Ubuntu vs OSX: Where Ubuntu wins

Funny thing happened today.

As an expat Australian living in the UK I thought it would be great to listen to a little Australian Rules Football - AFL, if you will. So I jump over to the AFL website,

www.afl.com.au

on my windows machine, but it runs out of battery. So I jump on my other half's Mac mini because it is conveniently plugged in to a good set of speakers. Turns out that the AFL broadcast the radio audio for each game in WMV format. Great. In Firefox on the Mac mini I get an error message about missing plugins saying somethig about installing the program Flip4Mac. But if you download Flip4Mac, you only get a demo version, which to me means that at some point I am going to have to and over my credit card details to listen to the AFL (which I would get in XP for free). So I try Safari.

Again, I get an error message, this time I get the added option of installing Windows Media Player (WMP) 9. Now, I know WMP is up to version 11, but if I can get it for free and if I can listen to my footy then I don't care so much. So I begin to download WMP 9. It turns out that WMP 9 comes in StuffIt (sitx) format. So to expand this file format I need to install StuffIt Expander (not a big drama and it is free). StuffIt installed, I expand the file and install WMP 9 and fire up the AFL audio again ...only to get other error message, this time in WMP 9, 'One or more arguments aren't valid'. Great.

About half way through my Mini mac dramas, I wonder whether my Ubuntu (Feisty) installation on my laptop would fair any better. So in between my Apple downloads and installs, I start accessing the AFL website and all important audio broadcast on my Ubuntu setup. I fire up Firefox and I enter the web address. After a few clicks I select the audio streaming option. A box opens up but nothing much happens. No error messages, but no audio. So I right click on the newly opened up box and select the option to play the stream in Totem Movie Player. I get prompted to install some codecs. When that finishes, I get asked to install some more. This could not have taken more than 5 minutes. I am listening to the AFL at the right now.

I have always considered myself a prospective PC to Apple switcher. I like the way that the Apple interface and hardware looks. But the 'just works' slogan that Apple promote just isn't true. I have had issues with my wi-fi router as well that I have never had with either Windows or Ubuntu machines. There are work-arounds, to be sure, but then don't say it 'just works'. And a free operating system should never beat a paid for operating system when it comes to this 'just works' philosophy. Never. I am not quite so sure whether I want to make the leap to Apple.

As an aside, while I do not think I am quite ready to make a full time move to Ubuntu but I can say that it is catching up to XP fast (yes, I am aware that Windows is now up to the Vista release but for many Vista does not represent the leap forward required to vindicate the update). I don't like the way Ubuntu handles network drives (even Puppy Linux does a better job, in my view) and I can't play my Windows Media songs that I have purchased over the web. There is no real replacement for my copy of Photoshop Elements 4.0 in the linux world (the GIMP might be powerful, but I struggle to use it) and Ubuntu still looks very average - aesthetically - compared to XP, let alone OSX.

But the way that Ubuntu is advancing ... you never know, I might be an Ubuntu switcher sooner than later.