Sunday, November 10, 2013

Testing The Waters

I've been a Mac user since 1999 when I bought my blue and white G3 powermac tower. The user experience on mac has just always made sense to me. I can still recall the pains of switching from a Windows machine to OS 9 back then. Giving up certain applications (mostly games) and sustaining a lot of mockery from different individuals who were a part of my life at the time. The truth was that the pros greatly outweighed the cons, and I soon found myself (in 2002) an employee for Apple, working the inventory at a local store for over eight years and promoting a computer I believed in. I bore witness to the some of the most amazing years Apple had. The evolution of he iPod, the birth of the iPhone and iPad, the switch from PowerPC to Intel, and the swarms and swarms of new users that soon ditched their Windows machines the same way I had back in college. It was a great time, but I always had a funny little secret. I always had a special place in my heart for the underdog, and Apple certainly fit that bill, but there was someone a little more underdog than even Apple was, and that someone is Linux.

I toyed with Linux a lot over the years, but I never actually switched from Mac. OS X was too perfect, to reliable, and Linux was a lot of effort. I also faced the same issues I had when I turned my back on Windows; a lack of software and a group of people who found my interest in an open source OS to be rather comical rather than realistic.  Still, I'd visit the distro websites and stare at screenshots, and read about the latest developments. I even contributed wallpaper designs and icons to some of the art communities. I saw Linux as the future of computing and wanted to ride that wave the same way I had with Apple. I figured then that by now I'd be a full fledge Linux user, but the timing was never right. The planets were never quite aligned enough to encourage me to make that switch. To once again jump ship and start over again. The time was never right until now.

I've always loved OS X. It's the best OS out there. Windows can't even touch it with dependability and usability. Sure there are advocates on both sides, but I'm not here to argue that. OS X is king now, and there's really no denying it. So why switch to Linux? Why give up the best? Because the best isn't what I need right now. The best is passing me up. OS X Lion took my four year old Macbook (now five year old) and made it feel like a piece of ancient history. Mountain Lion and Maverick don't even install on it. My beautiful discount on Apple products is long gone now that I've moved on to a new job, and the ability to buy a new computer just isn't an option for me right now. Besides, the features past Snow Leopard were the beginning of the end for me. It seemed like Adobe Systems had suddenly become the developers of OS X. The new features began to feel bloated, redundant and nearly useless. Not everyone would agree with a statement like that, but for me it was like giving up a fast and powerful OS for the ability to look at my applications in thirty different ways. All these extra processes felt a bit bloated and began eating away at my RAM to the point that I can't even load my Facebook feed without the browser stalling, and all the graphic intensive programs I had once run perfectly under 10.6 now lagged and stuttered with disapproval at their allotted processing power. It's been like this for over two years now. I've had enough.

I began the process my weening myself off OS X.  I began looking at new sources applications that I knew I could utilize on Linux and began using them instead. I will say I have never found a replacement for Pixelmator (The GIMP isn't even close so shut up), and I'm not pleased to let it go, but everything else I do on my computer can be done, on Linux. So tonight I downloaded a couple of distros to test out and I decided to log my experience here. I downloaded both Ubuntu and LinuxMint, but for tonight only ran Ubuntu off the DVD I created from the ISO. It was a nice little test and enough to convince me that Unity is pretty much useless. It's a good try, but not for me. It was a little strange to think I would not be going with Ubuntu (and I guess that could change in time) because I always saw it as the closest distribution to OS X, but there is just something about it that even with my past installs on older machines made it seem like it just isn't happy on a piece of Apple hardware, and since all I have is an aluminum Macbook, I need to find something that is.

An install DVD of LinuxMint sits next to me as I type this and I'm anxious to get it installed. I've been spending a lot of time backing up my files, pictures and music (on both clouds and local hard drives) so that if all fails I can go back to 10.6 and save up for a new Macbook Air or something. I've also been involved in NaNoWriMo and so time is limited, but I suspect I'll have a new post soon of my experiences with LinuxMint on my machine.

MacBook Specs are 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo w/ 4GB of 1067 Mhz DDR3 Memory.

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