Linux

Linux advocate contemplates the purchase of a Mac

Linux is, always has been, and always will be Jack Wallen's platform of choice, but an iMac may very well be his next purchase. Find out why.

iMac_Jack_Wallen.jpg

“Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.”

That's a quote a song from my favorite band, Rush. The translation (according to same song) is:

“The more that things change, the more they stay the same.”

Why do I start this post in such a way? The last few weeks have been both different and the same for me in regards to how I work. Let me explain.

With my various and sundry desktops and laptops (all running either Ubuntu or Ubuntu Studio), I do a lot of writing and media work. The tools I use should be of no surprise:

  • LibreOffice -- for my writing
  • Calibre -- for converting books into ebook format (and to read from for book narration)
  • Audacity -- to record both my Zombie Radio podcast and audio books for clients
  • OpenShot -- to edit videos
  • Gimp -- for graphics

That short list of applications gets me by just fine. But...

There's always a “but.” I've previously written about the problem with PulseAudio and certain onboard audio chipsets. As I record, I'll catch a stutter and have to re-record more often than I care to. The “buts” don't end there. Although OpenShot is an outstanding application, it crashes... a lot. Of course, version 2.0 should arrive some time next year, at which point I hope tons of bugs and new features will help launch it into higher grounds. But...

Over the last few weeks, I've actually been contemplating the purchase of an iMac.

Breathe... breathe...

Macs have always been famous for multimedia, and the majority of professional editors and artists employ them to meet all of their artistic needs.

Again, I say but...

Every time I consider the option, my brain starts to question, “But how will I do this? Or how will I do that?” And as I wrap my brain around the "this" and "that," I realize that no matter what platform you switch to, there's always the unknown looming over you.

  • From Windows to Linux
  • From Windows to Mac
  • From Mac to Window
  • From Mac to Linux
  • From Linux to Windows
  • From Linux to Mac

Every platform handles things differently, and every platform has its strengths and weaknesses. If I add a Mac into the mix, I would have a much easier time with audio and video -- but it would be at the expense of flexibility and ease of use. Am I willing to spend nearly $2,000 on a two-trick pony (recording audio and editing video)? Even if I did, I would still be using the tools I know (especially Audacity, as I cannot imagine a tool better suited to record podcasts and audiobooks).

That line of thinking brings me back to frustration. Why would I drop that much money, only to use the same tools I use on my Linux machines? Wouldn't it be better if, say, PulseAudio fixed those very well documented and reported bugs? Wouldn't it be better if, say, a tool like Lightworks could build video encoding into its Linux release? That would save me the financial burden of having to spend the coin for a new machine.

But...

It is a new machine; and who doesn't love to buy technology?

The crux of the point is this -- it's growing nearly impossible to say that Linux can't do what other platforms can do. Sure, there might be hurdles to overcome, but every platform has its hurdles:

  • Windows: Malware and viruses
  • Mac: Cost
  • Linux: Certain persistent bugs (such as PulseAudio)

If I distill it down to its essence, I'm not really willing to jump platforms. I've been happily using Linux for a very, very long time. And even if I did wind up purchasing a Mac, it would be used on a part-time basis (as I can't see any platform offering me the power and flexibility that Linux offers). I would edit video, record audio (until this pesky PulseAudio bug is fixed), and probably write some Mac desktop content. But... that's it. Linux is, always has been, and always will be my platform. Even if there's an Apple in my future, it will take a back seat to the penguin... as it should be. I might jump from Ubuntu to Ubuntu Studio (or whichever platform gets audio right first), but I will always and forever be a champion for Linux.

Have you purchased a Windows or Mac machine to do tasks that Linux couldn't perform as well? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.


About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

83 comments
ehk
ehk

It is not obvious to me why anyone would want to use either the Mac or Linux platforms for audio and video production.  Maybe the situation is different elsewhere (I'm in Japan) but all the hardware assisted video editing kit such as that from Grass Valley is strictly Windows.  Because my first computing experience other than Control Data, Univac, and IBM mainframes was Unix on DEC hardware, I sort of feel I should use Linux but I've found it extremely frustrating.  Things that are quite simple with Windows are enormously complex under Linux.  It is often easier to set up originally Unix-based software under Windows than it is to setup up the same software under Linux.  Apache httpd is a case in point.  Samba and ftpd are much easier to do under Windows.  I've got a collection of 30-plus shell scripts I've written to speed up the customization of a new Linux installation.  I don't need something comparable for Windows. On the same hardware, Linux (Ubuntu or Mint) is slower than Windows 7.  The only case where I've found Linux to be notably faster than WIndows on older hardware is Ubuntu server.  I don't know of a single application where the Linux version is notably better than what is available (very often free) for Windows. Currently, my prime use for Linux is recovering trashed Windows installations and running Windows XP in a virtual machine.  I do most of my work in a pseudo-unix environment (MSYS) running under Windows 7.  This is far more congenial than a pseudo-Windows environment running on Linux.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

If you are really serious about audio recording, Linux is one of the best systems to use because you can use a real time kernel and prioritize tasks to get low latency.  You can also dispense with the use of PulseAudio and use JACK as a sound server, since it is geared toward people who record and mix audio.  There is also good support for a number of external sound cards, both USB and Firewire.

Video is not really there yet, though Lightworks is on its way.  Other video editors also continue to improve.   Someday, Linux may also be a good video editing system.

Joeyolive1
Joeyolive1

Windows: "Malware and Viruses" - I haven't had a Malware or Virus since I upgraded my PC to Windows 7 a long time ago. Be smart.

mjl1952
mjl1952

Start with the base  Mac mini - if you do not like it then you can always resell it. The Mac mini has very good resale value and I suppose you already have a mouse, keyboard and monitor.

drcurvin
drcurvin

Ubuntu is great - I use it for all my server needs. 

If you buy an iMac you will find a ton of interesting things you can do with it.  OSX - Apple's answer to X-Windows is by far the best implementation of a Unix GUI - and, of course, you're running BSD. 

What's not obvious a priori is the incredible amount of time you will save by adding an Apple product or two to your network. Ex. Time capsule makes one of the biggest hassles we have (backups) a transparent activity.  And if you route your network through a time capsule or airport device you will never have to setup DHCP or change your network addressing again - no matter how often you change ISPs - because TC can operate as a layer 2 device. Think about that for a moment.

As for MS products - I used them for 26 years.  1 year after adding my first MacBook I never  booted Windows again, and I never will.  

If you run you Ubu on a VM (like Virtual Box) on an iMac in a Mac network the quality of your life will increase exponentially overnight.

How to do that ?  Here you go - step by step: https://sites.google.com/a/carestandard.com/testsitedeleteme/ubuntu/ubuntu-command-line-setup

alzie
alzie

For me, ubu does 90% of what i need.

The one remaining windoze app that i need is

LTspice for circuit simulation, but

thank god that i can run it on wine!

Eg. i dont need to boot windoze to do what i need.

One could argue that there are native spices in linux, but

they just dont come up to the ease of use and

performance that LTspice offers.

What I m really chomping for is

some thing like wine on android / arm.

Then, the desktop pc goes bye bye!


rtrujillo@metalsurfaces.
rtrujillo@metalsurfaces.

As much as I like Linux, I use Mac's at home and Windows, Mac, Linux at work.  I have all the apps I need to get my job done at home.  On top of that, I have a UNIX command prompt.

naeem_ahmed
naeem_ahmed

I recently bought my first Mac -- a mac mini to use primarily as an HTPC. It comes with an HDMI port so should be nice and easy. Not. The problems with HDMI output from Mac Mini are well ranted about (should have done my research, assumed more diligence and quality from Apple). After I spent a couple of weeks tinkering I stabilised the video. Then the audio stopped working. Turns out the latest 10.8.5 update broke it. Here's the problem: Apple is very vertically integrated. They probably threw the hdmi on there because the intel HD 4000 supports it, but they never really tested it or implemented the software well. The other problem is that unlike Linux, apple is a closed system and problems don't get noticed or fixed often enough. And it wasn't just the video. Couldn't get my NFS mounts to work well and have to rely on smb. This is why Apple can't be used for business critical applications -- it's too fragile. I bought the Mac mini because I wanted a low power eye-candy device. It fulfills both these goals -- looks good and uses no power because I don't use it. :(

mjc5
mjc5

I've been using all three Os's just about as long as they have been around.

The Mac's are soo expensive chestnut is just that. I've teneded to but on mac for every two PC's, because they just don't become obsolete as quickly.

As for being a "two trick Pony" I have to wonder who you have been listening to. The Mac does a whole lot more than just A/V stuff. Why I can even run Linux if I want, although I'm generally satisfied with OSX and the UNIX command line.

I've used both the Mac and Windows for video and audio work, only a little bit on Linux, so can't comment on that. 

In general, the Mac interface is more polished, and has given me less problems - to the point where I just use the Windows environment if I have a specific output that th ePS handles better.


scratchmb5
scratchmb5

I have also considered a change, but it is back to an era that has been dusted off, revamped, and brought up to modern standards, not only that but it runs multiple OS's at the touch of a button. Commodore computer systems. The one time darling of film makers for video and audio creations. The new Commodore systems come standard with a Linux OS and the retro Commodore OS that I loved for years until I could no longer find parts to maintain my Amiga Computers. I actually went into computer withdrawal and depression until I said screw it and went out and bought at that time a super computer, hand built. It came with this breakthrough Microsoft software called Windows 95. My first impression was: Who are these amateurs?"  

 Yes, it was faster than my Amiga and more powerful, but I didn't suffer so many crashes in my life, and I hadn't even loaded any software yet. Fast forward to present day. I have multiple computers on the go, running various OS systems mostly modified versions of Windows because that is what I love to do, strip them down and make them fast and crash free. Microsoft objects strongly, but I am not redistributing nor selling my versions. They are mine alone for personal use. Just to justify that they over think their product and what people actually want or need. Now they have gone to Windows 8. Which by my estimation is as popular as Vista, and 2000. Jumping ahead of the game assuming that everyone is going to immediately abandon desktop computers and laptops and convert to tablets and smart phones. So, where is the logic in that? Tablets will not likely even rival the power of even laptop computers.  Okay, I might be wrong because of micro technology is advancing, but I am not wrong about one thing, and that is the power needed to keep the technology going and technically we are at a standstill in the battery advancement. Second, Android is pretty much the leader in smart phones and that is Linux. Unless they jump ship to Microsoft, and I can't see that likely. 

 It is a simple fact, the masses are getting tired of Microsoft's approach of this is it, take it or leave it because we refuse to support it after so many years. Then it become a community issue, but oh no, Microsoft has the right to bring charges against anyone tampering with former Operating Systems and distributing such information without their consent. We do it anyway, but they have nailed a few people to stress the point.

 Yes, Apple and Mac applications are multimedia driven and they run a clean machine, but they are the inventors of selling applications, and not only is their equipment expensive, but so is everything else, it is pay as you go. Well of course, pirates choose to ignore such concepts.

 Linux is the only OS that seems to be attentive to what the people want, rather than what THEY think they need. The improve slowly, which yes, is annoying at times, but doing anything right should take time. If you have issues with Linux, address it directly with them in a friendly manner and they will respond in kind. I've communicated with someone, although his name doesn't come to mind and we had a highly intellectual conversation. I used lay terms instead of technical terms to see if he would adapt, and he picked up and the conversations went non technical and answers were given that would ease the mind of anyone.

Try talking to someone at Microsoft or Apple, you might as well be talking to a bot.

sbarman
sbarman

There is a misnomer about the cost of a Mac versus everything else. Consider this... a Mac will last you longer than commodity hardware. The Mac you buy today can last 4-5 years if not longer depending on which one and the options you purchase. In that 4-5 years, a Windows user will buy 2-4 systems that may cost less overall but cost more in productivity issues as they have to transfer everything from on system to another.

I agree there is a higher up-front cost for a Mac, but the late 2009 iMac that I am using the type this will run everything I want and have no issues when OS X Mavericks is released. Can you tell me that a system purchased in 2009 will run Windows 7 or 8 without issues?

Since buying my iMac, I have replaced my wife's Wintel machines twice. She does not beat up on a system like I do (writing, programming, blogging, etc.) and yet the systems cannot keep up with her. For me, all I did was upgrade the original Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, maxed out the RAM to 16Gb, and added two external disks, which I would have done on any machine since it contains my digital library (music, pictures, etc.). I also added two external disks to my wife's machine for digital assets and backup. 

You may find programs running on the Mac more to your liking. If you buy a new Mac, you'll get GarageBand which will help with creating your podcasts. You can also find software like Audacity and Soundsoap to help clean up your audio. Yes, I know these are commercial products, but sometimes you have to give in and admit they will do the job that opensource cannot.

Sign up for a mailing list that supports bundles of software (MacUpdate, for example) and you can find a bundle for $50 that will have a lot of utilities you may find useful without paying a lot of money. One could find a bundle with Codewavers Crossover that will allow you to run quite a few Windows software on the Mac. I use Crossover from a bundle to run a few Windows freebies that do video conversion, specifically from WMV to MP4 and AVI. It works like a champ!

If you get past the initial cost, I bet you will find that in the long run you will spend less money than a Windows system. Who knows, if you can find a bundle that has Parallels that you can pick up for $50, you can run your favorite Linux in a VM on your Mac desktop. I run both Fedora and Ubuntu in their own VMs for business reasons using Parallels I bought in a bundle. Works like a champ!

thejokker
thejokker

You can build your own computer that will be superior and far cheaper.  "If" you are a technical writer you "should" be able to deal with malware and virus with one hand tied behind your back.  If you have any technical competency malware and viruses should be a non-issue so I am assuming you are simply biased against Microsoft.  Such a bias is irrational and is holding you back...

HippieCrippie
HippieCrippie

  I'm sorry, I don't mean to come off as flippant but: who cares?  It reminds me of teenage girl weighing her nail polish options.  Use the right tool for the job.  If that happens to be a Mac then so be it--there is no need to have to justify it to anyone.  There are so many fan-boys out there for one platform or another that it's nauseating.  If it was truly that important then they should build an OS from scratch instead of holding beauty pageants over the various Linux distributions or Apple products.  Artists have many brushes. 

garyleroy
garyleroy

The Mac will outlast any other?? How would one know that, Apple junkies line up around the block to buy whatever the newest and latest is, and if it breaks, pay the 'genius' dearly, or get talked into a new one.  My Toshiba laptop, 4 years old and about 40% of the cost of a similarly-equipped Mac, runs like new, with no issues over the entire time except installing an SSD (not for repair, for speed).  The budget-priced Toshiba Vista laptop I passed on to my daughter is now 6.5 years old and running great, with plenty of power for the latest software...and that one cost less than half the price of the cheapest Mac laptop at the time.  A naïve relative/college student, who had to move back home because she couldn't pay rent, just "had" to have a $1500 MacBook, because they're "better".  I give it 2-3 years before she "has" to have a newer, pricier one.

Virtually ALL Mac users, whether converts or lifetime members and even Linux refugees, will insist that they're the best, because it's like any other religion, you have to brainwash yourself to justify it.  Moving from open source to a fully-proprietary, locked in to a manufacturer, status-symbol machine seems extreme, but just ask any religious convert how they found the "truth", and you'll understand.

TRgscratch
TRgscratch

I guess I don't see the big deal.  IMO, the attitude of most Linux users, when asked "Should I use Linux?" is "use what works best for what you want to do"   Isn't that exactly hat this article says?

Anyone whose attitude is "always use what I tell you, regardless", is roundly criticized for fanboi-ism

garyleroy
garyleroy

One can easily spot comments from the Mac faithful, but if you don't realize they're basically brainwashed, it's easy to fall into believing them.

"All you need to do is touch a Mac to feel the ....quality" and "Apple's ...quality control is the best..." are great examples of how nothing needs to have a basis in fact, just a belief.  And "how in the world would be moving to a Mac be a trade down in ease of use" has a simple answer:  Those that learned on Macs, or switched to them because of influence from Apple's elitist marketing strategy will of course find them "easier".  If you learned on a PC or other, and never fell to the "think different" BS shown in Apples elitist marketing strategy, it's no different than learning to use anything new.

And of course, deny, deny, deny.  They're not overpriced, it's the quality you pay for.  And the big white open stores that make you feel special, and your own personal 'genius' to reassure that it's not Apple's fault that the CPU died, or the unit won't power on, it's something you did.  And of course they'll give you a discount on a replacement, in order to keep you in the Apple framework.

Not to mention the prestige of the glowing Apple logo to show others you're a brash, independent thinker who's a solid member of the cult.  And all those guys on TV shows really use Macs for business, right?  It's not the fact that Apple puts them in there for advertising, no.

'Way back, pre-OSX, when militant Mac fans were at their peak, I went to work for a graphics software company, where Macs were present in large numbers, and was simply amazed at how much trouble people had with these "wonder" machines that forum writers would have you believe were simple, trouble free, and perfect in every way.  Later I worked as a volunteer in a school lab, where most of the time was spent rebooting locked up or malfunctioning Macs,   And all the while forums were being filled with the accolades of devoted Mac fanciers lying to the world about their intuitive, reliable, perfect machines.  Until OSX came along, then then suddenly the "old" OS Macs were problematic, and the new ones were a real relief from their old, always-problematic machines.  Hmm, wait, I thought they were perfect, didn't you guys say they were great?

Macs work well, and if you really need the ego boost from being among the Apple cult, go for it, and just deny, deny, deny anything that even implies Macs are not superior in every way, and reasonably priced too.

George Kriza
George Kriza

And by the way... as far as the 2x cost part, Apple's overall quality and quality control is the best in the world, bar none.  I own a company that uses Windows machines, many servers, and a few Mac's... one of which I use personally. All you need to do is touch a Mac to feel the difference in hardware quality versus just about anything.

George Kriza
George Kriza

How in the world would moving to Mac be a trade down in ease of use? That is one weird comment.

Hazydave
Hazydave

I'll preface this with the caveat that I design computer hardware. So what I build my own PC, it's not a big deal. But not for everyone, certainly. 

That's a big part of why leaving the "standard platform" for something slightly different, is a problem for many people. It's not that Apple's not just using bog-standard Intel PC hardware, they are. But they're also charging twice the going rate for it, give or take. 

And they have only so many different configurations.  When it comes right down to it, Apple's got a MacOS problem. Most of their products, the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, they make one or two models a year, and sell crazy amounts. The iPhone is about half of their business, built on one model (and yeah, one model... the 5c is really just the original iPhone 5, cost-reduced and given a new case). MacOS is about 12% of their business (and that's using 2012 numbers)... and they need to support several desktop, several laptop, and even still now one professional model. 

An iMac is also a terrible deal.  You put up with buying the "monitor" and the computer together for mobility's sake. But even if you're the rare professional these days happy with a single monitor, with an iMac, you're buying a new monitor every time you buy a new computer. In the last 8 years, I've upgraded my desktop monitors twice (last year, replaced two 24" 1920x1200 monitors for two 27" 2560x1440 monitors), and that's pretty unusual. The computer system gets some kind of improvement every year or two.

I have an LGA2011 system at home -- six i7 cores, four DDR3 buses, etc. The only way to get something like that from Apple is to wait for the new Mac Pro. Which would also mean moving by in-box RAID10 to much more expensive external hardware.. plus, I already have an external RAID. The in-box unit is for speed, some of which you're going to lose moving outside of the box, anyway. And you're constrained to a very tiny, very fast PCIe SSD in that Mac Pro... no options for a larger SSD or even an HDD.

It's also about configuring your system for what you actually need. I do some pretty crazy stuff in photography, composites with 60+ photos, from 20Mpixel raw files. That drove the 64GB of RAM in my system, and even at that, I've run short once or twice since I built this PC (sure, you start paging, but there's only so much paging before editing becomes impractical). Standard PCs are infinitely variable, whether you build them or something else. Apple offers a few sizes to fit everyone.

I do a much of things on my PC: electronics CAD, music production, video editing, photography. You can get much of what's available for Linux on either Mac or Windows, if that's what you like. And maybe Audacity is enough for your modest recording needs, but it's primitive compared to Sound Forge. Or Vegas. Or REAPER. Or Acid. Or Sonar ... and yeah, I own and use all of the above. REAPER is super-reliable for on-site 16-track recording... it never crashes. Vegas offers first-class DAW features and video editing at the same time. Sonar has some advantages for audio-only projects. I'm often editing 40-60 tracks when I'm recording other folks... that's not for Audacity. Maybe Arduor on Linux, if it's not too buggy anymore. 

Video in particular is just better on Windows. You're using OpenShot, so you're really just doing beginners's stuff, but eventually, you may need specialized video tools, plug-ins, compositors, effects, etc. Ok, probably not for video blogging. But other stuff (I do event video, music videos, animation), you can start small on Windows and upgrade as needed... Sony Movie Studio to Vegas, Premiere Elements to Premiere Pro, and dozens of other choices if you don't like Adobe or Sony (Avid, Pinnacle, Grass Valley, Lightworks, Corel, CyberLink, etc). 

Sure, there's good audio and video software on MacOS... Sony just recently ported Sound Forge to MacOS, in fact. Final Cut X was a huge disappointment to the pro crowd, but it's a pretty good deal for a prosumer. Adobe and Avid still support MacOS, too, and if you're happy in OpenShot, maybe iMovie is enough... though I have yet to figure out why AVCHD video is virtually useless for editing on MacOS, on the same hardware that's totally good with editing the same files under Windows in Vegas (my daughter has a Mac Pro, she was going to school for broadcasting last year -- also the reason I can promise you, even for laptops, Macs cost about twice as much as other PCs for the same thing... in her case, actually, it was about twice as much for a bit less.... and the HDD lasted about a month past the year's warranty, at that). Same for just about anything in MacOS... there is usually an application or two, but not much selection, if you're in multimedia. In other areas, there's nothing. CAD, for example.

Under Linux,  Maybe you can move to Cinelerra at some point, but you have a whole new program to learn. And you're still limited in terms of professional adjunct programs, plug-ins, etc. Linux is my OS of choice for software development, but it's perfectly functional in a VM. A virtual environment is not what you want for media work.

Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com
Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com

 While Apple's offerings ARE well built and can "get the job done" I myself could never justify dropping 2K on one (I pay 1400 a month in RENT!) but while you seem to be having problems with PulseAudio, have you considered a "different" distro? one that's customized to do A/V for the masses? here a link to it, maybe give it a trial run on some other machine you have, or VirtualBox it for a week or two,....see if it meets your needs. I use it for my personal / semi-professional recordings of my guitar work for church, and the keyboard and drummer both use it was well. I guess as stated by many here, ultimately the decision will fall to you what you decide, but before you spend, exhaust all other options first that DON'T involve spending 2K!...just my $.02!

http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/reviews/av-linux-6-0-1

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=avlinux
mcatao
mcatao

I don't have a Mac Machine, I have two platforms of choice, at home and at office I have Windows 8 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, each one in its own HD. You can buy a iMac, and use bootcamp to install all 3 main OS, Linux, MacOS and Windows... and the only way to do this without hacking MacOS is having an Apple Computer. This way you will run with native performance in all 3 OS.

happyjedi
happyjedi

You could take an alternative approach and help the open source community by supporting the teams of the apps you are having issues with. You can regularly sponsor teams to fix bugs that you are happy to put money towards. It will be a damned site cheaper than buying new hardware, the community gets new features, and you get your bugs squashed and you don't need to move anywhere. It's what I do, and it works a treat.

edmicman1
edmicman1

It's funny as I've been mulling this exact same thing over for some time now.  I've been running Ubuntu on a Thinkpad for I think 4-5 years now.  I had a hard drive crash, loaded Win7 as my primary OS and that lasted for about a week before I wiped again and went back to Linux.  And ya know what?  Linux is still a pain in the butt to use and get working.  Anyone who says you don't need to scour forums or dig into the console or tinker and tweak is full of it - unless you are going to only browse the web (no printing!) or basic app stuff you're going to end up troubleshooting.  

Of the top of my head...

I like Ubuntu and the amount of documentation out there, but I hate Unity. So I went with Xubuntu and added Cinnamon. Then I had to track down theme files so the desktop didn't look like complete garbage - I don't want something that looks like it's stuck in 1995, but I don't necessarily want a hodgepodge of window themes either.  Somewhere along the way or for some update I now have two file managers - nemo (which I want) and "files", which I don't want...but good luck searching Google for "files file manager".  I think I've registered nemo as the default now but something keeps popping it up sometimes.

On my last reinsitall, Chrome stable had a bug with some library missing, so I had to symlink something via the command line.  This was the posted workaround on the Chrome buglist itself.  

Skype sort of works, but is mostly dead on Linux.

My Thinkpad has switchable graphics but as far as I know they are not supported.  The discrete graphics driver never seemed to work so I use the integrated graphics only.

Citrix is clumsy. There's no Netflix support without hacky workarounds (Wine? IE? A VM?). There's a lot of things that "just work", but if they stop just working, good luck on getting your hands dirty. Font rendering is sometimes really bad (I'm looking at you Swing fonts) unless you horse around with a bunch of things.

But - and here's the big thing - I wouldn't use anything else because I'm doing web development, and for me it's infinitely easier to set up a web dev environment in Linux than it is in Windows.  On Windows it's either hacking together multiple installs and tweaking them to work (and even then it's not going to be the exact same as your server you deploy to) or running a Linux VM, which I wasn't using Windows enough to justify that as my host OS.  On Ubuntu it's some apt-get install commands and I've got a complete server environment locally.  

But after awhile I'm just tired of having to mess with it.  I'm looking forward to what the MacBook Pros bring.  I know there's a price premium. But I would also get hardware that would last as long as the Thinkpad I've had for 5 years, and OSX would open the door to iOS development, too.  Barring a hackintosh a Mac is the only way I can develop for all three platforms - I'd still be able to run Linux and Windows in a VM if needed.  But the Mac would also be closer to the scriptable web dev setup I have on Linux than Windows is, too. In my mind I'd have the underlying elements of Linux, but with a lot more commercial app support on top. So yeah, I can see the motivation for looking in that direction!


johnd126
johnd126

I have been a Windows user (professionally and privately) since Windows 3.1 and have had a virus a grand total of one (1) time; never since Windows XP SP2.  With even cheap AV (and a lick of common sense, which I'm pretty sure you have) you'll likely never experience a virus or malware.  

Having said that, for the work you want to do, I think a Mac is still likely your best choice. 

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I recently migrated from Windows to the Macintosh and one of the main reasons that I decided to migrate was that I wanted to be able to run any application out there. I have been running Linux in virtual machines for about 13 years and I really do not see any reason to take it out of the virtual machine. I have been able to run some Linux applications on the Macintosh as well. I run Windows and Linux in the virtualized environment on a low end Mac mini that has 8 GB of memory. I do not run more than one virtual machine at a time and that has worked well. Most of my daily work is done in the OS X environment and the tools are high quality. It is interesting to see that younare considering purchasing a high-end iMac in order to do only a couple of tasks.

pukkita
pukkita

 I was in your same situation, but almost 10 years ago. I had the same fears and doubts...

I'm not a Linux advocate any longer, though I was, and promoted it actively for the Spanish community, translating documentation, etc. I'm an OpenSource advocate now, and my OS of choice for Servers is FreeBSD, for Desktops Os X. 

What I'm trying to say is ten years ago I was in your exact same situation, same problems (Video and Audio work).

I think you're making a big mistake; OpenSource world doesn't end outside of linux. Linux it's just the most *popular* OpenSource achievement, and the one that helped OpenSource model the most.

You seem to neglect Os X it's a *nix OS. When I fire up a terminal in OS X I have the exact same environment I have on any *nix box, being FreeBSD the most close. X Window included...

I have the same CLI tools (or install them easily either building them or using ports-like tools (like yum, RPM, etc) I have on any other *nix box.

That's why in OS X, if there's an OpenSource cross-platform *nix/Linux tool not surpassed by a "native" one, its usually available for OS X.

Audacity? You have a Os X build. GIMP? You also have an OS X build. I can assure you that for media content creation and manipulation there's no other better platform; you have the same tools (if they're worth) available for Linux, plus the native ones, which tend to be simple, reliable and well designed/polished.

 You'll be very surprised by the huge amount of hard-core *nix sysadmins that chose OS X as their desktop platform.

Do the jump, you'll never look back. There are tons of forums for switchers, even for powerusers/sysadms. 

My advice: try to find a mate who's a sysadm switcher, someone who knows both worlds well, don't ask regular mac users.

Craig_B
Craig_B

Choice is what makes life great, so pick and choose what will work best for you.  All Systems (Linux, Mac, Windows, Any) have pros and cons.  What works well for person A in situation 1 may not work well for person A in situation 2 or for person B in situation 1.  Figure out what your requirements are and then pick what best fills those requirements.  It kind of sounds like, you are feeling disloyal to all your Linux preaching's, so what, things change, so make the best choice for you at this time.

MusicInclusive
MusicInclusive

I have been using Linux since 93 and am a Linux advocate. I manage and program Linux systems in a variety of languages: C/C++/Perl/Prolog etc. I run KDE on Ubuntu as my main desktop and use a good number of Linux-native apps in everyday use for office work - LibreOffice and the like.  Over time I've used most of the mainstream flavors of Linux and most of the mainstream flavors of UN*X.

I do have Windows machines but I have largely migrated away from them. I have some software that requires Windows and will not run on anything else. I also am engaged in music production - and because drivers are only available for some hardware for Windows and some VSTs are Windows only - I maintain a Windows audio machine running one particular studio setup.

However, in the past few years I have also migrated over to Macs (as a second desktop scenario). That was driven primarily by the move to coding apps for iDevices using Xcode - which is only possible under MacOS. 

When on a Mac I have Virtualbox and can run Linux and Windows in VMs on the same machine (together - at the same time as MacOS with a core i7 and 16GB Memory - all 3 - and it doesn't creak). That way I get the best of all the worlds I play in. I've used VMware since version 1 as well - but Virtualbox gives me the greatest flexibility. I can also run VPN software (something specific) that doesn't run on a Mac inside a VM and route through it when I need to from the host. I do that on a 2006 Macbook and it still sings... (In fact - having purchased that particular machine not too long ago 2nd hand - I was surprised at how responsive it was today in 2013 - very snappy so I think Apple are doing something right with MacOS. It felt like Linux would / does on the same era hardware...) 

With the UN*X toolset installed (GNU tools) and X11 - MacOS feels very similar to Linux for development work too. And - I can use VNC to peek between systems when I need to as well.

For audio production the Mac has turned out to have clear advantages - particularly in lower latency and aggregation of audio devices and so while a Windows machine runs "Studio A" a Mac runs "Studio B". I have given audio production under Linux a fair test, but do not currently use Linux for audio work. There are Linux installs tailored for audio but I find I miss so many of the applications and plugins in Linux - even with VST hosting encapsulation. There are also simply no drivers for some of the audio hardware. 

I like the fairly seamless integration of the iPhoto and iMovie applications under MacOS for video development as well. It's easy to use and beats anything I've tried to do under Windows or Linux for the same.

But - hey - I still run Linux on an Aspire 1 (7") natively. I also installed Ubuntu under WebOS and Android and use that for a mobile tablet-based Linux when I need it - but for audio production on the fly nothing comes close to iPad. 

If I needed new hardware the choice would be  between a Linux machine - probably build it myself - or a Mac. I would not at this point choose a Windows machine for any new purchase. It offers nothing that I cannot obtain in one or other of those environments. 

In summary - as a user of most of the OS's on the market today (yes - I did just upgrade *some* iDevices to IOS7 as well :-) ) - my clear favorites on the desktop are Linux (still) and MacOS.I cannot say at this time I can decide between them - they have different uses still. If I was building a cluster I'd still build it using Linux and COTS components. If I was building a new audio studio I'd build it around MacOS - hands down. For mobile use - particularly audio work - nothing beats iOS - and yes - I have and like Android devices too - so not being a "fanboy" there - there is simply nothing to beat the plethora of audio apps, synths, sequencers, DAWs etc. available for iOS in the mobile realm - and Android's latency issues kills any use for real-time audio work.

Derek.

nnelsoncenturyfast
nnelsoncenturyfast

Why not a Windows machine with VMware Workstation? The best of all worlds with virtualization! Run all 3 and switch back and forth effortlessly and without separate physical hardware. I've been doing this for years. Really is the best way to have all platforms. Not to mention you finally eliminate the attachment to a specific machine

Poli Tecs
Poli Tecs

Based on what you're doing, your malware/virus on windows is moot. Your not using it like a power user downloading from rouge sites or like a simple end user that can't tell a bogus popup from a legit one.Mac will kill you in price and that is not just the base system its the software too and Linux is really only solid in the server community.I run Audacity in Windows 8 and its awesome. I run Adobe PS, ImToo Audio converter and several other programs. I'm telling you, Windows 8 is solid and comparable to Mac for virus prevention when used by a pro which you like you are. And I have been running the MS default Windows Defender which is free with 8, works like AVG used - non intrusive.

mateokow
mateokow

I went from Windows to Ubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Lime,  Opensuse, tried BSD, Fedora,  and now I am using a second-hand MacBook. As a teacher in higher education I felt the urge of getting to know all these OS on different hardware.

My conclusion is that I will go back completely to Linux when my current machine dies as it surely will in the near future. 

Mostly it is just the aesthetics: Ubuntu and Lime just look better and feel better. Yes, there are sometimes issues for connecting sound equipment to Linux machines. The solution is a double boot setup so that you use a legacy Windows for listening to quadraphonic sound files, etc.

However the penguins lead the way.

wuboyblue
wuboyblue

Hey enjoy, it's just a question of what you want to do.  I use my desktop for online gaming, single player gaming, streaming movies, music and watching television.  I also use my desktop for writing video game subroutines in C++ and UDK, my way to help pay the bills.  I don't think either a Mac or Linux would fit the bill.


If it's what gets you through, enjoy.  I have a Mac store right across the street, but the only big companies that make anything I'd want are HP and Alienware.  Me, I need a liquid cooled beast so I have one.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

@sbarman Most users of Windows computers that I know keep machines at least 4 years.  I don't know anyone who upgrades their computer once a year even including avid gamers.  Most avid gamers I know wait three years, though there might be a few who only wait two.

