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systemq

@dslextreme.com

Ready to dump Windows, is Mac or Linux better for me?

Hi.

I've been using Windows since version 3.1. My current OS is Windows 7. I have zero knowledge about Mac's and zero knowledge about Linux. I know about them, just never used them.

I use my computer for work, editing photographs and maintaining a website as a hobby, and of course browsing the web. That's pretty much it. I don't play games. Yes, I sound like a lot of fun.

I'm looking to get a newer PC soon. I've seen Windows 8 at stores, checked them out a few times, and find it awful. I also read that Microsoft is going to make Windows and Office subscription based in the near future... so I said to myself F@%& that. Seems now is a good time to switch and learn a new operating system.

So for someone who mainly uses Office, Photoshop, and Firefox, what operating system would be better for me?

I know Mac has Office and Photoshop and would probably need to buy them for the new operating system, and Linux has alternatives for free. I tried OpenOffice for Windows a while back and did not like the Word and Excel alternatives. It also had no Outlook. I have no idea what Photoshop for Linux is.

So what do you guys think, for someone who has a lot of experience with Windows, but hates where they're going, and no experience whatsoever with any other OS, which one would better for me?

I really have no preference for an all-in-one machine (like Mac's) or separate desktop+monitor. Just something that I can use for a long time, won't be frustrating to use.

Appreciate any feedback. Thanks!



Krisnatharok
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2009-02-11
Earth Orbit
kudos:12

3 recommendations

Linux will keep hardware costs down, and has some pretty friendly GUIs, like Mint or Ubuntu.



El Quintron
Resident Mouth Breather
Premium
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Etobicoke, ON
kudos:4
Reviews:
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2 recommendations

reply to systemq

All things being equal learning Linux would be a much cheaper proposition. I have all three at home, and I don't find the Mac to be good value, even if I like its ease of use and OS X generally speaking.
--
Support Bacteria -- It's the Only Culture Some People Have


me1212

join:2008-11-20
Pleasant Hill, MO

1 recommendation

reply to systemq

Another vote for linux. Ether Linux mint or ubuntu would be best. I prefer mint myself.

EDIT: GIMP and libreoffice would be the two most comparable things to use.



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to systemq

I also vote for linux. Gimp is a powerful image editing tool, and is free to use [with any os I think.].
Openoffice or libreoffice is a decent office suit that is also available on linux systems, as well as being free.

Another plus, is that there are so many different versions that you can try. Ubuntu or Mint seem to be the more popular distros.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.


aguen
Premium
join:2003-07-16
Grants Pass, OR
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Callcentric

1 recommendation

reply to systemq

Many different flavors of Linux provide bootable ISO images that you can burn to a DVD or on a USB memory stick and try them out if you like. I have enough spare disk space on my laptop (DELL Vostro x64 4 GB mem.) that I have a triple boot system with WinXP, Win7 x64 and Linux Mint 14 x64 that I can select to boot into. I'm currently on the Linux desktop.

I'm not all that familiar with PhotoShop, other than the name, so I don't know if Adobe has a Linux port of that application but as already mentioned Linux has many free tools that may meet your needs.

Good luck.



Darkfairy
Aeolus, your daughter flies.
Premium
join:2003-03-17
Louisville, KY
reply to systemq

I guess I'll be the first one to provide the 'value for money' argument from Apple's side. Microsoft does have Office for the Mac where Linux' options are somewhat more limited. Photoshop is also available, along with what I personally use, Pixelmator. The Apple platform is more or less the standard among image editors. I think you'll find the combination of Apple's physical location support and phone support preferable in learning the new system. It also wont depreciate as much so in 3-5 years you'll be in a better situation when you go to buy a new machine again.

If you're not a gamer then the Mac Mini might definitely be worth looking at. Hope this helps.
--
Fairy Blessings,
Stefanie



Jahntassa
What, I can have feathers
Premium
join:2006-04-14
Conway, SC
kudos:4

1 recommendation

reply to systemq

Unfortunately, Mac. Photoshop can run on Linux, if you want to take the time to tinker and figure out how. Probably the same for MS Office.

Mac, you can just get Office and Photoshop and be done with it.

Understand that Macs are as proprietary as the day is long. AppleCare is a must, and if what you do is mission critical, make sure you live near an Apple Store, or are prepared to be without it for some time if something goes wrong. Also be ready for a shorter obsolesence cycle than Windows machines. Yes, Macs typically last forever, but newer software won't run on older hardware, and upgrades aren't exactly a simple thing most of the time.

