Over 20 years ago, I was a managing editor for a company and was charged with building Linux content for the site. At some point during that gig, I was told that I had to use Microsoft Windows and a bevy of MS software.
Why? Call it pride, stubbornness, or just the knowledge that my operating system of choice (Linux) was not only far superior to anything Microsoft produced, but it made my life a lot easier and I never had to worry about viruses or the dreaded Blue Screen of Death.
They fought me on that issue until I was written up. Soon after that, my position was downsized, which turned out to be a blessing.
That whole affair also served to teach me a valuable lesson.
That I should have capitulated and just used Windows? No. The lesson was that the right tool for the right job is always the best route to go.
Since then, I’ve made it a point to always evaluate what I’m using to ensure it’s the best fit for the gig.
This manifested itself a second time about five years ago.
I was picked up by a publisher to write a book series. I’ve since been retained by that publisher and given free rein to write what I want. However, I very quickly discovered a serious problem when using LibreOffice to collaborate with my assigned editor. With 60k+ manuscripts, filled with comments and track changes, LibreOffice choked. Any time I would open a document with that application, it would come to a screeching halt and threaten to bring the operating system along for the bumpy ride.
I had to do something.
I tried to convince my editor to use Google Docs, but she refused because Word had been her tool of the trade for years.
It wasn’t my place to educate her or change her mind. My place was to get the job done.
Enter Apple Pages. With Apple’s office suite, those manuscripts didn’t bring the system down. In fact, I very quickly found Pages to be more than capable of handling the job.
And so, I added MacOS and Apple Pages into my workflow. But that was the only reason I was using MacOS.
Until I discovered Final Cut Pro.
You see, I was creating all of my videos with OpenShot on Linux and the results were, sadly, not good. Since I already owned a MacBook Pro, I decided I’d take Final Cut Pro for a trial.
I was an instant convert.
Fast forward to now and here are the operating systems I use and their purpose:
- MacOS – book and video edits
- Linux – writing, graphic design, general web browsing, email, audio editing, graphic design, general usage
- Android – mobile
Linux will always be my default OS because it’s exponentially more flexible than any other OS, reliable, secure, and free. MacOS will most likely always be my go-to OS editing platform because it serves that purpose to perfection. Android is like the Linux of mobile operating systems, so it fits in with my modus operandi.
This is a lesson that most people could use. I cannot tell you how many people I know who struggle to get their operating system of choice to behave and function how they want. I know writers who have lost significant work because, out of the blue, Windows decided to restart for an update. I know Linux users who struggle to get professional-looking videos edited together with open-source tools. I know MacOS users who’d be better off not having to do everything Apple’s way.
Not every operating system is a good match for every task, workflow — or even every personality. If you find yourself constantly struggling to get something done, the problem might very well be the operating system you’ve chosen. Even though most people spend the majority of their time within the confines of a web browser, the operating system they are running plays a very big role in how well that browser functions.
If you find yourself in a constant battle with your computer, I would highly recommend you ask yourself what you want out of that operating system. Once you have the answer, you can prescribe the right OS to solve what ails you.
Here are my recommendations:
- Linux – for those who want the most reliable, secure, and flexible operating system
- MacOS – for those who need to work with multi-media
- Windows – for those who require Windows-only software
Also, consider that you don’t have to stick with just one OS. And if you have only one computer, consider adding a virtualization platform (such as VirtualBox or Parallels) into the mix. If you use a MacBook Pro or iMac, you can add Linux or Windows as a virtual machine and work with both. My mix-and-match approach has paid off such that I never have problems getting my work done, being entertained, and staying connected.
The right tool for the task is a great way to approach your digital life. I’ve been doing it for years and can attest it has made everything easier, more repeatable, and removed considerable stress from my life.