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[flagged] Why I left Mac for Windows: Apple has given up (char.gd)
62 points by superchink on Nov 9, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 79 comments

The only reason I'm staying with macOS is because it is the only UNIX distribution that doesn't look downright ugly. (Sorry Linux, none of your distros match up to Apple's offering)

I've had lots of teething issues with High Sierra (especially with APFS) and I certainly don't like the new butterfly keyboard in the new MacBook Pros. But on the other hand, they've got the best gesture controls. With Windows 10 you can go far with precision touchpads, but I have yet to use it enough to say whether I like it or not. Screenshot shortcuts (Cmd+Shift+4) is another thing I use on a daily basis that's still not in Windows 10.

When my 2014 MacBook Pro is due for replacement, Windows might be a contender. But that's probably a few more years down the road (hopefully).

Since Apple has given up on keeping what really matters for a Unix, its tools, up to date the amount of time you have to spend installing the latest version of things like Bash is actually higher for OSX than Windows these days.

I am aware that at least one of the reasons for Apple to ship stone-age versions of everything from Emacs to GCC is that they hate GPL3. But the reasons don't matter when the latest version of their operating system is unable to run modern software without installing a set of packages that more or less replaces all of the Unix tools. When you have to do that, it doesn't really matter if you install those tools on top of Windows or OSX.

As for myself I find Windows to be absolutely unusable and I was using Linux up until around 2002 when I switched h to the Mac. Lately however, Apple's utter disregard for technical users that prefer the Unix experience has made me switch back to Linux, and while Linux has issues of its own, at least everything works out of the box without having to deal with an entire separate ecosystem of packages on top of what is provided by the operating system itself.

Homebrew works for me. It's unfortunate how behind Apple's toolchain is, but I interact with its GUI more than the terminal.

It worked for me as well, but it was a constant hassle.

Once I realised that I barely used any Mac-specific software anymore, the choice to move back to Linux was easy.

Just use zsh instead of bash, it's superior anyways.

It is, and I use it. But my post was about more than just a single tool.

> Sorry Linux, none of your distros match up to Apple's offering

Out of curiosity, which ones have you tried?

Not an author of comment, but was using different distros few years ago: Debian, Mint, Ubuntu, Elementary OS, Slackware. I also tried out different graphical environments: Unity, Gnome, XFCE, Pantheon, etc.

When I bought MacBook Pro, my first feeling was that this is how Linux should be done for the end users. The only concern I still have is non-intuitive keyboard shortcuts (Windows and Linux have much more intuitive ones or I've just got used to them more).

As a developer I'm happy with MacBook Pro. It just causes less headaches for me and I feel more productive. Linux always requires random tweaks here and there, googling solutions to get the idea how to make my touchpad properly work in particular distro, fix random issues after updates, understand why it consumes so much battery life and why my laptop's brightness keyboard button doesn't work properly despite of installed driver, etc. This is my main concern with Linux and why I don't like it as a user.

I think Linux is becoming better these days and probably not all the issues I've mentioned are relevant. But I'm not sure that UX is as smooth as in OS X.

When I started using Macs (about 7 years ago? was it that long?) it provided a nice balance between good GUI (not excellent, Finder is woefully bad for any power user scenario and there are other problems, but reasonable) and full-power (even if slightly weird) Unix underneath. I could use - especially when homebrew got good - practically any tool I want as a command-line power-user without giving up on reasonable UI.

However, lately it looks like Apple got this disease where they just break random stuff and change things around just because they want to do something new. I am afraid Macbooks are not the best home for developer/power user that they used to be. And the fact each new model comes with completely different ports and power connections borders on trolling. And their closed-garden "no upgrades for you" hardware approach is getting very old very fast.

Looks like Apple has their product design canon firmly aimed at their foot and is yelling "fire!".

GNOME 2/3, Unity, Cinnamon, ElementaryOS (briefly), Xfce, whatever CentOS 7 is shipping. Also KDE (but not Plasma).

Use Lightshot for screenshots. Even better than native Mac screenshot tool.

I've recently switched from an old Mac Pro to a Lenovo x1 carbon (QHD, 16gb RAM, 512 SSD, i7). It was half the price of the equivalent current Mac Pro, with more ports and better battery life, no gimmicky touch bar BS and a much better keyboard imho (although the trackpad is worse).

Software wise, I use Windows 10 with the linux subsystem + a Linux VM (Elementary OS). I must confess both Windows and Linux are still a bit behind in hidpi support and the linux subsystem is not as well integrated as a MacOS console but I'm in general quite happy and while Apple designs these overpriced underpowered laptops with horrible features I can't really go back, even though the software stack might still be a little bit better for developers.

although the trackpad is worse

I haven't found a single Windows laptop whose trackpad can be pushed in (thus registering a mouse click) at the top of the trackpad. All I can think is that Apple is aggressively asserting some patent(s).

Is there an alternate explanation? Have I just not come across Windows laptops with good trackpads?

The 2 finger scrolling is pretty bad too, frequently doesn't respond or makes the font bigger or other nonsense. Apple has the best trackpads no doubt.

To each their own, but FWIW, I have a MBP and an X1 and I _greatly_ prefer the former. I think the new touch bars were a mistake, and I think Apple is expensive and the QA going downhill, but the overall quality and customer service are still miles and miles beyond the X1.

Yes, Apple customer service is worlds beyond Lenovo, I had to return a defective laptop and it took months and painful calls. But still, the hardware is just more competitive in Lenovo. And YMMV but I can't deal with the new MBPs' keyboard, touch bar and lack of ports. It's just a show stopper for me.

I've got Acer fix mine in 2 weeks including delivery. How can Lenovo be that bad.

It was a bit of a mess. Took 4 weeks from ordering to delivery, arrived defective. Called them, they said we'll pick it up, repair it and return in 1 week, I said ok. After 3 weeks I called them, they say they are waiting for a spare part, will take ~2 months. I say I want a new one, they tell me ok but that they need to send me the broken one and then I need to restart everything, so ~5 weeks more. Definitely the worst thing about Lenovo is CS.

Why is this flagged? It seems like an opinion from an informed user, an opinion like many others I've read in HN. Also, it was an interesting read for me.

I think it was flagged because the original article was posted back in March[0] and this is viewed as a reposting. However, the article has been updated and I think it's perfectly fine to re-post something from over 6 months ago. I certainly don't remember seeing it the first time around and appreciate it being posted now.


I was surprised to see it flagged, too.

The Mac platform is comatose and we all know it. The author is dead right with his points. I switched to Mac about 10 years ago and was blown away by how amazing it was. A year ago I got a Windows machine at work. At first I was horrified by the idea but Windows has come so far in the last few years. It’s a perfectly fine platform now and has largely caught up.

The issue with Windows is the telemetry. You simply cannot disable it. Yes, you can waste time ticking everything off, but with the next update, it's back again. No, thank you.

I want to use an operating system that respects my privacy. For me, this is OpenBSD, FreeBSD, or Fedora/Debian Linux.

I use Windows at work, too, and am horrified daily by how utterly difficult it is to use compared to Linux or FreeBSD.

I personally haven't had an issue with disabling telemetry. Also, stumbled upon this a while back (maybe worth checking out): https://github.com/W4RH4WK/Debloat-Windows-10

Nothing more than bitching, moaning, complaining and fanboying about ecosystems. Sure, there are issues in the mac ecosystem that frustrate me but the mac ecosystem, on the whole, is an excellent system that works great for most people. Plus, there are a large number of 3rd party solutions to tailor the experience to your needs.

Since we're allowing fanboying, Windows is still by far the biggest pile of shit to work on and lags way behind Linux or Mac in developer experience. To me the linux subsystem is just another attempt to save a sinking ship. The author would be way better off getting comfortable in hisfavourite flavour of linux and build the environment exactly as he'd like.

