||02-28-2007 10:43 AM
Linux and Mac OS X
I think distros like U/K/buntu present Linux with an identity crisis, which may be good. Many, many Linux fans *like* the tinkering aspect of Linux - you get to configure the very guts of the OS to your liking. The downside is that you *have* to do this in most cases to get everything working. This has been the Linux "aura" for a long time. Along comes Ubuntu, and more or less, everything just works. It *is* standard Linux so you can go and tinker if you want, but you don't need to. Who is the target audience? Not hard core Linux users - they want more control. It has to be the world's Microsoft users. This is an excellent open source OS that will compete head to head with Windows. So, IMHO, Ubuntu isn't "classic" Linux any more - it is Linux attempting to broaden its appeal and reach out well beyond the normal group of people who would be interested in Linux. Is this good or bad? It depends on your point of view, although anything that impacts on the Microsoft hegemony is a good thing in my opinion. Some people in the Linux community are openly worried that Ubuntu Linux takes the Linux out of Linux, hence my "identity crisis" comment above.
Personally, I prefer the smaller boutique Linux distros. My favorite is Arch Linux, a performance optimized screamer that openly bills itself as Linux for the advanced Linux user. It is hard core, classic Linux. Pretty much nothing works out of the box. You have to configure and install just about everything - hence the "for the advanced user" billing. You need to have been kicking around core Linux for a while to use Arch successfully.
But, there is a payoff. Arch is all about size and performance. You get all that Linux goodness in a screaming fast wrapper. It is small, fast and powerful. The combo of my Arch distro and my 3.0 GHz Pentium IV HT PC is the fastest computer I have ever used.
I will honestly admit that if there had been a version of iTunes for Linux and a version of Photoshop for Linux, I would have never considered moving to Mac. It was only my reliance on those programs, necessitating the ongoing need to keep Windows around that got me thinking about Macs. Get a Mac and I could get rid of Windows. Originally, I was going to get a Mac and just use it for iTunes and Photoshop, continuing to "live" day to day in Linux...
Of course then you realize that Macs are based on *nix, and you can combine the best of both worlds (free OSS and commercial softare, all in one tidy package). Then you learn about all that fabulous Mac OS X software and all the other goodies that are available. Well, the plan changed. I am really glad that I *did* consider Macs. Much as I hate to say it, since getting my Mac, my trusty old Arch Linux machine gets almost no use at all. It has been eclipsed in every way by my Mac. All part of growing up I guess! :dive: