Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
OS X Operating Systems Software Linux

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ubuntu Linux vs. Mac OS X

Comments Filter:
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:21AM (#20071455) Homepage Journal
    People would need to install Windows Vista in the first place to be able to switch away from it.

    The fact that Dell and others are still selling computers with Windows XP is not a good sign for Windows Vista.

  • Unbalanced? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Tim_UWA ( 1015591 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:29AM (#20071611)
    To me that seemed like "Genuine, Honest Evaluation of Ubuntu" vs "Mac is Awesome." For one thing, in the 'Installation' section the Mac guy failed to mention the necessary re-install of OS X when you buy the mac. Unless you like 15GB of crap you don't need on your computer (>1GB of printer drivers!!!). The Ubuntu guy focussed on the concerns for a new user, whereas the Mac guy focussed on how much he liked certain things, and all the cool stuff you could buy for it. Not worth reading
  • by RockHorn ( 896105 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:33AM (#20071699)

    if you're looking to do video editing, buy a Mac

    I wholeheartedly agree. We currently just switched from XP to Ubuntu at home, and I use a Mac laptop for work. My wife fell in love with iMovie/iDVD when we made our DVD last year, and I've been looking like mad to find a solution to keep us on Ubuntu, otherwise I'll have to by a *expensive* mac for home use.

    The most promising apps so far seem to be Kino, KDEnlive, Cinelerra. Kino is unusable because we can't seem to add still images into the movie, KDEnlive is still very early in it's development, and I can't get Cinelerra to run on my Ubuntu Feisty installation, it just coredumps every time I run it.

    On the other hand, what really concerns me about going with a Mac for this is the minimal drive space they come with. With each digital tape taking up 30 Gb, how am I supposed to fit all those on the small Mac drives. And they are rather limited in terms of expansion slots (except for the Power Mac which isn't an option). It seems one has to go with external drives, where I worry about performance when doing video editing.

    I'm putting off the decision, waiting for Ubuntu to properly package KDEnlive and/or Cinelerra. Then I can at least evaluate the apps and decide if iMovie/iDvd is really the only route to go.

    One final point, I wouldn't mind paying for Vegas, Premiere, or one of the other big boys, if only they would offer a Linux version!

  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @11:45AM (#20071887)

    I'm a skier, been skiing for over 7 years now and (if I dare say it) I'm pretty reasonable. I'm not an expert, but as long as it isn't icy moguls (or moguls for that matter) can handle most of the pistes ... and I enjoy it.

    Now snowboarding looks cool. You can do things you can't do with skis, it certainly looks like fun and you can do some great tricks. So I gave it a go, several times. The problem was that here was I, standing at a resort with my snowboard on and looking at what I could do. The black down the mountain? Nope. The long red? Nope. The winding blue through the trees? Nope. The rubbish green which snakes past the lifts. Well, sort of as long as I didn't mind falling over a bit.

    So here am I, completely unable to go off and explore the mountain because the tool I was using to do it, I couldn't use properly. I hadn't invested the time and the effort to learn and here was I, unable to get the best out of it.

    So what should I do? Spend the next week (and only week of my holiday) falling about on a green run? Or slap back on my ski's and head off and explore the mountain, try all the runs, get to the summit and check out the blacks down the back - plus a little off piste?

    I did what, I suspect, a lot of people did. I put my ski's back on. My weeks holiday in the snow is precious. I don't have the time and money to fly abroad to ski again multiple times a year so in the end I wussed out, picked what I knew was comfortable and that I could do and went with that.

    I rationalise that my holiday was too short to be sitting face down on a green run when I could be taking full advantage of what the mountain had to offer. I did the training and the falling over 7 years ago when I was learning to ski - it's taken me years (literally) to get where I am now and, in one fell swooop, I don't want to go back again to that.

    I think a lot of people consider Windows vs something else in the same way that I consider skiing vs snowboarding.

  • by scuba_steve_1 ( 849912 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:09PM (#20072369)
    Contextual menus are (and have been) a core part of Windows for years. I don't need to hunt down a menu item in some far flung location when I manipulate an object in most Windows-based programs. Instead, I can right-click on it and see what functions are appropriate...and available, based on the object type and its state.

    Here's the rub - adding that functionality to a program is not free. It takes effort. A bunch of effort...especially if you do it well...and if the program allows you to right-click on a wide range of objects. I know. I have developed applications (professionally) for Windows, (cross-platform) Java Swing, and...yes...for the MacOS. Thing is, most Mac users don't use this functionality since the two-button mouse has not been standard...and because Control click is a pain in the ass. Thus, very few Mac application developers exert the extra effort to do a halfway decent job for contextual menus. The same developers know that they MUST do a decent job on Windows since windows users expect this functionality...and have expected it for a decade. Cross-platform apps are the exception...but they are not the rule.

    Feel free to flame away...about how right-clicking is a broken (and ill-advised) UI paradigm...and implies something wrong with the balance of the UI design...but frankly, I disagree...and so do many others.

    Yes, you can buy a two button mouse for MacOS...but it would not change the fact that the code just isn't there in most applications to exploit the second least well. BTW, most Windows users now have three button mice (center wheel click). ;-

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:26PM (#20072783)

    Because everybody other than Windows users would have already picked between OS X and Linux?

  • by bshellenberg ( 779684 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:34PM (#20072931) Homepage
    "If you want a Rollsroyce for a Car you are not going to find many off the shelf parts at your local garage." That's the kicker. When was it decided (and who decided) that a Mac is the Rolls-Royce of computers? Intel, ATI and other parts all from the same suppliers that every other computer manufacturer uses. I guess this is where the reality distortion field kicks in to overdrive.
  • OS X Hands down (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SnapperHead ( 178050 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @12:47PM (#20073213) Homepage Journal
    I switched from using Linux and Windows to OS X when the Intel Macs were released. I gotta say, it has been by far my must enjoyable computing experience.

    I only really used Windows for a few games and certain jobs, I could never really stand using it. Besides all the common problems, it just never felt right to me. I didn't like the filesystem structure, or how MS was trying to be different ... only to be different. Not to be better. I do not enjoy doing non-stop defrags, virus scans, etc. I out right refuse to work with Windows servers, no amount of money will change that.

    Now, on to the Linux world. I have been using Linux for a very long time now. I think its by far the best server platform (for me). However, Linux fails on the desktop part. Lets face it, having access to a billion different desktop managers is nice and all. However, there is gross incompatibilities with config files, for things like bookmarks, menu items, etc. Its hurting Linux more then anything.

    Moving on to the day to day installation of applications, upgrades, installing new devices, etc. Linux is by far the worst, even MS is better in this area. I couldn't image someone compiling video drivers for their kids computer. Every single application has its own way of installing, and they all install differently and in different locations. OS X has by far the best method, either drag the icon from the disk image or run the *standard* installation application. Lets also face it, Linux doesn't have the creative applications that were mentioned in this article. Photoshop, Final Cut, iTunes, etc. (and no, Gimp is NOT a replacement for Photoshop) The fact that Linux is also a community effort is going to hinder its success on the desktop.

    Now, on to OS X. By far a million times more stable then WIndows. Equally as stable as Linux. Shares some of the same benefits as Linux, such as tighter system security, no defraging, no spyware scans, no viruses scans, etc. Where OS X shines is that the GUI is really nice and simple. OS X does have a slight learning curve if you are coming from another OS. However, my grandmother had no trouble getting "on the internet and surfing" where she had never been able to do that with a Windows machine. People complain about that top menu bar, but over time you learn to love it. The dock is also a great way of having your most used applications with quick and easy access. I don't need a giant applications menu. Lets face it, we all have quite a few applications installed that we use once in a while. No need having it in a giant menu.

    Yes, people also complain that OS X only works on Macs. (Sure, some hardware besides Mac works, don't know how well) Guess what, thats a good thing. I think this is the reason why its so stable. Apple knows what hardware it will be used on and how to use it properly.

