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Ubuntu Linux vs. Mac OS X 479

An anonymous reader writes "An article on InformationWeek pits an Apple user against an Ubuntu Linux user (although he talks about other distros as well) as to which OS makes a better desktop operating system. As might be expected, the conclusion seems to be "different strokes for different folks," but it's interesting to see Microsoft cut (mostly) out of the equation."
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Ubuntu Linux vs. Mac OS X

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  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:16AM (#20071351) Journal
    but it's interesting to see Microsoft cut (mostly) out of the equation

    MS isn't out of the equation at all. The whole point of TFA is about switching AWAY from Vista.

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:18AM (#20071381) Homepage Journal
    Queue the flamewars in 3...2...1...

    Seriously, religious wars aside, you pick the tool that will best meet your needs. That's largely going to be based on applications. Increasingly, there are good choices on both platforms here for a wide variety of different things. The one thing I will say -- if you're looking to do video editing, buy a Mac. 'cause the state of video editing on Linux right now still sucks. If you need Microsoft Office, buy a Mac.

    For me, I do a lot of software development work and audio production. I could pick either platform, really, but lots of factors make me choose Linux over Mac OS X -- software freedom, hackability, and cost are my 3 biggest reasons. OS X is nice, don't get me wrong, it's just not for me.
  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:18AM (#20071401) Homepage
    the first part of the article states:

    "If you're a Vista-wary Windows user who would rather switch than fight, should you move to a Linux distro or Apple's OS X?"

    Why would they put MS into the equation?
  • by TobyRush ( 957946 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:23AM (#20071485) Homepage

    Ubunutu is easy to install on a Mac.

    But it's Ubuntu vs. Mac OS X, right? Not Ubuntu vs. Mac hardware. I know next to nothing about Ubuntu, but I'm assuming you can't run it from within Mac OS X...

  • Just mulit-boot it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rortega007 ( 1135069 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:35AM (#20071733)
    Hey im new around here so wutzup. How about just have all three OSs?! I multi-boot with OSx86/WinXP Pro/Ubuntu/SUSE OSED, theres gotta be people out there like me that do this right? Why fight over which girl you want when you can just have them on speed dial and switch em when you need to?
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:40AM (#20071821)
    You sound angry at Apple... Why? If you can't afford it then you are not forced to buy an Apple. If you like what apple has to offer and you wan't one save up a little longer for the money. The point of the article was to show that there are alternitives available to windows and the Pluses and Minuses of each. The reason why Macs don't cover 90% of the market like Windows does is because of the hardware lockin, it is no suprise. If you want a Rollsroyce for a Car you are not going to find many off the shelf parts at your local garage. and you are going to pay more for such a car. But that doesn't mean I have to hate Rollsroyce. And say my Toyota is far superior to that Rollsroyce just because I can get parts for my Toyota easier.
  • by Cobralisk ( 666114 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:43AM (#20071861)
    It's more like the difference between a rotary saw, a hack saw and a chain saw. All three cut wood, but do it in different ways. Which one is most effective for a given task is left to the judgement of the craftsman.
  • by Stamen ( 745223 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:44AM (#20071871)
    Truly, if I'm speaking to a tech oriented person asking me what OS to choose I always say learn Unix, which one is less relevant. If you learn *nix, you can easily use OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc. If you learn Windows, you can well, use, um, Windows.

    In addition to learning the GUI stuff, learn some of the command line; you are most productive with a mixture of the two. Also, the shell (command line/cli) is fairly static, and your knowledge transfers to every OS, er, except, for, um, Windows.

    As for OS X vs Ubuntu. At work, I use both on the desktop (an OS X box right next to a PC running 7.04, using synergy to span my mouse and keyboard), and I prefer OS X; but mainly that is because I love TextMate so much; if I still used VIM primarily, I wouldn't prefer one over the other (although Cream in LInux is very nice, so that may sway me). On servers, it's Linux all the way, period.

