I’ve got a 15 inch MacBook Pro as a laptop. After being through a string of laptops (I think 5 of them in 4 years), I’ve had this machine for 3 1/2 years. That’s got to be about 32 in laptop years. It’s a good machine and I’ve been very happy with it. But it’s time is coming. Not yet – but before too long. The screen does the long slow blink occasionally and sometimes leaves me wondering if it is coming back on.
So, I’m looking around.
While I’ve always been happy with the Apple stuff that I own, I’m not really a fanboy. We’ve got our fair share of it in the house (3 laptops and 3 ipods), but we’ve also got other goodies and gadgets. We’ve got kobo ereaders, an android tablet and now an android phone. I’ve never been deeply invested enough to go towards Apple tv or anything like that. But one thing that I’ve always appreciated with my Mac stuff is that it just works. I know when I buy a piece of software, 99% of the time its going to run – the first time. The machines rarely break down and combined with the time machine wireless port I’ve got, I know my stuff is pretty safe.
But I’m starting to have trouble with the cost of it all.
When I first started using Macs I was prepared to pay a premium. The computers were good and had a lot of features that others didn’t. This was back in the day when a machine with a DVD player in it was something special. The hardware was solid and I could push it pretty hard. But computing is changing. I’m not a gamer. Beyond basic video and photo editing, I’m not a graphics guy. Most of the work that I do is done online. So, although chipsets and graphics cards have gotten stronger and faster, I don’t really need them.
Which is why I’m thinking of leaving my Macs behind. It seems wasteful to pay $2 000 for a new MacBook Pro when I can get a decent Dell with Ubuntu installed on it for about $500. As I’ve gone deeper and deeper into working with things like WordPress, I’ve gained a deep appreciation for open source software and am constantly amazed by the depth of the communities involved. Which is why I’m looking at Ubuntu.
But here’s the secret part of this post: I’m really not much of a geek. If your computer (or mine for that matter) is broke down – I probably can’t fix it. And this is where moving to Ubuntu scares me. I’ve got little Linux experience and get frightened every time I visit a Linux website and find instructions that involve compiling software and doing some coding just to get things up and running. I just want things to work. Like all of you (and like Dean hates to hear us say), I’m incredibly busy. I don’t have time for my computer not to be working.
And this is of course just what Apple wants to hear me say. I’m locked into an Apple ecosystem. I’ve got an ipod and there is no Linux version of itunes. I’m wondering about getting my photos and videos off of this machine on to something different. If I bought a new Apple, one of the first screens that comes up when you turn it on asks if you want to transfer data from your old machine – how easy is that!
So I’m looking around, doing some shopping and some thinking. Its turned into a philosophical debate in my head about the value of open source software and the freedom to migrate your data where you want it. If you’ve got any Linux experience you can share with me, or any advice about migrating from Mac to Linux, I’d be interested in hearing your story.