I've read these posts with great interest about why someone would choose to move to Linux from OSX and why this is unusual and might be a bad idea.

When I left University (wow - six years ago!) I could finally justify buying a personal computer. Up until then I couldn't. I know most students do have them, but since most of our work was team based and involved using big expensive software such as Pro/E and Adams we needed to be in Uni anyway. I'd had experience on a mix of operating systems (including Windows, Solaris and VMS) and knew that Windows wasn't for me. I liked the look of BeOS, but it seemed to be dying and Linux looked like a great idea, but too difficult for me (no Ubuntu then). Luckily Apple had announced the Public Beta of OSX so I went with a mac, and the rest is history.

OSX has been a fantastic learning tool for me. The power of unix, but easy to use (and nice looking to boot). It's enabled me to go from knowing nowt to being quite a geek, but hasn't forced me to do that all in one go. And the more I've learnt the more I've become aware of the Open Source community and what it stands for (as well as the great apps). Plus, the more prone I've become to tinkering, so much so that OSX rarely 'just works' for me as I almost always want to tweak things or find a better way of doing it. So I'm wondering if I will eventually move to Linux because if I want to tinker that's the place to be and it fits better with how I feel about sharing information and knowledge.

But then it's hard to judge what I'd miss without having tried any unix distribution. A lot of apps are replaceable and I guess most of the issues would be hardware related (where Apple and OSX are really good) such as sleeping on laptops, WiFi and Bluetooth (not that they don't work, but they might not work as well as I'm used to). However, there are a few apps that I think would be irreplaceable:

  • Mellel. Ok there are word processors, but Mellel is the only one I know of that supports style Sets. And Style sets rule. I could achieve similar (I think) with LaTex, or XHTML and CSS, etc, but there is also a reason why word processors exist over a red pen, blue pen and a piece of paper.
  • GarageSale. Nowt comparable on Linux for managing ebay auctions. Of course if I was rich then I wouldn't be selling anything on ebay, but then I also wouldn't care (as much) about using Linux
  • Applescript and Automator. Being able to script applications with one language is great. Doesn't seem as if there is anythign as easy on Linux

So that's it. Not many and none that really, really, prevent me from going.

I wonder if moving to Linux, etc from OSX is a more natural step then going from Linux to OSX? Isn't this a more fitting progression? For example: I started editing movies on iMovie. That was great, it worked, it got me hooked and interested and learning. Then you learn the limitations and you want more so I moved to Final Cut Express and had I had the money I'm sure I would have kept going upwards. You generally move from easy to use to more powerful the more you learn.

I guess the arguement is that OSX is as every bit as powerful as Linux, it just happens to be easier to use as well.

Perhaps it's education driven, i.e. to learn more OR as you become more aware of software development philosophies.

Or is it snobbery? Why do people buy coffee beans and grind them and brew coffee rather than buy Nescafe instant? Let's neglect taste for now (that's personal preference, the nice GUI, but not the reason - in this analogy at least), the reason people do it is because they like doing it. There's a certain sense of achievement and satisfaction from doing something the hard way. You have that sense that you've achieved more than the majority have. Maybe moving to linux is the next step because you've had the ease of instant unix, but you want to learn more about the process behind coffee making.

Or perhaps moving from OSX to linux could be compared to having coffee at Starbucks (and feeling all smug over the Nescafe instant users) and then realising and learning that perhaps there is further yet to go and there are fairer alternatives.

I'm not sure, but I do feel that OSX is in the middle. It's the comfortable middle ground and that when you've learnt enough and are mature enough the respectable and decent thing to do is to step up to Linux.