This page is for historical purposes only. Thank you to everyone who donated money, I'm writing this from my new MacBook Pro.

Buy John A Mac

OK, that might seem like a big thing to be buying me but I have a problem producing an easy to use version of POPFile for the Mac (specifically for Mac OS X): although various people have submitted patches and we even have code in CVS for a Mac installer I don't have any way to build, package and test for the Mac. So instead of the standard donations I'm asking for donations specifically to buy me a Mac.

My plan is to buy a 12” PowerBook without any frills; I guess I could get away with an iBook but my developer instincts are that the faster processor is probably something that I need or I am going to really want once I get started on it.

The lowest spec PowerBook is as follows:

  • 12.1-inch TFT Display
  • 1024×768 resolution
  • 1GHz PowerPC G4
  • 512K L2 cache
  • 256MB DDR266 SDRAM
  • 40GB Ultra ATA/100
  • NVIDIA GeForce FX Go 5200 (32MB DDR)
  • Full size keyboard
  • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
  • FireWire 400
  • AirPort Extreme Ready
  • Mini-DVI out

And comes in at $1,599. If I can raise that much I'll pay the tax, shipping and all that myself (that's about $200). So are there enough Mac loving POPFile users (or potential users) out there that can make this happen? I'll update this page with information as donations come in… to make it easy I've added a link to PayPal with a suggested donation of $16. Just need 100 Mac lovers and we are on our way.

So far…

  • # of donations: 58 (plus 2 at $8 and 1 at $100)
  • Total raised: $1044
  • ASCII donation “thermometer” with one x for each 10 donations: xxxxx::::

Also any Mac people who want to advise me on the machine's configuration (i.e. scream if that machine's too wimpy or way over powered) should contact me: [email protected] I currently have all the hardware I need for the Linux and Windows versions of POPFile, if only there were Mac OS X/i586 I could run a Mac in my VMWare…)


Here's one user's opinion (who I assume is fairly well-informed since he runs a Mac consulting business: I guess I'll ponder this more deeply if we get within striking distance of $1,500/$1,600.

	I suspect that your needs would be very well served by any of the
	iBook line - in particular the 14-inch:1GHz top-of-the-line iBook would
	give you a bigger screen and larger hard drive for a hundred bucks less -
	and you get a bit more preloaded software if that is of any value. One of
	the other cheaper iBooks would also work just fine - they all have G4 chips
	in them running at quite respectable speeds. The bottom end of the
	PowerBook line really does not have much going for it over the iBook line.
	If you need 17-inch screen or a DVD-R drive, then you must get a PowerBook,
	but otherwise, the iBook is probably more value for your money.
	You are probably aware that you will be well served getting more
	memory - probably you should max out whatever you do get. But don't buy
	your memory from Apple - get it from third parties such as one of the
	places listed at
	You may also want to consider the AppleCare extended warrantee -
	the Apple laptops are generally pretty well put together, but any laptop
	takes a beating, and the extended warrantee is at least worth considering,
	though the $250 price tag is a bit high. You can buy the extended care
	protection at any time within the first year of ownership - so it might
	make sense to first see how much you use the machine before shelling out
	for that.

Another reader suggests a bigger screen:

	You'll be wanting a larger screen, I expect.  When I was doing development 
	I generally had a lot of windows open.  One of the good things about the 
	PowerBook is that you can attach an external monitor and span the desktop 
	across the two screens.  The iBook is officially unable to do this, although 
	I've read some reports of folks figuring out how to enable this feature.

Joseph's comments:

	I am no Mac guy at all.  But the difference between 14 and 12 inch ultra
	portable depends on how your going to use it and how good your eye-sight
	is.  I would love the portability of a 12 inch, but I don't think I could stand
	it now that I have a 15 inch laptop, my previous was 13 and I was happy.
	Get the 12 if its going to be carried around a lot, the weight is the main
	benifit of the small size.  The battery life may also be much better on the
	more portable one.  I know a guy that has a 12 inch Mac and was really
	happy with the long battery life.  He is normally a Linux guy, but all the
	*nix tools are there so he was happy.

Interesting commentary from another reader, I hadn't heard of fink, but now I know what it is it does seem like a good idea to make POPFile work with it, although I also plan to do a native installer for the Mac.

	1) I have a 12" 800Mhz iBook with 256MB Ram, it only cost me $900 (with 
	my student discount -- $1100 otherwise), and it serves my needs popping 
	back and forth to school and running Matlab and writing code. It's not a dual 
	2Ghz G5, but it's not particularly pokey. I suspect given that exercising popfile 
	is most of what you'll be doing once you get configured, it would meet your 
	needs, but far be it from me to tell a man he shouldn't buy a phat computer.

	2) Please, *please* make popfile fink-friendly, if not an outright fink package 
	if you can. I think all that "friendly" means is adding an FAQ saying what fink 
	packages are the necessary and sufficient ones to support "perl", and 
	what other files are needed that can't be had through fink. I'm having the devil 
	of a time figuring out which ones those are. 

Encouragement from a non-Mac user:

	This morning, I read the message you sent out about getting a Mac in order to 
	write code for the POPFile installer.  Nice move!  I don't use a Mac, but I have 
	before, and I understand where you are coming from.

	I have sent a donation, because I think you deserve it.  Please keep me posted 
	on whether you get enough donations.  I am interested in how that turns out.

	Thanks for the software (POPFile and others), and keep up the good work!

And opinion on screen size:

	FWIW, I use a 12" Powerbook that's pretty well maxed out on the hardware front 
	and am very happy with it despite failing eyes.  Nonetheless, if you've any doubts 
	about the small screen I'd strongly recommend buying a larger package.

	Am making a donation:  You've got to make Popfile easy to set up, and I'm glad 
	to help you get there.

And a great offer (either I'll drop the target price, or I'll use the extra $$$ to max out the RAM):

	When you decide on your Mac, and unless you have a better offer, let me know 
	what you want to buy.

	I can get a 15% discount right now from my friends at Apple, and I'll extend that to 
	you too. You may get a better offer from elsewhere, which would also be great!!

	Also don't forget that all Mac laptops can plug into PC monitors, making them either 
	multi-desktop or simply larger desktops. I use that a lot when I am coding. It's nice 
	to have the source on the laptop, and the browser on the monitor. 

iBook user chirps:

	Well I have a older iBook G4 (800).  If you are worried about processor speed, the 
	new iBooks now start at 1GHz and would be more than enough speed unless you 
	do all your dev. on it.  I have a 12" and it is a bit on the heavy side and the smaller 
	screen takes a little getting used to.  From the above post, yes all Apple notebooks 
	can plug into PC monitors though for this to be any use for the iBook you need to 
	apply a small hack (to enable spanning).  more info here:

	But looking at the above specs, 256MB is the main problem.  go for 640MB.  I use 
	popfile on windows but I will be donating to the BuyJohnAMac project.  Who knows 
	someday I might use the iBook for mail someday.  
buyjohnamac.txt · Last modified: 2008/02/08 19:49 (external edit)

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