“It’s all about the ecosystem, stupid”
My good friend, and current Openshift advocate for RedHat, Grant Shipley recently wrote an article explaining why he switched back to Windows as his primary operating system. It wasn’t so much a switch to Microsoft, as it was a parting of ways with Apple. Honestly, it sounded like a pretty nasty break-up.
I like Grant, and one of our favorite past-times is arguing with each other. Frankly I miss that, so I told him I would be writing a counter-point to his point. A little tête-à-tête if you will.
It seems the biggest sticking point with Grant was the Apple ecosystem. Personally I think he has it all backwards. The whole point of Apple is that you get to live within the well-controlled, curated bounds of their ecosystem. As a user of Apple products, you are guaranteed an integrated, pleasurable, easy-to-use, no-nonsense experience — whether it’s on your desktop, your phone, your tablet or your watch. You know when the last time I had incompatibility problems with Apple hardware or certified software? It was 19-never ago. The stuff just works. Period.
Grant provided a list of software that (he claims) allows him to be as productive in Windows as he was on a Mac, but honestly I think he’s settling for second-rate solutions. To address his points specifically:
Command-line: Mac OSX is inherently a command-line based operating system. With Windows, the command line seems like more of an afterthought. The tools are just not as good. PowerShell can never hold a candle to iTerm2. Winner: Mac.
SSH: Why should I have to install extra tools to get ssh support from my OS? I guess Microsoft still thinks telnet is OK for everything. Winner: Mac.
VI / Emacs: We can agree to agree that VI >Emacs every day of the week. But again, why do I have to install additional software to get a good command line text editor? Winner: Mac (and VI).
Music: I don’t listen to music a lot while I’m working so I’m much less dogmatic about this one. However, iTunes has pretty much established itself as the de-facto music app for Mac and Windows. I think iTunes owns ~65% market share in the digital music space and I expect that number to grow with the release of iTunes Music (and the Beats acquisition). Winner: I don’t care enough to pick one (but Mac).
IRC: We’re almost exclusively on Slack now, but we do occasionally use IRC for internal discussions. Again, I’m not too invested one way or the other, but I will say that IRC is the O.G. chat app. Any self-respecting “hacker” would never run IRC on Windows. C’mon. Winner: Mac.
And to round things out:
Atom > Eclipse
IntelliJ runs fine on my Mac
Ditto for Sublime, but see note Re: Atom
Git for command-line > Git for Windows
Chrome also runs fine on my Mac
Outlook > Postbox (OK — this is more a reality of working for a large corporation)
brew install ruby > ruby_installer_blah_blah_2015_v0.5.3.1.msi
In parting, I can understand how people get frustrated with Apple’s ivory tower approach to things, but to me, the benefits far outweigh the downside. I can also understand wanting to run Windows as a means for Grant to create better software/experiences for RedHat users, but I still think he’d be better served sticking with the ultra-productivity (and ultra sexiness) of Apple. Also, switching to Samsung because of the partnership between the two companies is pretty flimsy reasoning. Adobe and Microsoft are totally boning, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and buy a windows phone anytime soon.
I love you bro, but see if you can’t buy back your MacBook before it’s too late. /brohug ™