Thanks for your input. Your advice is good, but doesn't really apply to me: My needs, goals, preferences and style of work simply differ so much from yours that the points you make, although mostly correct, have no relevance to me.
Some further remarks below, but let me first say that I don't want this thread to become an OS war. Religious OS wars are silly, for a number of reasons. There is no OS which is right for everyone; it depends on your needs, preferences and experience, and on what people around you use. Also, none of the popular operating systems are anywhere close to perfect, nor even very good. People who praise some specific OS for being phenomenally good are either ignorant, unimaginative, or dishonest. Linux, Windows and OS X all suck, although the degree of their suckiness depends on what area you focus on.
Windows is not an option for me, because I rely heavily on all sorts of Unix software, both professionally and privately, and because using Windows would alienate me from everybody around me (I live in a very backwards world, where Windows computers hardly exist). Mac OS X, Linux and FreeBSD are the only realistic options. Because I hate making my hands dirty by compiling things myself, maintaining my computer, or hunting for drivers for new hardware, using Mac OS X is currently most convenient.
From a chess programming point of view, switching to Windows wouldn't buy me anything except a bigger number of sparring partners and slightly less time spent on testing (because the better compiler would enable me to reduce the time controls somewhat). Because computer chess is neither the only nor the most important use for my computer, this doesn't matter much.
Another point is that the Windows world doesn't need a decent free chess program as much as the Mac OS X world. Windows has Arena and Winboard, Mac OS X currently has no decent free chess program at all, and even the commercial options leave a lot to be desired compared to their Windows counterparts. It is therefore much more worthwile to spend my efforts on a Mac program.
Regarding the specific points you make:
- It is without a doubt true that the Microsoft compiler is faster than GCC, but who cares? My program is open source, so everyone is free to compile it on the compiler they want.
- I agree that XCode is awful, but as I detest IDEs and never use IDEs debuggers when writing in C/C++, I don't care. I don't really debug my program at all. If something doesn't work and it is not obvious why it doesn't work, it is a sure sign that my code has grown too complex, and it's time to rewrite and simplify. I realize that most people probably consider this a strange way of working, but I am not a programmer and can't work the way you other guys do. Unless I have a completely interactive and immersive environment, where the program, the compiler and the debugger are one and the same (as in SmallTalk, Lisp or Factor), trying to debug a program makes me feel physically ill. Good tools don't help. Avoiding bugs in the first place is the only approach which work for me.
- I have no desire to use any other text editor than GNU Emacs. Emacs has numerous weaknesses and annoyances (the biggest two for me is Emacs Lisp and the lack of multithreading), but it has other features I can't live without: It is free, cross-platform, and doesn't require a GUI. There are also a lot of packages and libraries I depend upon in my work (ange-ftp, SLIME, paredit, gnus, ...), and on top of this I have lots of customizations and Elisp code of my own, written to make Emacs behave exactly as I want it. In theory, it would certainly be possible to achieve a similar level of productivity with some other editor, but it would require months or years of effort, for no useful purpose.
- Mac OS X has supported multiple mouse buttons for more than a decade, and all the desktop Macs on the market today are delivered with a two-button mouse in the default configurations (to be completely precise, the mouse has no buttons at all, but it detects which half of the mouse you press). By default, both mouse buttons have the same function (because this is claimed to be less confusing for non-technical users), but the right button can be enabled from the system preferences. The trackpads on the laptops have only a single button, but you can do the equivalent of a right click by tapping with two fingers instead of one. You can also scroll (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) by dragging two fingers on the trackpad. To me, this works better than a trackpad with two or three buttons. YMMV, as always.
- It is true that resizing windows is more inconvenient in OS X (with the default settings and no hacks installed) than in Windows. On the other hand, other common operations like accessing menus or switching between programs or windows is faster and easier in OS X. I personally resize windows extremely rarely, and access menus or switch between programs quite often. For other users, it is of course different.
And for all that you pay 30% more than PC equivalents.
Not here in Norway. With some effort, I could probably find a similarly speced Windows of Linux laptop which is cheaper than the MacBook, but nothing which is 30% cheaper. And in any case, computers are always cheap. The expensive thing is to afford a house to contain them.
Only take that macbookpro i'd say if you get it for free.
I wouldn't even take it for free - it's too big for me, as pointed out elsewhere in the thread. I prefer the normal MacBook.