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Hello!

 

I have a friend studying Computer Networks and he recently asked me to download and install Ubuntu Linux, since he will be using it in college. I had already downloaded the ISO, so I decided to try it myself and I installed it on a spare disk. I had a very bad previous Unix experience while working for my Thesis (2000-2001), but Ubuntu is supposed to be a lot easier. Yes it is easier than classic Unix, but it has a very long distance to go to even come close to the ease of use of MacOS X! If one is lucky enough to find the application he needs in Software Center, or at least in a site as a DEB format package, then (in theory) he opens it and it is installed automatically. Sometimes even than is not enough since it has to be installed using the terminal. If it is not in DEB format, then things can get annoyingly difficult for the average user. If Ubuntu is supposedly the easiest Linux distro, imagine how hard is to use the other distros! I don't know about you, but I hate going on the terminal every few minutes just to do a simple thing! In MacOS X you get the application or driver in DMG format, open it and double click to install. Sometimes it's even easier since you just drag and drop the application in the Applications folder. On the other hand, Linux is free and open source, therefore it is easier to find drivers for your hardware. But if you then waste the whole day to just install them, there is little benefit! For example, Ubuntu comes with Libre Office preinstalled. While searching in Google, I found that Open Office is more compatible with Word/Excel etc documents, so I decided to download it. Although I had uninstalled Libre Office before installing Open Office, the installation was far from complete because there were traces of Libre Office left that made confilct with Open Office. The application could only be loaded using the terminal to run it directly. When I double clicked on a document I got an error that there was no application associated with this type of document, and I also didn't had any shortcuts for Writer etc on Launcher! I didn't manage to fix it at first, so I had to completely remove any trace of both Open Office and Libre Office and then reinstall Open Office. Then, as expected, it did work, but I had lost the whole day and my patience! So in my own opinion:

 

Ease of use: MacOS X is the winner!  :)

 

Hardware compatibility: unfortunatelly, Linux is far ahead MacOS X, since Apple doens't support non-Apple PCs... :rolleyes:

 

Software compatibility: MacOS X has vary good software support, hard to tell  -_-

 

This means that if all hackintosh experts/developers do their best and improve hardware compatibility through third party drivers (or even ports from Linux drivers) MacOS X will be the winner!  :thumbsup_anim: Maybe this sounds stupid, but since both Linux and MacOS X are Unix-like, could one get the source of a Linux driver, modify it to include the relevant headers/libraries and compile it as a MacOS X driver? Is there any form of conversion that can be done to use Linux drivers in MacOS X? This would save all of us a lot of trouble...

 

I know you will hate it, but both MacOS X and Linux have a veeeery looong way to go to even come close to Windows in terms of compatibility. (Yes I am a PC fan, I use MacOS X and Linux for experimentation only, not for everyday computing). There are a lot of users that legally own Windows for a good reason. Obviously they are not stupid! We all like free, but if that comes at another cost (compatibility etc) we would rather pay money instead and have peace of mind. In Greece we say "you get what you pay for"... :rolleyes: As for Windows viruses, yes if one is that idiot to use Windows without any protection, he is in trouble and is a matter of days (even hours) to screw his system. But if you have an Antivirus installed and update it regularly, there should be no problem. Of course it takes brains not to click YES at any pop-up window without reading it! Also when installing an application make sure to uncheck any box offering something extra. Most times this extra contains a trojan! So use your brain. Linux or MacOS X are not immune to viruses, they just don't attract hackers' interest (yet). If their user base increases and they do attract hackers' interest, it won't be long before they are infected. Also mosts servers run Linux and hackers attack big servers with success. This tells something about how "immune" non-Windows OSes are.

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What about compiling Linux drivers into Mac drivers? Is that possible, or they are too different one has to port them to MacOS X?

No, it's not. Linux and OS X use quite different approach to hardware management. Linux/Unix drivers (the source code) are useful to understand how the device work and should be handled. With this info a skilled programmer(s) can create OS X driver. AFAIK creating a properly working driver from scratch, is the upper level of programming skills.

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I know you will hate it, but both MacOS X and Linux have a veeeery looong way to go to even come close to Windows in terms of compatibility. (Yes I am a PC fan, I use MacOS X and Linux for experimentation only, not for everyday computing).

I use OS X about 95% of the time. I am not much of a gamer, but I miss a good (and free or cheap) chess game (Sigma Chess was one, but it needs Rosetta). There are a few other Windows programs that don't have a real Mac equivalent, but I don't miss them too much.

 

Edit, March 2014. Nowadays I play one of the many Chess games on my Android phone or tablet, thus I don't miss a good Chess game on OS X any longer. I still miss Hiarcs though, which for some reason has not been ported to Android.

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What about compiling Linux drivers into Mac drivers? Is that possible, or they are too different one has to port them to MacOS X?

 

Any Unix software (and also Linux software, if you set up the needed dependencies beforehand) will compile and run with no issues at all on OSX - as i said, OSX is true (certified) Unix. But it's just like 3.14r2 said: Apple went as usual its own route for the hardware management with the IOKit framework, so any Unix/Linux drivers, albeit they will compile successfully, won't "drive" anything, meaning they won't work at all.

 

All the best!

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First problem of topicstarter with linux is that he does not understand how the linux, especially ubuntu operates in the first way.

 

Unlike windows and osx, the main and HUGE advantage of Debian-based, RHEL-based and SLES-based distros (others as well, though not as well known) are the package managers and package repositories.

You don't go google for the software, most of the time (with some exceptions for new releases and really rare piece of software, or some closed source ones) you just use the GUI package manager, or its terminal counterpart to install anything and everything, or just add repository, which contains software, that is not bundled with system repositories. Additionally, these package managers will correctly autodownload and install any software dependancies for the targeted program.

Package managers provide information on programs, like version, description, files and file location, mail addresses of package maintainers (should you require to get in touch with them) etc...

They also allow you to undo, redo, uninstalll, reapply and test installations of any program up to the system kernel itself. Show me how'd you update, and load new mach_kernel on OSX without restart, lol.

 

[edit]

Say you want to create development environment for php project, and install apache web server, mysql database and php processing.

Think on how would you do that on windows. Think of how would you do this on OSX.

In linux, you'd type in terminal (i use it primarily for speed), GUI option is available also with checkboxes if you prefer.

 

In RHEL-base, 

yum install httpd mysql mysql-server php mod_php

 

In Debian-base,

aptitude install apache2 mysql-client mysql-server php5 libapache2-mod_php5

 

then watch package manager process all shared libraries and dependencies, and installing them with the software you wanted.

you're done

 

Something for "simple user", say videolan media player?

yum install vlc

aptitude install vlc

You got the idea.

[/edit]

 

Second, while Canonical targets ubuntu as end-user-desktop, and thus created many tools to abstract users from usage of command-lline tools, many hardcore linux users will tell you, that canonical did such a good job dumbing linux in ubuntu, that even they can't do what they know how to do. So your problem with installation of OpenOffice over LibreOffice is not the problem of linux as OS, but rather canonical of over-integrating Libre into ubuntu.

But this is a topic for yet another great debate and fllame-war at best, so i'll stop here.

 

While i do work with linux and bsd, personally i do use OSX for the following reasons:

1. GUI. Of all the desktop environments existing, i prefer the OSX one. I tried several times to make gnome look and feel similar to, but never achieved satisfactory enough result.

2. GUI. Ehm, yes, again. I'd say that 99% of UX designers should learn from apple (no, no, no, don't please remind me of IveOS7). Not just the graphics, but elements, icons, workflow. Simple and elegant, unobtrusive.

3. It's unix-based, meaning that if i can't find some program well known from the linux world, i can 99% of time recompile and use it with OSX. MacPorts, Fink and Homebrew make this task even simpler and work just like the package managers i've mentioned earlier.

4. I have all the tools and information on the system to fix anything, if it goes wrong, and if not fix, file a bug report with detailed information on how to reproduce and probably fix it. Windows is, unfortunately, ages behind competitors in this aspect.

 

As for the llast part, topicstarter mixes viruses with security-breaches and vulnerabilities. No one ever said, that unix, linux or OSX is impervious to hacking (in terms of understanding the system internals and finding mistakes left by programmers, that allow hacker to obtain privileges otherwise not accessible to him).

However, the main difference is in system architecture, when in unix, users, even with administrative privileges must first be granted administrative access with authentication mechanism, prevents viruses from doing any real damage to the system. Same goes with the processes (programs), as they have limited or no access to parts of the system, where logically they should not do anything. In other words flash popup "you are an idiot, ha ha-ha ha-ha" so well known in yearly 2000's will never do any more harm, than to the actual user, the browser was started from. Microsoft began to use such logic with the windows vista, however because of the backward compatibility, it is not anyway near such system even with windows 8.1.

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Linux lacks uniformity.

 

What works on Ubuntu might not work on Fedora.

 

Constant {censored} fits and narcissism keeps the programmers from improving it the right way (i.e. Unity sucks).

 

OS X is constant. It is the same no matter what hardware you might be using. This makes it easier for the consumer. Linux doesn't cater to these men.

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I tend to agree that developers sometimes forget what users want. They create what they and their fellow geeks like. That was true with KDE 4  and with Gnome 3.

But then you have the occasional distribution which keeps Joe User well in mind. IMHO, Mandriva forks or Mint Linux are such distributions.

 

https://www.haiku-os.org/blog/darkwyrm/2007-07-09/who_is_joe_user

 

Very interesting analysis of who Joe User is and wants. 

 

 

Joe doesn't like to change. Learning a new program (let alone another OS) takes a lot of time and is stressful for Joe, so he uses what he knows.

 

Joe User didn't want KDE 4, Gnome 3 or Metro. And, contrary to common beliefs, many geeks hate change too, especially when it seems totally unnecessary.

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Well, I have an idea, but I don't know how much feasible that is, since I don't have the programming skills. Assuming that there is a driver model for each subsystem. Surely, the driver has to comply with that model, for example in Windows Vista/7/8 for graphics there is WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model). The same is true for MacOS and Linux. Instead of trying to port a specific driver to MacOS, wouldn't be possible to create a wrapper that can use the Linux or Windows driver directly? For instance, let's suppose we have graphics Windows driver. The wrapper would use WDDM commands (or whatever) to interface with the driver and translate from and to the MacOS graphics driver model. So when the windows manager wants to draw a window (say), it gives the command to the wrapper in MacOS understandable data. The wrapper translates that to WDDM and gives the relevant commands to the Windows driver. The Windows driver sends data (supposedly) to the graphics card. In essence, I talk about emulating WDDM with a wrapper, so one can use windows graphics drivers directly in MacOS. If WDDM is too complicated, maybe the old standard XDDM (Windows XP Display Driver Model) is easier to emulate so one can use Windows XP graphics drivers. If this is possible, then simply download and use the respective Windows driver. Or Linux driver, if the Linux model is emulated instead. The same could be done for other hardware, such as audio, LAN etc.

 

I know you are going to say this cannot be done (at least not so easily as it sounds) but it is a good idea...

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The problem is some Linux debs don't really think the user has any importance. Thus the current status of all Linux distress in the desktop market.

 

OSX, on the other hand, is absolutely user-centric.

 

All the best!

Linux is free, it doesn't have to sell well (if at all). OS X (as a part of Apple computers) MUST sell well enough, hence it must be user-friendly otherwise it would be poorly sold product. So Linux developers mostly care for the software to work properly - not to be usable by an average housewife.

 

However, if (Linux) developers make some effort in to simplifying use of a product, the product may be user-friendly and even sell well (Android devices that is).

 

I know you are going to say this cannot be done (at least not so easily as it sounds) but it is a good idea...

I guess it is possible (Wine for instance), it's however my be quite difficult to accomplish.

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So Linux developers mostly care for the software to work properly 

Some of them should care a little more: drivers are also software, and most perform quite poorly. Talking about performance here, not user-friendly preference controls.

 

Linux is free, it doesn't have to sell well (if at all).

Without a significant user base , there's no prospect for a thriving user base. They couldn't care less about sells, but adoption is crucial. Not a surprise that enterprise and server development for Linux are still relevant and even growing - it's precisely the niche where Linux has gained traction among users by its intrinsic qualities.

 

All the best.

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Not a surprise that enterprise and server development for Linux are still relevant and even growing - it's precisely the niche where Linux has gained traction among users by its intrinsic qualities.

AFAIK in enterprise market companies pay for the support of Linux products (not for the Linux itself which is still free even at enterprise level). SUSE enterprise version for instance. So i guess developers do care if a product is user-friendly, only when money are involved. :)

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I believe that if Apple allowed installation of MacOS X in any PC, officially, and of course this was supported with drivers as well, then it would be a serious threat to Microsoft Windows. Linux isn't a serious threat, no matter what Linux lovers want to believe, because Linux isn't as user friendly as it should be. So, if you all skilled programmers manage to make installation of MacOS X as easy as possible in a typical PC, and make as many drivers as possible, maybe Microsoft should start worrying. But it's not enough for third partly programmers to do what they can. Apple should change its mind and allow MacOS X to install at any PC. They try to sell their expensive Apple computers. Yes, but not all users are ignorants! Most of us realize that they are just another branded PC, such as HP's, Dell's etc. So why pay more? We resort to Hacknitosh...

 

To be honest, if AppleOS X was as easy to install/use as Windows and it had the great compatibility of Windows, I would consider using it every day. But I don't see this happening any soon, so for the time being I would rather stick to Windows. Sorry...

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I believe that if Apple allowed installation of MacOS X in any PC, officially, and of course this was supported with drivers as well, then it would be a serious threat to Microsoft Windows. Linux isn't a serious threat, no matter what Linux lovers want to believe, because Linux isn't as user friendly as it should be.

Are you talking about desktops only? From what i know, and from what the whole technical world knows, Microsoft is leading with windows in Desktop segment only, while heavily lacking everywhere else (smartphones, servers, supercomputers, mainframes...)

 

What exactly is so user-unfriendly in linux (any popular distribution of your choice) from point of view of educated user, knowing basic things about how system and programs operates, that makes you say what you say?

Name 10 production/work oriented programs you use on day-to-day basis, that are in any manner unavailable on linux. Then the same comparison with mac os.

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Yes, I'm talking mostly about desktop OS for everyday computing. I know Linux has alternatives (Libre Office, Open Office, Gimp etc) for almost any application, but the point i to use the application one is familiar with and not having to learn something new and different. In that case I prefer MacOS X over Linux, since there is MS Office for Mac, Photoshop for Mac etc, so it is a lot easier to adapt. Also when I use the term "user-friendly", I not only mean "easy to use", I mean "as familiar as possible", as well. Unfortunatelly most desktop users are familiar with Windows. This means that if the Windows, the menus, the buttons, the shorcuts etc are different, he/she has to adapt. Yes, it is a matter of days to adapt to MacOS X or Linux, but then there are some functions that don't follow Windows logic. They are performed in a completely different way and the user has to frequently search Google to do stuff. All these could be tolerated, any new OS or application needs adaptation, but my worst nightmare is the f...ing Terminal. Like it or not we are at 2013 and most PC run Windows which are controlled in GUI only. The CLI (CMD or Power Shell) is there, but used only from experts that want to automate things via a script, not from the average PC user. So it is not desirable to go to the Terminal for even simple tasks such as download and install an application. All these functions can and must be done in GUI. Of course nobody stops terminal geeks to use it, but the average user should be given a GUI alternative even for advanced settings (that's why the "advanced" button is for). Would you give a PC with Linux to your mother? No, mine has difficulty to even use Windows. Last but not least is compatibility both in hardware and in software. There has been a lot of progress in this aspect, so it's not that bad. So automate things as much as possible for average user to forget Terminal, and Bill Gates can start worrying...

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I can assure you, lots of people have given computers with Linux to their parents (not my case because my mother has never used a computer in her life, and my father never went beyond Commodore 64).

If their sons set the distribution properly, I can assure you, elderly parents won't have any problem.

OTOH even if you give them a Windows PC,  that doesn't mean that there isn't a learning curve involved.

