Mac users, how did you find the Linux experience?

MacBH928

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Any one who was a Mac user and started using Linux, how did you find your experience? Pleasant or irritating?
I am thinking of trying this OS for a while as a main operating system but it seems that everything is more difficult to do on Linux and the GUI is not intuitive or pleasant...

Plus with all the different "flavours" out there done for free by group of individuals does not seem too insuring for a solid user experience or reliability of software.

Not to complain about a FREE item, but also you can't rely on it and trust it with your files and work.
 
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Weaselboy

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I noticed a post from @SandboxGeneral recently that he has switched to Linux full time, so maybe he can jump in here and help you.

I'm using a Linux variant on a Raspberry Pi, but just at the command line, so I can't offer you much feedback.
 
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MisterSavage

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Plus with all the different "flavours" out there done for free by group of individuals does not seem too insuring for a solid user experience or reliability of software.

Not to complain about a FREE item, but also you can't rely on it and trust it with your files and work.
I would strongly disagree with all of these statements. Open Source software can be extremely reliable. I don't like the UI nearly as much as my Mac but that doesn't mean that some of the Linux variants are clunky or hard to use.

I've been using Xubuntu at work for years and have had very few issues. We do tend to pick an LTS release (long term support) and stick with that for a quite a while instead of upgrading every time a new version comes out. They'll release security and support updates for years for LTS versions.

I like that with Mac terminal I can use a lot of Unix commands that I use in Linux (grep, etc).
 
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SandboxGeneral

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Any one who was a Mac user and started using Linux, how did you find your experience? Pleasant or irritating?
I am thinking of trying this OS for a while as a main operating system but it seems that everything is more difficult to do on Linux and the GUI is not intuitive or pleasant...

Plus with all the different "flavours" out there done for free by group of individuals does not seem too insuring for a solid user experience or reliability of software.

Not to complain about a FREE item, but also you can't rely on it and trust it with your files and work.
I've been using KDE Neon and/or Ubuntu at the office as my daily driver for almost 2 years now. This was after Microsoft did one of their spring updates to Windows 10 and it wiped out all of my Start menu shortcuts for my enterprise apps and pissed me off for the last time. That's when I made the full time jump to Linux.

Recently I decided I was no longer going to pay the Apple Tax and decided to run Linux full time at home. I consider myself a somewhat advanced, tech savvy person and can get around in Linux and the CLI pretty well.

For someone coming from Windows or macOS and prefers a GUI experience I would most certainly recommend Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Pop_OS or KDE Neon. Those distro's have very easy installs, just like Windows or macOS and have a desktop environment built in and ready to go.

I like to tinker with computers and have challenges in figuring things out from time to time and that's why I'm running Arch Linux with the i3wm tiling window manager and doing as many things as I can in a terminal shell. But that's all by choice. Linux is very versatile in customization's. Arch and Gentoo based distro's are not for Linux newbies or non-tech savvy folks.

As to the "FREE" part, that really pertains more to Free = freedom, and not necessarily Free as in no cost. While the majority of Linux distro's and apps are no cost, the concept is freedom from being proprietary, like Apple and Microsoft.

I watched this video the other day which does a nice job of explaining the many distro's of Linux. it's worth a 24 minute watch.

 

MrRabuf

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Jan 2, 2019
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Not to complain about a FREE item, but also you can't rely on it and trust it with your files and work.
The internet basically runs on free and open source software. If what you said were true (which it isn't), you wouldn't be able to rely on the internet at all for work. Virtually all large tech companies, including Apple and Microsoft, rely on and use free and open source software (a good portion of MacOS is derived from FreeBSD, another free operating system). "The cloud", including Apple's iCloud, relies on free and open source software. Just because it's free doesn't mean it isn't reliable.

To answer your question though, Linux is a fine operating system and has come a very long way in terms of usability. These days, I'd say the most popular distros are just as easy to use as Windows and MacOS.
 
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SandboxGeneral

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And to back up what @MrRabuf mentioned, of all the public servers on the Internet, 68% of them are running Unix or Unix-like systems, like Linux and FreeBSD. Then, 100% of the worlds supercomputers are running Linux.

So... yeah. You can trust and rely on Linux with your files and work.