Of course, if you are using Linux, you have to try to find excuses to upgrade your hardware because there usually won't be anything wrong with your four year old machine (that's how old my laptop is, and I can't really find an excuse to upgrade, though an IPS screen would be nice).  Also, you can take cast off computers that a company has written off because they are more than five years old and make perfectly functional and reliable computers out of them.

Craig_B
Craig_B

@sbarman At home my primary machine (built to my specs in 2006) is still running Windows quite fine.  It originally came with XP, upgraded to Vista and then upgraded to Win 7.  Everything runs great, which is why I'm still using it.  So no I can't tell you about a Windows machine purchased in 2009 but the one I built 3 years earlier is still working quite well.  I might add that the hardware cost was less than a Mac.

Mac is like buying a Condo, everything is taken care of for you but it costs more.

Windows is like buying a House, you have to do basic upkeep at a better price than a Condo.

Linux is like building your own House from plans, it has a framework but you can modify it to your hearts content.  You need to be more active in it but costs are very low.

There really is no right/wrong answer it's just what people are most comfortable with, so pick and choose what works for you.  Honor and Respect others choices.

tsairox
tsairox

I use all OSs and machines. I have a Linux machine from 2004 that runs great! No issues. Use the right software and machine to get the job done the best. Just my opinion.

LittleRed
LittleRed

@thejokker Sorry, but having to 'deal' with malware and viruses is an unnecessary, costly and time consuming task.

Consider for a moment how many hours and how much money has been committed to 'dealing' with malware and viruses on a global scale. If you had to use all that time (manpower) and money doing something a little more productive, I think this world would be  much better place.

Why would you use a platform that invites this type of attack?

marcushh777
marcushh777

@HippieCrippie  Who cares, you ask?

Well, from the mostly intelligent lengthy and numerous comments right here in front of you, I'd be willing to say that, well, very flippantly, WE do.

We're not discussing nail polish options, and for you to comment that way goes past flippant towards insulting.

This debate (on-going as it is) serves to improve common user interface goals, inform noobs of their options, evangelize the geek sphere with appropriate caveats and benefits, and helps to sort out which brushes we artists might use in a given situation.  

Many folks today are still confused about Mac; particularly if they go back to the days of OS9 and before, when the Mac was NOT a Unix clone  (a unix like system).  When gnu/linux users (others too) find out that the Mac OSX is a closed fork of  freeBSD they get interested (or at least they should).  That's not a fan-boy comment, its just the truth.  The really cool news for gnu/linux developers is when they realize that the default development sandbox for Mac is really the gnu suite of development tools (gcc &c)... and that they can develop for *both* on the Mac... well then they often become actually very excited.

Hope this helps... Cheers


scratchmb5
scratchmb5

@garyleroy I certainly back you up on your taste of Laptops. I burn through several less expensive laptops that for my purposes usually don't last two years, but the ones that I use most for personal use are only Toshiba. I have two that are 8 years old, one still running XP which is a trimmed down modified version and a beauty, the other is running a Solaris (system V release 4) which is still a Unix OS. I have not yet made an opinion on this OS, it has been nicely modernized, but as busy as I am, I have yet to adapt a lot of programs to it. What I do like about it, is that I can open program in C, which is probably why I have not adapted much commercial software, I am too busy fooling around dusting of my old programming skills that are mostly useless today.

dbmarketing
dbmarketing

@garyleroy If Mac quality is the best period, and their quality control unbeatable - why is there a genius bar which is always full? Every time I've gone past an Apple store, I see a lot of people - at the genius bar. Just curious.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

@George Kriza That last statement destroys any notion that you are giving an objective opinion.  Macs are "finished" well, but so is other expensive hardware, and when it comes down to it, a lot of midrange stuff fits the bill as well.

rustys
rustys

@George Kriza  - funny, I see Apple components and many other brand components that are identical ..... except for a sequence in the code number that refers to that component being for an Apple device and generally means that there is something in the firmware that stops you replacing with a basically identical component that is not coded for an Apple device.   Quality is usually 100% identical.  Like many, you are more than likely confusing bling with quality.

daresquid
daresquid

@Hazydave You do know it is possible to have more than one monitor on an iMac, right? On all there is a mini-display port. Pre Thunderbolt you could attach one monitor. I am using a a 1920 x 1200 24 inch portrait/vertical alongside with the built in 1600 x 1050 20" built into a 6 year old iMac. Current Thunderbolt Macs with that mini port will allow higher res and up to 6(?) screens.

The built in monitor looks good, has been reliable and during the initial 3 years was covered by nominal cost AppleCare which meant I could bring in the iMac and have it repaired or replaced on demand for whatever might have broken. Both the HP and the iMac monitor were easy to color match with a ColorMunkie, but even "calibrating" by eye using the Monitors Control Panel, I got awfully close.

 As to Sony, the great acquirer, yes it has only seen fit to issue Sound Forge on Mac. Maybe it will get to ACID or Vegas though I expect Sony is hampered by the business decisions the previous owners of the three products made. Cakewalk, what can I say about Cakewalk, well it also used to be a Mac app but I guess the chickenzit bean counters probably are the reason it is no longer Mac. Cockos Reaper is available both Mac and Windows, 32 and 64-bit, and there is even a PPC version from a few years back, though I expect it is less capable.


As to CAD or 3D modeling and rendering, the following are available for Mac:

tsairox
tsairox

 Hazydave Hazydave I really like your well educated response.  I use all OSs for different reasons.  Question.  When you are using Windows, what antivirus and internet security software do you use?  I personally use System Mechanic Pro.  I'd like to get your response on this.  Thanks! 

stano360
stano360

@johnd126 He's not a sound professional nor a musician, he could easily use any OS in my opinion.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

@wuboyblue Well, except for using UDK, it's quite possible to do all those things on Linux or Mac (I've done the others on a Linux box, except for C++ coding for a game; I've never really coded a game).  I'm not saying that Windows isn't the best choice for what you do, but Linux and Mac are viable, and there are game engines available for them also.

tony.dieck
tony.dieck

@Craig_B

Thank you. I too use whatever platform suits the needs, or what I feel comfortable with. Just get sick and tired of the comments left by one-eye OS supporters of all platforms.

