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Leaving Apple for Linux

Tux PhonepaperCreative Commons License mlabowicz via Compfight

When I got my new Dell laptop and put Ubuntu on it, I was doing more than just setting up a new laptop. I was defecting from the most popular creative arts platform for one that is mostly known for being a geek’s dream. Apple’s marketing machine has always catered to the rich and to the creative. So it’s not surprising that some of the best creative arts tools are only available on the Mac. But times are changing.

More and more creatives are realizing that Apple may not be as shinny as they first appeared. For me it was definitely about the shinny at first. I was attracted to the polished white plastic lines of the MacBook. It’s no myth that Apple makes beautiful products. But over time, the shinny wears off and you start to realize that no matter when you buy a new shinny product, it is always a few months away from being obsolete. I’m not rich enough or vane enough to keep up with that treadmill.

After six years of mostly loyal use, I retired the MacBook when it began to physically fall apart and was no longer supported by Apple. In this business, six years is a lifetime. So you know the product was well built to have lasted that long.

Forced with looking around for my next laptop, I considered a new MacBook. After all, they now make the most awesome laptop ever invented – the Air. It would have been so easy to just get the Air and carry on with my writing. Then I started to look at what reasons were keeping me on the Mac platform. I-tunes? Nope, never use it. I-Bookstore? Nope, never use it. Mac apps? Nope, never use them. I-Phone? Nope, don’t have one. So exactly why was I still on a Mac? Scrivener.

The one totally awesome creative tool that was keeping me on the Mac was a program not made by Apple. Huh. Could I get Scrivener for Windows? Yes. Could I get Scrivener for Linux? Not really, but kinda maybe someday. That’s when it started to be clear to me that I didn’t really need to get an Air. I mean one program does not a loyal customer make. I don’t need Scrivener to write novels. Does it make things easier for that task? Yes, it sure does. But there were other programs that made writing easier out there, I didn’t have to run with the cool kids and only use Scrivener.

Then I found a program that worked on all platforms and was being built from the ground up for writers, just like Scrivener had been. I was one of the early adopters of Scrivener. But the programmer never offered to let me help him make it better. It was not an Open Source project after all. The program that I found is called Plume Creator and I’ve been asked to help the developer make it better by testing it and reporting bugs and offering suggestions for improving it. In other words, Plume Creator was an Open Source project.

So I had a decision to make. Was I going to continue to live in a walled garden where the only application I truly used was not open source or was I going to return to my Linux roots and be a force of positive change? Easy decision. I went back to Linux.

It’s not just one unknown writer turning away from Apple products and moving to Linux. There are other writers and film makers, musicians and artists making the same move every day. You may not hear about them in the news, but they are there. Most of us are moving so that we can have the freedom to build our own tools and be creative bad-asses on a platform that doesn’t shut us out or fence us in.

Join us. If you dare.

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