Torn between OS X and Ubuntu

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ChrisBuchholz, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. ChrisBuchholz macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2010

    I have a MacBook Pro running OS X and friday night I partitioned it and are now using rEFIt to boot between my OS X and Ubuntu partition.

    Originally, i was a Linux user, and for the last couple of years, an ubuntu savvy. But in january 2010 I bought a new MacBook Pro and has become a die-hard OS X lover ever since. I've owned iPhones and iPods for years, so apple wasn't at all new to me, and day-to-day tasks is so comfortable on OS X. But the Linux hacker in me has started luring in my conscience, and I miss the all the possibilities of ubuntu. I am a software developer, and Linux and ubuntu wins over OS X by far in that regard, though I have used OS X for developing the last couple of months.

    I'm thorn between ubuntu and os x. I'm a person who enjoys having one thing to serve my needs. I hate the idear of having two partitions with two different OS's. I know I sometime in the feature have to choose.
    I miss the endless possibilities of Linux for hacking and software development and the possibility of dictating the OS. But I know I will miss the simplicity and just-working of OS X, which is way better for doing homework, documents, imaging and webdesign, music and photos.

    What are your take on this? Have you been in a similar situation? What do you think?

    Have a nice evening,
  2. blunderboy macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    Could you put Linux on an external hard drive and boot from it when you need it? There are advantages to both Linux and Mac OS X—I've used them both, myself—and you don't have to give any of it up. Alternatively, if your MBP is powerful enough, you could run Ubuntu in a virtual machine, if that's your cup of tea. But then again, you mentioned that you'd rather not have two solutions, so...I would try and think over the pros and cons of both and see what suits your needs best, because that's what it really comes down to.
  3. Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA
    Ubuntu is borderline amazing. I had lots of fun with it's customizability and huge software repositories on my Macbook Pro.

    After a while, however, the inability to easily get some things equivalent to iPhoto, GarageBand, Preview and the Mac Dictionary in Ubuntu really bugged me. I guess you would actually enjoy the process of getting those things to work as you are a software developer, but I thought it wasted loads of my time and in the I stopped using Ubuntu.

    Although Ubuntu is awesome, Mac OS X has everything I need, and it just works.
  4. ChrisBuchholz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2010
    Thats exactly my problem! Those tools, is also what I fear to miss, and thats the actual problem. I, believe, i belong in the linux word, because i feel very attached to the hacking/open source culture - thats the kind of developer i am. But on the other side, OS X gives a set of tools that, to me, is so essential in an everyday scenario that i will miss that forever, do i not have them.
  5. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    May 10, 2009
    I use OSX 10.5 for my G4 since the Ubuntu PPC version of Lucid is kinda limited for PPC (I tried it out in a dual boot config using yaboot I wasn't happy not having a good enough working Java or Flash player) so I see no reason for switching. But on my server I have the Lucid server edition which I prefer over windows to run a server.

    I set up a data switch and VNC to share the screen mouse and keyboard between the Mac and the server for convenience

    I added a GUI to it so I didn't have to screw with command line all the time). And my old dell laptop runs the Notebook version of Lucid I would switch over completely if not for the minor issues with PPC architecture. I have an art business to run so I need OSX to work with my printers and scanners.

    Otherwise my Ubuntu box does a great job working as a web server--and I added a third hard drive to it which my iTunes on my mac uses directly through shared files on the LAN so I don't have to store any Mp3s and flicks on the G4 saving my disk space for my work (and burning the occasional DVD).

    I tried hackintoshing the old Dell Laptop but found Ubuntu fit better for it. I even had it Dual booting with XP for a while but decided since I didn't use XP anymore I switched it over completely.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Well, let me ask you what apps do you like to run? Which OS handles that requirement the best?

    An OS's job is to run programs and if you being a linux user, has all that he needs in ubuntu, then use that.

