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November 8, 2013

That’s It! I’m Switching to Linux!

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

linux It sounds good to say, but how practical is it? Obviously Windows 8 is completely fubar. I wouldn’t wish it upon an enemy. And Mac OS X keeps dribbling down the same trail; Apple is junking up a nice operating system with useless mobile features. Where does that leave someone who needs a computer? Which operating system is left?

The answer, of course, is Linux.

It’s not the only answer. Multiple operating systems exist. Next to Linux is FreeBSD, which I ran on my old server a decade ago. It’s still a Unix type of operating system, but non-Unix operating systems exist as well — way, way off in the land of obscurity.

And, naturally, I could embrace the past and set myself up a DOS system running my old buddy WordPerfect 4.2 and selected vetusware.

But no, people who swear off Windows and OS X generally have the Linux thought bubble floating above their heads.

I actually muse about Linux frequently.

My PCs are okay as long as I desperately cling to my Windows 7 product keys. The Mac, however, is more dear to me. That’s one reason Apple’s move to lobotomize OS X is of concern.

Look at what Apple did to Final Cut Pro! They took the top program for video editing and dumbed it down to make it compatible with iOS devices. That boneheaded move effectively drove off every user — all professionals. Worse, it showed that Apple doesn’t understand its own market. That’s one reason I sold all my Apple stock months ago.

Hey Apple! The wine-and-cheese yuppie who uses an iPad isn’t the same person as the professional who paid $12,000 for a Mac Pro to edit a major motion picture.

Apple just doesn’t get it.

So I ruminate on the possibilities of migrating to Linux (or FreeBSD) at some point in the future, when Apple assumes I need a bib and a nuk-nuk to use a computer.

Yet I still don’t get all excited — and you Linux fans need not get excited, either.

The big issue with operating system migration isn’t whose flag you wave. It comes down to software. Programs. Apps. That’s what drives an operating system.

The reason I have a Mac is because its implementation of Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator is superior to the Windows version. I use those programs. I need those programs. So I have a Mac in the office. And as far as I know, a release of Photoshop and Illustrator isn’t available for Linux.

Yes, I know about the GIMP and other Linux freeware programs. They’re just not the same.

Still, with Apple regressing OS X down to toddlerhood and eventually into infancy, it may be a decision I make in the future. A forced decision.

And — Hello, Apple? — I won’t be alone.


  1. I too have considered moving back to my namesake. It’s probably not going to happen until Microsoft starts restricting access to the old Win32 APIs, ala Windows RT. My own problems I’ve found aren’t with the software, most things I use on Windows (Steam, GIMP, etc) are already on Linux though I am going to miss Visual Studio. My problems are with Freetype. Yeah, I know about all the font licensing mess and why they can’t do certain things with Freetype or include decent fonts, it’s just annoying that I have to install a few hundred decent fonts and roll my own build of Freetype to make it look nice.

    Comment by linuxlove — November 8, 2013 @ 6:07 am

  2. Apple lost a big crowd when they dumbed down Final Cut. If Adobe dumbs down Illustrator and Photoshop, then maybe something else will take their place and be available on the Linux platform. I know people who’ve made the transition. They’re not newbies, though.

    I like having my options open.

    Comment by admin — November 8, 2013 @ 9:08 am

  3. YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! This is a great day Dan! Ive stopped using Windows entirely with windows 8, I tried it and it was just an insult to my intelligence. You are going to hit it big by writing Linux books because the US economy is going to start faltering as productivity is driven down by windows 8. People are yearning for an alternative and you can provide it. I use Linux and OSX. I dont agree with you about OSX being dumbed down, I dont see much difference between Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion. The only problem I see with Mac is the cost of hardware that is way too much for most users. But the UI itself I think is very simple and basic and still relies on old fashion drop down menus and filesystem browsers. My recommended distro to you is Mint. Mint/Ubuntu is really the easiest to use as everything you need is in the repos and easy to install with aptitude. BSD is actually not bad and has easy-to-use distro-like PCBSD and DesktopBSD. But the problem with BSD is just lack of software compared to Linux. But it still might be a good option for businesses as it is more unified than Linux with its thousands of distros. I look forward to your Linux and BSD books, I can finally start reading your books again as you wont be wasting your talent on stuff like MS Word.

    Comment by BradC — November 8, 2013 @ 10:20 am

  4. I forgot to mention Ubuntu, avoid it as it forces you to use Unity which *is* a dumbed down UI much like win8 or how you would describe the UI of OSX

    Comment by BradC — November 8, 2013 @ 10:22 am

  5. Great info, BradC! I’m quite happy for you and will take your advice to heart.

    Years I ago, I proposed a book that I titled “Fleeing the Microsoft Tyranny.” No publisher was interested, of course. It’s kind of sad because I know publishers who a decade ago would have thought such a book would be cool. Anyway, the goal of that book would have been as you said: Making a smooth transition from the MS-dominated world into the freedom of Linux.

    A lingering question remains, however, which is does Linux run similar software? I think for most folks in an office environment, that’s more than true. Hopefully the software base grows even more in the future.

    May we all flee the Microsoft tyranny!

    Comment by admin — November 8, 2013 @ 10:32 am

  6. To answer your question, yes, the software for all distros is the same in that it is not meant to run only only one distro. The two most popular package manager formats is apt-get and rmp used by Debian (and Debian forks like Ubuntu/Mint) and RedHat/Fedora respectively. So often times people who port their software to Linux will use these two formats as compiling from source is a pain. In my opinion the best format is pre-compiled binaries that you just click the icon and it runs. A good example of this is the Sublime Text editor. I wish all Linux software would be like this. The only thing you have to do is put the binary in your path if you want to be able to reach from anywhere in the console. Ive tried most all the distros, Fedora, Suse, and none of them are as convenient as Ubuntu/Mint because it uses a aptitude that is a graphical repo manager that automatically searches all repos for you instead of having to search websites on the net for software downloads.

    Comment by BradC — November 8, 2013 @ 10:46 am

  7. I should also mention Gentoo and Arch, these are both compile-everything-from-source distros. The entire operating system is installed/compiled from source and the package managers will only install software from source. So these distros insure that only open source software is used which attracts a lot of open source fanatics. These distros are hugely popular, Id say maybe half the Linux users are using either Gentoo or Arch.

    Comment by BradC — November 8, 2013 @ 11:15 am

  8. Now if I look at all that information through a beginner’s eyes, I’d blanch. Distro? Source? Those are scary words. In a world where people rarely update their Windows software I wonder how we can warm the typical user to the thought of regularly upgrading in Linux? Or is the process completely automated?

    Comment by admin — November 8, 2013 @ 11:24 am

  9. This is why I say you should just stick with Ubuntu/Mint. People who use Arch, Gentoo, Fedora are smart enough to fend for themselves. Pretty much everything you would ever use in Linux is in the Ubuntu/Mint repos and installs automatically with the click of a button.

    I know it looks like chaos, but diversity is Linux’s strength. A unified operating system environment like BSD does not encourage innovation as everything that goes into BSD has to be approved by a committee. However almost all the software used in BSD comes from Linux as people have the freedom to try anything and so there are at least a dozen different ways of doing something in Linux.

    Comment by BradC — November 8, 2013 @ 11:43 am

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