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Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow? 965

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-back-to-the-penguin's-loving-embrace dept.
jasnw writes "I'm one of apparently many people who moved to OS X from Linux in the early/mid 2000s for their desktop system, keeping Linux boxes around for the heavy lifting and server work. I may also be part of a large segment of that group now considering a return because of all the iOS-ification of OS X, despite the fact that the Linux desktop still falls short in the 'it just works' area. I'm angry enough at Apple, and wary enough of Linux, that I might just go to using Windows 7 for the desktop (not Win8, however). What is the feeling/experience of other 'traitors' who run OS X for the desktop and Linux for everything else?"
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Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

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  • Grow Up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by turgid (580780) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:51PM (#43164995) Journal

    Use your brain, chose an OS, learn to use it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:52PM (#43165011)

    There is a livecd of each and every desktop available for linux. Try them, choose one, get things done.

  • You and me both (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwfischer (1919758) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:54PM (#43165031) Journal

    Linux is a great kernel. Linux has never had a good or stable GUI environment. Ever.

    OS X and iOS QA has gone to shit. They're toys from China that break a lot now.

    Windows 8 is a LSD trip. Windows 7 is the new Windows XP. However the Microsoft people will say Windows "next version" will be super better!!!! (since about Windows 3.11) like a broken record.

    What's wrong with paper again?

  • by spasm (79260) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:56PM (#43165061) Homepage

    I went linux -> mac in about 2004, and mac -> linux in 2009. Basically got sick of the extra hassle required to get stuff that runs out of the box on linux running on mac. eg a mysql/php/apache stack that actually matched all the linux servers I administered; qgis, grass gis, inkscape, scribus,.. And by 2009 linux-on-the-desktop was a lot more 'just works' than it was in 2004. In short, the extra time I spend getting my mint linux setup working as I want from fresh install to doing work is much shorter than the amount of time spent doing the same on osx. But that's just me - my particular software needs are dictated by the kind of academic work I do, and what you do with your computers may make your experience different.

  • by stefaanh (189270) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:59PM (#43165109)

    I just cannot figure out what this "question" is all about? You *apparently* *might* be part of a *possibly* large group of OS X people who *might* want to go using Windows?
    Well, I just might not feel like answering this. My experience is that this type of questions are apparently suggestive, and only meant to be so.

  • since you asked... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:00PM (#43165115) Homepage Journal

    You can have my Mac when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. :-)

    I'm not going back. I'm exactly as you describe - my desktop runs OS X and my mobile devices run iOS, but my servers run Debian.

    Neither of which is going to change. Specifically, you would have to shoot me before I use Windows as my work environment. I'm happy that I can run a very similar environment on my OS X and Debian machines, which makes development just so much easier. I boot Win7 once a decade or so when I want to play a windows-only game, though mostly I pick games available for OS X (Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, yeah!). Every time I have to use windows for anything other than launching the game I want to play, I cringe. It's just so... words fail me. I don't understand why it's not considered a violation of human rights.

    You wanted emotions, there you got em. OS X is the best desktop I know. Debian Linux is the best server operating system I know. Windows is the best reason to shoot someone.

  • by guanxi (216397) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:00PM (#43165121)

    Disclaimer: This is a very speculative long shot ....

    But it used to be that differences between platforms in terms of end user control were a matter of degree. Now with commercial operating systems moving rapidly away from that, with more closed systems, restricted app stores, secure boot, locked devices, disregard for privacy, etc., Linux has a much larger opportunity to distinguish itself on that feature (as well as the security that goes with it).

    Don't wait for users to tell you they need it; that will be too late. Though privacy and control aren't so 'cool' now, I find it hard to believe that suddenly human beings will have permanently stopped caring about them. The pendulum could swing back, and if that happens you want Linux firmly associated with end user control and privacy in people's minds.

    Plus, Linux could educate them simply by presenting an alternative. Few end users understand the value of end user control and openness.

