[scribus] Newbie Mac User
johnjeff at editide.us
Sat Aug 1 20:01:43 CEST 2009
Jeffrey Silverman wrote:
>Oh, dear, you've opened the door...
><disclaimer>I am a Linux whacko. However, I mean "whacko" in the sense that
>I am whacko nuts about Linux, not that I am a whacko zealot about other
>people's OS choice. I will, however, try to convince people to use Linux at
>the drop of a hat.</disclaimer>
Thanks for your thoughts, Jeffery; they are very much appreciated.
I'll give you some feedback on your presentation and my personal
situation below, but here is my main response. The biggest issue that
is keeping me from migrating to Linux is time. I'm way too busy with
my noncomputer life to spend much time on computer issues. The fact
that I should "ignore any description of Linux that is older than 2
years," which is in line with my understanding, is telling. I need
much more stability than that gives me. Apple's schedule of new
versions is too fast for me and I usually don't make the switch right
away. For example, I bought Tiger about a year after it came out and
then it took me a year to migrate my production machine to it. It
just does not get prioritized around here.
The other issue that is keeping me from migrating to Linux is that
I'm the main source of computer support for many of my family
members. That keeps me busy, but it also means that, if I do switch,
I'll still be supporting them on Macs for at least some time even if
I can eventually get them to switch to Linux. That will complicate my
life, not simplify it.
So, like I said, I see myself using a reasonably current Mac OS for
at least the next five years on my main production machine. In that
time, I hope to slowly migrate to more and more OS apps in
preparation for an eventual switch and perhaps even install a Linux
distribution on a spare machine, a virtual machine, or as a dual
boot. (Speaking of virtual machines, I would really like to find one
that will run a current Mac OS client installation. I know that
Parallels will run Leopard Server, but that is not much use to me.)
>So,if you are used to Mac OS X, and, more importantly, *like* Mac OS X, it
>is very possible that you will not like Linux at all.
I do *like* the Mac OS. I've been using it since 1984 and have
grown very comfortable with it. However, as I mentioned before, I
don't like some aspects of it. My main issue is all the extra
gratuitous graphics, the cutesy buttons and the useless 3-D effects
that do nothing to enhance my experience as a user. I don't like
these things from a minimalist perspective and I don't like them from
my frugal New England perspective. (Why waste CRU on *that*?)
I also don't like Apple's habit of making choices for me and then
making it very difficult for me to choose a different path. Apple's
unspoken motto use to be "Have it your way," now it is "Have it our
way." Unfortunately, Apple's way is less and less my way. That means
I have to spend more and more time figuring out how to and then
implementing the changes I need to make my computer work the way I
want it to work.
> Also, if you are
>deeply entrenched -- with apps, mostly -- into Mac OS or Windows, say, then
>it can be quite difficult in the short term to switch to anything else, let
>alone to Linux.
This is also certainly an issue. The main reason it is an issue is
that I am a freelance editor by trade. Over 90% of my clients use
Word. The fact that I use a Mac and most of my clients use Windows is
already occasionally a problem, but I have found ways around it. I
have tried a number of OS word processors and found them to be of
varying quality, some very good and, of course, most much better than
Word. However, I have found none that can reliably read a complex
Word document, edit it, and write back to the file something that
will be reliably read by Word 2000 though Word 2008. That's a tall
order that Word is barely able to (not) fill, so I'm not surprised
that the OS offerings are not up to the task.
I suspect that as long as I'm in my current line of work, I will
need access to Word. I'm hoping that some day that access will be
through virtualization, hence my search for Mac OS virtualization
because I certainly don't want to step down to Windows. On a positive
note, I do have a number of regular clients using LaTeX, which would
is well supported on all platforms.
> - Ignore any description of Linux that is older than 2 years.
As I mentioned above, this is an awfully short time frame for me
these days. That worries me because I don't like feeling as if I
*have* to upgrade to the next latest and greatest. I'm looking for
more stability, not less.
> - Try to stick to one distribution, and ignore comparisons or descriptions
>of others, for the time being. I suggest Ubuntu, or, possibly even better,
>Linux Mint, which is like Ubuntu++, but is just a bit less well known. I'm
>going to start saying "Ubuntu" in the rest of this diatribe.
