Forbidden Fruit

I am an unapologetic lover of Linux and I've used it as my main desktop for well over a decade. I feel like Linux gets me. The power and freedom to make my computer my own are feelings I've never experienced from Mac or Windows, which are more like prisons with a view. I converted several family members and friends to using Linux. So why am I arguing that it's wrong to use Linux in our company? Why do we use Macs instead?

Just as you slowly become the average of the 5 people you hang out with most, using products with bad UX slowly becomes the new normal.

We want to create beautiful products that have the user in mind. Linux has some aesthetic eye candy, but the UX of the software is lacking in many places. It wasn't designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, and has nothing like Apple's attention to detail. Windows has its place, but as an adherent to the unix philosophy and ecosystem I can’t see it being relevant until the Ubuntu user space in Windows 10 is on par with the unix shell in Mac or Ubuntu.

When we want to get inside the minds of others, the environment is crucial. Just as you slowly become the average of the 5 people you hang out with most, using products with bad UX slowly becomes the new normal. Designing something better than the products we use everyday isn't good enough. We need to design products that are better than all of our users use every day.

When we sink time into workarounds for the deficiencies in Linux, we lose valuable time we could have spent accomplishing our mission.

I'm a founder. That means personal preferences come second and the company comes first. I like to think of it as my child, and as a parent you need to put your kid first. I have an idealist streak that believes wholeheartedly in the open-source philosophy of freedom and free software, that wants to channel my inner Richard Stallman and rally the hackers to fight for the open-source work that our company, and many of the world's biggest companies, depend on. But there is still a place for closed source software, especially when it functions better than the open source equivalent.

We have a mission, and only a short time on Earth to accomplish it. When we sink time into workarounds for the deficiencies in Linux, we lose valuable time we could have spent accomplishing our mission. Now I love tinkering and playing with Linux... maybe too much. As Tolkien said, "Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time." It may be true if the only person I'm looking out for is number one. But when you grow up a bit, you realize that the highest pleasures are found in contributing to something meaningful that's greater than yourself. The time you enjoy playing Call of Duty has a different cost when you are doing it while your kid is waiting to be picked up from school.

Back when we were doing our consultancy and I brought my janky Linux laptop along to client meetings, it said something. It said, “I don’t value my time, so how could I expect to charge for it?” Value your time. Think like a founder. Do what is best for your team and those around you.

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