Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Switching Back to Mac

Carlos Fenollosa (via Hacker News):

Due to very bad decisions by Apple’s product marketing teams, Mac hardware and software had been in steady decline since 2016.

Therefore, there has been a trickle of articles on the Geekosphere about people switching from Macs to Linux or Windows.

This is the contrarian view. Don’t do it.

The TL;DR is right there in the title: migrating to Linux is fine, but don’t expect a better experience than the Mac.

He really liked the Nautilus file manager, though.


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Better is subjective and hard to qualify.

A long time Mac user disappointed with the decline you pointed out, which I call the Tim Cook era, that makes the decision to put up with a new OS and learn it's quirks could argue that they had a better experience if their goal was to not pay for overpriced hardware and subpar software coming out of Cupertino.

A brand new user that doesn't know what Macs used to be could think that the current stuff is wonderful and better than anythything else out there.

Linux is horrible. Windows is awkward. Mac is wonderful, even with its shortcomings. The most intuitive and easy to use OS. Once you try it, you do not want Windows and even less Linux, even for free!

I switched my main machine from Mac to Windows in September of 2017. My 2011 Mac mini was getting a little old and Apple offered nothing I wanted as a desktop. I already had 3 monitors and didn't want an iMac and the current Mac mini at the time was going on 3 years without a revision.

My workflow requires a command line, a browser, some minor graphics editing and video editing. What I learned is that Windows 10 with WSL is pretty nice. It is the first time I have run Windows as a main OS for 15 years.

Now, the M1 has me interested in switching back, but the constant OS upgrades, iOSification of macOS, and lack of interesting hardware is holding me back. Right now I have to wait until there is an Apple Silicon machine that can support more than two monitors.

I still use macOS at work, but I have also added Windows there.

The thing is, for a majority of people, a browser is all they need. Luckily, Apple is not hurting for money, and the Mac line is still profitable.

Agree with Ryan above. As I've said here before, I switched to Windows about 8 months ago after using exclusively Macs for 30 years. Windows is not what it used to be, it's rock solid and the interface is fine (at least it doesn't look like a joke designed by mentally deficient monkeys like Big Sur). MS still have some work to do to better support HiDPI / 4K scaling but the major apps like Chrome and MS Office are the same or better than on the Mac. I thought I'd miss a lot about the Mac, but I find that I'm actually annoyed when I use my Mac now that I put Big Sur on it -- it's a total crap OS that looks terrible and has annoying notifications, alerts, and menus. Ruined. I wouldn't buy a new Mac solely based on how bad Big Sur is... I could not use that garbage as my daily driver.

It’s far from perfect, and in most ways Mac OS is better than Linux in my experience. However when I see inconsistencies or wonkiness in Linux I remember it’s a free OS, much of which is developed by volunteers. I can give it a lot of slack. And I can see the improvements year over year.

The biggest reason Mac OS drives me bonkers these days is because it is made by the richest company in the world. The have near limitless money and resources, and they seem to be making their OS worse year after year instead of better. Most of their focus doesn’t seem to be on improvement, but on extracting as much money as it can out of its users. It just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

I'll be Elementary OS until somebody comes up with a better OS.

Steve Jobs (quoting Wayne Gretzky) said "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. And we've always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very, very beginning."

I interpret that today as "either (a) use an iPad, let Apple move your life onto their servers and just use it to consume videos and waste time on social media, or (b) use a traditional OS where you can write software and so on."

Idk, it’s all zeroes and ones. I can live in any of the three.

To me, the most important habit for staying platform independent is to do your work (or play) on all three as regularly as possible. I get the feeling most people who say Windows, eg, is obviously worse haven’t spent the majority of three weeks straight in it any time recently. Some have... the subjective is strong in them. 😉

But for me, it’s fun to maximize my environment in each ecosystem. And with just a few exceptions (eg, Xcode (short of controlling a remote Mac), SQL server (though that’s changing), etc) none of these prevent me from getting work done.

Again, they all work in zeroes and ones!

That is the problem. Despite Apple setting back years of progress, they are still the best.... I mean like WTF were the PC industry doing?

Old Unix Geek

Linux is horrible. Windows is awkward. Mac is wonderful

Perhaps you could say what you're doing?

Linux is great for coding. Every tool is available with an apt get or equivalent. 20 year old code pretty much still works.

Windows? It does have some great tools. Xara for instance. X1. Ida Pro. And obviously lots of games.

Mac? It was nice for a while. Then it got tiresome. Every OS "upgrade" breaks something, without actually improving my user experience. Every developer tool takes forever to download. APIs are deprecated or simply stop working. Even the language used to code things changes. One can't build castles on sand.

WTF were the PC industry doing?

Making faster hardware... better GPUs, faster 64 CPU cores all while maintaining backwards compatibility. So I assume you're complaining about the software, i.e. Microsoft. Their new focus seems to be making annoying security updates which interrupt your work at inopportune moments.

Yeah, the main annoyance with Windows is the regular security updates. It's funny, computers had really low uptimes in the 90s, because they crashed all the time. Then, when NT and OS X came out, uptime started to go up drastically. Now we're back to 90s-style uptime, because of the monthly Patch Tuesday "Restart to install the latest Windows updates" popups. Microsoft, figure out how to install these updates without shutting down everything, please.

Realistically, though, all of the three major desktop operating systems are pretty much okay now. The main difference is that you have worse software support with Linux, and worse hardware support with OS X, which leaves Windows as the most reasonable choice for most people.

I became a lover of Macs when it moved to a Unix based OS, although their BSD it a pig to navigate. I've used Unix varieties since the early 90's. The first versions of OSX were superb (Thanks to Steve Jobs), now the current owner is a megalomaniac, foistering newer versions on us, Catalina is the worst OS ever, and I certainly would not want to Big Sur. If you upgrade from Mojave to Catalina you can never go back, every upgrade which Apple constantly tries to force on us makes the OS worse. I would never lower myself to get a WIndoze OS loaded, but I have been a sysadmin on Linux for over 20 years, it's not perfect but it's free, help is always freely available plus you are not required to pay subscriptions on everything. iTunes for one was great, Apple Music constantly begging to you to subscribe to their streaming service for a cost and you never own the music you just borrow it, no thanks. Plus their restrictive Protected AAC audio files don't allow you to convert to mp3 format to burn a cd with many more files than just burning a cd with AAC. Thankfully there are ways around this dictatorship, but Tim Cook's greed will be the death of Apple

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