Desktop Linux User Finds Total Solution in OS X
Mr. Reed you clearly do not have a very clear understanding of what UNIX actually is. Mac OS X is in fact a genuine descendant of the original UNIX code. This makes it for more of a "UNIX" than GNU/Linux. Remember GNU Not Unix.
One of the main reasons you bring up is that NetInfo overrides /etc. You mean like NIS does? And in fact there is even more to it than that, and this makes OS X very very UNIX. That being that OS X has run levels. And when you run at level 1 (single user mode) all configuration is in fact done from reading /etc as the NetInfo daemon isn't running. When you go to a multiuser runlevel, then the NetInfo daemon is loaded to handle configuration. The reason for this is that it makes remote administration easier because you don't have to ssh into a desktop user's box and run vi to start editing text files. You can just run the NetInfo utility and have it connect to that users box and do your config in a nice easy GUI. Or you can just go ahead and configure the user's box to use the NetInfo Daemon on your OSX Server (or any LDAP) server to take care of the configuration. Very nice!
One of your other complaints is that X isn't included by default and that "Apple doesn't even acknowledge it's existence". Well if you don't like Aqua or Quartz or DisplayPDF or any of the amazing GUI innovations that Next/Apple have come up with, you don't have to use them. At the login, just provide >console for the username. This kills the Window and UI servers and dumps you down to a console with a familiar text "login:" prompt. From there you can login as usual and start at your nice csh or bash prompt. You can then run startx (if you have installed XFree86, which YES Apple acknowledges it's existence. I know this because I installed it using the official XDarwin.sit package I downloaded from Apple's website.) and there you find the very UNIX like twm running. Or maybe you configured your .xinitrc to start up Gnome instead. Or maybe KDE. Did you know both environments have been ported to OS X? Pretty damn impressive for something that according to you is not UNIX.
Of course this brings up the question of...Why the hell would you want to?
Before I bought my TiBook in December (my first mac ever) I worked about 80% on a Debian Potato + Ximian desktop and the other 20% on Windows 2000. Now I work entirely on my TiBook running OS X. It's just awesome. Mail.app is by far the best email program I've ever used anywhere (and it only got better with Jaguar). iMovie rocks. Importing video from my digital Sony camcorder couldn't be easier. I wouldn't even know where to begin to try and do that on Linux or Windows. iTunes is the best MP3 player hands down (oh and did you know you can use LAME to do the encoding?) and I liked it so much I bought an iPod, which isn't just an mp3 player, but quite a decent and FAST firewire drive.) I love that when I plug in my digital camera through USB, that iPhoto just pops up and starts downloading the pictures. 3 more clicks and they are published to my .Mac webpage.
How about Third-Party apps? BBEdit is awesome. Chimera is bloody fast and anything it can't handle there is Mozilla. Photoshop! Dreamweaver! How about games? Warcraft III need I say more?
By now you might be saying how does any of that qualify me as being able to say how useful Mac OS X is for people that have been depending on Linux for their desktop in order to do hardcore development. Well, I am a sysadmin and developer for a 14 server debian linux cluster. I do all the development on my TiBook. Apache, Perl, PHP, CVS, gcc, C, Object C, C++, Java, it's all there out of the box once you install the Developer Tools CD. (how does the fact that gcc is installed from a second cd instead of the first mean it's not included "as part of the distribution." Debian ships on like 7 CDs. Does that mean anything not included on the first CD (like for instance XFree86) isn't part of the Debian distribution?) I only use my Linux desktop computer do the final compile of programs into .debs before they are installed onto our servers. That's it!
Now lets throw in some wizbang features that no other OS has that I'm aware of. How's the bluetooth support in Linux or any other OS? Are you surprised to find out that I'm posting this while connected to the Internet through GPRS using my Ericsson T68 transmitting to it via my D-Link USB Bluetooth adapter. Do that on Linux. How about syncing my addressbook and calendar (iCal rules) with that on my phone over bluetooth? Yes it can be done easy enough even though iSync isn't out yet. Jonas Salling has made wonderful utility that does just that to tide us over until Apple delivers. All this bluetooth stuff can also be accomplished over infrared if I prefer. I have the option.
Well I think that is probably enough for now. Any questions?