The biggest threat to files and work (on any OS) is the user.
 

Mikael H

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Any one who was a Mac user and started using Linux, how did you find your experience? Pleasant or irritating?
The main difference seen from the perspective of window managers/desktop environments is that you have a choice as to what behavior you expect from your computer, but none are irritating beyond their philosophical choices (how customizable they are, what control they hand to the user, how light or heavy they are on system resources).

What does chafe a bit is the inconsistency in user interface choices in many third-party apps. In many cases it makes the Linux application ecosystem feel a lot like the Windows one of the late nineties - or like pretty much every piece of Electron crap on the Mac today. That's probably in large part attributable to the free (as in beer) nature of many of the programs: They get polished until they do what the author(s) expect from them, not necessarily until they're nice to use.

For my personal needs, I use a Mac for work because it's to a very large degree Unix Done Right, from my perspective as an end-user, and I strongly prefer working on Unix computers to performing the same tasks from Windows machines. The Linux experience is good enough that given a choice between running Windows or a Linux distribution of my choice I would immediately choose the latter.

For much the same reasons others have stated, I have no more worries about the reliability of my data in a Linux environment than in any other modern operating system - quite the opposite, really.

As a last comment: If you depend on software that does not exist natively in Linux, that is obviously something that can cause great irritation.
 
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MacBH928

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I've been using KDE Neon and/or Ubuntu at the office as my daily driver for almost 2 years now. This was after Microsoft did one of their spring updates to Windows 10 and it wiped out all of my Start menu shortcuts for my enterprise apps and pissed me off for the last time. That's when I made the full time jump to Linux.

Recently I decided I was no longer going to pay the Apple Tax and decided to run Linux full time at home. I consider myself a somewhat advanced, tech savvy person and can get around in Linux and the CLI pretty well.

For someone coming from Windows or macOS and prefers a GUI experience I would most certainly recommend Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Pop_OS or KDE Neon. Those distro's have very easy installs, just like Windows or macOS and have a desktop environment built in and ready to go.

I like to tinker with computers and have challenges in figuring things out from time to time and that's why I'm running Arch Linux with the i3wm tiling window manager and doing as many things as I can in a terminal shell. But that's all by choice. Linux is very versatile in customization's. Arch and Gentoo based distro's are not for Linux newbies or non-tech savvy folks.

As to the "FREE" part, that really pertains more to Free = freedom, and not necessarily Free as in no cost. While the majority of Linux distro's and apps are no cost, the concept is freedom from being proprietary, like Apple and Microsoft.

I watched this video the other day which does a nice job of explaining the many distro's of Linux. it's worth a 24 minute watch.

Thanks, Will watch video.
I did some searching and found that Elementary OS is probably the most user-friendly but it doesn't seem to have a big following and you never know when the people behind it just discontinue working on it.

PopOS seems to be targeted towards the more advanced user or so their website implies

The internet basically runs on free and open source software. If what you said were true (which it isn't), you wouldn't be able to rely on the internet at all for work. Virtually all large tech companies, including Apple and Microsoft, rely on and use free and open source software (a good portion of MacOS is derived from FreeBSD, another free operating system). "The cloud", including Apple's iCloud, relies on free and open source software. Just because it's free doesn't mean it isn't reliable.

To answer your question though, Linux is a fine operating system and has come a very long way in terms of usability. These days, I'd say the most popular distros are just as easy to use as Windows and MacOS.
And to back up what @MrRabuf mentioned, of all the public servers on the Internet, 68% of them are running Unix or Unix-like systems, like Linux and FreeBSD. Then, 100% of the worlds supercomputers are running Linux.

So... yeah. You can trust and rely on Linux with your files and work.

The biggest threat to files and work (on any OS) is the user.
I agree, but I assume people who deploy these FOSS are computer engineers who know what they are doing and can fix it if a problem arises. Me on the other hand have no idea what "sudo" does. And while Linux might be stable, you never know what these "flavours" might have in bugs or errors that could cause you future troubles. If something goes wrong they owe you nothing, they just can go back to sleep.
 