  • Just stop it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:00PM (#43165123)

    What you do with the tools is more important that the tools themselves.
    You gave us no real idea what you got going on with your computer aside from some comment made about "heavy lifting and server work." If you can use any of the platforms just decide on one. I have a boot camped rMBP that I use and I'm more than happy with it. I'm not exactly sure what the iOSification of OSX is suppose to mean but it sounds like you're making a mountain out of a molehill.
    BTW: My personal experience is that people who claim that they need a machine for "heavy lifting" just don't know how to make a reasonable computer do what they need it to do. Unless you're talking storage and if you're really using a full functioning computer for storage then you're just lost right out of the gate.

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AaronLS (1804210) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:01PM (#43165125)

    As Windows XP was to Windows ME
    As Windows 98 was to Windows 95

    It's like every other version is the experiment, followed by the practical application of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:02PM (#43165141)

    You're leaving the Mac platform because you don't like the direction that platform seems to be headed, right? That's certainly an okay reason to try your luck elsewhere.

    But you've already indicated with your "not Win8" comment that you ALSO don't like where the Windows platform is headed.

    Windows 7 may be further from the hated future of the Windows OS than the current Mac OS is from the hated future of the Mac OS, and so Win7 may seem nicer for a while because of that. But in less than a decade Win7 will be orphaned for security updates and you're going to have to jump ship again to an OS you don't hate, and the only OS it looks like you're going to want to consider at that point is Linux.

    It's time to dive into Linux and start learning what you like and how to make it work for you. Better now while you've got some lead time than in a few years when it becomes an emergency.

  • by gnoshi (314933) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:02PM (#43165149)

    I have used both Linux and Windows pretty extensively for my desktop system, and for servers (not always my choice). I love using Linux servers (specifically CentOS) - they perform well for the tasks I use them for, and they are rock solid.

    I miss Linux on my Macbook Air probably about as often as I miss having Windows on my Macbook Air. There are plenty of things I don't like about Apple: expensive hardware often lagging on the performance-features front (e.g. USB3 took a while), their 'our way or get lost' approach, how truly awful Finder is (and it is truly awful), and all of the bollocks about 'It just works' (it mostly works). However, I can use the apps I need on it (e.g. Photoshop: and no, Gimp is not a replacement; MS Office: and no, OpenOffice is not a replacement). The touchpad functionality is brilliant (multi-touch, swiping, etc). Menu bars always at the top of the screen is genius, as it turns out. I don't need to deal with installing GTK+, QT, etc etc - although this is mainly just an artifact of the packaging system.

    So in essence, I don't feel like a traitor. I feel like I'm using different OSs for different things based on their match to my needs. Mind you, I revisit Linux fairly regularly to check on how it is going as a desktop OS (and was one of the weird folk who didn't mind Gnome 3), and it is certainly getting better, but I always wind up back on OSX (or Windows, prior to that).

    If I stop being able to install apps without the app store, or they all need to be digitally signed and approved by Apple, then you'll see me switching to something else faster than you can blink, but that's a ways off yet.

  • iOSification? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenshin (43036) < minus bsd> on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:03PM (#43165153) Homepage

    The "iOSification" of OS X is overblown hyperbole at the moment. Yes, Apple's simplified some of the core apps like iPhoto. Yes, Apple's made the Calendar app fugly. They added the "Launchpad", which you never have to actually see unless you invoke it, and they added the Gatekeeper security feature, which you can switch off with a few clicks of the mouse.

    They also recently got rid of the guy who was responsible for some of that stuff, so we may see a roll back on the nasty skeumorphic nonsense.

    The core OS, and its UX in general, are still excellent, and every single app distributed outside of the App Store still have as much freedom as they used to.

  • by NemoinSpace (1118137) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:06PM (#43165205) Homepage Journal
    You're too smart for OS X. You're not geeky enough for Linux. Windows is just right for you. Be smart enough to ignore the lunkheads that can't figure out how to 7ize windows 8. It will make upgrading to Windows 9 that much easier. You can only hope that Microsoft doesn't totally screw up their cloud initiative. They've had plenty of time to learn from others, and they should be ready to roll. Office 365 is actually not as bad as I thought it would be. p.s. keep your old Linux box plugged in just in case. You will need it sooner or later.
  • Re:iOS-ification? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:11PM (#43165257) Homepage

    I also don't see the problem. A few changes to the UI and people scream and shout as if the world ends. Grow up, choose the tool you need and get to work.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:11PM (#43165259)
    OSX is a prison that keeps getting smaller. Linux on the desktop is wonderful. Stable and easily configurable .
  • Re:Grow Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yurtinus (1590157) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:17PM (#43165327)
    I think it's more like putting the handle back on the spoon.
  • Re:Grow Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheater512 (783349) <> on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:20PM (#43165369) Homepage

    Its funny that Windows 8 is starting to sound like what Linux was a few years ago and Linux is far closer to 'just works' now.

