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Wednesday
May282003

Mac OS X vs. Linux Hotrodder Analogy

Mac OS XThis weekend an analogy came to me related to Mac OS X users and Linux users [1] that I wanted to mention here to see if I'm on the mark or way out there. Here is is:

I think Mac OS X and Linux users are kinda like two first cousins who happen to both love hot rod cars, but love them in slightly different ways.

A Mac OS X user is the cousin who loves to drive really cool cars; loves cruising and being seen in a really slick ride. This cousin may even enjoy tweaking the appearance of the car by adding a custom paint job, spoilers, ground effects, or other easy to moderately difficult mechanical additions. The Mac OS X user also uses the car in practical ways -- to pick up groceries, drive to work, take road trips and the like. Driving the car is the most important thing to the Mac OS X user.

A Linux user is the cousin who loves to tear apart and rebuld cars. Dropping in a new engines, grinding valves, adding high performance engine and transmission parts, tweaking the engine until it runs perfectly. Wanting to know every part intimately. This cousin is less concerned for the car's appearance -- primer, missing body parts, mismatched wheels or missing lights are not as important as having a perfectly running car. This cousin might also cruise the strip or run errands, but would much rather spend time working in the garage. Working on the car is the most important thing to the Linux user.

Now of course there are variations on this theme and some crossover. I'm sure that some OS X users lean more toward under-the-hood stuff and some Linux users are more interested in getting stuff done than making system modifications. I suppose there are even users from either side whom look down on the other. However, for the most part I think each side views the other in a positive light, since both share the a Unix kernel, which I think is kinda cool.

Any thoughts or comments?

UPDATE: After some refelction on the comments and my initial analogy, I've changed the word 'tinker' to 'tear apart and rebuld' and 'system modifications' to get across my real intent -- that Linux users want to know every part of their OS, inside and out. I felt 'tinker' may have been too casual of a term, when I really intended it to mean something more serious.

[1] Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X, has Berkeley Systems Distribution (BSD) Unix, running underneath that 'lickable' Aqua Graphical User Interface. Linux is another Unix-like operating system created by Linus Torvalds and modified and tweaked by software engineers worldwide for years, following the open source development model.

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