[scribus] Newbie Mac User

John Morris 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
>*insanely easy*.

   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[1], 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.


More information about the scribus mailing list