    For home, it's a no brainer, I use OS X. I'm a programmer, so I want to tweak my shell and my editor to a very fine point, but for stuff like music and movies, I just want the stuff to work, frankly. Oh and Quicksilver, Linux really needs a Quicksilver clone (no, you don't have one, if you think you do then you've never actually used Quicksilver)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:46AM (#20071899)

    No kidding. That was the great leap forward with Microsoft's OS. You could run it on open hardware from almost any vendor.

    See, those of us who enjoy using Apple products actually think of steps like that as a great leap BACKWARD. Sure, there are plenty of people who want to run an OS on whatever hardware they buy, from the latest-and-greatest to $150 crap. That's what Windows and Linux are for. Many people LIKE that Apple produces both the hardware and the software because it offers better integration. The more systems you have to support, the more stuff than can go wrong, pure and simple. Linux has come a long way with drivers, but last I heard it wasn't a piece of cake to install a wireless driver on a Linux-based laptop. (I'm sure someone will correct me, but be sure to include your definition of "piece of cake.")

    When you do call up Apple support, they can't tell you to hang up and go call the maker of the box or Microsoft.

    I realize that having clone-makers wouldn't dilute my choice to buy Apple hardware, but--and this has been said a gazillion times already--it won't happen because Apple values the user experience and subsequently wants to control it from top to bottom.

    If what you really want is Apple's OS running on whatever box you want, maybe you're not clear as to the advanges of NOT being able to run it on whatever box you want.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:46AM (#20071907)
    Ubuntu, OS X, Vista, who gives a fuck, use what you want to use, stop wasting everyones time.
  • by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:54AM (#20072045) Homepage
    I don't think Linux will compete with Apple for a while. I think Linux may make huge gains at the very low end, where profit margins are so slim that Linux being free will be the deciding factor, like those new Asus $200 laptops.

    Apple holds and will probably always hold the high end where people feel like they're getting special stuff for their extra money.

    I think Linux will eat up the very low end then expand slowly from there.
  • by morari ( 1080535 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:54AM (#20072047) Journal
    As is Windows... You still have to waste the money on overpriced, proprietary hardware from Apple though. With almost no choice over components and little options to upgrade in the future. People blast Microsoft for vendor lock-in, but Apple has always been worse. But who cares when you get something that's sleek and cool looking like a Mac, right?
  • by Serious Callers Only ( 1022605 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:02PM (#20072179)
    If your skis were made of unsuitable materials, and poorly designed, your analogy might be more appropriate.

    I think a lot of people consider using Windows to be much like using cardboard skis.
  • by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:02PM (#20072181) Homepage
    If you want a Rollsroyce for a Car you are not going to find many off the shelf parts at your local garage. and you are going to pay more for such a car. But that doesn't mean I have to hate Rollsroyce. And say my Toyota is far superior to that Rollsroyce just because I can get parts for my Toyota easier.

    Not sure I would consider Apple to be the Rolls Royce of the computer industry. They make a nice product, for sure, but the difference in quality is more like the difference between a Toyota and a Honda. Some people like one, some people like the other.
  • by starglider29a ( 719559 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:09PM (#20072345)
    Great analogy.

    Now, imagine that someone skied up beside you, turned your skis the way they wanted, stole your lift ticket, and finally broke your skis halfway down a black diamond run.

    Then imagine that on the way up the ski lift, you are informed that in order to prevent ski theft, you will have a slope protection agent. "You are trying to turn left. Cancel or Allow?" But when you get to the top of the lift, you learn that you have to replace your favorite skis with more expensive skis. Then you need to upgrade your boots to this special limited selection. And none of them will fit into the bindings on the skis.

