Author Topic: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)  (Read 5313 times)

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Online Leslieann

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Some people requested I do this a while back, it took a while, but here it is.



Let it be known, the grass isn’t always greener.

This was initially even longer and more drawn out, so after a few too many re-writes trying to condense it down, here it is.

Let’s get this out of the way first. While I can backup, wipe and do a fresh install of any other OS listed below in less than an hour and be fully up and running (for the most part), that is NOT going to be the case for you. I employ some very specific data management that allows for this including using platform independent apps, a file server to host my data, backup software and excessive knowledge of where everything is stored. For most people switching involves seeking out new programs, learning where things are located and just getting used to everything.

It gets even harder when switching to Linux.
When a user switches to or from Windows or Mac there is not only plenty of documentation, they are also locked into an ecosystem. Just as switching your phone, you are thrust into it and you have no choice but to make it work. With Linux, most people dabble, dipping a toe in using Virtual Machines or a usb stick. At the first sign of the unknown they go running back to the OS they know and understand and later may or may not come back. If you REALLY want to switch and make it work, you need to dive in fully. I spent years dabbling with Linux, and even after relegating Windows to a secondary drive, I still didn’t really know what it was like to be a Linux user until one of my drive failed. Even when I hadn’t touched windows for months, my handling of Linux changed when that drive failed and I lost my training wheels. It’s for this reason that Linux is hard to switch too, remember that if you decide to switch. You have to fully commit or it just will not happen. Mac and Windows people commit by buying a brand new computer, they invested, with Linux you don;t have to invest and therefore you don’t.



Lets dive deeper.
First the OS’s, I’m going to stick to the more recent major OS’s, so Win7+,  MacOS 10.11+ (El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra), Linux as it pertains to today and Hackintosh, which while actually MacOS has some very important differences. While I won’t explicitly cover BSD, just replace any Linux reference with BSD and it will read about the same. I know BSD users heads just exploded, but we aren’t dealing with specifics, just outside looking in so relax.


We’ll start with Linux, for diplomatic reasons.
f Linux does one thing well it’s the user interface or desktop environment (D.E.), not that it’s perfect mind you, but that you can change it.  No, I don’t mean taskbar on top or bottom, no, I mean you can use what amounts to a Winxp interface (LXDE, Mate etc...), Win7 interface (Cinnamon), OS2 Warp (Enlightenment), Mac OSX (Pantheon), or something closer to Windows 10 (Budgie) or something completely new such as Pixel, KDE, Deepin, Gnome or Unity and more, and most can have a Mac style deskbar added to them, among other things and then theme them. While Mac users have few if any choices really, Windows users are probably saying they can do this too, but often times it requires hacked files or spending money on this sort of thing. Even better, you can simply log out and switch to another in many cases.

Linux also has fewer security problems, costs less, and once you understand the system, can even be FAR faster to re-install everything than any other system. Besides the fact that you can place all of your files on another partition or even another drive altogether, you can so a single command line and install most if not all of the programs you use regularly (this can be done on Mac and Windows, but few know about it and it's severely limited). No multiple clicks or anything, I copy, paste press enter, enter my pass word click yes, and it installs 20 programs without any further effort from me. This also means you can install things like Chrome or Firefox without having to go online with I.E. and risk infection.

Did I also mention these programs are updated along with the operating system? No waiting on a Windows or Mac update, then reboot, only to find X program has an update as well and as you finish with that, another says it has an update. Nope, all updates come in from the same system and can be installed in one shot, at your choosing. You can even download and wait to install them later and odds are you won't need to restart.

Besides being able to be run on almost anything, Linux even lets you run from a USB stick, I don’t mean it brings your files, I mean you can run the entire system from a stick. Mac and Windows can now do this, but they learned it from Linux and at least in the case of Windows, is still crude by comparison.

Speed, support, stability
While it may not do games as well, Linux is FAST and runs on almost anything. Memory management is good and so is stability. Remember Linux came of age running servers. You rarely need to restart and it supports more hardware than Mac and Windows combined, with a caveat.

So what does Linux not do well.
Support… While it has gotten better, in fact TONS better (you can thank Ubuntu for that), it’s not as good as Windows support. There is tons out there and the problem is no longer jerks telling you to RTFM and flooding the search results with just that, the problem now is fragmentation. I’ll give an example, remember I said there is lots of D.E.’s and you can change between them, I once did this going from Cinnamon to Gnome which I wanted to try, the problem is that no one mentioned that since Cinnamon was based on Gnome and shared files, that installing Gnome on top would effectively kill Cinnamon. While an easy fix for me now, at the time it was easier to just re-install.  Yes, you can switch, just not back and forth like you can if you install say, LXDE, KDE and Cinnamon. If you can search and are willing everything you need is there, you just can't call MS or Apple for help, not that either I or they would want me to (let's just say there is a history and leave it there).

Programs…
That easy install method that did everything for me works great, until it doesn’t. One of the biggest claims for Linux is that programs and downloads are smaller since it only gets what it needs. In a perfect world this works well, you tell it to grab Firefox and it installs Firefox, if you tell it to install a video editor and it needs another program as a dependency, it goes and gets that program as well.  However, what if it can’t find that other program. That is a problem Linux has been fighting for a while now because it can be several links long. This needs this, which needs that which needs this other thing, which needs that other thing, oops, but that person stopped maintaining it and is no longer available. It just broke the whole chain unless you can find a work around. The community is working on a fix for this where they package all a program needs but guess what… We are back to large programs and while it works in cases where there are problems it also creates new ones. Windows has also tried both methods and had problems, there's no easy solution.

Hardware support is a bit odd.
Linux does support more hardware than Windows out of the box, what many don’t tell you though is that much of that hardware it supports is outdated and your new shiny part may not be. 10 years ago I setup a server and the network card was no longer supported by Windows but was by Linux, in fact they had done a driver update less than 2 years prior, the card however was almost 20 years old at the time. At the same time a wireless card needed some downloads just like Windows to get running. So while Linux users brag about driver support, especially out of the box being better, just tell them to shut up because the support isn’t really better for real world parts you are going to use. Would you rather have support for a 20 year old network card or would you rather it support the new wireless card you just bought?  You can get most anything working in Linux, but it may take some work. Windows, you buy something it probably has a Windows driver. Yes you have to install it, but at least you know it will work and if it doesn’t the manufacturer will fix it. So again, Linux users need to shut up about this because it’s BS.

And driver support changes depending on what distribution of Linux you used. Take for instance my Macbook Air, one Linux distro HATES my screen backlight, another hates my wireless card, and another hates both, and while fixable, finding those fixes are not easy and you never know if the information is too old to even work anymore, or the person who created the fix still makes the necessary files available, much less up to date. Mac users are already here and Windows10 users are just starting to really have this issue, which is pretty bad when you consider how young Win10 is by comparison. People if you do a support article, PLEASE DATE IT. Linux has a problem of too much info and at the same time, too little. Linux is also terrible for battery life and heat, it can kill batteries in no time. Though this is mostly fixable it means more time invested. This means laptop support is also not always great, as battery life is usually about 40-80% what Windows usually gets and about 30-70% what Mac will get. However some tweaking can get you up to about 80-90%. I’ve managed about 90-95% on my last few laptops.


Windows
One of the best things about Windows is what I just mentioned is a problem on Linux, hardware support. If your system is new, odds are the manufacturer supports Windows running on it, in fact even Mac’s support Windows being installed on them. There is lots of support (even for dummies) and it works on pretty much any new computers and no one is arrogant enough to say read the manual, usually.

Windows also works will in offices for this same reason, chances are the printer in your office supports Windows. So does your CNC machine, 3d printer and scanner. Most people also know how to operate Windows at this point, with it’s huge market saturation odds are if you have used a computer, at some point it was Windows.

Games, need I say more on that?

Win10 is probably the best and most secure O.S. Microsoft has made (sorry 3.x, 9x, XP and 7 fans but it’s true). It’s also the worst.
Blah blah blah malware, trendy, unsecure… I won’t go into that, it’s too easy to attack and we have all heard it. Same with discussing telemetry and forced updates. For as good as it is, MS is the real problem with Win10, not the OS itself, it genuinely could be fantastic with just a few easy changes, but it won’t happen without government invention. Ironically, the Chinese government edition of Win10 may actually be the best Windows, but who knows if it will leak or be able to be translated or run here, and would you want to use it knowing it was mandated by the Chinese gov.?

Also, why are we STILL using two control panels? Come on Microsoft, get it together. This should have been dealt with before release. I know this is a stupid complaint, but it just shows where their priorities lie, which seems to be with annoying me into using/buying their preferred product over what I want to use. Go back to using another OS, even Win7 for a week and then come back and see just how much crap MS is shoveling you with Win10. There’s a reason the start menu ads, Office popups and Edge popups were rolled out over time… Had they done it all at once on rollout, people would have rejected Win10.

Something of serious note.
Expect more and more problems with Win10, not less as time goes on. Yes, I know it has gotten better since launch, but remember what i said about too much information above? There used to be a nice shortcut to get to network adapters, then an update came out and it was altered to point somewhere else. Then creators update came out and changed it again. See with Xp, Vista and 7, you had clearly labeled service packs, and they rarely made UI changes of that magnitude even with a service pack. Win10 isn't clearly delineating updates, heck, MS is doing all they can to hide them from you, so how do you know what version you have? How old is the tutorial you are using?