    All in all, OS X works perfect for me for a desktop and Linux for the server. (However, haven't played around with OS X server yet ... so, dunno yet) Linux has a lot to catch up on and so does Windows. The question is, who is going to catch up first. Without a doubt, I think Windows is dying and going down hill rapidly. I think OS X has a much stronger shot at being the new king.
  • by howlingmadhowie ( 943150 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:28PM (#20073971)
    Charles Stuart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce. the car is called a rolls-royce motor car. henry royce was always adamant that "rolls-royce" was an adjective, by the way. and i have nothing against humouring him considering his contributions to winning the battle of britain.

    a true rolls-royce computer would probably be more like this one anyway: dex.xml []
  • by HTTP Error 403 403.9 ( 628865 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @01:50PM (#20074393)

    A PC and a Mac are actually the same car, except the Mac has the passenger door(s) and the trunk welded shut.
    A PC and a Mac are actually the same car, except the PC needs its windows replaced each week because vandals keeps smashing them in.
  • Re:OS X Hands down (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @02:44PM (#20075301)
    Moving on to the day to day installation of applications, upgrades, installing new devices, etc. Linux is by far the worst, even MS is better in this area.

    So I take it you've never used a package manager before? Linux with a decent package manager (see Debian or Ubuntu) is way easier to manage software installation/upgrades than Windows or OS X. Installing new devices can be tricky in Linux for certain types of hardware but very easy for others and saying Linux is the worst is just plain wrong. Quality of the drivers seems to be a problem in all OS's, especially Windows.

    I have a Mac Pro and am using OS X as my main OS, whereas previously Ubuntu was my main OS. OS X is good, but Ubuntu is just plain better in my opinion. This is not my first Mac, so I'm well past the learning curve. Apple comes close to getting things right, but just doesn't seem to include the last few features that would make things easy for the user. I feel like I work too hard just to get simple tasks done on the Mac. For example, way too much drag-and-dropping things when a keyboard-based approach would be much more effective. The mouse is just not that great of an input device to be the only way to do certain tasks. I don't like being stuck with the way Steve Jobs thinks things should be done.

    I may switch back to Linux (probably Ubuntu) in the future, although I have all my software running fine in OS X and don't eve need to run anything in a VM. Garageband is the only OS X-only app that I am attached to. I love the Dock, but I could live without it. Finder feels like a incomplete product, like an old version of Nautilus. I'm going to give Leopard a chance, but Linux may very well find its way back onto my desktop as the main OS.
  • by attackedbymars ( 951196 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @03:52PM (#20076389)
    I'm a developer who works with a team of around 50, I've noticed a growing trend within the group that more and more of us are switching to Mac's for our personal computers . I made the switch about two years ago and the only thing that I have missed is the PC gaming (though I assume with the new Intel's that issue could be resolved). OS X has allowed me to customize my system to the extent that I choose and having the UNIX backbone allows me to continue to check out OS projects out there, I usually go through [] I still continue to have a separate box for Ubuntu, though I am planning on buying a new Mac Pro desktop in October with the release of Leopard at that point the Ubuntu box will go to the Wife so I can trash her P.O.S (HP Box, she bought it before we were married 'Because it had a pretty blue light'...which I hate). As far as those who "hate" Macs, I just think they haven't given it its fair shot because they might become Mac fans and then have to fork out the $2500...I know its expensive but its worth every penny.
  • Re:I also use both (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lakeland ( 218447 ) <> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @04:42PM (#20077223) Homepage
    Your post is pretty uninformed.

    I have ubuntu at work and printing to samba printing was as simple as adding a printer. I haven't looked at smb.conf on the machine.

    As for mounting shares, I don't really know. I mounted them by editing /etc/fstab at the same time I added nfs shares to my system. Perhaps you'd care to share how you mount SMB shares at boot on an apple? Do you know how to do it in the GUI? Or how you find the shares when they don't turn up magically in the 'Network' tab - command-K followed by the IP address isn't it?

    Firewall is installed on ubuntu, and enabled by default. The lack of open ports on a default install makes this less of an issue too.

