So Long Apple, Hello Ubuntu Studio

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Technology

Thinking of leaving Apple computers behind…again.  Won’t be going to Windows (shudder).  Planning on giving Ubuntu another go.  Here’s why.

Why I’m Leaving Apple

Short answer: They’ve alienated me.

Here’s the long answer:
Once again I am considering moving away from Apple computers.  The reasoning this time has much to do with Apple’s recent announcement to move everything to a cloud.  This might work great for those who use only Apple products (iPad, iPhone, etc.).  I don’t have an iPhone and am not really interested in getting one.  When Apple “upgraded” its calendar to the cloud computing model it totally screwed up my calendar, broke the sync with my blackberry and became a general headache.  I had to retrograde my iCal to get things to work.  The problem will only be compounded when Apple discontinues their MobileMe service (to which I currently subscribe) in favor of their cloud.  As far as I can tell, this will mean Mac users will be forced to switch to the iPad and iPhone in order to sync their personal data with their mobile devices.  This is one customer who’s not taking the bate.

Why Not Windows

Short answer: It doesn’t work.

Here’s the long answer:
Today I had the displeasure of spending a great deal of my day on a Windows machine.   After several hours of tinkering I still could not get the machine to do what it was supposed to do (correct display of video files, etc.).  I used to be a rather die-hard Windows person.  I once mocked Apple users…until I actually started using an OS X machine.  I began to admire the Apple development model as for what they refused to add as well as for the aesthetic.  What really sold me was their ease of use and maintenance.  Today I was reminded of how user unfriendly Windows can be.

I just don’t see why people pay money for something wich needs constant maintenance and attention.  If I’m going to work that hard to get a machine to do what I want, I sure as spit won’t pay for it.

Enter Linux.

What I’m Switching To

Short answer: Linux

Long answer:
Before I made the personal switch to Apple, I left Windows in favor of Linux.  I used several different distros of  Linux, starting with Red Hat, then Fedora, PC Linux OS, Xandros and finaly Ubuntu.  Then I was gifted with an iMac and later a MacBook.  Now that Apple has pushed me away it’s time to get reacquainted with Linux.

Well, not really reacquainted.  Several months ago when Windows finally pushed my wife over the brink she asked me to install Linux on her desktop.  Ubuntu came up the winner.  We’ve been successfully using that as our home computer ever since.  Now that I’m looking at making the switch back I naturally took a look at Ubuntu.

Now, I’ve actually been wrestling with the idea of moving away from Apple for a couple months now.  It’s been an internal wrestling match.  The primary reason I have not taken the plunge as yet was my use of audio and video software.  I use my MacBook to publish documents, make audio recordings, produce video and create slick graphic presentations.  Can I really do that with a Linux distro?

Enter Ubuntu Studio.   An OpenSource creative suite?  I think I just fell in love.  Do I expect flawless performance?  Nope.  But keep in mind, I’m not paying money.  I’m willing to endure the learning curve and put a little sweat equity into this.

So, tarar har!  Off we go.

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Comments
  1. mglimpse says:

    The move to Linux is a great choice in my opinion. I have been using Linux for about 4 years now and I have tried several different flavors. I to used Ubuntu Studio for audio and video editing but felt the Studio version was a little heavy on the system. I have since gone with a Alternate install of Linux Ubuntu. With an alternate install you can pick and choose the apps you want and leave out some of the bloat. A lot of people are under the impression that Linux is too hard to learn and does not have all the apps of other popular OS, ie Microsoft, Apple. Not true. You can do everything on Linux that you can do on any other OS. Also the other reason Linux beats the others is security. The chances of having malware or some other virus attack your system is basically 0. My only complaint about Linux is the latest release Natty Narwahl. The GUI is poorly designed in my opinion and the decision by Mark Shuttleworth to basically tell you have no choice but to use the new desktop Natty I feel goes against the whole philosophy of Linux, Linux has always been about the user having a choice on how his system looks and runs. To go away from that may cause Linux to lose some new users.
    Again stick with Linux get by the learning curve and you will not be disappointed.

    • Iain Wood says:

      I just have to point out that there Ubuntu does have desktop choice Xubuntu and Kubuntu both provide different interfaces. If you want Gnome 2 then I’d reccomend Mint, as it is an ubuntu derivative. Recently I had a go with voyager – a themed version of Xubuntu that was really nice, but I have grown to like Unity (the current destop of ubuntu) quite a lot, so have reverted back.