This is only half the problem. You see on prior versions of Windows they used to run it on several hundred computers to test compatibility and it took a long time and lots of manpower, this is no longer the case. As of now most Win10 testing is done in virtual environment. Virtual is not real and it only has x number of iterations compared to the infinite variations of real hardware. It doesn't take into account how one but of hardware (x)  may conflict with another (y) if mixed with software (z). Virtualization is great, I use it a lot, but it's not a real computer.


Macintosh, the minefield.
Note: Macs only come on Apple hardware, so in some cases they cannot be separated.

Fantastic looking, nice feel, great battery life, usually a trendsetter. (though not always in good ways as of late!) and always a fantastic touchpad. We all know those arguments. Let’s get to the meat of it.

Older Macs also continue to run well and appear to hold value better than a Windows machine.
Content creation is often favored on Macs.

Another spot where Mac absolutely shines, I mean it utterly destroys anything else, and that is repair. No, I don’t mean the Genius Bar (that isn’t as good as you think it is!). No, I mean, you just replaced or corrupted your hard drive, on a Windows machine this means getting a copy of Windows and performing an install, you can do this on a Mac as well, but what makes Mac amazing is that it can fire up the network (even wireless) without an operating system and download/install the latest copy of MacOs you had installed on your computer. Meh you say… I installed Linux and Windows on my Air and destroyed the Mac partition on the drive. I simply booted into the emergency system, connected to my wireless and it did the rest. All of it. No drives, no drivers, no security codes, and while it wasn’t as quick as using a disk, it took care of everything restoring it to factory. It was an amazing experience after years of Windows and Linux disk installs. I cannot stress how impressed I was with this, EVERY store bought machine should have this.

Parallels… Why is this too not implemented on Windows and Linux. Wow. I mean seriously, WOW. Linux and windows users, and probably some Mac users are scratching their heads right now. Okay, what this program does is use your Boot Camp… Okay, let’s back up… Boot camp is just a fancy Apple name for dual booting Windows on a Mac. So what Parallels does is allow you to run Windows, from inside your mac. Big deal, that’s just Virtualization, but you would be wrong. I mean it runs both, from the partition, at the same time, and with very little loss, and seamlessly (it can even run CAD programs and games this way!). You will never look at dual booting and virtualization the same after having used it. It’s AMAZING, and thanks to Macs fantastic memory management you won’t see a serious slowdown unless you do something to tax the machine in total. 

You can also do development for Mac, Windows and Linux on a Mac thanks to how it works.

So what’s the bad?
I own Mac, this will be bad, deal with it.

First up the lie about content creation. Windows has caught up and in MANY ways exceeded Mac on content creation. It is standard in the industry though because the older people involved in it calling the shots grew up on it. As new blood enters the ranks making buying decisions this has been shifting. It doesn’t help that Apple’s new designs are not great for it, and in some cases almost hostile towards media creation.

Office compatibility goes right inline with this. Does the scanners and printers in your office all work with your Mac? If so, congrats. Will they all work next update? Oops. Think about this, you cannot plug your brand new Iphone into your brand new Mac without an adapter.  The same applies to software, Photoshop usually only works for one or two versions before you need a newer version, I experienced the same problem with firewalls and cad programs. I'm pretty sure Photoshop 4, not CS 4, Photoshop 4 will run on Win10 and you can also install Office 2010 on Windows 10, however on a Mac, as of Sierra Photoshop CS6 and earlier no longer works.

The hardware…
Ever see what happens to aluminum when it gets hit? It looks great when new, but leaves harsh edges, has zero give before bending, transfers heat… Which is made worse by a lack of cooling vents (WTF!). Oh, and that “premium” exterior often hides some pretty mundane internal parts. It’s also been known to hide some pretty crappy parts as well. Take note I never said premium internals. Yes you get a great processor (ignore the plebs using Mac minis!), but it’s often crippled by heat throttling and is often surrounded by par or sub-par components. I’m not saying all Macs have crap parts inside, but a large amount do, and even if they are merely average, you could still do better for the money. And how about upgrades? Oh wait, that’s soldered in place, not that it matters as Macs do not speed up like a Windows or Linux system does when you put faster parts in it (I’ll cover this more later). Or what if a component is failure prone, such as the Nvidia cards of years past, sorry, your Mac is dead. Even if Apple replaced the board, it WILL happen again and this time it won't be covered. Louis Rossman makes a darn good living repairing Macs for this reason (look him up on Youtube).

What about that gorgeous interface? The one where they removed the battery indicator? Too soon?
It looks great, but the truth is the OSX user interface has actually gone backwards in terms of usability and to be fair, it was never that great to begin with. Things are hidden, they are practically forcing users to the Apple Store and while the touchpad makes a mouse almost irrelevant, you need an instruction manual to remember all the modes. Did you know that originally Apple computers only used a single mouse button so users wouldn’t get confused about right and left click, and now they expect you to remember all of these finger combinations, though they still retain the single mouse button...  While they work well, somehow I suspect that a second mouse button would be simpler, especially since the Apple touchpads actually do have two buttons underneath, and if you dual boot Windows, works like a dual button touchpad. Why not a switch in the OS? No, that makes to much sense, and this is the problem with the entire user inferface, it's meant to look really pretty, not function well.

Mac doesn’t like multiple copies of certain programs open at the same time either, take for instance 3d printing, sometimes when setting up a print I will have several copies of the slicing program (file preper) open and not only doing it’s thing, but each will have slight differences trying to adjust print time or how much plastic it needs, Mac doesn’t like this. In fact Sierra is almost doing what Windows 8 did, in that it is tabletfied. Everything is tap here tap there, actually trying to work with multiple programs and functions though, is a mess.

Apple is also doing all they can to keep you from using programs obtained outside the Apple Store, this is fixed with a simple toggle in El Capitan (IF you know it exists) but requires a  command in Sierra (just look up sierra master disable on Google), but while you may so so what, you shouldn’t need to do that.

Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave with the decisions Apple has been making. The system no longer "just works".
Think I'm kidding... the Iphone (including the latest ones) have a Lightening connector and you use a USB to Lightening cable.. okay fine. The cable is a USB type A, the new Macs laptops only have USB type C. This is a perfect example of how Apple currently functions, it doesn't.

Let’s also talk about that resale value…
Contrary to what most people think Macs do not actually hold value better. Macs do have a higher resale price, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily holding it's value. A 3 year old high end Mercedes is still worth more than a brand new Nissan, but that has as more to do with how much it cost when new than it does retaining value. A high end Mercedes can lose $30k a year (the price of a new Nissan) and still be worth more than a new Nissan for several more years. That doesn’t mean it retains value, it means it was just an expensive car. Depreciation on most Macs is actually terrible (like Mercedes), it only looks good because of the initial cost gives it further to fall. The laptops that actually held value were some of the last Japanese made, high end Sony Viao. I'm not saying Macs depreciate fast, I'm just saying they aren't holding resale value as people claim.

I take that back, two Apple Macs are holding their value really well.
The 2015 Macbook Pro and the 11.6in Macbook Air, especially the 8gig models. The Air is retaining value because there is little that competes with it, I can buy a decent HP laptop for the price of my logic board (motherboard). The 2015 Macbook has the same distinction, it's still plenty powerful, upgradable and a truly "pro" machine and both a re quite reliable, so long as no fluid gets on the board, and by that I mean even an insect peeing on it (yes, that has killed them)...



Hackintosh, also sometimes called a Crapintosh by “real” Mac users (PC users used to call Macs, Crapintosh)
Hackintosh, for those who don’t know is a PC running Macintosh.

Hackintosh leaves you free to pick and choose your parts (kind of!) and set your price point. It’s not too difficult to outrun current Mac Pros for less than the price of an Imac, and you can upgrade it with off the shelf parts (kind of!). While for years Mac users crapped all over Hackintosh, these same people are actually now turning to them to replace aging Mac Pros. It’s believed that it was this that caused Apple to actually announce a new Mac Pro, as Apple almost never announces products before release. Another reason it was stupid for Mac users to crap on them is that most Hackintosh users often were/are Mac owners.

Sounds great right, a Mac using the parts you want? Yes and no.
You still have some of the drawbacks of a Mac, but it adds some new issues too.

While you can upgrade a Hackintosh’s you have to be SUPER careful, not just hardware but also with Apple updates as a slight change can bring the machine down. You have to pick your parts from a very small list, deal with lots of little install problems and on updates wait for the experts to figure out what changed and if it’s safe. If not, how to fix it, and that can at times mean either not getting an update or buying new hardware that is compatible. For example AMD video cards worked fine for a while, now, they cause boot and sleep problems and no one has figured out a solution yet. You fight a constant cat and mouse game with Apple on this.

Hackintosh is by far the hardest of the operating systems listed here to install and keep running. It’s list of compatible hardware is small and in some cases is determined down to revision numbers on firmware. Even if you get the right parts there is no guarantee it will be easy or survive the next update. Not all Apple programs will run on it, there is limited support, it’s not like Apple will help you, especially since you are violating their user agreement. Oh, and you almost require an actual Mac to get the operating system, it can be done without, but it’s even more difficult and more of a legal grey area. Same for some hardware, it's pretty much Intel only, unless you run a hacked kernel to allow AMD processors.

