Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


Why Mark Pilgrim is switching to Linux

Filed under: — adam @ 9:02 am

John Gruber has written this great piece analyzing the rationale behind Mark Pilgrim’s switch from OSX to Linux and the critics of the argument.

There are some truths in there:

“Telling Pilgrim that he’s making a mistake because Ubuntu doesn’t have as refined or cohesive a UI as Mac OS X is like telling someone who is switching from a Chevy Tahoe to a Toyota Prius that he’s not going to have as much cargo room. He knows it.”

“If your reaction to Pilgrim’s announcement was a snap judgment that he’s lost it, or that he’s being an asshole who’s just looking for attention as the guy who switched away from the Mac just at the time when it (the Mac) seems poised to become more popular than ever, or that he’s an open source fanatic who just can’t be reasoned with or trusted — are you sure that the zealotry at play is his?”

“I’m deeply suspicious of Mac users who claim to be perfectly happy with Mac OS X. Real Mac users, to me, are people with much higher standards, impossibly high standards, and who use Macs not because they’re great, but because they suck less than everything else. Pilgrim, to me, is a quintessential Mac user in that regard; and what he’s doing is wondering if maybe things might suck less somewhere else.”

I find myself thinking the same thoughts often as I struggle with switching my desktop away from Windows to Linux. I’ve done it in the past, but the simple fact is that there are things on Windows that need in order to get my work done that don’t exist on Linux yet. Someday. I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

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2 Responses to “Why Mark Pilgrim is switching to Linux”

  1. daw Says:

    So what things are those that you need from windows? apps or core OS features? would be very interesting to hear.

  2. adam Says:

    One thing I need is reliable color management. All of the hardware monitor colorimeters I know of only work for Windows or Mac, and have no Linux support (not even third-party). I would consider switching to Mac for photo editing and layout work, but I don\’t see any real advantage to doing so, especially after spending more than a few thousand dollars on hardware and another thousand to buy CS2 again.

    As far as apps go, it\’s really Microsoft Project and Visio. I\’ve tried some alternatives on the Mac, but they really don\’t hold up. Omnigraffle, for example – I couldn\’t make it easily do the kinds of detailed diagrams I do in Visio for specifications work.

    Also, interoperability is important and not quite entirely there yet. Openoffice is great, and I use it a lot. It produces Word files that can be mostly read in Word, but it\’s useless if you do a lot of back and forth collaborative editing with someone else using Word – too much gets lost in the translation. It\’s not enough for the files to be mostly compatible if they get mangled when you go back and forth – things like numbering,
    table structure, and embedded images often get clobbered.

    I had a linux desktop as my primary workspace for a while, and it was mostly okay except for those things. VMWare is an acceptable solution for the app problems, but not the color management one – it doesn\’t provide a sufficient hardware emulation driver for the video board to enable the color management software to work.

    Does that answer your question?

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