Reasons for: Linux

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Linux is one of those things that can you have a reason? Honestly, it’s a great setup.

I’ve used Linux off and on as a desktop over the years for maybe 20+ years? Mandriva Linux, Redhat, etc. all early days when my connector was a VGA adapter on a monitor the size of a small microwave. 🙂 Back then it wasn’t anything insane, it was tinkering but over the years its CLI has become my home away from home, doing a majority of my server work from the command line.

The pro’s as a desktop are fairly straightforward:

  • No Upgrade Fees: In an opensource world of amazing distros’ I could easily pick Fedora, Ubuntu, etc. and have an amazing LTS build or even a point upgrade now and again and upgrade is as simple a few commands.
  • Wide Software Library: Despite public rumor of Linux not being feature rich with great apps, let’s be honest – if you are average user who could get by with a Browser – you aren’t going to have problems with Linux – but there are apps for just about everything on you can do on the Mac/Windows side, but if you are a creature of habit, you are likely not looking to switch.
  • Choice of Window Managers: Look I love the simplicity of the Mac interface, Windows 10 is growing on me, but if you want the MOST control of what your Desktop looks like and how it functions, Linux has your back.
  • Security: Yes Mac’s are “secure” so are Windows, but Linux gives you IMO the biggest bang for your buck in managing security – however that being said if you are NOT a security person, Linux may need you learning a few things about Firewalls and such.

All in all, as a daily driver for me, it’d work. Let’s be honest doing most of my work anymore in the Browser or CLI – I don’t need a ton of apps, even the last few days I’ve literally just needed SSH, RDP, and Chrome. That’s it. Now I know if I need to do a quick image mock-up or open a spreadsheet I have plenty of options in any OS – but seriously as a daily driver, it’s a fair backup.

Why a backup? Let’s be honest, the commercial apps in both Windows and Mac that I own are specific to my needs. I didn’t just say “Oh let’s FORCE this OS to work” there are simply apps which are flipp’n amazing. No need to debate it, I love PS/ILL, Native Office is a good thing with some folks since document formats aren’t universal, and Kiwi for Gmail on any platform is simply a nice way to manage several Gmail logins.

All in all, I can make Linux Work, maybe go dual boot?

Reasons for: Windows

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I have never had anything honestly against windows. It’s a decent operating system and I think similarly to linux I’ve had only minor hiccups with a malware/virus situation so it’s not “Oh Windows is bad because of viruses!” seriously folks – two words: anti virus.

While I don’t mind it I really only use it when required as it stands. Sure it’d be nice to have a Windows rig for some gaming (Steam account + Portal 2… Yes please.) it’d definitely have some pro’s:

  • It’s Windows: Let’s be honest, it’s been around the block. There is a bigger app eco-system, there is a slew of tweaks/hacks you can do on your system, Bluray support, etc. it’s been around.
  • Gaming: While I don’t “game” like most, as I mentioned before Portal 2 – yes I just beat it again, but I love a good puzzle or two with a witty robot talking to me, but I have a fair sized Steam account in which I’m happy to say Commander Keen is in there 🙂
  • Upgrade Ease: While I have had decent luck with my Hackintosh, let’s be easy when it comes to Mac’s its harder and harder to do simple upgrades. Drives are attached, memory is the same, and CPU upgrades? Naw. Never gonna happen, well without some HUGE warranty, and with how Apple is handling user repair requests, not a good place to be.
  • Carry Over: I have some licenses which will live in both eco systems, Office 365 account, Adobe Account to name a few, but many apps out there which are web based more than anything are going to carry over without issue.

Windows works. The Linux Subsystem fixes many terminal woes I’d of had, and while I’m not against PuTTy, to be able to simply map SSH to common servers in an alias file to login, have my key and boom, I’m in – Linux Subsystem makes that super handy.

I mentioned the laptop at OfficeMax in my last post, it’s nice, has a good spec in general, but I wanted to know if it was something user upgradable, as 8GB of RAM isn’t bad, but like any modern OS/Apps – things are memory hungry – and a 5400RPM drive… I tried it in store and it was “okay” and yes, 1TB of storage is nice, but not something I “HAVE” to have, so I hit up HP and found that the drive was replaceable, however, they said Memory was not.  Which was a lie…. well sort of.

I got another tech to send me the repair/replacement guide, and it notes the motherboard has memory slots that take PC2400 RAM and that it has 2 slots, so in theory  I could grab another 8GB chip for under $100 and be good, but wait there’s more!

That same guide shows a M2 slot, so I could clone the main drive to the M2 drive with a snappy say 120-240GB SDD, then get a mid-range performer in the SSD laptop size which would be around $200 and have all SSD storage for basically a total upgrade of around $300 all things said and done, so a $800 laptop without too much fuss.