    "Windows 8 is great! Now after you install it go to this link, download the app and follow the instructions. That will make your computer usable."
    Sound familiar?

  • by Geeky (90998) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:21PM (#43165379)

    I just can't get that emotional about an OS. I ran Linux on the desktop from the late 90s until about 2006, when I started getting seriously into digital photography. I reached a point where I needed Photoshop and real colour management, which left me with the choice of Windows or Mac. I already had the PC hardware, so I went with Windows.

    Every now and then I look at the latest iMacs and think... maybe. When I really think about it, I just can't justify the price difference. Windows XP just worked for me. Windows 7 just worked. I'm now using 8, and it just works. I have WAMP to get a nice simple stack for web development, I use perl and imagemagick for some batch processing of files, but get to use Lightroom and Photoshop for the real work. If I wanted a real command line I'd stick cygwin on.

    The OS is just a launcher. OK, the metro start screen is a bit clunky, but most of the time I'm on the desktop with a few apps and a browser running. It makes absolutely no difference to me which OS I'm using at that point, as long as it runs the applications I need. Since Windows does it cheaper, I use Windows.

  • Apple Anger (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:21PM (#43165397) Homepage Journal

    Hold fast to your Apple anger. It is liberating.

    I divested myself of Apple shares in early 2012 to finance my daughter's education, and now I'm comfortable wishing ruin upon them without fear.

    The choices they make are anti-consumer, anti-competitive and anti-free market. It pleases me that they've lost nearly 1/2 of their value.

    As someone who was a great fan of Apple computers going back to before the first Macintosh, I find their current direction extremely disappointing and destructive.

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NemoinSpace (1118137) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:27PM (#43165447) Homepage Journal
    because apple will ultimately rip support for snow leopard away from you, while at the same time breaking your applications. Then insist you should buy a new computer. OS X is like leasing a car vs. owning one. It's not right or wrong for the right people.
  • Re:iOSification? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GizmoToy (450886) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:51PM (#43165689) Homepage

    You can easily disable the new scrollbar behavior. I think the monochrome sidebar icons were a huge improvement, the old ones were too busy. Mail has a visual status indicator right in the sidebar unless you've specifically gone out of your way to turn it off (it's on by default). I'm not aware of any gestures being removed, though you didn't mention any specifically. They actually added a bunch of gestures in Mountain Lion that were useful. The iOS changes that most people are upset about can all be easily disabled via Preferences (scrollbars, Gatekeeper) or sit unused (Launchpad).

    I'm not one to comment on what other people like. Use what you like. However, it's easy to see even from your examples why people say the issue is overblown.

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:51PM (#43165693) Homepage

    That is a HUGE and ugly truth about Apple. But it is also why they have shied away from the business and government markets -- they don't want to be required to do anythying for anyone. Apple is like "you like what we have and that is all there is." You can't ask Apple for anything -- they have already decided what they will offer and what you need.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:53PM (#43165715)


    sane + gimp


    ghostscript + cups

    digital camera

    take out memory card from camera and insert into memory card reader like a pro. done

  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @08:01PM (#43165785) Homepage Journal

    What exactly is so bad about Windows? To describe using it as torture, you must have some rational well considered reasons, which I am sure everyone would benefit from hearing.

    Here are my top 3 nits to pick on Windows. They sound very random, but that's because they have existed for many releases and would be VERY EASY for Redmond developers to address if usability was at all a priority.

