Macintosh vs linux

I’m thinking of getting a new computer sometime next year. Which is better?
A macintosh or a PC running linux? I’m not even considering Windows.

This probably belongs in the IMHO forum.

A short, opinionated response: the Mac is a slicker, more smoothly running package, with the hardware and the OS making a nice wedded pair. A PC with Linux can be an awkward and frustratingly inconsistent experience for newcomers, but on the other hand is dirt cheap.

Really, this will all depend greatly on what you want to do with your computer, and how much money you’ve budgeted. Let us know about that, and I’m sure you’ll get lots of advice.

Depends on what you mean by “Better.”
A Mac is going to be easier to set up and easier to get software for. A Linux box is probably cheaper. I think most people would agree that OS X has a better UI than Linux.

Which is better? Define better. In other words, you need to determine your needs and requirements. Note that the Apple system is almost certainly going to be more money than a Linux box. And it also matters how much experience you have with Linux.

I work at a supercomputing institute, and all of the big iron machines run Unix. Most of the Unix admins have Macs. Since we have scientific software that runs on Windows servers as well, instead of buying several different machines, I have a mac running Parallels with windows and ubuntu. And others load other flavors of linux on their parallels, even though the OS is built on a BSD kernal.

High end users use PCs. Really high end users use Macs. It just gives you more options. And I can bring my laptop home and let the kids use the GUI friendly OS. Geeks that rip on macs crack me up.

Downside. They be pricey. I recently saw an article where they built a imac knock off for half the price. but that me be more geek than you are looking for.

Ok, what more options does the mac give you vs linux?

It give you OS X and all that goes with it - all of Apple’s iLife Apps, their professional Video editing and photography apps, and all the thousands of third-party programs. You can also compile run most open source applications.
Linux, while inexpensive and fast, is missing some major productivity applications - Photoshop, and Office, for example. Although there are open source replacements, none of them are quite “ready for prime time.”

As Carmen mentions, the MacOS is built on a Unix base. It also comes with X-Windows. Therefore, most of the freeware you can get for Linux you can also get for the Mac. On the other hand, applications that run on the Mac will not normally be available for Linux.

Also note that you can buy a Mac, partition the internal drive, and make a dual-boot machine that can run both operating systems. If you already have the money for a Mac, that might be a good way to go.

Ok, that sounds interesting.

Here’s the thing: Linux is great (especially Ubuntu), but you really need to be prepared to dive into config files and the command prompt if you want to do anything at all unusual. If you want something that Just Works, you’re better off with a mac. I’ve used both, and liked both, but I use a mac for law school, because I don’t want to be mucking about in ./etc the night before an exam is due.

I’ll agree with everyone else on this. I tried puttering around with Linux for a while, since I like the power and flexibility of Unix, but I just sort of puttered out. I don’t have enough time and/or interest to really do up a computer well with Linux. When OSX came out, though, I jumped on it: Now, I can do day-to-day stuff easily and without thinking about it, but when I do want to get down under the hood and play (or work) with the Unix tools, I can.

There is a price difference, but it’s not as big as you may be led to believe. An off-the-shelf, everything-included Mac that you might buy from someplace like Best Buy is only slightly more expensive than an off-the-shelf PC system of the same quality. Where the real difference in price comes in is if you’re willing to put together a system yourself, from parts: A PC from parts is a small fraction of the cost of an assembled system, but that option isn’t really available for a Mac. Again, though, it takes time and know-how to do that: I built my own computer once, and it built character, but in the future, it’s worth the extra money for me to just buy a finished product.

And with virtualization software like Parallels, you can run Mac OS X, Windows, OS/2, Solaris and any distribution of Linux simultaneously - without rebooting.

Neither - a PC running Vista is better than both put together. :rolleyes:

But seriously, if you have to ask, the answer is definitely Mac.

That’s quite subjective and I’ve met quite a few people (myself included) who recoil in horror at the thought of using Mac OS X UI.

