OS X dock nonsense and the pleasure causing a disturbance
As a user of almost every permutation of UNIX over the last 25 years plus emulators such as Primix (even pre-GUI/mouse, when one had a single VDU interface and probably just one of those per twenty or more users), various Linux versions, pre-98 to Windows XP (yet to suffer Vista or Windows 7) and a happy user of Mac OS X, it seems to me that most of you have got no idea of how to configure your systems for personal preferences or what you are seeing in front of you.
On OS X the dock takes up as much or almost as little screen space as you care to configure it to do (and that is childishly easy). The number of icons thereon is completely configurable - drag the lot to the Trash (horrible name, like Ubuntu's English version, last time I used it, much more) if you must. Have it on the left or right side instead of below, auto-hide as with the Windows task bar. For most applications, clicking on an icon of an all ready open application does NOT open another instance, though one can of course by other means. Windows and most LInux interfaces however do open up fresh copies.
Just like other systems, a general purpose default is presented to the new user, who tends to be a mail/browser/chat (if advanced) type who may watch DVDs or load his ipod/mp3 player). Clever clogs like us can then muck it about to our heart's discontent and the majority can just use it to do a job or amuse themselves.
Do you want a black terminal emulator with green Courier font? I like that too - use it for all sorts of command line things (shell scripts, vi sessions, man pages, awk, programming, make, reorganising my files, RCS ...) using OS X terminal application, or even (as I like to do in my dinosaur way) run a full X server and twm(1) with exactly the same .twmrc, .xinit etc. as at work on Solaris, AIX and others (such a dinosaur that even mwm, let alone kde and gnome are too hand-holding for me).
No, if you were serious about UNIX and free distributions, you would be using Free BSD, mailx, mh or similar and avoiding BASH like the plague (its array implementation is ghastly and ksh, even pdksh, knocks the rest into a cocked hat). Almost makes tcsh look good. If prepared to spend money (less, too, than you think), OS X is not bad at all, rather good in fact.
I am a UNIX bigot; so I like OS X because it is a reasonable presentation of BSD UNIX (downloaded GNU applications, Eclipse, Wine and installed them without problems just as on any other UNIX or Linux release and mac ports is a not bad version of the BSD ports utility). Yet, at the same time, I can go into the full GUI interface and work in a very complete developer environment covering the major languages, source code control ... all included in the basic release, without endless downloads and clicks. Oh, and security is good at the latest UNIX level and even to the extent, if you must, of encrypting your $HOME. And, what is more, usable back-up and restoration is so easy, I even use it.
Oh dear, sounding like an Apple salesman. But really, I am just a professional software engineer, UNIX specialist, who has enough problems at work without playing silly-b*gg*s with incomplete software and dodgy hardware at home. By the way, while at work ugly kit is fine, at home I pretend to be refined and have taste and I like my furnishings, stereo, computers etc. to look good. I save the boxes and wires for a workshop.
I gave up fighting Linux installations and upgrades when I was no longer being paid for it and a new distribution of Ubuntu failed to boot completely on my ancient TP21 (shame, good machine, now running just XP, perfectly well, at least till I try free BSD again).
For those who must, like me, work with windows part of the time: cygwin is excellent with a good X server for the full X experience, absolutely b-y marvellous.
Oh dear, this was meant to be a couple of lines about the dock. Got carried away or should be.