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    Mitchell Hashimoto has published an insanely easy way to get an amazing setup on M1 machines. Basically you develop inside a NixOS VM and use graphical applications in the macOS host. Best of both worlds IMO.

    https://twitter.com/mitchellh/status/1452721115009191938?s=20

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      not sure what the point of NixOS here though…

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        Relentless advocacy. You can’t have a thread without a Nix user promoting it.

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          Can’t really speak for Mitchell, but AFAIK he’s also generally using nix and nix-darwin on macOS, so I’d guess it’s NixOS for continuity and code re-use.

          Personally, I would still re-iterate your question–a big part of what motivated me to climb Nix mountain was to be able to uninstall VirtualBox and Vagrant (sorry, mitchellh!) and reclaim the storage, memory, and battery-life that they’d usually squander. (There’s obviously some stuff that just won’t run on macOS; if one of those is a pillar of your dev env I understand settling on a VM.)

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            Developing on macOS in a baremetal language is becoming increasingly annoying and slow. NixOS, even when virtualized, feel snappier and you can use the usual tooling (gdb, valgrind, etc) without issues, while on macOS there’s a new hurdle put by Apple every release. As for NixOS specifically vs another distro, I guess that was just his preference but I’m personally falling in love with it too because of the reproducibility of changes. I now have this setup both on a M1 air and a M1 mini and I can sync them with a single command.

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              Hmm, it’s pretty painless for me. The LLVM toolchain is pretty good, you have lldb and address sanitizer, and homebrew for libraries. It’s not as nice as developing on Linux, but I’d say it seems to be getting better over time as llvm matures, not worse.

              The lack of valgrind is sometimes a bit painful, but AFAIU that’s mostly just because it hasn’t been ported to macOS-on-ARM yet, not due to anything fishy Apple is doing. Besides, ASan has mostly replaced valgrind for me.

              I may be wrong though, if you have any concrete examples of hurdles Apple has introduced recently I’d be very interested to hear about them.

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                literally one button to download Xcode… What the prob. May be learn some LLVM tooling.

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                  Curious…. I am new to NixOS and keep seeing reference to it here on lobsters, I want to try it but seem to be hitting a hurdle as there appears to be no ARM ISO available (that I can tell anyhow).

                  I am running Parallels, and machine is a MacBook Pro M1 Max.

                  Can I get some more details on your setup?

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                    My setup is based on the github repo mentioned in the tweet I linked above.

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                I wonder what this setup does to your battery life?

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                  I haven’t used it for long enough on the laptop yet (I mainly use it on a M1 mini), but the fact that once you’re done programming you can pause the VM and just browse stuff on the host machine makes is seem a reasonable compromise also from that angle.

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                The new MacBook Pro, which I have, is all this and more. A clean build of my work project (C++, Xcode) is about 50% faster than on my 2018 model, with no audible fan noise. In fact I don’t recall ever hearing the fan. I’m getting multiple days of battery life, too. (This is with the baseline M1 Pro CPU, not the Max.)

                I’ve been through every Mac CPU change, 68000 to PowerPC to x86 to ARM, and each one gets more transparent. The only time I noticed this one was when I first launched an x86 app and the OS told me it was going to install the emulator. Everything I’ve recompiled and run has worked fine.

                Also kudos to Apple for backing away from earlier design decisions — “butterfly” keyboard, touch-bar — that turned out to be bad ideas. The Apple I worked at probably wouldn’t have done that.

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                  I liked new MacBooks Pro on paper, but when I touched them in the store I took my 3k$ and went home. I don’t care about useless to me ports, USB C is all I want (I do software). For me MacBook Air with M1 is much better in terms of form and weight. But this is my usecase.

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                    I don’t need an SD card reader, and I could do without the extra weight, but I do need at least a 15” display to do work. ¯\(ツ)

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                    Ditto to all of this. I spend a lot of time in and around WebGL graphics. One of our in-house apps makes my old MacBook and the laptops of all my colleagues sound like the decks of aircraft carriers. It’s completely silent on my new M1 MacBook Pro.

                    I was frankly a little nervous about getting this machine. I need it to run everything from Blender, a .NET server with a proxied webpack dev server on top, various node servers, to a headless WebGL engine. I was pleasantly surprised to find it does all but the last those things without breaking a sweat. Things that run natively feel instantaneous. Things that run on Rosetta 2 still feel snappier than before. Industry adoption for Apple Silicon is moving apace. I’m pretty sure I’m just a dependency upgrade away from getting the last item on my list working and I can finally shed my old machine for good.

