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In which your loathing is cordially told to sod off

You’ll remember, no doubt, that I wrote a while back about having a sudden and hard-to-define hankering for a MacBook Pro. Well, dear reader, my laptop refresh benefit finally arrives this month (Canonical workers are expected to provide their own laptop upon joining the company but the company pays for a new laptop every three years) and I’ve decided that yes, MacBook Pro it is. In fact, the order is already working its way through the bowels of Apple as I type; I was just waiting for the models to be refreshed.

In the end, I went for a 13″ MacBook Pro, with:

  • Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz (shame it wasn’t an i5 but I’m not too concerned about it)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 500GB HDD

The point of the machine is to pretty much become my replacement-for-everything machine. I’ll still keep my desktop hanging around just in case, but I forsee myself working on the laptop pretty much all of the time.

And to be clear about this, I’m going to be running Ubuntu on it. Firstly, because I need it for my job but mostly because it’s an OS I love using; I’ve no need to use OSX except for two applications, Photoshop and Lightroom. And if they could run natively on Linux and colour management wasn’t such a pain in the arse I wouldn’t have been thinking so hard about buying this machine.

Now I’m all too well aware, judging by the comments on my last post about this, and on the replies I got on an internal mailing list thread about the pros and cons of a MacBook, that I’m going to come in for something of a kicking about having an Apple machine and working for a company that produces open source software, so here’s a summary of my response, with apologies to Stuart Langridge:

Spare me your moaning; my give-a-shit is broken.

For those people inclined to consider things a bit more before sticking the boot in, there are two main reasons why I went for the MacBook over the Windows-running equivalent – a Lenovo Thinkpad x201 (which was a slightly, but not to me significantly, better spec).

  1. Price: With the configuration I purchased – though as I said the Thinkpad has a faster processor – the MBP was ~£100 cheaper.
  2. Ergonomics: In the run-up to this decision I played with both an x200 and a MacBook Pro. For comfort, and for general feel-under-my-hands as I was using it, the MBP won. Also, I dislike trackpoints on laptops immensely (I’m aware that others feel the same about trackpads, but I’ve always preferred them to trackpoints, which I can never get to work well for me and which give me wrist-ache).

But there was another reason for buying a MacBook Pro, and I only really realised what it was this evening whilst thinking about how to manage storage once I move to using my new machine as my main machine. And the reason was this: I deserved it.

See, like a lot of people I know, especially a lot of people in Canonical, which has a lot of very smart employees, I suffer from Imposter Syndrome. By which I mean that I often feel like I don’t deserve to be where I am in life, like maybe today is the day that I get a tap on the shoulder and someone tells me “that’s it, we’ve figured it out, back to writing shoddy PHP code for you.”

And the funny thing is that whilst I was trying to work out what system to buy I ran into the same thought process. The logic went something like this:

  1. You want a Mac because you want to be able to use Photoshop and Lightroom
  2. But you could use those on Windows just as easily
  3. And think about it, you’re never really going to use those tools for anything proper, are you?
  4. Because you’re not really a photographer.
  5. So buy a Windows machine; you’ll only wipe it anyway.

Now, you’ll have figured out by now that this logic is clearly bollocks, but it took me until today to spot it for myself. Luckily, my wife has more sense than I do, which is why she told me to JFDI and buy the damn MacBook.

So I have. And to make it clear: first person who accuses me of violating my principles gets a poke in the eye.