Installing Arch Linux is pretty close to the difficulty of doing your first Hackintosh. Arch takes a bit more command line work while the Hackintosh requires more pre-planning on what hardware to use. Both require a lot of research and time and will self destruct with a simple update (note, I like Arch!).
« Last Edit: Tue, 20 February 2018, 00:48:07 by Leslieann »
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Online Leslieann

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Performance differences.
AH HA! You say, now we get to where (insert my favorite OS) wins!
Okay, remember, how I mentioned Mac was great at memory management, it is. I’ve seen Snow Leopard run on netbooks and it ran, okay not great, but it’s a netbook. What Mac users get away with would bring a Windows machine to it’s knees. it’s quite impressive and has allowed Apple to sell machines with hardware that Windows users would laugh at while also selling stuff Windows users drool over, usually at a price that makes Windows users squirm.

As for Windows, there is an old saying, what “Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away”. In other words, every time Intel gave us more power, Microsoft ate it for breakfast and asked for more. Luckily those days are behind us and even a modest system today runs decent, which is why Intel keep selling what amounts to a slightly tweaked Core2duo as a “new” processor (stop buying “Pentiums!)

Linux just keeps chugging away, it can use a little ram, or a lot of ram, it’s not a memory hog like Windows, but it’s not as dainty with memory like Mac. On the other hand, Linux can be tuned to the system more than the others. Got an old netbook, using the right distro (distribution) can make it run better than new. Will it scream? Probably not, but it’s an old netbook, what do you expect, you should be glad it runs anything modern at this point without falling on it’s face.

Here is where it gets interesting though.
I’m not going to benchmarks, sorry, benchmarks do not always tell a whole story, which is what I’m going to do.

So I have a Macbook Air and a custom desktop that at least recently was running Mac (Hackintosh). When I got my Air (all my system specs are at the bottom of this article) I noticed it ran pretty good compared to my 2nd Gen I7 desktop but considering the age of my desktop, I didn’t think much of it. It’s several years in age difference, had an older chipset and wasn’t even using UEFI (the bios/boot system). It also needed a special boot system on top of that to allow it to even handle running Mac, so really it not being much faster wasn’t a huge shock. The difference in speed was similar with Windows and Linux, it was nearly a 6 year old system at that point competing with a 2 year old laptop.

Then a few months ago, I had a customer who wanted to upgrade an old Core2 Duo but couldn’t really afford even an I5 which was what I recommended they get. So agreeing to a used system, I parted out my 2nd gen I7 and used the sale, plus my labor charge to upgrade to a 6th gen I7. Besides a few hours labor, the upgrade (board, processor and ram) cost me all of $80.

Strangely motherboard defaulted to my Windows 8.1 partition. This isn’t a big deal as I knew I would need to re-install everything because my new board used UEFI and wasn’t compatible with how I had previously installed Mac, however I was expecting it to at least try. Windows, being the virus that it is, took over, no big deal. What was a big deal was how fast it booted.

About 8 seconds.
This got me wondering just how fast Mac was going to run now. This destroyed my previous Windows install and of course the laptop so Mac should be awesome! I needed to change the drive’s partition table for the switch and Linux was the easiest way to do that. So I booted up Mint Linux on a sub stick, it ran pretty well, the stick was a big bottleneck, but it certainly was faster. Curious, since the drive is wiped anyhow, lets install Mint Linux and see how it runs. FAST, yeah, it too was noticeably faster, in fact, not counting bios/EFI, Mint booted in 2 seconds. By comparison, my laptop needs 4 times that.

Well, time to try Mac!
It ran no better, well, not much. It barely made any difference on boot times or how the interface ran. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say it ran slow or sluggish. It ran great on the 2nd gen, and on my laptop, what I’m saying is that it didn’t scale when I put in faster hardware. The improvement wasn’t worth the $80 it cost me, much less the hundreds of dollars it actually cost to do.

There is a lot of talk by Mac Pro users about how they want/need an update because the hardware is older. This will help with video compression and other high cpu utilizing tasks, but anyone buying a newer Mac for a speed increase in how it feels when browsing, boot times, and just general computing is going to be very disappointed. If you doubt this, go look at some benchmarks. There is a guy on Youtube who bought a used system for $70 and made a Hackintosh from it, and while it’s a desktop, it still ran faster, even on benchmarks, than a brand new Macbook Pro. Again, yes, it’s a desktop compared to a laptop, but remember, my Air ran similar to my desktop and this guy only spent $70.




Some thoughts on why this happened.

I suspect two things here…  Apple has been resting on their laurels, this much is probably true. Steven Jobs, love him or hate him, he always pushed Apple to be the best he could build, in spite of what the board of directors wanted. The new CEO is running Apple like a normal corporation and greed rules. This is why the Iphone 4 was allowed to languish, it’s why the Mac Pro was allowed to languish and it’s why the new Macbooks are so terrible. I do not think Steve would have allowed some of the recent decisions to happen. You can’t plug in a new Iphone into a new laptop without an adapter, the new phones were sold without a jack and no headphones ready… Does that sound like the old Apple to you, the one that was all about an ecosystem that “just works”. The new Macbook Pro lacks far too many features professionals need it’s not even funny, just look at how many are considering Surface Pros (no joke).

The other reason for this I suspect is Apple may be shifting direction and that direction is ARM processors. Arm processors are not going to need or support 32gigs of ram. It’s also not going to support a ton of peripherals. And just look at where Apple has headed lately. Server is now an add on to MacOS, NAS support has been crippled (fixed with a command, but you shouldn’t need to do this! Look up Fix Sierra network shares), and then there is them pushing everything onto their store and the inability to upgrade any hardware on your laptop. It’s looking more and more like an Ipad laptop.
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Online Leslieann

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Becoming OS independent
This means universal programs, where to find the crucial data and where it goes on other systems. In other words, if you switch operating systems, this will allow you to (relatively) easily move you data and not lose anything (unless you make a mistake, which happens).

First let’s discuss why you should want to be OS independent, because it frees you from your operating system. If you switched from PC to Mac or back, or even Android to IOS, you know what I’m talking about. The system is new, you don’t understand it,and now you have all these new programs to learn to use it. Not to mention, all your data was on something proprietary including backups so you lost it. The idea here is you are not reliant on time Machine or Google to keep your data safe because they trap you in their ecosystems. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to switch phones or computers and once setup you had your data and felt right at home in a short time with little effort? That’s the point of all of this.

For some people that may not seem like a big deal, but for those who like to play or are considering switching systems, it means you will feel familiar in any computer regardless of the system it runs.

Let me give you another example and reason.
I can backup my system, install another operating system (or do a reinstall) and have my system 99% back to the way it was in about an hour. Doesn’t matter if I’m going from Windows to Hackintosh, or Mac to Linux.  Why? Because I have my data prepped and the data interchanges between them. Granted I’ll spend more time getting that last 1% dialed in, but I’ll be online, and comfortable while doing it. I’m not looking for programs to switch to, trying to find data, or converters, etc.


Let me make something clear, I have never used a Mac the way Apple intends, then again, I haven’t used Windows that way in a very long time either (ever?). So I may miss a few essential programs and people have different needs but I’ll put some links at the end that can help you find alternates.

By the way, if you think this will be simple, I have news for you, it probably won’t be, especially people who like Google stuff. While Google uses Linux for Android, they are almost hostile towards it for anything else. It’s kind of weird.


First up browsers.
Opera, Chromium (Not Google CHROME), Firefox. Chrome doesn’t work on Linux, but Chromium is just Chrome without Google involved*. You can still access the app store (or whatever it’s called) but it won;t do everything Google Chrome does. If you use Safari or Edge, you are probably reading the wrong article unless you just happen to be curious. You shouldn’t be using those as your primary browser anyhow as far as I’m concerned.

*Note!!! Chromium, while the foundation for Google Chrome before they add their proprietary code and tracking, it doesn’t contain H.264 and Web.M(?) drivers so it doesn’t work well on Youtube. There are plugins to fix this, but seriously WTF. Google makes both, you would think they would want it to at least work with one of their primary websites.

Office..
Open Office. Notepad++ is not a replacement, that’s great for replacing Notepad or Text Editor, but it’s not a real word processor like Writer. Now on Mac, I have no idea why the heck they did this, but on Linux and Windows, Open Office is broken up into separate programs, but on Mac, it’s one program and then you pick the sub program. Frustrating because it means extra clicks to access things you use regularly. Fortunately there is a hack for it to make it open specific things. Just look up Disablestartmodule.oxt in Google, it should take you right to how to do this, it will show up as disable start screen or splash screen but will let you launch Writer by default.

Email
Thunderbird. Screw Outlook, even if it could run on Linux (it can with a trick), but I cannot express how inefficient and horrible of a program that is. Anytime I have a customer who wants to replace a computer Outlook is always a major problem (ALWAYS!). Even if you have no intention of switching systems, stop using it for everyone’s sanity. I am getting better at it, but it;s a fight every time and I;m always disappointed by the results. It’s also MASSIVE. What takes 2gigs on Thunderbird will occupy 20gig on Outlook.

Photoshop and Illustrator
GIMP and Inkscape right? Nope, sorry. I HATE Gimp (and have little experience with Inkscape and Illustrator). I know, I know, this was supposed to be universal, but I HATE Gimp with a pashion. There are universal photo editors, but here is my suggestion. On Mac and Windows, use Adobe’s products. So what about Linux? Install PlayOnLinux or Wine and use the Adobe products. Yep, you can use the Windows version right in Linux with little to no effort and it works just fine. There is also some webapps that can do most basic photo editing and are tolerable.

So what is PlayOnLinuix and Wine. Wine is a set of files that let you run Windows programs on linux, however it’s not emulated or faked, it runs just like it should. While it doesn’t work for all programs, it does work well for some. PlayOnLinux is just an automated system to make the process easier. Wine also happens to work on Mac.

