Giving away my MacBook Pro and going back to Linux

I’ve used GNU/Linux as my main and only desktop OS since more than 10 years (as a University student first and now at work).

I’ve always been fine with Linux and I never felt like I was missing something (except Skype, maybe – or a better multiscreen support on KDE). I would from time to time change my desktop environment to refresh the user experience when the UI started to become boring on the eyes (cycling between Unity, KDE, elementary, GNOME) and that purely aesthetic freedom felt great.

But I kept seeing a growing number of colleagues around me using Apple laptops. Were/Are they all blindly following the flavor of the week? No, I don’t think so, they’re smart people. I concluded that there had to be something really better about these MacBooks.

So I ordered one as my new work machine…

…and my experience with it has been positive (yes, past tense, it’s already over). Everything is there and works, the Desktop UI is very consistent (you notice this after so many years of Linux desktop :D), it’s pleasant to use and touch.

I’ve used it for 8 months and then I gave it back and ordered a System76 Lemur to re-embrace Linux.

From a professional point of view, to get the work done, there was really no substantial difference in using Mac OS or Linux. I use some terminals and an editor most of the times, then a browser, simplenote, HipChat. Basically all the software that I need is available and works well on both. My workflow is the same on the two OSs.

So why did I bother going back? I mean, if productivity is the same, I could have saved myself the inconvenience to make another switch.

Here are my reasons in order of importance:

  1. Open Source. I depend on open source, most of the engineers in tech do (Software engineers, DevOps, SysAdmins, etc). And this is not only for what runs on the servers. We all run plenty of open source tools on our laptops and our productivity is heavily determined by them. How would you work without git? Then filesystems, programming languages (Python, C/C++ compilers, scala, …), command-line utilities, Jenkins, Docker, VirtualBox, owncloud, VLC, transmission, … Open Source is so fundamental for me that the least that I can do is giving back. And this means fully embracing it and trying to contribute to some of the projects that I use. So, yes, my first reason for going back to Linux is ethical.
  2. Freedom. Simply put, if you don’t like something on your Desktop, make it better for you and everyone else. This is only possible with open source projects.
  3. Clear terms. Your main desktop OS comes with clear terms. You know what applications will do and if you have doubts, have a look at the source code.

That’s it.

As I said, “there was really no substantial difference” to get the work done, so the determining factor for going back to Linux had to be on some other – non technical level.

If you think that Linux on the desktop sucks, than start using it and help your DE of choice become great.


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