Armand Grandinetti

A sweetened Schrödinger blog

Windows Macos and Linux. Differences and similarities.

Windows Macos and Linux.  Differences and similarities.
Friday 28 October 2022

I understand that every person have his own feelings on how an OS should look, feel and work.
at the moment we have three operative systems and one of them is not "a whole" not even if you think on it as a single OS because there are several systems using the same kernel/core. I will stop the tech jibba jabba and get into.. more tech jibba jabba so keep with me and read this one!


Windows is our first entry on this list and the system that I use along with Debian. Is not just "the most widely used OS" or "An industry standart"
As a matter of fact and in spite of weird nerdy jokes it I have it running on a workstation as well as I have Debian running on another.
Let me explain: I have a wall mounted PC (I made all the Pinterest like stuff...) running windows 11 on my studio as well as a another workstation on a Corsair mid tower running Debian testing

Both of them make different things for me. As an example: The modest 4gb GTX 1050TI, packs 16Gb RAM and an eight core AMD FX that performs flawlessly. And yes I bypassed the TPM.
This windows PC, is extremely useful for me when I require to render a video as image stills and process frame by frame in Photoshop. Thera is nothing like PS to do that. It makes it easier and saves a lot of time.
I consider that debian (and every other distro) is extremely immature in matter of vector graphics so Adobe pops up again here with Illustrator.
If I need to make EXTREMELY complex texture and UV sets for some models, I can handle it with Debian and Macos too but the winner is windows. Again; It saves a lot of time which is money. Righ?

I can be here writing all day about what windows can offer for a better experience but I‘ll just resume it to this: I understand that the UX is not perefect but I believe that Microsoft will handle that on future updates. And clearly, the new system guest is a lot of bloatware and being logged to the system the whole time is.. well.. it sucks.

Easy solution: Write your serial number with pen and paper (or your phone?) and enter it when the system ask for when the install process runs. Then, just use an offline account and you can say bye to bloatware, Ads ID and many, many more mobile like unwanted crap.

Focusing again on what it offers. Is the most compatible and user friendly system out there. Righ.. Macos. We‘ll get to that.
Windows, at my criteria, needs another filesystem. NTFS is outdated and can cause data loss even if it‘s unlikely to happen you don‘t want that with a one year project. Right?
Microsoft actually have an updated version of the now veteran NTFS system but it‘s only available with the workstation edition of windows and I‘m not willing to pay almost 3 times a windows home and a few extra bucks over the pro version for that. So I‘m sticking to my pro version now.

The new UI/UX has a few issues with legibility. That pops up to the eye even more in the light mode if you take a look to the taskbar. Oh my. oh my.. The font is as small as the ugly part of your rent contract...

But I have no further complains. As I said, is a fine OS and it haves everything people may need to start smooth and develop, draw, study and create.
The dark mode and the stained glass look reminds me the beauty of Windows Vista (A terribly underrated windows version if you ask me.) and that‘s awesome.

Concluding: You have it all there. Easy of use, compatibility, NASA like command line "issues" free, friendly and with all major software companies there.


Oh.. Here comes the long talk. Right? NO. I‘m going to explain this the most understandable way possible:

Linux = The system kernel. Is just like NT on windows or Darwin on Mac.
GNU = All the system soft with or without a GUI (AKA: Visual interface)

That said Now you know that basic yet extremely important part of this system. The core itself, is compiled with a lot of open source software.
For instance: GNU fdisk is the Linux main command line utility to check disks integrity, create partitions and more. You have the same on windows and it runs on command line too. Either the classic CMD (command prompt) or power shell. Maybe is not the best example since fdisk is available for windows too but of course, is not GNU.
The huge difference is that windows packs all that soft with the system core while Linux depends on third party developers to pack all the command line utilities since each needs to be build (compiled) for the system that you are going to install.

But Armand, is all Linux? All the kernels are the same? Short answer: No.
Another example; Debian is in fact a set of programs and firmware (drivers) compiled to extend the base functions of the kernel. Therefore, here comes the first difference and the first fact that can be an unlimited source of annoyance for a lot of people.

You don‘t have drivers for all your hardware components unless the hard manufacturer chooses to distribute Linux drivers either in the form of open source of privative. Note that If it haves copyright and the source code is not available is privative.
That can be a shoot straight to the feet to a person who just wants a hassle free experience if they don‘t know what hard is compatible with their GNU/Linux system.
The reason why, is that every distribution (let‘s call them systems, because they are that.) will only include on their software repositories the open source GNU variant (if any) of the driver/firmware you are looking for.

