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Thinking about moving away from OS X to either Ubuntu or Windows 10...

Posted on 2016-08-02
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Due to my continuing disparity with OS X i am CONSIDERING switching back to windows. I have been on a mac now for the better part of a decade. I do a a lot of Linux sys admin work, light to medium pen testing, basic productivity, etc. I’m not opposed to going with a Linux distort, probably Ubuntu with a KDE de, but it’s not ideal. I do most of my work on a laptop that’s docked with monitors but I am mobile a lot too so I’ll be looking at a high end Lenovo or Dell laptop or an ultrabook and a ballsy desktop. The big questions are with Windows 10, I know anti-virus is still an absolute necessity with anything Windows (BOOO!) I also know Windows 10 transmits the machines public and private keys to MS. Is there a way to prevent that? Aside from that I do most things in terminal, which I know I lose with windows in favor of “command prompt” but I can ssh with putty so im not too lost. Are there any other major issues id have with Windows? Or am I better sticking with OS X in its continued attempts to lock power users out, or bite the bullet and switch to a Linux distro? I need experiences and opinions based on that experience. Thanks guys.
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Question by:jessbruffett
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by:ecarbone
ID: 41740123
Here's my experience:

I have spent the past 12 years in the printing industry, and on an (almost) daily basis I use a Mac and a PC. I have both on my desk. Why do I use both? If a client sends me a job that was created on a Mac, I tend to process the order on the Mac, so I don't have to deal with any font issues.  But for my day to day development I use the Windows PC daily, and I MUCH prefer it over the Mac. Especially over the past year. The Mac is slowly becoming a disappointment to me. Apple seems behind when it comes to technology and innovation (never thought I'd hear myself saying that), and each update of OS X seems to make my Mac slower and slower.

Windows 7 is (was) a solid OS. Very little issues. When I upgraded to Windows 8 I hated it. Windows 8.1 promised to make things better but it was still a big disappointment.  I reverted back to Windows 7.  When Windows 10 came out, I upgraded.  I LOVE Windows 10. I run a ton of apps on it. It's stable.  The clunky Win 8 UX is gone.  I have been recommending Windows 10 to all of my colleagues.

So that's my story. I am very happy with Windows 10. It's mature, stable, and it's here to stay. (The "anniversary" update was just released). If you're a command line guru, Windows powershell is really cool and it seems Microsoft is relying heavily on it for system administration - both local and cloud (Azure, Server, Office 365, Exchange).

I say go for Windows 10. I think you'll really love it.

If you are looking for recommendations on a computer - a few months ago I purchased a Dell Precision 5510 laptop with 64-bit Windows 10, Solid state drive and 32 gb of RAM. Best computer I have ever owned. I use it daily for development (Visual Studio, SQL, etc). Back-lit keyboard, USB-C, lightweight and looks great (it's designed after Dell's new XPS laptops which won CES best computer). Plus, it's very powerful. (At the time, I could only get it from Dell with a max of 16gb of RAM, but I upgraded to 32)

You mentioned a dock. Problem solved. Dell has a great new thunderbolt dock that works great with this laptop. A single USB C connection will do ALL of the following:   charge the laptop, 3 usb 3.0 ports, 2 high def displays, and audio.  When I get home I plug this single cable into my laptop and I have an instant workstation with 2 x 24 inch displays.

Yes, anti-virus is still a necessity, but most of these types of software are lightweight and run silently in the background.  (I am using Norton Internet Security). You won't even know it's there.