I thought the Windows Subsystem for Linux was kinda funny, but actually it's so well integrated and useful for all the reasons people like using Linux (more correctly, their shell of choice). Where Apple is so neurotically anti-GPLv3 that they've allowed the GPLv2 stuff in macOS to get extremely old. And I see no evidence those ancient tools like rsync 2.1.9 are even getting security updates. That is the platform I see sinking, at least that part of it.

It also sucks to VM, it's not even legal to VM it if not on Apple hardware. It sucks when running other OS's in a VM. Seriously, XNU just does not like being host or guest, it becomes a CPU and memory pig like no other OS.

The WSL is absolutely not integrated at all. It's pretty horrible.

What terminal do you use with it? Powershell? How do you cut and paste between terminals? Tabs? I found the only way to have a decent Unix terminal experience was to run an Xserver and connect to it from powershell.

Install git in WSL, clone down some projects and then access those files you just cloned down from Windows Explorer. Show the integration there...

The MacOS/Unix integration is light-years ahead of WSL- because the MacOS actually runs Unix, it's not just bolted on.

The people that claim that WSL is integrated with W10 can't have used it for more than 30 min. Otherwise they wouldn't comment about it.

It's a fair point that it is not as well integrated as the native approach that you get with either macOS or Linux or BSD. But you absolutely should be able to right click copy paste between terminals. And yes I can update Apple's crusty shit with Homebrew, but the staleness of Apple's CLI tools is a blight.

Well I have to use chocolately with W10.. which is the same thing as HB for OSX. The LSW is a totally sep system in there- an install of python on LSW cannot work with the python installed in windows.

This is completley not true of Home Brew on OSX.

Best solution is for MS to buy one of Linux distro (Ubuntu) and release a version of Windows with Linux core. Or for Google to release a full fledge OS for Pixelbook.

Apple's best innovations have been in the form of exploiting tax shelters.

Yuck... Why not try arch linux? Much better... imho. Antergos is a good user friendly distro that I highly recommend.

Why is it always windows vs apple..when linux -- esp for tech savvy folks/developers is so much better?

The author mentioned Unity and developing for VR which pretty squarely tilts the scales toward Windows for now.

Because none of the Linux distros look as good as what Apple (or even Microsoft) has to offer.

ElementaryOS is heading in the right direction, but I cannot shake off the feeling that it's still using design languages relevant to 2010, not 2017.

I've been using Fluxbox for a decade, and couldn't stand OSX or Windows when I tried using them for a few months. Fluxbox looks slick and it's super fast, though it took a while to configure. I have nothing behind my windows but a background image and a clock, battery, wifi indicator, and the desktop number in the lower right corner. I start most programs from the terminal anyway and use virtual desktops instead of minimizing things.

I defined keystrokes for resizing windows, opening terminals, switching between virtual desktops. Using alt-click to drag and resize windows is also nice because it means the windows need almost no frame and you don't have to aim. Now I get frustrated with other OSes. For example, when I read a book off a webpage with useless banners on the top and bottom, I like to resize my browser so it's larger than the screen and the useless parts of the webpage are off the screen. This is easy to do if you have keystrokes for resizing windows....

On the other hand, everyone else has trouble using my computer. And this will likely get worse. Eventually I'll switch from Dvorak to a steno keyboard.

An os is just a bootloader to run emacs full screen.

Pop!_OS from System76 looks even better than elementaryOS.

Why is all about gui/looks?

Learn to live in the terminal, and all will be well... I say that and I still haven't completely grokked VIM, but I CAN exit!

I care about not having a burning urge to stab my eyes every 5 seconds :)

I think it's good advice to go with a remix of a solid distro that's emphasizing "out of the box" experience. I haven't tried Antergos myself, but sounds approximately like the target market for Korora which is a Fedora remix, and includes more obscure things like non-free (i.e. proprietary) software, browser plugins, and drivers.

There are some things I have to use Windows or macOS for because the proprietary software only exists on one of those platforms, but day to day I'm using Fedora. I'm sick of the entire macOS and Windows ecosystems. About the only thing making sense for sticking with macoS at least, is that it's the only way to develop macOS and iOS apps. Lock in.

