Monthly Archives: October 2010

Mac or PC? There’s a third option: Linux

There are really 3 options: Mac, PC, or Linux

Good morning.  You’ve seen those PC/Mac ads.  Ask five friends and I’m sure you’ll get five different opinions on which operating system is best and why.  Today, I’ll propose a third option for you.

My college-aged daughter bought a bottom-of-the-line PC and one of her geeky roommates installed the Linux system in her PC.  the Linux system boasts one of the features that makes Mac famous … a sytem impervious to the barrage of viruses nerdy little demons send via the Internet to cripple and/or destroy operating systems.

Buying a PC and equipping it with the Linux OS  is the best of both worlds! You can be  protected from viruses, just as with a Mac, but without the higher initial investment that a Mac represents.  My daughter also uses a free download word processing program, Open Office, another bargain.  She admitted it was a bit of work, getting used to the different operating system, and she likes Open Office because it doesn’t assume things and automatically start a bulleted list, for example, like MS Office does.

So, she has the Linux-operated laptop and a PC desktop, best of both worlds.  She has had this system for over a year and laughs in the face of viruses and worms.

Because I don’t have access to a brainy computer person who could install Linux in a new PC, and because I don’t have a twenty-something mind that makes it easier to learn new things, and because Mac owners rave about the intuitive features, One-to-One classes and warranties, and free group lessons on a drop-in basis, it all became irresistible to me.

Have you gone to weddings and seen those terrific slide shows of the bride and groom from infancy to the present, and wished you could make slide shows like that?  Or seen great videos of Baby’s First Year, and wished you could make one for your grandchildren?  Or seen wonderful memory interviews with a beloved relative who shared their unique lives on video?  But who can afford a professional to do it? 

Five years ago I wanted to put up a YouTube video,  but struggling with my PC (a brand-new Gateway laptop at the time) and with my daughter’s PC (a new Dell at the time), I tried for several MONTHS and couldn’t do it.  (I was also not in a position to buy another new computer because I bought a new one just for that specific purpose, and was reassured the PC could do what I wanted it to do.)

By contrast, I have been a Mac owner for just seven days, and I created this video tour.  See at  The only one-to-one class I had was on the operating system.  No one helped me with this video.

Granted, there are some glitches — it was my very first effort, and I’ll use a tripod next time for steadier video, but to me, THIS is the difference between a PC and a Mac.  Not price (though as I mentioned, it took me YEARS to understand the economics of buying a lower-priced PC and spending hundrds of dollars on virus software and the inescapable trips to the computer hospital when viruses sneaked past that software.  Mac has user-intuitive features that enable, not challenge the user.

My CPA husband is a PC fan because he doesn’t need graphics, but in this world, who doesn’t want to work with photos and home videos?  If you make even limited use of photos and graphics, the Mac is a dream and worth the investment. 

But … if your budget is tight (and what writer’s budget isn’t), if you’re tired of viruses, computer crashing, paying hundreds in repairs, the PC with a Linux-operated system is what I would recommend.  I would contact my local college for a geek to install theLinux.  Or if you agree with the long-term economics, the Mac is great.  Please note:  I do not work and never have worked for Mac, nor does any relative or close friend of mine.  I’m just excited about its features.)

What’s *your* favorite computer system, and why?