When comparing GNU/Linux vs macOS, the Slant community recommends GNU/Linux for most people. In the question“What is the best operating system for a developer?” GNU/Linux is ranked 1st while macOS is ranked 2nd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Access to really powerful terminals
Pro Most software is open source
Pro Most likely also your deployment target
Makes testing while developing easier. According to a September 2014 study by W3 Techs, *nix based servers are used on over 2/3 of websites.
Pro Lots of development tools available
Pro Large percentage of Linux users are developers
Pro Package managers
You can install any library or package that you need (gcc, php, node) with just a couple of commands in the terminal.
Pro Most Linux distributions are free
Pro Follows the UNIX philosophy
The UNIX philosophy: 'Write programs that do one thing and do it well'. Since Linux itself follows this philosophy then it's very easy to start creating scripts and programs.
Pro A wide variety of distributions available
With a lot of variety, one can use the distribution that fits the type of work best because of the many choices that are given, instead of just one.
Pro Familiarity with Linux is often required from a developer
Nice, developer-friendly environment.
GNU/Linux handles desktop sessions differently than Windows. Users may customize their own sessions; in fact, a single user may use different desktop environments for different login sessions.
Pro Choose any type of desktop environment (or none)
Most Linux distributions support a range of desktop environments, be it plain old X, a tiling window manager or a fully fledged mammoth desktop like GNOME or KDE.
Pro Hardly ever crashes
Pro Works great on older hardware.
I've got some 7-10 year-old Dell laptops that Unix runs very well on where Windows would grind/drag/vomit.
Pro No telemetry, unlike Windows
Pro Powerful terminal
It's very similar to a Linux terminal.
Pro Based on Unix
macOS being a UNIX certified system means that you can install a lot more stuff with a lot fewer headaches then if you were on Windows.
Pro Polished UI
Pro Best support for Objective-C
Pro Easy access to lots of great dev tools
There's a large selection of great development tools available for OSX. The operating system itself comes bundled with a powerful terminal emulator, called Terminal. Additionally, Apple provides tools, like Xcode, an IDE that contains a comprehensive collection of tools for developing OSX and iOS software, for free.
Pro Ideal setup, out of the box
Next to no custom configuration is necessary.
Pro Lots of open-source software available
Because it's Unix under the fancy GUI, most open source ports easily to it.
Pro Great Git GUI tools
Tower, Kaleidoscope, SourceTree
Pro Has too many special tools for devolopers
Pro More commercial software and gaming support compared to other Unix systems
Adobe CC, MS Office, Steam games.
Pro Great Modifier key layout
Con Issues with drivers if your hardware is not officially supported
Con Low user base to develop to
Con Steep learning curve
Con Maintenance is time-consuming
Con Too much customization
To get features on par with OS X, you need to research packages, install them and configure them. Even then, it may not be as good as OS X.
Con A wide variety of distributions available
With a lot of variety, one cannot deploy to a single system and has to prepare for a bundle of distributions, instead of just one.
Con Less and worse professional software is developed, due to the low user base
Depending on what type of work you are doing, you may find Linux software lacking compared to their Win/Mac counterparts.
For example in game development, tools, like Unreal Engine or Unity, usually lack in quality or novelty compared with Windows. Having crashes or bugs that aren't fixed for a while.
OSX is tied Apple hardware and Apple hardware tends to be expensive.
Con No native package management
A comparison of package managers available for OSX can be found here.
Con Most software is closed source
For people who like to use open source tools for their development work, this may be a problem. There's plenty of advantages to open source software, one of which is the ability to tinker with and customize the tools themselves that you are using. Although there's plenty of FOSS tools available for Mac, especially through Homebrew, the number of packages available is much lower than the number of packages available for any Linux distribution.
Con Very few options for running hosted, on the cloud
Con Silly modifier keys layout
The Command key is strange, Alt is where Super should be.
Con Limited hardware
Usually, the hardware that can run this can't be upgraded.