source: mark.stosberg.com/Tech/linux_switch/my_work.html --- copy & paste --- A Professional Web Development Workstation Challenges I have been using open source on my home desktop machine since 2001. However, for my work desktop, I demand a higher degree of usability. At home I like to "tinker" with computers. At the office, I want my computer to be very stable and "just work" so I can get my job done. When I my aging Mac showed signs of death in 2004, I felt that MandrakeLinux was up to the challenge of being the replacement system. I wanted official support for Linux on the new hardware, and I wanted offical support for the software as well. I also needed to be able to collaborate easily with the remaining Mac users in my office. Finally, I still wanted to be able to run Dreamweaver on the new system, if possible. Solution I found a machine sold by HP that was a great value, and shipped with Mandrake Linux 9.2 as a supported operating system. I knew from the outset that Linux would thus not have any problems on the hardware. By purchasing CrossOver Office for about $40, I gained the ability to run Dreamweaver MX for Windows, as well as the official Windows Quicktime browser plugin. Networking with the Macs was no problems. Both Linux and Mac OS X use the same open source "Samba" file sharing system. Results The switch had more benefits for me than I initiallly realized. I was now able to run exactly the same operating system at home and work, making my overall computing experience more pleasant. I also found that I had access more pre-compiled open source software than with OS X, and some programs that worked on both systems worked better on Linux. For example, OpenOffice 1.1 had not yet been released for OS X, and my fonts didn't look right on the older Mac version. This was installed and working great by default on Linux. CrossOver office also allowed me to install and run Internet Explorer 6 for Windows. While I dislike the browser, it's useful to have available when testing website designs for browser compatible. Even better, I'm able to export the program so that it runs on the desktop of our designer's OS X machine. Although there are minor font glitches with that arrangement, it's best solution we developed so far to allow a Mac user to test the Windows IE browser. I also found that KOrganizer and Apple's iCal both store their data using the same open standard file format: "ICS". With this foundation, we were able to setup calendar sharing around the office without the Mac/Linux difference being an issue. Overall I'm quite happy with this solution and prefer it over Mac OS X for the web/database programming work I do.