Last Friday, friend and fellow blogging FOSS advocate Rom Feria prompted me on Twitter that he had written an article about me on his Manila Bulletin column “Of Macs and Tux”. I was like “Huh?” My first thought was that Rom probably wrote about activists who keep blog and love Linux. So that made me really worked up and anxious to take a glance of the article on Manila Bulletin online. But the connection was excruciatingly slow. Attempt went pfft that Friday morning.
Even while I was at the Rural Poverty Forum that day, I still felt uneasy about Rom’s twit. Ah, how about buying a copy of MB issue? Great idea. So I went cat-like walking out of the forum and looked for a newsstand. I managed to cough up P18 for an issue copy. While walking back to the forum, I dug into the issue to find Rom’s article. Even as I reached the forum’s venue, search was in vain. I gave up, but still I was thankful to Rom for bothering to write about me.
Two days later, I tried to scour Manila Bulletin online for some news. The thought of trying to look for that Rom’s column inevitably came to my mind. Although I was not sure that that article still existed because MB is one of online news sites that don’t keep archives of past issues. So I thought.
Eureka! Finally, Rom’s article right in my face. The title was “Switching from Linux to Mac“. Ha, ha, ha. I laughed because the article was a response to my blog post about the “Apple temptation” of me (surely, an image of Adam and Eve flashes in mind, right?). Thinking that Rom is a true-blue Mac user, I laughed even harder because he found a lost soul in me that he wanted to enlighten and eventually switch to Mac. Honestly, though, it was indeed a pleasure for me to be covered by one of the pillars of FOSS in the Philippines.
Rom reacted to each of my reasons why I’m not switching to Mac despite my “hidden desire” for it. The main part of his column’s text is as follows:
Point one – cost. It is true that Apple products are a bit on the expensive side. However, please compare it against products in its league, e.g., Dell, IBM, HP. It is not fair comparing the price of a portable Mac against some brand available out there. It is like comparing an Audi against a Kia. Better compare an Audi against a Volvo or BMW or Mercedes Benz.
Point two – FOSS abandonment. I advocate FOSS and Mac (and Java) whilst using an Apple Macbook Pro. Does it diminish my convincing powers (if I ever had one to start with) because I use a Mac? I sure hope not. I run Solaris and Ubuntu on my Mac, along with Mac OS X. It is just a matter of approach — if you can afford a Mac, I recommend it, otherwise, use Linux… never, ever recommend a Windows-based computer to a friend or family unless you have a death wish (or want to be their tech support).
Point three – luxury. I guess this depends on the perception. If you like tweaking your computer to make it work for you, then having an easier to use Mac is a luxury. However, I also value my time — if I can spare several hours a day with my kids instead of tweaking and configuring a computer to work for me, then I guess it is not a luxury… it is, as the commercial says, priceless! 🙂 And with your new baby (congratulations, btw!), I am sure that you want to spend more time with the family.
Point four – dual machine setup. With today’s powerful processors, I doubt if you can push it to its limits with the current crop of desktop applications. Make full use of the processing power. Dual- booting is one thing but having the capability to run several OS at once is heaven-sent, specially if you are developing cross-platform solutions.
Rom sounded reassuring with that great piece. And he is right, just because he’s able to continue his FOSS stuff despite his being a Mac user. But time is not on my side. I need time to earn more money (I want that Macbook Pro!) and grow into a FOSS person as he is now. By the time I already owned a Mac, I’d need to fight another battle for FOSS against proprietary Microsoft, which has been bashing Apple for being a proprietary wolf in open source sheep’s clothing.
Towards the end of his comments, Rom said: “So Dong, get a Mac! I am sure you will not regret it.”
OK, it’s no more a question of principles. A new question is being asked out loud in my mind: But how and when can I have a Mac, for heaven’s sake?