Microsoft has also given up, it seems. They recently removed MS Paint, and suggested that Paint3D would be its replacement. Paint3D can not be removed (it will reinstall itself), and inserts a firewall rule(!) presumably to help call home.

Even the "Enterprise" editions of Windows 10 don't respect settings correctly, and happily engage in high-risk always-on data collection at the expense of whoever owns the internet connection. They've even backported this misfeature to Windows 7 as an automatic update, as far as I'm told.

And I might be saying that this was all okay in the long run, if the quality of Windows had actually improved as a result of this wholesale mandatory data collection, but to my eyes, it has gotten worse if anything.

All that being said, I'd agree that Microsoft is (if you can stomach all of this) at least trying to maintain a desktop operating system. "macOS" has completely lost its way. When a new release comes out, you don't get fewer bugs, you just get different bugs because they apparently keep rewriting everything.

Frankly, after having used every version of both macOS and Windows in the last 15 years, some extensively in a professional setting, I'm glad I get to use Linux at home (and 95% of the time at work). If things are broken, it's at least usually because they never worked to begin with, which is a much more hopeful position, especially being the sort of developer who doesn't mind digging in a bit to fix something or at least write an excellent bug report.

Seriously. Win7 had a lot of the 'simple stuff just works' without the home-phoning, but how long d'you think a Windows 7 machine will be able to stay connected to the internet?

It'll receive security patches until January 14, 2020.


So, ~2 years. Case in point :(

> All that being said, I'd agree that Microsoft is (if you can stomach all of this) at least trying to maintain a desktop operating system.

I disagree there, MS is trying to maintain a tablet/phone OS that just happens to include some of their older desktop stuff, but they're deprecating that as quickly as possible. Windows 7 was their last desktop OS.

Seems like KDE and Gnome are the only ones that care about the desktop these days.

They nixed their phone software development a few weeks ago...

A few weeks ago is several years after they merged the phone and desktop codebases.

What is there left to do on the desktop? Where recent Apple machines shine is fitting into a really good ecosystem. I can receive a text on my Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Watch. I can pull out my Mac and it instantly connects to the LTE on my iPad. It’s seamless and it works with no configuration. Windows is still not there yet.

This works perfectly fine on Windows for both windows phone and Android. I can reply Android texts, whatsapps and even third party apps from a windows desktop.

Mind sharing how to actually do this with Android?

You have to install the cortana app and maybe get the insider preview version of windows 10,hoever I'm not sure about that

I can receive a send/text on my android phone, my android tablet, or my linux (ubuntu) desktop. Similar for calls or video calls. I can tether a linux laptop to my android phone (google Fi Pixel XL) easily, just set a password and then toggle it on/off as needed.

This stuff is easy, I'd be surprised if Windows can't do the same.

It’s only just starting to. HP is trying to make up for it with PhoneWise. Some phone companies make SMS apps in the MS Store.

Been using mac for 8 years, didn't know this was possible. Would love to sync text and LTE, how do you set this up?

If you’re signed into the same Apple ID it should happen automatically. Should also get Instant Hotspot if Bluetooth is enabled.

Linux! I began as a Windows only user, then switched to Linux and never looked back. Now I have been using a Mac for the last couple of months. At first it felt pretty slick (the touchpad is awesome), but after a while, I just want my precious Linux back.

after a while, I just want my precious Linux back.

How long had you used Linux? How long did you use a Mac?

I'm curious how much of that longing for Linux was a desire for familiarity, and how much was a reflection of a superiority of Linux / flaw in Macs.

At my startup we just bought 4 new 2017 13" MBPs. We bought some expensive USB c to HDMI adapters so we could connect two monitors to them.

3 out of the 4 MBPs have a fault which causes the second screen to flicker and bug out. We tried every combination of the adapters but the 3 MBPs were consistently faulty.

After searching the web, it turns out this is a very common defect in them since at least 2016.