Chat
For Linux and Windows you want Pidgen, on Mac it’s Adium. While almost identical, Adium cannot use Pidgen files. Kind of a bummer, bbut otherwise they are almost identical and as close as you will get. Actually, more universal is Trillium, and while I like it, I just prefer Pidgen and Adium despite not being 100% perfectly compatible.

FTP – Filezilla
It’s simple and it works.

Others in no particular order
Audio Editor – Audacity
Backup - Crashplan – backup to friends or the cloud
CAD - Freecad
Media player - VLC
Night mode -  FLUX and Redshift – dims and changes monitor red for better sleep.
Torrent - Qbittorrent
Video editors - Openshot and Avidemux (Cinelerra is FANTASTIC on Linux). These rival anything on Mac! And cost nothing.

3d printer control – Pronterface or printrun (same program), Repeteir no longer works on Mac really.
3d printer Slicing – Cura or Slic3r, while Simplify works on all of them it costs a lot and uses some serious DRM. If you switch systems a lot it will be a problem. Personally, I like Simplify despite everything.

Cloud storage..
Google claimed a Linux client was coming for Google drive and it has never arrived, after years of waiting. There was a semi decent free client, but it died and was split up. If you are willing to pay and want what amounts to the official Google client, look into Insync, which works fantastic. However, my recommendation is switch to Mega.nz, not only does it work on all OS, but it has 50gigs for free and avoids Google.

For remote admin (VNC), you will need a different client for each OS, fon Mac look for ChickenOfTheVnc, on Linux try Remmina, on Windows try Ultravnc.


What if it’s not covered
Wine, crossover, play on linux, Parrallels and also try http://alternativeto.net which lets you look up the program you use and then gives alternatives.



Data backup:
Every OS stores things in different places, but Linux actually does the best job of keeping it all in a simple place without lots of fluff, and it doesn’t help some programmers decide to just place it where they want. For example, Google places the user files for Chrome in what is generally supposed to be used for temp files, though Microsoft itself is also guilty of this with Outlook files. Both also bury these files, which makes sense since both are aggressive towards users, who they see as a product just a s farmer sees his cattle as product.

On Linux, everything is in the home directory, in most cases you will need to enable hidden files (ctrl-h), but they are all there. Firefox files are stored in .mozilla, .thunderbird and .filezilla are appropriately named. Pidgen is actually labeled .purple. Chromium, sticking to Googles method of f’ing up standards as bad as Microsoft has done to standards, is actually stored in the .config folder but generally most are right there to see.

On Windows files are stored burried and it changes depending on how you get there. If you go to the documents in Explorer you will only get to each part and the rest is hidden.  Your better to go out to C:\  drive, then users\your name. In here you can see most of the files. However program files are hidden and you will need to go into control panel to enable them. On Win 7 and 8, switch to show small icons and then go into folder options, in the view tab it will be labeled show hidden files, folders and drives.  On Windows 10 it’s inside  explorer options (?) then do the same as above (sorry, I don’t have a Win10 install I can look at at the moment).

Now go back to Explorer and you should see a folder labeled AppData. In here, you will see Local and Remote. Chrome is inside Local, there you will find a Google folder, but do not copy the whole thing, remember I said it was meant for temp files, yeah, all your cache is in there too, and Google is HEAVY on caching. Just go inside and pluck out the user data folder. Some Outlook files can also be stored in local in the Microsoft directory, but since they aren’t useful I’m not going to detail it. Back in the Appdata folder, if you go into remote you will find Thunderbird, Mozilla (firefox) Filezilla and more. Purple, which is Pidgen also gets stored in here.

So while it may be tempting to just copy your whole user folder, you will end up with gigs of extra data you don’t need and should you use that data to re-install, it would overwrite and corrupt some Windows settings. Not only that, but much of that date (including outlook) is useless with the registry data that accompanies it.

Mac, now this gets complex, I highly recommend you install Mucommander if you want to manually backup and restore data. The reason being, that Mac hides folders deeper than Microsoft and Linux and if you enable seeing them, you start seeing all sorts of other, unnecessary files. It’s kind of like Apple asked Xzibit to pimp your OS, “I see you like files so we gave you extra files”.  Mucommander lets you see what you need and leave Finder alone. This is how you find out that on Mac there are two Library folders, one on the main drive and another in your personal area.

Most program data is stores in Library/Application Support, here you will find Adium, Chromium (see the Windows section for how to minimise the files needed), Firefox (beware, there is Mozilla AND Firefox, you want Firefox, more on this in a moment). Backing out of Application Support you will find Thunderbird, I’m not sure why it’s not in  Application Support like the rest. Filezilla is actually in a completely different area, those files get stored in User/.config/Filezilla. Mac loves to break standards.

For some reason Firefox plays with how files are stored, placing profiles.ini in an odd spot. If you want to import or export this to another system, you will need to edit the path or just copy the data inside the profile itself (easier). Thunderbird also has a similar problem. Run each once and then use that as a guide for where they go by over-writing them.
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Online Leslieann

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So what’s best, what should you run?
Whatever works for you.

I always found it funny when a Mac user would call me a pc snob when I was simply asking why they ran Mac or thinking I won't want to talk to them because of it. If you wear it on your sleeve, expect to get questions. I don’t care what you run so long as it works for you, just don’t expect me to be impressed simply because you paid more. For the work I do, my systems can probably beat up your systems anyhow, so there.  :))

Look, if you like Mac, say you like it, don’t give me some BS about how the interface has this really cool.. blah blah blah blah… or how "it just works" because it doesn't. If you want to  treat your OS like a religion (this applies to all of them) I will treat it like a religion, and if your religion can’t stand up to some scrutiny, maybe you need a new religion. I don't mean to just pick on Macs here, Linux users used to be really bad about this too, and don't think you Windows users are exempt from any of this.

That said, if you do video, you should probably look into Linux as the video editing systems on it have really come a long way. Not that Mac and Windows are bad at it, contrary to what Mac users will have you believe. If you do photo editing however, Linux is probably not your best choice unless you want to run Photoshop through Wine (which works incredibly well actually). Let’s be honest, for photos, Photoshop still rules. For gamers and cad engineers, you really need Windows, that’s just all there is to it. Each can do a bit of each other and Windows can do pretty much anything, but some just do it better and if you have a choice and you are serious, you should pick the one that gets the job done for you.

I’m not impressed by Macs, I don’t care for Linux elitism, I don’t care about PC snobs, use what works. It’s an operating system and once you free yourself from the operating system, the operating system becomes little more than another program.




So what do I run?
I was recently asked why was I running a Hackintosh and shortly before that why is my Mac not running Mac. Remember my preface, the grass is always greener…

Let’s start with Windows… If you are on Windows and plan on staying there, you WILL be switching to Win10 at some point in the near future. No, you refuse? Good luck. Support for 7 and 8 WILL dry up is already starting to dry up and while I don’t mind 10 itself. As I mentioned earlier, 10 is great, it’s what MS did to it that screws it up. MAYBE, and I mean a very serious maybe, if I can find that Chinese copy and verify it’s safe or if MS changes their policies, but otherwise, MS lost me as a product (because like Google, YOU are the product being sold). I’m far from alone here.

Believe it or not, I was part of Win10 beta program and I used it up until about a week after final release. I haven’t used Windows since except when I had to. I can, it’s my job, but the longer I use Mac and Linux the less I even want to return to Windows. In fact I just went looking to see the latest privacy hacks for Windows 10 for my customers and it’s exhausting. I just feel like it’s fighting me at every turn by comparison. I’m just over Windows I guess.

So what about Mac? The problem with Mac isn’t Mac itself, it’s Apple. I’m not going to buy a Mac Pro, I hate the Imac, and the Mini sucks for anything other than multimedia, and I can get something for half the price that does it. I do like my Air though, but they stopped making the 11.6in version and I like small portable laptops. So while they make the 12in Macbook (non-pro), and it is more modern, it’s a joke by comparison. Yes, it has a few better things, but it's a terrible laptop in actual use. There is also upgrade and repair issues on Macs (including my Air) and you REALLY need an actual Mac if you want a Mac laptop as Hackintosh just doesn’t work very well on laptops due to power management issues, sound card issues and wifi, with only the latter being a somewhat easy fix. I bought my Air because the PC equivalents of the 11.6in Macbook air frankly suck by comparison, and yes, I have tried many. The first day I got it, I wiped it and put Linux on it. It wasn't that I wanted it, it was capitulation because everything else was just so much worse.

The Hackintosh was/is nice, but the hardware restrictions are problematic (I HATE Nvidia) and even on a real Mac, you still deal with some problems. Namely CAD, which I need. All these people talk about Mac being for artists and content creators, but actually, there is VERY little engineering and CAD software for the Mac. Not that there is much for Linux either, but at least Linux has 3d printer support and will work on most laptops.

As for the desktop I prefer all my systems on the same OS, it just makes things simpler. I’ve had Hackintoshs in the past (been doing it since it was possible and a bit before through other means such as Pear), so that wasn’t a big deal, and I always build my desktops to be universal ever since the Windows NT4 days. It took a while before I could get the battery life up on the Air when running Linux, and Parallels made it easy for Cad, so I used that for a bit.

But I prefer Linux.
Am I running Linux? That depends, ask me tomorrow, next week, next year…
When I first started writing this I was on Linux, then went to Mac, and today, I put Linux back on (Antergos with Cinnamon, but Mint is good too).  If I get frustrated I could go back to Mac/Hackintosh, or I could get completely fed up and go back to Windows… 7, or 9 (search for it, it exists, kind of), though it’s VERY, VERY unlikely. I don;t see myself going back to Windows, and with the current Mac lineup, that won't be happening either any time soon.