As each GNU/Linux distribution has his own kernel version. The Linux kernel from Debian, is not the same that you have in Fedora. The difference is not just the release version of the system kernel, but the way it was compiled, which drivers are included out of the box, and also the GNU utilities and soft that are available for the user.

As I said before, it would be misleading to say "All distributions can run the same software" because each one is empirically a different OS.
Are you saying that Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora are not GNU/Linux?? Yes and no.
Yes. They use GNU and the Linux kernel. But they MUST be considered different OS‘s. If you just plan to change your distribution and run the same software you are going to have a bad time.

In clear:

Every GNU/Linux "distribution" is a different OS with different versions of system libraries required to run programs and the sot that they include on they repositories is compiled to run on THAT operative system and will probably crash on another Linux OS.

Instead of using soft packaged in one container (call it exe or dmg) Linux uses repositories. A repository is (as the name depicts) plain and simply a remote server that contain all software packages.

Another shotgun shooting the non advanced user feet. If I‘m saying this is because unless you use some formats that contain the software and all it‘s "dependencies" contained such as an appimage (Comparable to a portable program) you will never be able to keep certain programs as a simple exe file to use it on another system version or install it with ease again in case of chaos. Instead you can install the soft again from the software repositories.

This is always something that will make me nervous and complain. What happens if you are working on a music recording project and you can‘t open the session because.. well because the software version changed or is not there anymore for whatever reason you can imagine??
I consider that the vast majority of GNU/Linux OS‘s users on the web are toxic Either by themselves or in "community forums".
Warning: Some of them believe that they are superior beings because.. well because they use such an advanced system. So be warned. You can get two kind of replies on a forum if you need help. "Sure, just copy and paste this on your terminal" or "That is so basic that makes me cry. Google it. Your question hurts my brain" The Linux community is toxic as hell.

The software itself can‘t be saved and used on a later or prior version. It runs on THAT system version. Sometimes it can work. But I repeat: Sometimes.

In order to address the aforementioned issue, the only solution is to own a full copy of the repositories. This allows you to generate a local copy of them and use them offline. Thus avoiding disasters with long-term projects. There is a problem though: Not all GNU/Linux operating systems offer this option. One of the main reasons why I use debian lies in the fact that despite its megalithic size it is possible to download the entire system. In fact, each version can be downloaded with the entire software. This is the download method that can generate less chaos and disasters if your PC is a workstation and you need to have the same software for long projects or that need to be archived, for example, the tracks of a song and the DAW with which they were recorded and edited. .
The point is that the download of the complete system consists of no more and no less than 3 to 4 Blurays, reaching the modest weight of about 80GB.
Ouch. A little bit too much isn‘t?
Explaining why things work this way requires a long (perhaps very long) explanation. It could be better, but to achieve that improvement it is necessary to abandon ancestral paradigms and ideologies about how to deal with GPL-licensed software, among other things.

As far as I know, you can only get the entire system if you use Debian. But don‘t forget. Get ready to download 80GB if you need to keep the system static in case of need of reusing it for whatsoever reason.

Oh my. That was Long.

The complexity of GNU/Linux systems comes when you have to think on this "small details" such as being a filmmaker with the obvious need of keeping your project intact on a hard drive and be able to re-edit it later. The software ecosystem itself makes an odyssey of that task. So if you are a pro with a workstation, you might think that I‘m a fruitcake doing such a megalithic task to work. Everyone has his methods and luckily I have Windows around if I‘m in doubt about how things may end in some cases.

Leaving that aside, Debian is an awesome, stable, and rock solid OS even for workstations ans content creators. But it requires a learning curve that not everyone will see as a reasonable idea.
The filesystem is not an issue. Debian is able to use a lot of formats. EXT3 and 4, BTRFS, JFS, XFS... All of them are Macos-like journaled filesystems that should not be a concern because they are not likely to cause data loss.

You also have a lot of software to pick. In most cases, a lot more that anyone could ever use. That‘s an awesome thing and it has a lot of advantages.

The same goes for the partitions. Having your "home" folder on a different partition guarantees that you will be able tom recover it even if you loose, wipe or destroy your system partition. That will allow you to save everything that you have been doing from doom but again, is not for everyone.

No need to talk about the cosmetic look. Both Gnome and KDE (the main Linux desktop environments) can be tweaked, themed and modified. Is easy to have an eye-candy desktop.
The bright side, is that the LTS Debian versions have support for over 4 to 7 years. "support" means that it will remain with security updates, and in spite of the software not being updated that can be fixed using other soft sources.

