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The State of Operating Systems (Controversial I'm Sure)

Tim Apple
All around nice fella. Making Ruby cool again. ---πŸͺŸπŸΉπŸŽ―πŸ’™πŸ§
・4 min read

Historically

So I've been around for awhile now, at least a few decades of adulthood. Most of that time I was a die hard Linux user. I had stints of using Windows, especially back in the "World of Warcraft" days. But most of my early years I was setting up PPP connections to my isp in Slackware. My opinions on operating systems has changed drastically now and I thought I would jot down what I am thinking about the topic at this time.

Linux

Linux my dear old friend. I used to defend you with all I had. No matter how difficult you were I would suggest you to everyone. Then as years went on the difficulty went away. I think most anyone can successfully get some version of Linux installed with very little effort. Not to mention it is fairly easy to find preinstalled on a machine if need be.

...But, I find most applications inadequate for me these days. All the best apps seem to be things created for other OS's ported over or they are just web apps anyway.

Linux is much more a toy to tinker with to me these days. Of course there is no denying it's versatility and performance on the server side, nothing compares to be honest. On the desktop though, it's to fragmented, the applications mostly to simple or to buggy. I just can't bring myself to use it consistently.

Now do not be angry with me. I do love it, it's just not for me anymore and I have become much less a freedom fighter in my old age.

Windows

The cursed enemy to all! Well not anymore. With close to a decade of new leadership this boat has changed course completely. Not that it's all rainbows and unicorns, but they are way more open, the OS is less buggy, and in general it's actually become a pleasant experience.

Now with WSL if I do need to scratch that itch I can. I mostly open it and sudo apt update && apt upgrade . Then I close it again. For development Python, Rust, Flutter/Dart, Node, and of course .Net all run native and well for that matter. Not to mention the new Windows Terminal really is an improvement. I like it much more than most of the Linux terminals I've used.

All in all, I gotta say I like them these days and will continue to use it as my daily driver.

ChromeOS ##

Isn't that Linux? Well technically it is, but it's pretty well hidden. This is my new love. I'm typing this on it now. It's fast, smooth, pretty much trouble free. The occasional time I do bugger it up I can literally reset it and be back to work in about 5 minutes.

On the Dev side, I can run GUI Linux apps on it. I actually run VSCode and Android studio on it for Flutter development. With the bonus of being able to run/test Android apps on it. I've also run Node, Deno and Rust on it no problem.

Needless to say, ChromeOS is slowly becoming my favorite and I spend just about as much time on it as I do on my main Windows machine. And again, if I feel the urge to see packages update I can run my sudo apt commands on it.

Android

This is my mobile operating system of choice, I really like the ecosystem, I develop for it, and a couple other reasons to be mentioned below. Besides the variety and price points I can get a real good phone at.

The Apple Ecosystem

So all the Apple stuff. Just because I share a name with them doesn't mean I have to like them. But I confess, I agree that they're hardware is amazing. I have used iOS in the past and it's damn good. But they are not necessarily the best. I find them more trendy than anything.

But the main reason I don't use them is elitism. I call myself a developer and I want everyone in the world, no matter where they are located or what their income is to have the opportunity to take advantage of whatever awful software I may create in the future. I really am not interested in using products that only the wealthier people in the world can take advantage of.

Mind you, I have nice things. And they are expensive. I use a high spec Surface Laptop. My Chromebook is a Pixelbook Go with real good specs. But I know anywhere in the world the hardware and OS are available to the general masses, maybe without the performance, but they can use the stuff.

Conclusion

So as you may have noticed, this was very opinionated. It's literally just where I am at with my computer use. I've used most operating systems and like and dislike things about all of them. I do think opensource and proprietary systems can coexist and that they both have their own unique places they fit in the world. No reason to hate either.

P.S. BSD people, don't feel bad. I've used your OS also. And an honorable mention for Haiku. Cheers!

Discussion (3)

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robvirtuoso profile image
robvirtuoso

You develop in Flutter, but only test for Android?? Shouldn't you also test your app for iOS? Perspectives on elitism of Apple ecosystem aside, true Flutter development should not exclude iOS, and a Mac is the best tool for that.

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abhishektripathi profile image
Abhishek Tripathi

Very aptly put. I think most developers would share a similar opinion for the desktop OS. I haven't used ChromeOS myself but I see your point.

For the last part, I have a different opinion. I was on the android boat until a year ago. I had similar philosophy where I wanted an ecosystem and choices which are available to everyone. However, I have moved on. I have gone back to iOS where I feel the ship is moving in the direction where users want it to. It comes at a premium, but my privacy is important. I don't want cheap unchecked apps intruding and stealing information I guard otherwise with utmost care. Android, however fond of it I may be, is full of apps having their sole mission to infiltrate you. The android phone I had was discarded by the manufacturer despite being perfectly capable hardware for modern android versions because they don't profit by keeping the old hardware alive. To pay their bills, they have to sell new phones. Apple still makes money from AppStore and has an incentive to keep the older phones updated if it can. I am now using an old iPhone7 which still receives the updates on day one along with other newer iPhones. It is older than my discarded android but I am at ease knowing if there is a vulnerability identified, I would receive a patch. I think the premium is justified if you plan to keep your device for the next 5 years.

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heytimapple profile image
Tim Apple Author

Yeah, Android definitely has it's flaws still. This is where my perspective may be off also. I get a new phone almost every year, sometimes a used one, but my phones are never older than 2-3 years. I also stick to the only a couple brands.. Pixel or Oneplus. As far as the apps, I also don't install to much. Especially if it's third party. 90% of the stuff on my phone comes directly from google or microsoft.

In general, both ecosystems are great. I do admit you need a little more awareness when in Androids to make sure your safe.