Linux Vs. Mac: Which Is The Better Alternative To Microsoft Windows?
If you're a Vista-wary Windows user who would rather switch than fight, should you move to a Linux distro or Apple's OS X? We asked a Mac fan and a Linux advocate to lead a guided tour of each OS.
Linux gives you freedom on many levels: the freedom to tinker, the freedom to work without arbitrary constraints on your system setup, and the freedom to make decisions about nearly every aspect of your system.
That freedom does come at a cost, though -- the cost of a certain degree of effort. I haven't yet dealt with a single Linux install that didn't require me to edit some configuration file somewhere. That said, the amount of effort required to get the Linux system you want (or need) has gone down enormously with time.
If the freedom to use your PC in as unhindered a way as possible is important to you, that's what Linux delivers -- although keep in mind it comes with a learning curve, one that is still flattening out rather slowly.
-- Serdar Yegulalp
If you believe that open source is a moral choice -- and many people do -- then buying Apple is making a deal with the devil. Apple is arguably the most proprietary hardware / software company in the industry, despite Mac OS X's origins in BSD Unix, and the products' compliance with many industry standards.
You think Microsoft locks users in? At least with Microsoft you can buy a PC from a huge number of big and small vendors, or build your own from components. With the Mac, you buy your PC from Apple, you buy your operating system from Apple, and you're also encouraged to buy your mouse, keyboard, display, audio device, and smartphone from Apple, all at an Apple Store where you can get Apple service.
But if you're willing to live with lock-in, Apple is a great choice for computing. Installation isn't a problem -- Apple does it for you. Networking is easy. Productivity is a dream. The Mac offers a broad variety of entertainment options. It's a secure platform. It interoperates well with Windows. It's highly stable, and offers solid backup choices for the data losses that are inevitable on any computing platform.
Right now, Apple is smokin', and its customers are happy. But if the Apple gets rotten and starts coming out with inferior products -- as it did in the '90s -- its customers will have the choice of suffering, or making the painful switch to another platform.
Until then, I'm sticking with the Mac. It's a great computer.
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