As someone who has jumped back and forth between different operating systems including Linux, OpenBSD, and macOS I find I’m most productive on macOS.
Countless days have been spent finding the right tools, tweaking various configuration files and tuning systems just to my liking. This never lasted though and the cycle would repeat itself. The problem was that I spent more time trying to find this perfect setup than I did actually using my computer for anything else. I could never quite find the right setup. Wonder if a lot of the folks over at /r/unixporn have the same problem?
Fortunately, with macOS there’s less of this. Some might call this a restriction or a lack of freedom but I find it almost relieving.
Of course there are many people out there who have no problem installing a distro and getting on with their lives. I’m jealous of those who can but I’ve tried and it never worked. Something always popped up which lead me down a rabbit hole of tweaking and fiddling.
Until this year I was using a ThinkPad X230 running Debian for over two years. Now I’m currently running a 2016 MacBook Pro (sans TouchBar) and have been happy so far. Maybe it’s indicative of my personality or maybe I’m getting older, I’m not sure.
Yeah, I used to have this problem. These days (and I do think it has something to do with getting older) I install Ubuntu and move on with my life. I’ve considered switching to Arch for newer versions of things, but there’s just too much fiddling required. I really don’t care why or how font anti-aliasing works, for example, I just want anti-aliased fonts. Antergos looks promising, though. It appears to be to Arch what Ubuntu originally was to Debian.
ouch, you’ve put your finger directly on the one problem i have with arch. overall it was a pleasure to use, and i definitely enjoyed using it day-to-day more than i did ubuntu, but i was never quite happy with the fonts, whereas ubuntu looked perfect straight out of the box. the problem is it’s really hard to tweak the settings and tell if a font actually looks good; it’s more a feeling that something is subtly wrong but you can’t quite tell what.
 my machine died; i will probably install arch on the new one too
Fonts are exactly one the issues I was referring to in my previous comment. At least a few years ago it was the case (maybe still is) that Ubuntu used some type of patched fonts. It was either libfontconfig or some other package which handled the better rendering. You could of course install said package on Debian but any further upgrades would overwrite it and on reboot your fonts would look like crap again. Package pinnning with apt is always an option here but… yeah, like I said, back down the rabbit hole.
Indeed, Debian used to have pretty poor font rendering, at least when compared to derivatives like Ubuntu. I think some of this was caused by subpixel rendering being disabled due to patent issues (now since resolved, I believe).
From the Debian Wiki:
The default fonts in Debian derived distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint have better looking fonts when compared to default Debian Squeeze since the ubuntu-based distros have heavily patched cairo or freetype2 whereas Vanilla Debian doesn’t do patching as much as they do. A lot of things about the cairo package has changed recently in wheezy and unstable which have brought almost the same font setup to Debian (But not Squeeze or old) but you have to set it up to your liking.
I think Linux has been usable on the desktop for ~50% of what I do since I was first introduced to it about six years ago. There’ve been refinements, but from my perspective it’s been basically the same since I started using it.
I think I could fairly easily migrate to using almost any Linux distro for my current job. I spend 99% of my time in a terminal, web browser, slack, or a webframe of some sort around a webapp for conveniences sake (so ultimately just a terminal and web browser).
Unfortunately, the graphics applications available for Linux just don’t cut it compared to the options available on macOS and Windows. While my day job doesn’t involve doing that much graphic work, I do a lot of it on the side for myself and groups I’m a part of. Losing high quality graphics applications basically makes Linux full-time a non-starter for me.
I am nervous about the future of OS X or whatever they’re styling it these days, but when I jump, it’s going to be to Windows, I fear; but then, I am an atypical Mac user, as I preferred pre-NeXT Mac OS to what has come after. I admire how far Unix has come as a useful workstation, but it lacks the applications that OS X has, lacks the polish that a commercial system has, and is still, at the end of the day, Unix underneath.
I’ve switched back and for between macOS and various Linuxes for about a decade and there’s a few warnings mostly specific to Ubuntu:
If you want a Mac-like experience then you need a top-of-the-line computer. Just because Ubuntu can be installed on a cheaper PC doesn’t mean you’ll get the same snappiness.
Unity, despite so many improvements, is still really slow. That search you see in the linked gif is about as fast as search gets and the graphics are really heavyweight.
This will go away in maybe 5 years (Snap packages and the Ubuntu Software Centre), but mixing libraries is still an issue on Linux. You may be surprised to know that by downloading a single application you may also be downloading all of KDE and some weirdness can happen with that.
Checking the various Linux sites like Phoronix and OMG Ubuntu is very helpful in knowing about updates on Ubuntu down the pipeline and making sure an update doesn’t crash your particular laptop.
Buy your computer from System76. Don’t even bother with anyone else. System 76 is the only company I trust to provide real, long-term support for computers with Ubuntu pre-installed.
You get rebranded Clevo machines, sometimes not ideal for Linux. You’re also limited by the selection of Clevo machines they have, and they don’t have a good thin and light.
From my (somewhat limited understanding) Dell has been providing some real support for the developer branded XPS line and ensuring it continues to support Ubuntu, better than System76 has.
But I’ve also only heard either aggressively average reviews of System76 which basically say “yeah it’s fine, but you could get a laptop from any major manufacturer and slap linux on it and have the same or better experience”, or absolute horror stories.
But also I’ve never really encountered a laptop that I couldn’t “just” install Ubuntu, Debian, or Arch on, and have it function perfectly with minimal issue (minimal being the same amount of tweaking, setup, or modification that an OEM Windows install would require). So I don’t entirely understand the concern everyone has about laptops and linux support.
For the record, I just buy ThinkPads and they “just work” with pretty much every OS I’ve tried; even Windows has no driver trouble.
Perhaps I am missing something fundamental, but if anything snap will make the problem worse because every application bundles its dependencies so you’ll be downloading “all of KDE” every time instead of once. If a package is currently erroneously pulling in too many dependencies then the package maintainer simply made a mistake and would’ve made the same mistake with a snap package.
I guess you will at least avoid the conflicts between the different versions of «all of KDE» that different packages prefer. Maybe adding enough filesystem deduplication and file-by-file content-addressed retrieval could solve the storage problem. Using Nix package manager convinces me that deduplication is not the hard part of the problem.
I guess you will at least avoid the conflicts between the different versions of «all of KDE» that different packages prefer.
I have only used RPM- and dpkg-based distros, but those at least have supported the side-by-side installation of multiple versions of the same package for a very long time.
All the RPM-based and dpkg-based distros I have ever seen, explicitly support installing multiple versions of some packages side-by-side but there is usually a way to get a version dependency conflict with less-polished packages (that are still in the official repository).