Switching to the Apple ecosystem, moreso Macs.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ImpKali, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. ImpKali macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2013
    Hello, everyone. For most of my life, I've always been an Apple basher, always insulting based on raw specs ("Well, I can build a custom PC for $1500 dollars that blows your iMac out of the water!" and other similar rantings.") I've always been more of a Linux and Android person.

    However, recently I've been playing around with Apple products in an attempt to "broaden my horizons" and I have to say what I've found impresses me. An iPad 2 with specs lower than my old Android tablet is now my go-to machine simply because it somehow performs better in games and apps, and I have to say I'm loving the ecosystem. Things are a lot nicer than Android here, even if the lack of openness is a bit jarring at first. But now I'm actually considering taking my mother's iPhone 4S when she switches to the upcoming iPhone. I'm also pooling up for an iPod Nano to boot.

    But that's not my main reason for posting. What I want to know is how well a Linux expert such as myself would adjust to a Mac, specifically a Mac notebook? I understand that they share a similar UNIX core, though BSD and its command-set is somewhat different. I have been trained in computer networking and various IT-related duties; how much would my knowledge of such matters transfer? More importantly, which device would someone recommend to someone like me who likes to use power-user functions such as scripting and the command line for typical day-to-day tasks, with the occasional heavy video editing and some gaming (particularly with solutions such as Wine or maybe Parallels)? A MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro?

    Money is no object right now, but if the MacBook Pro would be a bit excessive for such tasks (I mainly work from my custom PC), then I would definitely go for a MacBook Air. I've heard that people get along quite comfortably in similar scenarios with it.
  2. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    You certainly will not have any problems getting used to OSX at all...I came from a Linux background and had no problem at all. What people who bash Apple forget is that it's not just hardware, it's what Apple do with it that makes the MA such a fast machine. I have a new 27" iMac maxed out with the 2GB 680 GPU and a 3TB fusion drive. It runs intensive apps without any slowdowns or issues, requires no anti virus, no maintanince like you have in a Windows environment, and I've never looked back.

    As far as laptops go, I have the maxed out 13" rMBP as my second work tool...a joy to use. Best advice is that you take a trip to your nearest Apple store and get hands on...best way to find out which Mac suits your needs best.
  3. ImpKali thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2013
    The nearest Apple store is literally 200 miles away from me so that's not an option lol! But I think next time I'm at the local BestBuy I'll check out what they're carrying. I remember they had an iMac and some other Apple products.
  4. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Any way you can get hands on works well....I forget the distances back home..:). I know what I want these days, and have a rep that deals with me come purchase times. I'm 100% Apple with an IPhone 5, IPad 4 , Time Capsule and a couple of ATV unitsin the mix as well...it all works seamlessly with a minimum amount of updates and patches..Next door neighbour finally threw in the towel with Windows a few months back, and got himself a new 21". Never looked back either. I'm sure you will find something that suits your needs.
  5. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    Unlike Linux and Android, the Apple ecosystem is a Walled Garden. You should keep that in mind before you buy into the hype and fall for the nice graphics and hardware design of Apple products. It --WILL-- become a problem somewhere down the road when your Apple stuff is no longer exciting, new and shiny - and when you notice that jumping ship will become VERY expensive AGAIN. (Because all those little tools that you will buy for OS X cannot be carried over and you will have to write them off as total losses.)

    Especially when you come from a Linux background where openness and freedom are at the very core of everything, you will very quickly run into the roadblocks that Apple has installed almost everywhere in their platforms. In Apple land, the basic concept is this: "It's our way or the highway". OS X is much more restricted and less customizable than Windows.

    Wine, Parallels, VirtualBox and VMWare Fusion on a desktop system are crutches. If you have to rely on them in order to get your stuff done, then that simply means that you have chosen the wrong platform for your tasks. All they do is add unnecessary complexity AND COSTS(!) to your environment.

    If you really NEED Windows software, then you should use Windows as your main platform -- you will have less configuration issues, less costs and better performance. Virtualization products are great for servers and development purposes. But on a normal desktop, they're just walking aids for a software platform that cannot get the job done on its own.

    OS X still is not a proper platform for gaming, and neither is Linux. Valve are putting a lot of effort into Linux at the moment, but that is mostly because Linux is just a milestone on their way to their planned full Android support. Many of the forthcoming Steamboxes will use Linux as their operating system, but as a matter of fact, they also support Windows. When you look at some of the numbers reported by Valve, their OS X market niche is already stagnant and OS X ports of AAA games are still late - if they come at all.

    Networking stuff... Dude, stay on Linux. Or Windows. Apple use Solaris - and not OS X - in their data centers, they don't even sell server hardware anymore. OS X "Server" is merely a collection of software tools for home users and small offices - there is nothing in it that would even be remotely of use in a medium-sized network.

