If you were to ditch Windows, would you go to Linux or Mac?

If you were to ditch Windows, would you go to Linux or Mac?

Summary: Here's a question for all you Windows users out there. Let's say that you were to switch from Windows to either the Linux platform or the Mac platform, which would you choose?


Here's a question for all you Windows users out there. Let's say that you were to switch from Windows to either the Linux platform or the Mac platform, which would you choose?

[poll id=161]

Here's the odd thing. If I go back five years or so I didn't come across many people who were actively considering making the shift from Windows to another platform. Sure, I knew a few people running Mac or Linux on the desktop but there were usually considered to be deviants (or designers). The handful of people who I knew who were seriously thinking about abandoning Mac for Linux were either hardened geeks or oddballs.

Nowadays things are very different. Not only are more people making the shift from Windows to another platform (and an awful lot more thinking about it), it's both acceptable, and even sexy, to do so. In fact, it's been interesting to see watch how dissatisfaction with Windows XP and now Windows Vista has been the encouragement that some need to look elsewhere.

But what platform should people choose? Free or paid for? Open-source or closed-source?

Here's the pattern that I'm seeing "in the wild". I'm generalizing but I'm finding that people with a basic working knowledge of Windows are migrating to Mac because they perceive it as being simpler and easier Windows. Folks migrating to Linux seem to be those with a really good working knowledge of Windows (and computing in general). While it's far too early for Microsoft to be worried about this platform migration, it should be having a think about why it's happening.

Personally, I'm leaning towards Linux, but I do have to admit that I keep thinking about buying a Mac more and more, especially as we do more video work at the PC Doc HQ.


Topics: Windows, Apple, Hardware, Linux, Open Source

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  • Astute Observation

    [i]people with a basic working knowledge of Windows are migrating to Mac ... Folks migrating to Linux seem to be those with a really good working knowledge of Windows [/i]

    Whilst you describe this as a generalization, I believe that you are probably nearly bang on the money.

    I think that for many people this decision simply boils down to how you purchase your equipment. People with less computing expertise are more likely to want to purchase a computer pre-bundled with an OS that works 'straight out of the box'ish. Clearly in the current market this would be more likely to be a Mac because of the small number of preinstalled Linux options.

    However people who are fairly confident with installing their own OS are likely to go down the Linux route if for no other reason than hardware flexibility and greatly reduced cost.

    I for one would definately choose Linux over a Mac offering because I am perfectly willing to spend a couple of hours building/configuring my own machine if it will save me a few hundred pounds on the purchase price.
    • I agree

      Linux is more comfortable for those who wish to tinker under the hood of an OS though most mainstream distros will install easily these days in far less time than it takes Windows to install.

      (No endless reboots!!!) :-)

      The Mac, while it's beyond doubt, a nice system, comes with a high cost in new hardware and software when migrating from Windows unless there's a purpose for the move. Say Final Cut Pro.

      Another advantage, in a corporate setting, to Linux is that the "control freaks" in IT can do a fairly quick build your own distro for desktops in the corporation where an end user gets what the IT folks think they need and none of the stuff they don't really need. I'm sure they'll just love it once they realize it. :-)

      I moved from Windows to Linux for 99% of what I do years ago and actually found that computing was fun again, twiddling this and that while still being productive. At the same time it opened a whole world of things to me like Python, Ruby, programming editors that do what they're supposed to do, a few headaches and cussing and so on. And, as important if not more important to me, learning!

      I still use XP for one or two tasks.

      I ditched Vista after three weeks of frustration and will wait till SP2, as usual for a new edition of Windows, before even looking at it again.

      The poll, meanwhile, is breaking out pretty much as I expected it would for the readers here, about even for Linux and Mac. More broadly I'd think Linux would be ahead with easily installed products like the Ubuntu distros, Mandriva and SuSE.


    • A lot of hip tech types are also going to Mac. You can run virtually

      everything that is available for Linux.

      So, it is not JUST the sissies switching to Mac.

      Remember, the Mac is our friend. It is the combined share of Mac/Linux that is important if we want a Web 2.0 that is free and open and does not require proprietary protocols and apis.
      • RE:A lot of hip tech types .

        I think that is people who just think they are hip...

        Mac not proprietary ROFL..pass that on over here man...must be some good sh....


        BTW...yes it is just the sissies
        • Well, I know a number of very smart people using Macs, that use the command

          line. Not that people who do not use the command line are not intelligent though. They are just into other things, possibly music and art.

          But yes, there are a lot of things about Mac that are proprietary, but at the same time the kernel and a lot of other things are open source and you can run all of the typical Linux stuff.
          • My personal impression...

            is that anyone trying to sell me a computer with a one button mouse must think I'm just too stupid to handle 2 buttons. I shirk to think what life is like without a 5 button mouse.
            Hrothgar - PCLinuxOS User
      • Maybe both

        I'd be tempted to buy a nice iMac with all the fruit, then run linux on it I wonder why apple won't ship you a mac with no OS?. Maybe use bootcamp to get windows installed if I need it, but I love Macs hardware design, but I hate their proprietry nature for software.
  • I already did, 6 months ago.. to Mac

    and before Linux fans will be disappointed, well..

    I did test many flavours of linux, for many years, i was hoping, Linux would take off! but got tired of waiting.

    I also updated my PC hardware often to be up to date etc..

    But now, I went for looks and silence! and most of my friends either switched, or are going to switch to mac!
    I am no gamer, but then again, buy Wii or Xbox for games...

    Why not Linux:
    lack of software ( i know there are tons.. and tons of linux soft,. but not all so functional!) crappy interface, etc..

    instead of creating many small projects linux developers should get together, and create few,. but well executed programmes!

    I do use openoffice (neo office on mac) but it's just so 90's!!!
    I wish a proper alternative to Office came along...
    • We already did, years ago... to Linux

      Total reliability has become part of office life. When a PC goes wrong it has always been hardware failure. One of the servers is coming up for replacement, purely because of its age. It has never failed in use or had a software related outage.

      The time saved in non-admin combined with the much reduced licencing costs has been a significant financial gain.

      Open Office does not have a fancy interface, but so what? If I need to insert a table or do a spellcheck then I know where the buttons are. Most documents I need or use have been templated and are held centrally on a server.

      We have no need of Microsoft anymore.
      • Exactly

        Running a Debian network with a couple of other distros in the mix and the setup is secure and rock solid. Software is available which enables us to do everything we need/want to do.

        The freedom and power of GNU/Linux is unparalleled.
        Tim Patterson
        • thoughts...

          "The freedom and power of GNU/Linux is unparalleled."

          While the freedom and power may be unparalleled if it takes hours to setup and get it working with all your hardware then one has to ask if its really worth it ? driver support out of the box is limited and if you have to go searching around the internet for the drivers that you need to get the computer to work to its full potential and even then nothings guaranteed. For most users its easier and much more efficient just to use either windows or mac ? at least if something goes wrong on those systems people can call and get support. While they may not be perfect, for most users they?re good enough. And before anyone says anything yes I?ve tried Linux, I have Ubuntu as a duel boot with XP on my desktop as well as a MacBook Pro.
          • You must have exotic hardware...

            ...if it took you hours to set up and get working. I would be willing to bet that Linux supports more hardware "out of the box" than any other contemporary operating system. What exactly did you have all these problems with anyway? Can you name what hardware didn't work from the livecd?
          • Hours to setup????

            I recently installed Ubuntu Linux: it took 20 minutes from start to finish. The last time I had to reinstall Windows took most of the day before I was able to get all the drivers installed and the additional software I use (mysql, jedit, jdk).

            Under Ubuntu you pick it out of a list and click apply. That's it. It downloads, installs and sets up the software automatically.

            Under Window all three steps are separate and different for each piece of software.
          • Nuts!

            The latest Kubuntu distro - Gutsy Gibbon - blew me away
            with its speed and ease of installation. Kudos to the
            amazingly talented team of folks that put it together.

            The distro repartitioned, then reformatted my drive and
            installed without any glitch or hiccup whatsoever.
            Total time was less than 25 effortless minutes.

            Way to go Linux!!!
          • Duel Boot

            How appropriate!
      • We switched to Linux as well

        We have a couple of die-hards in the company who use Windows but all of our mission-critical users are on Linux. Lately, even the Windows crowd is switching to Linux. After you've had to reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows a few times, it gets old.

        Here's the latest output from our server uptime:

        4:26pm up 551 days 23:15, 6 users, load average: 0.14, 0.20, 0.18

        And that is on a $600 box serving 50 clients. No virus. It just works.
    • Why switch at all ?

      Why would you want to leave Windows ? Windows has all the goodies , like malware , spyware , trojans , viruses , and millions of other things that are worng . No other OS has so much , Stick with Windows , or you will regret it , I will get Mike Cox after you .
      • NZ! How sweet of you...

        ...you're a true zealot after all.

        Sarcasm like yours deserves a compliment once in a while.
        • Uh, look again

          That message was not from the incredibly annoying NonZealot, but from
          someone with the handle NoneZealot. You were suckered!
    • Yup, You're right!

      Linux is a heavy disapointment for me, and it's not entirely a Linux problem. I am a power user that designs, writes, and developes apps and such using Adobe products. The products other than Adobe do not support Linux and therefore I can careless for Linux. Yes, I know, a person can use WINE and such, but screw the overhead and Windows both.

      Mac is the only answer for me.