Open Source

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 jackwallen.com.

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