Linux is better for cost, but I believe it's still a tinkerers' OS. You need to be prepared to dive into the background of the OS to make it behave the way you want, and get the software you want to run.

Just my opinions. I know MS is pushing subscription for future Office, but I don't recall seeing that for Windows. I do know they're trying to push for a yearly 'update/refresh' cycle for windows, but not make it subscription based.



systemq

@dslextreme.com
reply to Darkfairy

Thanks for mentioning Mac Mini, I didn't know about that device. Man that thing is really tiny. Probably would go for that if I choose Mac since I already have a monitor.

Are there any other costs associated with Mac OS X? I read that yearly updates are free which is good. Are there any hints in the Mac world about it becoming subscription based?

Thanks again for all the feedback in this thread. Very useful. I'm going to download a Linux bootable CD and try it out. Mac doesn't have a demo right?



btB

@rr.com
reply to systemq

Microsoft never said they were making Windows a subscription service. There is an Office365 subscription, but there is also the regular Office 2013 if you prefer the traditional box software. Actually, this is an example of stuff people make up on the internet and it somehow becomes fact.



kontos
xyzzy

join:2001-10-04
West Henrietta, NY

+1, and I'd also point out that if you want to go with a Linux machine and stick with the major system builders, you'll probably end up paying for Windows anyway.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to btB

said by btB :

Microsoft never said they were making Windows a subscription service... Actually, this is an example of stuff people make up on the internet and it somehow becomes fact.

People were saying this stuff in 2007, and it still hasn't happened.


Darkfairy
Aeolus, your daughter flies.
Premium
join:2003-03-17
Louisville, KY
reply to systemq

I guess the demo would be the 14 day return policy.

Apple OS updates are annual and are usually around $29.
--
Fairy Blessings,
Stefanie



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to systemq

I've recently tip-toe'd into the Mac universe... I'm pretty heavy into iDevices (iPods, iPhones, iPads, and ATV's) - but have been Windows and Linux oriented for computing...

I was given a couple of year old MBP - hardware is beautiful, like most Apple stuff... The OSX that was on the machine was way out of date, but for $19, was able to order a new version straight from Apple; on a DVD, that showed up 2 days later. Beat that, M$

GUI wise - Win7, Mac OSX, and most Linux distro's are similar enough that you'll be able to find your way around, in pretty short order.

Apple ties your hands a bit, but the hardware and software being designed together makes everything just work...

I also run a Ubuntu system - it's very usable, but there's a lot more 'under-the-hood' tweaking to do, to get it dialed in - Linux is WAY more friendly then it used to be, but it's still not plug-and-play, either...

There are app's to do what you do for Linux or Mac - Office and Photoshop are both available in native Mac versions, Linux would be 'alternatives' that are similar, but not exactly the same...

If you like to fiddle, give Linux a try - you can use your current hardware, and run a LiveCD to try it... If you want something that just works, go Mac... I don't think either way is 'wrong'...


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to systemq



Windows 8 is fine. Just load ClassicShell, and you'll practically think you're running Windows 7.



timcuth
Braves Fan
Premium
join:2000-09-18
Pelham, AL
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

reply to systemq

One major factor: You can try Linux for free on your current computer. To try Mac, you need to buy a new or used Mac (unless you can find a friend or someone who will loan you one). So, my suggestion is to try Linux first, then if you really find out that it's not what you want of need, get a Mac.

Start with one of the "everything works out of the box" distros such as Mint.

FWIW, I use both Linux and Mac; I prefer Linux.

Tim
--
"Life is like this long line, except at the end there ain't no merry-go-round." - Arthur on The King of Queens
~ Project Hope ~


pandora
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
kudos:2
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reply to systemq

IF I couldn't take Windows anymore. I'd probably move to the Mac software universe for a desktop / laptop purpose. If Linux had to be used, maybe something like Chromium OS.
--
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." - Milton Friedman"



battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

1 recommendation

reply to systemq

If you are asking this question then you need to take the Mac route.



El Quintron
Resident Mouth Breather
Premium
join:2008-04-28
Etobicoke, ON
kudos:4
Reviews:
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reply to systemq

Another option for you since you mentionned photo editing, you could install GIMP on your windows machine and see how it works for you.

That way you'd have a pretty good idea of what it's like on Linux, and that would leave you with one "mission critical" item to learn instead of two once you install Linux.
--
Support Bacteria -- It's the Only Culture Some People Have



nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI
reply to systemq

I have been running mint linux for more then a year. If you want to waste money go with a crapple/mac.



vaxvms
ferroequine fan
Premium
join:2005-03-01
Wormtown
kudos:3
reply to systemq

You might be able to find a Mac at a public access location (library, school/college) you can use to see what it's like.
--
CMKRNL


itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA

1 recommendation

reply to systemq

Mac.

