macOS and Linux: A Comparison Guide


macOS and Linux are popular operating systems, and both offer a unique set of features to their respective users. Inspired by Unix, both macOS and Linux are robust operating systems used by millions of users worldwide.

Despite numerous similarities, the duo comes with substantial differences that make them what they are. Before we jump on to the comparison guide, let’s first understand what these operating systems are.

What is macOS?

Most readers must be familiar with the macOS – the operating system designed by Apple Inc. for their computer devices. If you are using a MacBook, iMac, or a Mac, they all are running on macOS.

MacOS is a proprietary operating system which means only Apple holds the rights to sell it. Apple makes money by selling Mac computers, and macOS comes preinstalled on all these devices. To use macOS, a user would have to purchase a Mac at a hefty price.

macOS is not open-source; in fact, it’s the most restrictive operating system available today. Apple provides outstanding support to its users. For example, Apple offers extensive support for even the most simple question: why is my copy and paste not working Mac, or how can I sync my iCloud account to the computer?

What is Linux?

An open-source operating system that gives users complete freedom to view and edit their source code. If you have outstanding coding skills, you can release an entirely new Linux distribution compiled by you.

Today, over a thousand Linux distributions (distros) are available in the market. A Linux distribution is an operating system built with the Linux kernel as the base for supporting programs, libraries, and repositories.

Since Linux is an open-source operating system released under General Public License (GPL), users can view, study, modify, run, and redistribute the source code. The Linux operating system gives users the freedom to sell copies of the modified code.

macOS vs. Linux: Top Differences 

Let’s get back to macOS vs. Linux debate to understand the differences that make the two OS competitors. Keep in mind none of the two operating systems is better than the other. Both are ruling the software industry with their unique features and attributes.

Customization & Modifications 

When it comes to personalizing the operating system version, Linux takes the lead, as you can modify a distro as much or as little as you like. The open-source nature makes Linux a more flexible operating system than macOS, as the latter doesn’t allow customization.

Linux gives full control to users, and anyone with a little technical knowledge can alter the color, menus, icons, features, and other attributes. The apps available for Linux are also open-source and hence editable.

Hardware Support

When you want to run your choice of hardware, Linux is an ideal pick over macOS. You can run Linux on almost all the computers available in the market, whereas macOS works on Apple computers only.

Any computer running macOS, or Windows, can run a Linux distro without a technical glitch. So you probably don’t have to buy a new computer to try your hands on Linux. On the other hand, you cannot run macOS on any computer except Macs.

Privacy and Security

Even though macOS is considered to be the most secure operating system available today, Linux is nothing short of a secure platform. Linux is an open-source OS; each distro comes with altered features, so hackers are not sure how a malicious program would work on them.

Due to the rapidly growing popularity of macOS, there aren’t many developers spending time creating viruses for a free platform like Linux. Hacking a Mac would be more beneficial for hackers than infecting a Linux computer.

Cost Effective Option

Not to mention, buying macOS is one of the most expensive affairs as it’s not just about the operating system but the entire ecosystem. Buying a Mac is cost-intensive, and that’s not all; buying accessories and supporting gadgets will also cost you heavily.

On the other hand, Linux will not cost a dime as it’s available for free. You don’t have to buy costly hardware, as Linux works pretty fine on almost all computers. Even if you have an outdated computer that you no longer use, Linux will work perfectly, given that the device is functional.

Apps and Programs 

When it comes to creativity and experience, macOS is the one you should buy. Since Apple designs its product after analyzing and determining demographic, they work flawlessly and give users access to compelling features.

Many great apps designed for graphic designers, programmers, musicians, photographers, and other professionals come free with Mac. Moreover, many proficient apps like FinalCut Pro or GarageBand are exclusive to macOS.

The Conclusion 

To sum up, both macOS and Linux are powerful operating systems, and the one you select is based on your sole needs and preferences. If you are looking for a cost-effective option, go with Linux, whereas if you are looking for a more tailored experience with apps and programs, go for macOS.

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