Out of random curiosity last year, I started to tinker with Linux on a local machine–specificly, a 5-year-old HP laptop that wasn’t really being used for a whole lot else. Not really being willing to bother considering what I could manage to lose and what I might want to keep–there was 4 years of crap on that laptop pre-install, I just pulled everything off that HD and onto this machine, and went about the business of installing Gentoo. I know, at least three of you are laughing at me for having made that decision. I like a challenge, okay? Since then, I’ve been playing, tweeking, updating, tweeking, and playing some more just to see how long it takes me to get everything working. Or, how long it takes me to break things so horribly it doesn’t even boot, whichever comes first.
There’s a point to this, I swear. The thing that drew me initially to Linux is the fact that it can run on damn near anything with the right amount of tweeking. And the people behind it actually encourage it. I mean, the fact that it’s free doesn’t hurt either but still. I can dig up an old Pentium II, hook it up, pray to god it has an ethernet port on the thing so I can plug it into the router, and probably find a current version of Linux that’ll run on it. Windows and Mac OS can’t really make that claim. Hell, the advent of Vista broke most machines that could have run XP just fine a couple years ago. And Apple’s been trying for, like, ever to find a way to restrict people to buying their hardware if you want their OS.
They’re trying it again, this time in the form of an update that apparently removes Intel Atom chipset support from the OS. While they point out it probably won’t take very long before someone comes up with a patch for it, they also sort of halfway gloss over the entire point as to why I won’t be buying a Mac anytime soon, against the multitude of advice that’ll no doubt be offered to me by Mac and Mac OS users alike. The OS can run on damn near any Intel chipset out there. And it even needs little to no modification to actually do so. You would think, since it means selling more copies of their OS, and since it means they can take even more market share away from Windows and Linux, they’d be all over it. Apparently you’d be wrong.
I don’t like being told what I’m allowed to do with something I already paid for. That’s why I don’t own an iPhone, and why once I’m more comfortable with Linux I’ll probably be switching from Windows entirely. If Apple’s going to insist that if I want to run their OS, whether I have space for it or not I absolutely must buy their hardware, I’ll stick to Linux, thanks. Or, if not Linux, someone who’s not trying to work against me.