As many of my friends know, I have been an avid Mac user for years. Any of them who have bothered to ask why would have gotten the answer that I only use the best. For that reason, when I feel like something else is better, I switch.
For a few years, in middle school, I switched to Windows. This was because I had an interest in video games, and at the time, all the good games were Windows only. I really disliked all the system maintenance that came with it though, and around the time that boot camp was released by Apple, I switched back.
Lately however, Apple’s lost its mojo, and they keep making poor choices. They’ve done things like making saving screen shots go from a one step process to three steps, as well as changing airplane mode so it no longer turns off wi-fi and Bluetooth, which many people use as a power saving feature. Also, I’ve really gotten tired of the way they continually push their users to update their software. There isn’t even an option any more for “don’t update”. The only option is remind (read: nag) me later. These are just the examples that came to mind first, but I assure you, there are many others.
Another thing that bothers me about Apple lately, is that they are closing their doors. Not to new users, but to people who want out. It’s becoming an industry-wide trend really… Every large tech company seems to be closing their ecosystems. They are making it expensive, and complicated to switch to their competitors. While I understand why, from a business perspective, I don’t like it as a consumer. I don’t want to run the risk of becoming dependent upon a single company for all my communication and data.
Microsoft, on the other hand, isn’t much better. They of course have their malware issues, which is not entirely their fault, but that’s not what I’m faulting them for. They have ads. They are built into the operating system. It’s ridiculous. Also, they collect information from their users, in part so they can target those ads. Privacy is important to me, and while Microsoft may not use my information in nefarious ways, the simple fact that data collection is built into their operating system in this way means that it will be easier for hackers to compromise the system because of it.
Finally, I think it’s important to explain why I switched to a free and open source operating system. Linux has always been around, not really getting much attention from anyone other than super-nerds. I think part of the reason for this is that as free software, it doesn’t have a big marketing department to get the word out like Microsoft or Apple. The good news though, is that unlike Microsoft or Apple, the source code is not controlled be a single, very large company. There are no shareholders demanding profit, or year-over-year growth. Because of this, the software is able to be what it needs to be, and doesn’t have to add another 100+ features every six months for the next keynote.
It also has its own downsides though. It really isn’t user-friendly, and there isn’t any tech support to save you if things go wrong. I find it really hard to go an entire day without opening a terminal window for something. While this isn’t a big deal for me, the average user tends to greet that window with a blank stare and confusion, sometimes fear. I think this is really the main reason why most people will never use Linux at home. I’ve decided, however, to make it my goal to increase the usability, and therefore the accessibility, of Linux as a whole, and put it within the reach of an average user.