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    Nice post. It’s me or this switch back is gettting more common? I also got back to linux (but to a desktop instead of another laptop) earlier this year.

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      It is not just you.

      I wrote on my blog earlier this year (won’t link as it is just the short observation below mostly) that 2020 is the year of the Linux desktop:

      • things just work, including Microsoft Teams
      • people at work and with customers use Linux and nobody there lifts an eyebrow
      • people here and on HN are behaving like they did towards Mac when Rails and Mac broke through on developer circles.
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      I think I had a similar journey. IIRC, I started with an iPhone, then a Mac Mini, and then finally a MacBook Air (and then another.)

      I was drawn to having a polished desktop on top of *nix.

      But then the polish started wearing off with every new OSX release. There would be UI bugs.

      I also started seeing various annoying differences and incompatibilities when trying to use the *nix part for development. Eventually I started doing dev inside a Debian and then Fedora VM.

      And then Apple started locking down the OS, and with each release, I could do less, or would have to jump through hoops to unlock.

      Finally, I would read online about flaky hardware, faulty keyboards, etc.

      By then I was already doing most of my work inside the VM, and only using the OSX part for playing music and video and such.

      So now I got a cheap refurbished ThinkPad, and it works! It works great! And I can do whatever I want with the OS.

      And if there is a problem, which certainly happens, I can usually fix it with a quick web-search.

      Yes, the touchpad sucks, and I don’t use it. Most of the time I use external keyboard and mouse, or I can fall back to the nub.

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        I can’t speak for general audience, or even 200 people that the other, deleted comment mentioned, but my experience with Linux has always been superior. People get to Linux, get amazed, learn about the bugs and quirks and then just start living with what they need. Just minimal sweet of features that gets the job done. Sure, some return to windows. (And some come back again.) Some switch to a Mac. (And also cone back.) But a lot of people my rounds that have made the switch are not going back and are far more satisfied with whatever the flavor they run then with, say, windows or a Mac.

        Me, personally? I’m a diehard. I don’t hate windows 10 from work, but I’m often frustrated by it. Not the software, just the OS. Gets in the way between me and the software I’m trying to use.

        I’ve tried using a mac - and relatively recently too, just before the touchbar. And have a few Mac’s around - wife’s macbook and imac. But I always miss one thing or another. And macos GUI does things just enough in the wrong way that I’m unhappy.

        Linux? No problem. I did my share of distro hoping. I did my part of customizing anything and everything. Now I just go with defaults, with my few personal tweaks where they matter to me. And then I do the job.

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          You reminded me that my ThinkPad came with Windows 10, and I humored it for about a day, but gave up.

          You’re so right about “living with what you need”.

          I still don’t know how to adjust the display brightness on this thing, nor the rest of the special keys. The built-in WiFi still doesn’t work, and I use a USB one which is plug-and-play.

          Recently, Fedora upgraded the kernel and the WiFi stopped working, and I had to roll back to the previous one.

          Oh well.

          Windows 10 was so freaking frustrating all around, I would never trade.

          Edit: Actually, after I upgraded to Fedora, and before I was gifted a compatible WiFi, while I was only able to network over Ethernet, was one of the most productive times on this computer. I still enjoy being able to unplug my network.

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            Obviously this is a matter of personal tolerance but I feel like you have perfectly illustrated why I found using Linux on the desktop so immensely frustrating and eventually ended up on macOS anyway. If I installed a kernel update that stopped my Wi-Fi from working, I would be livid. I would already be unhappy if I had to resort to an adapter for something the laptop is already supposed to do in the first place.

            Things like this are okay if you are OK with tinkering (or have the time to). I used to have the patience for that but I just don’t anymore. I need the computer to get out of the way so that I can do what I need to do. I would argue that if you aren’t really a tinkerer and don’t have great aspirations to pick it apart or to customise, then macOS gets the job done just fine. Equally I understand why tinkerers might find it frustrating or limiting, so there’s that too.

            I just don’t want to have to resolve package conflicts or roll back kernel versions, or to spend six hours trying to understand why something that happened during a package upgrade has rendered my system unusable.

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              I’m kind of mad about the kernel, but rolling back was as easy as selecting the previous version at boot time.

              if a Mac upgrade broke something, which happened to me before, i wouldn’t even know where to begin if i wanted to roll back.

              I’m not much of a tinkerer, and for the most part i haven’t had to do much.