    Personally, I found running ubuntu or fedora on a MBP to be a tad problematic. There was more work/tweaks needed to get a decently performing system then just install OSX. I'm running fedora on a home built rig and it was much simpler setting up. If you're fine with that, then go with ubuntu.
  7. ChrisBuchholz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2010
    I think my problem is, that in generel, Ubuntu meets my needs, and more - always new things that just makes it better, better and better. But then there are these few things from OS X which I'm also relying on. So there may be 20 pros in ubuntu, but only 5 in os x. The sad thing is, that these 5 pros in OS X is so essential to me, that they almost count as 20 pros...
  8. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    I must admit, I found it very difficult to replace iTunes as a media manager (especially of TV Shows, Movies and Podcasts).

    The main thing with Ubuntu is the idealistic angle of things. Open Source is a very appealing concept.

    Unfortunately, without iTunes and Aperture/iPhoto, it wasn't right for me at a desktop PC level.

    When I get a PC to use as a server, I will be installing Ubuntu on it, I went a little while with my main PC just being a VMWare ESXi Hypervisor and running a few servers on it, which was fun, but I'll need to have my email server in a datacentre in order to have it run truly reliably.
  9. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    Get a Headless Ubuntu box and VNC to it over your network when you need to use it.
  10. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    Let me preface this by saying I'm a huge Linux fan (and really like how the Ubuntu distro in particular has turned out). If I weren't running OS X, I would be running some flavor of Linux.

    Having said that, for me OS X is the best of both worlds. I too am a software developer and have developed C/++, Java and Ruby code almost exclusively on OS X for the last 5+ years. I spend a lot of time at the command line, running the same command-line tools that I'd be using under Linux if that were my OS of choice. I currently use the Homebrew package manager but have used MacPorts and Fink in the past, to get access to the world of popular open source projects out there. When I try imagine how using OS X instead of Linux has hampered what I might want to do, about the only thing I can come up with is kernel hacking. (And, obviously, if I really wanted to do that I could fire up a VM for it.)

    As others have already noted, the big advantage of OS X for me is in terms of the application space. I just love some of the apps that I use under OS X and I've never seen what I consider adequate open source replacements for them.

    Just out of curiosity, can you be more specific about what some of those "endless possibilities of Linux" are that you think you'd miss if you committed to an OS X development environment? I am not arguing with you (!), but just wanted to understand better where you're coming from.
  11. ChrisBuchholz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2010
    Interesting things you say, @Lyle - food for thought, definetly!

    About the "endless possibilities of linux". Well, what I means is Linux in it self, and the layers on top on form of the distros. Everything is so open and "meant" to be tinkered with. On the other hand, OS X keeps things hidden and closed down. Yes, OS X built upon the same fundamentals as linux (UNIX), but the distro layer is somewhat different than that of the common linux distro.
    On linux, I feel more appreciated when I'm fiddling around with the system. On OS X, I don't.

    Please tell me, if you want me to elaborate that statement ;)
  12. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    I think I get where you're coming from -- you're a tinkerer. And I get that mindset too, but I do my tinkering in VMs or other non-critical systems. I try not to experiment too much on my development MacBook. ;)

    Anyways, best of luck as you try to decide how to proceed. It sounds like you at least have a good understanding of the tradeoffs.
  13. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    May 10, 2009
    On my server I use all the needed apps and files necessary to edit images and web pages like Gimp for image editing, Open Office for some word processing, Apache for the WWW, Wordpress, PHPBB, coppermine for my art galleries Comic CMS, VNC for remote administration, Seamonkey to edit web pages, Sun Java, Adobe Flash PLayer and Firefox to browse.

    The Laptop I have uses Gimp, Firefox, Sun Java, Flash player, Open Office, Wine (for exe files), Snowglobe (for Second Life).

    For both machines Ubuntu comes with a lot of other packages standard though which seems to make them just as functional as my Mac. I added a few apps which had ports for OSX from the Linux world to my mac and use them pretty regularly as well I never use Quicktime now that I have VLC, I use Gimp, and Open Office as well. Anywhere I can find a suitable reliable open source alternative to use rather than pay a licensing fee it goes on my G4 and gets plenty of use.

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