Is OS-X worth the hassle?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sahee, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Sahee, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    Sahee macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2012
    Hello MacRumors Community,
    I am 21 years old an a Student of Computer Science, I live in Germany. I have been working with Windows Computers for about 12 years and in this time I rarely discovered any real problems but after this years WWDC I am about to switch to Macintosh. Especially the "Retina" Macbook has really caught my eye and it does not only look beautiful but it does perform like a solid desktop computer, in my eyes it is the best consumer laptop ever created.

    The reason for writing this little essay is that I am unaware of the problems that could be caused by switching my main operating system from Windows to Macintosh. I already own a Desktop Computer which could be pronounced best by calling him a "Gaming-PC" but it is not only capable of playing the latest games but although pretty fast when it comes to memory intense program processes.

    ...lacking the needed Software I have yet not been able to do some serious Video editing on my windows PC and I would like to change this in the future. I-Life would be a pretty good start and I could use those software for learning the basics while afterwards I could switch to more demanding "pro" Software.

    Anyway, there are potential problems which have yet prevented me from making my purchase. The main problem is the software incompatibility between mac and windows. What would happen if I create a Video on my Mac by using I-Movie, could I copy it on a external hard drive and use it on my windows computer with another Software (for example MovieMaker)... or I write something on my Windows Computer using Microsoft Word... could I transfer it on my mac and continue writing (I assume that this is possible)? Generally I wonder which potential problems could await me when I use both systems coexistent.

    I know that there is Pro-Software like "Final Cut Pro" for MacOS and that is why this is a really important factor to me... when I create a file on my Mac/Windows PC... is there a way to use the exact same file (data transfer) with another Software-Program on the opposite System?


    85% of all Computer users are using Windows. This would not really bother me If I would not be a Computer Science Student. It make no sense to program on a mac computer when I have to make my programs compatible for Windows PCs afterwards, which could lead to bugs and errors in daily usage. I've yet need to program big algorithms... but sooner or later I will. The big concern regarding this problem is that I am not able to install MacOS on my Windows Computer to make this whole process a little bit easier.


    Actually it is really bothering me that I cant even install a MacOS Partition on my Windows PC (Eclipse or other VM's are not the answer). Windows can be installed on a Mac... so why is it not possible the other way around? The whole wallet garden concept is really leading me towards Linux and its freedom but I've tried Linux before and it is not really user friendly (I already had a hassle to install my printer driver on Linux)... it seems like every Operating-System got its problems.


    I have enough money spare to buy a Retina Macbook. Anyway, I wonder if this decision could lead to problems regarding software compatibility in the future. I really like the Usage of MacOS and I want to try it... but the wallet garden concept bothers me. Mac's are really well made and everyone I know never had any problems with a Mac. The professors I have although use MacOS (on a Mac) except my physics prof who declared that apple is nothing but a "foul fruit".

    Maybe I should just stay with windows and use Linux for programming... but I don't want to feel like have missed something really big as the Retina Macbook in my eyes is the best laptop for consumer usage ever created... and it runs with MacOS. Basically I have waited on Apple to create such a Laptop for giving me the arguments to switch to Macintosh...

    It would be sad if I really happen to buy a Asus UX31 with Linux instead but I personally imply that it maybe would be the better decision in terms of usability. As my laptop should be as thin as possible (I will carry it around pretty often) I am forced into Ultrabooks/Air or the compromise called "Retina-Macbook" which is the only one which is able to do some serious video editing.

    So my options are:
    Apple Retina-Macbook with Macintosh (MacOSX) + Windows
    Apple Air-Macbook with Macintosh (MacOSX) + Windows
    Asus UX31 with Linux + Windows

    I hope that some serious mac users can help me in my standing and I am open to other suggestions.
    Regards, Sahee.


    As English is not my native language I am hoping that my actual problem was well explained and I excuse me for any writing errors.
  2. daleski75 macrumors 68000


    Dec 10, 2008
    Northampton, UK
    You have raised a few points so let me try my best to help you out.

