The point still remains that no matter what the hardware, OS, or applications used, limiting software installations to the minimum necessary to accomplish the task at hand is best practice.
While I tend to agree with this for the most part, I find that the more OSX and its development community matures, the less critical this practice becomes.. for the most part.
(Windows is a whole different kettle of fish though, and I agree with Jonathan 100% where that platform is concerned. Install what you need. Nothing else.)
In OSX, however, the vast majority of developers are adopting the use of application packages, which means that you're not getting involved with installers splattering billions of files all over the hard drive in folders you've never heard of. The app package is basically a specialised folder that already contains all that crap. To the user, an application is its icon and nothing more.
Want to install the app? Drag its icon somewhere. Want it gone? Put its icon in the trash and empty it.
From time to time, one of these apps might make a folder for itself in your Application Support folder, but without the actual application running these items will never be accessed by the system, and so are completely benign..
Of course, none of this changes the fact that certain combinations of applications running at the same time can occasionally conflict with one another. This is true of any OS though, and so people should be observant of what software they allow to load at startup, etc.
But as far as OSX goes, IMO you could safely load up your hard drive with as many packaged apps as you like - whether necessary or not - and likely never run into any trouble at all..
Best practise though? Probably not.
Installing buggy applications can cause problems on any platform.
I'd say best practice is to simply avoid buggy apps.
Getting back OT re: computers I use?
2 self-built Windows machines -- one an XP2400+, the other an XP3200+. Both have Abit mobos, 2GB DDR 3200, Radeon 9700 Pro vid cards (128 MB). SATA HDDs (RAID 0+1 on the 3200+) Running XP Pro
3 Macs -- one 2x800Mhz G4 (overclocked to 2x867 :laugh: WOOHOO!), one 1.25Ghz G4 PowerBook, one 2x2Ghz G5. The G4s each have 1.5GB of RAM, the G5 sits at 2.5GB. All run OSX.3.8..
If given a choice, I always
choose to do any image related tasks on the Macs. My Windows machines are perfectly competent, functional and fast when it comes to this sort of thing, but in terms of overall productivity, there simply isn't a better OS currently available for working with photography than OSX (do I need an IMO here?). Exposť practically does this on its own, and it's only one tiny (revolutionary) feature of the OS! It just keeps getting better, too -- Tiger promises to bring colour management to non-colour managed apps, for example.
As far as relative performance, the PowerBook is about on par with my 2400+ in PhotoShop, and that's saying something because it's got a painfully slow drive and less RAM (both system and video).. The dual 800 is actually faster
in some operations, but it's only used as a server anymore these days.
The G5 smokes everything. I've never used such a fast, beautiful, stable computer in my life before.
Come to think of it, given a choice, I choose to do nearly everything
in OSX.. No viruses, adware, spyware, crapware, whoputthisherethereandeveryware bothering me has been very nice in the last few years. I'm becoming a real fan of system-wide spell check as well. If I install an OS update, Apple doesn't change preferences on me or decide that I really do
want a bunch of their apps to load at startup even though I had found every last hidden 'off' switch for those apps in the past.. †
Lately, my Windows boxxen get used for essentially one thing: gaming. You don't want to have just a Mac if you're at all into games. If you're serious about games and can't have both platforms, there's no question about it: Windows it is