For me,
[li]having the menu at the top is retarded.[/li][li]the three magic balls that don’t quite quit, don’t quite minimize and don’t quite maximize make no sense and make think of the “three seashells” in Demolition Man. [/li][li]the interface is less skinnable/changeable than Windows, which is qutie an achievement[/li][li]some applications tend to lack root windows and crap their own little windows all over the desktop, because that’s the Apple way, I s’pose. Although Linux has its share of those as well[/li][/ul]

have to agree with many of the posts here, if you have to ask go with OS X. I’ve run many different machines, from Free BSD to Red Hat (never ran Ubuntu though I’ve heard good things) both of which I had to get rid of cause I shared a computer with my mom at the time and she absolutely HATED anything that wasn’t windows (seriously. I got them to buy a Mac when the G5s came out, though, and after 6 months they yelled at my brother and I for not making them switch sooner, hehe). I used to keep a desktop PC running windows specifically for games, only excuse you can really give to run windows, though it was a machine I built myself from the ground up so it cost quite a lot less, and I had a powerbook on the side.

When I moved to Japan, though, I sold my car (which was a junker) and bought a powerbook. I’m a huge OS X fan, and it’s good to note it’s built on a BSD kernal. You can also use bootcamp to easily partition the drive and run a dual boot with either windows or linux (or have three OS’s, if you’re crazy). OS X’s UI has some problems, I’ll give ya that, it’s not quite as customizeable as I’d like but definitely enough to get the trick done.

when all’s said and done, macs are just easier. If you’re not comfortable diving into command prompts and such (even if you are you can still do it in OS X) than definitely go for a mac. This is all given the fact that you won’t be using it as a gaming box

I’m in general agreement with the consensus here. I like all three OSes - Windows because it’s easy and ubiquitous, OSX because it’s slick and functional, Linux because it’s free and surprisingly powerful.

OSX is actually quite similar to Linux under the bonnet (being based on BSD), but if you have to ask, OSX is probably the better choice, if only because it typically requires far less mucking about to get a new bit of hardware or software working than Linux, which can be a total pain at times. The downside is: that convenience has a price tag.

It’s there for an objective reason. Moving the mouse to hit a menu at the edge of the screen (not necessarily the top) is faster and easier than trying to hit one in the middle of the screen, like along the top of a window.

It also allows an application to be open and available for running commands, without there needing to be an open window to represent the application. Not that that’s the only way to achieve this.

The first one means “close this window”, not “quit the application”. The second means “put this window in the Dock”, which it does. Isn’t that pretty much like putting the window in the taskbar — the behavior on Windows?

As for the third button, it means “make this window as large as is reasonable”, where the application defines what is reasonable. This usually means that it won’t cover the whole desktop (as on Windows), because that’s usually overkill — especially with todays’ large and high-resolution displays.

I’ll give you this one, though personally I’m not interested in skinning the interface. I can see that other people are though.

I use all three pretty competently, and you can throw Sun into the fray, too (our CDE is like Linux 15 years ago: ugly).

I spend a lot more time using Windows than anything else, because that’s what I have at work. When I go home, I use a Mac, because it’s what I prefer. It has nothing to do with being “easier” (which I guess it is), because I can do anything in any of them anyway. Probably it has a lot to do with being less frustrating. No stupid tray icons flashing at me. No autohiding of tray icons. No nagging that my firewall is unmonitored. No stupid hand-holding when I want to make a network configuration change. Thousands of other examples. The succinct answer is, Mac OS X doesn’t drive me crazy like Windows does.

I do have a Linux server in the closet. It only reboots during power failures. I hesitate to make Linux my full-time desktop because of commercial application availability. I don’t give a crap about The Gimp; I want Photoshop, and I don’t want to run Wine/Cider/Cedega, whatever. I do run Parellels on my Mac though, but the difference is the Windows image is just a single, disposable file that I can trash instead of kernel modules and thousands of file spread throughout /etc/usr and so on.

In my experience with Macs the “Just Works” thing is a load of rubbish because when it doesn’t just work for whatever reason it’s a royal pain in the ass to fix. Apple simply doesn’t provide adequate tools to do system configuration for diagnosing hardware. Luckily osx comes with a copy of the linux/posix command line tool dmesg.

This can be a big problem when you consider some manufactures don’t provide mac drivers.

Plus you have to install 3rd party programs to browse some folders because apple gives you no way to access them.

The final nail in the coffin in my opinion is finder is a complete load of trash to do basic file management. It lacks up buttons (thanks to vista not just a mac flaw anymore), it lacks an address bar and until you find the obscure option to enable bread crumb it doesn’t even tell what bloody folder path you’re in.

All and all I found the experience of OS X to be very constraining.

GUI friendly?