I can certainly understand the basic idea of sticking to one
distribution. However, that is a minor part of what is holding me
back. First, if I move to another operating system, I'm making an
investment in that platform. If that platform then falls by the
wayside, I've lost my investment, perhaps before it pays me dividends
in the form of a more stable platform to do my work. Therefore, I
have to choose carefully and I don't necessarily feel qualified to
make that choice yet.
Second, I am not a run-of-the-mill user. Therefore, I can't expect
to be happy with the default advice. I need to evaluate all my
option, both for the expected longevity of the platform and for its
user interface elements. That evaluation will take time, which is
also holding me back.
I would really like to find a comparison of the different
distributions that would help me make that choice, but I understand
that it is likely to be out of date before I find it.
> - Ignore any descriptions or comparisons involving the *installation and
>setup* phase. This, IMO, is one of the biggest points of FUD about Linux.
>The point that is most often missed is that Mac OS and Windows users *don't
>ever install their OS*. Also, this phase is either going to be insanely
>easy, or next to impossible. 95% of new uesrs will actually find it to be
So far, most of the OS software I have installed has been in the
insanely easy category. Despite my programming experience in a past
life, I have almost no experience with actually compiling source code
on a modern platform, yet I even found the installation of rsync from
the sources to be extremely straightforward.
However, installation and setup does not scare me. I expect to do
it once a year or every other year, so the investment is relatively
small even if it takes a day or two.
> - Ubuntu is just plain different in the way it is put together. It is not
>so different, though, at, a 30 thousand foot level. Point, click, mousy
>mousy, window window -- all modern OSes are basically the same. But the
>subtle differences will be frustrating at first. It doesn't make Ubuntu
>harder to use, just different, much like riding a motorcycle is not harder
>than a car, just different. Okay, not a motorcycle, say, a manual
>transmission vs an automatic one. That's probably a better analogy.
This seems par for the course. Mac OS X is different from Mac
Classic is different from Windows 98 is different from Windows XP is
different from NeXt is different from Amiga OS. My limited experience
with Linux suggests to me that the magnitude of the differences
between it and what I have experienced is not greater that of the
differences between what I have experienced. The devil is in the
details. I expect to be frustrated by those subtle differences, but I
also expect to be rewarded for my efforts in the form of a desktop
that is more to my liking and does not require a near constant
(meaning more than every two years) upgrade cycle.
I do have to admit that I thought your motorcycle analogy was more
on the ticket. To give you an idea of the level of stability I would
like to see, I "upgrade" my car about every ten years and I don't
feel in the interim that I'm missing out in any major way. I *never*
upgrade my telephone and it keeps right on working through all the
changes that have been made to the national telephone system.
>Ok, so, step number 1: throw out all your old apps. Just forget they even
>exist, they will not work, period.
As you suggest below, I am already in the process of migrating to
OS applications in preparation of the day when I am able to make the
switch. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, my main income-producing
application does not appear to be replaceable.
>Step two: try before you buy. Download Ubuntu live CD and try it. It won't
>install anything or mess up your current computer, but you will be able to
>preview a fully functional Ubuntu desktop.
>Step 3: find an old computer to install it on, or try dual boot
I suspect that I will combine these two steps through
virtualization. Given the heavy dependance of modern operating
systems on virtual memory and the abysmal performance of optical
drives compared to hard drives, I don't think a live CD would give me
a fair test of what it is like to work with Linux. Even
virtualization involves a performance hit, but it is a good first
step and does not require that I completely take over my computer
with Linux by booting from an external hard drive or a partition.
>The best thing about Ubuntu, IMO, is the massive ecosystem of free apps, of
>which Scribus is just one. Maybe step (0) is: migrate to all free apps on
>your current OS. The GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, Firefox, and MANY other
>"standard" Ubuntu apps have MAc OS or Windows ports. Hey, I said this was
Yes. This has been a godsend for me. The fact that I have been able
to install small bits of "Linux" on my current machine has been part
of the reason that I'm even willing to consider a full Linux
installation. It's really a brilliant marketing ploy.
>Speaking of non-linear, I have a nozzle platypus hose beam. Yachting
OK, I can admit that I have not a clue what this means.
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