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                That happens with Fedora or Arch, as they update the kernel every time upstream release a new version. Just stick with Debian or Ubuntu LTS if you want your machine to be just works.

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                  I was a loyal Debian user for about 20 years, but similar issues drove me to Fedora.

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                    For me it’s the opposite, never had a problem with rolling releases in Arch but major upgrades in Ubuntu often failed. Also, you can easily use an LTS kernel in Arch.

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                The thing is, I’m going to get frustrated by my computer OS I choose. Either it will be an ad platform with a program loader hanging off the side, become more developer-hostile with every new release, or be kinda weird and need a little tinkering to get things the way I like it. So I chose GNU, paid that setup cost once, kept my configs up-to-date and portable and now I have a computing environment that respects my needs and wants and should keep working for a very long time.

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              Hey! Nice post. I just wrote something similar today, but coming at it as a lifetime Windows user. Very compelling points made for KDE and Manjaro! I have not used installed that distro before, but might give it a go at some point in the future. I’ve currently given into an obsession with Regolith Linux, Ubuntu+preconfigured i3wm. Check out my post: https://l-o-o-s-e-d.net/regolith

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                Ooof, animated page title and loading JS from bootstrap, cloudflare, jquery and jsdelivery. Only to display the website non responsive with my screen resolution. And displays nothing otherwise..

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                An interesting take. Glad to see Linux is still an option and really surprising that perceived performance between KDE and Gnome have flipped.

                • Surprising to hear that there isn’t a Google Drive client on Linux (as I recall there used to be one), don’t many engineers at Google use “Goobuntu”? Perhaps they don’t open source the client for public use.
                • I know that Steam works on both, do you find that your OS dictates what games you play most, or no?
                • OP didn’t mention the screen quality or eyesight issues, curious if there is a noticeable difference between the two? As I suspect there would be.
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                  Goobuntu (Ubuntu) was replaced by gLinux (Debian) a couple of years ago for maintainability reasons. They’re functionally the same though.

                  The machines that we develop on is about what we think gets the programming job done, not as an indication of the target platform.

                  My guess is that the numbers were crunched and found that Linux users would not have made up enough share to warrant a client. I’ve never missed it, I do all my office work directly in the browser, and we have company-wide disk snapshotting for backup purposes. On my laptop (which isn’t snapshotted) I use RSync.

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                    Ahh interesting, thanks for the update.

                    The machines that we develop on is about what we think gets the programming job done, not as an indication of the target platform.

                    Of course, but I’d imagine that some engineers would want to have native document sync with GDrive. I also use GDrive, but honestly found the syncing annoying when the usage flow is nearly always New tab > drive.google.com > search doc. But certainly someone on gLinux wanted to keep it? :shrug:

                    What exactly are you rsync’ing against?

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                      Laptop (not snapshotted) > Desktop (snapshotted)

                      But yeah, we just use the web interface for all docs writing stuff. For documentation (not documents), we have an internal Markdown renderer (think GitHub wiki with internal integrations). No one writes documents outside of a centralized system, and so has no need to back them up with a client.

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                    (I’m not OP) I recently started playing games on Linux via Steam. For reference, I’ve never been a Windows gamer – had been a console gamer up to that point. To answer your question:

                    do you find that your OS dictates what games you play most, or no

                    Pretty much. I play only what will work, so that means the game must either officially be supported under “Steam OS + Linux”, or work via Proton. But this is just me. Others are free to dual boot, which, of course, vastly broadens their spectrum of available games.

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                      I used to be a dual booter, but since Proton, so many games have been working on Linux that I stopped booting to Windows. Then at some point my windows installation broke and I never bothered to fix it.

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                        That’s cool. However, I think we’re a ways off from totally being on par with native Windows. Several anti-cheat systems are triggered by running under Linux. And protondb shows that there are still many games that don’t run.

                        That said, things are improving steadily month by month, so that’s encouraging.

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                          That’s true, I didn’t mean to imply that all games I would like to play work on Proton now. But enough of them work now that instead of dealing with Windows for a game that doesn’t work on Proton, I usually just go and find something else that does.

                          If you have a group of gaming buddies, that obviously won’t work, though. It won’t be long before they get hooked up to a Windows-only game.

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                        Same here, I find the biggest area where I need to switch back to windows is for multiplayer. I used to lan a lot and still have many of those contacts. I find a lot of games that have a host/client multiplayer, for example RTS games, have issues on linux even if the single-player works flawlessly. This means I have to keep dual boot available.

