Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux Explained in Metaphor

Let’s lay allegiances out on the table upfront.

I’m a three year Mac user, before that I was a lifelong Windows guy… With a little Linux experimentation in college (I know, wild right?). I have no great love of any of these operating systems, they all have virtues and shortcomings.

Here’s my metaphorical take on the three:


Macistan is the dictatorship I choose to live in because the trains run on time.

It’s beautiful, vibrant, growing, simple, and there is virtually no crime. You don’t need to worry too much about security; daily maintenance is basically nonexistent; and when you need something fixed, there is a government sanctioned organization to deal with the problem.

The trouble with Macistan is that it has a crazy, egotistical, and self-important dictator. He rules Macistan with an iron fist, and if you don’t play by his rules, he will excommunicate you.

The government repair station is far from perfect, in spite of outside appearances. These sanctioned experts are frequently bureaucrats without useful skills, knowledge, or the ability to actually help.

It’s also expensive to live in paradise. The costs are high in both money, and the loss of freedom. You can only install the software that is OK with the authorities, and the authorities are becoming prone to censorship of “obscenity” as they define it this week.

It’s a nice and easy life, but freedom is dwindling in Macistan; it will probably become too oppressive to abide.


Windowsland is the land of the established superpower.

There is an overabundance of just about everything in Windowsland: software, population, productivity, and crime.

There are some costs associated with living in Windowsland, but they aren’t astronomical, you can live comfortably without spending much money. You also have a fair amount of freedom to do as you wish, there are restrictions, but they aren’t too heinous.

The main problems with living in Windowsland is the insane crime-rate. As a result of the freedom and immense population, Windowsland is hive of scum and villainy. There is a sizable population of jerks looking to profit off of the ignorance and misfortune of others.

The other issue with Windowsland is that the government is slow to improve the infrastructure of the country. The government is constantly struggling to be all things to everyone. As a result, all suffer.

In Windowsland a lot can go wrong, but the taxes are low, and there is quite a bit of freedom.

The Linux Nation

The Linux Nation is more a confederation of tribes than a unified country.

The Linux Nation is located in a rural region where individuals with the skills, and will to succeed can create a nice life for themselves.

There are a number of different Linux tribes. The various tribes have evolved, grown, combined, and dissolved over the years. Generally, the ever-changing tribes improve with each iteration.

There are thriving communities within the Linux Nation where individuals can go for support and comradery. Those who can make it in this Randian confederation of self-reliance frequently have a sense of self-importance that might be a little too overdeveloped.

It takes a lot of knowledge and work to survive the isolation from the outside world, but that is the price of abundant freedom and very low-cost.

7 thoughts on “Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux Explained in Metaphor

  1. Not terribly insightful outside of the briefly described characteristics of each platform. This is something that keeps coming around as someone new thinks of a new analogy. One could as easily apply the same statements to car companies (Volkswagens are idiosyncratic, Chevys are reliable but boring, etc.). Or reverse it and liken the computer companies to car companies. Or go to a different realm and compare them to religions. There are lots of ways to view these different systems.

  2. Great examples of analogy! I really like it! Recently I started posting interestnig analogies I found on the web on I thought it could be a good idea to create a place where people would share useful analogies. Check it out!

  3. Try linux mint, it is very user friendly and even prompts and installs ATI and Nvidia drivers for you. Its slick, elegant and beautiful. WINE allows office 2007 to be run on linux, so there is no reason to say it has lack of compatibility, office wise.

    Many games work too. Problem is lack of advertising. All the money is spent to developing the system and making it user friendly but none is spent on telling people how good it already is. I have watched the system over the last 2 years and it has changed tremendously.

  4. Hi

    May as well try linux – generally its completely free. perhaps Ubuntu or puppy linux or fedora or suse or Debian….

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