MisterSavage

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And while Linux might be stable, you never know what these "flavours" might have in bugs or errors that could cause you future troubles. If something goes wrong they owe you nothing, they just can go back to sleep.
These are assumptions that aren't based on fact or experience. Open source has a huge community that can offer assistance. Linux has been rock solid for me for years. As a regular user that's just going to be doing basic tasks you probably wouldn't ever have to use sudo. That's kind of the point as to why they have you log in as a regular user instead of a super user so you (or a rogue application) can't do critical damage.
 
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SandboxGeneral

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And while Linux might be stable, you never know what these "flavours" might have in bugs or errors that could cause you future troubles. If something goes wrong they owe you nothing, they just can go back to sleep.
Additionally, those "bugs and errors" can and do happen on every OS, Linux, macOS and Windows they're not exclusive of any of them. Apple and Microsoft owe us nothing just as much when their updates break our stuff and we lose files. It is the users responsibility to ensure they have good and proper backups of their files.

Over the past year, Elementary has been the 4th most popular distro as measured by DistroWatch.
https://www.distrowatch.com/index.php?dataspan=52
 
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Mikael H

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I assume people who deploy these FOSS are computer engineers who know what they are doing and can fix it if a problem arises. Me on the other hand have no idea what "sudo" does. And while Linux might be stable, you never know what these "flavours" might have in bugs or errors that could cause you future troubles. If something goes wrong they owe you nothing, they just can go back to sleep.
Learning anything new requires some degree of work; it really doesn't matter whether it's Windows, macOS, or Commodore Basic 2.0. Just take a look at the collective outrage of the Interwebs when Microsoft released Windows 8 and people had to entirely change how they interacted with the Start menu.

As a macOS 10.x user you've had a good time with a system that's stable, comes preinstalled, has a very polished surface and good UI/UX recommendations. No other current PC operating system will be that smooth. But even macOS will likely require you to look something up on the Internet now and then, just like the other systems do, if or when you step out of your treaded path.

As for the developers of proprietary systems owing their users anything: Working as a systems operator/administrator/specialist over the years, way more than 99% of the issues I encounter are solved by me personally or by parties other than Microsoft's support.

And regarding products disappearing: If a beloved open-source product gets orphaned, there's a chance that someone will pick it up and continue where the original author left off - or fork the project and take it in a direction with which you may agree better, as happened when the Gnome project took things too far in one direction.
When Microsoft or Google decide to focus on some new fad, your product is DEAD. And that happens time and time again.
 

kschendel

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I work with a Mac (laptop) doing all the web / email / office stuff, and a Linux box for the serious development. I'm probably too used to both to be a reliable guide, but I will say that the "just works" factor is definitely better on Mac than Linux. On the other hand, once you get some key things set up (network, printers), the experience is fairly similar.

The core components are absolutely reliable on Linux, as much as they are on the Mac.

For me, the truly irritating OS and user experience is Windows. I understand I'm in the minority, but every time I think I understand what Windows is going to do next, or how to get from A to B, it turns out I'm wrong. I finally banned Windows from the office completely.
 

sracer

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Any one who was a Mac user and started using Linux, how did you find your experience? Pleasant or irritating?
I am thinking of trying this OS for a while as a main operating system but it seems that everything is more difficult to do on Linux and the GUI is not intuitive or pleasant...

Plus with all the different "flavours" out there done for free by group of individuals does not seem too insuring for a solid user experience or reliability of software.

Not to complain about a FREE item, but also you can't rely on it and trust it with your files and work.
I have extensive experience on all 3 major desktop platforms and although macOS is my favorite, I know that if Apple continues on the path it is going then I'll need to move on to something else.

That something else is, Linux. It has come a long way in a short time and there are enough quality Linux distros out there offering a wide variety of user experiences that there is something for everyone.

When my wife's Macbook Air dies, I'll get a comparable Windows notebook, wipe Win 10 off of it, and install Elementary OS for her. She'll be able to use it with little to no fuss.

One of my many laptops is an Acer Chromebook 14 ($250 new) with an all aluminum body, matte screen, and decent trackpad. I wiped Chrome OS off of it completely and installed a Linux distro called Gallium OS. It is my 14" Macbook Air (of sorts). It does a great job with WINE for those one or two Windows apps that I need. It could easily be my daily mobile device for meetings and productivity work. (media creation is a separate issue)

I think one decision you'll need to make up-front is whether or not you want to poke under the hood of Linux and tweak things or if you want a simple out-of-the-box and ready to go. Too many get into Linux and get sucked into the propellerhead tweaking and customizing wormhole... they end up concluding that Linux is too finicky or too complicated.

