Why I left Linux for an EoL Mac OS X machine

Posted on Tue 27 December 2022 in Tech

I don’t hide the fact that my main work system is a MacBook Pro running Mac OS X Snow Leopard, an operating system that was released in 2009, and made end-of-life back in 2014. I’ve had people either poke at me for using such an outdated OS, some telling me that I’m risking all of my data on such an insecure system, etc…

Here’s the thing: I’ve lost far less time and data using this outdated and insecure OS than I have with Windows 10 and modern Linux. The number of times Windows 10 has failed to update, or updated into not working, is astounding. And Linux? Well, it’s why I went back to Mac OS X in the first place. Let me tell you why.

See, back in June of this year (2022), my older 2009 MacBook (the white plastic kind) stopped working, and my attempt to fix it resulted in the whole thing frying itself. I mean, I expect that from any laptop, but it hurt because I did like using that MacBook. That lead to me putting Fedora on my Dell Latitude E6430, a Windows laptop that I had lying around, because I use a number of Unix tools.

And for a bit more context, this wasn’t my first time with Linux. In fact, I ran the OS for over a decade, before moving to the Mac after just giving the OS and hardware a shot. That moment helped me see through the dogma—and effectively propaganda—that I let the FOSS community feed me for years. I stopped drinking the religious sugar water, and started seeing that other OSes could actually be pretty good, even outside of the Free Software movement.

It was nice, not having to deal with the toxic comments and flame wars over every little aspect of running a system. It was nice to just have a system run, and not deal with it breaking hard and often. It was nice to just have something that worked, and worked well.

I only shifted away from Macs after I started gaming again, and even then, I couldn’t really deal with how buggy modern Linux tended to be.

So, fast forward back to June 2022, and my attempts to run Fedora gave me several weeks of hell. Every single update broke something, and more often than not, it would be the docking port that I used for the second battery. In a few updates, GRUB—the damned bootloader—would stop working, and I’d have to go in with a rescue disk and manually repair everything. In a couple of instances, I had to do a brand new installation, but I knew enough from the old days to keep my /home partition separate from the root.

I finally had enough, and in August, I hopped onto eBay and ordered a 15” 2008 MacBook Pro. The very one I’m writing this blog post on, in fact. And I haven’t looked back. I mean, I still run Linux on my VPS, and in a VM on my gaming rig, but for a daily driver OS? It just wasn’t made for me. I don’t have the patience or drive to deal with all of the problems, both from running it on bare metal, and from the community’s worst, to justify the mental health drain I was going through as a result.

I don’t need the latest and greatest software. I don’t need to be constantly connected to the internet. I don’t need to constantly use websites that only work on a single browser in a narrow timeframe.

For me,

  • Pages ‘09 works great as a word processor.
  • Photoshop CS3 works great as an image editor.
  • Limechat works great for IRC, which I use for many things.
  • Adium works great for XMPP, and a couple of other chat networks I have plugins for.
  • BBEdit and MacVIM work great as text editors.
  • XCode works great for what little programming I do.
  • iTunes works great for the music I listen to.
  • ArcticFox handles most sites that I really need, and when it doesn’t, I have fallbacks.
  • I have access to plenty of games, as well as a dedicated gaming rig.
  • Garageband ‘09 works just fine for my audio creation needs.
  • VLC plays most anything I want to watch, and even handles ModTracker files.

The list goes on. The point is, I’m happy using this older version of Mac OS. I don’t have to worry about dealing with all of the frustrations I had under modern Linux, allowing me to just focus on what I want to work on.

But what about upgrading to a more modern MacOS? Well, El Capitan is the latest this machine can officially run, and you can technically hack Mojave to run with a special patcher tool, but Snow Leopard has one thing later version don’t: Rosetta.

I can run software for PowerPC-based Mac OS X on Snow Leopard, even though I’m running it on an Intel-based Mac. That gives me access to not only a number of apps that are pretty good, but also a number of games that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to play. And for me, that benefit is worth being on an older OS.

Remember, your PC is your personal computer. Run it how you want to run it. Don’t let others pressure or bully you into doing things their way.