    • Command Console doesn't have simple highlight / copy / paste functionality.
    • When the default application isn't set for a document type, the first choice that's provided in the resulting pop-up is "Do you want to wander around on the web to find an application that can open this document?" rather than the option of selecting an application from the list of installed applications.
    • In SQL Server Management Studio, when you have multiple sessions open, they are tabbed. Even when you only have two or three tabs, the tabs are scrunched horizontally such that you can't read the labels, which usually start with the server name, then the database name. So, if you have six sessions all connecting to different databases on 'foo' server, all six tabs are labelled 'foo...'. Sure, that's not the OS, but that is an example of Redmond not giving a shit to produce quality usability in ways that would be trivially simple.

    -- Seth Johnson

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drkstr1 (2072368) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @08:08PM (#43165851)
    One good reason to purchase a mac with Mountain Lion is to be authorized to develop for iOS, or to do any console logging in Safari post iOS 6. In fact, I have one sitting in the corner of my office for exactly that purpose. It runs a little utility which allows us to upload binaries (developed on a platform of our choosing) to the app store, and runs a console logger for safari. Mountain Lion is the only platform authorized to do those two tasks, and so you are pretty much forced to have it if you want to develop for iOS. That god damn mac is the only piece of technology I have ever used that makes me rage with every part of my being.
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @08:09PM (#43165871)

    They also block running the older OS on new system.

    Just think if all dells and other windows pc where locked to only windows 8 or newer.

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maugle (1369813) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @08:37PM (#43166103)

    Its retarded to say Sony took away 'Other OS' when you could have simply not upgraded

    No, it is not. The advertised capabilities of the PS3 were "it plays games, and you can also run Linux on it!". Then Sony entered phase 2 of the bait-and-switch and that statement became "it plays games or you can run Linux on it, and once you choose option A you can never again have option B."

  • Re:iOSification? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @08:39PM (#43166115)

    "Overblown hyperbole"??? They changed their whole UI to make it more iOS-like.

    Do you even use OSX or are you just reading from some website somewhere? I've been with OSX since it came out off and on, and solid since 10.5, the only time I've notice changes is for a few days immediately following an upgrade between one of those point releases when something with the dock changed that I can't even remember now (context menus or something), and after getting used to it I can't even remember what the change was, it was that trivial

    Do you need scrollbars eating screen real estate when they aren't needed or you aren't scrolling? They appear when you scroll if you need them, just scroll a tiny bit and poof, there they are ... and they get larger if you hover near them so they are easier to hit. What EXACTLY is your complaint?

    What else are you bitching about? You don't have to use launchpad or the AppStore. Notification center can easily be turned off if you're that upset by it.

    What HIG are you following that says these things are counter-intuitive? What research do you have to suggest you know better than them? How many years designing UIs do you have? How much empirical testing have you done on the matter?

    You sound more like someone who just bitches anytime they upgrade and things are different. You sound like one of those people who expect massive upgrades for free to something they bought 10 years ago, and then bitch like a raving nutter when the never version is in ANY way different than the old.

    I'm willing to bet you feel ignored an aweful lot and don't even understand why.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @09:19PM (#43166459)

    In effect they are. Try running Windows 2000 on modern hardware (and XP isn't far off).

    Erm, no they aren't.

    Lack of driver support is an issue yes, but they are not actively blocking you from developing your own driver. They wont make it easy for you but they aren't blocking you. Most of my XP/2000 applications have moved into Virtual Machines anyway and 2000 seems to work fine of VMware virtual hardware version 7. I wish the users who still require a Win 2K application worked half as well.

  • by edmicman (830206) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @09:58PM (#43166761) Homepage Journal

    For what it's worth, I'm running Ubuntu 12.10 with Cinnamon and I swear I have to reboot just as much as I do in Windows. There are prompts for updates almost every other day, and probably a reboot prompt every other week or so. Now, I know in Linux I probably don't *have* to reboot and could just kick services, and it's probably a lot related to the desktop manager and I could just restart that. But at least for me it's far from the panacea of infinite uptime, at least from a desktop user perspective.

  • Re:Grow Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by garyebickford (222422) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .cib73rag.> on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:05PM (#43166827)

    This would be fine if it were like buying a car - a 1980 Hooptiemobile drives on the freeway pretty much the same as a 2013 Whatchamotor, and the headlight switch, the horn and the gas pedal don't get moved every time I take it in for six month service.