I recommend trying a distro like Elementary OS or my favorite, Peppermint OS and simply using it.

Elementary OS feels more macOS-like but lacks apps out-of-the-box that might give the impression that Linux is limited.

Peppermint OS has enough out-of-the-box that you shouldn't need to install any (or only very few) additional apps.
 

MacBH928

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I've been using KDE Neon and/or Ubuntu at the office as my daily driver for almost 2 years now. This was after Microsoft did one of their spring updates to Windows 10 and it wiped out all of my Start menu shortcuts for my enterprise apps and pissed me off for the last time. That's when I made the full time jump to Linux.

Recently I decided I was no longer going to pay the Apple Tax and decided to run Linux full time at home. I consider myself a somewhat advanced, tech savvy person and can get around in Linux and the CLI pretty well.

For someone coming from Windows or macOS and prefers a GUI experience I would most certainly recommend Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Pop_OS or KDE Neon. Those distro's have very easy installs, just like Windows or macOS and have a desktop environment built in and ready to go.

I like to tinker with computers and have challenges in figuring things out from time to time and that's why I'm running Arch Linux with the i3wm tiling window manager and doing as many things as I can in a terminal shell. But that's all by choice. Linux is very versatile in customization's. Arch and Gentoo based distro's are not for Linux newbies or non-tech savvy folks.

As to the "FREE" part, that really pertains more to Free = freedom, and not necessarily Free as in no cost. While the majority of Linux distro's and apps are no cost, the concept is freedom from being proprietary, like Apple and Microsoft.

I watched this video the other day which does a nice job of explaining the many distro's of Linux. it's worth a 24 minute watch.

I watched that video, do you know why most distros are based of Debian?

I have extensive experience on all 3 major desktop platforms and although macOS is my favorite, I know that if Apple continues on the path it is going then I'll need to move on to something else.

That something else is, Linux. It has come a long way in a short time and there are enough quality Linux distros out there offering a wide variety of user experiences that there is something for everyone.

When my wife's Macbook Air dies, I'll get a comparable Windows notebook, wipe Win 10 off of it, and install Elementary OS for her. She'll be able to use it with little to no fuss.

One of my many laptops is an Acer Chromebook 14 ($250 new) with an all aluminum body, matte screen, and decent trackpad. I wiped Chrome OS off of it completely and installed a Linux distro called Gallium OS. It is my 14" Macbook Air (of sorts). It does a great job with WINE for those one or two Windows apps that I need. It could easily be my daily mobile device for meetings and productivity work. (media creation is a separate issue)

I think one decision you'll need to make up-front is whether or not you want to poke under the hood of Linux and tweak things or if you want a simple out-of-the-box and ready to go. Too many get into Linux and get sucked into the propellerhead tweaking and customizing wormhole... they end up concluding that Linux is too finicky or too complicated.

I recommend trying a distro like Elementary OS or my favorite, Peppermint OS and simply using it.

Elementary OS feels more macOS-like but lacks apps out-of-the-box that might give the impression that Linux is limited.

Peppermint OS has enough out-of-the-box that you shouldn't need to install any (or only very few) additional apps.
I am not looking to tinker with anything I am tired of researching issues and troubleshoot stuff. I need something that works. Its very hard to pick a distro especially that many paint themselves as the "user friendly" one including Mint, Elementary, and Ubuntu. As a new guy to the OS, its very hard to tell the difference or which to pick. You say Elementary lacks out-of-the-box apps, but if they are as easy to install as OSX then no issue.

I heard that Linux had this weird way of installing files where you had to download package and compile them... I really didn't understand it. I know the OS X way - open DMG-> drag icon to Apps folder , and Windows- double click install.exe-> program installed.
 
