Reasons for sticking with Windows

A diminishing list, but a list nonetheless:

  1. TopStyle Pro
  2. Adobe Photoshop (Win/Mac only)
  3. Trillian Pro
  4. TortoiseCVS
  5. Rhapsody

And... I think that's it. No, no games. The great ones are cross platform. And most other good Windows games are at least available on the Xbox. And note the absence of Microsoft Office and Microsoft DevStudio. Everything else I use today is available on other platforms: Mozilla for browsing, jEdit or XEmacs for editing code, ssh and VNC for remote access, OpenOffice for officeware, Perl and Java for development. I could easily switch to the Mac, but then I'd be losing Trillian. Now that would be a real sacrifice. iChat? Please, no bubbles, thank you.

Also note that of the list above, TortoiseCVS is the only open source application.

As for Linux, there have been significant strides in making the whole user experience better, but I'm just not sold yet. For a server, I wouldn't use anything else, but not for my workstation.

One thing that may have to happen before I switch to Linux for my workstation/laptop: demoting X off the Linux desktop. I don't think X will ever go away (nor should it), but it shouldn't power the desktop for Linux. It's just not able to compete with the overhead that the X-protocol adds to things. A wise thing to do is to do what Apple did: create a solid desktop shell and provide X support for legacy apps. There's a big opportunity here. Linux is winning the war on the embedded and server-side fronts. A solid desktop would make all difference for the rest of us.

Oh, did I mention that the Trillian 2.0 beta is available for us "Pro" users?


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There's also Proteus for the Mac, which is just like Trillian, a little more, a little less. And there's also Fire.

Dave Rogers said:

You can disable balloons in iChat.

pete said:

Would Fire replace Trillian for you?

Brad Author Profile Page said:

I'll try Fire and Proteus out tonight on G4. Thanks for those pointers! (And Dave, thanks for the tip, but man cannot chat on AIM alone.)

rb said:

I'm not a user of a HTML editor, but I heard really good comments about quanta ( Maybe worth a try?

David Raynes said:

Well, for IM clients in a Unix environment, it doesn't get much better than Gaim. It's what I use.

Though, when I'm logged into my home machine via ssh from work, I use centericq, which works pretty well for most protocols as well.

And from what I hear, The Gimp is about as good as it gets for a free Photoshop clone. I haven't used it much myself though.

leonard said:

Yeah, I'm in total agreement with most of your list. CSSEdit just can't touch TopStyle Pro (which besides being stupendous for CSS is good for general HTML editing too). Same with Fire or Proteus compared to Trillian (only been playing for a day, but 2.0 is even better). TortoiseCVS is pretty indispensible; and AFAIK there aren't any GUI CVS tools for OS X at all.

A few other things I miss from the PC: CDValet, EAC, ACDSee, Neat Image

Brad, be sure to check out Adium -- easily the best OS X AIM client out there.

Jesper said:

David: Check at the bottom.

And yeah, there's unfortunately much less good software available for OS X. (A lot more amateur projects, sadly.) The big apps like Trillian and Paint Shop Pro will eventually stop me from switching in the near future.

Did you post this entry so that a whole bunch of zealots would offer you alternatives? ;) Well, here goes anyway:

Photoshop: as already mentioned The Gimp will stand you in good stead there. It's got an MDI interface which I don't like, but it does all the photoshop stuff I need.

TortoiseCVS: CVS integration is built into Konqueror now, so you don't need an add-on tool if you're using KDE.

I can't help you with most of the other tools (though Gaim will do a pretty good job of your IM, but not quite as good as Trillian Pro). I will offer this thought though:

I have 2 tools that I can only run under Windows (ie: not Wine either): Cakewalk Home Studio 2002, and MS Money 2003. I have a dedicated Windows machine just for those 2 tools with a VNC server running on it. My actual workstation uses Mandrake 9.1 (though I could switch to OS X if I could afford a Mac) and I do everything using linux tools, except for those 2 Windows tools, where I just fire up a VNC window. It feels very much like I have a windows machine hidden inside my linux workstation.

Considering the Windows tools you're talking about are very light on resources, you could throw together something like a Pentium III quite cheaply for what you want. This would also offer you the bonus of having 2 platforms to do website testing on.

I strongly recommend giving Mandrake a 15-minute test if you've got the time (either now with MDK9.1, or wait for 9.2 -- it's in beta1 atm). It takes about half an hour to install on standard hardware, and I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's true that linux probably isn't ready for the desktop for the average non-technical user, but it's almost there. For technical people of the calibre of Brad Choate, it's well and truly ready.

Something additional and re-iterating the CVS point I made:

KDE has a built-in plugin called Cervisia which handles CVS (so it's available in any KDE app). Here's KDE's HTML/CSS editor (Quanta) using Cervisia to interact with the repository:

pete said:

Adobe Photoshop on Linux? It might happen...,3959,1210083,00.asp

Mark Paschal said:

Woohoo, service plugins in Trillian, finally!

Sam Newman said:

Brad, I've been using SmartCVS ( for a couple of years now - its very good. Its not opensource, but the free version does most of the stuff you need (the pro version adds support for cvsignore and a tag manager). The graphical diff is good, as is the branch viewing. It is Java based (not a problem for me - I'm a java developer!), but if you install it using Java Webstart it automatically updates. I've a friend whose been using it on MacX without issue.

Roel said:

As far as Linux goes, I heard Bluefish is an excellent and "powerful editor for experienced web designers and programmers"
(but it probably can't beat Topstyle)

ng said:

"I donít think X will ever go away (nor should it), but it shouldnít power the desktop for Linux. Itís just not able to compete with the overhead that the X-protocol adds to things."

I think this is a common misconception. Although being somewhat designed-by-committee, Xs design is pretty good, and XFree is well implemented. I have a feeling that many people use distros with really bloated KDE/GNOME environments and blame the lack of speed on X. These people should try distros like Vector Linux, which speeds along even on old machines.

Jim Ray said:

Why switch? Because you have better things to do with your time than constantly patching your windows box? You'd rather use your computer rather than be hamstrung by the Redmond corporate agenda?

As for the software you'll be missing:
1. Top Style Pro - BBEdit
2. Photoshop - Photoshop!
3. Trillian - (already covered, Fire is a great multi-protocol client)
4. TortoiseCVS - BBEdit has CVS support, or the command line
5. Rhapsody - seriously?

At the end of the day, of course, it only makes sense to use the solution that works best for you. I can't justify sticking with a flaky, insecure operating system just because of an instant messaging client, though.

lashlar said:

Hmmm. Speaking as one who uses a laptop and requiring eyeglasses to see clearly, I can say that another reason for staying with Microsoft has to be ClearType. I know that Freetype has been making some strides, but so far I still find ClearType working best for easing eyestrain.

JN said:

Instead of BBEdit, Give vim a try. Just run vimtutor. I have never looked back. Bluefish is there for the faint of heart.

Photoshop is running under linux already, using CodeWeavers' CrossOver Office.
As for TortoiseCVS. Try Cervisia if you are sure that you can't handle the power of cvs commandline and scripting.

dda said: has a Mac OS X alpha. and offer GUIs for Mac OS 9

Morphon CSSEditor is great

Photoshop is of course a Mac app first and above all. ImageMagick can also be a replacement, either through the command line, for quick jobs (which Photoshop will never offer) or through some GUI supplements.

I don't chat a lot, so I can't really compare (although Proteus was nice, but I don't like to have all services in one app, too confusing)

And as for Listen, well, there is iTunes...


Did you know that you can take the current version of Adobe software over to Mac OS X?

You will have to fill out Adobe's Exchange Letter of Destruction, and send it back to Adobe. You can download the form here. This allows you to transition over for the cost of the media and shipping. Also, if you do not have a current version of the software, you must fill out the same form and pay the upgrade price to receive your software. In the case of Photoshop, the cost would be $149.00. What a great way to keep your customers and current.

Taking this into consideration, your list can now be reduced to four. ;-)

Camilo said:

You are pointing to the commoditization of Microsoft products. Once they were absolutely indispensable, Word so far removed from WordPerfect as one can think. There was a real distinction. Until the product cycle inexorably caught up with them, and lo and behold, even open source projects have that appeal.
Although I have been trying to get into Linux for quite some time, the insane complexity of the task puts me off. However, there have been a lot of advances, and, if SCO doesnít kill it, we can expect a renaissance soon.
Linux Dell. That would be something to watch.

Watts Martin said:

To Robert Barksdale - looking at the link you provided, it seems pretty clear to me that Adobe only accepts returns of software purchased directly from them within a 30-day window after purchase. Presuming my reading is correct, this doesn't sound like a very viable way to move from one platform to another. (I'm a Mac user, but I recognize that the cost of buying new software, particularly for those who depend on a bevy of "pro-level" commercial apps like many of the creative pros in the Mac's ostensible target market do, is a serious barrier to switching platforms. For me, I started buying some of those big-ticket apps after I got into the Mac world, so I have a disincentive to switch back--buying new copies of Studio MX and InDesign alone would erase any savings in hardware cost.)

pudge said:

MacCvsX, the cvsgui client for Mac OS X, is quite good, and is based on the same basic code as TortoiseCVS is (WinCVS is also s cvsgui client). There's also BBEdit, as mentioned. I use both regularly. Then there's MacCVSClient.

They don't work in the Finder like TortoiseCVS does, but it would be pretty trivial to write some contextual menu scripts for use with BigCat or somesuch. That's an idea, maybe I'll do something for that. :-)

Also, there are several chat options on Mac OS X, if you really want them.

durf said:

It's not a replacement for PS if you do serious image manipulation, but GraphicConverter is pretty amazing for US$30:

Charles said:

The thing about Graphic Converter (if we're mentioning it) is that you can script the most amazingly complex actions using Applescript (which can also be used between applications - so, to take a random pointless example, write the name in 12pt text of the track that's playing on iTunes at the extreme bottom left of the photo that you're editing.. and then size the photo to 100x100 while applying Gaussian blur. And so on.

TopStyle looks good, though you can find loads of HTML editors which will check against browsers. You can get HTML editors for the Mac which will do a live update of the page as you change it - you type the tags and text, the preview page changes. (App called HTMLEdit does it now; expect many others like BBEdit to include it soon, as it relies on the Webkit of Safari.)

The Gui CVS thing has been pointed out; you could also look at products from Sente Software like Concurrent Versions Librarian (

Hell, these days to claim that any platform is the only one where an app can run is unlikely. MacOSX has a ton of stuff. And it looks better :-)

Ever tried everybuddy? It's a universal IM client, and has all the same functionality as trillian (it's for linux/X)...

I hope this post will help clarify for Mr. Martin and those interested my previous post.

I have been a Mac user since the late 80s, and a licensed Photoshop and Illustrator user since the early 90s. Back in 1998, I suffered a lapse in judgment and purchased a Windoze equipped PC. At this time, I upgraded my version of Illustrator 6.0 to Illustrator 8.0 on Windows.

Since then, I have delegated my PC to server duty, running Red Hat 7.3, and I have moved all desktops to Mac OS X. When it came time to move Illustrator over to OS X, I contacted Adobe and they sent me Illustrator 10 for OS X for the cost of the upgrade. Today, I have a licensed copy of Adobe Acrobat for Windows, that I no longer use, so I contacted Adobe about an upgrade to the Mac OS X version. This time, the Customer Service Rep directed me to this page (Please note, in the past, Adobe has not required the LOD. I simply destroy the software as requested.). Please note on the left the "product exchange - letter of destruction (PDF)".

The initial paragraph in this letter states;

"You recently requested a product exchange from (product, version and current platform) to (product, version and desired platform). Adobe is willing to provide that exchange pursuant to the terms of this letter agreement."

The letter goes on to say that you do not have the right sell or transfer ownership of your current license, that you will need to uninstall it from your computer, and that you must destroy all copies.

IMO, Adobe looks at it customers, no matter how small, as partners. This is a great way to run a business and to keep customers. Needless to say, I am a happy Adobe customer, and I will continue to buy the Adobe products that are required for my web toolkit.

Chris Rowland said:

For a MacOS X CSS editor, take a look at Style Master, now in its third version. Also available for Windows. Very good stuff.

Brad Brooks said:

Even as a committed Mac user who would never switch (but who does use a PC to test site designs), I have to say that TopStyle Pro is the business. There is nothing to touch it or HTMLKit on the Mac. I have both BBEDit and Style Master, and they're good, but not good enough. So, I just run VPC with windows98 and use TopStyle and HTMLKit in that. Plenty fast enough, and if you save the session, it starts up faster than a PC too.

Job done.

Adam said:

We don't want ignorant people on the mac.

I'm wondering what is so special about top style pro. I mean, css is just plaintext, and while a list of css elements can be handy, especially if you're not one for memorizing them, a handy list can be found within a minute of googling, or a handy link to the W3C's CSS 2.1 Page will clear up any issues you're having.

However, from what I've seen. If you need it all integrated, quanta is, by and large, one of the most feature complete HTML & friends editor of them all. Even if it is inexcusably slow on OS X.

nosa said:

From all indications trillian may soon be no more. Microsoft seems to be closing the holes that allow 3rd-party software to use the Messenger network

Roshambo said:

Microsoft is stopping access to their Messenger network by changing the protocal. Perhaps it will be only a matter of time before Fire and Trillian figure things out and can connect again. Remember when AOL kept trying to stop Trillian (and similar apps) from accessing their IM network? After a while they finally gave up. Food for thought.

Jon Madison said:

Brad, i feel you. i had high hopes of being linux only when i first got my laptop, installed it, and am grateful for it, but right now i never use it. mainly because i'm on site at a client using software that doesn't work in Linux, and also because it's the quickest route for .Net development--although i'm following the Mono Project like a hawk. Regardless of what any haters say, M$ has made creating web services frighteningly simple, without taking away the fun of coding.

trillian will not be no more for one--it's much more than MSN. furthermore, M$ is offering licensing for the access, which means that its full well possible that a "larger" player like trillian will pay for access. there will be no "figuring out the protocol and accessing anyway" for a company like trillian, if they wish to survive as a company--it will effectively be illegal for sure.

AOL gave up? i guess you can say that. i give them props because they're the only larger player (Jabber notwithstanding) that has actually PUBLICISED and made Open Source their (Toc) protocol.


The Evil Monkey who Lives in My Closet said:

I think the coolest thing about MacOS X is how stupefyingly slow it is. Like when I move files around? Sometimes it just locks up the whole computer for three or four minutes. Then I have to force the Finder to restart.

Or how about the fact you can't turn off any of the eyecandy-the throbbing buttons and progress bars, the fading menus, the translucency, none of it. So if you're stupid enough to have a machine which can't support Quartz Extreme, you're really screwed.

That's what I like about MacOS X.

(I'm betting twenty people will reply to this telling me to buy a newer machine. OK, great. You paying?)

Colin Palmer said:

Windows is a great gaming platform between bluescreens, but that's about it.


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