The Endless Debate: Mac vs Windows
Let me start out by saying I develop on Windows. No, I'm not a .NET developer. I started out in Java, did LAMP for a while and have been working on becoming more proficient on the frontend of late. I've been around long enough that there were no laptops when I started developing. No Ubuntu. No Mint. Unix was a server platform. Period. Mac was still Macintosh was rarely used outside of graphic design/desktop publishing and video editing. I seem to remember the odd person writing code on a Macintosh that didn't have something to do with Adobe or Avid, but they were extreme outliers. I don't remember anyone developing web sites on a Unix platform, but I'm sure they were out there. The only Unix guys I knew were either dev ops guys writing shell scripts or C++ developers writing desktop applications for Solaris or Irix.
Here we are 15+ years later. Laptops are ubiquitous. Macintosh is now Mac and is actually a fairly common web development platform. You see job postings all the time where one of the perks of employment is being provided with a Mac. Because obviously everyone wants to be working a Mac, right?
I work for a consultancy these days. My first day at my current gig, I was handed a Mac and told, "We use Macs here." Uhhh. OK. Six months later what is my opinion of the Mac as a development platform? Meh. There's no magic sauce that makes Mac some wonderous user experience. Indeed after a few weeks working on a Mac, I was griping about my frustrations to one of the die hard Mac guys I used to work with. His response: "You're not drinking enough koolaid." Six months later, I'm still not in love. In the end, it boils down to this: It's all about what you're used to and how invested your are in making a change. I'm used to Windows and I'm not invested at all in changing to a Mac. I'll limp along when I'm required to and will breathe a sigh of relief when I can go back to my comfort zone.
Don't get me wrong. Windows has it's problems. You'll never hear me say otherwise. The thing is, so does the Mac. So does Linux. There is no perfect operating system. A Macbook does look sexy. I'll give you that, but that doesn't justify the premium price tag for me. I was listening to an episode on The Web Ahead today about the impact of the Apple watch. What struck me was the conversation about technology as fashion. They talked about how Apple is marketing the watch, not as a smart device, but as a fashion accessory. Because that's what watches are. Jenn's guest, Josh Clark, also talked about how kids are just as fashion conscious today as they were in his day, but today's kids care less about the logo on their shirt than they do the logo on their phone. Maybe that's Apple's secret. They've figured out that today technology is fashion and it's all about having the "right" logo on your laptop/phone/watch.
In some circles you're not a true developer unless you're on a Mac, particularly if you live primarily on the front end. Lately the guys on the Shop Talk Show have been pushing back against this monoculture that is developing. It's nice someone with a larger voice in the community is. At my last job we were all over the map. There were three guys on Ubuntu, one using Mint, two on Macs, and the rest of us were on Windows. Honestly, I think that is how it should be. Developers should be allowed to work on whatever platform makes them most efficient. If your tooling is platform dependent, you're doing it wrong.