Linux vs. macOS: Which Has Better Features for Developers?

Linux and MacOS – these are just some of the popular operating systems that you might already be familiar with. The topic of operating systems is frequently debated among developers. Knowing the differences between these operating systems can be useful especially if you’re a developer who’s looking for a system that fits your needs.

Linux vs macOS

Linux: Standout Features

A popular operating system that many developers love to use is Linux. Its being free and customizable are just some of the main strengths of the Linux operating system. To know more about Linux, read on! 

It’s Free

Yes, you heard it – it’s free! This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Linux compared to other operating systems. All you need to do is download it from the website. There’s no need to buy a license for it! So if you’re a developer looking to try something new, then Linux might be an excellent option for you. 

An Open-Source Software 

Linux is actually one of the first open-source software. This means that you can download the source code and customize it to your liking. Because it is open source, the sky’s the limit with Linux. As long as you have the  Plus, there’s an added advantage of increased security with this type of software. Due to the open nature, experts can easily identify security issues with the code, even before the software is released to the public. 

Strong Community

One of the best assets of Linux is its strong community. Many active developers discuss everything about Linux in online forums. There is always someone to help developers; so if you’re frequently encountering Linux-related issues, just ask away! There’s surely a developer out there who’s willing to help. 


For developers who don’t like being placed inside a box, Linux will be the perfect operating system for you to try out new things! Thanks to its customizability, you can toy around with different elements – like the main kernel or GUI. In most operating systems, there is only one user interface (UI). This isn’t the case for Linux. You can try out multiple UIs and customize them to your liking. Yes, there may be a steeper learning curve in order to do this, but the user will end up with the interface that is suitable for them. 

Support for Programming Languages

Lastly, Linux is a great operating system due to its support of multiple programming languages. This comes in handy for the developers out there. Python, Ruby, C++ – name it, Linux supports it. You may encounter some issues here and there, but it mostly runs smoothly. In the event that it doesn’t, it’s worth checking the packages from the distribution repositories. 

MacOS: Standout Features

MacOS is another operating system that developers love to use. If you’re a big Apple fan, then choosing MacOS might be a no-brainer. But, there’s so much more to it than just the brand – here’s why MacOS might be the operating system for you.

Unix-Based Operating System

You might be thinking, what is Unix? Well, it’s an operating system that is designed for programmers. One of the offerings is a built-in terminal which can handle almost any command you want to input. This terminal allows developers to run applications, execute commands, and have full autonomy over the operating system. For other operating systems like windows, this kind of terminal does not come with the OS out of the box – it usually has to be installed separately. 

Simple User Interface

Ask any Apple fan what they like the most about Apple products – at least one of the responses has to be regarding its simplicity. Many developers are attracted to MacOS because of its simple and clean user interface that you can improve with the added gestures that come with Mac computers. The workflow is much more streamlined in MacOS compared to other systems, so if you’re looking for a developer who prefers a fluid experience, then this might make you prefer Mac OS. 

Developing Apps for Apple Devices

This may not come off as a shocker, but a huge advantage of developing on MacOS is the ability to develop applications for Apple devices. What you might now know is that it’s also possible to develop applications for Apple on a Linux operating system, however this may come off as a bit more challenging. If you’re interested in developing applications for the Apple ecosystem, then using MacOS is definitely the way to go.

The Apple Ecosystem

A main selling point of using Apple products is definitely its ecosystem. Once you experience having multiple Apple products, you’ll never go back. Data transferring and app sharing is made much easier. Although this advantage is more from a personal perspective, MacOS might be the way to go if you have multiple Apple products. No product is perfect, so you still might encounter some issues related to your Apple device. Knowing how to solve issues on Apple is a great start to taking care of your precious devices. 

Meanwhile, other operating systems like Linux can only be used on a computer, which other people can find isolating especially if you want to make use of your other devices. This all comes down to choice, however, because some developers aren’t too particular with this feature.

Top-Notch Performance

When it comes to performance, you won’t be disappointed. Performance is king on MacOS. Most of the computer parts in Macs are built by Apple, and the software, too, is made by Apple. As a result, you get an optimized computer that works even with – on face value – underpowered specifications. You just don’t get this level of optimization with other operating systems, and that is why many developers stick to MacOS. Of course, you still need proper maintenance to make use of the top-notch performance, so don’t forget to clean your Apple laptop

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your preference. No operating system is perfect, but there are features in each one that matter more to you – that could be the customizability or the user interface. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that both Linux and MacOS are excellent operating systems. You can’t go wrong; all you have to do is know what you’re looking for.

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Bash Sarmiento


Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management and traveling are translated in his works.

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