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Switching Back to Desktop Linux
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4

Things I Just Don't Care About

Some of the Mac advocates I know have their own happinesses with their systems. I'm sure they're nice features, but I don't use them, so I don't miss them. I include a few only to forestall some criticisms along the lines of "Did you try program X? It's worth switching away from an operating system you find usable to an operating system you find otherwise frustrating!"

XCode

I know how to use gcc from the command line and I'm happy with Vim as my text editor. For example, I never could figure out how to make the Mac OS X linker do what I wanted... but the solution doesn't seem to be switching text editors or writing Makefiles visually.

(My specific problem was trying to load the SDL libraries from Perl and Parrot. Even after reviewing the code and how it worked on every other Unix-like platform, I couldn't figure out what went wrong, nor if Mac OS X couldn't find the libraries or couldn't open them correctly.)

$129 OS Upgrades

I'm sure Spotlight is wonderful. I doubt I'll ever use it.

I'm sure GarageBand is amazing and fantastic and superlative. I doubt I'll ever use it.

Maybe Aqua would have been faster if I'd stood in line at midnight for a $129 t-shirt and a "free" OS upgrade, but emerge and apt-get work, for me at least, much better, cheaper, and faster. Sure, I don't get the t-shirt, but I can hold off on installing things that I absolutely do not need.

Proprietary Software

I don't care about running Microsoft Office. I have AbiWord and Gnumeric, and if I really need it, OpenOffice.org.

Okay, I wish I could play some games... but most of the computer games I have are old enough to run really well under Wine/x86 or have native Linux ports.

Media Applications

I don't edit many photos or any movies. I don't care about iTunes. I have applications for everything I really need to do.

Lickable User Interfaces

Some people call Aqua shiny. I don't really care (except that the brushed metal interfaces are amazingly ugly). My Linux desktop looks just fine, with muted colors, anti-aliased fonts, and nothing I didn't put there. I don't miss little launching poofs or minimizing animations. I don't miss an infinite-height per-application menu bar. I usually use the keyboard shortcuts.

Conclusion

Some people will likely say "But you have to spend so much time tweaking Linux to get it the way you want!" To that I respond that I don't even have the option of tweaking Mac OS X to work the way I want. I have a handful of important shortcuts and configuration files that work on just about any Linux or free Unix system I will ever use.

The real issue is I feel, well, hampered every time I try to do serious work on Mac OS X. Again, that's just a personal preference. I know plenty of other programmers who produce good code happily within the system. For whatever reason, it just doesn't fit the way I work.

I tried Mac OS X. I think I gave it a fair trial. I recommend it to people if I think it will work for them. It's not a bad system. It couldn't displace Linux on my desktop, though.

chromatic manages Onyx Neon Press, an independent publisher.


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