- will be just as much work making OS X more like my linux machine in terms of a good terminal emulator?
That depends on
- How about decent package management? How do fink/hombrew/pip etc compare to apt?
It's a whole different game. Brew is currently the best among them. You should view it as a way to install a couple (or dozens) of additional tools, while in Linux it's basically almost the way the OS is put together.
- How is the python tooling?
It does depend on how you use it. On my Linux boxes, I never uses pip, and always search through apt for the library in question. That won't work under OS X. However if you use pip, which basically is independent of the OS, then you won't encounter difficulties.
- Will common shortcuts like alt-tab, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-X work in OS-X?
On OS X, you'll have to use the CMD key which is located where the Alt-key normally is. Alt-tab thus normally works.
- What is the state of vertical splitting of the screen between programs - for eg, vertically splitting eclipse and chrome?
There are tools for this, but they're all clunky. Using virtual desktops works great, though.
- I have heard that OS updates in OS-X break programs installed in userspace (especially those installed via package management tooks). To what extent is this true?
I've had something like that once. But it was quickly fixed by Homebrew.
If it is going to take me 3-4 weekends to get OS-X to a point where it is usable for development and I feel comfortable in it
Then don't start using OS X. I mean, you're moving to a new OS -- that's not nothing. I found it great fun, though.