So final comments ... after all that, if you're still thinking about Linux, then just set up your laptop as dual-boot and you can have both.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41740130
Ive thought of the dual-boot scenario but I hate that. I will inevitably use only one OS, that’s why I don’t use bootcamp now. I have a 1tb ssd on my MacBook pro so mi. not hurting for space and the hardware in my Mac is top notch. I would end up going with probably the Lenovo P50s, or the Dell XPS 13 and a desk top. I know nothing of powershell tbh. My CLI experience for the past 15 years has been in a linux environment, even before I switched to OSX I rarely used command prompt. Privacy and security are huge issues for me, and so is workflow. I know there will be some bumps in my workflow if I do indeed switch no matter which way I go. I just need to make sure they aren’t unconquerable or too disruptive and that my regular computing experience when I’m not working is friendly and simple and doesn’t make me want to throw my computer at a wall, which is happening more and more with OSX
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by:ecarbone
ID: 41740141
I agree with you regarding dual boot. nice concept but rarely used. I use vmware workstation a lot. I'm impressed with how smoothly the VMs run. I think you'll be pleased with Windows 10.
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by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 41740153
beside the endless discussions comparing modern Windows, OSX and Linux distributions here and there on the web, i would suggest you consider some other important nontechnical things, such like below:

* do you use various laptops time to time?
* are you a geek who loves command line and troubleshooting?
* do you prefer using mainstream productivity applications such as MS Office?
* do you need automatic OS updates (no command lines required to enable it)?

if your answers are yes, no, yes and yes, stick on W10. :)
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by:rindi
ID: 41740239
Although Windows 10 is a good OS, it does do a lot of "Phoning home", particularly if you use it in it's default setup. First you must use a local account rather than the default m$ account it wants to setup by default. Then disable or uninstall all the built-in "crapps", so they don't phone home. They are crapps after all and so you would never want to use them anyway. Once it is setup properly like that it shouldn't talk to m$ too much. But you do need to make sure that after new releases of Windows 10 have been installed to check again for new crapps that may have been added.

If you think windows endangers your privacy too much, then go ahead and use Linux. But it is often hard to find new PC's that come without Windows, You would have to insist that you want it without OS and that you get a rebate so you don't still have to pay for the OS.

I would recommend MakuluLinux LinDoz. It is based on Ubuntu, uses a highly modded Cinnamon as UI which looks and acts like Windows. It is much faster than Ubuntu is, and is much more usable, intuitive, and also looks very nice.

http://makululinux.com/download-2/
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41740508
Your assertions about Windows are largely incorrect.

Antivirus: MAC and Linux need AV as well. It is a market share issue not a technology issue. ALL OS needs AV.
Windows 10 transmits your private data: NO. It does not. It is easy to secure Windows 10 and the new Version 1607 is even more secure.
Windows Terminal: All kinds of ways to do this.

Dual boot died before Windows XP in my opinion.

Apple IOS does not run in a Virtual Machine (Licensing restrictions).

So here is what you can do:  Get a good strong capable MAC laptop. Load VMware Fusion on it. Create a Windows 10 Pro 64-bit virtual machine and a Linux virtual machine (I like Ubuntu).

My Windows 10 Pro 64-bit host with Office 2016 runs Windows 7 with Office 2010, Vista with Office 2007 and XP with Office 2003 (plus others)

You can solve any client situation this way.
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by:Eric C
ID: 41740530
You get more bang for your buck with a Windows laptop vs a Mac laptop (my opinion).
Plus the Windows machines have the latest hardware:
- Faster (newer) i7 Processor
- higher resolution screen
- USB-C
- higher max RAM
- Bluetooth 4

And you don't get gouged for upgrading to an SSD, or to add more RAM, or to add a 3 year warranty. And if there's no need to run Mac OS X, then there's no need to buy a MacBook Pro.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41740546
I was assuming that jessbruffett needed a MAC, otherwise I generally agree with you.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41741261
@john hurst, i have a mac as is, I'm considering moving away from it to Windows 10 or Linux. Its also not just about my private data, it looks like all that can all be turned off but I've been told by several colleagues who are much more experienced with windows 10 than i am, that windows 10 transmits its private keys to MS so that can essentially unlock and gain full access to any windows 10 system if they desire. if this isn't true that changes the game for me quite a bit. there is also this in their privacy policy that bothers me though:
"Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary."
i don't do anything scandalous on my computer but i do believe in privacy and my absolute right to it. So if MS actively collects this level of data and i can't stop it than Windows 10 is an absolute no-go for me.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41741295
Microsoft only collects telemetry data, not personal or like data.

If you are moving from MAC to Windows, you can get good strong Lenovo laptops for less then MAC but then you have to carry your MAC around if you need it.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41741309
I don't use my mac for anything mac only, i have been using it for so long because of its compatibility with linux servers and my familiarity with linux. the differences are, well were negligible, now Apple is really jacking things up and I'm getting tired of not having absolute control over an OS that i purchased. i have the same fear with Windows. as for the telemetry data that MS connects id have to be able to stop that as well. i just don't like the idea of companies collecting my data, personal or otherwise unless required by law. if i can kill that part of windows 10 and have full control of the OS then i may very well switch in the next month of 2. if i can than ill stick with OS X or go with a Linux.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41741316
I have to leave that decision to you. Collecting telemetry data improves Windows and is no threat to you.

Windows 8 was by miles the least reliable operating system in the world. Less reliable than Windows 3.1. Microsoft recognized this, collects telemetry and WER data and has made Windows 10 much more reliable. You are not identified in the collection of this data.

Idiots in the press have climbed on this bandwagon to scare people. They have managed to scare lots of people for no good reason.
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serialband earned 250 total points
ID: 41741324
What disparity do you have with OS X?  What things do you do on it that you're being locked out of.

Windows has been leaking data for years, even back during Windows 7.  You might want to look through some of the reports about it to determine if the amount of leakage is worth it to you.

https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/3fhy27/how_do_disable_all_privacy_leaks_in_windows_10/
https://fix10.isleaked.com/
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/08/windows-10-doesnt-offer-much-privacy-by-default-heres-how-to-fix-it/
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2015/08/windows_10_privacy_problems_here_s_how_bad_they_are_and_how_to_plug_them.html
https://thehackernews.com/2016/02/microsoft-windows10-privacy.html

You should understand that OS X also leaks data to Apple.
http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/10/mac-os-x-yosemite-reportedly-leaks-location-search-data/

A lot of that data leakage is rather benign.  Things like spotlight or cortana connects home to search for web data.  The only way to be completely safe is to disconnect from the internet.

I use both Windows and OS X.  I'm comfortable with both.  I do find that Windows works better and is much more stable than a Mac in all the years I've used it.  It has always been that way for me, as far back as the days of Windows 95.  3 years ago, the reason to get a Mac was the retina screen and the multitouch touchpad.  The others have caught up in resolution.  The keyboard on the Macbooks has always been crippled with all the useful keys missing.

You do need a virus scanner for a Mac now.  The majority of the virus signatures are for Windows and up until about 2-3 years ago, all Mac Virus scanners only scanned for Windows viruses, to keep them from spreading to windows users.  The main thing a virus scanner does on linux is scan for Windows viruses.  You need a separate rootkit scanner if you want to scan for Linux Malware and don't know how to do it yourself.

If you're mainly command line, it really shouldn't matter which system you use.  The only reason I use a Mac is to access its GUI.  You can manage the majority of the Mac through the command line and if you really needed access to the GUI, you just connect to VNC through ssh tunnels.  On a Windows system, you can open many more putty sessions and plink scripts with much fewer resources.  It helps that 32 bit putty has a smaller footprint than Terminal.app.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41741328
Well to put it into perspective, the last time i used windows for anything other than a VM to run the couple of windows only apps i have was windows XP service pack 2... i never touched 8, i have a W7 VM but i use it for my vsphere client and thats it. If i can't stop the telemetry data that may really put an end to this at least in terms of windows. if they record my IP address in the telemetry data thats more invasive than i find acceptable.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41741333
They do not record you or you IP address in the collection of aggregate data to fix Windows. However, by all means stay with MAC if you wish to
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by:rindi
ID: 41741336
I was also just going to ask about what issues you have with OSX. You can use the terminal and do lowlevel things with it with no problems. But I'm only using Mountain Lion (my iMac won't support el-Captain, so I don't know what changed).
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41741339
@serialband i know OS X leaks some info but that can be turned off with relative ease. i also don't use terminal.app i use iterm2. its also has a smaller resource footprint than terminal.app, i can easily show/hide it and it supports tabs. i love the OS X gui but i don't like being locked out of the System folder, /bin, /sbin, /usr(minus the /local dir). i realize i can get into them disabling the SIP crap but i no longer have the ability to repair disk permissions when i need to when i go messing around in those directories if i screw something up.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41741349
The new macOS has locked things down even harder by all reports. like the elimination of the ability for gatekeeper to be effectively disabled to allow for the installation of apps what aren't from the app store and aren't signed from a developer. i realize pressing control while opening it doesn't seem like a huge thing but its a further sign of things to come from apple that started with gatekeeper in 10.7
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by:serialband
ID: 41741353
That 2nd link I provided has instructions to turn off just about everything that would compromise your basic privacy.  I basically turn off everything there that I can turn off.

