I’ve become one of those recent “converts” – not to one of the coveted MacBooks but to using Linux on my personal and work laptops. I will admit, the Mac is better for a couple of reasons which mostly boil down to “its easer to develop to a small set of variables than to a large set”. What this means is that Mac OS-X has a very controlled set of hardware to run on and the software has very few permutations. Imagine how complex it would be for the new iChat to work across 3 different CPU vendors, 5 flavors of each; a dozen or more video cards; ditto for network cards; ditto for sound cards – you get the picture.
I am quite amazed at how quickly the Linux community takes the best of Mac OS-X and implements it for multiple flavors of the operating system and does its best to tackle the 25,920 possible combinations (12 x 12 x 12 x 5 x 3) <grin>.
They may not get it right the first time and in some cases they may never get it right (but that is usually because the target audience is so small). But the infinite monkeys theory is alive in well in the world of open source and these moneys are smart !
The Mac OS-X showed the world the convenience and fun of the “dock” and 3-D desktops, and “cover flow” and “fan out” and “time machine”. the Linux community was quick to create Avant-Window-Manager, compiz-fusion, and TimeVault.
I still fight with my Linux machines nearly every day – I still can’t get my Thinkpad to suspend and the Blackberry tether over USB as a modem – even with hours and hours of reading and experimenting. I trust they will work one day. Still, I like my Linux laptop. Which what I’ve learned, I am sure I could recreate my new work environments on Windows by why bother – pretty soon, I will have found solutions for my regular necessities (like a decent replacement for “MS Project”). I don’t miss the other office suite programs. My person mail is handled nicely by Thunderbird – especially since Google added IMAP for Gmail – and for work, I can live with the misbehaving nature of Lotus Notes 8 on Linux – it is their first release so they deserve some slack.
I still keep my “Linux lists” such as “things you can’t do on Linux”, “things only a Linux god can do”, “things that should be easy but are not”, … you get the idea.
Linux takes a line from Mary_Schmich’s column published in the Chicago Tribune – “Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements” – in other words, enjoy the results of your tweaking, our python scripts, your bash, your numerous cuts-n-pastes from blogs and forums. Backup your system often. Revert when you’ve made a mess. Assemble the good parts and “show them your Linux” !