I just like Linux I guess. I feel so free using it. No one is watching, there is almost no malware or spyware, I can use it on both systems, it’s faster than Mac, almost everything is free, and I like the interface. But, you never know, just understand that for me, the OS is less important than the machine it runs on. Unless it's Windows 10... Sorry, not doing it.


That’s it.
Let me know any questions or comments  you have and I can try to answer them.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
For those curious about what I’m running:

Laptop – 11.6in Macbook Air Early 2014 -  4th Gen I7, 8Gb ram, 256Gb SSD

Desktop – 6th Gen Core I7 6700K, Gigabyte Z170 Mini-ITX board, 16gb DDR4-3000 ram, Samsung 850 Evo 256gb SSD, Radeon R9 280 (Linux) or Nvidia GT 740 (Mac)

File Server - 2nd gen Intel G645, Gigabyte Sniper M3, 8gb ram, 3Tb Seagate Drive
Currently using Windows 8.1

Old desktop -  2nd Gen Core I7 2600K, Gigabyte Sniper M3 or Maximus Gene-Z (depending on time and OS), 16gb DDR3, Samsung 850 Evo 256gb SSD, Radeon R9 280 (Linux) or Nvidia GT 740 (Mac)

The operating systems these use rotates depending on my frustration with what is installed:
Win7, 8.1, 9, 10, Linux Mint, Arch Linux, Antergos, Mac El Capitan and Sierra.
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Offline suicidal_orange

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A very thorough write up - thanks for taking the time :thumb:

I did laugh at gimp though, the rest tries to be objective or at least give reasoning but you hate gimp and that's that - any chance of an explanation?
                               
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Offline rm-rf

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A very thorough write up - thanks for taking the time :thumb:

I did laugh at gimp though, the rest tries to be objective or at least give reasoning but you hate gimp and that's that - any chance of an explanation?

you don't need an explanation, have you used it?!?

Offline suicidal_orange

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Yes I use gimp for all my image editing needs, few as they are.  As said at the top it's different (especially the interface - thank god for always on top toggles in every Linux DE/WM) but it does work once you know where things are.
                               
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Offline rm-rf

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yeah ok, its not that bad. but it definitely takes some warming up to it.

Online Leslieann

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A very thorough write up - thanks for taking the time :thumb:

I did laugh at gimp though, the rest tries to be objective or at least give reasoning but you hate gimp and that's that - any chance of an explanation?

You're welcome, glad to see some people read that wall of text.


I was trying to keep it fairly balanced, but yeah, Gimp is just...
I don't hate Gimp because it sucks, it doesn't, it's quite capable.  I think the reason Gimp annoys me (and others) so much is because I should know how to use it to do what I consider basic functions, but it seems like some of the steps,  icons and names, were changed just to be different, and while change can be good, change for the sake of change is often not, that's how we got Windows 8.0. I'm not opposed to change, however I'm a firm believer in that if I can run Windows, I should at least be able to do basic work if I get on a Mac or Linux. Same with photo editors, if I can use Photoshop, Corel, Paint or Paint.net, I should be able to use Gimp, but it just fights me on every step (I feel this way about IOS too). Maybe what I consider basic isn't so basic.

There is actually a modded Gimp called Gimpshop that alters it to work more like Photoshop, I thought it had been discontinued, but I just found it again, so I maybe give that a try.

Edit: Do not use this, it's outdated and questionable at best.
« Last Edit: Tue, 20 February 2018, 16:18:08 by Leslieann »
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Offline sth

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 20 February 2018, 12:10:03 »
This is awesome!! I haven't gotten through all of it yet but I'm working my way down.

Curious about a couple things -
1. Chrome (not just Chromium) runs on Linux - I use the official build on my work machine (Ubuntu). Chromium also supports pretty much every youtube video I've ever tried to watch - if you're running a libre distro you might have a harder time, but most all of youtube has been converted to html5 video that plays natively without extra plugins.

2. why openoffice and not libreoffice?
11:48 -!- SmallFry [~SmallFry@unaffiliated/smallfry] has quit [Ping timeout: 245 seconds] ... rest in peace

Online tp4tissue

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 20 February 2018, 12:53:09 »
This is awesome!! I haven't gotten through all of it yet but I'm working my way down.

Curious about a couple things -
1. Chrome (not just Chromium) runs on Linux - I use the official build on my work machine (Ubuntu). Chromium also supports pretty much every youtube video I've ever tried to watch - if you're running a libre distro you might have a harder time, but most all of youtube has been converted to html5 video that plays natively without extra plugins.

2. why openoffice and not libreoffice?


The most realistic solution is..

You can have it all.

Just buy more computers..  and load the stuff you need..

These buggers used to be $2000 ,  but these days, they're like $100 Used, on sale + a 120gb SSD,  $150 for a full setup.

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 20 February 2018, 14:08:25 »
Nice writeup!

I use all three operating systems, too, depending on what I need to do and if I'm at work or at home. I am mostly all Mac now, as we are almost 100% Mac at work (a school). I have a couple Windows servers at work, as well as a Mac server (Mac Pro), so while I typically use my iMac, I do need a Windows machine once in a while.

At home, I use an iMac with an external display. I used to be all about Linux for home use, but much of what I need to do for the college courses I'm taking has to be submitted in Word and Powerpoint. I know OpenOffice and LibreOffice are compatible, but I'm afraid that the one time I try to submit an assignment created in something other than true MS Office, it's not going to convert correctly, and I'll get a failiing grade on the assignment. That's just me being paranoid. Of course, I have Windows machines at home, but they rarely get used lately. The fact that I can run Windows on Apple hardware just means I don't need a dedicated machine for either.

I have been known to use Chrome OS, from time to time. I have a Chromebook and a Chromebox at home, and they work great if all you want is a browser. And the plus of those is that if you move to a new "computer" you simply login and everything is exactly how you had it the last time you were logged in. You do have to deal with a constant connection to Google, though.
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Online Leslieann

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 20 February 2018, 16:29:15 »
Nice writeup!

I have been known to use Chrome OS, from time to time. I have a Chromebook and a Chromebox at home, and they work great if all you want is a browser. And the plus of those is that if you move to a new "computer" you simply login and everything is exactly how you had it the last time you were logged in. You do have to deal with a constant connection to Google, though.
Thanks, good to hear from someone with experience with all three.

I haven't used ChromeOS, after my dealings with Android and what my customers have experienced with it, combined with my method of computing, it wouldn't work well for me. Besides, my Air is about the same size.

Like Android, it's a neat idea, especially for students, but for real world use I consider it almost a toy. Android is less a toy and more an Internet Of Things, hastily written and insecure. Unfortunately, IOS has it's own problems. I use Android but with a custom rom.



This is awesome!! I haven't gotten through all of it yet but I'm working my way down.

Curious about a couple things -
1. Chrome (not just Chromium) runs on Linux - I use the official build on my work machine (Ubuntu). Chromium also supports pretty much every youtube video I've ever tried to watch - if you're running a libre distro you might have a harder time, but most all of youtube has been converted to html5 video that plays natively without extra plugins.

2. why openoffice and not libreoffice?
Good luck, it;s a good wall of text.  :))
1. Chromium itself does not include all of the required codecs, that is part of the difference of Google Chrome vs Chromium.  On Linux, yes it plays everything but that is because the OS developer added the extra bits required to make it work for you. You just never saw them being installed.

2. Libreoffice is a fork of OpenOffice, they are basically identical and each distro and OS has it's own preference, you can change it of course, but it mostly comes down to whichever is easiest to install or comes pre-installed. There are actually about 6 forks of Open Office that I know of.
« Last Edit: Tue, 20 February 2018, 16:40:28 by Leslieann »
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Online Leslieann

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 20 February 2018, 16:38:48 »
Also note,
Do not use Gimpshop, it was discontinued by the developer, the site was setup by someone else and it has not been updated in a long time.
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Online fohat.digs

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 20 February 2018, 20:18:55 »

I did laugh at gimp though, the rest tries to be objective


I don't hate Gimp because it sucks, it doesn't, it's quite capable.  I think the reason Gimp annoys me (and others) so much is because I should know how to use it to do what I consider basic functions, but it seems like some of the steps, icons and names, were changed just to be different,


Thank you so much for this, Leslieann. It is very helpful and one of these days I will truly make the Windows-to-Linux switch.

I have been dabbling for years (Ubuntu and some OpenSUSE) and am getting very comfortable in Mint/Cinnamon but still work in Windows most of the time. At work I have to use Windows/Chrome/Outlook. I ditched Outlook at least a decade ago and having to use it again is excruciating. Chrome is dreadful, I switched from IE to Firefox in the early-2000s and can't/won't/don't see anything to prefer in Chrome.

About the time I went to Windows 7 I got tired of buying new Photoshop (Elements) every few years and transitioned to Gimp. It was very hard and unnecessarily painful for the reasons that you described, and the de-programming/learning curve was probably longer and more difficult than any other transition that I have tried.
 



“The greatest danger is not the rise of China but how the United States will react to China’s rise.”

The greatest danger is not the rise of China but how the United States will react to China’s rise and its own consequent loss of primacy. The rise of illiberalism in America is not an accident. It coincides with the dawning recognition of American decline and a desperate desire to prevent it. It should be remembered that the heyday of Western democracy corresponded with the zenith of Western hegemony. But can the West’s democracy survive the decline of Western global dominance? If the West is able to retain and renew its best values, in a world in which it enjoys a much diminished role and China is predominant, such a world will be the better for it.