https://fix10.isleaked.com/

Don't use Edge or IE on Windows and don't use Safari on Mac and you should also reduce your tracking footprint from them.  Use Iridium or IceCat and that will reduce certain types of tracking, but then they can still fingerprint your browser.  If you're really that worried, you should just get off the internet.  There are just too many ways to fingerprint your presence.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41741370
@serialband i get browser fingerprinting, and you can't stop all of your info getting out there. i want to control what goes out. if i need to conceal my identity even further, generally for work purposed, i use cryptostorm or PIA but thats rare. for me the biggest thing is control, i want control over my system and data. I'm the chief sys admin and cyber security engineer for the software company i work for and I'm a bit of a control freak. i don't even let my users pick their passwords, i assign them to them. lol if i can get the control over my system and data with windows 10 that i used to get with OS X or linux then its a strong contender for a new OS for me. i prefer its interface to most, if not all, linux DE's. except maybe KDE 5 which i see a lot of similarities in the 2 actually.
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by:rindi
ID: 41741398
What security is there when you assign a user's password? What you must define is the complexity, but only the user must know his password, no one else.

If you know the user's password you are just like the NSA who can spy on the others, but you yourself don't want the same done to you. Your users have the same right to their privacy as you have..
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by:serialband
ID: 41741409
If you really want to repair permissions, you'll have to go to the command line.  They removed it from the GUI because Gatekeeper made it redundant for the average user.

http://osxdaily.com/2015/11/04/verify-repair-permissions-mac-os-x/
sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --verify --standard-pkgs /
sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --repair --standard-pkgs --volume /
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41741473
@rindi i do that for work computers, the users know there is no expectation of privacy on them, however i don't go through there files unless I'm told to by my boss. i was trying to elaborate on my control issues more than anything. this thread has given me a lot to think about. @serialband thank you for that info! that might actually keep me on OS X since i can now safely disable SIP and repair my permissions as needed again.
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by:rindi
ID: 41741507
Even at work privacy must be respected. As an Admin it is OK to be able to reset a users Password (in case he forgets it), or you can suspend his account. But never  is an admin allowed to know another's password.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41746609
Well just to conclude this thread, in the next couple weeks ill be buying a very nicely specced Lenovo p50 and im going to give Windows 10 a fair shake. If i wont like it ill just wipe it and put Linux on it.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41747028
Thanks for the update and I was pleased to assist. Windows 10 Version 1607 works very well and supports all that I do in consulting.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41751109
I always like to tie any threaded discussion off neatly. I actually ordered my machine last night so ill have it in a few weeks since it evidently takes lenovo a week to build a machine and only offers 3 day shipping as expedited but thats really fine. it gives me the next couple weeks to compile a list of all the apps i need to replace my current workflow and time to study up on powershell since im sure ill need that too at some point. the only thing im not pleased about is the cost of VMWare Workstation. its alot more expensive than VMWare Fusion was. but all that being said, im interested to see how this lateral move will be. I did it from Windows to OS X back on the late XP/early 10.6 days and i hated life for about a month then i was fine. im predicting ill have about the same timeframe of frustration with this lateral move. But again to everyone thanks for your opinions, experience and advice. i appreciate it.
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by:rindi
ID: 41751150
If you use VMware personally and not for business, you can use VMware workstation player which is free. Or you can use VirtualBox which is OpenSource and also free, and works just as well as VMware. It doesn't have any private/business use restrictions.