All in all I know I could customize something else, or save up, but the nice thing about this idea is it’s over time. I have enough for the M2, grab it, same with ram, if I REALLY need it, grab it.

WIndows systems offer a lot, but the nice thing is, if I hate it beyond hate it. Linux is only an ISO away.

Reasons for: Mac

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So in this wacky journey I find myself on for a new laptop I’ve  begun to ask myself:

“What is it you need from Mac so badly?”

By no means am I fanboy. Oh no no no. I don’t drink Mac Koolaid and then look at other OS users and demand them bow to the shrine of Mac. Never been a diehard to that extent, just have in years past enjoyed honestly a stable workstation as a primary, but the reasons? Let’s run them down:

  • OS Diversity: Ease to run all major OSes on a single platform without too much heavy lifting. Easily have Windows/Linux onboard using VirtualBox/VMware – easy for supporting customers on varied platforms.
  • Strong Terminal: I grew up on DOS. Autoexec.bat and Config.sys are my friend, so having tools and ease of a strong CLI is key, and tools like SSH and various network tools are insanely handy as a Linux Admin.
  • Security-Ish: While years ago Mac had bolder claims about being safe/secure, however lately it’s not the top of my list, but it does have pretty good security out of the box.
  • Window Management: While I am rocking 2 monitors on the Hackintosh – I still use spaces with a few handy keystrokes, makes running VM’s and remote terminals for RDP/SSH be something I can just switch one screen to another system entirely – insanely handy.

But really I could say “Oh the apps” and yes some great apps on Mac for dev/productivity, however, key ones anymore are web-based or have apps on other desktops. So what am I thinking? Well, so far Windows 10 is my focus for a possible laptop replacement. Cost is a big factor, instead of investing an arm+leg to get an even entry-level MacBook that same $400 right now could get me a Ryzen3 system running Windows 10 @Office. (yes thats . for Depot + Max).

$400 vs $1000 even with maybe a $100 investment in a decent SSD to replace the 1TB HD I could have some decent performance under Windows 10, and have the Linux Subsystem installed to give me all the usual tools I from SSH to wget, I’ve tried it out and it works – would be a nice change from PuTTy on Windows, and tools for doing simple things like dig vs. nslookup – but keep me from having to re-map my brain for commands.

Windows 10 security has improved a lot and I do have some software in the ecosystem still, but too some great alternatives are out there nowadays that were not there when I had a full-time Windows rig maybe a decade ago, but some decent AV software and some common sense should be good.

I’ll still have my Hackintosh, so Mac won’t go away from my day-to-day, but the Laptop is the big move for being able to be on-the-go again – so at this point, Windows is a contender, however, there is always the option to install Linux if I don’t like it. Joys of computing.

Windows, Mac or Linux.

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Been a tad quiet around here as of late, the job thing was a no-go. I could write a post, but meh. Wasn’t the right time anyhow.

Work has been nuts, working on a business idea, servers, outages, cool touch screen kiosk projects, websites, and getting a Windows 10 workstation setup on one of my two desks. Why? Well, I needed it to get my Hackintosh working again and had the hardware from an old system salvage, but specs are nice:

  • i5 3350P @ 3.10Ghz
  • 8GB RAM
  • NVidia GeForce GT 620
  • 250GB SSD pull from another system

Aside from the SSD, it’s all that came in the pretty dell case – and it works. However not sure how I feel about Windows, but then again with my MacBook Pro battery failing, it leaves me in the “What do I get next?” stage? I’ve considered a nice Linux box running Fedora or Ubuntu – would be a cheap entry point for the most part probably $600 or so maybe a bit more if I want to make it dual monitors.

The Windows rig works and is honestly a nice change of pace, last time I used Windows was honestly 98/2000 versions and since then only dabbled in Windows 7/8 – so a fulltime rig with Windows 10 isn’t bad, but even dabbling in a slight bit of gaming, I’m tempted to grab a bigger GPU than the card on machine.

I have dabbled with a Linux rig or two virtually but that’s where I’m at in choices Linux/Windows/Mac on a Laptop replacement for the MacBook Pro as I’ve looked and while I could spend around $120 and do my own Battery Replacement on an older MBP and maybe a year or two additional on it, or try to just hold off for now and save up for a new MBP when finances amp up, or a nice Linux/Windows rig as my new portable rig, as Chromebook “works” for mobile, but honestly it’s not the power I need on the go.

Many choices, not sure which direction I’ll go, but for now what I have rolling works for day to day, but would be nice to have a good mobile rig that’s got enough power for on the go to get done anything.