this is my first question (in askubuntu).

I'm about to try Ubuntu for the first time (First time to take it seriously actually).

I love my Mac but don't want to be closed minded, nor closed source ;)

So, if I go ahead with this change, where would you say I would feel the difference?

Pitfalls of Ubuntu compared to Mac? (honestly)

What will I miss the most?

Thanks in advance!!

Related: Difference between mac os and linux

  • What kind of Mac you have? Cpu speed / RAM?
    – Pitto
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:05
  • 4
    Only YOU know what you'll miss. To some extent it depend what you have/use,and we don't know what that is. All else is mere supposition on our behalf...
    – user4815
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:06
  • @Pitto Intel Core 2 Duo, 2gb ram, but is more a comparison of OS what I ment by this question.
    – Trufa
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:08
  • @aronchester I did not mean miss like I would miss my family :) I did't want to start a subjective discussion here. I specifics, mac has an app for absolutely anythig (just as an example) in ubuntu will it be harder to get to the right specific software?
    – Trufa
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:10
  • 1
    "harder to get to the right specific software?" that will be much easier actually :-) ubuntu.com/desktop/features Dec 7 '10 at 0:14

I've been an *nix user for years and have used Ubuntu for simplicities sake on all my notebooks from the last 3 years or so (everything.. just works!). My current job provided me with a shiny new MacbookPro when I started just over a year ago, great hardware (almost no complaints), but OSX lasted about a month on it.

To get to the point (sorry about the lenghty diatribe), I've found very FEW issues with the switch, however:

  • the setup is a little more complicated than a similar spec Dell/Thinkpad/etc, it's not too hard though
  • the Mac's greatest asset, by far, is the Trackpad, the new multitouch driver (check www.ubuntuforums.org) are almost there, but its not quite as silky smooth as in OSX

On the good side:

  • Compiz is a beautiful, beautiful thing (I turn most of the 3D effects off), it combines a great way of applying keyboard/mouse/gesture shortcuts to enhance window management and common, often laborious tasks with some great eyecandy (if you're that way inclined).
  • 4GB RAM goes a whole lot further in Ubuntu/Gnome than it ever went in MacOSX, I can code, browse, listen, watch, game all without issue.
  • Ubuntu's package management, APT, and the new Ubuntu Software Centre is great for keeping software up to date, and allows the installation of new apps easily, ironically enough its becoming more and more like the Apple App Store by the day.

The pitfalls would be the lack of some software like Photoshop (and the Adobe Suite), Microsoft Office (though 2008 was terrible in my experience compared to the Windows version) and many games, but coming from Mac, you probably wouldn't many anyway.

Finally, I'd say, give it a go, at least in a dual boot situation, what have you got to lose?

  • Excellent answer @kwiksand !! I agree with everything except: 4GB RAM goes a whole lot further in Ubuntu/Gnome than it ever went in MacOSX, I can code, browse, listen, watch, game all without issue.maybe the peformance is better in Ubuntu but I'm happy with my 2BG mac right now!
    – Trufa
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:33
  • 2
    Like I was saying I knew someone would come in with a more relevant answer. One thing I would say is that In my opinion if you learn how to use Inkscape, the gimp and similar you can be surprised at the results Just ask Doctor Mo head of Ubuntu artists at Deviant art.
    – Allan
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:37
  • Ok agreed but there is one: I will miss Photoshop although junauza.com/2010/02/how-to-install-adobe-photoshop-on.html
    – Trufa
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:47
  • 1
    You will miss Photoshop only if you are pro user. If you're not using Photoshop advance features, gimp will be enough. Also check Inkscape, Blender. Many news about ubuntu you can read at omgubuntu.co.uk. Welcome to the community!
    – danizmax
    Dec 7 '10 at 14:00
  • One can always multiboot if you need one or two OSX programs. For example, I keep OSX around solely for Lightroom and iTunes, since Apple decided no user-friendly program should ever be able to put music on a 4G iPod (/endRant). Anyway, Trufa, contrary to your experience, I've found OSX Snow Leopard to be really slow on my '08 4GB MacBook, but Ubuntu zips along. Again, that's just my experience.
    – weberc2
    Mar 9 '12 at 16:34

You will probably miss the comfort of having everything just ready to work and working. Mac OS is a perfect OS, it's beautiful and it just works. But you have to follow Apple's rules. Unlike with Ubuntu, you have to pay for most of the best software (although there are some open source or free alternatives for MacOS, too). Unlike Ubuntu, you can't choose your desktop environment. Ok, maybe you don't need to, the original one is quite nice. But it's a compromise between what Apple thinks you need and what you really need. Unlike with Ubuntu, where you can configure almost everything to your needs. You can even configure it to look like a Mac and behave almost like a Mac. And I'm sure you will not miss: - The need to buy a new OS each time a major upgrade occurs - The feeling of having an outdated hardware, Apple is an expert in making you feel that your two or five years old computer is garbage and you have to buy a new one to have the shinny new things that the shiny new cat has to offer. And we are talking about Apple's own hardware! A wonderful and powerfull computer like a last generation PowerMac G5 won't run Snow Leopard! But you can run perfectly the latest (11.10) Ubuntu on a 10 years old power pc properly upgraded with processor and memory.

So, there is not much to miss

Maybe some software which only runs in Mac's, like OmniOutliner.

I'm a big fan of Mac OS but, honestly, with the development and growth of Linux, especially Ubuntu, Mac OS is becoming a useless luxury.

  • 1
    Good answer. I'm an macosx lover and ubuntu too. I have the sa me opinion
    – Alessio
    Mar 9 '12 at 18:34

OK I will give a short answer as it is late and I fancy a Haiku

Somethings will not work out of the box. You will have to find a solution to get it to work. You will get a huge feeling of satisfaction that you got everything to work and you will now have a deeper understanding of the workings of your computer. You will feel like you are the master of your computer not it of you

Trufa San

So I'm not being completely serious but really MAC's are perfectly built machines running a perfectly built OS like getting a perfect scale model of Titanic pretty to look at but boring after a while Ubuntu and other linuxses are like a Lego kit for the Titanic or anything else your imagination can stretch to.

I'm sure others will be able to give you a more detailed explanation of the differences but I thought I give you the metaphysical perspective.

  • Nice one! Thanks Allan!! You can go Haihuing now! :)
    – Trufa
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:28
  • Confucius say zzzzzzzzzz
    – Allan
    Dec 6 '10 at 23:45

You will miss your digital photography apps.

I am actually considering switching to OS X because of that, and I love Ubuntu.


For me it was OSX Services, like the ability to spell check anywhere. Or how most text edit boxes have outline mode, system key bindings and the ability to accept the output of an any service.

  • Nice, one thing I love about mac I the ability to drag and drop everywhere, how does this work?
    – Trufa
    Dec 7 '10 at 16:52

I'm totally agree with other answers, but on ubuntu is very difficult to find software like imovie or finalcut. Oss video editing software are not the same. And multitouch experience isn't the same.

  • You can try Lives as an alternative. Or OpenShot. But Lives is better.
    – canhoto
    Aug 30 '12 at 23:11

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