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Our company has a client that is a big, slow, national company. They don't know how to provide us the VPN access; instead, they sent us some computers with Windows in German, so we can access their system. The issue is that my company just accepted this as it is.

I am a Mac user and while I do not believe in flame wars (which OS is better and so on) - I am simply more productive with OSX. I have a lot of notes in OSX software, have a lot of tools, software licenses etc. I am simply "in the zone". And yes, I was working with Windows 10 years ago, so have experiences from both worlds.

The issues with client laptops are:

  • they are slow and heavy
  • they are windows
  • windows is in german (i dont speak it)
  • we have limited rights what to install and use

I am a developer and I believe that computer is a tool and should not be forced by a client or by the company. I am simply the most efficient with my Mac; "you are paying me to code, so give me the what I am best with.".

Should I keep fighting and continue with asking to work on Mac (which arguments should I use?) and to solve VPN in other way OR should I accept that "client is the only boss" and act "professionally" and simply use provided laptops, even if that gives me some sort of frustration?

edit

The issue with the laptops is actually the issue with the VPN. Client simply do not know how to set it (whatever the reason they have). They tried, but they were not able to solve that; and finally they said: here are some laptops to fix the VPN issues. How come this is the only solution out there? I am 100% sure there is a way how to solve the VPN connectivity in the 21st century, so we all continue working as before. I also believe that having computer-agnostic environment is a good and healthy thing; similar as having the IDE-agnostic developers environment.

Shouldn't my company actually solve the VPN issue for the client instead of agreeing on using provided laptops? And then if there is no other option left, accept the clients computers? Shouldn't that be even cheaper?

edit 2

Clarification: it's not that Windows is making me less happy - it is the fact that being less productive makes me less happy; even if that is 5%. So this is NOT a question about the relationship towards the client! This is about the relationship between me and my company. In the same manner the company expects the best from me (and I do give that), I do expect from them to solve all the technical (and other) issues we have on the way. To make it trivial: if my chair brakes, I would expect company to replace it. Instead, I feel like there is no effort done to solve the real issue, which is VPN. And if there is no other way and if someone explains that to me, I would be fine (and not writing all this:).

edit 3

  • My Company gave me Mac when I started working there
  • Client has a project for my Company
  • I started working with Mac. All good.
  • At one point we need VPN for client's infrastructure that was not ready yet and not needed yet
  • Client could not set the VPN
  • Client sent NEW GermanWindows computers that works with VPN
  • My Company said OK, didn't tried to address VPN issue other way
  • Now I have 2 computers: Mac and Windows
  • I am suppose to use Windows computer now on since it has VPN.
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Ultimately you will have to "settle" for the resources they provide you with; if they want you to develop the project on some dinosaur computer then that is their call (and mistake perhaps).

Anyways, I think you have alternatives here. The most evident is to virtualize your preferred OSX in that Windows machine. This way you will use the provided resources while using the tools and experience you already have with that OS. Of course, ask them beforehand if they authorize such installation, but I see no reason why to decline that request.

Now, if they continue to be unreasonable, I suggest you talk to your manager and express your concerns about the productivity levels you will get using those resources. He/she can then decide how to communicate that to the client, and perhaps make them agree on what you want.

Although it's been quite some time since I used a Windows machine (*nix stole my heart) I am sure that you may be able to change the language settings on the machine. It may take some time googling your way around in that foreign language before you arrive to those settings, but after that your overall understanding should improve.

Update: Seems that virtualizing OSX on a Windows machine is against "Apple's Licence", as indicated in comments. Seems that doing that should not be recommended then (should... ;) ).

Thus, besides trying the language change, seems that settling for that computer is perhaps the only option in this case, so I suggest you try convince them by all means possible to permit the use of your preferred OS.

