Win, Mac, Linux - none seem to really fit.

So, let me whine some. :slight_smile:

A little background: I’ve been using Windows since around 1992 (I came from Atari STs and couldn’t afford a Mac back then, and PCs were better for my job situation at the time). Seven or eight years ago I used Linux for a year or so, before going back to Windows. Had loved the freedom and the tinkering, but I only liked ArchLinux and other bleeding edge distros, not the boring stuff that Ubuntu is, and so I spent an awful lot of time on tweaking and babying my computer. Real time sink.

So, I’m a bit bored of Windows and would like a change. Something that’s fresh to me. I also can’t say I like the direction where Microsoft is taking Windows. I don’t want to have to buy the Pro or Enterprise version just so I have minimal control over when my computer downloads and installs updates. I also foresee a subscription model for Windows, which, if it happened, would be the end of my Windows usage anyway.

That leaves me with two alternatives: A Mac or Linux.

I always wanted a Mac ever since my Atari days, but I worked in the gaming industry for some time and Macs really weren’t a good choice (still working in that field, but just social gaming now so I’m fine with a web browser!). So a Mac is an option now, but the largest display for the MacBook Pro is 15.3" since Apple discontinued the 17.3" model.

That sucks right there because 15" seems awfully small to me (I’m used to 17" displays). I use my laptop a lot like I would a desktop, but I like that it IS portable when it needs to be portable. I also like the smaller footprint (favoring a more minimalist lifestyle in recent years). I guess I could do something like an iMac or Mac Mini or whatever, and a large monitor, but I strongly prefer a laptop. (I’ll say that I also find the MacBook Pro prices for the i7 systems somewhat obscene. I guess I could downsize a bit and make do with 256 GB SSD instead of 512 or a TB.)

Well, chances are I’d be happier with OSX (I keep typing MacOS) than with Windows, but Apple is of course also big on the whole dumbing down thing. I don’t mind too much (it has a good shell!), and it also ties in well with the iPad. But yes, the 15.3" display (and the rather high prices for something juicy) feels like a major compromise to me, and I’m not sure I’d not regret that. (Those retina displays are damn sexy, though.)

Then there is Linux. Linux’s philosophy of openness resonates the best with me (yeah, never outgrew that rebel phase, I guess!), and I love the idea of actually having full control over my computer and an insight how it all works. Driver support sucks for Linux, but I’m not using any external hardware that’s really exotic, so that works too.

But there are a ton of compromises I’d need to make. While most of the software I use exists for Windows and OSX, but not for Linux. I don’t want to relay heavily on Wine (always felt it’s silly to go with Linux and then use mostly Windows software). There are workarounds for most things, but in plenty of cases it basically means settle for something that is worse than what I could use on Windows or Linux. Half-assed, is the word that comes to mind.

A rather big concern is video streaming. I stream audio and video from my laptop to my iPad, and there are great apps with Windows/OSX server components available for that. Needless to say, there are none for Linux that I know of. I like the iPad, and may get an iPad Pro, so that aspect is important. And right, there’s no iTunes (piece of crap, but necessary when using an iPad avidly) for Linux. Then there’s audio stuff – Linux is the by far worst choice for that, if I want to use plugins.

So, basically, all three options seem to suck in one way or another.

Reading over this (yes, it’s therapeutic to write it all down!), I guess the “objectively” best option is to somehow deal with my concerns and stick with Windows, or, if I switch platforms, get used to a 15.3" display (and stop chasing for top specs that I don’t even need). First world problem, I know.

At least Renoise will work no matter what. Love Renoise!

I call it “analysis paralysis” and done it often enough myself. :slight_smile:

One alternative, an inexpensive 15" Chromebook like or similar, and dual boot ChromeOS and Linux using Crouton:

Everything is a compromise, but if you’re looking for something “fresh”, well, it’s a workable choice.


Driver support in linux has come a long way in recent times. I guess it really depends on what you need and use in your current OS but for the majority of cases I don’t feel like I am compromising or settling for less with the software I choose, quite the opposite in fact. You could list some stuff you use, maybe there are alternatives around now that you weren’t aware of.

The video streaming - I don’t do that so not sure but I seriously doubt there is nothing to do it, there are a few things to do it with audio so I don’t see why not video.

No itunes - if you just need to sync ipods then some types work with various media players.

For plugins, there are a lot of great quality plugins around for linux. If you really have to use windows vsts then it’s not a problem most of the time, programs like Airwave allow windows plugins to be recognized by hosts as linux vsts so they appear and run as if they were native.

Sounds like you’re quite locked in to apple though.

First world problem


IMO when you’re talking about audio production, OS X is the best option available and Windows is slightly worse but very solid as well (Linux is pretty horrible in that regard). I don’t really get the whole point about 15" display being too small. You don’t really want it to be bigger than that because laptop hardly will be portable. Just connect external display of desirable size when you’re at home.

All in all, you’re overdramatazing.

Games on Mac and Linux both have also come a long way, thanks to steam. I recently switched to mac due to my relatively extensive background in linux (i’m an admin by day), and I gotta say, I’m loving it. Yes, I’m still ‘adjusting’ to the things that Apple makes you do, but I’m getting along. Why are you only considering laptops though? For what you’re doing, sounds like a mac mini or one of those all-in-one 27" behemoths might spark your fancy.

Personally, I’m extra stoked with my loaded-out 2013 13" macbook pro with external monitors.