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My post on switching to Ubuntu and not Mac OS generated a lot of interest both amongst Linux and Mac OS users. There were many comments on the post and some valid points were raised. Also there were a lot of myths that were put across. Here I try to dispel some of those:

The myths

  • Ubuntu does not have a good UI : This is absolutely rubbish, checkout the new KDE that comes with Ubuntu.
  • To install software a user has to use a command line on Ubuntu : Another false claim. The Synaptic package manager is brilliant and does not require interaction with the command line. There are some software that do need command line usage. Then again those won’t be ones an average user is going to use.
  • You have to build software from source code on Ubuntu. This is not something an average user would be able to do : The software that come in source code form are definitely not intended for the average user. The ones that are meant for the average user come in binary formats that are easy to install.
  • There are hardly any games on Ubuntu : For that matter how many games are there on Mac OS compared to Windows? So if it is ok for Mac OS users to run Windows through Parallels and play games on it then the same can be done on Ubuntu.
  • Mac OS is great and thats the reason we have Hackintosh systems : Well Ubuntu comes free and can be installed on virtually any hardware. So the need for hacked systems does not arise.
  • Multimedia playback support is not good in Ubuntu : Excuse me but could you define what is exactly meant by multimedia support? If its the capability to playback different file formats then I guess Ubuntu, for that matter Linux in general, has the most plug-ins. The reason they are not supported out-of-the-box is because of licensing problems. Yes Mac OS supports that, but then again you pay to get it. If you pay and get a commercial desktop Linux version you would get all the support you need.
  • Mac OS “just works” and Ubuntu does not : What do you mean by that? What is this “just works” thing?
  • Hardware support is limited on Ubuntu : The number of hardware components supported by Linux today is probably the second only to Windows. Check the HCL for Ubuntu.
  • There are no Ubuntu based laptops available from the large PC vendors : Dell has a line of Ubuntu based laptops. Check them out. The fact that others do not sell them has no reflections on Ubuntu but on Microsoft’s licensing agreements with them. Dell is the only company who has the balls to take Microsoft on.
  • I suffer from Apple envy : On the contrary actually. I love the Mac Book Pro and wanted to buy the new 15″  one. But then again I did not see a point in investing in something in which I would be locked in. Yes lock-in is a problem. Face it. The number of apps on Windows far outnumbers those on the Mac OS and that is one of the reasons why many people cannot switch to other operating systems from Windows.

Some truths

  • Adobe CS3 and other Adobe multimedia applications are not available on Ubuntu : Quite true. But then whose fault is it? Ubuntu’s or Adobe’s? My take is that Adobe is being extremely short sighted in ignoring Linux. If they continue to do so they would pay dearly.
  • Ubuntu does not have iTunes : True, but that affects people who are locked into Apple. Also Apple does not offer that on Ubuntu. And who is responsible for iTunes? Is that enough to not switch to Ubuntu? Someone wanting to use Google Chrome exclusively should then not consider Mac OS at all. Yeah we know that a Mac OS version is in the pipeline, but lets talk when it releases.
There is one thing that I have realized and that is Apple users are extremely loyal to Apple. Kudos to Apple to have achieved that. Windows does not have that. My previous article attracted comments from a lot of Apple loyalists. I was surprised that not an equal number of Linux supporters voiced their views. The only reason for this is the different Linux distros that are out there. Its probably time that they realized that even though it might be Fedora or OpenSuSE or Ubuntu or any other Linux variant, at the core they are all the same.
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