                    The most revolutionary thing about the experience of using the new MacBook Pro isn’t the features or build quality per se (although they’re both excellent). It’s that the performance bottleneck in my day-to-day work is squarely back on the network. I haven’t felt that way in a while.

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                      I am really disappointed that Apple removed both the touchbar and the butterfly keyboard. The butterfly keyboard was the best feeling keyboard I have ever used, bar none, and the touchbar was very useful in some scenarios, while the physical F keys are absolutely useless to me.

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                        The touch bar has an interesting idea, but without proper haptics (i.e. scan with your finger, more forecful click as you actually press), I don’t think most people wouldn’t have bought into it.

                        I thought the butterfly keyboard was nice on the 12” MacBook (they should bring it back w/ M1, IMHO), but I wasn’t as impressed with it on the Pros…. and the reliability issues sunk that.

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                          I forget if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but HapticKey is worth trying. It uses the magnets in the touchpad to emulate feedback on the Bar, it work better than you’d expect.

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                            Oh yeah, the version of the 12’’ MacBook was the best. The newer version on the Pros wasn’t quite as good, but to me it was still better than the current keyboard.

                            As for reliability, mechanical keyboards have atrocious reliability compared to both regular keyboards, and I suspect to the butterfly keyboards as well, but that’s not the reason why people use mechanical keyboards. They simply like the feel and accept the tradeoff. I would accept the same tradeoff for my laptop’s keyboard.

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                              As for reliability, mechanical keyboards have atrocious reliability compared to both regular keyboards, and I suspect to the butterfly keyboards as well, but that’s not the reason why people use mechanical keyboards.

                              Do you have some evidence for this? I don’t have numbers, but I have numerous mechanical keyboards and the only one that has failed was stepped on, whereas I experienced multiple failures of my MacBook butterfly keyboard.

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                                Unfortunately I am not aware on any real studies, so all I have is anecdotal evidence, albeit I have a lot of anecdotal evidence.

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                                As for reliability, mechanical keyboards have atrocious reliability compared to both regular keyboards

                                Just to clarify, you are only referring to mechanical keyboards on laptops and not to external mechanical keyboards?

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                                  No, I am referring to external keyboards. I didn’t even know mechanical keyboards on laptops were a thing.

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                                    There were, though I’m going back to the 486/Pentium era (easily portable might be a better description than what we think of now). The current ones I know of with mechanical keyboards are from Razer and Asus.

                                    My experience with mechanical keyboards differs, even cheap ones are long-lasting than any laptop keyboard I’ve seen since some of the old IBM Thinkpads and Toshiba Porteges.

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                                The touch bar has an interesting idea, but without proper haptics (i.e. scan with your finger, more forecful click as you actually press), I don’t think most people wouldn’t have bought into it.

                                The most important feature of he touchbar was that it could run Doom. It’s still a mystery why touchbar equipped Macbooks didn’t fly of the shelf after this became known. :(

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                                I really wanted to like the touch bar, but my fingers rarely ended up using it, maybe because of the lack of tactile feedback. Also, I’ve long been accustomed to binding F1..F8 to switch between my most-used apps, so having other functions on the touchbar interfered with my muscle memory.

                                You’re honestly the first person I’ve ever heard praise the butterfly keyboard, or even say it felt any better than the old type. I kept making typing mistakes on it, and even bought a little KeyChron mechanical BT keyboard to use when I wanted to do a lot of typing away from my desk.

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                                  Well, add me to the likes for the feel. Besides that, it was an absolute disaster. I had a MacBook Pro with a butterfly keyboard from before they added the seals and keys would constantly get stuck or wouldn’t actuate correctly (I guess because a speck of dust got in).

                                  Though, the most reviews don’t mention this, the new M1 Pros have another scissor mechanism than the M1 Air and prior scissor MacBooks and I love it. It is much more ‘clicky’ than the earlier scissor keyboards and feels somewhat closer to mechanical keyboards.

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                                  I am really disappointed that Apple removed both the touchbar and the butterfly keyboard.

                                  The butterfly keyboard seems to have had a lot of reliability issues, even after they made some changes to it.

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                                    Why not bind the actions your wanted to the F keys? MacOS has a very good support for binding actions.

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                                  The year is 2037. People are still writing about how M1 Macs “hold up pretty well”.

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                                    In 2037 the only supported operating systems for your M1 Mac will be NetBSD and Linux.

