Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Linux, Windows or Mac Which Should I Use?

I see people's eyes rolling already. LOL!!
Nope! This isn't going to be a Linux, Windows, Mac is the best post.
Quite the opposite. I'm going to explore a bit of human nature.
Uh-Oh! LOL!!

People that personally know me will tell you I have turned into a very vocal proponent of Linux. This coming after many years of my using Windows.
I have also been exposed to Mac's many years ago because of their (At that time) awesome music editing capabilities. 32 track editing was unheard of on anything other then a Mac.

So as I go on my mini crusade I come in contact with many computer users and several OS's.
I always manage to get a comment in about Linux. Some people are interested and some aren't. Others become vocal that the OS they are using is the best. At an earlier time I would have launched a major attack defending Linux and why it is better. But age and maturity now come into play and I now look at all the parts of the equation.

The OS a person is using may be the best for them in terms of available software and comfort level. I'll be getting back to the comfort level but for now let's look at the software point of view.

If a person is a gamer then there is no denying that Windows is the OS of choice. It has the most titles available for it and has software specifically written for it. So talking about change for these users is pointless.
Also, many software titles are written for Windows only and the user may not have a choice.

Mac users are in a class of their own. Many Mac users that I have known have either used Mac's for audio editing, publishing or graphics. Many of your graphics designers and schools teaching graphic arts only use Mac's because they render color graphics with a quality unmatched by normal PC's.

And then we have the Linux users. Some people describe these users as geeky.
I prefer the term 'curious'. We tend to try stuff that most wouldn't. And we like the sense of security we have because of the way Linux is designed.
We enjoy the multiple flavors of Linux that are available to us. We like having choices.
But all isn't perfect. We have plenty but we still lack in some areas as do all the other major OS's. Nothing is 100%.

As I mentioned earlier there is also the 'comfort' level. Many people have been using Windows for as long as they have been using a computer. It is all they know. They use the same applications and software day in and day out. The click here, type there and that is how it works.
They feel comfortable and at ease with what they are using. Even the mention of using a new piece of software let alone a whole new OS will send waves of fear through them.

Many readers will know what I am saying. Just take a look at Office 2007 and how it's redesigned interface and options sent screams down the hallways that could be heard through the locked doors of the IT department.
"It's not like I had previously used!!"
"I can't use this! I want the old one back!"

We have infringed on the user's comfort zone. We have shook their world and now they are scared.
And this is the same reaction I see from many users when I mention Linux.
Some have never heard of it while others say they have heard it is very hard to use.

That last comment is probably a carry over from the early days of Unix. Many people use Unix and Linux like they are the same, but they aren't. The days when there were no GUI's, Desktops or routines that scanned your hardware and installed the proper drivers. Those were the 'Dark Ages' of Linux. Today it is a very polished alternative for many users but not all users!

For the graphic artists, gamers or users that have no alternatives to their proprietary software, Linux is not a viable alternative as a replacement OS.
But for the web browsing, power email forwarding user, Linux is an excellent and secure alternative.
For the person who is curious, not satisfied with few choices, doesn't want to spend a bundle on software or wasted time on scans and updating then Linux is something you may want to look into.

If your happy and in your comfort zone then stick with what you are using.
I'm not even going to suggest a Mac user to fully convert. They know where the stand and already have an adventurous spirit.

If you don't mind trying alternative software, feel adventurous and want to learn a little then give Linux a try. You may smile again.

But no matter what OS you are using it doesn't matter here. Everyone is welcome and if you feel like it, you can expand your comfort zone a bit.



Madness Reigns said...

Excellent post!
I personally love Linux and Open Source software in general.
However as a musician who uses apps like sony acid pro,fl studio and guitar rig,i'm stuck with using windows just for them.great strides are being made in the linux audio department but its just not there yet so i use my linux laptop for everything but the music and it works great.soon i hope to see apps like lmms and wired become as good as their window counterparts.until then its both and that is fine with me.

TaZMAn said...

Hi Madness!
Like you blog.
I'm in the same boat as you. I still have a second computer with XP on it that is my music studio.
I have Cubase and a lot of Akai sample disks. The Linux Sampler project is doing a great job but still has much work to do. Once some of this software matures I will hopefully be able to convert everything to Linux.

But until then I have no choice but to use XP. I keep it off line so that I'm not bothered by updates and anti-virus scans.

Take it easy and keep the beat going.

rokytnji said...

I prefer the term 'curious'. We tend to try stuff that most wouldn't

That's me to a T. I customise everything I own. Stock has never been the norm for me.

I like Madness Reigns blog to.

Enjoyed your inciteful post there TaZ.