Besides that, with Windows 10 Pro you have the Hyper-V feature which you can add via the control panel, Programs and features. It is a type 1 HyperVisor and therefore performs a lot better than the level 2 HyperVisors mentioned above. You just need to enable virtual extensions for the CPU in the BIOS as that is usually disabled by default. But that also needs to be enabled for the other HyperVisors if you want to run 64bit VM's.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41751164
There are indeed different ways.

VMware Player is not as robust or flexible as VMware Workstation.
Hyper-V works but does not allow as many guests (especially older machines).
Virtual Box is not as robust or reliable as VMware Workstation.

It is worth the money for me and now I just pay the upgrade cost.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41751186
@rindi i need virtualization for work, i need to virtualize Kali and at least 1 flavor of linux daily. Hyper-V would be an option but ive read that serious issues, mostly networking, can arise when virtualizing linux guests and considering what i need to virtualize and why serious issues are something id like to avoid unless there is an equally big payoff for it. Oh and i need to run Nessus Pro...  im griping about the cost, its not terrible, its cheaper than most of the software i use regularly, nessus for example. i just dont like spending money if i dont have to, i prefer to make money and look at it in my bank account lol. Virtual Box is too slow and clunky for me to use, i used it with my Mac for years and i always hated when i had to fire it up. One day on a friends machine i used Fusion and later that day i bought a license. I would love to make Hyper-V work but Nessus Pro's virtual appliance is specifically for VMWare products. So unless i can convert it and lose NO functionality ill just have to take some sitfu and buy Workstation Pro.
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by:rindi
ID: 41751222
VirtualBox is just as good and fast as the VMware products. I prefer it when using type 2 HyperVisors. Like with all those products you must install it's drivers in the VM (Guest additions in VBox). It has very good networking and USB hardware pass through support. Kali and generally all Linux distro's work well under it (Since VBox is OpenSource, many Distro's have the additions already built-in by default, or you can easily add them through the repo). VMware is generally less well supported in Linux Distro's. Kali as far as I know has a VBox version you can download.

Nessus I don't know, I don't use it. But there's no reason why it shouldn't work with VBox.
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by:ecarbone
ID: 41751228
VirtualBox has always been slow for me, but then again I haven't used it in the past 2-3 years. I'll have to try it out again.

If its performance has been improved then maybe you can use it for a while.

VMware on occasion has 20-25% off sales which could save you $50-$60 on the initial purchase of Workstation. After that, their upgrade prices are reasonable. It's one of my most used applications, I really like it.   ... just my 2¢
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by:serialband
ID: 41752193
Virtualbox is and has always been slower.  Parallels and VMWare run at close to 90% of Bootcamp speeds.

Here's the benchmark from 2015
https://www.tekrevue.com/2015-vm-benchmarks-parallels-11-vs-fusion-8/

Here's the benchmark from 2014
https://www.tekrevue.com/parallels-10-fusion-7-virtualbox-benchmark/

Parallels can also use the Bootcamp partition, so you can also boot into it to run it faster, but you're also allowed to start it as a VM when you don't want to spend time rebooting.  I just run a lot of stuff using wine for many windows utilities, since that doesn't require a reboot and it uses much less resources than starting a VM.  If you need a GUI for wine, you can buy Codeweavers' Crossover.

Unfortunately, Parallels is Mac only, and won't work for the Lenovo Thinkpad P50.  You should spend the money on VMWare if you're going to virtualize on Windows.
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by:rindi
ID: 41752269
That might be the case if a MAC is the host. On PC's as host I can't see any difference in the performance of VMware or VirtualBox clients.
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