Why I switched to OS X

In Computing, OS X by Ross Fisher3 Comments

From Windows:

I just don’t trust Microsoft. Forced updates and OS upgrades, telemetry, OneDrive uploading files it shouldn’t (known malware log files containing user data/keylogger). The Control Panel is a mess of “Metro” crap and traditional Control Panel panes. NTFS is a dinosaur filesystem, everyone going to SSDs isn’t the solution to a FS that needs defragged. They have resigned the old desktop to “classic/legacy” while the Windows Store and unified Apps are the way forward. The design language is awful for desktop use cases, tapping a hamburger menu for a slide out settings menu that completely wastes screen space and increases actions to complete the same goal isn’t efficient or ergonomic. How about auto-installing “Candy Crush” and pinning it to your start menu or forcing Apps on you like Groove Music that a reasonable user can’t delete? What about the talk of Ads being placed in the start menu? People give Apple a hard time due to the walled garden effect but Microsoft also applies. Oh, and I absolutely don’t like the design guy of the Surface, I watched the Surface Pro 4 keynote and the guy reminded me of a crusty Best Buy salesman trying to talk you into Geek Squad services. The gold chain completes the look!

microsoft-has-announced-its-first-ever-laptop-the-surface-book

From Linux:

I want to love Linux, I really do. I still love Linux on my servers, CentOS for my web hosts and Ubuntu for my docker and experimental hosts. The thing is, Linux is simply too fragmented for desktop use cases. I don’t want to be compiling kernels or praying my environment doesn’t break to use the latest hardware or run apt-get update. I like the design language of GNOME once you add Dash2Dock – I even carried over the upper left hot spot to give me an overview of my windows on OS X. The stock apps in GNOME work okay, not stellar. For example while the Photos and Google Drive integrations work, they all operate over some web API which cause bad user experience when loading multiple photos or accessing Drive due to lag. They are from a design perspective only approach, palatable. Everyone and their mother is forking everything which leads to massive amounts of duplicate work with no real progress in terms of stability. I’m reading through the Bazaar and the Cathedral and there is much to love from that model – but I feel as if Linux could do better with a governing body who sets standards on for example, which display server will be used or init. Maybe even which software packager to use would be nice, no need for several!

So why OS X:

I believe OS X from the abstract level, blends the Cathedral and Bazaar models well enough to have something usable. You have the underpinnings of UNIX with the polish of a capitalistic company providing a hierarchy of order. On some level, I can approach my Apple products with the mindset that “it just works”, I suppose I should also join the Ruby on Rails Kool Aid Kids? Included applications are full featured and tightly integrated to the base OS (for better or worse) and most have a decent workflow. While there isn’t an official package manager per se, there is the App Store which is a unified way to install and update “classic” desktop applications. I don’t agree with the proprietary hardware designs such as why is the SSDs proprietary when there is PCIE M2 or why the casings try to use proprietary screws? Yes, hardware is overpriced for sure, otherwise Apple wouldn’t be reaching the richest company ever – but if each dollar is a vote and especially considering we all know it’s overpriced, then which company is voted for often enough to about to become the richest company?

Wrap-up:

I worked for Apple for some years, doing Applecare support. I never used a Mac since my first computer back on OS 7 and never owned an iOS device (which was funny as each new model came out, customers would ask how I like the new 5s whatnot – I replied I’m still using my Nexus 4). Apple provided an iMac and iPod to work on and a handsome discount which I purchased a Macbook Air. While I enjoyed my work life on Apple products, personally I felt anti-consumer towards it and felt those who used Apple products are lame. The reckoning came when I handed off the Macbook Air to my partner and attempted to go either full Windows 10 or Linux with Gnome 3.18. I did this for several months and loved Linux when it worked but went crazy when it broke. One day I opened PuTTy after I reinstalled Windows due to Ubuntu Gnome taking a dump after a kernel update, tapped start to open up PageAnt to load up my private key (every freaking time) and decided enough was enough. I went out and got a Macbook Pro 13 and iPhone 6s and never looked back.

Comments

  1. Thank you for your blog! I enjoy your writing a lot. I hope to follow your blog for a long time!

    Right now, I have the same feeling that you point out in your post.

    I love Linux, the Ubuntu Gnome distro is really cool. I have my personal configuration which is different from everyone else and the software do just what I want it to do.

    However, this late year I had too many problems with linux to be happy hacking all them. It is too much time lost and I don’t think that the stress produced is healthy. I would like to use a software which I know it is going to works no matter what.

    So I was going to buy a new laptop. Let’s see apple ones… OVERPRICED. 2000 thousand euros for a i7 laptop with a good screen of 13”. That is not fair. I know that if I’d bought a Mackbook air it would work well with OS X. However, I have to use Linux at university for some subjects and I don’t think that a i5 – 4GB configuration is good enough.

    So I bought the Dell xps 13 9350 with touchscreen and i7 by 1600 euros. Much better screen and at a lower price. But I had to go sleep with a beautiful 1600 euros paperweight on my desktop for some nights. There was no way to make linux run properly on it. I got it thanks to your blog and a guy who made a comment on your post. But I feel this impotence was not worst the price difference.

    Next time I won’t hesitate and I will go for the Apple device. I will pay happily since some other poor guys debugged the apple OS instead of myself. Meanwhile, I will spend some years loving and hating linux. That is the feeling that linux is supposed to produce.

    1. Author

      I hear you there! I’m glad you got your Wifi working. With Ubuntu/GNOME coming out 16.04LTS, it brings two very important changes Imo, 1. Native Wifi support for the 9350 2. Replacement of the Ubuntu software center with Gnome’s software solution with built in Firmware updates.

      I hear that proper NVME support is coming with Kernel 4.4 as well, I did get Linux booting off of the 950 Pro NVME drive I put in the 9350, but it was a pain in the rear (hint, manually partition and use EFI/UEFI).

      Hopefully with the updates, Linux will be smooth enough not to worry if an update will break your system or Wifi. It still doesn’t fix the fragmented desktop or forking hell but it’s an improvement.

      I picked up a 13″ Retina with i5/256GB SSD. As a software developer, it suits my needs in Python, Javascript and Web dev work. You won’t be gaming on it but if you catch a deal, you could pick one up for $1,299 USD. A tip is to check the Apple refurb store at Apple.com, it’s full warranty and they replace anything you touch – so it’s like new! Get a Henge Dock vertical docking station and you won’t need a separate desktop, saving you money to justify the cost (unless you need high end 3d gaming or rendering).

      Merry Christmas if you celebrate! If not, Happy Holidays!

      1. I would love linux to be consistent enough. And a better battery live ^^ But it seems too much work for the free software community 🙁 At least Ubuntu 16.04LTS looks promising, thank you for the information!

        Next time I would buy a 13” Macbook air. It will be good enough for programming. Thank you for the advice!

        As a final remark, I have just checked Apple prices in my country, Spain:

        – The Dell xps 13 9350 with 256 ssd, i7 and QHD touchscreen costs 1600 euros.
        – The Macbook air with 256 ssd, i5, 13 ” display (no retina) costs 1350 euros.
        – The Macbook pro with 256 ssd, i5, 13” retina display costs 1650 euros.

        And there is no 13” Macbook with an i7. They are so overpriced.

        Henge Dock is very cool by the way!

        Thank you again. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

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