Linked by David Adams on Mon 25th May 2009 21:22 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Over the years, we've occasionally run an "Ask OSNews" feature, wherein a reader asks us a question and we answer it publicly. Lately I've really been enjoying Slate's Dear Prudence advice column and the ever-interesting Straight Dope, and I thought we should see if we can get more OSNews readers to submit questions, and turn Ask OSNews into a more-regular thing. If your question falls outside of our domain expertise, we'll try to track down an expert to help out. And of course, our responses will always be supplemented by further advice from OSNews readers in the comments. Questions are welcome on any topic ranging from OSes and computing to science and geek culture. Contact us with your questions. (Please include "Ask OSNews" in the subject). Today's question is from a young student in Hungary who's seduced by the faraway siren song of Apple's marketing and wonders, "should I switch?"
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Where to begin
by fx__ on Tue 26th May 2009 00:31 UTC
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I believe in try before you buy. I installed OS X on my main PC about two years ago and actually forced myself to use it for I while. Usually when I install a new OS I just boot into it, tinker with it a little and then boot back to what I'm familiar with, but I really spent some time with OS X and now I'm sitting here and typing this from my Macbook.

The biggest problem with switching is that you need to accept that things are done differently, and this is why most people I know stick with Windows.

I have been using different OS:es all my life, it began with AmigaOS back in 91 and it's still my favourite OS to this day. I know what most of the files in the entire OS are used for and I can customize it to do almost anything I want. When I switched to the PC and started using Windows 98 (I was a late PC adopter, I think it was in 98 or 99 I got my first PC) I never liked the fact that I had no idea what was going on under the hood - so I started using Slackware Linux instead. This was still confusing but at least I felt more in control than I was with Windows. I could understand what was being loaded and in what order when the machine booted. I could customize the Desktop to behave the way I wanted.

But as the years went by I realised that I more and more started using the "stock" settings. I never really liked neither KDE nor Gnome and usually ran XFCE on my machines, which honestly isn't very good either. So when I started using OS X I just though - what the heck, I'm gonna use this the way Apple intended me to use it. I'm not gonna try and adopt it to my liking, I'm gonna adopt to it instead.

I'm trying this mindset with Windows 7 as well but it's not working nearly as well. I just don't like it - people seem to fall madly in love with it but I can't see what the hype is all about.

I still use other OS'es on a regular basis, I boot my 40MHz Amiga 4000 from time to time just to feel how much faster than my current machines it still feels, unless I try to play an MP3 or something which slows it down to a crawl ;) . I use Debian on my server and I don't think I would survive without a Linux-machine in the house. I can very well do without Xorg though. And as mentioned earlier I even have Windows 7 which I am trying to force myself to use from time to time but I just can't see what's special about it. I think the control panel is confusing, the DOS-prompt - even with PowerShell - is horrible, and all the programs I use on Windows are available for OS X and Linux as well.

This turned into a rambling, but my main point would be that you should probably try before buying since Mac's are expensive (even if I myself think it's worth it) and if you decide to change, be open about it or else you're just gonna get pissed about it not doing what you want it to. I also think the OS you decide to use should feel 'fun' to use. It shouldn't be just work, not just a tool, but something you actually enjoy to tinker with.

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