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                                      Yeah, probably way earlier than that lol

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                                        s/Linux/Debian/g

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                                        By 2037, the average developer will finally be able to afford an M1 Mac :)

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                                          I know you are probably joking, but… The median salary for developers in the US is apparently somewhere between $90,000 and $100,000 dollar. If you or your employer are not spending $1500-3000 on hardware every 2-3 year, you are doing something wrong. Pretty much the same story in most western countries. (Of course, this is not applicable to every other part of the world.)

                                          Then, the resale value of MacBooks is very high. I usually buy a new Mac every 1.5 years or so and sell my old MacBook for ~70% of the old price. Which means that I have a modern laptop for ~400-500 Euro per year. Most other laptops with a lower resale value are in the same ballpark yearly (e.g. 1500, write off after 3 years).

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                                            Well, obviously it won’t be 2037, but the developers I know also tend to expect their hardware to last a bit longer.

                                            Salaries in the US have long stopped making sense (and in my opinion, probably aren’t sustainable for companies without a huge market cap). Elsewhere in the world, developer pay is more in line with that of other professionals.
                                            And most companies make rational decisions about hardware: buying a single model (which probably costs €500 in total) in bulk that works for the entire company, not just the developers; not writing them off in just three years.

                                            A MacBook Air isn’t prohibitively expensive compared to other computer hardware, but on the other hand, times when software development required a top-of-the line computer are long gone.

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                                        As usual, the touchpad (which Apple calls “trackpad”) is great, much better than any touchpad I have ever used on a PC laptop

                                        Here we go again…

                                        There is nothing special about the hardware (well, Apple is an early adopter of force-sensitive pads, but current Synaptics devices are force-sensitive too). Nothing magic about macOS either. It’s just usually compared against bad software. Windows 10 with any HID-multitouch touchpad feels pretty much the same as macOS. On the unix side, other than ensuring you’re not using anything legacy stuff (xf86-input-synaptics lol), you might need this patch to make scrolling look totally smooth in GTK apps (“might” because it already looks fine if the touchpad’s event rate is high enough, e.g. I never noticed any jitter with a 125Hz touchpad + 60Hz display).

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                                          Honestly, I think you’re wrong. There’s nothing magical, but macOS is just so much more reliable than any trackpad I’ve used, and I’ve used trackpads across a relatively wide range of high-end non-Mac laptops. The mac is, for example, the only laptop line I’ve used which always, with 100% accuracy, detects a two finger click as a right click, regardless of how sloppy I am. All other laptops will sometimes just emit a left click rather than a right click if, say, my fingers aren’t horizontal enough or are too close. Also, Wayland currently has a horrible bug where touchpad scrolling is 1.5x faster than it should’ve been (https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/mutter/-/issues/1731). Scrolling in Linux is also universally much more jittery than in macOS (yes, even with libinput drivers), where the screen will jump around a bit when I hold my fingers still. Macs are also the only systems I’ve used where a one-finger tap is registered instantly; there’s always at least what feels like a few hundred milliseconds of delay in Linux with libinput.

                                          There’s a lot to like about non-Mac hardware. But I still haven’t found any non-Mac laptops with a decent touch pad, even in the Mac’s price range. I don’t know if it’s a hardware thing or a software thing; I’m guessing it’s a combination.

                                          And maybe my experience isn’t representative. Maybe every non-Mac laptop I have ever laid my hands on in my life have just been especially bad. I don’t think so though.

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                                            a few hundred milliseconds

                                            Simply no way. I’ve used Linux on the most random laptops since 2013 and have never noticed input latency this high and I used to play rhythm games with Synaptics touchpads.

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                                              I might be exaggerating, I don’t know. All I know is that it doesn’t feel instant, and the number I hear people throw around as the delay that’s required for something to feel “instant” is 100ms, which puts my best guess somewhere above 100ms. Though you do adjust to it, and I didn’t really understand that there’s a delay before I used a Mac trackpad again and it felt unnaturally fast.

                                              Do note that I’m talking about tapping, not clicking. Clicking is always fast in my experience. And again, maybe there are differences in hardware here. But this one really feels like a software thing, and everyone’s using libinput these days.

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                                                The latency is there, you just got used to it. Linux is pretty bad, unless you’re using the PREEMPT_RT patches.

                                                You can easily measure how bad it is by running cyclictest from rt-test, with SMP enabled and SCHED_FIFO policy. It will set alarms and then measure the difference between the requested time and the time it runs at.

                                                Minimum is irrelevant, average has some limited value, max is the column you want to look at. Unit is µs.

                                                With mainline kernel, you’ll see max cross into ms range in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Leaving it running (its cpu usage is low) for a day or two, you’ll see max get into tens of milliseconds.

                                                linux-rt patchset does help, but only for scheduler latency. The userspace Linux input stack is another layer of bad.

                                                Latency is something that needs to be a core design target. Like security, it cannot be tacked in.

                                                To put things in perspective, AmigaOS (1985) input.device task ran with priority 20, making it the highest priority task in the system, which is realtime with hard priorities; if a higher priority task becomes runnable, it will run immediately.

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                                              (“might” because it already looks fine if the touchpad’s event rate is high enough, e.g. I never noticed any jitter with a 125Hz touchpad + 60Hz display)

                                              So it sounds like there ARE hardware differences? I don’t know whether it’s hardware or software, but every time I use a Windows machine (and I’m talking about higher end Dell XPS laptops, mostly) I end up frustrated with the janky touchpad behavior. For example, the scrolling speed is always wonky and the device doesn’t pick up my two-finger scroll gesture until I’ve moved my fingers almost a centimeter.

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                                                Agreed. I’ve used a lot of PCs with both Windows and Linux, and I’ve tried everything I could find to get the touchpads calibrated optimally and they never came close to a Mac, much to my frustration. That said, even Linux running on a Mac doesn’t have good trackpad options, so I don’t doubt that much of the problem is in software–but that’s not much of a consolation so long as “the right software” doesn’t exist for Linux.

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                                                  Funnily enough the author of the gtk patch was using an external Apple Magic Trackpad 2 which is 90Hz. Basically no one has noticed any jitter in gtk’s naive processing with internal trackpads :)

                                                  doesn’t pick up my two-finger scroll gesture

                                                  Windows probably has the highest thresholds for scroll recognition, though they shouldn’t be that big. Also, what applications are you testing with? I’ve heard that Windows does some weird delay with legacy apps that only support basic mouse scrolling. Something like modern browsers, which do use touchpad native panning APIs, shouldn’t be affected by that.

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                                                    When I find myself on a Windows device, I’m almost always using Chrome. Now that I’m thinking about it, though, I wonder if part of my frustration with trackpads on Windows is the (lack of) inertial scrolling. I’m accustomed to being able to kind of “flick” the trackpad lightly to scroll down a bit while I’m reading something, etc. Windows seems to stubbornly assume that I’m using a wheel mouse.

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                                                      Even with drivers and software that attempt to make scrolling ‘smooth’, it’s never anything like on MacOS, where it’s not that it’s just ‘smooth’, it’s that you scroll to where you expected. It’s almost like it’s been tuned to perfectly match expectations - and scroll there smoothly and so fast it never feels like it’s lagging behind. Connected to your fingers.

                                                      I’d liken it to riding a lightweight road bike with higher end components. You move your body and the bike moves with you. You don’t feel like you’re dragging the bike along.

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                                                        Chrome was developing the proper support for all this like 4 years ago so it’s definitely in the production release by now. Are you actually testing “precision touchpad” (HID-multitouch) devices?

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                                                          I have no idea what the hardware is, like I said, the machines I’ve used are new and new-ish Dell XPS laptops. My point isn’t that you can’t get a good experience on Windows, it’s that I haven’t gotten a good experience on Windows, even with $2500 laptops (equivalent in price to a Mac).

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                                                    There is nothing special about . . .

                                                    I’ve always likened Mac vs. non-Mac trackpads to driving an e.g. BMW 335i vs. a Chevrolet truck. It’s just a more precise and overall nicer user experience.

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                                                      It could also be familiarity. Different vendors and OSs have different acceleration mappings. People who are used to macs use a not Mac and it feels wrong, and they tell everyone it’s bad. People who are used to windows or linear have the same experience. It’s like how my grandma’s cookies are just better than yours’s. I can’t explain it, and I don’t need to, it’s just true, and my whole family thinks so too. If you disagree you must be confused or misguided.

                                                      Also, are the pads literally force sensitive? I’ve found putting my palm on it registers as more “force” than pushing hard on it, but my laptop is 7 years old and not apple.

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                                                        putting my palm on it registers as more “force” than pushing hard on it

                                                        That means it’s not force sensitive, which makes sense for a 7-year-old not-Apple. On the non-Apple side, as I said, only the very latest Synaptics generation is force sensitive.

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                                                          Ok that makes sense, cause the one I have was billed as I think “pressure sensitive” or something weaseley like that. I’m not exactly a close follower of new laptop tech, historically I’ve only gotten new ones when the current one breaks. TBF I’m pretty impressed with how long this one has lasted.

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                                                      The best laptop, for me, is one that is fully supported inside Linux. From the article:

                                                      Unfortunately, while Asahi Linux is making great progress in bringing Linux to the M1 Macs, it seems like it’ll still be many months before I can install a Linux distribution and expect it to just work on the M1 Mac.

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                                                        I’m really mad about this. I’ve been a linux shill for a long time, and continue to be one, but if someone wanted me to recommend a laptop, at this point, the only thing I can say (unless you want to play games) is an m1 macbook. I’d go for the pro rather than the air, but it’s all the same. It does everything I need it to, and it doesn’t do all that much I don’t want it to. There is no other alternative that has the same build quality, usefulness, and battery life out there.

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                                                          Agreed. I really want to use Linux, and I don’t mind grinding through all of the little bugs and quirks to get it to behave properly with whatever hardware I happen to have; however, there’s just no way to get anywhere close to Mac quality trackpad support or at least I haven’t found it in the last ~15 years. Certainly I can’t recommend it to anyone less technical.

                                                          It’s really a marvel that Microsoft doesn’t work with hardware vendors to get close to parity. Is trackpad software/hardware really that difficult that it’s a veritable mote for Apple laptops?

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                                                            Agreed. I really want to use Linux, and I don’t mind grinding through all of the little bugs and quirks to get it to behave properly with whatever hardware I happen to have; however, there’s just no way to get anywhere close to Mac quality trackpad support or at least I haven’t found it in the last ~15 years. Certainly I can’t recommend it to anyone less technical.

                                                            I recently switched back to a Macbook, my first in 10 years or so. I’ve been using Linux/*BSD for 15 or so years, including many as a primary machine. I try to think of MacOS like a wierd Linux distro that limits what I can do and run, yet runs photoshop/lightroom reliably which is a must for me. Oh it runs Emacs as well!

                                                            I haven’t pushed the hardware much yet, but it’s snappy and all that. My previous laptop had 4 GB of RAM so even 8 GB is such an improvement in itself. I typically use it for PS/LR, ssh:ing, writing Ansible and scripting. It’s not as amazing as I thought, but it never gets in the way or start swapping like my old machine :-)

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                                                            Completely agree. I switched to an Air a few months after rocking the ThinkPad/Linux combo for many years. Im sad to say, the Macbook just is a better all round package.

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                                                            The screen is great! Everything looks sharp, colors are vibrant and brightness is good.

                                                            But no HDR. While iPads have had HDR for 4+yrs. I find myself missing the HDR.

                                                            Not enough RAM for local software development

                                                            You gotta be fucking kidding me. WTF. It is a sad state that our industry is in.

                                                            I am very grateful that this has not been my experience.

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                                                              I have a 13” M1 and it’s the best laptop I’ve owned in a long time, possibly ever. Fantastic battery life and thermals. One cable connects to my external monitor/USB hub so I get all my peripherals and charging in one fell swoop. The lack of ports has never been a problem, but I’m a minimalist.

                                                              The only time I heard the fan spin up is when I accidentally had a tight infinite loop in some code I was working on. I’ve never gotten the battery below 30% and I use it on the go all the time.

                                                              I’ve heard the 14” M1Pro is even nicer.

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                                                                I’ve heard the 14” M1Pro is even nicer.

                                                                It’s complicated… I had the 13” M1 Air and now the Pro 14” (M1 Pro 10 core, not the base model). My findings:

                                                                • The M1 Air being passively cooled is really a nice feature. The fan on the Pro 14” rarely turns on. But when it turns on, you hear it. It is not ‘MacBook Pro Intel’-loud or ‘Lenovo Thinkpad’-loud. But it still feels like a downgrade.
                                                                • Even though the weight difference of the Air and the Pro is not large on paper, it is quite a big difference in practice. Even though I have had my Pro for a month now, I still think ‘it’s heavy’ every time I pick it up.
                                                                • I love the return of MagSafe, but in practice it does not make that much of a difference. I am using it at a desk 95% of the time, and USB-C is even better in that case (fewer cables to plug). Though I’ll probably love it when travel is back to normal.
                                                                • The 120Hz display is beautiful and sure, you can see the difference as notifications come in. But I mostly plug it in to an external screen that is 60Hz, so :shrug:. Also, it is a visible difference, but not something that wows me, like moving to a retina screen did (which basically can’t be unseen).
                                                                • The M1 in the Air is nothing to sneeze at. It is largely equivalent to a Ryzen 3700X performance-wise, but passively cooled and uses very little energy.
                                                                • That said, if you do a lot of builds (e.g. I am doing a lot of Rust stuff), the 8 performance cores of the M1 Pro/Max are really nice. Also, the M1 Pro/Max have two Firestorm AMX (matrix multiplication) units, compared to one in the M1. Since my work is primarily related to machine learning, I benefit from that as well.
                                                                • The SD card reader is nice for importing photos or putting maps on my GPS (which has a slow USB connection).
                                                                • The notch is great. It is additional screen estate, and there is nothing in the middle of the menu bar anyway (outside Xcode).

