If MacOS is a path through the gloomy forest, Windows 10 is a carnival in an open field

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/04/if-macos-is-a-path-through-the.html


…is a carnival in an open field staffed by drunk orphans.
Going to squeeze that into my next song.


Linux is like an anarchist bookfair.

Once you have found out about it and have the desire to go, you learn that while you have a lot more personal control you also need the community to help you make it work.

I’ll admit I haven’t found a distro with the mandatory video and Q&A session about the Spanish Civil War yet.


Whereas MacOS is simple and powerful, “a path through a gloomy forest” hand-in-hand with a mentoring but controlling Apple…

If by “gloomy forest” you mean Daedalus’ Labyrinth and by “mentoring but controlling Apple” you mean “Blood-thirsty Minotaur”. :wink:

I never really like these “I used [x] for 20 years, but now switched to [y] and it is confusing and weird” stories, because they are essentially about the user, not the system. Whenever I use an Apple product, for instance, it manages to piss me off somehow, more than when I use a Windows or Linux system (and, yes, I use all three of those regularly). But that is because of my hangups, not because of Apple (or Microsoft or the Linux Foundation).


This guy has obviously never used Linux.

Nah. I’d say it’s more like the detritus that the boy in The End of the World as We Know it video finds, and I really like Linux.


Here’s my personal computing setup (if I had room and the machines)

  1. iMac for ever day use, amateur video editing and programming.
  2. Windows for game playing.
  3. Linux for back end server/connection to the Net (proxy server, firewall) and possibly programming.

Mobile would be an iPhone and an Android tablet. I have apps for both and find that some are better on one than the other.

It all comes down to personal choice. If you don’t want to use Windows, don’t. If you don’t want an iPhone, don’t buy one. Go with what works for you.


I love my Mac. It does what I want. And there is at least 20 years of why it does. Even when I was a Windows developer, I did most of my work on a Mac and shuttled everything over to the PC. It just works the way I think a machine should work. If someone spent all this same time on a PC, or on Linux…I would expect them to feel the same about these. I’m adept at working with these, they just don’t react the way I expect them to. Honestly, OS X was the turning point for me…until then, I was using both Linux and Mac almost equally…with the PC as a means to an end. OS X gave me a decent UNIX environment without having to compromise on the GUI.

When someone switches, it pretty much means they are willing to throw away all the internal knowledge, muscle memory, apps that only work within the ecology (or more importantly, work WELL), and doing it because something in their personal world is wrong – not because of the OS. At this point in technology, if you can’t figure out how to make a desktop OS work for you after a decade, that’s on you.


Old-timey Windows guy here, pre-dated to the early MS-DOS clone era. Sorely tempted by the Mac on occasion …until I use it again and realize that it drives me bananas with its approach to things. I am NOT more efficient on the Mac. Everyone says give it time and I’ll love it. I give it time…and it drives me even more bats as I get to know it. Then I hear “Once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.” Well, I’ve “gone back” several times…and been suckered to try again and again since Apple decided to drop the original ,and just laughably crappy, plastic hardware builds in favor of solid, elegant, innovative, metal designs. Best trackpads by far. But I still have problems with the OS.

Now that the Windows Universe has some outstanding and very clever hardware, I no longer see a reason to bother with the Mac. That’s me. Lots of friends think I’m bonkers…and that’s fine. I still do not “get” the OS.

iOS is another matter. I like it a lot.

It’s finally closing in on the point where it won’t matter what you like.


This is probably the best review of modern MacOS and modern Windows that I’ve read.

He nails what’s great about MacOS (“MacOS, like the MacBook Pro itself, provides the sturdiest place to hang your art. It’s a gallery with properly kerned placards, maybe a little sterile, but predictably and comfortably so. It is, above all, comforting. To know that your tools are of good quality and preordained by a master allows you to focus on your work.”) and what drives Windows/Linux people nuts about it (“But what about? No, you can’t do it that way. Not yet. But if you wait a while, and prove that you can do it the way we think is best, we may let you try it another way. We might even take that idea you thought you wanted, and give you something even better.”)

But most of all, he nails what’s disappointing about the new MacBook. Not that it’s a bad machine – it’s a great machine, he notes – but that it feels like the folks who made it aren’t living and working with MacBookPros. They’re doing things that make sense on paper and sound awesome in presentations (“We’ll reduce the thickness by X% and add this new TouchBar!”) but not things that are actually awesome, things that make users stand up and clap.


That’s very apt. Like an anarchist bookfair, they expect you to read a LOT.


From the excellent headline through the pretty apt analogy, this was a really well written review.

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It really is about the user, as well as how the operating systems change over time. For example, computer technology still isn’t intuitive for people aged 55+. In 1995 I would have recommended an older person use the then-staid Windows over the then wild-and-wooly MacOS. Today I recommend the opposite approach, because while the trust in the end-user that lies behind the operating systems has changed a lot of old people still need hand-holding by a well-dressed control freak.

