When and why I broke up with… linux

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]

16 thoughts on “When and why I broke up with… linux”

  1. Hi there.
    I think the best OS is Linux. I know this sounds too lame for most of you but it’s the true… why? because there’s no suck thing ‘best os’
    I see Windows like… nice OS, nice Driver support, kind’a stable GNU and really easy for use interface. At first look it’s so functional and so beautiful os, without limits, but that’s not true. Windows is the slowest OS on Earth (and should be in a big period) and also it’s not geek-friendly. If you need to do some tweaks to the Windows, that ill not be a problem, but if you need to change configuration every day/ or every hour or like me almost every minute… you realize that you’re f*cked and there are some d*mn things you can’t figure out, like ‘why my drivers stopped wodking’ ‘why I don’t have access to a file in my desktop’ etc… things that used to work for you, but now they don’t… so I find Windows nice For home (specially for Laptops) but if you have to do work or important project with Windows, you put your head in the bag.

    MacOs. That’s the lamest OS (for me) ever. I don’t think that it’s a real os. It’s just a bunch of scripts/codes/libs… mixed and put in a beautiful way in front of your face. It’s not compatible with any software, but apples. The hardware’s the same limited. (nice marketing, hah ?!). Yep. It runs fast and it’s stable, but is it really stable or it’s limited functionality makes it look like stable ? (Imagine a windows7 pc without installed any software… it should be stable, wouldn’t it). Adding the fact, that MacOS is Paid i say “Thank you, I don’t want it”. (don’t get me wrong, no software is paid, there’s piracy everywhere…) and still I find MacOS like… portable gsm OS (or something) but not a thing that should do work for me. I didn’t use MACos for years, discluding a time I installed the latest leopard…. and still didn’t like it.

    Well you said a lot things for it, which are true, but you (all) skipped telling that Linux has …. thousands of versions, adapted for almost every needs. There’s gamer’s editions, home-desktop editions, work editions, portables…. etc. They might be millions of versions.. and I DON’T BELIEVE you people can’t find yours :>

    Now I am using win7 32 in my Home-PC and in to my Laptop…. but I have 3 flash drives with 3 different distros Knoppix, Slax, BlackTrack and kubuntu and it’s good to know when I boot a usb (it’s really fast) the things just happen :> (and I use to do this almost 1 time a day)

  2. Linux maybe not good for some particular reasons, but I do believe that Mac OS is the best platform in the world. Windows just copies Mac, in case you know it, I don’t have to tell you details.
    .-= Aminul Islam Sajib´s last blog ..BlogBuzzer – The Regular Dose for Search Engines & Directories =-.

  3. @ Leomarth: I agree it’s getting beter every day, hopefully some day the driver support will be perfect in Linux

    @ Kettal: there is room for a much deeper discussion about paid model versus Open Source models, I think both have pro’s and con’s

  4. You are right about software support models. This is why Suse Enterprise, and other subscription type OS have an advantage in the business world.

  5. @kill4killin: well, it’s a matter of choice, yes? I was using windows since 3.1 and it never did the job for me. sorry.

    @youtux: I’m not a fan, I’m just an enthousiastic digital tools user. As such I was into Linux and still am. I just switched to another OS, and if you’ll read my article you’ll notice that the big shift was made by the PRO’s for using MAC OS, rather than the CON’s for using Linux.

  6. well, happy for you that you switched to MacOS, but in fact all your arguments concerning Linux is hard, poor usability and window manager are nonsense. And… you don’t have to now C++ to use Linux… just install and get all you need.

    a good article ‘Top 7 Facts and Myths About Linux’ – http://www.youtux.org/content/view/56/2/

  7. I am an on and off Linux user of 5 years now and have always thought about going to Mac OS X. But there are still a few things that keep me away from Mac whether my OS choice is Windows or Linux.

    For starters, Mac requires that you use their hardware to run their software…wtf is that? I understand from a customer service stand point that that makes things easier to deal with when dealing with tech support but seriously, Dell does an excellent job with that and they just use Windows. If they would allow in their licensing to install their OS on non-mac hardware (which I believe they may be making a move towards) then I would consider their OS as a possibility but until then, the prices of their hardware keep me from their beautiful software.

    Secondly, for me as the average user what is there in Mac OS X that I can not do in windows. This is why I say I have been an on and off user of Linux. I have my moments where I say, “lets see what the guys at xxxxxx Linux have been up to.” I try it out, say, “wow, this is really great.” I use it for a few months and then I hit a road block…this usually occurs in the area of wireless networking, and I just stop dead in my tracks. Then I move back to windows. Even though I am a huge supporter of Linux for the desktop environment I still say that for a laptop, unless you have a lot of time to tinker with it to get it to do some complex things like WPA-EAS support (which at the moment I do not but wish I did) windows is the best choice for the average laptop.

    Also, I do not understand what people are doing that they insist that Windows is so unstable and constantly getting viruses… I have had my Windows running for 2 months before and didn’t need to reboot until I had to do some windows updates and even then I could have gone a bit longer if I wanted to. And the viruses…what are people doing? I use Mozilla firefox, and basic free anti-virus program and I don’t even have a firewall running on my computer and I connect to rogue wireless networks and go to some of the shadiest websites and I have yet to get a virus for the last 4 or 5 years.

    Just my 2 cents…

  8. @whatever: you can’t really know C++ unless you know plain, old Kernigan & Richie, C…

    @SuperMike: glad you found your OS of choice. I was a friend of RedHat since redHat 5.1, long before Fedora. I know my way around Linux pretty well, but yes, I am a MAC fan for now. It all comes down to the personal choice, I guess

    @Jason: from a development standpoint I agree: Linux is still the thing. I develop dynamic websites in Mac, but I use Zend (so, JAVA) editor, and MAMP for my backend. Far more simple in Linux, I agree. But, what I meant by planning application was something like OmniPlan, that I can use to assign resources, see those gantt charts and so on. There are different approaches for different goals, I guess…

    @all: thanks for your comments, feel great to see other people experiences 🙂

  9. My old Dell laptop (running Linux) recently died and I opted for a Macbook, mainly to see what all the hype was about.

    I’m a manager in some respect (well, really a CTO) and a developer, and lets say I won’t be trading in my Linux desktop for Mac OS, especially when it comes to development.

    My main complaint is lack of keyboard controls. With FVWM (my window manager of choice) and can bind nearly everything to key, even sizing and moving windows. I didn’t realize how dependent I had become on the keyboard until play with Mac OS.

    Now, Mac OS could become my main platform, it only took a couple hours to get our software to build (mainly build system issues) due to the BSD layer, so its great in that respect.

    Still, the purchase was worth it. I needed a more ‘business’ OS for when some webinar software, or something didn’t work with Linux. So the Macbook with Windows running in Parallels provides me with that business machine.

    Now for a development notebook, I think I’ll be looking back to Dell or Lenovo for that in the future.

  10. Switched from Mac to Linux? Yep. Switched from Mac to Windows 95 to NT 4, W2K, and then Linux.

    I think Mac users get frustrated with having so few app choices compared to Linux users, and not being able to mod their desktop the way they like it, unlike Linux users who can mod their desktop in so many different ways.

    After getting hit with the Blaster virus on W2K, I was already at the end of my rope with Windows and that was about it. I switched to Redhat 8 when I shared my feelings about Windows with a highschool kid and he handed me a CD and said try this. So I did and was hooked. And I moved from RH8 to RH9 to Fedora to Ubuntu. Now I’m quite happy on Ubuntu since I have discovered the ‘apt’ command on it.

    And I stay with the Gnome interface and just mod that as I see fit.


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