    Now, you are realizing that the choice of an expensive-ish (not really) snowboard ready-to-ride, or a roll-your-own board shop will get you down the hill in one piece. Cancel or Allow?
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:09PM (#20072367)
    Rolls Royce may be a bit of a streach but the diffence between PC and a Apple is not like Toyota and Honda but probably more like Toyota/Lexus and BMW. While a lot of PC are of much lower quality then all of apples products but there is a good amount that are just as good if not better.
  • FWIW: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:10PM (#20072395) Journal
    ...even the PPC ones :)

    I use both Linux (Fedora Core: where Men are Men and modules are scared) as well as OSX (10.3.9 - yeah, I'm lazy - on a dual G5).

    I originally got a Mac because that's where all the affordable non-Windows 3D/CG compositing software was at that time. POV-Ray I love (on occasion), GIMP I love, Blender, umm, I love in an S&M sort of way (which is why I eventually bought AC3D [])... but there was no compositing thingy back then for less than ten zillion bucks, a'la Shake and Maya.

    Anyrate - a few years on, and I use both quite happily together. I still use AC3D on Linux to do mesh, DAZ|Studio and Poser on the Mac, and NFS binds the two machines seamlessly.

    I love using either one in spite of the diffs. I have a link to Terminal sitting on the OSX Dock, and once I got used to the 'not-quite-but-okay-yeah-it's-BSD' setup, it's been a breeze to script and poke around on with bash.

    Truth be told, if I could run DAZ|Studio [] or Poser [] natively on Linux, I'd probably slowly but surely let the Mac fade and go full-on Linux (they sort of run under Crossover Office and Cedega, but the render times are murder). The reason why is cost-effectiveness. Yes Macs are actually fairly competitive hardware-wise, but I can more easily build a new box in stages (buy bigger CPU/mobo/RAM combo, then a bigger HDD, and who gives a crap about the case style as long as the P/S works...), instead of plonking down $2500 in one go. (I guess I could buy a Mac Mini and just mod the guts into a bigger case... Hrm. Never thought of that).

    Anyway, for the foreseeable future, I'll prolly be using both, and I have no problems with that.

    That said, I don't use Windows. I wanted a safer and more flexible OS a long time ago, moved everything to BSD and Linux, and haven't looked back since.


  • I use both (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChrisA90278 ( 905188 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:12PM (#20072435)
    I have both ubuntu and a Mac on my desk at home. I use just one monitor. The are very much alike except for one big thing and that one big thing is huge. I can't run Photoshop or Apple's Final Cut, Aperture or even iTunes on my Linux system. The other thing is that Mac OS X will not run on my non-Apple hardware. So I use both.

    At work I'm on Linux almost exclusivly with some things running on Solaris.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:13PM (#20072449)
    I was comparing it to availablity in parts... Rolls Royce seemed like at the time probably the hardest car to find parts for, Also more expensive then the average car, and well saught after even inspite of these problems. I would actually say Macs are close to BMWs in quality and design and innovation. But I wanted to prove a point of differenct choices doesn't mean that one choice is wrong or right, more then making a quality comparison.
  • Re:from TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CautionaryX ( 1061226 ) <nickness&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:29PM (#20072827)
    plug the keyboard, mouse, and monitor into the CPU Goat-cpu. *shudders*
  • by sgant ( 178166 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:40PM (#20073047) Homepage Journal
    Well, no. We can sit around all day and compare prices for components till the cows come home, but what I use my Mac for is about the same price I would pay for an XP system. 24" monitor blah blah blah. I won't go into the details.

    But the thing that this system runs is OS X, which other systems can't run. (and I'm not talking about hacked OS X running on Dells or other such things). So, I could with a restart run either OS X, XP, or Linux if I wanted. Another Intel based system would only have (mainly), XP/Vista or Linux to choose from.

    So even if I agree with your "overpriced, proprietary" hardware analogy, it's still a system I can run any OS I want on.

