Cheating on Ubuntu with a Mac

A love story with a bittersweet end...Ubuntu goes to the friend zone for me.

It started with harmless flirtations with Windows 7.  I mean, come on, it was pretty, fast, stable, and popular. I love Ubuntu, but I'm only human, right? I'm in a committed relationship, but I'm not dead. And have you seen Windows 7's friend? Her name is Office 2010 and, well, let's just say that there are things that she can do that none of Ubuntu's friends can match.

Is it just me, or is it getting a little warm in here?

No harm in looking, though. That's what I always say. And then I can always come home to Ubuntu. She's never given me a virus or communicable disease, she's completely dependable, and she can just go and go and go like a little Energizer bunny. Or penguin. Sure, she's put on a little bit of weight in the last couple years, but so have I and Ubuntu has never looked askance at the extra inches I can pinch. I can trust her and a little bit of bloat is really just extra functionality in her case.

Lucky for me, she even encouraged an open relationship. One night she gave me root and let me install VirtualBox so that I could hang out with Windows 7 and Office 2010 whenever I wanted. They didn't smoke my processors quite the way they did running natively, but that was OK. They tended to get around a bit when they lived on their own, so it was nice to be able to keep them safely tucked away in a virtual machine.

Ubuntu had a nice family, too. Desktop (that's her name) introduced me to Server and Netbook Remix and we had the best times. In fact, Server and I became such good friends that he and I could hang out round the clock. The guy never got tired, never asked to crash, just kept serving up web pages and files with nary a complaint. No matter what happens between Desktop and me, Server will always be a fast friend.

Next: Turns out, Ubuntu had reason to be jealous... »

Ubuntu was only ever jealous of one thing: my ex-OS, Mac OS X. OS X was beautiful, mature, stylish, and wealthy. Like Ubuntu, she kept clean, but was flashy and trendy. Ultimately, I left her because she just wouldn't open up. Ubuntu was an open book and that was incredibly refreshing after a few years with OS X. Her tastes were also so much less expensive than OS X's. I never discouraged my kids from seeing OS X, though. We parted on good terms, although that never settled very well with Ubuntu.

Things all went wrong the other night, though. I took my son to MacBook Pro, one of OS X's nicest hangouts. He needed to do some school work and I knew he could get help there. One look around MacBook Pro, though, and those old feelings started coming back. I tried to resist, to pretend I didn't feel them. The place oozed money and I knew that my bank account couldn't keep up with OS X again. Ubuntu never once asked me for money. I had to get back home to her.

As I was turning to leave, telling my son to take his time and look for something his student loans could cover (he's a film major - where else would he end up spending his time besides MacBook Pro?), OS X sauntered up to me with a friend even hotter than she was.

"Hey, Chris...I think you've met Adobe before, haven't you? She and I work together...I don't mean to be rude, by the way, but your girlfriend's been looking a little GIMP-y lately!"

She laughed rudely as my face reddened. I was about to defend Ubuntu and her remarkably capable, free photo-editing capabilities when Windows 7 and Office 2010 walked up to our little group, smiling their too-brilliant smiles. I looked over at my son for an excuse to leave, but he was busy chatting up Final Cut Pro. Uh-oh.

Next: It's not you, it's me... »

When a slender little application inserted herself between OS X and Windows 7, I knew I was doomed.

"Hi there! Remember me? We met on that Apple Executive Loaner singles cruise a few months back! I'm VMWare Fusion!"

Bloody hell, she was perky. But I do remember those nights with her, OS X, Windows 7, and Office 2010 a few months ago when Ubuntu and I were, well, taking a break from each other. I remember them fondly. Too fondly.

Boy, it's hot in here, isn't it?

I was lost in a moment of reverie. It's funny how I was always happy to install Ubuntu over Windows. Whatever. But I could never bring myself to install Ubuntu over OS X. OS X was just too useful and elegant. It just didn't seem right.

My memories were interrupted by a young man in casually expensive clothes.

"You know," he said, with a twinkle in his eye, "these operating systems and applications don't have to be expensive. I think your son has already found a few things he likes here. Why don't we talk leasing?"

And it was all over. A few lease documents and a security deposit later, it was a done deal. My son was happy, I was happy, and Ubuntu will have all of her fears and jealousies validated. The lease meant that OS X and her friends would be my employees for the next three years. It wasn't like we were getting married or anything and they're tax deductible besides! I was never able to deduct Ubuntu.

It's not like Ubuntu and I won't still be friends (I hope). That night, I told her that it wasn't her. It was me. Both my son and I needed to be able to run software that she just couldn't support.

"I'll change!" she cried, breaking my heart. "You can run whatever you want in VirtualBox! Go ahead, take all the virtual CPUs you need! I can stop whatever services you want and you can take all my RAM for virtual machines!"

I replied sadly, "You know it's not the same...No matter what I do, CS5 will never fly like it does running natively with OS X. We'll stay in touch...You can stay on my desktop and my netbook. I'll even get rid of Netbook Remix - I never really liked him anyway. And Server will still be handling LDAP and web services for me! Please don't cry..."

To Ubuntu's credit, she got back to business, running on whatever hardware I threw at her, no matter how old or decrepit. She even lost some weight and would stick to a diet of LXDE whenever I needed her to. She's really a great friend and I expect she, Server, and I will still be spending a lot of time together.

But when those MacBook Pros get here next week, even Server and I will probably only be talking via SSH for a while. OS X and I will be joined at the hip for a couple of years, I think.