                                                                For most people, the M1 Air is the best Mac, it provides the best price-features balance, plus being light and passively cooled is great. Get a Pro if you need > 16GB RAM, need to connect more than one external display, or if your workflow benefits a lot from the additional performance cores.

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                                                                  If only they would provide a setting to never turn the fans on and therefore never work hard enough to need to. I’d take less performance over fan noise. I can’t see Apple ever making this option and if anyone else does, it’ll be an unreliable hack.

                                                                  So I’m sticking with the Air, and - apart from the lack of multiple external monitor support (which I will likely work around) it’s pretty much the perfect personal computer for me.

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                                                                  Honestly, the only thing I’d want on the Air from the Pro is MagSafe. Hopefully the next revision of the Air incorporates that.

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                                                                    And the headphone jack/amplifier that is compatible with high impedance studio headphones. Then the MacBook Air becomes the ultimate portable audio machine.

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                                                                      Wow, first I heard of this. Looks like it’d be fine to use something like the HD600’s with.

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                                                                        Technical details can be found here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212856

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                                                                      Eh, I like the idea of USB-C everything, but dongles and adapters are hit and miss, and more miss than hit to be honest. I have an external monitor running through Apple’s USB-C adapter and it works on my wife’s 2020 13” MacBook Pro but not my 2020 16” MacBook Pro (or rather, she got an image in shades of pink while I got “no signal” at all). I’ve used other adapters as well, and some of those would fry an egg if you used them to power your MacBook. Similarly, I’ve had a lot of problems with various dongles for SD cards that require some ceremonious combination of disconnecting and reconnecting the disk from the dongle and the dongle from the computer). I also bought an “Amazon Basics” ethernet->USB-C adapter which straight up didn’t work. Until all of that fuckery is ironed out, I’ll content myself with physical ports.

                                                                      Beyond my problems, there’s a whole bunch of lay people who understandably believe that they should be able to power their USB-C devices with a USB-C charger, because after all, what kind of numpty would design a connector that would allow someone to underpower their device? But instead, you have to read the fine print on every device and power supply you use to make sure the power supply is adequate (and even then you might have issues if the power supply is average quality).

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                                                                        I have an external monitor running through Apple’s USB-C adapter and it works on my wife’s 2020 13” MacBook Pro but not my 2020 16” MacBook Pro (or rather, she got an image in shades of pink while I got “no signal” at all).

                                                                        What I have learned over the years: the only thing that is really reliable is DisplayPort. So, I use a USB-C Alt mode <-> DisplayPort cable. Has always done the job wonderfully.

                                                                        I’ve used other adapters as well, and some of those would fry an egg if you used them to power your MacBook.

                                                                        Oh yeah. And even worse, lot’s of them cause interference, dropping Bluetooth connections and Wifi. I had an Anker USB-C dock that reliably dropped Bluetooth and Wifi when it was plugged in. Same experience with some other docks.

                                                                        to power their USB-C devices with a USB-C charger,

                                                                        I have a very expensive Lenovo USB-C dock. And it decides not to charge the laptop 70% of the time and you have to replug it several times to get it charging. Even more funny: I had a Lenovo laptop for a bit over half a year. When the battery was drained, the Lenovo dock (or Lenovo charger that was provided with the laptop) couldn’t bring the laptop back to life. Though connecting it 10 minutes to an Apple USB-C charger revived it wonderfully. Something seems to go awfully wrong with negotiating power delivery with some Lenovo docks/adapters.

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                                                                          I have a very expensive Lenovo USB-C dock. And it decides not to charge the laptop 70% of the time and you have to replug it several times to get it charging.

                                                                          I had the TB3 (or 2?) dock for a X1 Carbon 5th generation and only had problems with it. Displays were often not detected no matter which DP port they were connected to. Using the wired ethernet port caused random system freezes under Linux and the list goes on. It is not as bad as the USB-3 dock from Lenovo which is just garbage. Anyways, never had a problem connecting external displays using USB-C. You only have to make sure to use a proper cable, which is not that easy, but if you got one together with your monitor then just use that.

