The story of a Linux convert

First of all I’ll get my credentials out of the way. I have been using computers since the last 10 or so years. That’s not much by a lot of people standards, but I like to brag about it anyway !

I used windows for the first year of my computer using life, got bored, moved to Linux, was fascinated and used Redhat, fedora, debian, slackware, ubuntu for the next 6 or so years.

I then got myself a Mac, a 2004 model iBook (I like the way Macheads use the year to describe their machines, as if its a car or something … like I’ve got a 2008 model Ferrari ! ), and fell in love with Mac OS X. I did install Linux on the iBook once but removed it soon after since, obviously, Mac OS X was so much better ! Or so I thought. My iBook came with Mac OS X 10.3 and soon after I bought the iBook, Apple released Mac OS X 10.4, the version with spotlight (which, by the way, beats the crap out of beagle anyday). I *had to have* 10.4 on my iBook but I realised that I had to pay for it, so I did what any self respecting Indian would do. Asked a friend for a copy (Well, actually he pointed me to a torrent which I then used to download my copy).

So, anyway. I used 10.4 for a while and was pretty happy with it. My real work involved using Linux, so thats what I had on my Desktop at work and I was always on the bleeding edge, without paying any money … ever.

A couple of weeks back my iBook died. Dead. Just like that. It was working the night before and wouldn’t boot up the next day. The service center guys wanted more money to fix it than it cost me to buy it. So, I took the iBook back from them and surprisingly it was working. I came back home and it stopped working again. So, I opened the thing up and found that there is a loose connection somewhere. Searched online and found that this is a common problem, and Apple doesn’t want to acknowledge it. The problem is that some connectors on the logic board become lose because of the constant heat and cold cycle that the components go through. I bought a cheap Acer to replace the iBook which, by the way, cost me less than the logic board of the iBook.

The point I’m trying to make is that by this time, I was frustrated with Apple and it’s attitude towards it’s cusomters. My daily workflow had also become quite dependent on OS X and I often found myself helpless using Windows on the Acer because I couldn’t’ find the tools that I needed to get my job done.

It was then that I decided to come back to Linux for my home computing needs also.

And, I’m glad I did.

I now have all the tools I need to get my work done, and I got them for free. I also get all OS updates and updates to any applications I use for free. Customer support is free too, almost. And I can finally claim to own all parts of my computing setup.

The problem with Mac OS X is not that it is owned and maintained by a commercial organization. I have nothing against commercial software. The problem is the price I would have had to pay for being a part of the Apple tribe.

Not only would I be losing my freedom, I’d also probably be paying a company which, in recent times, has shown signs of being just as greedy as the company it loves to make fun of. For example, Apple doesn’t bundle the remote with some of its machines now, which costs $20 to buy separately. I don’t think it’d cost Apple more than $5 to make and bundle with the machines. Apple also doesn’t bundle the dock with the iPhone 3G anymore and the user has to buy the dock separately. These are just two things that I can think of off the top of my mind right now, but I’m sure there are others. Charging users for the iPod touch upgrade is one ! Sure, its a taxation thing, but why charge them $20, when they can charge, say, $2 !

Apple makes great hardware and good software, but I just can’t continue being taken for a ride anymore and so Linux it is. Sure it’s not perfect, it has it’s problems. But, nothing that cannot be solved. And that’s a small price to pay for my freedom.

Confession and Update: I still use an iPhone and I think it is the best phone I’ve ever owned. But that’s because Android isn’t ready yet and openmoko doesn’t work me.

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