It’s nearly the end, the end of the year that was 2015. Unfortunately, this blog was not around last year, so I didn’t publicly record my New Year’s resolutions for 2015. However, anyone that knows me will no doubt know what those resolutions were. Actually, there was really only one resolution and that was to embrace proprietary software on the desktop.
I think I can imagine how that might sound to the uninitiated (easy right?), but for me, it was a big deal. Having spent the last 10+ years as a Linux only guy, switching to non-free operating systems was daunting, scary, unknown and at times, a real ball-ache.
For the first seven months of the year I opted to use Microsoft Windows. Windows 7 & 8 to be precise. Windows 7 at work and Windows 8 at home. Coming from Debian, the move to Windows was truly a baptism of fire. At first, I felt as if I had lost all or some of my senses. Software and tools which I took for granted in Debian were suddenly not available and I knew I would have to quickly change the ways I did things. I found this to be somewhat strange as I was used to bending the operating system to fit around me, instead, I found myself bending to accommodate Windows. After a while, I guess I just gave up fighting and changed my mindset.
During those seven months, I came to love and hate Windows. I loved that I didn’t have to worry about things like driver support (to be fair, Linux driver support is generally pretty ace) and tasks such as setting up home networks and file sharing was scarily easy; so easy that it left me feeling worried about how secure my network was. I also loved Steam, in fact I loved Steam a little bit too much and I wasted many hours playing games, which made me feel really guilty (damn, I’m getting old).
Now for the Windows hate. I’ll try and keep this brief as I’m not a natural hater. Firstly, the lack of a decent terminal and Shell. Seriously, how does anyone get any proper work done on Windows? Yes, I know all about PowerShell, but for some reason, I just could not bring myself to learn/use it. Maybe that is my loss, but if my time on Windows taught me one thing, it is that I am Bash guy. Secondly, Window’s Explorer. Without doubt, Windows Explorer is the worst file manager I have had the misfortune to use. For anyone that is not aware, in the Linux world there are a plethora of file managers and in my opinion, nearly all of them are more pleasurable to use than Windows Explorer. Shortcuts, Favourites, Libraries, WTF? Just show me the files and their real paths! Finally, the font rendering. It is simply horrendous.
So, that was a quick summary of my experience with Windows. For the most part, I got things done (apart from when I was killing Space Marines), but I never felt truly comfortable using it.
Towards the end of July, I made the switch to OS X. OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” to be precise. Interestingly, or not, I had never used OS X before (not for longer than a few minutes) and I instantly felt a lot more comfortable. It was almost like the feeling of coming home after taking a really long holiday (in a shit resort with terrible weather). I had a decent terminal and Shell again. I could just stop here, but there are so many things to love about OS X that it would be remiss of me not to mention some of them.
So, firstly, it has a usable terminal and Shell (I know, I’m repeating myself, but hey, I can use Bash!) Secondly, the file manager, it’s not perfect, but it’s a lot more usable than Windows Explorer. It shows me my files and their true paths. It’s also very similar to Nautilus in GNOME (or Nautilus is similar to Finder), so I am super-comfortable using it. Thirdly, the font rendering is superb. Fourthly, there is a large collection of quality software available. No, it’s not all free software, but to fair and IMHO, the quality is far superior to a lot of free software (this probably warrants a separate post in the future). Finally, and somewhat shallowly, it looks beautiful! Now, I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it is very subjective, but I think OS X is the prettiest OS I have ever used. And despite the naysayers, I think there is probably something to be said for surrounding yourself in pretty things, I think it certainly helps to encourage inspiration and aspiration.
Anyway, that was a summary of my 2015 New Year’s resolutions. I think I’m going to chalk it up as a success. And if you are asking if I will switch back to Linux on the desktop in 2016? No. I’m more than happy to continue using and loving Linux on my servers, but I’ve no plans to move away from OS X on the desktop.
Next up, 2016.