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kschendel

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I heard that Linux had this weird way of installing files where you had to download package and compile them... I really didn't understand it. I know the OS X way - open DMG-> drag icon to Apps folder , and Windows- double click install.exe-> program installed.
Linux source packages are relatively rare any more, and tend to be the more obscure utilities and lesser-used apps. Most packages are binary and are installed via a software manager tool of some sort. This is one area where distros vary, unfortunately; there are at least two major binary package formats (.deb and .rpm), at least 3 different command line installation tools, and I don't know how many variations of a GUI software manager tool, depending on distro. Fortunately, most of the GUI tools I've seen are relatively intuitive. And it is possible to just download a .rpm file and double-click on it; if it doesn't manage to install, at least you're likely to get an explanation of why and what to do about it. (Usually involving root permissions or install paths.)
 
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sracer

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I watched that video, do you know why most distros are based of Debian?



I am not looking to tinker with anything I am tired of researching issues and troubleshoot stuff. I need something that works. Its very hard to pick a distro especially that many paint themselves as the "user friendly" one including Mint, Elementary, and Ubuntu. As a new guy to the OS, its very hard to tell the difference or which to pick. You say Elementary lacks out-of-the-box apps, but if they are as easy to install as OSX then no issue.

I heard that Linux had this weird way of installing files where you had to download package and compile them... I really didn't understand it. I know the OS X way - open DMG-> drag icon to Apps folder , and Windows- double click install.exe-> program installed.
In all my time using Linux, I've never had to download source code and compile it to install a piece of software. Every modern distro has some kind of "repository" or "app store" that allows for click-to-install that provides a similar experience as on macOS and Windows.

Elementary OS has a very nice way of finding and installing software. It is so good, that some other distros are using it.
 
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cube

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In all my time using Linux, I've never had to download source code and compile it to install a piece of software. Every modern distro has some kind of "repository" or "app store" that allows for click-to-install that provides a similar experience as on macOS and Windows.
Sometimes something is missing.
 

MisterSavage

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I heard that Linux had this weird way of installing files where you had to download package and compile them... I really didn't understand it. I know the OS X way - open DMG-> drag icon to Apps folder , and Windows- double click install.exe-> program installed.
Linux gives you the *option* of downloading an application that requires you to compile it from the command line. Most (all?) of the distros mentioned in this thread will have a graphical user interface that you'd use instead for installing packages/applications.
 

MacDawg

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I've set up a number of Ubuntu servers to run as LAMP web servers with little or no issues where I work
I also run a few VM's on my MBP (Ubuntu, Kali) and get good performance

Yes, there can be some quirks and bumps and bruises (true of any OS really)
But the Linux community is vast and solid, and you can find help along the way for any needs
 

SandboxGeneral

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For fun, I installed MX Linux on my PC today just to try it out since that is a very popular distro and one I've never used before.

It's a nice Debian based distro and comes with a lot of preinstalled apps and options for customization and eye-candy options, including Conky. I was messing with it for about an hour just poking around in it. It has options for using workspaces but it is severely neutered. There are no options to bind keys to them or create any kind of keyboard shortcuts to quickly switch between them. You have to use the mouse and click over on the task bar (which can only be moved to the top or the left, not the right or the bottom) to a tiny point of a rectangle to move among them. Or you can click on an open app that you already put into a workspace to bring you there, but you still have to use the mouse and get over to the task bar.

Those were my two big gripes after just an hour of use. Perhaps those things can be done, but they're not readily apparent to me. I know they can be changed if I wanted to edit some conf files to do it.

But after using the i3 window manager for better than a month and getting very used to keeping my hands on the keyboard and quickly navigating around, I found using a traditional GUI kind of slow and sloppy. Since the mid-1990's I've been using GUI's on Windows, macOS and Linux and just after a month of using a tiled window manager I don't want to go back.

So I installed i3wm on MX Linux here and am using that now.

Otherwise, it seems like a nice distro. I easily plugged in an external SSD and an external ROM drive and moved some files over, played a CD and ripped a CD.

I think it's a good distro for someone to try out if they were leaving macOS or Windows for a new experience.
 

brookter1

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Aug 5, 2015
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Every now and then I install Linux (on a 2010 17" MacBook Pro or in VM on a 2017 iMac) and I have a great time tinkering with it and getting it to work smoothly -- mainly getting Emacs running on Debian or FreeBSD in a tiling window manager (i3 usually). Really enjoyable stuff for a while (I like tinkering), and it's perfectly productive and usable and I even consider getting a Windows laptop/desktop for my next device and going all in.