HippieCrippie
HippieCrippie

@marcushh777I'm sorry if you're easily insulted but my point still stands and has not been compensated for by your critique of my comment.  What I called for was for people to quit whining about how Linux is better than Mac or Mac is better than Linux and all the permutations of Mac OS versions versus all the Linux distributions.  Wallen's article was not discussing the nuances of OS design or software development; he was giving us a watered down and biased consumer report.  It is just like a teenage girl debating choices of nail polish, or a gun-nut debating the efficacy of his favorite caliber, or a economist defending his pet theory.  Wallen's article says nothing that a potential buyer/user wouldn't see or hear on first blush anyway.  Linux: stable but somewhat incompatible, Mac: stable but expensive, Windows: Suckfest.  I don't see how Wallen has helped to clear this "confusion" that you say exists.   

"...evangelize the geek sphere with appropriate caveats and benefits..."

 What does that even mean?  Forgive me but this just sounds like filler so your post would be longer and sound meaningful.  Does the "geek sphere" really need evangelizing?  And if so just which "tech-faith" are we dealing with?  Who is its Jesus? And to what end?  Proper geeks/developers make up their minds by using software/hardware--not by reading articles.  Would you trust a surgeon who'd only read about how to use a scalpel?  I think not.  

marcushh777
marcushh777

@HippieCrippie  "--I--was originally criticizing Wallen and his weak article.  I implicated him as being a fan-boy, as well others who fall into that category." --Hippie

Actually, Wallen is trying to answer the question you pose in your critique, namely, who cares?

To find out who cares (what IS going on in the minds of the geek sphere?) you post an argument and see what comes up in the "discussion".  In this case, the most important part of the article IS the discussion. To criticize the argument (the main article in this case) is to miss the main point. If your critique had been the first post, well, ok. But is wasn't. Your critique came on the heels of a rather lengthy discussion regarding interest in the community. 

On the other hand . . .

To suggest that God incarnate experienced death on behalf of all-of-humanity is similar to to a $50 loss-gain-back transaction with a net balance of zero (0) is patently absurd... yes, way off topic, but relevant none-the-less.

Jesus Christ paid a sin debt that he did not owe, so that you and I would not have to pay a sin debt that we are not capable of paying. Jesus' death on a Roman cross (burial and resurrection) accomplished reconciliation to God through his own blood. His sacrifice reversed death (not only for himself) but for everyone who believes into his name. 

This is entirely different than the sacrifice of a soldier for his country in honor on the field of battle---significant as that is!  I remember Gen Patton's comment to the troops of 3rd Army when he told them, "no one ever won a war dying for his country...  he won the war making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"  Jesus did not die in this sense. He died in your place, and in my place, to reconcile us to God--- to forgive us of sin. He could do this because he was fully God, and fully man. He could accomplish this because he was innocent as man, and fully powerful as God.

Through one man Adam all men and women suffer death... through one man Jesus Christ all men and women may have life... for everyone who believes.

Hope this is helpful.

Cheers


HippieCrippie
HippieCrippie

@marcushh777 @HippieCrippie 

" 'I don't see how Wallen has helped to clear this "confusion" that you say exists.' --Hippie

He didn't.  The discussion following the article helps to clear away confusion... "

You kind of made my point for me when you say "he didn't.  Nonetheless, irrespective of what you want the conversation to be about--I--was originally criticizing Wallen and his weak article.  I implicated him as being a fan-boy, as well others who fall into that category.  It seems you think that by me leveling a criticism at Wallen (et al.) that I'm somehow stifling free expression and furthermore that the criticism has no merit.  You've only answered my charge of "blog banality" with more banality on "geek spheres" and definitions of evangelism.  Whatever else your opinion here is, it certainly is not sticking to the matter at hand.


And if you'd care to discuss religion (which is about as far off topic as we can get) then I'd be curious to know how it is Jesus's death is viewed as any kind of sacrifice when (according to the legend) he was risen.  What's more is Jesus presumably knew this would happen.  So, let's say I have $50, and I know that I will always have $50 in my wallet no matter what.  Someone asks me for my $50, I give it to them, I check my wallet again, poof--$50 appears in my wallet again.  Now, I certainly can't claim that I "sacrificed" my $50.  Likewise, the death of Jesus is not a sacrifice because he didn't loose anything, other than his time and trouble.  The men and women who've died for this country in horrible and grotesque ways are the ones who've sacrificed something--their life.  A life they will never get back.  They deserve your praise and adoration far more than a middle eastern political/religious dissident. 



marcushh777
marcushh777

@HippieCrippie  Discussing pros and cons is always beneficial, regardless of topic.

"I don't see how Wallen has helped to clear this "confusion" that you say exists." --Hippie

He didn't.

The discussion following the article helps to clear away confusion, also allowing for clarification and inviting question and dialogue.  Its a good thing.

" ... evangelize the geek sphere with appropriate caveats and benefits ... " 

Evangelize comes from two Greek words "eu" meaning good, and "anggelia" meaning message.  The "good news" might refer to the good news of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice for your sins (and mine) on the cross... or it might refer to the "good news" of any other "religious" discussion like the one we're having in computer science. You have to keep the context straight, of course.

Religious bantering over relative opinions has merit, is mostly beneficial (even when bantering with trolls) and aids education (technical and otherwise) while allowing participants (even trolls) self expression.  I benefit from knowing the options and opinions of all participants in my particular religious persuasion (including likes and dislikes among computer scientists, and other users). 

So, on it goes ...   

Cheers