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    I imagine many / most companies (especially of the not-allowing-VPN-let's-send-you-some-computers-instead variety, and when it's been explicitly mentioned that OP has limited rights) would decline a request to virtualize another OS on one of their machines. That seems like something that would open a ton of security holes. – Dukeling Feb 23 '18 at 21:33
  • @Dukeling well let's hope not, or OP will have really few options other than settling for the Dinosaur. The language setting is also safer, though. Now if a company not only declines VPNs, and own computers, but also declines things like virtualization then I would say they are limiting themselves to mediocrity, and the project will have to go on with those impaired resources. – DarkCygnus Feb 23 '18 at 21:51
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    Shoot.. let the OP go back to pen and paper... UPS mail back the code. – Isaiah3015 Feb 23 '18 at 21:52
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    While running a virtual copy of MacOS on a Windows box is physically possible, it's a violation of the MacOS license. Per Apple's license, you can only run a virtual copy of MacOS on Apple hardware. – Charles E. Grant Feb 23 '18 at 22:09
  • @CharlesE.Grant good point. Updated the answer accordingly, thanks. – DarkCygnus Feb 24 '18 at 0:27
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Our company has a client that is a big, slow, national company. They don't want to (or know how) to provide us the VPN access, instead, they sent us some computers with Windows in German.

Not sure to read if big, slow, national is good or not ... [rhetorical] Is it Deutsche Bahn or Bayer AG?

They might know something about VPN, especially if you provide them with a quick infosession. They knew you'd be able to easily alter the language defaults of Windows.

I am a Mac user and while I do not believe in flame wars (which os is better and so on) - I am simply more productive with OSX. I have a lot of notes in OSX software, have a lot of tools, software licenses etc.

You open by dissing the company and it's ways, not a fan of big, slow, national and don't like the tools. Why not explain that they ought to be tiny, quick and operate out of their garage; you'll supply the tools and they can do the work.

  • If the client and job contracted are no good then why agree to them?

I am a developer and I believe that computer is a tool ...

Should I keep fighting and continue with asking to work on Mac (which arguments should I use?) OR should I accept that "client is the only boss" and act "professionally" and simply use provided laptops, even if that gives me frustration.

  • If you can't use your tools and transfer the work over then that's your answer.

  • Don't fight with the client.

  • You can politely explain this to your boss - your boss is your boss, not the client.

If you have a list of preconditions and procedures your boss ought to lay down for the clients have at it. I've done it. You need to be correct, I'm not sure you've made a convincing argument here.


If you need to use your own tools to be most productive and efficient let the boss know.

If you just can't work like that then I guess you've got to speak up.

A business (where you work) needs to make a certain amount of money per square foot. Be careful with your manspacing if you're not bringing in the bucks.

The client is big and national. If they don't pay enough that might explain how they got so big. If they do pay enough you're going to want to deal with them, if you want work and money.

Just do your job - If I was your manager I'd say "This is what we need, accomplish it quickly and correctly to improve your standing here. If you can't do the work it's great that you brought that up, I'll assign it to someone else.".

  • Understood. See my edit - I got that "get the job done" what you are talking about, but I wonder should my company solve VPN issues for good instead of doing what is the easiest solution: take laptops and shutup. To answer to your last line, I might say: "Listen, that is fine; but can you please try to fix VPN issues with the client since we have the IT departement and guys who know to solve that? Did you tried everything as my boss to solve things in what I believe its more proper way so we can all be happy? If this is the only option left, I am ok with it. Is it?". – igr Feb 24 '18 at 9:53
  • Your boss ought to have a contract written with the client that VPN is necessary for you to work, "client will set it up or you will fly in a technician for them", "computers must be Mac", etc. Without the contract client is trying to be helpful, boss is a bungler; you are either stuck or tell boss to fix. You must make enough to put up with it. Boss wants big rich client to pay the bills. Client wants results. You want to use your own tools. --- Each must tell the other but the bottom line comes: Who tells who, who listens to what they are told. Who has the $, who wants the $. U fix it. – Rob Feb 24 '18 at 14:51
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    @igr - The other issue is German law. Some laws covering data privacy mean that data must be stored in-country. Infrastructure costs will peak with the addition of domestic walls that must be erected in line with the online services. So they want you to VPN to the laptop, plug it in stick it under your desk and use your Mac. Otherwise client needs to ensure that all their policies and German law are enforced outside their country, at your office (home, Internet Cafe, when you leave the company); easier to give you a laptop, but use your own computer connected through it. Or see prior answer. – Rob Feb 24 '18 at 15:27

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