Mac, Windows, Linux...

Let’s open this can of worms, shall we? Just everyone, try and be cool. :cool:

Feel free to elaborate on your choice of OS, version thereof, and if this devolves into an OS war, I welcome it. What’s wrong with spewing a little vitriol toward the lesser OSs? It’s good to get it out, sometimes. Cathartic even.

I’ve been using a Mac since 1991. It’s all I really know. Oh, I became a little curious and experimented in my college years — wanted to know what the other side was like. Decided it was most definitely not my thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

I’m currently using Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard). I have it installed on my main 8-Core 3GHz Intel Mac Pro, and our household MacBook floater.

I also have 3 Mac Minis that I used to use as a render farm. But once I got the 8-core Mac Pro, it so out performed the Minis in rendering power, I handed two of them down to my kids (one in each of their rooms), and the third one is hooked up to my HD Flat Panel TV.


It’s not what I prefer so much as it’s what I use.

I don’t have enough experience with other systems to have a preference. Apologies if that screws up your poll.

Not at all, Qadgop.

Prefer or Use (even if begrudgingly or forced to use at gunpoint). I’m just generally curious what the trend is these days on the Dope. I understand for a lot of people, they probably couldn’t care less. But for me, I make my living using a machine, and it’s got to be efficient, elegant, reliable and a workhorse. Doesn’t hurt to look nice either, as I’m set up in my open living room. :wink:

I don’t really have a lot of actual CONTEMPT for Windows, and have not had in a fairly long time; I don’t think it’s as good as the MacOS but the gist of what I feel sums up as “As long as Windows doesn’t wipe out the Mac so it disappears from the scene, and as long as I don’t have to use it (for more than maybe 1 week per year on some specialized Windows-only task), I have nothing against Windows”.

There are individual things about Windows I absoutely detest but many of them are 90% or more “how I like to work” and no more than 10% “objective”. Like that damn “eat your whole screen” approach to window management and especially the “application window outside your document window / ‘MDI’ / windows-inside-windows” motif. And the way the mouse moves (somehow just not quite RIGHT). A few of them are more genuinely “who DESIGNED this shit??” reactions to the actual architecture (what is this ‘registry’ bs? whaddaya mean I can’t just attach an external hard drive and double-click apps that were installed on it from a different computer and run them? why the hell NOT?’) (‘OK, how come when I double-click this word, the OS is highlighting the characters surround it as well? whose brilliant idea was THAT?’) but…

… mostly the good parts of both operating systems converged. When I did have serious contempt for PCs (and PC users who were stupid enough to CHOOSE a PC when they did have a choice), it was MS DOS and the DOS prompt and the command line and no mouse and no overhead menus and no clipboard to copy info from one app and let you paste into another, and only one app at a time, and a text-based screen, and ISA card slots that meant spending a day trying to add a peripheral…yeesh!

Even in the Windows 95 era, PC users seemed to think installing a WHOLE NEW APPLICATION was major surgery and they were relucant to do so lest it screw up their computer somehow. And they’d erase their entire hard disks and start from scratch every couple years, discarding their own documents and settings and whatever commercial apps and shareware and freeware they HAD installed, and then have to reinstall all that stuff and restore their own docs from backup (sometimes losing some of their own data due to forgetting to back it up)… and they still couldn’t run multiple monitors even at that late date…

… but nowadays Windows users have a more stable OS, they have no fear of installing a couple hundred applications if they feel like it (right?), they can run 2, 3, or more screens just by plugging them in and configuring them in Displays (right?), and except for the stupid registry and the beforementioned silly way of doing windows, Windows doesn’t seem so bad. It’s just not what I’m used to so every little thing that’s different throws me off and slows me down.
As for Linux, it looks interesting; I have not played with it really (although I’ve mucked around with the Unix underbelly of MacOS X and toyed with FreeBSD a little bit) but I can’t really say anything negative about it except that they still need better GUI controls for settings and options.

All right…

I prefer Linux. Except that I also have occasional use for a laptop and Adobe products, for which I use a macbook so I can avoid the horrible mess that is windows. Macs are OK, at least they have some sense of style. Windows is just so ugly and filled with nasty UI mistakes. I prefer linux because of its customizability and programmability and its abundance of “open source” programs. I’m a programmer and can’t stand stuff that can’t be forced to do what I want and I need the ability to take the code and mess with it if that’s what it takes. Both in my work and as a home user.

Also, I don’t want to use my mouse more than absolutely necessary. Windows is a bit better at that than OSX, but Linux (with the right window manager, like ION) is heaven when you want to just use the keyboard.

Added to mention: OSX has a fairly decent Unix base, which makes it easier to port Linux apps to it. Which is a plus in my view.

Agreed 1000%. I can’t think of a single instance when I’ve EVER wanted that behavior. Always had to delete the extra space. What a PAIN.

Aside from that, though, I loved Windows ever since XP. Before that, I started with Apple IIs and then Macs, moved to DOS, then Windows, then played with OS/2, then Linux, then OSX, then ultimately decided to go back to Windows.