By the same token, I won’t use locked-down Apple devices myself. Yes, it’s *nix underneath and I could use terminal to do what I need, but I can dual-boot to a Linux distro on my commodity Windows hardware to do that – at a fraction of the price and without Tim Cook constantly nagging me that the perfectly streamlined and expensive bonnet is bolted down for a reason.

As with most tech geeks, I’m sometimes required to do casual support for the people in my life who use Macs. It’s a frustrating experience spending extra time for workarounds to things I can do instantly in Windows or Linux, but at least it takes me out of my own OS bubble.


Even though the MacBook Pro doesn’t have MagSafe, the Surface Book, amusingly, does. However, the Surface Book’s magnetic power plug is on the right and not the left, which as any MacBook user can tell you is objectively wrong, because all our couches are on the left side of our living rooms.

This might be the most compelling reason yet for me to get a Surface Book.

I don’t need a new laptop (yet), but if I did, it would probably be the Dell XPS13. Or maybe the 2-in-1 version of it they announced yesterday. Or a Surface Pro. The Surface Book is just too expensive. The sensible choice would be a new MBP, but it just isn’t compelling right now.


I loved (past tense) Apple and their hardware and software.

I credit Apple with having fueled my enthusiasm to get into computing during college. After college, I worked for Apple for five years. I’ve used Apple hardware – nearly exclusively – from 1985 til this past year. But I believe that the macbook I bought in 2012 is going to be the last piece of Apple hardware that I purchase. I’ve been growing into linux for 15 years and am now using linux on a chromebook for the vast majority of what I do.

It’s for so many reasons:

  • Apple appears to think of the desk/laptop computing market as an adjunct to the iphone market. I think that mentality is going to bite them bigtime, but regardless of whether they’re successful in a post-computer phase, it spells doom for my buying their computers.
  • Apple tries so hard to control music and how its listened to with it itunes gatekeeper; I’ve never purchased Apple encrypted music, and I’ve bought enthusiastically from Amazon since they began offering DRM-free stuff (and when Amazon doesn’t carry something, I just head to the internet and bammo) and I make it a point to not use itunes to play or catalog any of my stuff.
  • Apple’s OS is phoning back to the mother ship with lots of information, some of which I can swat down with LittleSnitch or the like, but it’s disconcerting.
  • The underpinnings of their os got a lot better in OsX, but honestly their windowing UI was better in OS9 and has never gotten back that mojo. In the name of looking “modern” they sacrificed way too much in that transition.
  • Steve Jobs is gone – he was 30% genius and 70% fucking asshole, and while I dislike him I do think Apple’s success with him was more than a random correlation – and the innovation seems to have stalled (the Apple watch? yeah, right).
  • Now Apple’s ditched the usb port, and now (on phones) the headphone jack.

Sayonara, old Apple of yore. We had some good times, but I’m seeing someone new now, and they feel like the keeper I was after all along.


My preferred setup would be :

  1. A Windows Laptop (for everyday use)
  2. A Mobile phone (anything by an Iphone)
  3. A console for gaming

It’s pretty much the setup I’m rocking right now, and believe me I’m a power user. I don’t need a server at home, that’s what the internet is for (or “the cloud” if you’re into buzzwords). There are a few Android tablets (gifted by friends) somewhere in my house but I don’t understand their use. I can’t see myself programming on an Apple device without ending up in Arkham Asylum (also, I currently use a high-end laptop that cost half of what a similar Macbook would’ve cost). I would consider running Linux in stead of Windows if not for two problems : games and UI (Linux doesn’t do either of those properly IMO).


The Surface Book and Surface Studio are two of the most beautiful machines ever made, but their price-tags are insane. Microsoft is very new to the hardware market (when it comes to laptops/computers) so I get that they don’t (yet) have the infrastructure to sell those devices for less. Maybe in a few years. In the meantime one can only hope that companies like Acer, Asus, Dell, etc. steal the shit out of the design sensibilities of Microsoft’s Surface line.


Mac makes sense for multimedia production and professional design. Coding, though, can be done efficiently on any OS at this point in time – if the dev environment you use on OSX works for you, that’s great.


For me, it’s dual boot Windows 7 and Linux Mint on both my laptop and desktop.

Mint for online activity and office stuff (LibreOffice)

Windows for gaming and audio/video processing.

I’ve tried a couple of recent MacOS versions via hackintoshes in a VM. I can see the appeal, but I can’t see giving up the huge Windows freeware/shareware tools bazaar.


KDE on Linux is the worst, most disorganized, semi-functional mess of a gui in existence… apart from all the others.


Again, this comes down to personal preference. There’s more than enough high-end multimedia software available on Windows for instance to make it just as viable for multimedia work as Mac. I would say, if you’re a designer, or video-producer, etc. avoid Linux, but use whatever else fits you.