The repairs will be covered by Apple care, but it doesn't excuse the fact that our brand new laptops have to be sent for repairs before they're even used.

Plus we've lost time whilst we wait for them to be fixed.

Learned the hard way to make sure we buy stock in advance so we can test and repair it before it's needed.

Oh yes, I have this issue. It also makes doing a presentation from the laptop impossible as the projector would keep disconnecting.


why i stay with apple (so far), all my macbooks lasted 4-6+ years so far - with pretty much 0% performance loss, UNIX(!!), and stuff just works. also i don't want to deal with anti-virus software, an ugly command line interface, and terrible UI design in general.

got my macbook screen + motherboard replaced for free, i didn't bring a receipt, 2.5yrs after i got it. done in 4 days. that's pretty awesome customer service IMO.

not that enthusiastic about the latest MBP's though, let us have some ports and physical escape key pls

Apple is still pretty awesome, let’s see if they respond to the criticism.

Web app dev here.

Used Ubuntu on my old thinkpad. Bought a newer thinkpad and the drivers wouldn't work for ubuntu. Reluctantly stuck with the pre-installed Win 10 with new Ubuntu Bash extension (I wanted to stick with linux command line) and haven't looked back.

Apart from some issues with Docker (which I don't use anyways but I'm sure some of you do) haven't noticed any real issues developing exactly as I did on Ubuntu :)

Give KDE Plasma a shot! It's pretty good looking, works with a range of Linux's and there's even their own distro Neon now. I use it with Arch and it's a great combo!

I found plasma a bit buggy on Kubuntu, but everything runs better on Arch, so maybe I should give it another go... I generally run gnome+i3 on Antergos distro.

The main reason I'm still sticking to Mac is because I sometimes do iOS app development and I want first class support for it.

"Why I cut off my nose to spite my face"

dire warning: ubuntu for Windows isn't production ready yet

Got a Macbook Pro in 2016. As of today, the E, R, and T keys have all stopped working. Apple wants $500 for a logic board replacement.

It was fine when it was just the R key. Sort of. I set up bash scripts to copy-paste "r" to my clipboard, and just pressed command-V instead of "r". But then the T key went out.

My girlfriend's new Macbook air had the up arrow key literally pop out when the laptop was just sitting idle. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Take it to the Apple store, and again spend time having to listen to how it's human misuse that caused it. After a lot of dramatics, and having to explain that the system was barely 2 months old and not even used for heavy stuff like gaming or number crunching, before they finally replaced it under warranty with no charge!

That single incident removed years of faith my girlfriend had with Apple (she's been using Apple systems continuously since 2012 or so)

Hooo boy, I've had three replacements and now they insist it's my fault despite it being <1 year.

My Macbook's J,K,L was broken and I clone the English input and re-mapping them into Shift+ "M,<,>"


That's hilarious.

And yesterday I read someone's comment on HN that Apple support is "the best in the world".

But seriously, something is really wrong here.

Check your credit card, it might have an extended warranty that applies after the manufacturer warranty expires. Amex for sure does this automatically, doubles the warranty up to one additional year.

I once had the same problem with an old Macbook Air and stubbornly used Ukulele to create a keyboard layout that let me chord around four dead keys with alt and the key directly below. It's not a long term solution, but it might help in a pinch.

Use mechanical keyboards. I use touch keyboards is easy bad.


If you switch your OS, it can significantly effect your life for years. That makes it more noteworthy than switching your choice of sugar water.

I don't understand what the author wants to actually do with his Mac other than screw around with VR.

What feature is lacking today in OSX that stops any developer from uh actually coding and working? What do you want Apple to add? Oh, wait for it....

Stickers in iMessage? You really want that? I did a spit take when I read this and then I realized this was nothing but some click-bait.

> lifelong Windows user

> gets a Mac and "finally pick[s] up web development" in 2013

> laments lack of iMessage stickers

> goes back to Windows because they have a 'Linux' terminal

Yup, click-bait.

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