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Migrating to the Mac, Intro and Part I

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You pretty much all know by now that as a once die-hard Linux user, I used to be virulently anti-Mac, anti-iDevice, basically anti-Apple. While some other people from the Apple camp are moving to Linux on principle, I discarded my ideals as less than expedient and got a 13″ MacBook Pro about a month ago. I call him Archimedes. (I haven’t blogged about it yet for Reasons. Don’t worry about those right now.)

So I’m thinking a series of posts is called for on the whys, hows, howtos, tips, tricks, whatnots, soforths and ceteras of this whole process. Right now I’m going to bring you up to speed on where I am and then start on one of those howtos.

This whole thing came about this past summer when I took DS 106 for credit here at UMW. (For those of you keeping score, this was the Summer of Oblivion.) My frustrations with using Linux for more than just being a Linux user (some of which are documented here) nearly reached a crisis point and marked the first time I’ve ever considered buying a Mac. (Why not a Windows PC? Because Windows is not UNIX.) After the class ended the feeling tapered off, but the box was open and the idea grew on me some. My frustrations with Linux continued and I decided to use the Mac at work instead of my laptop, just until October.  It was so nice that at the end of September I finally caved and ordered Archimedes. I think the breaking point was the fact that I wanted to finally be able to play Portal and Portal 2. (Seriously.)

Since then I’ve been acquainting myself with the UI and the bundled software (with the exception of a few necessities (Steam for the aforementioned Portal series, vim, Xcode (not bundled) texlive and TeXworks for school, DropBox, VLC, GitHub and some games)) and am pretty satisfied. I get I’m probably still in the honeymoon period, but Apple has really put together a solid machine. The Mac has its share of fanboys, but I can get the hell over that if the OS is this solid – and it is this solid. But not only that, the applications built on top of it are so well designed that I rarely have any trouble with them. With Linux it was a crapshoot whether I’d get a program that did what it advertised, or that I could use without reading the manual (not included).

So here I am. Naturally, there have been some issues – little things like no Home or End key (?-left and ?-right respectively), Backspace is called Delete (and the delete-key functionality is replaced by fn-delete), some other things. Particularly bothersome is how the Terminal behaves. If I find I need to get to the beginning of a line, ?-left doesn’t do it. I have to hold down the left key. My first tutorial, then, is how to fix that.

  • Open up Terminal.
  • Type ‘pico ~/.bash_profile’ (without the quotes (continue not to use quotes))
  • Find your first blank line and type ‘set -o vi’
  • Hit ^O, then Enter, then ^X (where “^” means the control key)
  • Now type ‘source ~/.bash_profile’

 

You should now be able to hit ESC-0 (zero, not o) and that’ll put you at the beginning of the line. (ESC-$ will put you at the end of the line.) Before you can type anything though, you need to hit ‘i’ (for insert). You have just set your terminal to vi-mode, and unless you’ve hit ESC, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. Google bash vi mode for more information.

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