Computer science students best served by Apple Computer’s Mac OS X

“You have a finite amount of time in a 24-hour day. Daily life is about making constant tradeoffs of your time and money as you choose what you want to accomplish. How you make those decisions, based on your resources and your desires, determines your overall productivity. Time is still valuable for college students in terms of studying, having a part-time job, attending classes, doing independent development, or attending to other recreational pursuits,” Julie Starr writes for MacDevCenter.

“To help get your day-to-day productivity tasks accomplished, there are many high-quality software packages available on OS X. While the number of commercial software titles available on Windows dwarfs OS X, remember to factor in quality not quantity,” Starr writes. “Core productivity software is available for development (Xcode), email (, Entourage, Eudora, Mulberry), web browser (Safari, Internet Explorer, Camino/Mozilla), office productivity (Microsoft Office, Appleworks), and digital media organization (the iLife suite, including iPhoto, iTunes). Some software, such as OmniGraffle (for diagramming and charting) and most of the iLife suite, are available only on the Mac. Many times when OS X versions of popular Windows applications have not been produced, such as Microsoft Access, equivalent if not better solutions fill the void, such as FileMaker Pro.”

Starr writes, “The final point to productivity goes to security. Mac OS X saves you some worry by being relatively secure out of the box. If you run the netstat command on a brand new OS X system, you will find just two open ports: TCP 631 for CUPS printing, and TCP 1033 for account management purposes. Both are for local use only; other computers on your network cannot connect to those ports by default.”

“I’ve been a user of the Classic Mac OS, DOS, NeXTStep, Solaris, Windows, OpenBSD, Linux, and finally Mac OS X throughout the years. Mac OS X is the place I now call home. I think many others would be happy here too if they realized the benefits this platform provides,” Starr writes.

Full article here.


  1. Not sure about the statement that Filemaker is equivalent if not better than MS Access. The two are very different beasts: Access is very powerful and great for complex relational databases, whereas FMP has a much less steep learning curve and is an excellent solution for simpler databases.

  2. Access Fan:

    I agree that they are two very different beasts. A better comparison would have been 4D and Access.

    But don’t sell FMP (esp. 7) short. You can make very complex, very robust applications with FileMaker – esp. if you purchase additional plugins (which can even do things like hook up with cash drawers and scales). And frankly, FileMaker is much better than Access at handling lots of simultaneous network users.

    Also, FileMaker databases can easily be transformed into viable web applications. Yes I know that Access has a web publishing feature too, but it’s not as easy or (sadly) robust as FileMaker’s.

    If you want a product that lives up to (and then far surpasses) what Access tries to be, go with RealBasic. It’s got very similar syntax to VBA, it’s got pretty good DB support (MySql for cross platform server – a variety for cross platform Flat File), compiled apps are a single executable (no DLL hell) that run on OS 9, OS X, Windows 98 and up, and Linux (officially RH and SUSE but others distros work too as long as they have the right pieces in the kernel), and most importantly it’s genuinely object oriented.

    I can’t overstate the importance of that last bit – true object orientation makes what would have been the impossible possible and basically is what makes RB blow VB6 (which would be the logical step up from Access in the MS world) out of the water (to be fair one place that VB6 is nice is that there are SO MANY prefab add on controls etc. out there).

    So don’t undersell FM Pro – and if you need an environment that can do the things FM really can’t (drawing, working well with other data sources, having custom controls, complex event handling, real object-oriented programming) take a hard look at RealBasic – you might like what you see.

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