It took nearly two weeks to get the PowerBook fixed, but for now I’m a Macboy again. On balance, the Mac experience is better. But Ubuntu is not that far behind, and it’s catching up. I’m thinking about the endgame.
Where OS X Wins · The single biggest quality-of-life delta, weirdly, was the control keys. On Mac, it’s command-C for cut and command-V for paste. On Linux it’s Control-C and Control-V, except when it’s not, which is in a terminal window and Emacs, which is where I spend a whole bunch of my time. OK, a small irritant, but one that bites all the time.
Then there are the fonts. Anti-aliasing is an optional extra on Linux, and
I wasn’t willing to do the
sources.list wrangling to
get the bleeding-edge allegedly-anti-aliased Emacs. Also, lots of fonts
Windows & Mac people use every day just aren’t there on Linux.
There are apparently some gyrations and downloads and things you can do to
get some of them.
I couldn’t get Flash working (complaints about the amd64 architecture), which meant lots of irritating little holes in Web pages everywhere. Not being able to watch YouTube is a real time-saver, though.
And of course, OS X’s single-menubar-across-the-top is Right, other options are Wrong.
Photoshop Elements has special controls to make it real easy to create 4x6 and 5x7 prints of babies for grandmothers.
Where Ubuntu Wins · You don’t have to think, when you’re Alt-tabbing, about applications vs. windows.
You don’t have to worry about Fink vs. DarwinPorts vs. build-from-source, everything you’ll ever need is in a package and ready to go.
Linux is a little better at poking around SMB space, finding and connecting to Windows servers.
The Gimp has a Curves control, which you have to spend a thousand bucks to get from full-bore Photoshop.
Next Steps: Applications · I have so had it with Apple applications. A couple weeks with Thunderbird made it obvious I should have long since dumped Mail.app. Every week iCal gets slower and every week I hate it more. When I was on Ubuntu, I maintained my schedule by typing it into a plain-text document in Emacs, and that was so much less painful.
Next Steps: Operating Systems · Once I get myself working in an application suite that’s entirely free from data lock-in, which in effect means all-OSS, then the choice of operating system and hardware becomes independent of the apps I use.
Right now, oversimplifying egregiously, you might classify the Unix-like operating systems like so:
OS X is the winner for suspend/resume, wireless networking, typography, and outboard screen handling.
Solaris is the winner for observability, virtualization, and big-iron threading.
Linux (Debian & friends anyhow) is the winner for package management and running on an infinite variety of different hardware.
Aside from that, I’d say it’s pretty well a wash.
My Next Computer Will Be... · Well, I don’t know. Weirdly, now that I’ve realized that I can have a decent application suite that doesn’t lock up my data and runs on whatever OS/Hardware, my desire to get off the Mac has moderated. On the other hand, if, next time I go shopping, a real good reason to go with Solaris or Linux instead comes along, I’ll do it without much angst. And I’ll put in the time then to go score those fonts and that anti-aliasing code and switch from Gnome to KDE and so on and so forth.
Oh Yes, Video · First, it’s dorky to try to pretend that a laptop, any laptop, is an appropriate device for video editing. Second, right now, near as I can tell, the Mac software in this space is just a whole lot better. So I think that my future probably has a dedicated Mac video-editing box in it. And if that’s the only Mac I end up using, well whatever.