Mostly I’ve debated the world of computing between Microsoft Windows, which is what I use normally. Against Apple’s Mac and their OS X operating system. I’ve made references to Linux from time to time, but never made it part of my ideas in whole or in any large part. Now that Mountain Lion is out, and Windows 8 has graced us with it’s presence like that annoying uncle who thinks he’s overly cool, but no one likes him…. Sorry got off track there…
The question is, “Is it time to reevaluate my beef with Mac? Or should I consider moving toward an open source horizon?”.
Last year, I actually purchased a MacBook Pro with OS X Snow Leopard, and got a free upgrade to Lion. While at first I was rather impressed, the more I used it, the more I got frustrated at having to buy replacement software for stuff I use for free on a Windows based computer. Plus, the fact I paid over 3 times as much for it, when a simple $400 Windows laptop would’ve done just fine. I sold the MacBook Pro, bought a big screen TV, a laptop and still had $200 I put into the bank and a big comfy smile on my face.
As a tech though, I must keep up with the latest versions of Windows, Mac and I dabble in Linux. The more I saw of Windows 8, the less I liked it. I even got really angry with it and it’s forcing Metro down my throat. It was like removing me from my home and forcing me to live with others who don’t get along with.
So now I actually have Windows 8 installed on my laptop. It’s OK. It’s not nearly as sweet as Windows 7 is. My opinion still is Windows 7 is by far the best OS ever made. However, unlike Windows XP, it won’t last (or should I say be supported) forever.
If it weren’t for Classic Shell, my life with Windows 8 would be morbid. Of the various utilities that have been created to alleviate the misery that is Metro and it’s damnation to the desktop, workstation and PC gamer communities, it’s free, open source and works like it should. A huge thanks the developers who make it. Is it perfect? Pretty damned close. Although, you do get a brief disheartening as you quickly see Metro flash up during boot. Not a deal breaker by any means.
Then there’s Linux. Still struggling for a decent share computing world via desktop, laptop, smart phones and all the other wonderful devices it is on. Closest to world domination is that it is the core of Android phones, but not so much the desktop market. Mostly because as I’ve mentioned before, they have no standardization. As nice as Linux is, if you download software, you have to choose which Linux distro you are installing it on. Or you have to compile it yourself if your distro of choice isn’t on the list. Or possibly it won’t work at all on your beloved subdivision of Linux. That makes Linux even more frustrating than Mac in many ways. However, there are things that it can do that Mac cannot. By far, the most popular and satisfying variant of Linux is Ubuntu. It’s layout is unique, easy to use for the most part and has a decently large library of software for just about any need. You hardly need to go outside of their store to get anything you desire. Still, it’s not every Joe Computeruser’s cup of coffee. But it’s getting closer than ever before.
I could drag this article out more by making long comparison lists of what is good and bad about each OS. Not really feeling up to it. So I’ll give the short and sweet of it.
Windows 8 vs Ubuntu
Here’s where I could simply take my PC that I built for roughly $1000; that plays all the top games available, it does 3D Blu-ray to my 32 inch TV that I use as a monitor and change it to Ubuntu for the grand total of $0. Ubuntu is free! However, there’s no 3D Blu-ray software yet. I can play regular Blu-ray’s via VLC. It’s clunky, but it works. All my games… well those I can get to work via Wine would be alright, a bit buggy perhaps. Others I would lose out on playing or I’d have to play the handful of visually stunning games that are made for Linux. Most of them however, are shooters. Only shooters I play are the old Unreal Tournament games. Not an Army/Marine kind of guy. Plus, again, I’d have to find replacements to all the software I use, although most work on Linux too, so that’s actually a half-assed plus.
Ubuntu vs Mac OS X Mountain Lion
As for moving to either of these, I’d have virtually the same exact issues as far as software goes. Mac, I’ve already purchased some software replacements, and I made sure they all had lifetime upgrades free. Software is covered really, I’d have to deal with the old frustrations I had before. Plus, Mac finally got Blu-ray software, but I don’t think it does 3D yet. You have to buy a USB Blu-ray player, because you can’t buy it when you buy the Mac as an internal drive. Which is dumb as hell. Plus, then I’d be paying well over twice as much for the Mac hardware. Starting at $2499 for something I already have basically is financial suicide. Sure I could go iMac, but that’s all integrated, and not very user upgradable. Actually they frown on user upgrades. If I wanted to have an integrated computer, I’d just keep my laptop.
Mac vs Windows
I’ve already compared Mac’s to PC’s. Repeatedly. The horse isn’t moving anymore.
Though, as disheartened as I am over Windows 8. I think I’ll wait to jump ship on the Windows based PC for now. I’ll just hang on to my beloved Windows 7 as long as I can on my desktop and leave the Windows 8 and whatever future holds for Microsoft Windows in general to my poor laptop (or whatever I replace it with in the future). Who knows, maybe Microsoft will redeem themselves. However, this time I kind of doubt it. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s time I let go of computers. I just don’t want too. They still hold a world of wonder, excitement and creativity to me. I’m not ready to do that just yet.