Linux is a great thing. It had one of the longest hype period on the digital media, and still gather evangelists all over the world. It was the beginning of a new era. It was the sign of the liberty of software rising against the chains of proprieatry model and corporate giants. It was a chance for millions of programmers to make a decent living.
But all of that doesn’t necessarily make Linux a great choice for desktop productivity. Also, for the middle to top managers, I don’t really think it will make his entry. In my series of “When and why I broke up with…” posts, I will try to outline below my reasons for switching from Linux to Mac OS on my day to day work.
First of all, for all of you that are asking: “but why Mac OS, and not Windows?”, I will simply answer: because I needed something that actually works. Period.
Second, I will tell you what I think about Linux as a day to day OS from a manager standpoint:
1. Feee source. Great. But unless you are a C++ guru, this thing means absolutely nothing to you. In order to actually modify you OS you must first know your OS, and that’s a job by itself.
2. Windows managers. Great. But too much freedom can lead to uncontrollable interface look and feel. I liked KDE in the beginning, and then come Gnome, but Xfce looks good too, and before you know, boom, there are dozens of window managers and you spend your whole day by selecting them, and not actually working.
3. Usability. Poor. Linux is a geeky OS. You have to have the mindset of a geek to comfortably work with it. Let’s say I had that mindset for a while, and uused it extensively in order to put my server up and running, but after a while you want to have a desktop to work with, not a bunch of servers. You realise that you will never have a real desktop in Linux.
4. Networking capabilities. Unbeatable. Linux is a gem here. You can beat it. Don’t event try, Linux is the best operating system for hosting your online business, starting from a static webpage to a 500 hits/second web 2.0 application. It’s the thing.
5. Linux has still a poor support for drivers. Even in the newest and hypest CD-running distros, like Knoppix, you can have surprises. I’m not a C++ genius, but I still managed to modify over the time some ethernet drivers and other minor stuff, like ACPI support and all, but that’s not what I should actually do. I don’t have to rewrite drivers. I should make my business grow.
And third, what I think about Mac OS as a day to day operating system from a manager standpoint:
1. It just works. (I admit, that’s my favourite thought about Mac OS).
2. Decent drivers and applications, extraordinary look and feel, unbelievable stability. I only had a crash and a sudden and unexpected reboot in 5 months.
3. It has all of the bells and whistles that Windows have, all the Linux power under the hood (it’s a BSD thingie, if you didn’t knew by know, and I even find myself playing with Terminal form time to time), and some unique touch that makes me feel special when I work with it (well, that should go to the Apple marketing guys, but still, they made a wonderfull job with it, you just like it).
4. The paid software model versus open source has some very hidden advantages, one of them being the accountability for the guy taht sold you/gave to you that sofwtare. In Linux you don’t have anybody to call when something is broken. Yes, it’s great to learn how to fix things, but then again, what about my business, in the meantime? If all I do is fixing bugs for open source aplpications, what else I have left to do for my business? This is related to manager, not to a geek.
5. Linux and MAC OS have both very charismatic communities. If you are the easy-to-fall-for-charismatic-communities guy, like me, you will fall for Mac OS as easy as you fallen for Linux. They are both like beatifull women that you just can’t say no.
I made the switch after around 8 years of intensively using Linux, and the main reason was the need of boost in my personal productivity. If I would be a day to day geek, Linux will probably be the choice, but I am a manager, I need to have a good planning application, rapid access to mail, web and office documents, and a pleasant way of doing this. Because, you know, managers tend to be so easily bored, right? As a manager, all the time that I spend on recompiling the kernel or tweaking the drivers it accounts as losses. And one of the smartes thing a manager can do is stopping the losses in the first place.
All in all, I consider Mac OS a more than decent OS for day to day work for managing activities starting from middle to top, and Linux an unbeatable choice for building your actual business with. It’s not productive for me to use the same tools that I used for building my business, to manage my business.
I am just curios, any of you switched from Linux to Mac OS recently? Or the other way around? What were your reasons? What would you make come back? Feel freee to coment on that.
[tags]linux, mac os x[/tags]