Why I switched back to Linux

As mention before my main reason to switch to Linux was to escape from all the proprietary, controlled environments, services, tools and software that we all become depended on over decades of computing.

In the beginning OS X was open and fun, finally a *nix system with a usable applications and GUI! All that changed with the arrival of the iPhone and later iPad resulting in a closer coupling with iOS. Don’t get me wrong OS X is a still a solid operating system for those who enjoy Apple’s vision of the ideal desktop. It offers access to pro-level applications that many companies rely on. However, after 15+ years Apple’s Walled Garden is no longer the most practical operating system for my standards development and photography workflows.

Besides the vendor lock-in into Apple’s ecosystem, there is also the issue of planned obsolescence by Apple. It all started after Tim Cook took over when I started to noticed that with every new release of OS X the same applications I use on a daily bases are starting to run slower and slower. I can no longer ignore these change which would force me to replace my older Mac hardware for the only reason that the new OS X requires it.

Coincidence? I don’t think so, it is all planned and part of Apple’s business model. Yes, the new version has tons of new features, most of them nobody really needs, but these features not only create more lock-in, they also seem to slowdown older applications. There are some who suggest that the new OS version has added delays when detecting old hardware. I will not go for that conspiracy theory, but fault the lack of development efforts to fine-tune the code to run as efficient as possible on older hardware. Why waste time if you can sell new hardware?

Having two identical Mac Minis I tested my theory by only upgrading one to a newer version (Yosemite), keeping the other on Mavericks. Right from the start I noticed the much longer boot-up and log-in times. The same was true for loading the same files with the same version of LibreOffice. It even got worth when upgrading the Yosemite system with El Capitan. This is when I decided to replace the system running Yosemite with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

What a speed daemon compare to OS X. I could boot-up Ubuntu, log-in and load my test document into LibreOffice, still waiting for OS X (El Capitan) to finished booting. There is no question, old hardware is very fast with Linux. Since then I have upgraded to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS without any of my installed applications suddenly not working or any loss in performance/speed.

As you know from my earlier articles, the good news is that there are enough Linux applications that meet my Post-photographic Workflow, eliminating the need to spend money every 9-12 months for upgrading my commercial photographic applications.

In addition to my photographic application needs, which is my hobby, I have had no difficulties to replace my applications needed for my professional workflow with FOSS applications. Bottom-line, I have been able to break my dependency with the Apple Ecosystem, but still being able to link my iPhone’s calendar and mail with my Linux apps.

Today, there is still the notion that Linux is only for geeks. I disagree, the days of command-line dominance is long-gone, stability is remarkable, and the number of alternatives for many software types is staggering.

The bulk of people who “use computers” typically require a browser, an office suite, music/video players and photo editing software. These are all available on just about any standard Linux distro and with a cheat sheet on how to use them, anyone can master Linux!

Looking back, I am glad I switch back to Linux. I know where everything is, how it operates and how to get help if I don’t know something. I may not have everything, but I have total practical functionality, especially for my hobby and professional needs.