OSX would be a close contender if not for its lack of keyboard shortcuts. Vista does and runs everything I need it to, so… no reason to switch. Oh, and I never got over being unable to maximize windows :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, all three of course, as I use them all for different purposes. As a general desktop and development machine, I guess I’d have to go for the Mac, though. Hell, the only thing worst debating is price, and if your too poor to purchase a Mac, then we don’t want you in our club anyway.


Interesting that Mac and Windows are running at an even 50-50 split right now.

As a security guy, I overwhelmingly prefer Mac.

My husband had a Mac laptop and got rid of it a few months ago. Said he didn’t like how it worked vs Windows and sold the Mac and got a Thinkpad running Windows XP. All was well at first, then “Why’s this thing so slow?” I scraped a bunch of malware out of it. Nothing horrible - the usual assortment of ActiveX controls, browser helper objects, tracking cookies, and junk like that. Ran fine for a while, then he got hit HARD with a virus. Wound up having to re-image the drive to get rid of a rootkit.

Now, he wants to go back to Mac. :smack:

If you’re a security guy, maybe you could set it up so that he’s running a Limited User account and you can be the only admin. Should severely limit the potential future damage. And maybe some type of sandboxing, whether it’s Vista + IE in protected mode, a virtualized instance, or whatever Google Chrome seems to have?

Windows security may never be perfect, but it should be possible to secure it enough such that day-to-day usage is slowdown-free.

And yes, Macs are definitely less of a headache in that regard :slight_smile:

Just for the record:
[li]Most menu items have a keyboard shortcut.[/li][li]You can define your own keyboard shortcuts.[/li][li]Control-F2 sets focus to the menubar which you can then navigate using arrows, letters,etc, pretty much like the Windows alt menu functionality.[/li][/ol]
Maybe you meant some other kind of keyboard shortcut, though I imagine Macs have them all somewhere.

I am bi-OS… Maybe even tri-OS.

For web servers, I will always say *nix (which includes Linux/Unix/*BSD).

For desktop machines, I prefer a Mac because I can use the Adobe products, and don’t need to tinker with the OS to run *nix servers & commands (especially find & cut & grep & perl) on my box without installing anything.

Windows is better for games, but I am not into complex shoot em type games anyhow, and it seems games are all moving onto the consoles anyway.

Almost every shortcut windows has, there is an analogy on the Mac. You use your Apple key (which is officially called “command” but I call it Apple) where you’d use control, and you use control where you’d use an Alt - except for a few such as switching active windows (Apple-Tab instead of Alt-Tab). There are also a few extras when you use the Option key (which is sometimes called “alt”). Almost every program on Mac OS X has the shortcut keys the same as windows as well with the Ctrl=Apple & Alt=Control.

Here is apple’s list of shortcut keys.

Windows is catching up!
I reckon if American residents were excluded from this poll then Windows would be way ahead. (For the obvious reason that I suspect Macs are way more popular in their home country than anywhere else, whereas Windows is globally popular)

And when have you ever met a user that didn’t get royally irritated at being limited? It’s one thing to tell an employee “It’s company policy” and another thing to effectively tell a spouse “I don’t trust you” and not wind up sleeping on the couch.

Re: Mac shortcut keys, they’re not the same. Windows handles this in a much superior manner. Specifically, when it comes to using menu items aside from the basic set. Well, except for Office 2007, which is horrid. For the record, I answered Mac and have been using Macs since my SE in 1989, but when I want to avoid using the mouse, I can successfully do so on Windows much, much easier than on the Mac. Oh, yeah, you’ve got to tell Windows show the accelerator key, otherwise you have to hold down alt. Hope Windows 7 doesn’t get rid of always-on accelerator key display.

I haven’t answered the actual poll yet because it really depends. If I’m doing media stuff Macs tend to win out, for the usual obvious reasons. The get a ding though for insisting on writing their own Java virtual machine, which can cause complex systems to occasionally run weird on them (or off them, if you’re writing on a different OS).

For programming, especially in obscure or not well supported languages I tend to use Linux (Ubuntu, specifically). If you’re doing something like C++ or Java - Windows or Linux, meh, doesn’t really matter to me. However, things like MIPS or LUA can be a pain to set up the applications needed to run it on Windows* whereas it’s relatively hassle free in Linux. Dinged, though, for the fact that it’s just not as well supported as the others, and some things can take some real effort to get working right.

For average use I usually use Windows, but that’s just because if I’m not doing anything important I may get the urge to play a game and let’s face it, most games either only work on Windows or only work well on Windows. There are definitely more games out there that work on Macs now, but you may as well go with what gives the least hassle. Also, Windows 7’s interface is surprisingly nice and manages everything cleanly.

And to be clear, yes, I actually do switch between three operating systems regularly, it can get confusing. All in all, not sure I can really pick one of them, since they all have their uses and their things that bug me.

  • LUA, theoretically, should set up easily, but I’ve never gotten a LUA Eclipse plugin for a 64-bit Windows system to run/install properly.

I prefer Windows because Apple’s OS just too slow.

And don’t go on about speed. The OS is an ergonomic disaster and very very slow to work with. Apple does everything it can to make you work slowly, while Windows gives you plenty of options to let you work efficiently. Windows puts its effort into working efficiently, while Apple puts its efforts into looking cool. Prime example: the Apple keyboard and mouse.

Also, in my dealings with Apple, they showed themselves to be arrogant scumbags.