    VPN is just as easy to set up on ubuntu as OSX. Actually, I'd say easier. On OSX to add keys for VPN use you have to go into the keychain as root which requires you to go to the terminal and sudo open /Applications/ If your VPN just has a password rather than keys then it hardly counts as private. If your vpn is based on openvpn rather than pptp then OSX is out of date (2.0 rather than 2.1) so you can't get the full performance (2.1 adds better DNS support).

    disk encryption. If I have a zip file with a password then I can click on it, enter the password and browse/edit files on it using a finder-like interface. That seems very like disk encryption to me. I suppose there is no flashing neon-light saying 'disk encryption' though... maybe the next version will highlight it more.

    Sound is largely a fixed problem now, your desktop environment provides a sound server and everything connects to it. Not perfect, but not a problem for normal users. I remember when I used to switch user in OSX and be unable to play sound because another user was using the sound device too...

    Every widescreen monitor I've used with ubuntu has just been plug'n'play, same as OSX.

    I'm not claiming ubuntu is perfect (and I have two macs at home), but it works pretty damn well out of the box. Having all your OS updates in one place rather than just Apple updates available via software update is a huge benefit too. And the same program which does updating lets you add and remove programs. That's how it SHOULD be. Apple's drag to the Applications folder is kinda cute, but now and again it screws up with trying to drag an application out announcing 'permission denied' - WTF, why didn't it prompt me for my password if I don't have permission? Maybe 10.5 will fix that.
  • I just Switched... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ReverseGeek ( 1075181 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @05:08PM (#20077609)
    To Vista from Unbuntu, I could not be happier.
  • Informative? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @05:17PM (#20077747)
    I got exactly one result for this search []: the parent comment.
  • by Doctor O ( 549663 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @05:47PM (#20078105) Homepage Journal

    it would not change the fact that the code just isn't there in most applications to exploit the second least well

    That's simply not true - I use the right mouse button in all applications I use, and I notice almost no differences between my OSX, Ubuntu and Windows boxes.

    Maybe you care to name a handful of applications which fall under your above mentioned category? Maybe I'm just getting you wrong or you haven't even used a Mac much.

    (And about that middle mouse button - I have set it up with Exposé's "show all windows" feature, and that boosts my productivity with a lot of open windows *greatly*. Just middle-click to see all windows and left-click on the one you want to switch. I'm eagerly awaiting an Exposé clone for X11, it just ain't coming...)
  • by helifex ( 921775 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @07:30PM (#20079215)
    You claimed the Mac was cheaper? It's not.

    You claimed Dell didn't sell machines with the Santa Rosa chipset? Not true.

    I never claimed Apple hardware was "stratospherically expensive". I claimed it's slightly more expensive.

    The 17" display is a bit of a strawman argument. Apple only has one model with it and as I mentioned I didn't want it but if I did Dell does sell models with it. Of course reverse this stawman and specify conditions Apple couldn't satisfy.... Where's the model with the solid state drive? it was an option for my D830!

    Why bring up yet another model with a plastic case? My latitude doesn't have one!

    Now with all that out of the way I'll make some claims...

    The apple hardware tends to be good but you can find cheaper alternatives that are more flexible in there configurations else where. It only makes sense to buy Mac hardware if you're going to run their software. If you're not, as was the case for me, it makes more sense to shop else ware.

    Oh by the way... I'm not all that huge of a Dell fan but for this machine the price was right.
  • by astrosmash ( 3561 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:11PM (#20079593) Journal

    ... its quality.

    There's nothing stopping anyone from installing and switching to Linux; the process couldn't possibly be cheaper or more simple. Yet few people try it out, and far fewer people (outside of first-year Comp Sci students) stick with it as their primary desktop. Why? Isn't it time to stop with the excuses and start looking at the software?

    In the mid-to-late 90s, Linux desktop development could have started on one of two paths:

    1. Linux as a true alternative to Windows, for people who don't like Windows.
    2. Linux as a substitution for Windows, for people who can't afford Windows (or just don't like Microsoft).

    Of course, they (Gnome and KDE) went with the latter, the rationalization being that it would be easier for Windows users to switch to a familiar Windows-like desktop. (That it's much, much easier for developers to copy Win95 instead of designing something original is just a bonus, I guess.)

    The downside to this approach is that the Linux Desktop, as a Windows clone, offers few compelling reasons for Windows users to switch. The best the Linux Desktop can achieve is "almost as good as Windows" which isn't much of a selling point for people looking to get away from Windows.

    The bottom line is that the Linux Desktop has not been, and continues not to be a compelling alternative for Windows users, even for those who appreciate having a good bash shell close at hand.

    And it's a shame. Most of the features that compelled me to try out OS X were right there in NEXTSTEP as far back as 1993. Yet both Gnome and KDE decided to model their GUIs off of Windows 95 instead. Because of that, the Linux Desktop is as disappointing to me now as it was in 1998.

  • by NoMaster ( 142776 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:12PM (#20080143) Homepage Journal

    ... 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 ... we should all be quite content covering our genitalia with used burlap sacks, because ... in the end you're just covering your junk, right?
    Although I'm not the OP, yup, I'd agree with that (although I'd draw the line at burlap sacks, because I'd scare the horses).

    What should quality, comfort, style or utility possibly have to do with anything?
    Oh, it should have something to do with it, if a need for it is there - just not everything.

    Look, bs, you're just a person who doesn't mind living life surrounded by inferiority.
    The problem is that a lot of your alleged "inferiority" is not of a necessary practical type, it's manufactured inferiority. Sure, some may need the biggest, latest, fastest, top-of-the-line whatever to perform a particular task - but, if you're grounded in reality you can step back and see that, for any given case, the vast majority don't.

    Of course, it's easy to see that for "everybody else", and much harder to see it for "you" ;-)

    To pick an easy and obvious one, take SUVs and 4WDs. Yup, heard all the reasons why people "need" one - to carry a family of 5, to cart timber and sheet back from Home Depot, etc, etc. Problem is, that's all justification - not a reason, good or otherwise.

    On TV the other night there was a family who's mother justified a 4WD (Land Cruiser, in this case) to carry her, a teenaged son, two toddlers, and shopping. Crap - something the size of a Camry, or even a Corolla, is perfectly adequate for that. Likewise, the Home Depot excuse. I have no idea what they charge for delivery (or even if they deliver!), but let's say $50 for an average weekend's load of lumber, sheet, garden products, and bits and pieces. Even if you were do do that 52 weekends a year, it's still cheaper than buying and running a 4WD!. Hell, it's probably cheaper to hire a 4WD and trailer every weekend of the year...

    Or take computers. Leaving aside the issue of whether or not paying a premium for good quality and pleasing aesthetics is worthwhile (I happen to believe in some cases it is, hence I own 2 Macs...), the truth of the matter is for by far the vast majority of people, a basic 3 generation-old computer is more than adequate. In fact, I'm typing this on my main desktop machine, a 800MHz G4 eMac (the other is the latest MacBook). Sure, specialised users may require 'better' hardware - but the real number of those users is far smaller than the number who think they are...

    No, I'm not advocating some Maoist 'one size fits all' blue boilersuit of a car, computer, clothes, whatever. But I do know that a large percentage - and some studies I've seen put the percentage as high as 90%~95% - of all consumer purchases are unnecessarily overblown. Which means that only maybe 5%~10% of consumer purchases are of a truly logically justifiable and necessary nature. Even if you triple that number to 15%~30% to account for the human need for personalisation and "bling", that's still a lot of time, money, energy, and resources wasted...

  • Cloning UNIX (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:15PM (#20080165) Homepage Journal
    It's really that simple, folks. I defy anyone to show me a way to do any of this so easily with Windows or Linux.

    Carbon Copy Cloner is a wrapper around a command to make a disk bootable, plus a recursive copy.

    That's all cloning *any* single-partition UNIX system takes. Linux is a bit more complex because they don't support single-stage booting so you need to run *two* commands to make a disk bootable, not just one.

    The only reason you need a GUI program on OSX is because getting that "recursive copy" bit right is way too complex and tricky compared with the same operation on any other UNIX.

    And it's a MAJOR step back from doing the same thing on classic Mac OS... *that* was a matter of a single drag in Finder, because they built that "make the disk bootable" operation into Finder. And they *still* haven't been able to make Finder copy all the fiddly metadata they keep whacking onto the side of HFS like a tumor.

There's no future in time travel.