OS? What OS?

So, my poor little Powerbook G4 12inch decided to have a line vertically down it’s screen yesterday. Therefore, I had to take it in to be sent off to the mothership for what seems to be yearly maintainence. Thank god for Applecare or I would certainly be at the highway onramp begging for change by now. Oh, and I was told that they are pretty busy right now so the repair might take longer than usual. But it is not all bad. There are some truths that save my well cooked bacon in times like these.
First is my backup portable machine – a old Thinkpad running Ubuntu Linux. It is no speed demon but it is small and light and is fine for getting the job done. Heck, I even like the keyboard better than on my Mac. With all of the recent talk about long time famous Mac users in the technorati switching to Ubuntu, I largely shrug and can’t for the life of me figure out what all of the fuss is about. I am a long time Mac user and a huge Mac fan. I have a Macintosh consulting business and am the resident Mac guru for one of the top colleges in the country. Yet, I am here to admit, it does not really matter to me anymore what machine I use or what platform I am on. So much of what I do is web based that I can be on any machine and do what I need to do. As I write this, I am using Writely and I started this post on my Mac at work. Added to it on my PC running Windows at work when I happened to be on that machine. Now, I am on the Thinkpad running Ubuntu at home. Platform, to me, is nearly irrelevant. I know I keep hammering away on this Web 2.0 stuff but I am so excited to be living in a world where the internet has finally leveled the playing field and computing is almost ubiquitous. In the words of Donald Fagan, “What a wonderful time to be free”.
What, in fact, these days is an operating system and why does it matter? I mean, for most of my purposes the internet itself is my OS of choice. About the only client side stuff that even really matters to me is having a good browser. Although I am pretty addicted to Firefox, I find myself using Safari and Flock just as much lately. See, even saying “good browser” offers many choices (none of which really matter more than the next). I use whatever happens to be launched and will get me to my “OS” as quickly, safely and compatibly as possible. OS? What OS? Why do I need to care about an OS? Let’s be honest, I like the Mac because it is stable, fast, elegant and things just seem to make sense and work well together. I could also say this of Ubuntu to a great extent. Then there is Windows… Well, it is more stable with Firefox and running SP2…
That is not to say I do not have some apps I miss. Usually, I write all of my posts in MacJournal. It’s full screen mode and one click publishing to my blog can’t be beat. It is a truly fantastic application. Reading feeds is not the same on Bloglines as it is in Newsfire (nothing is like Newsfire) but for the time being it will do just fine. There are a few things I do not keep online and use a desktop app for like my check register. But even that has an online, Web 2.0 equivalent if I need one. And how does anyone get anything done quickly without Quicksilver? But seriously, it is not the end of my world. For day to day stuff I am set. My productivity does not even see a slight dip. I just use another tool or choose a new way to go about things. I am even just as comfortable using webmail as I am a mail client.
Do I prefer one over the other? Sure, but if my Mac disapeared tomorrow I would not loose too much sleep. I would toss and turn a little for a few days. I would probably cry a little before I finally dozed off. But only because a machine that was elegant in every form and fuction and a trusty friend is no more. Not because it stopped my forward movement.

2 thoughts on “OS? What OS?”

  1. Great post Patrick. It is truly remarkable how utilizing certain web based applications can minimize downtime. I really, really like Ubuntu as well. I have it loaded in virtualization through Parallels on the MacBook at work and it has everything the average user needs (and even the above average user). I think I am going to load it on Macy’s clamshell iBook since all she needs is Firefox to get on sesamestreet.com and nickjr.com.

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