    But hey, if you don't like it, don't like it. But it amazes me why some people take things so personally. Why do you care if people want a Mac? I don't care that people want a PC or a Pontiac or a Big Mac with super-sized fries.....more power to 'em I say!
  • by bshellenberg ( 779684 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:41PM (#20073063) Homepage
    I just LOVE that argument. Ok, I'll bite. You go and price out a Mac that can do browsing, email and a bit of word processing, and I'll do the same with a PC. Let's see how your argument holds up when you're trying to fill a requirement as opposed to a spec sheet comparison chart.
  • by RockoTDF ( 1042780 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:44PM (#20073129) Homepage don't have to hack anything to use non Apple monitors, stop spreading FUD
  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:52PM (#20073269) Homepage
    Alright then. Show me your home built Mac.
  • by gb506 ( 738638 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:06PM (#20073555) Homepage
    Well, if that's all you want to do, web browsing, email, and a little word processing, I suppose you can get by just fine with the cheapest piece of dung you can haul out of a Wal-Mart.

    Using your logic, since in most cases all anyone has to do is transport themselves from point A to point B, we should all be content with a Chevy Aveo5. Or maybe, according to your worldview, we should all be quite content covering our genitalia with used burlap sacks, because, really, in the end you're just covering your junk, right? What should quality, comfort, style or utility possibly have to do with anything?

    Look, bs, you're just a person who doesn't mind living life surrounded by inferiority. And that's fine, you're entitled to your way of living, but don't try to compare a $179.98 redlight special with a capably designed machine, it just makes you look foolish. But, then, I'll bet you look foolish a lot, don't you?
  • by howlingmadhowie ( 943150 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:34PM (#20074077)
    nope. it's like having a rotary saw with blades you can't change yourself, a hack saw with blades you can't change yourself and go-faster stripes, and a chain saw with complete instructions about how to build a new one, but no shop stocks the blades for it.
  • Re:I also use both (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hax0r_this ( 1073148 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @02:42PM (#20075259)
    I'm not sure what you demand of a firewall, but as far as I know Ubuntu (like every other Linux distro I have ever used) includes iptables and blocks pretty much all ports by default. If not having a shiny GUI bothers you then just install firestarter (I would imagine 'sudo aptitude install firestarter' might do the trick, or if you're afraid of command lines you could use the GUI tool).
  • by l33tDad ( 1118795 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @03:59PM (#20076511)
    I just don't get all this crap about the "cancel or allow" bit. Yea, it's kind of a pain in the ass, but my Linux box asks for the SU password all the time to run system commands and do most installs. How is the Windows thing worse?
  • by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_20 ... com minus author> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @06:32PM (#20078643)

    As is Windows... You still have to waste the money on overpriced, proprietary hardware from Apple though. With almost no choice over components and little options to upgrade in the future. People blast Microsoft for vendor lock-in, but Apple has always been worse. But who cares when you get something that's sleek and cool looking like a Mac, right?

    While I agree Apple is the lockin king, by controlling hardware and the OS Apple is able to sale something that "Just Works"! Apple is a systems integrator which means it can make sure all the parts work together. And they don't prevent third parties from making peripherals, replacement drives, or memory for Macs. All they do is prevent, or make hard, OSX from running on commodity PCs. As for what you get, you get a stable system that "Just Works". If Apple were to release OSX so it ran on commodity PCs, it's renevue would drop because of a decline in hardare sales. And the sale of OSX licenses wouldn't make up the difference unless the price for a license was high, but then who'd pay that much? Also because Apple wouldn't control the hardware the OS could become unstable. And if they did they'd crash right into the 800# guerilla of OSes, Microsoft.

  • by ciggieposeur ( 715798 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @06:35PM (#20078677)
    Who cares *which* crappy software is bricking the hardware? Would you care less if a virus/worm/trojan targeting OSX managed to kill your system?

    The point is that if the hardware is lacking its own safeguards that's the hardware's fault. We didn't blame the software from Microsoft, Novell, Linux, or IBM for the Pentium F00F bug, we blamed Intel because it was a hardware problem.

