The rage these days is to switch to the Mac, so you may find it strange for someone to voluntarily switch from Mac to Linux. But I am and below are my reasons.
I’ve been using Macs for 21 years
I’ve been using Macs for 21 years. I learned to use computers with the first Macs in 1986. I own one of the first Bondi blue iMacs, a clamshell graphite iBook, an aluminum PowerBook and a PPC Mac Mini. They all work great and I’ve never had a problem with Apple hardware, software or service. I don’t drool at the sight of a Mac but I do enjoy the many hours every day that I spend in front of one.
So Why am I Switching?
- Mac hardware is underpowered and expensive. For the same price as a high-end Mac Mini I am getting a Sable from system76 with all kinds of ports, dual dual core 2.6 GHz AMD processors, and a larger disk. It still comes in a small box, but I’m getting more out of it for the same price.
- I’m not seeing the benefits of open source software on OS X. I can’t install or run just any old nix app on my OS X boxes like I can on my FreeBSD servers. For example, I struck out installing Tracks on my 10.4.9 Mac Mini, but I had it running in 20 minutes on my FreeBSD box. Its like putting a lawn mower engine in a Ferrari. What’s the point?
- The consumer culture around Apple is not conducive to my financial health. I find myself spending $20, $30, $40 for applications whose equivalents are free on Linux. Mac users welcome a new version of OS X like a liberating army, but at $129 for more eye candy, its money down the toilet. Ubuntu updates are free.
Why NOT Switch to Ubuntu?
- I won’t be able to get any work done in Ubuntu. I’m already doing most of my work in Firefox, Adium (Pidgin), iTerm, KeePassX, TextMate, Transmit, Virtue Desktops and VoodooPad. These all either run on Linux or have (better) equivalents.
- Linux isn’t pretty enough. Gnome and KDE are plenty pretty and now may even be prettier than OS X, thanks to Beryl.
- Linux has no games. That’s not true, but if it were, good! I already waste too much time with games. I need to spend more time on work, family and enjoying the outdoors.
- You can’t run iTunes on Linux. That’s not true, but if it were, great! I should buy CDs instead anyway.
- You might run into weird, inexplicable problems. That can happen with any operating system.
- Linux updates are worse than a Greek tragedy. That’s also not true. And OS X updates are no walk in the park.
Ubuntu is a Viable Option
Will Ubuntu put Apple out of business? Unlikely. But Ubuntu is a viable option that thinking computer users should consider. If you’re planning on buying a new Mac, think twice before you flush more cash down the toilet on an overpriced, underpowered, lock-in platform.