Conclusion: GNU/Linux is complex and it will always be unless the people behind the different OS‘s (Call it Fedora, Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu..) change the bronze age idea of the repositories, shared libraries and the nightmare of an 80gb Download to work in peace if you are a pro. Is a fine software packed system but needs a change and some people can and will feel obfuscated by some weird laboratory lefty ideas floating around all the GNU soft and developers.
Is not for everyone but antagonistically it suits best for the everyday PC user and system admins than for professionals, artists, designers, and many more professionals in front of their PC‘s.

The Mac.

I don‘t have a lot to say about MacOs. Is not far away from Windows. Is a system with an unmatched stability and ease of use. I feel that looks more like a piece of jewelry than like a PC for a several reasons but that is not the point here.

A Mac, is different from Windows but shares a lot of features with it. The Linux situation and complexity with software is far far away from a Mac. So you can work without fear..
The APFS filesystem just works and is far better than the old NTFS that Microsoft offers on most Windows variants.

The desktop is not for everyone. It cab get really annoying if you are a Windows user. Easy to get used to it yet annoying. Consider that you can order files in a folder since... MacOS Mojave? (wow. A bit jurassic for my taste as a new feature)

The software management is really practical but cleaning files that software left behind once uninstalled not that much.

You have a wide arrangement of soft to pick from. The main con is that is price might be hell in some cases and is overrated if we compare with other solutions that you can get on Windows.

The overall experience is smooth and visually pleasing (at least so far) but is weird how people didn‘t notice that the look of the system is almost vintage. Today‘s dock has a huge resemblance with the one before the 3D super hyper brushed metal... You know. It looks like the ancient dock from versions prior to OSX. You can ask me not to look at design as the main feature, but it‘s not possible as Apple seems to be stubbornly hell-bent on design instead of greater functionality. Or in any case, the design is usually above.

Updates? They will roll periodically if they are available. Not in the same way that windows update does. Similar but not the same. Apple‘s combo updates and general security updates are just a few clicks and you are ready to go.

Is a fine Os with optimal resource usage. It looks pretty too! but.. Again, is not for everyone (less of all for all pockets.) but works fine and is a hassle free system based on UNIX/BSD which makes it stable and reliable. Still, looks like a baby‘s toy for an average Windows user.

I would not consider the fact of the ominous bible like long terms that you have to accept just to be able to use a Mac. That is not nice at all. Even Microsoft let‘s you use an offline account and that‘s it if you don‘t want to stay logged.

In that case scenario, a Mac is the opposite of Steve Job‘s 80‘s advertising. like "1984". wow... Let me see. I have to login to use a Mac... No further explanations needed. is a mix between Baudrillard‘s and Orwell‘s nightmares.

I have my concerns (ethics.) about a company that refuses to give to the authorities access to a criminal‘s Iphone seems obscure enough for me and I have my serious doubts about what are they doing with machine learning on computer and phones. Surely it must be written in one of the pages licence agreement.

A Mac may offer a lot of fancy stuff but it‘s position far below Windows and in a similar place than Linux has a reason why. Again: Is not for everyone. I enjoy using a Mac but it can get me bored with a lot of come and go just to look for an app. Personal choice.

Why I‘m not talking a lot about a Mac? Because there‘s nothing super fancy to say about it. I understand that we have sites writing about "The huge amount of new stuff on MacOs" (you choose the name. How about "sitting elephant"?) when the truth is that the huge amount is usually no more than a few things that an app already does.

Another aspect if you like to do useful stuff: You may want Windows or linux if you need a proxy server for your home/work/office, a well configured and secure HTTP server to have a local cloud on your house and more.

A Mac is not a reliable computer at my taste if you want to do some tech savvy stuff that nowadays can be done with a tutorial and patience bringing awesome things like your music and movies library in all your devices made by you, for your home. Even a Raspberry Py can do that better.

The main pro of a Mac is the ease of use, the fancy looking aluminium (now Ikea-like looking steel?) and the low power consumption. In that aspect, a Mac is an absolute winner in cost per watt for a plain home computer.

There ya‘ go!!! my fingers are numb but i wanted to write about the entire circuit pie here.

Have an awesome day/night and thanks for reading!

Armand Grandinetti
Hi 👋. My name is Armand. I'm happy surfing digital existence as it evolves ☕
I like to be in control of my life -as far as I can 👻- and live strong 💪.
change and evolution believer. I live life changes and the wide everyday learning in peace with my mind.
I'm positive about life even when it gets rough. Music, tech and art junkie 🎧 🎮 🎨

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