01:00 PM

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.

Conclusions: Linux

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.

Linux Fans Respond

For comments and suggestions from Linux fans around the Web, check out Linux Vs. Mac: Linux Fans Respond.

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

Conclusions: Mac

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.

Mac Fans Respond

For comments and suggestions from Mac fans around the Web, check out Linux Vs. Mac: Mac Fans Respond.

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.

-- Mitch Wagner

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User Rank: Ninja
12/25/2013 | 6:55:11 PM
Re: Stop talking about Mac vs Linux, which is the best ALTERNATIVE for Windows?
Vista is dead, and long live Windows 7!

If you make use of commercial applications on the cloud, very often they specify that you need to choose browsers from one or more of explorer, firefox or chrome. Further, the operating system must be either Mac or one of XP, Vista, Window 7 or 8. Sometimes, Mac isn't very well supported. So, maybe there isn't any alternative at all.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/25/2013 | 6:21:10 PM
Stop talking about Mac vs Linux, which is the best ALTERNATIVE for Windows?
Mac and Linux aren't alternatives to Windows, they are both astronomically better than windows. For the love of god stop arguing about which is better. THEY ARE BOTH GREAT. Why dont you do what I do:
  • Hackintosh
  • Linux Desktop
  • Dual 24" monitors for both computers
  • SynergyKM installed on one of the computers so you can use one keyboard to control both computers
  • Mac laptop - also connected to SynergyKM

With this setup there are no software barriers. I run nothing on wine or any sort of virtual machine. There is no piece of software - NO PIECE - that doesn't have a better alternative on Mac or Linux.
  • Microsoft Office - Google Drive and iWork
  • Sony Vegas Pro - Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere
  • Adobe CS - On Mac

Looking at the list above there isn't anything on Linux - except Google Drive, but thats online - ,but what about software and web development. Linux is colossally better for software development and web development - yes not design. The environment is just so much better. And what about web design, well that clearly goes to Mac. 

So I hope people enjoyed my little rant about the Mac vs Linux vs Windows argument - granted it is a little biased. It obviously isn't going to stop the argument, but I hope it makes a few people see sense. Seriously guys my setup is great.
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