    My Toshiba laptop has a problem with overheating if there is too much dust collected around the CPU heat sink, but at 85 degrees C it shuts down rather than stays running to fry the CPU.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:52PM (#20080001)
    Well, the article *is* entitled: "Linux Vs. Mac: Which Is The Better Alternative To Microsoft Windows?"

    So, of course it's going to cut MS out of the comparison.
  • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @02:29AM (#20082163)

    .....iTunes is not a reason to stay on Mac/Windows.....

    iTunes was a BIG part of why I bought a Mac... My wife (not at the time) got an iBook for her senior year of school. She was taking mostly music classes, and previously was spending hours in the music library listening to the CDs there for class. She got an iBook, and the wireless worked flawless, and she could go into the library, grab the CDs, pop them in the computer, and auto-magically they were on her laptop in a few minutes. I got her one of the first iPods (when the wheel spun) as a gift, and she loved it. During the commute to class on the subway, she did her listening. It made her a HUGE Mac fan.

    At the time, my work involved SSH'ing into Linux servers and editing in emacs. When it was time to replace my dying Compaq Laptop, I bought a Powerbook, in large part because of iTunes. I listened to music all day, and I had always used WinAMP and directories to manage my music. EVERY jukebox program that I had used sucked donkey balls, and hated them. I LIKED iTunes, it was simple, it was clean, it was elegant. Since my work computer needed to be a laptop for remote access, needed to run an SSH program (at the time, SecureCRT), and play music, the Powerbook was a reasonable option.

    I since then have slowly fell in love with all the neat things that I can do so easily on the Mac.

    Sure, I could do them all on a PC, but managing my digital media is so simple, I actually do it. We take pictures of the kid, plug the camera in, and iPhoto loads up and imports the pictures. Pick the ones I like, make an Album, and hit Export, and the pictures upload to Shutterfly and Facebook (people made free plug-ins for iPhoto). Wanted to send my grandmother a book of her first visit with her first great grandchild? Dragged some pictures in, hit "buy book" and it showed up at her house a week or so later.

    All these things are COMPLETELY doable on the PC. But on the Mac, it's so painless, it's fun.

    So much free or inexpensive amazing software. OmniGraffle is NOT NEARLY as powerful as Visio, but it's SO MUCH FASTER to use, it's really pleasant. I downloaded a few stencils for things that I diagram constantly, and away we go. BBEdit is an awesome text editor, and the built-in SCP/SFTP access is much smoother than anything I used on Windows.

    Don't get me wrong, the Linux desktops offer some amazing power user features... but the Mac's aren't bad either. Tiger added a lot of polish and cleaned up some things that were missing (WebDAV not supporting SSL or Kerberos, etc.), and each release gets better and better.

    Do I pay a price premium? Absolutely, because when I buy my Mac I buy a more functional machine than I would on the Windows side... but guess what, all those Firewire ports that I wouldn't have on a Windows machine... plus the camcorder in and suck out the videos PAINLESSLY. iLike is just plain fun. I've done a LOT of things on my Mac that I wouldn't have thought possible. Recorded someone's voice with a pitch, and we decided to put a slideshow in front of them. Built the slides, timed the transitions to match, exported to Quicktime, copied over the audio, and re-exported... no muss or fuss... didn't need to outsource it to a video guy, just got it up and running. Decided that we didn't want it in Quicktime, wanted it in Flash, bought a quick Quicktime -> Flash Exporter, quickly re-exported the files and uploaded them to the server.

    None of these tasks would be impossible to accomplish on Windows or Linux with the right software, but on the Mac, it was all really easy, and the computer never got in my way. I plug a USB device in, and it works almost instantaneously. My Windows machines seem to want to pop up bubbles to chat with me about how they found a USB device and are figuring it out. I don't really care, do you know what it is or not? I ignore my Mac, it's in the background, and I focus on the application/task. The Windows machine always wan

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel