After nine months using Linux as often as I possibly could, I'm now realizing that, realistically, I can only use a Linux operating system as a PoC (Proof of concept), a toy, a development tool, an educational device, and of course, as a server. Allow me to explain.
I love the free software movement. I love the general culture surrounding the Linux class of operating systems, and I find the quality of this software phenominal considering that it's been produced, in many cases, by volunteers. This is why I've been trying as much as possible to use Linux full-time. But at the end of the day, I need to step back and think about one thing: Productivity.
I decided that the time for playing with Linux is over, and that I need to decide which platform to work on. In doing so, I made a comparative list, pitting the best that every Linux OS, and the accompanying software, against Mac OS (which also has access to quite a bit of this software: More on that later). Here's what I came up with.
Web Design*: Mac
Web Development: Linux
Web Use**: Mac
Graphics (creation): Mac
* My profession
** Includes FTP, browsing, etc.
This in no way means that Linux can't do all of these things, and do them fairly well. But I've been through probably about 40 distros, and have given about five (Ubuntu, Zenwalk, OpenSuSE, Arch, Sabayon, PCLinuxOS) very extended time on my laptop. I used Mint as well, but let's face it, that's Ubuntu. What was I searching for? A product I could be just as productive on as I am with my Mac. I even donated to some of these projects because they did allow me to get some solid work done.
Keep in mind also that my needs are very different from many computer users. I need an enterprise, production, bad-*** web design machine. FTP needs to be quick, easy, and never fail on me. I need a very robust Web IDE, which for me is Dreamweaver. I do most of my work in a text editor (HTML, CSS), but there's a huge difference between Dreamweaver and Quanta in usability and capabilities.
Luckily, I can say with confidence that my time has enough value that I will gladly pay for the best software if it improves my work as well while increasing my productivity. For example, I'd much rather pay $30 for Transmit than worry if any number of solutions in Linux, all of which have failed me for large transfers, will result in missing files, etc. I plan on shelling out $500 for the Adobe Web Suite (Education version! Yes, I'm a youngin') simply because the features and design of Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop alone will easily make up for that total in a month.
I may add to my thoughts here tomorrow, because it's past midnight here in DC and I'm beat. I do plan to continue using Linux, but only as a curiosity and for a few isolated tasks for which it's better suited than my Mac. If I do get into Python development, my software will undoubtedly be for the Linux/Unix community first and other operating systems second.
I don't want to go on too far here, but I'll gladly answer any questions posed in replies.