Graham and I spent last week attending OSCON in the US, where we had the time to chat to a wide spectrum of geeks from all areas of Free Software. For me, OSCON is a great chance to reconnect my brain to the mains power source of open source - everyone is happy to sit down for a chat about their latest projects, people are discussing weird and wonderful hacks, and, for once, geeks unite under a common banner: it doesn't matter what software you use, as long as it's Free.
It was, then, quite surprising to some that I had a MacBook with me for the conference. I've said in the past that I don't particularly like Macs, and that's true - in fact, it's truer than ever, because I had a bit of a hard time using the darn thing. But I've also said in the past that I think Macs are great devices for conferences, where challenging WiFi conditions, the ability to work with others on the same platform, and the need for flawless suspend and hibernation support really make it a winner.
But this time I didn't want the Mac for any of those reasons. Instead, I had it because I'm knee-deep in iPhone coding - my latest obsession. Xbox was so last year. Python was so, er, last month. Of course, I don't actually own a Mac, so I swiped my wife's; it's not quite as meaty as my Vaio, but it's about half the weight.
Annoyingly, after all the hassle of me getting the MacBook up to spec (ie, installing Ubuntu in a virtual machine), I barely got around to doing any coding while at OSCON. This is probably a blessing in disguise as Xcode - the Apple IDE - is most hateful indeed, and using it would probably have cast an angry cloud over the whole conference. However, the laptop itself performed fairly well, with a few provisos: I dislike the miniature cursor keys, it irks me that Home, End, Page Up and Page Down don't work As They Should, and it kept on insisting that I use US spelling no matter what language settings were in place. (NB: these are probably schoolboy errors for Mac users; I don't have the time or patience to figure them out)
Anyway, the trip was good, we met with a lot of awesome geeks, ate far, far too much food (I can't believe Graham honestly thought IHOP was a good idea) and even managed to spend some time in the sun. We've put online some of the quotes from interviewees - check them out!
As for Macs, I think I might take the plunge and buy a MacBook Pro when they bring out the Nehalem-based models - but only if I can put Linux on it.