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by Brian Schrader

Alternatives to macOS

Posted on Tue, 03 Jan 2017 at 02:15 PM

Like lots of passionate Mac users, I've been keeping tabs on the "State of the Mac" discussions in the last few months. I don't feel like I'm as disappointed as most in Apple's hardware, but I do think that macOS could use some real attention as some annoying bugs have slipped into the last few updates to my Mac. I'm still using El Capitan and liking it a lot, and my 2014 13" Retina Macbook Pro is still my favorite computer ever. Overall I'm happy with my setup, but Apple's future for the Mac still worries me.

Wesley Moore (via Michael Tsai)

I deeply value the consistency, versatility, reliability and integration of Mac OS X and the excellent quality hardware it runs on...

Of course even if I make the switch there are a number of possible drawbacks, including but not limited to:

  • The time required to find replacements for all the software I use.
  • The lack of equally high standard replacements for software...

Elementary is stunning and definitely my favourite. It won’t appeal to everyone but their philosophies and direction really resonate with me. Specifically they have:

  • Human Interface Guidelines
  • A primary, native programming language (Vala, no Python and JS \o/).
  • A model for funding ongoing development (Bug bounties, Patreon, asking for payment when downloading).
  • Designers as well as developers on the team.

Just casually looking at Elementary, I have to say I really like the look of it. If I was going to switch right now, which I'm certainly not, I would use Elementary. Actually if I ever want a nice Linux GUI for anything, I'd probably use Elementary.1

The biggest switching cost for me is still the lack of comparable software on any other platform. The Mac's software ecosystem is fantastic (though a lot of people complain about how it could be so much more, it's still the best by a long shot). There just aren't alternatives for most of the fantastic software I have installed on my Mac. I need more than just a good terminal and web browser.

1 I've been using Linux Mint with Cinnamon for over a year at work and I recommend that too. Cinnamon feels more like Windows and it looks like Elementary feels more like a Mac.
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