On the XO Laptop

On the Apple Imac: It’s a Unix system. I know this!

with 2 comments

Our family paid a visit to the nearby Bolgar family this past Saturday to celebrate Chanukah. While I was there the brothers Bolgar, Josh and Zander, told me that while they were still waiting for the XO’s to arrive they had been using their Apple Imac to play a bit with Python, starting their studies with a copy of Lutz’s excellent book that their dad had bought for them.

I asked them to show me their computer as I had never used an Imac before. They placed it in front of me and opened a window with a black background. Seeing a prompt in the form of a dollar symbol I ventured to try:

$ echo hello

It worked. I then moved on:

$ echo $PATH

That worked, too! This meant I was using a Unix box, so I shouted out, “It’s Unix. I know this!”

I then asked if they had seen the movie Jurassic Park. They said they had. I then asked if they remembered the scene in front of the screen, the one where Lex says:

It’s a UNIX system! I know this!

They said they did not, but I explained it to them, so they would know about it, as this is a test to see if someone has Unix experience: no programmer who has seen Jurassic Park can have a more favorite scene in that movie.

I then spent a few minutes giving them a basic introduction to Unix, a topic I will save for another post.

However, I did notice some odd behavior. For example, when the mouse wandered off the terminal window onto another part of the screen I saw some square edges become rounded. I think the mouse had landed on a browser window. Though I expect the folks at Apple see this as a nice value-add I cannot imagine its purpose. Perhaps I am a square guy after all.

I decided not to push on too far as it seemed better for them to get their real education on Unix, Linux and Python on the XO itself. The XO is a true Unix/Linux machine, not a Unix wannabe wrapped in a bunch of Java code and sundry other gimmicks.

I’ll put off visiting them until their XO’s arrive. For the life of me I cannot see why a serious Unix programmer would use an Imac. Why use a commercial version of Unix that is not open-source running on proprietary hardware when you can get full open-source Linux and apps written in Python courtesy of the XO?

See An apology about Apple’s Imac from screwup Dave Shields for an explanation of why the concluding text has been struck out.


Written by daveshields

December 20, 2007 at 7:18 pm

Posted in xo-laptop

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Actually that scene was my least fav, what was with the wizzy moving-like-a-snail UI? People were dying!

    Funny to find out if the CG machines used for JP ran Unix or not…

    Hiếu Đức Hoàng

    December 21, 2007 at 2:37 am

  2. Soz, hitting the submit button right before the UI in the novel popped from my memory. That one is a touch-screen menu. The thing is, there’s no back button on sub-menu. But Tim didn’t shout “Unix”, thanks Crichton!

    Hiếu Đức Hoàng

    December 21, 2007 at 2:42 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: