At the very beginning, I would like to tell you that there’s no “better OS”; instead, it will depend on how a user uses it or the purpose of using it. Every OS, either Linux vs. Mac OS vs. Windows OS, has its overriding factors considering the various usages of categories.
If you want a system that is open source in nature, then I suggest you use Linux as it comes with free and lots of open source software. But for the office environment, you better go with Windows OS as it provides enterprise-level office suite software.
On the other hand, Mac OS is suitable for high-end media or graphics tasking like Web-Design, UX & UI Design, Product Design, Sound Editing, Image Editing, etc.
Linux vs. Mac OS: Things To Consider
Before going into the details of the Linux vs. Mac OS article, I suggest you check out my previous article on Linux or Windows, Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu, and Debian vs. Ubuntu. This set of comparison articles will let you know various information about Linux and its various popular distros and what makes Linux or Windows better in their specific sectors.
In this article, I will show you the best 20 reasons that help you to choose the perfect working system between Linux and Mac OS. Out of these 20 considerations, you may find some are only providing general information, and some give a comparison in between.
I hope, as a combined process, you will get the necessary information that ultimately takes you to the right path for selecting the best OS. So sit tight, and let’s move with the roller coaster.
1. Basic Foundation: Into the Core
If I want to compare Linux with Mac OS, then firstly, Linux itself needs to be clarified a bit. Linux is not an OS, instead of a complete kernel which is the foundation core for all the Linux distros out there.
Many companies in the market make various Linux OS combining all the software, desktop environment, drivers, and the core kernel. So Linux kernel is developed and maintained by the Linux Foundation, but many volunteers and companies make distros. No single entity has a complete grip on Linux.
On the other hand, Mac OS is solely developed and maintained by Apple engineers. That means one company is developing the whole system, including the kernel, desktop environment, and much of the default software. Mac OS is based on a different architecture – NeXTSTEP, a Unix system.
2. System Stability and Performance
Linux and Mac OS are both quite stable for performing regular task. Apple backs Mac OS, so it has a well-integrated system update process that ensures sound system stability and high performance.
Linux distros come with various desktop environments depending on users’ needs and demands. If you have the latest high-end machine, Ubuntu or Linux Mint can be your best choice. Otherwise, use any lightweight Linux distro like Lubuntu or PepperMint for your age-old desktop or laptop. Although heavy resources demand systems or lightweight distros, Linux ensures solid system stability and the best device performance.
3. Mac OS X vs Linux: Hardware Support
Both the system, Linux and Mac OS, shine in this sector. Mac OS is only used in Apple-made hardware. Thus it provides a stable and well-integrated hardware-software combination for the highest performance.
Linux has a wide range of software for driver support. Though previously, it was a problem that Linux could not provide; oh no, instead, I should say, the hardware developer didn’t offer driver compatibility support for its hardware in the Linux system.
But now the time has changed. Linux is one of the widely used OS in both desktop and server machines. Now all the major vendors provide hardware-compatible drivers for Linux distros as soon as it gets for other systems like Mac OS or Windows OS.
4. Linux vs. Mac: Target User Group
If you can master a lot of money and want a system ready to go, I prefer Mac OS. This system will give you a fantastic and polished desktop environment with a robust performance. Mac OS is an excellent choice for beginner users and advanced users who want to do some high-end sound or video editing tasks and graphics designing.
Linux has both the users’ groups targeted. If you are new to the Linux world, go for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or Elementary OS, but choose Arch Linux or Kali if you want an advanced or customized task-oriented environment. Moreover, a Terminal or command-line interface is an advanced tool for performing any tech-savvy level job.
5. Mac OS X vs Linux: F.O.S.S vs. Proprietary
Linux is a hub of free and open source software. There are thousands of applications available in the market, which are quite useful alternatives to any paid business suites or applications.
Buying a Mac OS-powered Apple machine or software costs you much money. Apple indeed provides some high-end, sophisticated software, but you must be ready to release a penny for either their software or services.
6. Linux vs. Mac: Security and Privacy
Security and privacy is the key factor for the Linux system. That’s why it has gained immense popularity among IT professionals. It isn’t easy to create any backdoor in the Linux kernel system, and it also ensures that it doesn’t track any digital footprint of the users.
On the other hand, Mac OS is a nicely organized walled garden for the users created by Apple. Most of Apple’s software keeps track of its user’s movements to sell the product better to its customer. Moreover, as Mac OS is a closed source, we don’t know how Apple uses the users’ data or to whom the company sells it.
7. OSX vs. Linux: Antivirus and Malware Threat
In the case of Windows OS, I can confidently say that it’s the hub of malware and online threats. But for Mac OS, it’s not like that. Apple always provides stable security patches whenever any security holes or breaches are reported.
Though Linux provides a robust system, it’s not immune to malware or online threats. Linux has many community bases to help you out anytime, anywhere security breaches happen.
8. Linux vs. Mac OS: Customization
Like Windows OS, you can’t do any effective customization in Mac OS. Everything comes pre-defined by the company, and you can hardly make the system as you wish.
In the case of a Linux system, you will have jaw-dropping customization options for whatever you feel like doing. It offers both a GUI or command-line interface for basic and advanced customization accordingly.
9. Administrative Privilege and Root Access
By default, Linux doesn’t provide any administrative or root access, meaning that viruses or malware can damage the system files at the initial go, except for users’ common data. But on Windows and Mac OS, it provides administrative and root access from the beginning, which makes the system more vulnerable to malware and virus.
10. Programming Platform for Developers
Mac OS is an excellent choice for creating a development environment of sound, movie, graphics design, or web design elements. But if you are a programmer or intend to do programming, then the best choice will be adopting a Linux system. There are thousands of code editors, text editors, IDEs, and programming languages only created with kept Linux environment in mind.
11. OSX vs. Linux: Install, Update, and Upgrade
Apple is the only vendor that provides all the system updates, and the Mac system has its system-integrated app store, which makes it effortless to get the required updates. Mac users hardly need any tech knowledge to update the system and software.
On the other hand, Linux was known as a bit complicated system and best for tech-savvy people. But now the time has changed. Many distros are available in the market, like Ubuntu, ZorinOS, Linux Mint, Elementary OS, and Peppermint, which have made their footprints in the OS world as a simple system like Windows or Mac OS. Linux distros provide easy steps to install the system, and it has a well-integrated repository system for updating installed applications.
12. Linux vs. Mac: Different Flavors for Different Needs
Linux remains a thousand miles ahead in this sector. There are hundreds of Linux desktop environments available depending on users’ needs and system configuration. Moreover, Windows Mac OS-like distros like ZorinOS and Elementary OS are available for those who want a smooth transition from their previous OS. You can also change the whole system by adding various Themes and Icons.
13. Linux vs. Mac OS: Gaming Area
Like Windows, Mac OS is a preferred system for developing the latest and trending games. You get all the games on the Mac system. Linux had a bad reputation in this sector. But now, it has gained momentum regarding getting priority in games development and hardware support for the highest gaming performance.
14. OSX vs. Linux: Photoshop, Office Suite, and Media Editor
Photoshop applications, business office suites, and high-end media editors are the main “de facto” of why users use Mac OS. It provides high-end performance for sound editing, photo editing, video editing, etc.
In the case of Linux, It doesn’t support MS Office suite or Adobe Photoshop, but there are lots of alternatives available for that business software. You can use LibreOffice as a Microsoft Office alternative and GIMP or Darktable as a Photoshop alternative.
15. Linux vs. Mac OS: Task Automation
As Linux provides more administrative and root-level access than Mac OS, thus it remains ahead of doing task automation through a command-line interface than that of the Mac system. Most IT professionals prefer to use Linux in their working environment than Mac OS.
Linux vs. Mac OS: Which One is Best for You?
Mac OS is far more secure and reliable than that running a Windows system. But it’s not impossible to hack or attack the Mac system, but as it’s based on the Unix platform, it provides a secure sandbox environment where the threats or malware can’t get access to the core files and do massive damage.
A Linux system, it’s more reliable and secure than Windows and Mac OS. That’s why, around the world, starting from beginners to IT experts make their choices to use Linux than any other system. And in the server and supercomputer sector, Linux has become the first choice and dominant platform for most users.
So if you are a user who likes to have an aristocratic and robust look and feel, and wants an environment of doing high-end sound, media, photo, and graphics design tasking, then I recommend using Mac OS. But remember, It will cost you a lot of money at the beginning and throughout the life cycle. It will provide you with a system that you can use without much tech customization and hassle.
On the other hand, If you are an open source lover like me, then obviously go for Linux. It will give you a free environment to make the system as you like or need. You have all the software that comes free of cost. And also can do both personal and business tasks effectively.
The Last Word
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