Mac vs Windows for Software Engineers (best laptop for programming)

Ex-Google tech lead Patrick Shyu reviews Mac versus PC for programmers and software developers. For the tech field, is there a clear choice on which laptop/computer to get and what’s the reasoning? Why is it that every developer at tech conferences or in Silicon Valley seems to have a Macbook, and what’s the big deal behind Unix/Linux? How about Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

** Apple updated their Macbook line up July 2018 (a month after this video came out), with an improved keyboard!

Also, I should have mentioned Linux installations more. My opinion is that since it doesn’t support Adobe Creative Suite / Photoshop / Lightroom / Premiere / After Effects (dealbreaker for many), Sketch, iOS, and other general quality-of-life apps, I think that overall limits its usage towards just backend engineering. It may be restrictive for general product/ui/full-stack work — I can’t even do my YouTube video stuff on a Linux since there’s no software for it. As for dual-booting, it’s a pain to manage two computers, especially with different OS’s — you have to do everything twice: app installs, OS updates, system configuration, etc., You’re getting yourself into years of extra computer management in exchange for slightly better hardware. If you’re a college student or beginner, your life would probably be far simpler to avoid that route so you can focus on the code and not fussing with the OS, in my opinion. One more bonus of a Mac is you don’t need to run antivirus.

Share your thoughts in the comments below, whether you agree or disagree — I’d love to see what others think.

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25 Comments on “Mac vs Windows for Software Engineers (best laptop for programming)”

  1. Powershell, in your Opinion, not integrated. Lol…you can automate a lot of things using powershell. I run both MacBook and Windows. But Mac is making it easy since Visual Code is now available for free.

  2. Most of programming books I bought base their examples on UNIX-like systems. For instance, the same piece of Python code involving multiprocessing works perfectly both on my MacBook and Linux Server but does not return anything on a Windows machine. It does not even throw any error, just stuck there for forever.

  3. Okay, so you bought a shit laptop which had hardware issues and based on those issues make a conclusion about the software installed on it? Way to go "tech" lead. Honestly, it's kinda alarming to hear things like that, stuff that normally a simple user would say with zero hardware knowledge, from a guy calling himself a programmer.
    And please stop calling MS-DOS a "language". It is not a "language" it's an operating system and it was in use before Windows. First PCs with Win would first load MS-DOS then you could load Windows from there. I'm one of those guys who was there at the time so listen to me 🙂 Heck you can even still buy empty computers with MS-DOS and install whatever OS you want there (but not the Apple's stuff, cuz ya know – money, they want to sell you the whole package and enslave you with their contract 🙂
    And if you need Linux – you either get Linux or do your stuff in a VM or w/e there are so many options really.
    Bottom line is yeah, I despise Mac. Why would anyone want to limit themselves to an overpriced piece of proprietary garbage is beyond me. Too bad you got burned on your laptop purchase, next time do more research of the hardware and manufacturers.

  4. Nyah .. this one gets a thumbs down ..
    "I am not an apple fan boy .. but buy mac .. because it is unix based and has a terminal" ..
    DUDE .. use Linux. ..why spend shit loads of money on something that costs 10x more than its worth to begin with .. get a standard PC, install any distro of your choice, learn, get a job, and if you are good, let company give you a mac if you so desire one .. .. whatever .. for just a few pre installed apps who wants to shell out thousands of $$s ? well.. rich FANBOYS .. thats who ! xD

  5. As hard as it is to imagine, Windows will be obsolete and dead by 2030.
    More and more Windows developers prefer OS X and Linux, including Microsoft employees.
    Even now many MS employees secretly use Macs and iOS.
    I only use Windows because the current market is saturated with Windows.
    The bad design and bugginess of Windows is a horrible experience.
    Windows trackpads are garbage.
    To be honest, I dislike iOS. I prefer Android on mobile devices, especially with the new Android 8.
    Ideally I like to develop on UNIX like machine via terminal and use a mobile OS based on UNIX without so many restrictions as iOS.

  6. But, but, but PC != Windows. You can install any OS on a PC. And terminal isn't really the forte of MacOS, but rather Linux. (This comment is typed on a Linux PC.)

  7. "Mac dual boot into windows and you can do dot net programming when you want to". This is because Microsoft let you do that while Apple will never let people install their MacOS in a PC. I will never buy products from such a bad ethics company like Apple.

  8. 1) Just because you bought crappy Sony Vaio Laptops (twice! 😀 ) does not mean all windows laptops are crappy. Sony probably went out of laptop business for a reason – they were making crappy laptops :D.

    2) Apple hardware isn't that great. Also repairing them, especially once they are out of warranty is PITA. But don't take my word for that, check out Lois Rossmann's channel on YouTube

    3) There are tons of cmd.exe alternatives for Windows. And good ones.

    4) The best IDE in existence, Microsoft Visual Studio, runs only on Windows. If it supports your preferred language of course. And you kind of want an IDE for serious business logic intensive software.

  9. Lol the problem is you bought Sony Vaio. They are terrible. Always look into warranty offerings before making such a large purchase and never buy anything that has less than a year's worth of warranty. I have a second-hand sony vaio laptop that was given to me by my uncle who took it in after a little over 3 months due to the screen cracking. Sony said they couldn't fix it for free because the standard warranty was expired (3 month warranty). After hearing this I have avoided them like the plague. I have an old Sony Vaio desktop as well which still works (over 17 years now) which was bought by my Dad well before the Sony Vaio laptop I received was even made. Also they aren't a big name in the laptop/computing space for good reason.

    Also if you buy from a brand and you have issues with the product or server, don't buy the same brand again. Why support a company that has sub-par customer support or a shoddy product? Your money goes a long way so don't reward companies that do poor jobs. Apple has actually been making a lot of missteps lately (issues with right to repair with how they treat their AASP, see Louis Rossman and Linus Tech Tips channels, they are making stupid moves with the touch bar and only 4 USB type c ports on their latest macs, no head phone jack on their phones and thinking about getting rid of it on their pro line notebooks as well, etc.).

    I am an iOS developer by trade and have over a dozen apple products and would still advise people against Apple unless they have a compelling reason to. Programming is a very compelling reason to, and I agree with this video's sentiment whole-heartedly, but we should be more critical of Apple's design choices rather than blindly accepting them.

  10. you bought a sony, what did you expect? i bought a dell 10 years ago with wxga, was amazing for a long time

  11. Simple answer regarding your PC experience… DON'T BUY SONY's. They were always trying to sell niche "cutting edge", expensive computers. They had horrible customer support, many driver issues that are poorly optimized, and sketchy hardware reliability. Not sure why you bought a second Sony after already having such a bad experience. Bottom line with PC's, you need to do your research and know what you are buying. True that this sucks for novice/beginner users, but for more advanced developers and professionals, they are responsible for doing the research. Do that, and your PC experience can be very good! I totally agree with why devs choose Mac's over PC's due to terminal being native to the OS, but when it comes to performance/hardware issues like that, I don't think you can compare all PC's to a proprietary MacBook in that respect. PC users have more options, but they are responsible for making a solid choice based on research and personal requirements….

  12. Macs are the best by far for programming, and for fun stuff like making music and video production.

  13. It would be actually scary to have a real conversation with this guy. While you are wondering if he's being sarcastic or not, he keeps the poker face real for so long with an uncanny valley dialogue. Actually what would be scarier is if he keeps it for so long that he gets stuck there and can't snap back into reality.

  14. Damn no no no. Mac don't have any code from Unix. It's not based on Unix. Only the command prompt have similar commands to Linux but that doesn't mean it is based on Unix

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