Initially he wasn't interested in the pi or mac when we said he couldn't have the internet in his bedroom.
I just wondered if others had opinions on young children accessing the internet unsupervised?
RE OS/Computer Choice:
I have used Mac OS 10 as my primary work/programming/general use OS for the last five years after a long bout of windows. I also regularly play around with linux, for programming and web development purposes, as well as the coolness factor of a completely open source OS.
I find the two work brilliantly together — OS X can run almost any command line (and many X11) linux apps, and they both natively support many of the same programming languages (Ruby, Python, PHP. OS X comes with a web server ready to go for web development, and has Python installed).
I always preferred the aesthetic and interaction patterns on the mac, and have never found it to be restrictive at all, as far as programming and general usage go (although I seem to be alone in this experience…).
So they'll both work well together. The PI will give him a more low-level experience, closer to the hardware (one of the things it is difficult to do on macs), and any knowledge, as well as most code, can easily be transferred to, and used on, the Mac.
If you get your hands on one of those switcher gadgety things, he could even use the same screen/keyboard/mouse for both, switching seamlessly between the two. Looking at tutorials in safari then trying them out on the pi?
RE Internet Access:
I am 16 and have never been allowed a computer or TV (let alone internet access) in my bedroom. I now keep my iPad there, because I have earned the trust of my parents over the years. I would say this is a good policy — any internet access should happen in a publicly viewable area.
For the record — I am a web developer, competent in various languages and programming techniques, who also has a fairly good understanding of electronics and the lower-level operations of computers (I program PICs in assembly). So don't think that your son needs access to computers in his bedroom in order to become competent and/or excited.
Phew! My longest post here too