    After 20 years or so it does get a bit harder to find parts, and after 30 or 40 years it's definitely a hobby car. But that's still a lot better than having to go through hoops every two years having to either preserve the desktop UI that you are used to while the infrastructure (KDE, Gnome, etc.) gets completely redesigned according to the latest fad; or spend way too much valuable time trying to maintain a particular system while everything you run on it _has_ to be updated for security or compatibility reasons.

    My personal productivity depends a lot on everything working the same. I run dual monitors. I put my mail client on one face of the Desktop Cube. I put other 'housekeeping' (IM, timesheet, Pithos, ...) functions on the same face. I put my editing windows and some web windows for previewing on the next face. If I have multiple projects open I have two more face available for that, or for miscellaneous short things like quick peeks at Slashdot or the news.

    Between KDE, Gnome and now Unity (ugh), that requirement for a consistent stable working environment has been broken one too many times. I'm now looking to revert to a simpler window manager that isn't likely to do that any time soon. So far of the ones I've tried, Bodhi (Enlightenment) is the front runner but it's early days yet.

    I don't mind the prospect of redoing my UI every five or ten years, but this constant shifting of the sands beneath my feet sucks. It's a fundamental problem of these big all-in-one desktop GUI environments. In short, I want to keep my Desktop Cube, and some other things. It's my metaphor and I like it. I don't want some other idiot's brainstorm of how the metaphor should be. So one way or another, I'm going back to a simple window manager, and I'll run other stuff on top as I see fit. And I can evolve the environment as and when I want. Maybe some bucket seats, a new stereo, exhaust headers, ...

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:16PM (#43166901) Homepage

    Actually, the Gnome developers did make the new version incompatible with the old version. That's why there's even a MATE or Cinnamon project to begin with.

    Otherwise we could all have just kept using the old binaries.

  • Re:Grow Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:23PM (#43166937) Homepage

    The key with Linux is that it is freely redistributable. Instead of having all of those tweaks and fixes spread to the four winds, you can bring them all together and package them up. You can distribute that without fear of being sued or imprisoned.

    This has always been the case but is just more obvious with Microsoft's variation on Unity.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:44PM (#43167065) Homepage

    Anything hard looks easy when compared to impossible.

    Macs are fine so long as you stay on the guided tour. If you are the least bit creative with how you use technology, you will likely find that things aren't so easy.

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:51PM (#43167113)

    No, you are not the oddball. Most of us are happy and relatively flexible -- and KDE user according to the linux user choice awardss. People who feel compelled to explain how desktop X (KDE SC 4, GNOME 3) destroyed their workflow/unhinged their view of the universe by changing the three crucial pixels on which everything stood are mad.

    Also, they try to convince you that their solution (a 1% preference on Linux which is itself a 2% preference in general) is the best thing ever for $BATSHIT_INSANE_REASON.

    Now I do think that KDE in its latest iteration is the best desktop there is bar none. And I am irritated a times by the idiosyncrasies of the other desktops (windows, mac, gnome) when I need to use them. But if I had to work for any length of time in any one of them, I'd be OK and quickly pick up the habits. These threads only tell you what the crazies are all about this timeof year.

  • Re:Windows 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by claytongulick (725397) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:57PM (#43167159) Homepage

    Have you actually used KDE recently? The reason I ask is because I hadn't. I had it in my mind, like you, that it was basically a windows clone desktop (because that's how it used to be). Recently, Unity on Ubuntu annoyed me enough that I installed Kubuntu. I have to tell you, I was blown away. Modern KDE is nothing like windows. It's stunning, really - quite amazing, and has some great paradigms that I haven't seen in any other OS, like actually making the desktop area useful.

    Navigating to apps etc.. is pretty awesome. Every time I boot it up I'm just struck by how beautiful it is, I really don't understand how Apple gets all this "beauty" cred. To me, it looks like a turd compared to KDE. It's in the eye of the beholder, I guess - but if you haven't tried it recently, I highly recommend giving it a shot.

  • by rioki (1328185) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:21AM (#43168873) Homepage

    But I can't get things done when I try out all the distros. There are so many! Somebody tell me what the best distro is!

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...