Nahuel Scotti

@singuerinc

I’m taking a break with macOS, I’m dating Linux — Part 1

January 12th 2017
Linux Mint 18 KDE with Arc theme

I must say that I’m in a complex situation.
Think about having your wife and your new girlfriend living in the same home. Weird right?

I can’t say to macOS: “Hey, she is Linux, my new girlfriend. She will stay here for a month, we are giving us a chance to know each other.”

After all, the MacBook is her home.

What happened with macOS?
As you know, macOS is not what she used to be.
Some people said that it’s because lately her father was too busy with his little brother ios and he doesn’t have the time to take care of her.

And what about Linux?
She is almost in a dream. Is our guest… actually my guest. She is using almost every resource in our home, for free. She is not doing too much for now, just watching how everything works at home. She is trying to learn more or less how we live.

What macOS thinks about this?
macOS is upset.

I must say that I’m not ready to be married 100% with Linux, and I don’t want to lose my beautiful relation with macOS. My situation with her could be fixed. But for now I have to deal with both.

But seriously, what happened with macOS?

The past weeks I have seen a lot of people complaining about Apple losing focus on the macOS and that it is not anymore “that” system. Sadly it is true.

I remember that I always updated the same day the OS was released or even earlier during the beta. I did’t care about the incompatibility with Adobe programs or some other software. I was super excited to see the latest features.

But this time, with macOS Sierra, took me at least two month to do it.
I did it because I felt that I was using something “old”, not because there was something new. There wasn’t such a new wow feature that I was interested or impressed. Although they have always “more than 1000 new features” I wasn’t attracted by any of them.

After the update, it worked the same way as before, nice!, but now it’s crashing a lot when I connect my external monitor! That was the time when I realized that it was a bad idea. And probably they are too busy fixing the battery issues with the new MacBook so they don’t care about my reports.

So, how did you get this idea of meeting Linux?

Back in 2014 I was thinking about buying a PC with Linux.

I needed a new computer, a faster one, because my “old” 24' iMac was not enough. But after thinking a lot about it (and spending a lot of money) I bought a new MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch). Mostly because I had it at work and it was working very well. 
I was very happy, but I felt that it was because the hardware, not the software.

The first thing you note when you open a new Mac is that it comes with a lot of stuff: Photo Booth, Photos, Maps, Mail, Garage Band, Calendar, Contacts, Dashboard (is anyone using it?), iTunes, Messages, FaceTime, Notes, Reminders, QuickTime, Notification Center, “Launchpad” (twice in my life I opened this nightmare by mistake), Safari: I used once to download Chrome. The first thing I always do is remove everything from the Dock and if is it possible, uninstall it.

I’m not an iPhone user, so 50% of these apps are useless for me. The other 50% are actually useless for everyone.

I don’t want to complain a lot about Apple because I think they are making a really good work for a huge amount of people. But from my point of view as a developer and old mac user the problem is that for me is not anymore that fantastic environment that used to be, or the only one with nice tools to work. Or maybe I simplify a lot my work environment and I don’t need anymore what they are giving.

Currently I don’t want to buy a new MacBook, an iPhone, or update to a new macOS version. I was one of those to want all these things. But now something is broken, they are doing something wrong because I don’t feel anything when I see the new MacBook or a new iPhone.

The wedding planning

Lately I realized that I’m using web applications or open-source applications (most of them packaged with Electron or similar) just because they are free or because are better.

I realized that I don’t need a Windows machine or a Mac, because I don’t use any “special/unique/only-for” software.

That’s when I started thinking about changing to Linux.

What they say about your new girlfriend?

Body: The first comment about Linux is probably: “It has horrible graphics”.
This is probably the same comment they have about Android, despite the fact that Material Design if far better than the “flat-inconsistent” iOS design. (I was twice iPhone user, so I know what I’m talking).
But probably it’s because they saw Android “Gingerbread” five years ago in a low-specs phone or Lubuntu in a Pentium 4. Not Android 7 on the Pixel or Linux Mint on an i7.

I agree that you get a better UI on Windows or macOS, but that’s probably because you are paying for it.

Take a look at this screenshot from Elementary OS:

Not bad, actually far better than a lot of icons from Apple or Microsoft.

Make up: “You don’t have Photoshop”
That’s true, is hard to find an alternative. In Linux you have GIMP but as I said before, everything has a price. GIMP 2.9 seems promising, the UI is improved a lot. 9 of 10 people I know use Photoshop just to crop an image. People usually try to find excuses when are afraid. You can do that with any app. If you are a heavy Photoshop user, then you probably also use other fancy programs so Linux is not suitable for you.

Yesterday I was using Inkscape, remembers me a lot to the old CorelDraw, it’s not as good as Illustrator, and it has also some UI issues to polish but it does the job. And it’s free!

Sex: “You can’t play games on Linux”
If you really want to play games, you have Steam on Linux. Yes, it’s true: Linux sucks like macOS with games. You need a PlayStation.

Skills: “You don’t have Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc”
Use Google Drive. It’s easy to use, free, and most of us have a gmail account. Or if you want a native app you can use LibreOffice.

Conclusions after 5 days

Current theme

I have been using Linux Mint 18 KDE in Virtualbox with all the resources available for five days. Not too much too say. Despite the fact that is running in a virtual machine the performance is really good, the system is responsive as macOS.

I was doing the same things that I usually do (code, testing, running containers, browsing, listen to music, etc) and there is no difference.

I’m native Spanish speaker so I use a lot the accents when I write, I found a way to write them, but should be something less complex than write unicode: Ctrl+Shift+U + 00e9 = é

Keyboards shortcut are probably the first thing you realize that is hard to get, but it’s a matter of time.

The touchpad is not working super well, when you tap the pointer moves, so it is hard to resize a window for example. So I’m using a mouse for now until I found a solution.

This relation is going forward, I know that we will have a hard time knowing each other, but after a month or so I will probably know if the change worth it or if I need to fall in love again with macOS.

Read the conclusions in this article.

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