(Why) Mac Laptops Are Most Popular With Software Developers & Press at JavaOne 2008

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Macbook AirIn JavaOne 2008 I noticed something I least expected - an abundance of Mac laptops (Macbook, Macbook Pro & Macbook Air) in not just developers hands but also press / analysts and presenters. I didn’t conduct a formal survey but anyone there can attest to the fact that around 60-70% of the laptops were Mac with Dell being a distant second. Obviously there must be good reasons for it. So I started asking the software developers. I found 5 good reasons for software developers to use a Mac laptop:

BSD at the core

BSD is a Linux like operating system but not encumbered with GPL license. It is extremely feature rich and has a powerful command line interface like Linux. Good command line interfaces are bread-and-butter for any hardcore programmer. Linux / BSD CLI allows you to easily accomplish complex processing tasks unlike the childish CLI, via cmd, that comes with Windows operating system. So why not just use Linux / BSD? That brings me to the second point.

Mac “just works” with all devices, wireless and more.

Linux / BSD traditionally has problems supporting the latest drivers for devices. My UMAX Astra 4100 scanner still doesn’t have a Linux driver. In many cases you will have to download the source code and compile the driver yourself. Installing Linux on a laptop is often a pain because of non-standard hardware used in a laptop. Most vendors provide support for Windows out of the box, for Linux you have to depend on the mercy and benevolence of third-party developers working on their spare time. Mac solves the problem by shipping the hardware along with the software. Your don’t have to worry about drivers or even dream about compiling from source code. Mac just works!

In short Mac gives you hassle free computing at a price.

Pleasant interface

Arguably Mac sports the best user interface of all operating systems. Mac UI is easy to use and easy on the eyes for newbies and pros alike. It is also very powerful and intuitive. Add to the power of BSD in its core and you have a sure winner.


I was told that Mac performs admirably well compared with equivalent windows business machine at similar price point. Several developers told me (which also means I haven’t personally verified) that Mac gives them better performance than equivalent (in terms of price) Windows Vista laptops from reputed vendors.

Cost effective

All of the above leads to a hassle-free and cost-effective laptop for software developers and others. No wonder Mac laptops were an overwhelming majority at JavaOne 2008.

BTW: I was using a old IBM thinknote at the conference. I am not affiliated with Apple in any way and do not own any Apple products.

May 15, 2008: 2:36 am

I know I love the mack book air. It is perfect for me.

May 14, 2008: 1:20 am

And no Java 7, and still no Java 6 for 32-bit machines.

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