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Ease of use: MacOS X is the winner!  :)

 

Hardware compatibility: unfortunatelly, Linux is far ahead MacOS X, since Apple doens't support non-Apple PCs... :rolleyes:

 

Software compatibility: MacOS X has vary good software support, hard to tell  -_-

Ease of use: I agree personally, but that could be biased since I have used Macs all my life (not OS X mind you, I/my family used classic Mac OS exclusively until 2007)

 

Hardware compatibility: That depends - Linux supports a wider range of hardware, but that doesn't necessarily mean it drives the hardware better (bugs etc.). Every Apple-developed driver is extremely reliable without a single fault (that I've seen or experienced). Many 3rd party drivers are the same, provided they are used with the OS they were designed for, and even then in many cases it still works. But that is beside the point: Linux drivers are not as easily guaranteed. While I am sure that there are many incredibly stable drivers for Linux, there are also those that are quite the opposite. So, as Jobs always said - your mileage may vary. ;)

 

Software compatibility: If you are referring to compatibility with major commercial software, OS X wins hands down. OS X has Office, Photoshop, Pro Tools, AutoCAD, and many others. Now if you mean that there is software to perform the same tasks on both OS'es, I would agree that it is equal for the most part. But with that in mind we can even throw Windows in the mix.

 

The thing is, if Apple supported their OS on PCs (or, more accurately, removed the restrictions placed to prevent installation on PC hardware), Mac sales would decline and most likely the cost of the OS would skyrocket (wonder why Mac OS X has been $30 or $20 since 2009? Not that many Macs in contrast to how many PCs exist in total, and Apple makes more profit from its hardware than its operating system, the exact reverse of Microsoft, excluding XBox). But more importantly, the security advantages provided by OS X would be quickly negated, for the rising use of the system would produce more malware. Same would go for Linux. The beauty of OS X, in a way, is how "uncommon" it is in general, and Linux has a similar mystical appeal. ;)

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Yes, I'm talking mostly about desktop OS for everyday computing. I know Linux has alternatives (Libre Office, Open Office, Gimp etc) for almost any application, but the point i to use the application one is familiar with and not having to learn something new and different. In that case I prefer MacOS X over Linux, since there is MS Office for Mac, Photoshop for Mac etc, so it is a lot easier to adapt.

LibreOffice / OpenOffice look and fell just like MSOffice 2003, you will be surprised how many people use those to date.

MSOffice for Mac is more different from MSOffice for windows, than libreoffice. It does not support macro's very good, nor does support all fonts from windows and i have had more problems opening .doc/xls documents in MSOffice for Mac than in LO/OOO.

Have you even tried it on something more complex than simple text document before actually writing the post?

 

Also when I use the term "user-friendly", I not only mean "easy to use", I mean "as familiar as possible", as well. Unfortunatelly most desktop users are familiar with Windows. This means that if the Windows, the menus, the buttons, the shorcuts etc are different, he/she has to adapt. Yes, it is a matter of days to adapt to MacOS X or Linux, but then there are some functions that don't follow Windows logic. They are performed in a completely different way and the user has to frequently search Google to do stuff.

Again, windows 8 is different from Windows XP even more, than standard OSX or Gnome desktop. And you had to google, or even better, install additional software to get the start button back (oh and i'm not talking about dozen other things that were gone or modified), so please, don't write about "windows logic".

 

All these could be tolerated, any new OS or application needs adaptation, but my worst nightmare is the f...ing Terminal. Like it or not we are at 2013 and most PC run Windows which are controlled in GUI only. The CLI (CMD or Power Shell) is there, but used only from experts that want to automate things via a script, not from the average PC user. So it is not desirable to go to the Terminal for even simple tasks such as download and install an application. All these functions can and must be done in GUI. Of course nobody stops terminal geeks to use it, but the average user should be given a GUI alternative even for advanced settings (that's why the "advanced" button is for).

Haven't i wrote that there is a GUI option to install software and that i showed terminal examples only because __I__ preferred it? Or shall i post screenshots.

 

Would you give a PC with Linux to your mother? No, mine has difficulty to even use Windows.

I could have wrote how many people do i or did i work with as support, who used linux as their primary OS, being average JOE user, but it is pointless.

 

Last but not least is compatibility both in hardware and in software. There has been a lot of progress in this aspect, so it's not that bad. So automate things as much as possible for average user to forget Terminal, and Bill Gates can start worrying...

Bill Gates is a great person and innovator in his time, but he does not run the company anymore for many years already. So he really has nothing to worry about anyway.

 

On the other hand, i asked you to do two simple things and to write examples. You did not provide any specific. Why?