- Martin Jacques - The Economist 2018

Online Leslieann

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 06:24:23 »
Thank you so much for this, Leslieann. It is very helpful and one of these days I will truly make the Windows-to-Linux switch.

I have been dabbling for years (Ubuntu and some OpenSUSE) and am getting very comfortable in Mint/Cinnamon but still work in Windows most of the time. At work I have to use Windows/Chrome/Outlook. I ditched Outlook at least a decade ago and having to use it again is excruciating. Chrome is dreadful, I switched from IE to Firefox in the early-2000s and can't/won't/don't see anything to prefer in Chrome.

About the time I went to Windows 7 I got tired of buying new Photoshop (Elements) every few years and transitioned to Gimp. It was very hard and unnecessarily painful for the reasons that you described, and the de-programming/learning curve was probably longer and more difficult than any other transition that I have tried.
You're welcome and thanks for confirming my theory about Gimp, it'll help the next time the conversation comes up, and it comes up surprisingly often when discussing Linux vs Windows and Mac.

You sound like you are already pretty well primed to switch.
I would like to say take the plunge next chance you get, but if you still play lots of AAA games, it won't stick for you. You either need to shrink your game repertoire down to what can run on Linux (check Steam and PlayOnLinux) or give up gaming altogether. If you can great, if not, keep toying with it, it's a good learning experience and good practice for when/if you ever do.
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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 11:48:53 »

You either need to shrink your game repertoire


Ha Ha. I never game, I am an old man. I will play a few games of Solitaire from time to time as a mind-relaxer, that and also maybe some 2048 on my phone while waiting for an appointment, but that's it.
“The greatest danger is not the rise of China but how the United States will react to China’s rise.”

The greatest danger is not the rise of China but how the United States will react to China’s rise and its own consequent loss of primacy. The rise of illiberalism in America is not an accident. It coincides with the dawning recognition of American decline and a desperate desire to prevent it. It should be remembered that the heyday of Western democracy corresponded with the zenith of Western hegemony. But can the West’s democracy survive the decline of Western global dominance? If the West is able to retain and renew its best values, in a world in which it enjoys a much diminished role and China is predominant, such a world will be the better for it.

- Martin Jacques - The Economist 2018

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 11:57:07 »


Ha Ha. I never game, I am an old man.


In a couple years..

Fohat's replicant humans leave..

Fohat hides in his tool shed playing solitaire to escape the chores assigned by his female.

Online Leslieann

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 19:17:48 »
You either need to shrink your game repertoire
Ha Ha. I never game, I am an old man. I will play a few games of Solitaire from time to time as a mind-relaxer, that and also maybe some 2048 on my phone while waiting for an appointment, but that's it.
Then you are all set, you just need that push.
For me, it was Win10 and the inevitability of having to switch to it. I would rather use Gimp than the use Win10, at least Gimp is functional. I honestly can't understand how people get work done on Win10, and from what I have seen from my customers, they aren't getting as much done as they were on 7 and 8. At least one office has had to rebuild almost their entire network due to Win10's data requirements.*

*They retained the wiring, but had to boost their internet bandwidth (from 20 to100Mb), install a faster wireless router and replace the old 10/100 switch with gigabit. They used a lot of data before and they are on VOIP,  but it ran fine with twice the employees (branched off) before Win10. All of the updates and update sharing just raised hell with their network.
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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 19:51:38 »
You either need to shrink your game repertoire
Ha Ha. I never game, I am an old man. I will play a few games of Solitaire from time to time as a mind-relaxer, that and also maybe some 2048 on my phone while waiting for an appointment, but that's it.
Then you are all set, you just need that push.
For me, it was Win10 and the inevitability of having to switch to it. I would rather use Gimp than the use Win10, at least Gimp is functional. I honestly can't understand how people get work done on Win10, and from what I have seen from my customers, they aren't getting as much done as they were on 7 and 8. At least one office has had to rebuild almost their entire network due to Win10's data requirements.*

*They retained the wiring, but had to boost their internet bandwidth (from 20 to100Mb), install a faster wireless router and replace the old 10/100 switch with gigabit. They used a lot of data before and they are on VOIP,  but it ran fine with twice the employees (branched off) before Win10. All of the updates and update sharing just raised hell with their network.

I'm gonna be on win7 for at least 10 more years..

Offline kgolden

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 20:45:08 »
I've switched back and forth from windows 7 to 10 to Arch/ Fedora now I use both Win10 and Arch( the Arch way). I love linux but I have gotten tired of fixing the small things but I'm not scared of the command line. I get tired of windows BS too. I am a gamer though and some of my favorite games are windows only. For windows I run LTSB 2016 with shutup10 to minimize telemetry. I wish I could make the switch completely, maybe one day.

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 20:48:18 »
I'm gonna be on win7 for at least 10 more years..
You can try.
Do you realize that will be like using Win98 today?

I mean, I have customers who still had win98 systems a few years ago, but they were scared to death to put them online, much less do real work with them.
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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 21 February 2018, 21:21:02 »
I'm gonna be on win7 for at least 10 more years..
You can try.
Do you realize that will be like using Win98 today?

I mean, I have customers who still had win98 systems a few years ago, but they were scared to death to put them online, much less do real work with them.



I see more of a usage plateau, because what could really be improved on the terminal end for humans.


It's like how keyboards haven't improved.  The interface, its speed, its accuracy is all good, and more than enough for Humans.


I don't see an OS improvement at this point that would be productivity/ life changing..


Online Leslieann

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 22 February 2018, 04:05:31 »
I see more of a usage plateau, because what could really be improved on the terminal end for humans.

It's like how keyboards haven't improved.  The interface, its speed, its accuracy is all good, and more than enough for Humans.

I don't see an OS improvement at this point that would be productivity/ life changing..
It has nothing to do with the interface, and speed will not significantly improve without a major architecture change/breakthrough at this point.
Keyboards do not connect directly to the internet, keyboards do face a constant barrage of threats as well as new technology constantly evolving and creating those threats.

Is your current computer and peripherals going to last another 10 years? Your keyboard probably will, but how about your mouse, printer, wifi, motherboard, ram? Companies are already dropping all but Windows 10 support on future products. If you buy a new Intel or AMD processor they only provide drivers for Win10, MS is also only providing Win10 support for almost anything new they release. That doesn't mean it won't work but it may not fully function or may require a hack to make it work. This situation is only going to get worse, and very quickly. Other than Apple products, I've never seen companies cut backwards compatibility as fast as I have with Win10.

The real threat to you though is not hardware, you can buy used, the real threat is malware, malware cleanup software for XP is getting harder and harder to find and it often has to be done by hand. Ever have to remove a rootkit infection by hand? Not a lot of fun. Also, the creative malware writers LOVE outdated software because it never gets patched.  You also cannot run the latest Firefox or Chrome on XP or Vista anymore. What happens when you can't get a modern browser?

Everyone thinks they can just keep using what they want, and while you can, to a degree, you should be aware it's not as simple as "I like this and I'm not changing". As computers age out, usage will drop, as usage drops so will support, as support drops so will usage, and unlike the past, companies are actively working to get rid of it.
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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #25 on: Thu, 22 February 2018, 10:26:24 »
I see more of a usage plateau, because what could really be improved on the terminal end for humans.

It's like how keyboards haven't improved.  The interface, its speed, its accuracy is all good, and more than enough for Humans.

I don't see an OS improvement at this point that would be productivity/ life changing..
It has nothing to do with the interface, and speed will not significantly improve without a major architecture change/breakthrough at this point.
Keyboards do not connect directly to the internet, keyboards do face a constant barrage of threats as well as new technology constantly evolving and creating those threats.

Is your current computer and peripherals going to last another 10 years? Your keyboard probably will, but how about your mouse, printer, wifi, motherboard, ram? Companies are already dropping all but Windows 10 support on future products. If you buy a new Intel or AMD processor they only provide drivers for Win10, MS is also only providing Win10 support for almost anything new they release. That doesn't mean it won't work but it may not fully function or may require a hack to make it work. This situation is only going to get worse, and very quickly. Other than Apple products, I've never seen companies cut backwards compatibility as fast as I have with Win10.

The real threat to you though is not hardware, you can buy used, the real threat is malware, malware cleanup software for XP is getting harder and harder to find and it often has to be done by hand. Ever have to remove a rootkit infection by hand? Not a lot of fun. Also, the creative malware writers LOVE outdated software because it never gets patched.  You also cannot run the latest Firefox or Chrome on XP or Vista anymore. What happens when you can't get a modern browser?

Everyone thinks they can just keep using what they want, and while you can, to a degree, you should be aware it's not as simple as "I like this and I'm not changing". As computers age out, usage will drop, as usage drops so will support, as support drops so will usage, and unlike the past, companies are actively working to get rid of it.


Humans can read text,   look at pictures,  and watch a video..

The AAA games will be a driving force for young people purchases.


But, Tp4 = OLD.

It's likely, Tp4 would never need to upgrade the pc EVER AGAIN..



It's like if you're retired,  you can drive an 89 station wagon until the day you die, as long as you don't drive that much, and know how to keep it running.


The security and support..  Security will be an issue.

But as I age further,  Outside of online shopping, and a few text sources (arrghe matey books),  I do not use the web for anything else.

The online shopping sources will always be security covered on their end,  and yea, argh matey book sites are risky, But I can just use a separate pc for it, and isolate it from everything else, such that even if there is a virus, it's not going to spread.



