Apple Computer Weirdness

I’ve used Linux ever since I got my first computer. Currently, I run Linux Mint, but I’ve always run Debian/Ubuntu-based OSes on my primary computer. At my summer internship however, I use a Macbook Air. This page will serve to list some of the most notable differences to me between my current primary laptop and the Apple one. So here’s a running list I’ll modify over time:

Software

Slowness

There are lots of different desktop environments for Linux (GNOME, Cinnamon, Xfce, Mate, etc.). Some DEs use lots of visual effects, and others keep the interface to a minimum. This means that even a slow computer can have a DE that runs fast on it. It wouldn’t make any sense for Apple to have completely different interfaces for different models, but I am surprised that they don’t modify the interface for their slower computers, by doing stuff like cutting down on visual effects. However, I’m not too surprised a 1.7GHz CPU has a hard time running all the stuff I have open when working, and I don’t think just removing animations would speed it up by that much.

Case Preserving, but Case Insensitive Filesystem

This is quite annoying, but at least it hasn’t caused problems (yet?). Apple not only ignores case in commands relating to the filesystem, gives false answers about it too:

$ mkdir TEST
$ ls
TEST/
$ cd test
$ pwd
/Users/zeke/test

Why doesn’t it just silently redirect cd test to the TEST directory? Oh well. I hear Linux can be made to do this to, but I can’t think why someone would want it.

Hardware

CMD/CTRL Confusion

Apple can’t seem to make up its mind about when to Use CMD, and when to use CTRL for keyboard shortcuts. So far, I’ve figured out that it seems like “primary” actions use CMD (such as CMD+C), and “secondary” actions use CTRL, like CTRL+Tab to switch browser tabs. However, this seems unnecessarily confusing. Other OSes get by fine without having a special CMD key. The only thing I can think of on Linux where a typical CTRL shortcut doesn’t work is copy/pasting from a terminal, where CTRL+Shift+C/P is used in order to avoid sending a ^C signal. At least this has a clear reason though. Maybe the Mac behavior would be less confusing if I used it as my primary OS instead, though.