 

Hardware compatibility: That depends - Linux supports a wider range of hardware, but that doesn't necessarily mean it drives the hardware better (bugs etc.). Every Apple-developed driver is extremely reliable without a single fault (that I've seen or experienced). Many 3rd party drivers are the same, provided they are used with the OS they were designed for, and even then in many cases it still works. But that is beside the point: Linux drivers are not as easily guaranteed. While I am sure that there are many incredibly stable drivers for Linux, there are also those that are quite the opposite. So, as Jobs always said - your mileage may vary. ;)

Every non-blind developer will tell you this is not true. OSX has it's stability issues and bugs, and their drivers are quite far from being extremely reliable. I managed to KP my every apple mac not doing anything out of ordinary.

 

But more importantly, the security advantages provided by OS X would be quickly negated, for the rising use of the system would produce more malware. Same would go for Linux. The beauty of OS X, in a way, is how "uncommon" it is in general, and Linux has a similar mystical appeal. ;)

As i have wrote in my previous post, linux has much bigger penetration in server and other segments, therefore systems running it in quantities are comparable if not higher, than those with windows in total, if you count android smartphones, this is 100% guaranteed.

So "uncommon / mystical" is very unlucky choice of words for linux as operating system.

Additionally, again as i have wrote in my previous post, those systems, that are by design extremely reliable run linux / modern unix OS, not OSX or Windows :)

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Every non-blind developer

 

Besides being quite subjective a statement, it's a "no true scotsman" fallacy.

 

On topic: Android is not exactly Linux, much like iOS is not OSX, despite running on the same XNU kernel. Or, more precisely, there's controversy about it (for both Android and iOS): http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/android-linux/ and http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2009/02/an-introduction-to-google-android-for-developers/ Linux distros themselves are indeed kinda niche, consumer-wise. No questions about that. Some stats: http://www.netmarketshare.com/linux-market-share

 

About the server market, you have to provide numbers that support both Linux overwhelming leadership and that this leadership make up for the well-known overwhelming leadership by Windows in the desktop market. From the numbers i've been seeing, they seem to support a growing trend for Linux that could translate itself in a dominance in the near future (see this very recent article: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2013/03/report-enterprise-linux-growth-outpaces-windows), but not necessarily a dominance right now. See this (yes, it's not that new): http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/linux-servers-keep-growing-windows-and-unix-keep-shrinking/10616: notice that Windows makes up for almost half of the server market alone, despite being positively shrinking.

 

About LibreOffice x Office, here's a comprehensive feature comparison, for us to deal with concrete data: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Feature_Comparison:_LibreOffice_-_Microsoft_Office In the end, it's quite a subjective choice, depending on the features one needs the most. For my workflow, MS Office does the job much, much more than LibreOffice.

 

About Linux drivers, you can argue OSX ones are far from perfect - driver-wise, specially for graphics, i like Windows better. But that linux drivers, mostly, are real {censored}, it's undeniable and a well known fact in the Linux community. Graphics drivers, specially, are a pain in the OS, if you forgive me the pun. Again, no one needs to believe my wisdom: here's some useful reading from long time Linux contributors and gurus (that switched to a Mac, by the way): http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2013/Mar-05.html and specially: http://batsov.com/articles/2011/06/11/linux-desktop-experience-killing-linux-on-the-desktop/

 

All the best!

 

P.S.: for this topic to be useful to everyone, and not to degrade itself in a pointless flamewar over personal preferences, i advice all to provide verifiable sources for factual statements (like "system Y has a larger user base than X"), and when expressing opinions (like "Windows drivers are awful"), be certain to either stress it as personal opinion, or provide relevant sources that support this opinion as universally accepted. That's it.

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I can assure you, lots of people have given computers with Linux to their parents (not my case because my mother has never used a computer in her life, and my father never went beyond Commodore 64).

If their sons set the distribution properly, I can assure you, elderly parents won't have any problem.

OTOH even if you give them a Windows PC,  that doesn't mean that there isn't a learning curve involved.

Yes, there is a learning curve, but in Windows is much smoother than in Mac or Linux because everything is done in GUI with wizards. Windows 7 is best for newbies.

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I doubt it. The average OS X users has hardly ever seen a terminal.

Same with Linux, believe it or not. Take Mageia (just an example) and everything, absolutely everything can be done without ever using a terminal.

 

Besides installing applications is easier than in Windows both in Linux (just search in your package manager) and in OS X: drag and drop your app in the folder "Applications".

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