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Mac OS X Hacks by Rael Dornfest, Kevin Hemenway

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Running Linux on an iBook

This hack tells the story of a switch to Mac hardware without switching operating systems. It includes some handy hints and tricks picked up along the way while installing Debian Linux on an iBook.

It feels a bit like a homecoming. After years wandering in the cranky wilderness of mix-and-match PCs, I’m working again on a computer that feels like it has a soul. The reason I feel like this? I switched from an Intel-based laptop to an iBook.

However, this story is different from the recent Mac conversion you may have heard about (http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2002/03/05/mac_community.html). My day-in, day-out operating system of choice isn’t Windows; it’s Linux. To be precise, Debian GNU/Linux (http://www.debian.org/). And on my new iBook, it’s still Debian. This hack tells the story of why I switched to Mac hardware and how the installation process went. It includes some handy hints and tricks I picked up along the way and, finally, my verdict on the hardware.

The Decision

As both a writer and programmer, my needs are pretty diverse. I spend quite a lot of time traveling to conferences and plenty of time working from my home office, too. For the last two years, my faithful companion in these activities has been a Dell Latitude CPiA laptop. Although not especially light, it’s a compact, good-looking machine. For about a year and a half I’ve been using it with Debian GNU/Linux as its operating system; running the GNOME desktop gave me a good environment ...

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