    1. Compatibility between apps on OSX and Windows is a non issue now and using your example you would export the movie as a h264/Mp4 which can be loaded into any video editing software on windows.

    Apps like Microsoft Office are available on both platforms and are 100% compatible for editing all kinds of office documents.

    2. Bootcamp would give you the ability to partition the disk and have a native windows installation to run all your must have windows apps which are not available on OSX or you could use VMware or Parallels to create a VM running on top of OSX.

    3. If you want to transfer files between Windows and OSX seemlessly then the VM route would be easier and you could if you wanted to map all mac volumes to windows or to mirror your home folder on your VM

    I have used mac's for many years and have to come across something on Windows which I cannot open on OSX.

    I hope this helps.
  3. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Your English is pretty good. Much better than some native English speakers. Program and file compatibility is very good between the two platforms. You can edit and export a video in iMovie an re-edit it in MovieMaker. You just can't open the iMovie project as iMovie is Mac only. There are many things for Mac that can open and edit a Microsoft Word document. The most common is Microsoft Word for Mac, part of the Office for Mac suite. Another is Pages from Apple's iWork. I think the worst problem that would arise when using the two platforms is wishing one had a feature the other has or forgetting which you're on and trying something that doesn't work.

    You can legally run Lion in virtual machines, but those machines must be run on a host Mac. Apple doesn't want incompatibility issues or licensing issues when it comes to running a virtual machine of Mac OS X.
  4. daleski75 macrumors 68000


    Dec 10, 2008
    Northampton, UK
    Also to add to this there are some other fringe benefits of using mac's

    1. little to no chance you'll get malware or spyware (caveat no operating system is 100% secure against user error)

    2. No nagging prompts telling you every single time you connect to wireless or it finds new hardware.

    3. Uninstalling applications is as easy as dragging the icon into trash

    There are many more benefits and if you hate it you could always run windows 100% of the time and still have an excellent laptop.
  5. Sahee, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    Sahee thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2012
    Thank you both, my initial problems seem to be a "no-brainer" ;).
    I will make the Mac purchase!
  6. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2011
    There are a lot of people who have switched from Windows to Mac OS (I'm one of them). It is very rare to hear them switching back. I bought my first Mac about 18 months ago. Now we have NO running Windows machines in my house (we still have two old clunker laptops but they're literally in storage).

    OSX will take some time to learn and in the first few months you will experience some frustration for things that don't work like Windows... I wanted a minimize all (show desktop) button SO BAD, but eventually you get used to the way it works. Its better in a LOT of ways. Equal but different in many ways, and there are probably a small handful of ways where Windows is better. But often those features will be added to the next version, or, there is a 3rd party app to take care of that.
  7. Hidendra, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    Hidendra macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    i'll be entering computer science in the fall (and have been regularly programming in Java for the last 6 years), and went OS X/RMBP without regret. The fact that you have a linux environment ready to go (unix and all) is a very good thing about Mac and why I chose it -- I much prefer a useful terminal over a useless terminal (cygwin/other variants don't have full support for ANSI colours everywhere, etc).

    If you're like me and are tech oriented, we both can cope just fine with change and enjoy it. Your most used apps will have good replacements, and some will be even better (for example, its only been a couple days but now I much prefer Mail over Thunderbird).

    If I need Windows, Parallels seems to be very very good. Compared to some other programs I've used, Parallels is extremely good with windows -- if you need to fire up visual studio or something in this, you won't have a need to boot camp, parallels will be able to run it at native speed just fine.

    I can't comment on video/photo editing (I don't touch that stuff with a ten foot pole) but the others have touched on it quite nicely already ;)
  8. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    You do not use H.264, if you edit the videos on both platforms, because the available H.264 codecs are not lossless.
  9. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    As a long-time windows users, and former IT pro, I switched to mac (still uses windows on occasion) a couple years, and few thousand dollars ago.

    As much as I'm enjoying my rMBP, my advice would be to stick with windows.