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                                                                      I have a very similar setup and no matter what I do with my 13” Mac Pro M1 the fan never spins up. It’s my first MacBook and I have to admit that even macOS is not perfect, sometimes USB devices connected to my docking station/monitor are not picked up after suspend (hello Linux!) and I also had to force reboot the machine once. Battery life and performance are fantastic and Rosetta2 is like magic, it does not seem to matter if an app is emulated or not, performance is always fine. If I could only use Gnome3 as a desktop environment on this machine…

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                                                                      Surprised @stapelberg didn’t mention the lack of tiling window manager (he develops i3). That’s what keeps me off of Macs, manual window management drives me nuts.

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                                                                        I use this computer little enough that I’m usually in a browser in fullscreen, and at most a terminal or two side by side. If I wanted to use it for any real work, I’d definitely prefer Linux+i3, but as I wrote in the article, it’ll be a while before Linux will be a reality on this machine…

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                                                                          There are a variety of tiling window managers for macOS, e.g. https://github.com/ianyh/Amethyst

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                                                                            Yeah, I tried Amethyst but it’s a real band aid solution. Its about 70% of the way, but not enough to make it a daily driver.

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                                                                              Not free, but I recently saw some people recommending https://hookshot.app

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                                                                                This one is really great, thanks for sharing!

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                                                                                I’ve used Amethyst, SizeUp, Divvy, Spectacle, and now Moom — I’ve found Moom to be the best of the bunch.

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                                                                                  I’ve been using yabai for a while, I’m probably far from the extremes of Xmonad usage but it works well for my purposes.

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                                                                              The newer MacBook M1 models seem to have better external monitor support but the lack of ports seems to be a design choice across all their lines. I’m very fond of the plentiful USB A & C ports on my ThinkPad.

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                                                                                Ironically I’d been plugging 2 screens, mouse, keyboard, maybe a yubikey in most days of the week and since I got this recent laptop many months ago I’ve been to the office 3 times, and I have a docking station.

                                                                                Unrelated anecdote aside, I’m torn on having a real opinion. I’ve never used a laptop with peripherals where I couldn’t have used a dongle (if a USB-C hub thingy without external power exists) besides when taking my x230 on vacation to back up the digicam SD card, and there I used a thumb drive sized card reader at times, so maybe that would’ve been fine. On the other hand my work laptops usually sit on a desk Mon-Fri, unless I take em home…

                                                                                TLDR: Used to be pro many ports and contra dongles, but not caring anymore.

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                                                                                Somewhat offtopic, I have a couple of questions about your Dell UP3218K display, because I want to buy it myself:

                                                                                1. Does it work with an Intel GPU?
                                                                                2. Does it currently (2021) work with an AMD GPU with the open source driver?
                                                                                3. Does it work at 8k resolution with any of your ThinkPads?

                                                                                Speaking of ThinkPads, again, offtopic, but I believe useful, I compiled a list of what I consider usable ThinkPads. Usable for me in Linux, anyway:

                                                                                List of usable ThinkPads as of December 1st, 2021

                                                                                Criteria:

                                                                                • at least 16:10 display
                                                                                • Intel or AMD GPU, no Nvidia
                                                                                • at least 220 195ppi

                                                                                Good specs and mediocre specs. Screen real estate (SRE) is assumed for an integer scaling factor (2x or 3x).

                                                                                ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_P1_Gen_4

                                                                                Intel, 16’’, 16:10, 600 nit, anti-reflection, Adobe RGB, 283ppi, 64GB RAM.

                                                                                SRE: 1920x1200 (2x)

                                                                                ACPI S3: maybe with new firmware

                                                                                Requires custom SKU without Nvidia GPU that might be unobtainable.

                                                                                ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_X1_Extreme_Gen_4

                                                                                Intel, 16’’, 16:10, 600 nit, anti-reflection, Adobe RGB, 283ppi, 64GB RAM.

                                                                                SRE: 1920x1200 (2x)

                                                                                ACPI S3: maybe with new firmware

                                                                                Requires custom SKU without Nvidia GPU that’s reasonably easy to get.

                                                                                ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_X1_Carbon_Gen_9

                                                                                Intel, 14’’, 16:10, 500 nit, glossy, DCI-P3, 323ppi, 32GB RAM

                                                                                SRE: 1920x1200 (2x) or 1280x800 (3x)

                                                                                ACPI S3: maybe with new firmware

                                                                                ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_X1_Yoga_Gen_6

                                                                                Intel, 14’’, 16:10, 500 nit, anti-reflection, DCI-P3, 323ppi, 32GB RAM, tablet-convertible.

