MacBook and MacBook Pro are the new powerful laptops from Apple that use Intel processors instead of PowerPC ones. When you buy a MacBook you get OS X Tiger pre-installed on it. But, you can still install GNU/Linux on this beautiful box. If you want to know how read the original story: Macbook and Linux: Beauty and the Beast. However, if you want to understand even more in-depth why I made the change from Ubuntu Linux to OS X, read on below.

You’ll find in the comments of this story that I (stevenhaddox) state:

I bought a MacBook Pro because I LOVE Linux, but I love the interface of OS X. Since OS X is based on FreeBSD I get the best of both worlds in my personal opinion. I get native support for applications like Studio 8, and Creative Suite (as well as Quicken, MS Office, iTunes, etc) without having to run a VM or emulator type of alternative. When I add Parallels into the mix on Mac’s always nice hardware I get a very pleasing coherence mode that allows me to easily load any kind of file in the appropriate software for each platform.

Why did I buy a MacBook Pro – not to get away from Linux, merely to enhance it. I haven’t read the article yet, but I still desire to run Linux on all my Mac systems throughout my house, just because I run OS X most of the time doesn’t mean I don’t still feel the itch to use Ubuntu for it’s strong points as well :)

Several users responded saying that OS X is not based on Linux, that it is based on FreeBSD and that it has been made very proprietary and actually is no longer even similar to FreeBSD. I want it to be perfectly clear in my post that I NEVER said that FreeBSD = Linux, nor did I say that Apple’s OS X was based on Linux. I simply said that I left Linux for OS X in order to enhance my Linux experience. However, OS X does CLEARLY utilize the majority of my *nix needs. This is shown on Apple’s site: Based on UNIX.

That leads to the question, what is my Linux experience? Well I’ll tell you. I use Linux primarily for the following purposes:

  1. Become familiar with and use the environment in which my web servers generally live.
  2. Become more intimate and experienced with the terminal window, its commands, and surviving without a pretty user interface.
  3. Learn how to accomplish everything I used to be able to do in Windows without the limitations of commercial software (i.e., switching almost entirely to open source).
  4. Challenge myself to constantly improve my computer using skills so that I can easily do anything that anyone else can do, but I can do it faster, easier, and more elegantly.
  5. Prove to myself that I could walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.
  6. Find the best distribution of Linux for me and the purposes I needed it for.

Having accomplished all 6 of those primary (unwritten at the time) goals over the past 5 years I feel I have successfully been a Linux user for a long time. Now that I had accomplished everything I wanted from Linux I took a look at what I still wanted to do to enhance my experience with Linux.

  1. Be able to view websites in IE, Firefox, Netscape, Safari, Opera, and EVERY other browser of significance without having to wait for long virtual machine load times or rebooting into a dual/triple-boot setup.
  2. Be able to enjoy all forms of multimedia (Windows Media, MPEG, QuickTime, Flash Video, etc).
  3. Be able to accomplish all of the above while utilizing the 64-bit processors I have owned for years but Windows x64 never took advantage of (and Ubuntu 64-bit just didn’t like a lot of media without TONS of hacking for version 6).
  4. Be able to utilize Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and other Windows / OS X applications quickly in order to improve my web development efficiency (also allowing me to match my now much improved terminal skills thanks to my years of using different versions of Linux).

And that my friends, is why I used to use Linux, but now use OS X. OS X IS based upon FreeBSD. As a result the lovely /Applications/Utilities/Terminal window does just about EVERY command I’ve EVER needed to use on Linux. I have built-in FTP and SSH support (my two biggest needs as a web developer). I get all of my desired four improvements to my most recent Linux experience with Ubuntu 6 (64-bit). And now that OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is coming out I will soon get the majority of my applications with 64-bit support, but no required need for VM or hacking to run 32-bit applications as support for them is built right in as well.

I encourage anyone who uses or has used Linux in the past to give OS X a shot. I was very judgmental before I switched over and had a lot of predetermined biases. This wasn’t fair or necessary, it just was. However, after giving OS X only a mere 24 hours of use in a hotel room it became instantly visible as to how useful and more efficient I could become by integrating the best commercial applications with the underling capabilities and command-line prompts of a *nix environment. Don’t be scared, just try it and give it an honest chance. If it’s not for you that’s fine – nobody is going to judge you for it. But if it is, I promise you will find a new love for computers that you have not experienced in a long long time!