    Seriously. This may seem a little tongue and cheek, but getting into the Apple product carousel is a very expensive hobby. I feel like the vast minority of mac users here are the ones that buy a macbook and keep it for 7 years until the wheels fall off. Most of us are here every day, and getting excited about the latest and greatest shiny products. When I just had a plain old windows gaming desktop, I wasn't nearly as crazy about having the latest and greatest, I spent a lot less money, and I wasn't any less satisfied with my computing experience.

    I got onboard with some of the same rationale, too. I need to get a mac so I can get serious about video editing! Well, that was back when FCP was still the gold standard. I still use FCP(X) every day, but you don't need a mac do do serious or respectable video editing these days. You can get Sony Vegas Movie Studio cheap and it'll do everything iMovie can and more - and of course more and more professional video editors are migrating to Adobe and Avid.

    I'm sure I'll get some flak for this quasi-tirade, but I would honestly recommend just sticking with windows. Apple marketing is great, and their products are fantastic, but make no mistake, it is a vortex of obsession and expense, and I honestly can't imagine you ever regretting sticking with windows, especially as an IT pro.

    Just my $.02 as a guy would would be a lot richer had I just stuck with windows hardware two years ago. Best of luck :)
  10. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    Now a regular person, I probably wouldn't nitpick about this, but since you said you are going into CS, I figured I'd point out that OSX is not Linux and is not based off of Linux. I'm pretty sure it was based off the BSD architecture. Both are UNIX-based though.
  11. Hidendra macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    indeed, i did not mean it was linux ("unix and all") -- just a more obvious comparison :)
  12. TickleMeElmo macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2012
    What are you developing in as a CS student? Java is cross platform and a lot of programming is going into that these days (which I think is regrettable from an educational standpoint). C compilers are part of the UNIX shell, and if anything it is easier to write in C on a OSX than it is in Windows where you have to either install Cygwin (sudder) or something else.

    If you are a student most software isn't going to be written with retail in mind. It will all be developmental stuff in basic languages. However, if you do need windows your University/School will likely have MSDN subscriptions and you will be able to get a copy of Windows for free.
  13. NMF, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    As a fellow student of Computer Science and ex-owner of many powerful gaming rigs, I believe that OSX is absolutely worth the "hassle." There are many things about OSX that will seem really weird when you switch from Windows (installing and uninstalling apps, for example) but it doesn't take long to learn. Especially since you're already extremely knowledgeable on Windows. You'll simply need to Google something and then say to yourself, "Oh, so the Mac does it like that." That's all.

    It's pretty painless really, and absolutely worth it for the stability of OSX. Not to mention the compatibility with iOS devices. To be honest that was my main reason for making the switch. I had a bunch of iPad apps that I used for school and they all had Mac apps as well, but not Windows. In the end it was worth it to just pay the extra money and make my life easier. That's really the Mac in a nutshell. Pay extra money and make your life easier. For me it's an easy choice to make.

    Also, you need to have a Mac to develop iOS apps, so if that's something that interests you then the Mac is probably a solid choice.
  14. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    As for OS X, you have to try it, I know some PC users who loved it while others hated it. If your a power PC user, OS X will feel more restrictive, anyway, try it and see what you think.

    It sounds like you are going into video editing, and you said you have a beefy PC gaming computer, to be honest, that is going to be better at the task then the retina display MBP. The grunt of the CPU/GPU in our PC will take heaps of time off your video workflow.

    I used to have a Mac Pro, before Apple decided to updated them every 3-4 years, so have switched to PC for editing/encoding, it a hell of a lot cheaper especially if you know how to build a gaming PC and overclock it.

    Others may not like my suggestion, but I say you hackintosh your current PC and see how OS X works out for you, seems like your technically minded.

