I’ve been a Microsoft Windows user for the most of my professional career. It all changed a year ago when I moved to Mountain View, California to participate in 500 Startups program, a summary of my experience in my blog post 15 things I learned from 500 Startups (aka Fail Factory).
People in Silicon Valley, especially developers and engineers, virtually all use Mac OS X or some flavor of Linux. But peer pressure wasn’t in itself enough for me to make a switch. After all those years I’d have amassed a set of tools and habits as well as assumptions about Mac OS X and Apple. Therefore I never owned any Apply device, even an iPod or iPhone, and thought of them as overpriced and limited gadgets. At that time we were using Ruby on Rails and I often stumbled upon some weirdness here and there within my setup. Very soon I’d discovered that Ruby on Rails just wasn’t meant to be run on Windows machines by design :-( The thing is that 37signals (company behind RoR) and other power contributors to Ruby on Rails are Apple users, as a consequence when they build a new gem or release a new version of core framework they do it for Mac OS X first. Then for Linux because the difference is minimal (Mac OS X is a Unix-based system, hence the X). A very few Ruby on Rails Windows enthusiasts are vastly outnumbered and that’s why it’s harder to find latest libraries, solutions and answers to specific questions (which there are many).
As always, the fear of a pain from switching is bigger than the pain itself. In a month or so I learned all the trackpad tricks, most of the shortcuts and installed the best developers tools (most of which are not free but they’re way better than free alternatives on Windows). Another great factor is a quality of the hardware: the keyboard, battery, charger (I have MacBook Air), etc. is superb! The look and feel of Mac OS X itself is not very different from some Linux distribution like Ubuntu but OS X has two huge advantages:
- All the drivers will work out of the box and with future OS updates; I often had discovered that either a microphone or a some other periferieal device is not working after installing Linux on my laptop;
- It has nice small but very convenient features.
A year after the switching I’ve sold all my Windows machines and I work, run errand and entertain myself solely on 13’’ MacBook Air. Recently I even was brave enough to install 240Gb Aura OWC SSD instead of a stock 128Gb SSD drive, it took an hour of cloning and 15 minutes of working with a tiny screwdriver :-)
So far Max OS X is a best tool for me and I highly recommend to make a switch if you’re still on Windows. The investment in Mac OS X machine has high ROI. It’s essential if you want to be an a bleeding edge of technology (Ruby on Rails, Node.js, etc.). As an added bonus, MacBook can simplify and organize your life better leading to a higher productivity, less stress (no worries about the brand, color, shape when the time for an upgrade comes, because I’ll just get the latest MacBook with the maximum everything) and a zen-like life :-)