’t I?), but into Apple. Truth to tell, the first time I visited an Apple store in San Francisco two years ago, I salivated at the sight of the display Powerbooks, with their white and silver coatings and rounded corners. Had I had enough bucks then, I would have given in to biting the Apple of temptation.

Until now, I’m harboring mixed feelings about Powerbooks. By extension, I also am for iPods and iPhones. The price that each Apple product bears is unthinkably unaffordable for me. But what if I either had amassed more than enough money (wish, wish, wish) or Apple had cut down the prices like those in ukay-ukays (once more: wish, wish, wish)? Should I still buy?

No longer is the price the only determining factor for me. It’s also the resolve to stick to Linux. I’ve lived by the penguin for barely seven years already and I don’t think I’ll easily jump ship. But isn’t Mac free and open source? Well, relatively yes. Not as free and open source as Linux. I dare say Apple’s strategy effectively combines Microsoft’s being closed and Linux’s being open. Mac is open because it allows third-party applications to run in it, and the fact that it hosts numerous projects being used by Linux enthusiasts as well. However, it is closed because the development of the OS X is relegated to Apple only. Likewise, Apple’s iPods and iPhones are also being hit for their vendor lock-in and DRM features, among others.

When I learned that several of my co-Linux advocates moved to Mac, I got disappointed. Perhaps it’s just me who only know black and white colors.  I remember three years ago, when I attended a software camp in Bangalore, India, that there was some tension between those using Macbooks and those using laptop PCs running variants of Linux. The latter criticized the camp’s organizers for allowing at least resource persons who used proprietary softwares, referring both to Windows and Mac. I didn’t know how the former defended themselves. Perhaps they kept mum or argued that MPBs were much better for such tasks as graphic design and desktop management.

So why I couldn’t decide to move to Mac or buy any of Apple’s products?

  • No money, honey!
  • I feel that moving to Mac or buying an iPhone is like abandoning the cause of Linux, being one of the movements that fight for FOSS. I can’t convince one to migrate to Linux if I’m using Mac, can I?
  • I’m working in a setting of supposed simple life, devoid of luxuries. I wouldn’t take being badgered by anyone who sorts of questions the necessity of my having it, if not my capacity to buy it. As I’m the type that is wont to unfolding his laptop everywhere he goes, I feel that using a Macbook in a far-flung area is too alienating where the people I’d like to relate with are concerned.
  • I don’t want a “dual-machine” setup, meaning, keeping both a laptop PC running Linux and an MPB. It’s too complicated, if not expensive, for me.

If ever I would discard my present notebook (ECS transmeta crusoe), which is already over two years in my company (meaning the discarding would be anytime soon due to depreciation), what I would root for is a dual-core notebook, wifi-ready, and with great video and audio capacities, DVD writer and 200GB harddisk. That’s for sure, the fact that I can buy one at not more than P50,000.

As for a mobile phone, I don’t dream of having an iPhone as I’m already happy with my multitasking 3G SE K610.  Aside from the phone functions, I can use it to capture ‘bloggable’ images and connect my notebook to the Internet almost everywhere. And an iPod? Nuh. There’s my SE K610 that can play my favorite mp3s. Although, I fervently hope for the success of Openmoko, an open source mobile communications platform.

For now, let me hold on to my faith in Linux. Apple temptations, back off. Torment me not.


  1. I use a Mac sometimes when my aunt brings her iBook at home. But, I still prefer Linux over it, heck, if I had my way, I would have just installed Ubuntu on it, Mac OS X on that iBook is so darn slow, even if you had VLC, you can’t watch VCDs in it because of the processor, it’s just a 500MHz G3! 😦

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