    If you just want the sexiest laptop there is...... get the retina, at worst you can just run it in Bootcamp, though I htink you will like OS X. And if you doing computer science, knowlegde of OS X will be a bonus.
  15. Dronac macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2012
    I'm a CS grad student and I use OS X primarily for my programming. Though my work is mostly in Java, the libraries I am using for thesis work were written specifically for OS X and don't work on Windows. Additionally, it's much easier to set up a Xbox Kinect for programming in OS X then it is in Windows (irony at it's finest). I also find OS X overall far easier to use for everyday tasks, and I like being able to take a break from the annoyances and bugs in Windows. Finally, OS X gives me a Unix environment to play around with when I feel like it. OS architecture wise, I prefer the way Unix/Linux handles things like directory style, the registry (or lack therof), ect.

    I also use a Windows desktop that duel boots to Linux. I like knowing my way around a wide variety of OS's.
  16. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I think that this is a good choice and that you will be happy. As others have mentioned, you can always use boot camp if necessary.
  17. takeshi74, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    As a long-time Windows user and a current IT pro I recommend deciding based on your own specific needs/wants -- ideally trying out the option(s) that you haven't tried out to make the decision. Trying to lump large groups of people into "best suited for Win" and "best suited for Mac" piles is a fairly pointless endeavor.

    I'm sticking with Mac. I'm happier with it and I'm going to try to defend my decision making or refute another person's. Preferences and situations vary even among people within a particular subgroup. The next person could take an entirely different tack.

    Again, more of a subjective matter than Mac versus Win. There are certainly countless Win fanatics who obsess over the latest and greatest shiny products. The RMBP's are nice but I'm happy sticking with my early 2011 as it provides a much better experience for me. Be careful attempting to extrapolate trends from a single data point (i.e. your preferences in this case).
  18. Sahee, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    Sahee thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2012
    You've got a point... my main goal was to use all operating systems to get me some serious knowledge but as I can already make video editing on my desktop PC (I only lack the required software) it maybe would be the best to stick with a "cheaper" Macbook Air configuration to get my hands on MacOS, I seriously need to visit an apple store to make myself a real opinion.

    As Hackintosh is not an option (I want to program on a 100% working surface)... the only way to work with MacOS is to buy a Mac.

    I really do not think that Apple Products are heavily overpriced, the Macbook Air 13inch (256GB-SSD) for example costs 1360€ when I use my education discount and I get a 80€ Gift for the Appstore. The Zenbook 13inch UX31A (256GB-SSD) costs 1400 Euro and while it has a 100Mhz faster Dual Core CPU....the MacAir comes with more useful Windows PC's with the same Manufacturing features cost about the same as the opposite mac.
  19. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    I wouldn't disagree with any of this. There's plenty of technical info and opinion on mac vs. windows here, and elsewhere. If I was considering making the switch, I would be more interested in some personal experiences and anecdotes from people who transitioned from similar situations and how they felt about the decision, looking back on it. That's what I hoped to provide with my post.
  20. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    You were sold before you made this thread, and that's fine. They're great machines, congrats and all that.

    I don't think they're overpriced either, and that's not what I was trying to convey. What I was trying to convey was that Apple culture works a bit differently than PC culture. If I build a gaming PC, it'll cost me 1500 and I won't consider or be frequently tempted to buy another one for 2-4 years. It's been my experience that you will be tempted to recycle and upgrade your mac and IOS products more frequently, especially if you get caught up in the hype of the rumormill. It's just something that happens. I know there are people that will buy a macbook and keep it for many years before upgrading, but I feel that a substantial percentage of Apple's fan base needs to have the latest and greatest, and that is an expensive routine to get into. They've skillfully created a culture that gets very excited and obsessive about new product launches. I'm a part of this culture, and usually like to buy the latest and greatest macbook available, often at a financial loss.

    There's nothing wrong with this if that's what you want, but I know I spent a lot less money on computers and gadgets back when I was a PC guy. Again, I'm not trying to be nearly as melodramatic as this is sounding, but just know that for most people (especially techy folks who read forums like that), getting on the Apple bandwagon can be a long and expensive road.

