I’ve been a long-time Mac user. I’ve used them as my primary computer ever since the PowerBook G4 era. That’s even before the Mac even used Intel processors. Yet, I don’t consider myself fanatical about Macs. In fact, I’ve had, more than once, considered options to switch away from Mac. To Windows, or in recent years. even ChromeOS.
ChromeOS, unfortunately, still isn’t quite good enough yet. If all you ever need a computer for is to surf the web, then ChromeOS probably works great for you. I look at how I use my computer, and I think ChromeOS won’t work for me. Maybe I could change the way I work. But for now, I’d prefer my computer fit the way I work, rather than I fit my work to what the computer can do.
Windows, on the other hand, has become an extremely promising option. I mean, we’re no longer living in the Windows 3.1 era, the time I chose to go with OS/2. We’re past the age of Windows XP or Windows Vista. Not even Windows 8.
It’s Windows 10 now. Windows 10 is actually different. It’s still Windows, but it’s Windows in a better way than ever before. I still don’t use Windows enough to consider myself familiar with Windows, but all the Windows I use through reviewing the many notebooks and 2-in-1 devices on this blog has given me some appreciation of all the new things that Windows 10 is doing today. Microsoft has done really awesome things with Windows 10. Too bad it didn’t happen 10 years earlier.
I’ve actually made conscious effort, even while using my Mac, to accommodate the possibility of switching to Windows some day. For example, when Apple announced the demise of Aperture, I didn’t go with Apple’s recommendation to use Photos. Instead, I migrated to Adobe Lightroom. I made sure Apple cannot screw me again over my photos.
Macs are renowned for costing more than Wintel equivalents. There are many good reasons for that, but at some point, I’d wonder if the price premium makes sense. At one time, Apple made the best, the most beautiful, hardware. Apple hardware was always about form and function. PC makers had mostly been about cheap and what works just enough.
Times have changed. Apple may have led with way with the MacBook Air. That unveiling by Steve Jobs is something that continues to impress me. But by 2017, there are many other Wintel choices that are pretty good. In fact, several are good enough that I wished Apple had made them, and there would be macOS in there, so that my choices would be so much simpler. Right now, I can only say the MacBook Pro is the best hardware among conventional notebooks, ones that do not have touchscreens or styluses.
There are also other pressures, like at work, where the prevalence and over-dependence on Windows ecosystem makes it difficult to use alternatives like the Mac. It’s not a serious issue, but you know, yet another consideration that makes me wonder if I should just switch.
What do I do on my Mac? Most of my web surfing is on Chrome. I use Microsoft Office. I use Lightroom and Photoshop. Most things I do on my Mac can be done in Windows. Maybe I’d have some concern about email. Apple’s Mail app works wonderfully. I’m not sure if Windows 10’s Mail app would measure up. That’s something I would have to explore further. I think Outlook is too clunky, but perhaps, similarly, I’ve got to explore further.
As I think hard about that Mac-to-Windows possibility, I always end up at this point: a Unix environment. Ok, I know, there’s bash and there’s Ubuntu and there’s a new OpenSSH in Windows you can enable after a bunch of clicking here and there. But you know what, it’s just not the same thing.
I spend quite a fair bit of time in macOS’ bash shell. I do a lot of things in the command line. There are so many things I can do in a real Unix server that works about the same way in macOS. That experience in Windows 10 just doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t even come close. Nope, not at all.
It’s not just about wanting a virtual environment to get a Unix experience. That’s basically what Microsoft is doing with Windows 10. With the Mac, the entire macOS itself is Unix. I interact with my native Mac files from the command line. Oh yes, of course I use the GUI as well, but I also use the command line. I don’t want Unix inside a virtual machine. I want the whole thing to be Unix.
So, I wonder, if this would be it: Can Microsoft please build Windows 10 inside a Unix-type environment? Or perhaps, would I just give up thinking about Unix. It’s not likely Windows 10 can be overhauled easily. Just look at Apple’s journey from Mac OS 9 to MacOS X (now just called macOS). But for me, having used Linux since before the kernel was even 1.0, to give up the Unix environment, would be hard too.
Some day, perhaps, we’ll meet somewhere in-between.