                                                                                SRE: 1920x1200 (2x) or 1280x800 (3x)

                                                                                ACPI S3: unknown

                                                                                ThinkPad X13 Gen 2

                                                                                AMD: https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_X13_Gen_2_AMD

                                                                                Intel: https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_X13_Gen_2_Intel

                                                                                13.3’’, 16:10, 400 nit, anti-glare, sRGB, 226ppi, 32GB RAM.

                                                                                SRE: 1280x800 (2x)

                                                                                ACPI S3: yes on AMD, probably not on Intel

                                                                                ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga Gen 1 https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_X1_Titanium_Yoga_Gen_1

                                                                                Intel, 13.5’’, 3:2, 450 nit, anti-reflection, <sRGB, 200ppi, 16GB RAM, tablet-convertible

                                                                                SRE: 1128x752 at 2x, 1504x1002 at 1.5x

                                                                                ACPI S3: unknown

                                                                                ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 1 https://psref.lenovo.com/Product/ThinkPad/ThinkPad_X1_Nano_Gen_1

                                                                                Intel, 13.0’’, 16:10, 450 nit, anti-reflection, sRGB, 195ppi, 16GB RAM

                                                                                SRE: 1080x675 at 2x, 1440x900 at 1.5x

                                                                                ACPI S3: maybe with new firmware

                                                                                As for the M1 mac itself. Yes, it’s great. Its main flaw is the limited amount of memory (16GB – fixed in M1X), and the lack of support for more than one external display (again fixed in M1X). I eagerly await my MacBook Pro with the M1X chip.

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                                                                                  Somewhat offtopic, I have a couple of questions about your Dell UP3218K display, because I want to buy it myself:

                                                                                  Does it work with an Intel GPU?

                                                                                  I don’t know any Intel GPU that has 2 DisplayPort outputs.

                                                                                  I had hoped for the Intel DG1 to have 2 DisplayPorts, but it has 1 DisplayPort and 1 HDMI, and you can not buy it anywhere (OEM only).

                                                                                  Does it currently (2021) work with an AMD GPU with the open source driver?

                                                                                  I don’t know. The last time I tried an AMD GPU (in 2017), it just would not recognize the full resolution of the display.

                                                                                  Does it work at 8k resolution with any of your ThinkPads?

                                                                                  No. While you can physically connect it to the dock of the X1 Extreme, I haven’t been able to get the nVidia GPU in that machine to work well with the external output in general, and not with the full resolution of the display in particular: https://michael.stapelberg.ch/posts/2021-06-05-laptop-review-lenovo-thinkpad-x1-extreme-gen2/#gpu.

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                                                                                    Thanks, this is really unfortunate to me because I only want to use open source drivers.

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                                                                                    I take it you are only listing new ThinkPads. What’s wrong with the recent T series models?

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                                                                                      FWIW: The T14 AMD has ACPI S3. I had one for more than half a year, but in the end it didn’t bring a lot of joy. The battery drains after 1-1.5 days in S3 sleep. Resume is also hit and miss on Linux, often the trackpad wouldn’t come up correctly. Sometimes the screen wouldn’t turn on. The whole experience was just meh.

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                                                                                        I found about the touchpad bug on the P1 Gen 4 and X1E Gen 4, but apparently it exists on all Thinkpads that have re-enabled S3 sleep. Lenovo is aware of the bug, but said it’s very low priority since enabling S3 is not a supported configuration.

                                                                                        People have been trying to find various workarounds on the Linux side: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1791427.

                                                                                        The whole thing is a debacle.

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                                                                                        They are 16:9.

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                                                                                          oh of course

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                                                                                            Also apparently even though you can re-enable ACPI S3 on some (all?) models, there’s a bug where the touchpad won’t work after wakeup, making all these laptops absolutely useless.

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                                                                                      M1 is definitely the best balanced laptop right now—price, battery life, excellent if not great performance. Just waiting for Macbook Air refresh with better screen to body ratio like the new Pros. I just hope prices stay resonable.

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                                                                                        Same here. I’ve got an old MB 12 inch and I really like the form-factor for traveling, so I’m hoping that the next MBA will be smaller and lighter. The current MBA is significantly heavier than the MB 12 (1300g vs 900g).

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                                                                                        I have a 14” M1 Pro coming, which I am actually not that excited about, as I really don’t like laptops, but I couldn’t convince my employer to send me a Mini instead.