    Anyway, congrats on the new mac. They're great machines and I love mine.
  21. throAU, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    get the mac hardware, it is nice. give OS X a chance for a couple of weeks, there's a lot of cool stuff in it that you won't notice with a cursory inspection, and you really do need to let the concepts gel in your head before writing it off as "not worth it".

    if, after a month or so, you still don't like it, bootcamp it.

    i ran dos/windows/linux/freebsd for 20 years, switched to mac a couple of years ago, and have no desire to go back.


    well to clarify, i still use bsd for server stuff by choice. still deal with windows at work. but home desktop, or to get my own stuff done, os x any day...

    and as far as price goes... compare the trackpad, keyboard, screen and case buid quality/material between the asus and the apple. there's more to a computer you use every day than X mhz and Y gb of ram.

    if the keyboard or trackpad feel like crap to use, or the screen likes like crap, it is annoying. every day you use it. apple gear doesn't feel crappy to use. that is worth paying for.

    and good point on apple iOS development. You can develop PC, mac or iOS or android stuff on a mac. You can't develop for iOS on a PC.
  22. Mavrack macrumors member


    Jun 2, 2011
    Guten tag :). In my experiences I have been able to take documents from MS word and transfer them over to my Mac fairly easily trough opening it with Text Edit. I have to constantly work with MS Word files from school and once again I have no problems with it. The RMBP should be more than enough for editing and you would enjoy the extremely high resolution, heck games are not that bad either on it. If you truly need a ton of Window capability you can always put bootcamp on it to dual boot both OSX and Windows. OSX is also very capable and very user friendly. Plus you can't beat Apple's customer service. Hoffe, dass ich geholfen!
  23. Sahee, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    Sahee thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2012
    That's true, when it comes to peripheral devices Apple seems unbeatable, but I personally discovered that Windows-Trackpads seem less sluggish when used on a Linux-Surface... but then they still lack the Multitouch features.

    Macbooks are without doubt made with very good engineering.
    I am choked by the Retina Macbook which basically created a new class of Laptops... but as it still is a serious investment and I am in the joy to have some time (next semester starts in October) I will wait for more information about its bugs and problems, although I heard rumors about a 13'inch Retina-Macbook... when this Device has a dedicated graphics card and about the same processing speed as the 15 inch version... than it is like a Revelation :).

    The decision on buying a MacOS based device is set... know I will take my time to decide which Mac will be my first one. I am not forced into the sheer processing speed of the Retina-Macbook but the option to work with CPU/GPU intense Software while I am on the go is a nice aspect.

    I will try to visit an Apple Store in the near future to make myself an opinion about the 2012 devices.
  24. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    I am a long-time IT professional, expert in Linux and have used both Windows and Mac for a long time. My summary...

    Mac - Gives you the most choice. If you get any quad core Mac and install as much RAM as possible you can start Windows and Linux VM's easily, or just boot into a partition. The point of Mac is ease of use. The experience is very refined. The solution to most problems is to buy some software.

    Don't switch to Mac because it's Unix-like. All of that is hidden.

    Linux - If you want to learn how an OS works then use Linux. They all work pretty much the same way. There's a kernel and a process table. Each one has its ins & outs but Linux lets you tinker the most, by far.

    Windows has by far the most software. If you need to solve a task odds are the software is available somewhere, usually for free. The experience is fair, the OS is quite solid. If you want to play games it's the only choice. It has the most and best hardware support.

    If you really want to learn, go Linux all the way - as your only OS. This is like operating without a safety net. You'll be forced to use the package manager, deal with incompatible libraries, tweak the system and code... it's also the cheapest. Linux performs well on old hardware.

    In fact I would put forward this challenge to anybody who wants to learn - get yourself a $200 laptop and put Linux on it and live that way for a year. You will learn a lot.
  25. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    Hi InLawBiker (Love the handle BTW:))

    Just curious your 'suggestion' for which Linux distro to do this with? I've never gone with just Linux as an OS...only in a VM or BootCamp situation. I'm intrigued.

    Obviously, when one is running Ubuntu as a VM, it's easy to revert back to what you know (OSx, Windows, what-have-ya)...but to run a machine with only Linux sounds compelling--and as you've said, knowledge 'inducing' :)



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