Necessity has to evolve with tech,  The Base (Computer) has matured to the point that it's already well ahead of my human i/o speed in all regards..

Online Leslieann

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Re: Linux, Mac, Windows Switchers Guide (A.k.A. “Switchin’ Ain’t Easy”.)
« Reply #26 on: Thu, 22 February 2018, 20:31:30 »
It's like if you're retired,  you can drive an 89 station wagon until the day you die, as long as you don't drive that much, and know how to keep it running.

The security and support..  Security will be an issue.
But as I age further,  Outside of online shopping, and a few text sources (arrghe matey books),  I do not use the web for anything else.

The online shopping sources will always be security covered on their end,  and yea, argh matey book sites are risky, But I can just use a separate pc for it, and isolate it from everything else, such that even if there is a virus, it's not going to spread.

Necessity has to evolve with tech,  The Base (Computer) has matured to the point that it's already well ahead of my human i/o speed in all regards..
I'm sorry, the car analogy doesn't work here, your car doesn't require two way communication that constantly evolving.

To be online, it's necessary that your computer is compatible with current standards in order to communicate with other computers, the car only needs parts and gas (and they can run on a wide variety of fuels). So while you can take a cross country trip in a Model T should you desire (no thank you!), you can't shop Amazon with Netscape Navigator 4 or IE4 and Java 1.0.

Yes, you can use something modern to find your books and shop, but at that point you need to ask yourself, why are you bothering to use an old, antiquated, inefficient Win7 computer just to read your ebook?  Are future ebooks going to even be backwards compatible? A new standard could develop and you may not be able to get software.
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Offline iLLucionist

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Great post, great attention to nifty details about all platforms. I wanna weigh in on this.

From Mac back to Windows
Recently, I moved away from Mac to Win7, then Win10. I do three major things: (1) academic research, (2) programming, (3) photography and design (besides browsing the web for unicorns and cats).

I wholeheartedly agree that Mac has been going downhill under the reign of Tim Cook. The "power potential" that Mac (e.g., for real power users) is vanished, leaving the Mac as a true convenience platform, and it even fails at that. Newer apps and revamped UIs are not intuitive anymore, they lack obvious features (Disk Utility anyone?), and they are slow and oftentimes even buggy (System Preferences may even crash nowadays). The "joke" that with every new version of Safari it is "more snappier" is completely in place. Somehow Apple managed to replace their netcode (dns for the most part) from BSD to their own variant. It was so bad, they had to change it back.

And don't get me started in the iMac "Pro". Yes the hardware is great, but some already found that it throttles under extreme use (what it supposedly was made for). And then you have OS X which is very slow compared to common Windows operations (open a web page, load Finder / explorer, reboot, etc.). And that with custom made nvme ssd. And obviously the graphics card is a joke compared to NVidia's architecture. They still stick to AMD.

Anyway, point is, Mac is (1) not fast anymore, (2) not so intuitive anymore, and (3) not so stable anymore as it was (at least not for me). To top it off, it is even more expensive and what has been a "complete package" now requires the purchase of additional accessoires to bring it on par with alternatives that cost half (iPad Pro --> apple pencil; MacBook Pro and MacBook --> donglegat; "Trash Can" Mac Pro --> donglegate; etc.).

So I switched to Windows and built my own machine. I am a power user. I want power. Why Windows? Because I also need to do MS Office (research, everybody uses Excel and Word), IBM SPSS (linux version nowhere to be found anymore), Lightroom, Illustrator, Photoshop, and games (Civilization, Doom, the AAA titles).

I've been running Windows 10 for the last year and it has proven MORE stable on both my workstation as well as my Lenovo X1 Carbon 2017. It feels MORE stable and faster than my MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini felt like. REALLY? YES. Weird. I expected it to be a nightmare. I have had zero hangs, zero driver issues, zero reboots, zero BSODs. The only nuisance is the updating, which takes ages. But it has not failed for me so far.

Word and Excel for Windows (if you need it) are amazing compared to the crippled Mac alternatives. Why crippled? The UI is messy on Mac (I use Word/Excel almost 8 hours a day at university, unfortunately), including styles and formatting (always have to expand the window), text rendering is oftentimes too fat, UI is slow, crashes, and track changes (50% of time spend in Word as a researcher) is slow and sloppy. On Windows, it is perfect. Arguably, MS cripples the Mac experience to get their users back. Alternatively, the Mac Office team is incompetent or Mac is just not meant for productivity software, I don't know.

What about linux? You develop software right?

I do systems engineering (software without UI, statistics and data analysis and processing mostly) as well as webdev, most with R, python, html, css, js, latex, etc. You know the drill. I like to use vim and emacs, I use xfce or i3.

I have been running VMware workstation in Windows with my linux in it, figuring i3wm with just emacs and some linux software is lightweight.

It works great. I can even use all my 3 screens using Vmware workstation. It only doesn't really do hardware acceleration properly (thinking about barebones kvm/qemu with linux host and type-1 hypervisor with video/gfx passthrough to win10 for lightroom / illustrator / office / steam+games).

Of all the platforms, I still feel most familiar with linux. I don't know why.. the shell I guess. It still feels so comfortable. Want to change a setting? Just open the config file. Don't know what you are doing? rtfm or google. I'm wired that way.. started with OpenSUSE in 1997. Clunky UIs to change settings feel weird to me (like Office, Adobe, the big applications/suites). With text files you can just search your way through, organize it like your mind is wired.

It is also way easier to do systematic sysops. I have dotfiles on github, I can easily clone my whole system config. I use ansible to automate most sysops. Try do that in Windows. Now arguably, windows requires less maintenance. But when I have to reinstall, I'm clicking through menus for 2 days to reconfigure my software. With linux it is a simple git clone dotfiles-repo && ./install-dotfiles.sh and done.


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Online Leslieann

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Great post, great attention to nifty details about all platforms. I wanna weigh in on this.

Thanks and thank you for adding more to this and backing up some things I said.

I'm not sure Apple can fix the problems they have at this point, I won't be at all surprised if the upcoming Mac Pro unveil falls flat on it's face. Too many people have either built Hackintoshes or they have tried a Windows  (or Linux) machine and seen how fast they run. Can you imagine you go to the store and spend $5k on a Pro with 32gigs of ram, Xeon processor and NVME and the thing runs about as fast as a $300 Acer laptop with a $60 ssd?

I do have to say though, my experience with crashes has been the opposite, I have had more trouble with Windows 10 than I have with Mac, Hack or Linux.

I did find a neat one the other night, Win10 Enterprise LTSB, it has no bloatware, no apps, just bare Windows like we used to get. Disable telemetry and it's actually pretty nice. Of course, unless you're a corporation you can't buy a copy of it, but wow was it nice to see. If I still ran Windows, and I were a pirate, I'd probably be using that.
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Sorry for the short response. In my limited experience, I think Krita is a decent alternative to GIMP (transparent alpha channel as default background; intuitive brush/pen/eraser selection; works well with a waucom; better CMYK support). I suppose it all depends on the workflow in question.

Offline iLLucionist

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Great post, great attention to nifty details about all platforms. I wanna weigh in on this.

Thanks and thank you for adding more to this and backing up some things I said.

I'm not sure Apple can fix the problems they have at this point, I won't be at all surprised if the upcoming Mac Pro unveil falls flat on it's face. Too many people have either built Hackintoshes or they have tried a Windows  (or Linux) machine and seen how fast they run. Can you imagine you go to the store and spend $5k on a Pro with 32gigs of ram, Xeon processor and NVME and the thing runs about as fast as a $300 Acer laptop with a $60 ssd?

I do have to say though, my experience with crashes has been the opposite, I have had more trouble with Windows 10 than I have with Mac, Hack or Linux.

I did find a neat one the other night, Win10 Enterprise LTSB, it has no bloatware, no apps, just bare Windows like we used to get. Disable telemetry and it's actually pretty nice. Of course, unless you're a corporation you can't buy a copy of it, but wow was it nice to see. If I still ran Windows, and I were a pirate, I'd probably be using that.

A year ago when I was considering buying a new MacBook Pro or a Lenovo X1 Carbon, I compared prices and features and my Lenovo is 1900 euro's whereas a comparable Macbook Pro (minus dedicated graphics and a "retina" screen on the lenovo) would cost around 4000 euro's WITHOUT dongle's  (add another 300). And the X1 Carbon gave me MORE features I wanted: great linux support out of the box, even with Arch Linux, great keyboard, TrackPoint (if you are in that sort of thing), matte screen, and lighter than the MacBook Pro, and even better battery life. And last but not least: connectivity, INCLUDING RJ45. On top of that, only for 230 euro's more do I have 6 year on-site warranty: they come to my place to fix my laptop if anything goes wrong.

With respect to Windows and crashes, I don't know to what extent this matters or are superstitious beliefs, but I build my own PCs and I always go for high end components just to make sure that the drivers work and the hardware is not flaky. I can still remember the days of IRQ conflicts and Win98 not finding my hardware, so from that point on I always saved more money so that in the end I could buy a better / higher quality machine. And then when I shifted to linux in 1998, I made EXTRA SURE I didn't have weird chips on my motherboard like weird audio / net chips.

