Date: 2014-05-19 06:50 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I switched some time ago from Linux to Mac OS (Hackintosh on the desktop actually). The main reason was that it is a Unix, but with games and MS Office. So you're right, its a OS that I can use for work and for fun. But I don't like it because the UI was more polished. In fact, nowadays OS X is the most conservative UI (compared to Windows 8 and Gnome). It's essentially unchanged since the beginning. I like it because it doesn't force me to change my habits. ITunes and other Mac specific software is also not a selling point for me. I use VLC, Clementine and other free/open source software instead, which have the benefit that they are the same in all desktop environments. So basically, I like Mac because it is simple and bland and runs all my software.

Sadly, the pinnacle of desktop Linux was Ubuntu around 2009. Most of the people I know who switched to Linux made the switch around that time. You had excellent apps, a simple UI that let you get your work done, a technical basis that was tried and stable, and thanks to Ubuntu, easy installation and configuration. After that, it went downwards. Paradoxically, trying to modernize Linux (the distributions, not the Kernel), has driven people away instead of luring them.

But even if Linux were to return to its virtues of a simple GUI, compatibility, and solid underpinnings (now that Gnome 3 and Unity are more mature, once the dust settles on the systemd, wayland, ... migrations), it would still compete with OS X which does all that right now. So what's the USP of Linux over Mac? Even if people don't like to hear it, Linux Is About Choice. (Or, for nitpickers: "what makes cost-free unix distributions (mostly using the Linux Kernel and GNU stuff) great is that I can change my desktop theme".) No, seriously. Make it easier to run stuff from different desktops in parallel. Make it easier to swap components. Let me run Gnome Shell, with the Mint version of Nautilus, but with the titlebars of KDE, and the theme of Ubuntu. Give me ten great themes to pick from.

So, make Linux comfortable, compatible, and configurable, and I believe all the developers will come back :-)
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Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Google. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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