Not by force of habit

Today @TheConstructor mentioned that he'd happily switch to Linux if there was an adoption of the MacOS window management and of course I could not resist to disagree, as the window management of MacOS and Windows is one of the things I hate most about those. In his reply he said that he thinks one grows accustomed to something and there are advocates for any UI/UX decision.

While he is probably right about the latter part (sadly, looking at almost any website laden with javascript shittery all over the place and most desktop applications), I can not agree to the former statement. While there are clearly individual differences, I often experienced, especially in software, feeling that one of the options is vastly superior, at least for me. However, smaller details then again boil down to habit or taste.

Window management: Tiled vs. stacked

Well, window management startet the two-tweet-discussion, so I will begin here. While on Windows and OS X one can agree on the default window manager to be the window manger, on Linux there is a whole zoo of window managers. However, the most notable distinction is the underlying paradigm of the window managers: Are windows thought as tiles, arranged next to each other by default, or as pieces of paper, stacked on top of each other (in spirit of the desktop-metaphor)? After using stacked window managers, from Windows 3.11 up to and including XP, then followed by KDE and XFCE, I finally tried tiled window managers and was immediately hooked. But even the switch from Windows to Linux, using KDE, was an immediate improvement, as the virtual desktops make so much of a difference.

Indeed I did not keep my first tiled window manager for long, as I I quickly abandoned wmii and found xmonad and even after dabbling a bit with dwm and awesome, I returned to xmonad. However this decision was more a matter of taste, in contrast to tiling, which does not get in my way as much as stacked window managers.

Operating system: Linux vs. Windows

This is quite similar: While I was a long term Windows user and quite familiar with the system, it only needed a short test drive on Linux to convince me of its superiority. In fact, I noticed that many habits I adopted from Windows were just there to work around the system, whereas in Linux I could just drop them and get on with my life and my work. For example writing a GUI to every little program was just a necessary for the bad integration of text processing in the OS.

Contrasting Linux to other unixoid operating systems, it is indeed a matter of habit. Of course I probably would not use MacOS for its proprietary nature and lack of trustworthy full disk encryption, but looking at the BSDs or Solaris heritage, there is not much of an real advantage of Linux to those.

In choice of Linux distribution, there is a similar distinction. I was immediately hooked on Gentoo and then quickly adopted to Funtoo, but the latter decision was more a matter of taste, while using portage is just so much more pleasing than pacman, aptitude or netpkg.

Sports: Lifting weights vs. everything else

I never liked sports, in particular nothing involving a ball. Swimming was kind of OK and bicycling is quite pleasant, was it is also my primary mode of transportation. But aside from this, I never really enjoyed sports, although at some point in my life I noticed that it was kind of a necessity, considering I was sitting on my fat butt all day long.

However, the first time I stood under a bar and squatted, I got bit by the iron bug. There was just no question that I will enjoy lifting weights, even though the empty bar was not much of a weight back then. But the mechanics of lifting, the simple geometry, it is just right. Not too much technique, but enough to keep you engaged. One might also rationalize that it is the healthiest sport, but who cares. Squatting is just so perfect.

Again, it is more a matter of habit and possibility that I mainly powerlift, albeit I learned a bit of olympic lifting during my C trainer certification. Strongman would also be nice, but in the end, I enjoy it all.

Editors: Vim vs. Emacs

Oh, the holy war. I often half-jokingly say, that I respect any editor choice, as long it is vim or Emacs. But to be honest, if you've made another choice, you failed as a person. Here it was kind of a two step process. When I tried learning Emacs, the learning curve was quite steep, but I enjoyed it and already saw no way back. Nope. Never, ever. But I never tried vim. Again I was almost instantaneous convinced, although half my typing went somewhere, as I always forgot to drop into edit mode. Yet still I can respect Emacs, for it is a powerful editor and not just some text-input-thingy with marginal editing support. However, vim is just more to my taste.

Some things are much better suited for you

So, after visiting these examples, I think that there are some things which are simply better, maybe not in general, but at least for you as an individual. Many habits simply exist to make suboptimal choices work. It is striking that in each case the major preference reveals itself immediately, while minor differences require some thought, decision and then are more about taste and habit.