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I've been using GNU/Linux for my daily life and my work for the last 8 years. A couple days ago, my desktop computer died. I thought about the possibility of making a change and getting a Mac. Is any system administrator working with Mac ? Is is worth to buy and Mac? Pros and Cons

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I have a Mac as my primary desktop system at work. It runs Linux very well. – mattdm Jan 22 '11 at 0:24

Like many other linux users, I switched to a Mac for my daily use a few years back. The main reason I did this is I wanted to use a laptop, and I got so sick fo dealing with things like suspend and resume on linux laptops. I'm sure things have improved, but the bottom line is that my macbook generally just works without me having to screw with it.

All the standard unix tools are available on the mac, and the virtual desktop support is decent. No focus-follow-mouse, which took me a while to get used to.

My company has an exchange server and the exchange integration in Snow Leopard works just fine. Finally I can schedule meetings and see everyone's availability. I do still run mutt to read my mail.

If there's any unix utility you don't have installed, a quick run of macports will install it. I use the Aquamacs editor heavily, and it's a nice blend of emacs with mac functionality.

I think the key thing is that most system administrators spend their time logged in to other machines anyway. Give me and firefox and I have pretty much everything I need for that. I will probably try running linux on a laptop again in a few years (especially if I have to buy my own laptop) but for now I'm very content with my mac.

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Exactly, I spend most of my time logged in to other machines. I also work with Emacs, screen , mutt and a few apps more that make my daily work easier. The only drawback I see it's about the price of the hardware. I told a coworker who works with Mac, I might buy a Dell at the same price with 8Gb RAM. Thanks for your answer. – Sergio Galvan Jan 22 '11 at 8:58

Well I use a Mac as well as a Windows machine at work to do my sysadmin tasks. What sort of pros and cons are you looking for?

To be honest, I'd question the value of mac as a sysadmin platform for a business that wasn't using other macs and hence needed the Mac OSX specific admin tools. If you plan to use it for your general work environment, e.g. office tools, email, browing, etc. then I find it a very pleasant environment to work in.

That aside it will operate as a reasonably standard Unix environment with the tools you'd expect, you can add things like VNC and RDP viewers to it, etc.

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I love working with Linux, but on the desktop there are still some flaws. I've using Linux for so long that I don't wanna feel tied my hands up. I'm gonna be connected to remote hosts, mainly UNIX system. Most of the people I know working with Mac, argue that the OS is optimize for its hardware. I'll make a decision, but I have to be sure. Thanks – Sergio Galvan Jan 22 '11 at 9:10
I mean don't get me wrong, I love my macs - I have a few of my own and I have one that work purchased for me for use there... but its a lot of money if you're not sure what you're going to get out of it. – RobM Jan 22 '11 at 17:39

The relative suitability of any workstation OS depends on what your admin responsibilities demand of you, but I find that the Mac platform provides the best flexibility: you get what in my opinion is a much more polished user experience from OS X than Windows, but the many virtualization options available, particularly those like VMWare Fusion which integrate with the window manager, mean you won't be stuck if you do end up needing to run a Windows- or Linux-specific tool.

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I heard about Vmware Fusion, it's almost the same as Vmware but for mac. Right now I don't know If I have a Linux-specific tool that I might not find on Mac. I'll think about. Thanks – Sergio Galvan Jan 22 '11 at 9:15

Two of the three Linux admins in the office own Macs for their daily work, one of 'em spends their entire day with it. The other two use Linux. It works for us.

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The desktop support people use them to make sure they know how to support the executive's machines. Of course they don't get the latest-greatest. They usually get third-level hand-me-downs. The admins use Macs due to the varied built-in networking tools available due to a *nix underpinning. I do use a Mac and can equally admin on a Windows machine, but most of the day-to-day just works a little better and without having to add other programs. Plus the hardware rocks and for years Macs have nicely slept. I never turn my machine off. 99% of the time when it's time to move or go home, I close the lid and pack it up. When I get to the next spot and opportunity to use it, I open the lid and everything is where I left it.

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I have administered a mixed network of Macs, Linux boxes and Windows boxes for several years now, from a number of different machines, most often a Mac, but not always.

The OSX typical desktop applications are nicer to use, and a real consideration if you do a lot of that kind of work.

If your work includes helping other users, it's just easier if you're running what they're running. Eat your own dogfood.

If your focus is Unix style commandline work, a linux box is a better choice. There's more choice, anything you need is always available, and the documentation usually assumes you're running linux of one flavour or another. OSX is more BSD than linux, and drifting farther away from both of them as the years go by (e.g. plist files and launchd)

If you admin mostly Windows boxes, they're be lots of things that you just can't do natively on either OSX or Linux.

They'll all work, and Virtual Box etc run fine on all of them for the things that won't, but it's all the little things you pick up by using an OS that sometimes help so much.

Decide what you need to do the most and pick the right tool for the job.

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Agree completely with your "Unix-style commandline work" comment. If this describes you will be frustrated with a Mac. – Bubnoff Jan 22 '11 at 2:40

I like Macs -- but for system administration I prefer Linux. The latest versions of the tools you know and love and they work as expected -- because they aren't dealing with FS resource forks and other Mac idiosyncrasies ( ie rsync ). You can read/write and mount any file system on earth ( graphically even! ) -- try that with a Mac.

Compare apt-get to fink/ports ...etc. in terms of getting tools/utilities/services/whatever up and running ...Apt-get wins.

Also, if you do most of your work logged into other machines or through graphical interfaces ...RDP, VNC, NX then it doesn't matter could install Cygwin or Putty on Windows for that matter. But, if you use your machine and native CLI tools, the best, latest and greatest comes with Linux.

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Some of my coworkers told me that I want to compile my own tools,run new services on my laptop, then Mac does't suit to me. Well, I'll try to make the right decision. I like to see there is somebody still giving a try to Linux. Thanks for your answer – Sergio Galvan Jan 22 '11 at 9:20

I frequently will ssh into a remote host with X11 Forwarding enabled and run some GUI tool or another. When I was regularly trying to use OSX, my experience was that X11 tended to be somewhat broken, X11 crashed several times, taking everything I had open with it. I was still using 10.5, I am not sure if there have been any X11 improvements in 10.6.

I really dislike the built-in Terminal application, I could never get it to behave quite right. I frequently had minor issues here and there where terminal emulation wasn't quite right. I didn't really try many alternatives though.

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Yep, the built-in X11 forwarding has some quirks, mostly around window focus not working properly - I haven't run into any major crash-level bugs - but it still beats running an OS without any built-in X11 forwarding. The built in terminal app isn't really useful for any kind of prolonged use, but iTerm is free and works much better. – Jeff Albert Jan 23 '11 at 19:04

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