  2. Incidentally, Jason, I put most of my reply on Facebook, but what do you mean about Apple “upgrading their calendar to the cloud model”? iCal hasn’t really received a significant change — save for the addition of Exchange support in Snow Leopard — since 2007.

  3. Just this year Apple “upgraded” or “updated” (their words) iCal. After clicking on the update link I discovered I could no longer sync my calendar to my phone or any other non-Apple mobile devices. After researching why I discovered that the new update/upgrade transfers the database to the cloud. No longer was it hosted on my local machine so my blackberry had nothing to sync with. There were no calendars hosted on my MacBook. Apple did provide me instructions for downgrading. After doing so I was once again able to sync with my BlackBerry. Some time in May the new Apple Calendar went live universally. Those who did not upgrade lost their ability to sync iCal with MobileMe.

  4. To be clear, Apple did not upgrade iCal, they upgraded MobileMe. Instead of using a proprietary sync system with iCal, MobileMe now syncs with iCal the same way other services, like Google, use: CalDav. The stuff is still on your computer. It is stored in Library > Calendars, still. CalDAV is to calendars what IMAP is to e-mail essentially, so while everything is online, it is also all on your computer. Some sync tools, like BusySync, seem perfectly happy with this arrangement.

    The good news is that Apple does not forcing you to use their cloud, in fact, the only way you’ll run into any trouble is if you ARE using their cloud (MobileMe). If you don’t like MobileMe for some reason, you just dump it and use some other CalDav service that better fits your needs… say Google’s free one. iCal will work just fine with that.

    http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=99358#ical
    http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=151674

  5. Just to clarify, if you want to find the new MobileMe CalDAV calendar entries on your computer, it will be one of the folders under Library > Calendars that has random digits and letters in it, but ends with .caldav. Click that. Each subfolder under there contains one of your MobileMe calendar’s entries.

    It seems the sync tools just need to be updated to handle CalDav calendars in addition to .calendar ones. That’s probably why BlackBerry Desktop breaks, but BusySync does not.

  6. Ed Hurst says:

    So this is some sort of change which was not obvious to some users, such as Jason? I’m wondering what kind of notice or information was made available, but was somehow the sort of thing Jason missed. Yet, it was apparently enough of an issue Apple provided instructions to solve it by unnecessarily downgrading an application? I’m still confused, but I don’t have any Apple hardware these days, so I have only my memory of how they do things. I didn’t like it then, so it would seem things haven’t changed that much.

    I use Linux primarily because it leaves me in total control, and a computer is one place I have to have that. Same with IMAP; I hate it because because it offers me less control.

  7. mglimpse says:

    Linux user, I use cinelerra for video editing, kdenliver is also very good. For audio editing I use Audacity, I also use pulseudio for my sound server, some people do not like pulse, but if it is configured correctly it works flawlessly. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with Linux. I use Ubuntu 10.10 and I used the alternate install which lets you just add the packages you want. There are plenty of people using Linux that are willing to help not to mention a plethera of tutorials online should you need them. With a little work at the initial setup Linux shines above winx and apple.

  8. Ed, Apple gave a number of months notice that MobileMe was changing and that it was moving MobileMe calendar over to CalDAV format. They provided beta access during that time. iCalendar itself, like I said, didn’t change, so the relevant notices were sent specifically to MobileMe users (I.e. Only those who already were using Apple’s cloud service were affected). By and large moving to CalDAV is a big improvement over old style synchronization. Like properly configured IMAP, all of your data is safely stored on your computer in addition to the cloud.

    I can’t figure out why Blackberry Desktop hasn’t fixed support, but given how badly the handled the shift from Outlook 2007 to 2010, I think it speaks of the overall problems at RIM.

  9. Okay, I have to be fair and fess up when I screw up, or over react. Props to Tim for pointing out the flaws in my rational. Looking into matters again, with greater understanding, I see the problem is more one of RIM not keeping up with advancing technology, or at least the implementation of technology. So, I haven’t bailed on the Mac OS. I did stop using MobileMe for my address and calendar syncing. It took me quite a while but I managed to setup my Google account to sync to both my Blackberry and my MacBook.

    As for Ubuntu Studio…I’m still going to install it on something and give it a spin. Eventually I’ll have to replace my current computer and I’m not sure I’ll stick with Apple. If Studio will do what I need, then my next machine will more than likely be a Linux Box.

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