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A company are offering me the option of getting a Linux, Macintosh, or Windows machine upon joining. I want to ask what specs the Macintosh, Linux, and Windows laptops will be because I would prefer developing on a powerful machine from a good manufacturer.

I also want to ask about the distro for the Linux machine, since I prefer Linux but if the Linux distro is one I am not familiar with I may as well go with a Macintosh machine instead.

Also, I'm not sure whether machine means laptop or desktop.

Is asking the above questions inappropriate, pushy, or unprofessional?

How do I ask such questions in a way that doesn't come off as being too picky, and come across negatively?

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    "Hi - can you share the specs of the machines to help me choose the best option?" - sounds reasonable to me. Jul 23 at 15:22
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    Is asking the above questions inappropriate, pushy, or unprofessional? - Why would asking for the specs of the tools you're going to be using to do the job they hired you to do be inappropriate, pushy, or unprofessional? No, it isn't. Ask.
    – joeqwerty
    Jul 23 at 16:08
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    It doesn't hurt to ask but I'd guess the Mac will be under powered relative to the Linux/Windows machine. The latter 2 options will probably be the same hardware. Jul 27 at 10:23
  • @DeanMacGregor: "I'd guess the Mac will be under powered relative to the Linux/Windows machine" — or if it's M1 Mac, over-powered (depending on use-case). Jul 28 at 11:56
  • @PaulD.Waite What I meant was that Macs are typically more expensive than not Macs and the underlying thing I was guessing at is that they spend the same money on all their machines. That wasn't meant to be a knock on any inherent Mac qualities. Jul 28 at 12:06
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Since they offer you several choices, it's okay to ask.

As an IT Domain Manager, I would (and do) find it immature if someone request a better computer that what we have, especialy if the employee isn't IT related or doesn't have special needs (ex : dev). This is the case where there are no choice.

When I propose multiple computer model to an user and if he/she try to find which one is the best solution, this isn't just professionnal, this is also appreciable !

You can just write an email and say that you're happy to have multiple option and then you can simply ask for the specs because it would help you to make your choice.

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    I wouldn't describe it as immature but naive. Naive to think that bureaucratic places that don't offer everyone super high specced laptops will make an exception for them. Most places get laptops that are too cheap because those involved are optimising for their own KPIs (usually cost). They don't have to worry about productivity loss. People are typically the most expensive thing a company pays for but many places happily let them sit around waiting for files to load and for their PCs to chug along in order to save a bit on hardware Jul 24 at 12:55
  • "As an IT Domain Manager, I would (and do) find it immature if someone request a better computer that what we have" I think that there can be good reasons for an employee to request a better computer. For instance, if you've got a data scientist doing machine learning with Tensorflow, the code won't even compile unless they've got a computer with a Nvidia graphics card.
    – nick012000
    Jul 29 at 8:03
  • Some people ask for better computer because they look fancier. We have a pool of computer that match our standard and we really have some people whining about not having the last one and it's always the same people that act like this. As IT, we decide what computer your need, this is our job, not their.
    – PowerCat
    Jul 29 at 8:31
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If they are asking you to make a choice, wanting to have the relevant information upon which one would assess the options would not be considered pushy or unprofessional. I would expect they'd have specs handy and doubt you would be the first to ask.

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