Can a Linux OS be as stable as macOS for programming?: When most people think of operating systems, they think of Windows, Linux, and Mac. These three operating system versions are excellent for programming and each has a unique set of advantages. Windows, for example, is the most popular operating system because it is compatible with a wide range of devices, including phones and tablets. While Mac provides a stable experience with high-quality software, Linux is free.
Advantages of macOS over Linux:
- There are several benefits to using a Mac over Linux. One of the primary benefits is listed below.
- By default, high-quality and secure hardware is used. Linux can run on top of high-quality and secure hardware, but unless you own a Hackintosh, Apple provides this out of the box.
- Every piece of hardware included with the computer and purchased from Apple will function properly.
- Apple takes great care to ensure that the user interface is stable, intuitive, and simple to use.
- There is no fragmentation because macOS has had the same look and feel for years. You’ll probably only need to learn how to use it once, and that knowledge will serve you for the rest of your life.
- You can create apps for both macOS and iOS. The iOS emulator is excellent.
- The Mac can run AAA design, video, and audio production software.
- macOS is intended to be a desktop operating system, and Apple takes great care to ensure that the desktop experience is flawless. Linux is primarily intended for use as a server and embedded operating system.
- As a result, desktop applications receive less attention on Linux. For example, audio in Linux was a pain until about 2013, and the graphics stack is either X11 (which is old, buggy, and insecure) or Wayland, which is still in beta.
- DRM content from any service (such as Netflix) works right away. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on whether you value freedom or not.
Advantages of Linux over macOS:
- There is no planned obsolescence. I still have a 2008 core 2 duo machine that runs Linux flawlessly and is up to date with security patches, and I regularly use it for my daily work if my main computer is unavailable without issue. In contrast, I have a 2010 Mac Pro that cost around $2.5K (much more than the other machine), Apple no longer supports it, and it is far too slow to be useful for anything (except to run Windows, which works well).
- Because Linux can be shipped by any vendor, the hardware market becomes more competitive and offers lower prices. Even brands with comparable quality to Apple, such as Lenovo, are less expensive. There are several Linux-focused vendors, such as System76 and Purism, that offer great computers at lower prices.
All software is installed from a single source: the repository, which is a reliable source if you use enterprise-grade Linux distributions. Most Apple software is installed through the app store, but power users may need to obtain some tools from less reputable sources. Furthermore, in Linux, all updates are handled by a single program: the package manager. Some updates (such as Java) are handled by Apple’s software (the same way as in Windows).
Power users can better customize Linux. When I use macOS, I get the impression that the operating system hides details (such as file paths in finder) that I need to have at all times.
You have complete control over the device and the software it runs. If Apple decides to push an update to your system, you will receive it. You have no choice if Apple wants to spy on and track you.
Running Linux is a great way to learn how operating systems are designed and structured if you study computer science. You have complete control over every detail and can change anything you want. In this regard, Apple is extremely stringent.
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Some points that make Linux OS as stable as macOS for programming
- Linux, like both types, is free. Free beer and the freedom to do whatever one wants. This is a benefit not only for users, who can download and use any version of Linux for free but also for its continuous improvement. It means that anyone can modify the kernel, add and remove (open source) software as they see fit, and then freely distribute it. Instead of a single, narrowly focused group looking to maximize profit from their product, you get a diverse group of people and groups focused on making a better product without profit as the primary consideration.
- Furthermore, because Linux is free, it reduces the cost of operating and maintaining commercial networks. While there are various types of bulk licenses for other operating systems (Windows and OSx), they still cost a lot, and that cost is passed on to whatever products or services the enterprise provides, making them more expensive or the company losing money. The software is free if you use a Linux product. A company may pay for maintenance and support, but this is still much less expensive than purchasing Windows.
- Several popular Linux flavors, including Google’s Android and Chrome OS, are widely used in laptop and phone markets. If you have to purchase an iPhone, the high-end models usually cost well over a thousand dollars. A high-end Android phone is usually several hundred dollars less expensive. An Apple laptop costs well over a thousand dollars, whereas a high-end Windows laptop costs around $700 or $800. What is a Chromebook? A good one should cost around $250. Tablets are priced similarly. These disparities are caused by the cost of software rather than hardware quality. And, by far the most popular phone and tablet operating system in the world, Android outnumbers iOS in every metric.
- Linux is generally intended to work “right out of the box.” This means that generic drivers are pre-installed to meet the needs of the vast majority of computers. And, because those drivers are typically generic, the average user would be hard-pressed to notice any difference. This also means that you can remove your operating system’s primary drive from one computer and insert it into another, a completely different one, and it will function normally. Try it with Windows or Mac OS X.
- While it is frequently claimed that Linux is far more secure than other operating systems, the truth is more complicated. Because Linux and Windows operate in very different ways, exploiting flaws in either requires very different strategies. However, because Windows is such a popular operating system used by the untrained masses, writing viruses for Windows is far more profitable. Linux, and by a strange coincidence, OSX, are not only less popular among virus programmers, but they are also far more secure due to the way the operating system works. This isn’t to say that there aren’t viruses and exploits for Linux (or OSX); it’s just that they require more effort for a smaller payoff.
- Most Linux installations include a software repository, which allows you to search for software that you want or need, click on it, and have it installed right away. Ubuntu has gotten into some paid software, which I like in a way because it shows that software developers find Linux worth the time it takes to create software for commercial reasons.
I understand that many people simply want their Windows, OSX, or iOS. They prefer to work with what they are familiar with. But, in many ways, Linux, at least in some of its incarnations, is actually easier than any of the proprietary systems.
Why do some programmers prefer Linux OS instead of Windows or macOS?
In 2022, Windows 10 is only supported for three more years, and this stupid new thing called Windows 11, with a beautiful but very un-customizable UI, has arrived. It’s supposed to be the “best operating system” Microsoft has ever created. This was the deciding factor for me.
I’ve also been using Linux on various devices for nearly 6 years and am familiar with both the Debian and Arch Linux terminals. So, after restarting my laptop for the fourth time in a month due to yet another stupid update, I formatted the entire system and switched to Manjaro KDE. If you ask me, this is Arch Linux at its best.
So here are some of the reasons I use Linux for coding, gaming, entertainment, and everything in between:
- Assume you need to install the most recent Python compiler on the system. This is how it is done in Windows.
- Go to the Python homepage by clicking here. -> Hello and welcome to Python.org.
- Select ‘Windows,’ then click Download.
- Start the setup.
- 1 billion buttons must be clicked. Wait for it to complete.
- Python is now installed once the setup is complete! But wait, if you’re a terminal user, you’ll need to restart it before you can use the ‘python’ command.
To do all of the above on Linux, use the following command: Python Pacman
I don’t have the time or inclination to use the GUI and perform 5 steps when I can do it with a single command from the terminal.
Although Windows has a command prompt terminal, the Linux terminal is far superior. I have this lovely desktop environment, KDE, but I still find myself doing most of my work on the terminal. I’ve even started coding there (using vim/nano) and I don’t miss VS Code at all (except for the auto-complete feature I guess).
On Linux, everything is simply a file. Although difficult to grasp at first, this concept is incredible when put to use. I can mount my hard drive wherever I want. I can make symlinks for various things. To me, the Linux file system makes more sense. Consider the following examples:
- /: Root directory
- /etc: Directory for config files
- ~/: User’s home directory
- /mnt: Default mount point for all those external storage drives
- /dev: Directory for all kinds of devices.
There is no such thing as “drive letters” or any of that other complicated jargon. Everything is straightforward and well-organized.