I am using a MacBook Pro for roughly 10 months now and I am generally very happy with it. Nevertheless, I like experimenting and playing with other operating systems, primarily with various linux distributions and with members of the *BSD family.
Running Ubuntu or FreeBSD in a virtual machine (using VMWare’s fusion or Parallels desktop) is a good way to get a first impression of such a system but at some point you will want real hardware. I reached that point with Ubuntu when I took an interest in hard disk encryption (why you should encrypt your hard disk).
It just so happened that around that time Aldi (a German retailer) had a nice 12 inch subnotebook on offer. Aldi was targeting the female clientele (the notebook was even adorned with rhinestones etc.) which resulted in a 100 Euro price markup. The system was still a very good value for the money, however, and I even managed to get my hands on the black model :-)
I booted the system up (it had Windows Vista Home Premium pre-installed) in order to take a backup of the system in case I had to restore the original state (prior to sending in it for service for example).
Vista was atrocious, totally crippling the poor thing. I mean, it was horrible, even the simplest interactions or commands took a ridiculous amount of time to complete.
Anyway, I managed to take a snapshot of the hard disk, wiped it clean and installed Ubuntu-7.10.
After running Vista on the box for a few hours, Ubuntu was a relief :-) it felt very snappy and was generally performing very well. I could do all my development work on the notebook without any problems.
I thought that was very cool :-) I finally had a second box, a “baby laptop”, I could use for my experiments. Having two laptops may sound a little bit excessive unless you tamper frequently with all sorts of operating systems. You can keep one machine in a “stable” condition and do all the proper (money generating) work on it while totally rebuilding the other.
I am a slightly paranoid person :-) and like to have as much security on my machines as I can get. I hence wanted to install Ubuntu with full hard disk encryption but more on that topic in a forthcoming article..