I also have a good impression of Apple's build quality, at least for the Powerbooks, though I haven't owned one myself.
Personally, I love my Lenovo. If I were to get a new laptop, I'd look around but am pretty sure I'd wind up with either them or Apple. Now, the problem with this is that either is probably out of your budget. Still, I'd look into their offerings and see if you can press that a bit.
That said, if you want to run Linux, you should consider that when you order. If you go with Lenovo, go with the wi-fi upgrade (I forget what to). A friend got an X60 and spent like a week getting wifi to work because he didn't, and he's run exclusively Linux for years.
The other thing I'll say and you'll disregard because of the cost option: I have a convertible tablet, and I love it. It's wonderful for taking notes in classes. And while I haven't looked in a year or two, the best app out there for note-taking is MS OneNote, hands down. With a tablet, OneNote is reason enough to at least dual boot. (My patience for getting stuff to work under Wine is almost non-existent.)
failed assertion wrote:Operating systems all suck, so I just use a free one.
If you're buying a new computer it'll probably be essentially the case that Windows is free unless you want to go through one of those rediculous refund processes.
I also find that as an argument for dual booting: when one OS pisses you off too much, you switch to the other. That's what I do. (I run Linux at work and Windows at home and I think I'm way happier than if I only ran one. Whichever one I'm running reminds me of what I actually like about the other, and that balances out my feelings of wanting to go strangle Denis Ritchie/whoever-at-MS-integrates-their-window-manager-so-much-and-also-designs-their-console. )
LongLiveTheDutch wrote:Ubuntu is much faster on my machine than XP, boots 30 seconds faster (or more.. I don't know.) It feels faster, runs smoother. Out of the box, I have smart CPU scaling, making for improved battery life, my wifi card works wonderfully (switched to wicd because it's much nicer), and I can get anything I want through packages.
Just to share my experience: on my laptop, Linux boots way faster, but Windows comes out of hibernate way faster. Personally, I consider the latter far more important. And it's not like Windows doesn't have CPU scaling. And as mentioned above, you can't count on good wi-fi support if you just do it blind.
achilleas.k wrote:At my uni now I get my own account to MSDN-AA, which gives me free licenses for all Windows OS + most other Microsoft products (except MS Office for some reason).
You don't get Office because it's not really a programming tool. (MSDN=MS Developer Network.) Most of the other stuff up there can be much more directly be used for programming; the Windows licenses are meant so you can test your program on a bunch of different versions. And technically, those copies aren't really licensed for use as your primary OS. (Though I bet that is not widely followed.)
Robstickle wrote:(including open office, why did I (I meaning parents) pay for Microsoft office again?)
PowerPoint still runs circles around Impress.
Robstickle wrote:Can play audio from two programs simultaneously.
What version of Windows have you been using that couldn't? 3.1?
Rich_Roast wrote:It's probably safer to advocate GNU/Linux for reasons of freedom, choice, core stability and security, efficiency and plain good fun rather than on the basis of ease of use.
That depends on your audience. Plenty of people won't care about the first two, stability hasn't been an issue for most people on Windows for quite some time*, and 'fun' seems at least as questionable as a lot of the other points depending on the person. That leaves security and efficiency. Linux definitely has the edge there, though MS has taken some largeish strides over the last few years to make the gap a bit smaller. Efficiency is the biggest reason that I use it at work, but that takes some time to achieve.
(* My box's uptime is a bit over 2 months now, and the only thing really "special" I do is ignore the "I want to install updates!" notice for a while. Excluding those by choice (e.g. turning it off at night, or for hardware changes), patching probably accounts for nearly all Windows restarts.)
Now, I advocate dual boot. Why? Part is the "both suck" thing mentioned above, part is practical matters. I am all for Linux: it has a bunch of benefits, and as a CS person, you should know it. But I also think that some of the benefits are overstated, and CS folks on the whole don't give enough credence to Windows and the things it does right.