Also on Hackintoshes, I've built two recently. First of all, it was SUPER EASY. There is one big caveat: you need to buy parts exactly as recommended by the project in order to get compatibility. Typically this means buying 1 gen old hardware. I built a hackintosh for my mom who I can't reasonably expect to shift to linux (or windows, she is the type where things always crash for no apparent reason). The only thing that took me a day to figure out, was how to properly configure audio. I went through basically all possible control options and had to do a manual fix. But everything else just worked out of the box no hassle involved.
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Online Leslieann

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With respect to Windows and crashes, I don't know to what extent this matters or are superstitious beliefs, but I build my own PCs and I always go for high end components just to make sure that the drivers work and the hardware is not flaky. I can still remember the days of IRQ conflicts and Win98 not finding my hardware, so from that point on I always saved more money so that in the end I could buy a better / higher quality machine. And then when I shifted to linux in 1998, I made EXTRA SURE I didn't have weird chips on my motherboard like weird audio / net chips.

Also on Hackintoshes, I've built two recently. First of all, it was SUPER EASY. There is one big caveat: you need to buy parts exactly as recommended by the project in order to get compatibility. Typically this means buying 1 gen old hardware. I built a hackintosh for my mom who I can't reasonably expect to shift to linux (or windows, she is the type where things always crash for no apparent reason). The only thing that took me a day to figure out, was how to properly configure audio. I went through basically all possible control options and had to do a manual fix. But everything else just worked out of the box no hassle involved.

My Hackintosh is pretty simple except for getting 5.1 audio (it also has a minor bios hickup). Anything more than stereo on a Mac seems like a nightmare unless you want to spend a couple hundred on it, actually it can work, but the volume slider no longer works so I'm still looking for the best way to deal with it. It also seems to prefer Sierra over El Capitan.  I actually put my mom on Linux Mint, she likes it and no problems after a year.


My system is also high end, I too learned way back when that parts matter, I also only build with universal parts, things that will work with Linux, Mac or Windows, so my systems tend to run really well.

Unfortunately, I have to fix other people's systems. I've seen a lot of Win10 bootloops, saw it ban wireless nics for no reason, disable the keyboard and mouse, it even deleted drivers for my 3d printer. I also an Asus Bamboo series laptop that is incompatible with Win10 despite being a 1st gen I5. It can run Linux, it can run Mac, it can run Win8, but 8.1 and 10 will not work due to a change to the power management, MS blames Asus and Asus refuses to deal with it. There is actually about 10 Asus laptops that should work with win10, but will not for this reason*. I did actually get 8.1 to boot on it, but only after replacing the entire power management system with the one from Win8.0.



*F3jp, F5SL, F5VL, G60j, Pro55SR, U43F, U43JC, X50SR, X59SR, Z53h, Z53j, A8H.
The Asus ROG G60J works with win10 now, but that is a recent development (creators update?), guess I need to check the Bamboo again (U43jc).
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Online Leslieann

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More rumors today that Apple is prepping a new processor for laptops and desktops and may debut as early as 2020, the new processor is said to be based on ARM and is an attempt to unify all of their products.

These rumors have been floated for a while, but apparently new leaks have emerged and there is enough credibility to the reports that Intel lost 10% on the stock market before Bloomberg  broke the news, which would probably triggered another drop. On one hand I think it's a good idea, ARM is more efficient and has plenty of power most of the time and would allow Apple to lower prices on their systems as well as a higher profit margin. I suspect this could debut in the new upcoming Macbook Air to test the waters, that would explain how they expected it to be at a lower price point than the current model.


That unifying part should worry people more than the Arm processor itself.
Earlier, I talked about how I thought they were ignoring high end processors on MacOS to focus on energy efficient systems but considering the problems with High Sierra, and how little MacOS has changed in recent versions, it makes me wonder if they were not ignoring high end processors but instead were ignoring MacOS itself in favor of porting IOS to the desktops and laptops, this too has been floating around for a bit. Between the recent security kerfuffles, lagging performance, even ignoring the high end machines until it became a real issue for them (Mac Pro), it just seems they are not putting a lot of effort there (I see the Imac Pro as a rushed product to calm the herd). Considering how much Mac makes them compared to Iphones and Ipads it makes sense to put development towards them, but if you can mesh the two by using the same processors and OS, you can split development costs, and if they can bring Macs into the Iphone ecosystem, well that would just be a bonus in Apple's eyes.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying ARM is a bad idea, just that IOS is lacks a lot of system management and utilities a desktop requires. I've actually been looking for a small, well equipped Arm laptop to put Linux on as an experiment and disposable/work laptop but I have yet to find one that meets my requirements
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Offline Blaise170

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If you are considering a cheap, low power laptop for Linux usage and ARM isn't necessarily the selling point, I'd highly recommend picking up a Chromebook. You can install Linux or Windows to it with a little finagling.
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Online csmertx

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Going to need one with a dedicated insert button, though. A proper Linux laptop

Online Leslieann

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If you are considering a cheap, low power laptop for Linux usage and ARM isn't necessarily the selling point, I'd highly recommend picking up a Chromebook. You can install Linux or Windows to it with a little finagling.
That has been my plan but no luck yet, they always have some fatal flaw making it easier to just keep using my Macbook Air, which was why I bought it to begin with, nothing else compared to it.


Going to need one with a dedicated insert button, though. A proper Linux laptop
HEATHEN!!!
I hate the insert key.. as in the "I say we take off and nuke it from orbit just to be sure" kind of hatred. One of the first things I do in an OS is edit the keymap and disable that and capslock.
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If you are considering a cheap, low power laptop for Linux usage and ARM isn't necessarily the selling point, I'd highly recommend picking up a Chromebook. You can install Linux or Windows to it with a little finagling.
That has been my plan but no luck yet, they always have some fatal flaw making it easier to just keep using my Macbook Air, which was why I bought it to begin with, nothing else compared to it.


Going to need one with a dedicated insert button, though. A proper Linux laptop
HEATHEN!!!
I hate the insert key.. as in the "I say we take off and nuke it from orbit just to be sure" kind of hatred. One of the first things I do in an OS is edit the keymap and disable that and capslock.

 :))

Offline StickyBlueJuice

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Going to need one with a dedicated insert button, though. A proper Linux laptop
My boss uses the insert button. - I don't know why.

Offline Blaise170

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The only application of the insert button that comes to mind is within Microsoft Office. Otherwise I've never used it and it's just a waste of space.
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I never use Insert but its mate, Delete, is one of my most-used keys.
“The greatest danger is not the rise of China but how the United States will react to China’s rise.”

The greatest danger is not the rise of China but how the United States will react to China’s rise and its own consequent loss of primacy. The rise of illiberalism in America is not an accident. It coincides with the dawning recognition of American decline and a desperate desire to prevent it. It should be remembered that the heyday of Western democracy corresponded with the zenith of Western hegemony. But can the West’s democracy survive the decline of Western global dominance? If the West is able to retain and renew its best values, in a world in which it enjoys a much diminished role and China is predominant, such a world will be the better for it.

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Offline Blaise170

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Yeah I use the Delete key all the time too. Very useful tool when typing.
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Offline davkol

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Insert is used in classic Common User Access hotkeys for copypasta, adopted by X.Org. Control-Insert & Shift-Insert

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I never use Insert but its mate, Delete, is one of my most-used keys.
Me as well... Macs, are sketchy about them.

On Mac keyboards you have a "Delete" key,  which is backspace, unless you hit FN, however, if you use a PC keyboard, it has an actual delete key which works, but only in some apps, in others it just gives you an error ding, such as in Finder (the Mac version of File Explorer).
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Offline Blaise170

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I never use Insert but its mate, Delete, is one of my most-used keys.
Me as well... Macs, are sketchy about them.

On Mac keyboards you have a "Delete" key,  which is backspace, unless you hit FN, however, if you use a PC keyboard, it has an actual delete key which works, but only in some apps, in others it just gives you an error ding, such as in Finder (the Mac version of File Explorer).

Also depends on the keyboard. Though the standard Mac keyboard does not have a Delete key, Delete works as expected if you have an external board. What makes it confusing is that both backspace and delete are called delete.
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Online Leslieann

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I never use Insert but its mate, Delete, is one of my most-used keys.
Me as well... Macs, are sketchy about them.

On Mac keyboards you have a "Delete" key,  which is backspace, unless you hit FN, however, if you use a PC keyboard, it has an actual delete key which works, but only in some apps, in others it just gives you an error ding, such as in Finder (the Mac version of File Explorer).

Also depends on the keyboard. Though the standard Mac keyboard does not have a Delete key, Delete works as expected if you have an external board. What makes it confusing is that both backspace and delete are called delete.
I'm on a Mac, using a Filco keyboard, it does not always work depending on the program being used.

Though that may somewhat be due to my keyboard hacks to fix certain other keys such and Home and End, which I don't understand how Mac owners do not find the default function infuriating.
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Offline Blaise170

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I've never had at issues with delete on my Matias or USB converted Sharp X68K, though I don't use it that much outside of typing documentation anyways.
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Online Leslieann

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Try deleting a file in Finder using your delete key.
Mine works in non system apps.
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Offline Blaise170

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Try deleting a file in Finder using your delete key.
Mine works in non system apps.

Oh yeah that's true, and is a bit of an annoyance. I typically don't work with files on OS X that much though so it's not as big of a deal as it would be on my systems at home.
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Offline MrMen

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As a Linux use why do you extremely need the Insert key ?

Am I under using a key on my station ?

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As a Linux use why do you extremely need the Insert key ?

Am I under using a key on my station ?

I sometimes use shift+insert to paste when copying from clipboard fails. I could use the macro I have for perl:clipboard to copy visual selections or mouse highlights to the clipboard but sometimes I forget :'(