    OS X is based upon FreeBSD, which is an awesome Unix system, but Apple does not care about that Unix foundation. They used it because it was free (as in speech AND beer) and saved them a lot of development costs. Then they turned OS X into an easy-to-use consumer platform with a nice looking graphical user interface. There's nothing wrong with that -- as long as you don't expect it to be something else, like something open or something that can be extremely customized.

    Linux has networking and customization written all over it. There's a reason why Linux has become the core of the Internet and why most web servers run it. With Linux, you have full control over every aspect of your system. It doesn't have the wide range of commercial desktop applications as Windows or OS X, but it nevertheless has software for all sorts of needs. (And even enough mainstream Hollywood productions use Linux in their CGI departpments, so there seems to be life beyond the Adobe Suite.)

    The beauty of Linux also is that it runs on almost everything. Including Apple hardware. So should you grow tired of Apple's OS X, you can download and install the Linux distribution of your choice and no harm's done. Or you install Windows - which also runs great on Apple hardware. In those cases you only have to justify the higher costs of the Apple hardware to yourself.

    Anyway. If you want a more Linux-like feeling for OS X, Homebrew will be your friend:


    Think of it as "apt-get" for OS X.

    I won't talk about iOS anymore, except for this: It's a digital prison, its only purpose is to restrict and control its users as much as possible and because of that I hate it with a passion.
  6. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    Biggest question you have to answer for yourself is whether you can be tolerant of an ecosystem that can provide some awesome capabilities between devices while limiting your ability to do much to control the software that controls your ecosystem. I'm a Linux fan as well, but sometimes I don't even bother to change my wallpaper because after that I know I'm almost done with the limited customization options on a Mac (/end sarcasm!).

    While you do lose a great deal of control, what I found was that my Macs just work. They don't require the tweaks or fixes inherent in many Linux distributions to get around various issues. And updates don't tend to bring the masses to the forums with questions about why an update broke their system (software). For the most part, Macs just work. They're almost boring for someone who tinkers and you can't just throw another OSX distro on the machine like you can in Linux for variety and learning. You get what you get.

    I went from household IT guy to couch potato when I bought 3 Macbook Pros. Never do I hear about printing issues, viruses, slowing machines, blue screen or any other issues. There is no need for me to spend hours loading and reloading the OS, I have yet to reinstall Mountain Lion on anything, and they're just a joy to use if all you want is to work and have the OS get out of your way. We all want that on Linux, but many of us still want to interact with the OS and make it our own, find problems, fix errors, tinker within a terminal, etc. In OSX that's just not necessary for the most part, and not possible for a lot of things.

    That limited control you get actually feels like freedom if you support several machines in the house. The worst that has happened is a MagSafe adapter failed the other day and I called tech support and they sent a new one out the next morning. Simple...and always awesome service in my experience. Friendly voices on the phone, friendly help in the (crowded!) stores and if you're not close to a store or authorized repair center, they will work with you via FedEx or whatever your local delivery service is. But if you're far away, get AppleCare.
  7. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    The userspace is windows-like. Maybe even more so. There's some open source stuff, but most of what's out there is proprietary. The app store encourages the walled garden, but most stuff you can still get via direct download off the web. At least user interfaces are (on average; there are always exceptions) less clunky than for Linux or windows shareware.

    The sysadmin/developer space is unix-like. You get a full straight-up bash shell out of the box (or you can install/reconfigure to use zsh et al exactly as you would on Linux.)

    Yes, some of the directory structures are a bit different. But the GUIs that OS X offer for managing things like network are actually just friendly front-ends to actual POSIX utilities and configuration files (for the most part). Installing common libraries and tools that you may be familiar with from Linux is fairly similar. In most cases you can install from a package manager (macports, homebrew) or compile from scratch.

    Personally. I find it the best of both worlds. But if you can get to an apple store or borrow one to play around with that's probably your best bet. What are your biggest concerns?
  8. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    This. At work I ran Linux for 3 years, then went onto the Mac after getting one at home and loving it. I can do almost everything I did on Linux on the Mac (I spend most of my working life in the terminal), even with some added extras like pbcopy/pbpaste. The advantage is that I get a beautiful looking window manager that is also solid.

    I don't feel the need to tinker anymore. It really is like freedom!
  9. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    Welcome to the light

    You won't have any trouble. OSX and Linux are 2 very different operating systems but when you're in Terminal, they will feel similar sort of like how all UNIX (like) OS's feel similar when on the command line. Most of OSX's user land utilities come from BSD so there will be differences but you'll still have all the tools you're probably familiar with: bash, grep, sed, vi/emacs, etc. They just might have slightly different command line arguments and have other subtle differences but that's what "man" is for.

    Homebrew and macports can provide just about any other UNIX utility you'd want that isn't there out of the box.

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