I'm a Linux server admin by day and my desktop is Mac. Why? Just as reliable but way easier to use and get support for. Yes, Linux is getting better but Mac is there today and will be there going forward.

I have a Red Hat Desktop for work and it works well, but things are just harder and take more work to do. Since it has an Nvidia card whenever there is a kernel update I have to re-install the video drivers to get X to work. With my Mac it just works.

That being said, I've got Linux Mint on an old Netbook at home and it's quite good. However upgrades are more of a rip and replace rather than a true upgrade like OS X.

Don't get me wrong, I love Linux and it's rock stable and flexible for the server side. It's getting there but not ready yet for the Desktop.

Macs come with great photo management out of the box - iPhoto is good, Aperture is paid but great. You can do Photoshop or another great app called Pixelmator. GIMP is about all there is for Linux and, IMHO Sucks the big one.

Yes, Macs can be expensive as they really don't compete at the bottom of the barrel. But like everything else you get what you pay for. I'm typing this on a 2008 Macbook Pro that still works as the day I bought it and will most likely for another couple years.


me1212

join:2008-11-20
Pleasant Hill, MO
reply to systemq

Just a thought OP, but I couldn't understand if you were dead set on a desktop or if you would be considering a laptop from your initial post. Do you have an preference? I know thinkpads are very robust. You could dual boot windows and linux on one, if you wanted to. Just a thought like I said.

Expand your moderator at work


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to systemq

Re: Ready to dump Windows, is Mac or Linux better for me?

Linux is by far cheapest route, but you need some learning. Especially when installing apps.

Mac is more pricey, but there are way more apps for it, and it's very easy to learn, no need to learn terminal commands like in Linux.

I've used all 3, I prefer Mac. Just way more software choice than Linux. Your hardware will outlast your software, but I think that's true with any OS.

Mac Mini if you're budget oriented.
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein



mromero
Premium
join:2000-12-07
The O.C.
kudos:1
reply to systemq

Mac Mini - Baseline, no upgrades except the CPU and GPU to your taste. DO NOT BUY THE RAM AND HARD DRIVE upgrades from Apple go the NewEgg route and DIY.

If you have a legit registered copy of Photoshop, you can do a crossgrade. Call up Adobe CS tell them you want to do a crossgrade since you will be switching from Windows to OS X. Youll pay a small fee and they will mail you the discs and give you a new serial for OS X.



Mike
Premium,Mod
join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to systemq

Linux will be ok but a lot can go horribly wrong quickly. It is still not "old personable" yet.

OS X however is. The downside is the upfront cost.

For photoshop you'd have to trade the license to OS X or emulate PS on linux.

Find a college student and buy a mac through them. There is a pretty good discount. Maybe throw the college kid a few bucks for their time and such.



Joey1973

@verizon.net
reply to systemq

It's less about the OS and more about the applications you need or want to use. If you have to use Office (because Excel really is the best spreadsheet, for example), then you'd either use Office for an Apple OS or maybe install it with Wine on Linux (can you do that? ). I think GIMP does a great job compared to Photoshop, but others don't agree. However, most of the alternatives to what you use now you can try out on your current system. The OS differences you should be able to learn in short order. Having said that, I'd go with a Linux distro--any one of them, all of which you can try out for free (unlike crApple*).

(*As you can see, I'm no fan of Apple. They're even more "controlling" than M$.)



Archivis
Your Daddy
Premium
join:2001-11-26
Earth
kudos:19
reply to systemq

Most of the reviews here are pretty accurate.

If you're willing to pay through the nose for a minimal maintenance computer, go with the Mac. You'll buy your hardware and your software, but you won't have to screw with it.

If you want to set this up yourself, save yourself a ton of cash, and still have a pretty solid out-of-box experience, go with Linux Mint.

Just because you'll need some help, doesn't mean you'll be left alone. I would strongly recommend Linux Mint for yourself if you go the Linux route. I would also strongly suggest staying away from the big box retailers and price the stuff out yourself (but not by yourself).

We have a Hardware forum that is fantastic at finding out exactly what you need and hitting a price point that works for you. Even though you don't game, there are still a lot of cheapo free games for Linux and there are some more serious ones that work under an emulator with some work.

There are tons of support forums on the Internet that help people like you out. Linux Mint was built literally for the uninitiated. Software like Libre Office and photo editing software exist on the initial install.
--
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -MLK