Farewell, my lovely

I knew my old 12″ iBook G4’s days were numbered when I heard that Snow Leopard was going to be Intel-only. I think today’s introduction of the new aluminum unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros has made the number much smaller.

I bought the iBook G4 at the beginning of 2005. It was my first Mac after 7–8 years of Linux. I had bailed on the Mac in late 1996 or early 1997, when Apple was at its lowest ebb. I had been a loyal Mac user since buying a Fat Mac in 1985, but I’d had enough. I wasn’t worried about Apple’s solvency or viability as a company, I was just sick of the instability of the System 8. And when Apple started wooing Be and NeXT, it was an admission that Apple knew it couldn’t write an OS anymore. And it was going to be years before the OS written by the new guys would be ready.

I did a lot of research before returning to the Mac. I’d developed many Unix-specific skills and work habits that I didn’t want to give up, so I had to be convinced that the Unix under OS X was real and was usable. Everything I read said it was, so I took a little bite, buying the cheapest Mac notebook there was.

I’ve never regretted it. The iBook is small, light, reliable, and fast enough for most of what I ask it to do. When the MacBook line first came out, with their faster Intel processors and their DVD writers, I looked, but they just didn’t seem a big enough improvement to justify the upgrade. In fact, they looked a little cheap to me. I’m glad I waited.

It’s possible I’ll keep waiting. Until Snow Leopard gets established as the Mac OS, applications will continue to run (albeit a bit slowly) on my old iBook. It’s been a great little machine, and I’ve taken it all over the country. I’m loathe to give up such a reliable tool.

But those aluminum MacBooks look really sweet.