As a professional IT geek of some 26 years, (and counting), it may come as a surprise, to some, that in all that time I have never once laid hands on a Mac OS PC!
The bulk of my professional IT career has been spent in the company of DOS, OS/2, Windows, Unix, and briefly, Linux. In that order. Professionally, Mac OS devices have crossed my path on occasion, but those occasions have been extremely rare.
And as for home computing, well Windows has always ruled the roost.
However, that may be about to change ...
I've always been a fan of building my own PC kit for home use. I've been building PC systems since the heady days of the 80486 CPU.
As processor technology progressed in to the Pentium era and beyond, the one thing that remained consistent throughout all of my home brew PC builds was the operating system (OS). Specifically, the OS was always a variant of Microsoft Windows. That trend remains through to the present day. The OS of choice for my current collection of home PC systems is Windows 7 x64.
My home PCs are used for a variety of things, but primarily, I use them for my photography workflow. I use several Adobe products to help me with this, along with some other 3rd party tools. I also use my PCs for gaming, but only when I'm not working on photographs :-)
Now, to be fair to Microsoft, and, in my humble opinion, Windows 7 is the most stable Windows OS I have ever used. I can honestly say that I've never experienced any serious issues with it, nor have I ever had to fight with it in order for it to function for me. It just works.
So why am I considering a change of OS away from Windows?
The next logical progression, in terms of Windows operating systems, would be to migrate to Windows 8, or more specifically, Windows 8.1.
Sadly, to date my experiences with Windows 8 haven't been very positive. Most of my gripes are centred around the hideous, (Sorry, I do think it's pretty awful), Metro UI.
I suspect that if you are running Windows 8 on a touch screen enabled device, then the Metro UI experience is a whole lot better. Unfortunately, any time I have experienced the Metro UI, it has been on a regular PC with no touch screen interface, which has made navigation around the OS a bit of a nightmare quite frankly. The only way I have found to bypass the Metro UI, and to restore the Start button interface, has been to install a 3rd party utility.
Now, I know that a lot of the issues that I have experienced with the Metro UI are addressed in Windows 8.1. Certainly, adding the start button back in as an option is a major step in the right direction. However, for me the damage has already been done. The initial impressions formed from the previous interactions with the Metro UI, I feel, cannot be undone.
Which way next?
So, what to do?
I had looked at perhaps going down the Linux route. However, given that I am somewhat dependant upon Adobe products to assist me with my photography workflow, I had to discount Linux as an option. (Yes, I know GIMP is a great alternative to Photoshop, but 80% of my workflow is based around Lightroom.)
OSX seemed to be the next logical alternative. Everything I use within my photography workflow is available within OSX. However, when looking at alternative PC solutions to facilitate my access to OSX, I soon discovered that my budget would be hit very hard, given the cost of the hardware I had chosen to replace my hand cranked, Windows PC. You have to run OSX on Apple hardware, as you can't buy a copy of OSX and install it on your PC.
Or so I thought.
Enter the Hackintosh
After searching for alternative ways to get access to OSX, I discovered Hackintosh. This interesting concept of hacking your existing PC hardware in order to run Mac OSX intrigued me greatly.
Initially, I was somewhat sceptical about doing this to one of my own PCs, as there is a very small risk of damaging your PC hardware. However, the more I researched and read about hacking OSX to run on "regular" PC hardware, the more I seemed to understand the processes involved, which, in turn, made me love the idea of trying it.
Now that I have a good grasp of what's involved, and that I already have pretty decent hardware to build upon, I will be starting on the journey towards creating my own Hackintosh PC.
This makes my inner geek sqee with delight at the prospect!
The Road Ahead
I should point out that I actually, and genuinely, do not have any objection to purchasing a Mac/Macbook. From what I understand, Apple's hardware is very well manufactured, and offers great value for money/return on initial investment. I suspect that at some point in my future, I will take the plunge and purchase a retina Macbook Pro to give me some scope for mobility within my photography workflow.
However, I still want to try a Hackintosh build. With that in mind, I will endeavour to keep this blog updated with my progress, and, undoubtedly, my failures. It will be an interesting challenge!