And then it's all configured nicely and or I get bored with it, and the little irritations and frictions start to build up and I get interested in doing something else and I forget about Linux for a while and go back to using the Mac full time, which after all is unixy under the hood and which most of the time works just a little bit more smoothly and needs a little bit less maintenance.

The biggest factor, though, is that neither Linux nor Windows has the software that I keep coming back to: Tinderbox and DEVONthink. I could do everything else on Linux or Windows easily enough, but there's nothing comparable in quality or features to those two, and in the end the applications you need are more important than the operating system. It's also much easier to keep the iPads and iPhones happy working together if you're using the Macs in the middle.

TLDR: if you don't have specific application requirements, Linux will be fine.
 
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Roxy.music

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I noticed a post from @SandboxGeneral recently that he has switched to Linux full time, so maybe he can jump in here and help you.

I'm using a Linux variant on a Raspberry Pi, but just at the command line, so I can't offer you much feedback.
[doublepost=1563134697][/doublepost]I have just got one of those the 3b+modal .I see they have a 4 out now i should have waited for that one.Raspberry pi s would be a good topic on here.
 

MrRabuf

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Jan 2, 2019
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Me on the other hand have no idea what "sudo" does.
Then don't open a Terminal window. 'sudo rm -rf /' is just as damaging on a Mac as it is on Linux. MacOS lets you shoot your foot off just as easily as Linux does.

I heard that Linux had this weird way of installing files where you had to download package and compile them... I really didn't understand it. I know the OS X way - open DMG-> drag icon to Apps folder , and Windows- double click install.exe-> program installed.
The days of having to compile software on Linux are long gone (although of course the option is still there but typical end users don't need to do that). The way you do it today is very similar to how you do it on a Mac or Windows. Ubuntu, for example, has an "Ubuntu Software" GUI application that's kind of like the Mac app store. You search for what you want and click install. Yes, you can do things on the command line if you want but you don't have to.

The Linux community has been trying to get people just like you to use Linux on the desktop for many years and thus have gone to great lengths to make it just as easy to use as a Mac. If I didn't care about playing Windows-only games and using other software not available on Linux, I'd use it as my primary computer OS at home, which is the same computer my non-techno wife also uses.
 
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Tech198

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I use Terminal on OS X every now and then. That's about the closest your gonna get me to a distro.


Then don't open a Terminal window. 'sudo rm -rf /' is just as damaging on a Mac as it is on Linux. MacOS lets you shoot your foot off just as easily as Linux does.

The days of having to compile software on Linux are long gone (although of course the option is still there but typical end users don't need to do that). The way you do it today is very similar to how you do it on a Mac or Windows. Ubuntu, for example, has an "Ubuntu Software" GUI application that's kind of like the Mac app store. You search for what you want and click install. Yes, you can do things on the command line if you want but you don't have to.

The Linux community has been trying to get people just like you to use Linux on the desktop for many years and thus have gone to great lengths to make it just as easy to use as a Mac. If I didn't care about playing Windows-only games and using other software not available on Linux, I'd use it as my primary computer OS at home, which is the same computer my non-techno wife also uses.

I wouldn't even feel comfy with compiling... Just give me the .pkg or .dmg any-day.

At the end of the day, you can push people you all like, but you'll always have hose that feel comfotable with what they wanna use..

In addition.. any "pushing", just making a bigger deal out of it (than one would normally), just to try and get more people to use something else, in itself, is an act of "control"

So, to me, i look at all that and say... "its useless making that much effort" because you'll do what you want anyway. It's fine mentioning it, but if you gotta make a fuss over how great something is, because your not happy how little traffic you have, then your doing something wrong.
 
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MrRabuf

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Jan 2, 2019
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I wouldn't even feel comfy with compiling... Just give me the .pkg or .dmg any-day.
Like I said, there's no reason for average users to compile software anymore. Linux also uses packages just like a Mac. They just have a different extension.

At the end of the day, you can push people you all like, but you'll always have hose that feel comfotable with what they wanna use..
I wasn't pushing anybody. The OP asked about the Linux experience and we're answering. If you want to stick with a Mac, that's completely fine.