Saturday, January 12, 2008

Leaving the Dark Ages

Ten years ago, the last time I seriously tinkered with Unix - it was SO not ready for prime time, at least for general use. Apparently it is now.

A clip from the show Veronica Mars (subtitled for non-geeks):

This was so geek-hip, probably going over the heads of most people watching it. To translate, they were arguing about which Unix based operating system was better, Apple's OSX or the Linux Ubuntu. I love the line "Ok fine - live in the Dark Ages!". Really, thats what the argument is about.

To weigh in on that argument, they both both have their good points - but I will come down on the side of Ubuntu. Like they USED to say about Apple - "It just works." Ubuntu works so well on the desktop I have decided not to buy a Macbook Pro laptop. Even with Leopard, the growing feeling I've had for years is Apple have lost their way, and my short experience with the new Linux has me feeling it is finally time to consider OSX irrelevant.

And the feeling is growing. A serious, well-known Mac user named Mark Pilgrim, created a wave of geek-troversy in 2006 when he publicly announced he was stick-a-fork-in-me-I-am-done-with-Mac:

Mac OS X was “free enough” to keep me using something that was not in my long-term best interest. But as I stood in the Apple store last weekend and drooled over the beautiful, beautiful hardware, all I could think was how much work it would take to twiddle with the default settings, install third-party software, and hide all the commercial tie-ins so I could pretend I was in control of my own computer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eye Apple isn’t beautiful anymore. I’ve worked around it or ignored it for a long time, but eventually the bough breaks.

I had my own breaking point moment last year finishing up an OSX upgrade project. I was attempting to do something geek-simple, adding mac users and groups to a Windows network. A process that shouldve taken several hours instead took TWO WEEKS.

Why? Because things didnt just work. Although I eventually signed off on the completed project and it is still working, it bothered me on a professional level that a project that shouldve taken a month took 5 months to complete. I'd rather be known as efficient rather than heroic.

Soon after, my personal Mac died. I picked up a almost brand new HP computer for $100 (4 times cheaper than what I paid for the Mac), and my personal productivity became exponentially better.


However, I didnt expect to totally put the Mac world out of my personal life. And only because I found a good alternative to switch to. I just didnt expect it to be Linux.

I feel like I am indeed leaving the Dark Ages.

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