Archives for posts with tag: windows

I’ve accumulated a few laptops over the past five years. My first laptop “lasted” for four years of college (i.e. killed its first hard drive and was running Vista for most of its career), but I’ve since moved on to more powerful, non-Windows machines. Though four computers may seem a little unnecessary to my girlfriend, each still serves its own purpose in the various virtual ventures I partake in today.

Dell Inspiron · Windows 7 · Previously, my primary computer. Currently hooked to my MIDI-enabled piano for any time I want to work on some music. Occasionally turned on and remote desktop’d into when I really need IE or Photoshop.

System76 Gazelle Professional · Ubuntu 13.04 · Primary computer for everything; mostly-permanent denizen of my desk hooked to an external mouse, keyboard, hard drives, and second monitor.

Apple MacBook Pro · OS X 10.9 · Day job computer; occasional development and double pixel-density web testing at home.

Lenovo ThinkPad X201 · Lubuntu 12.10 · Primary “laptop,” i.e. portable computer; pretty much a dedicated development machine and replacement for my Samsung N130 netbook, whose two-year use inspired my full switch to Linux, and whose left-clicker recently went kaput.

$ logout

People like to get their petticoat ruffled over this issue, but I don’t like to start the platform bashing simply because I have an opinion. I think more people should realize that the reason they generally pick an OS (including mobile OS) is purely on preference. Other times, it’s just best for you.

After surveying the field of OS’s, Ubuntu fits me best. I’ve had the joy of using it regularly since I bought a $300 Samsung netbook with the joke that is Windows 7 Starter Edition on it in 2010. I went into that purchase blind– I only wanted a small computer to bring to class for note taking. When I realized I couldn’t even change my desktop background (among other atrocities), I wiped the hard drive, installed Ubuntu 10.04, and fell in love. In July I bought the Gazelle Professional from System76 (who, for the uninitiated, sells hardware with Ubuntu pre-installed)– best computer I’ve ever had.

As I programmer especially, I love this OS. The community behind it is amazing, and has always helped when I wanted to tinker. I love the extent to which I can customize everything, and when I need to do something quickly, I can pop open the Terminal to issue a few quick commands. Also, if I’m in less of a hurry, the GUI doesn’t stop me from doing the same things. Finally, on principal, I like to support free software (free as in “free speech”), and Ubuntu / Linux helps me do that.

Mac OS

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mac OS X sparsely over the past four years in school, and post-graduation for iOS app development with my software company. Before college, my last interaction with a Mac was Word Munchers on OS 9, if that tells you anything.

Despite my still-limited interaction, I can see the appeal it has to most people. But as a developer with the need to work with this OS, it was initially frustrating (especially Xcode). Most frustrating was the OS’s “quirks,” like how the Home / End keys control window navigation (beginning / end of document), not the cursor (beginning / end of line). Or having to go into the Terminal to show / hide hidden files. And I’m not a fan of the document-based rather than application-based window management, especially for programs like web browsers. And Xcode– ugh.

These are minor complaints. Ultimately, my gripes are its incompatibility with other systems in what usually comes off as an attempt to be overly esoteric, and Apple’s walled-garden approach to everything (like developing iOS apps).


I grew up on Windows, and to say that fact alone wasn’t formative would be willfully ignorant. But I learned HTML and started getting into programming and doing gif-animated cartoons around the turn of the millenium– and did it all on Windows. However, I remember questioning this fact when interacting with Windows 2000 for the first time, and it’s been downhill since then (plateauing, maybe, at the precipice of XP). But as the internet grew, and I grew, I stopped using IE for Firefox, learned bash instead of DOS, and now my only need for this OS is the occasional website-in-IE test or quickly laying down a beat in some music software.


Avoiding the minor gripes, I need the following out of an OS:

  • Quick task-switching between large numbers of applications (why I prefer Windows / Gnome’s way of keeping windows over Unity / OS X)
  • General UX conventions followed or improved upon
  • Freedom to modify / improve / destroy the system myself
  • Not to feel like I’m constantly being sold more crap

Ubuntu delivers.

matt@wp:~/Documents$ logout