                        Even though linux does strongly influence which games I play, the range and variety is amazing and it is not reducing the quality or diversity of games I play at all. There are just a few windows only titles that I might play slightly more if they were available on linux.

                        While we are on the subject, what are people’s recommendations for a gaming distro? I am on Mint at the moment which is good, but I like to have options.

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                          I don’t know if I’d call it a gaming distro, but I have been using Gentoo for many years, and it seems to be doing just fine with Steam (which I just installed a couple months ago).

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                            Frankly, I’m not sure you need a gaming distro. I’ve had little issues running Steam and Wine (using Lutris) games on Void Linux, Debian, etc. (Mind you: always using Nvidia.)

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                              I actually phrased that really badly, thanks for the correction. I tried out a dedicated gaming distro and it was rubbish. Mint is a variation on Ubuntu.I was looking at Debian to try next.

                              It seems like the thing to look for is just something well supported with all the common libraries, so most big distros appear to be fine for gaming. The reason I am not entirely pleased with Mint is that they seem a bit too conservative in terms of adding new stuff to the package manager when it comes out. On the one hand that makes it more stable, but on the other games use a lot of weird stuff sometimes and it makes things a bit messy if you have to install things from outside the package manager.

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                          perceived performance between KDE and Gnome have flipped

                          Gnome Shell is huge and slow. A Canonical engineer (Ubuntu has switched from Unity to Gnome) has recently started to improve its performance with very good results but this also shows how terrible the performance was before: memory leaks, huge redraws all of the time and no clipping, … Now this needs to trickle down to users and the comments might change then.

                          PS: KDE has not gotten a lot more bloat or slowness over the years and I don’t know if Gnome will be faster and lighter or if both will be similar.

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                            The lack of a Google Drive client is shameful, but I tried Insync and it’s the best money I’ve ever spent on a Linux app. Much better than the Mac version of Google Drive which was super buggy

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                            Great article. I’m not likely to switch out of Apple’s ecosystem anytime soon, but it’s good to stay familiar with the upsides of your other options.

                            I think what separates me from other commenters here is that I don’t like to configure everything anymore, and I feel like macOS has the most complete default state / least effort to shape it into the environment I want. Some customizations are well worth it to me; I use the Dvorak layout, vim, a few menu bar apps like Karabiner, a syncing scheme for dotfiles, and per-project notes about any special setup needed (if I can’t just pack it all into Docker). But otherwise I’m using stock apps like Terminal, Mail, Safari, and Time Machine.

                            Every time I customize something major, I think later, was the benefit worth the cost of having to set this up again in the future, to recreate this environment or not feeling at home on another machine? Do I need to make notes or will I remember? This process intensifies because I’ve got two Macs, one for work and one for home, so if I don’t like a customization enough to bring it to both, I’ll probably just undo it.

                            Something I will take away from this is the Docker performance difference. I’m going to see if I can make some improvements given where Docker for Mac is weak.

                            Oh, for what it’s worth, the new keyboards since the 16” are excellent. Thank god I managed to skip the butterfly generation.

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                              I think what separates me from other commenters here is that I don’t like to configure everything anymore, and I feel like macOS has the most complete default state / least effort to shape it into the environment I want. […] Every time I customize something major, I think later, was the benefit worth the cost of having to set this up again in the future, to recreate this environment

                              I was a Mac desktop user from 2007 until two years ago. What really changed things for me was discovering NixOS. I don’t dread configuring my system anymore, since it is declaratively defined and I could switch to a new system and have it fully set up in just a few minutes. The same for servers, etc. Blow it away, have the same configuration within minutes.

                              Another large benefit is that I get fast machines for a fraction of the price, since the delta between “pro” Apple and non-Apple hardware has become very large. Last week I bought a new Ryzen 3700X machine with 32GB RAM and a Radeon RX580, just north of 1000 Euro. A Mac Pro with roughly the same GeekBench scores, the same amount of memory, and GPU costs 6-7(!) times that here.

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                                a new Ryzen 3700X machine with 32GB RAM and a Radeon RX580

                                Wow, are you me? I recently got a new computer with exactly those things. If you say you got a Gigabyte motherboard, I’m going to call “conspiracy”. :)

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                                  Nope MSI X570-A Pro ;). Though I did consider a Gigabyte B450-based mainboard.

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                                  I like the concept of NixOS; thanks for the pointer. And yeah I’m not in the market for a Mac Pro probably ever. That’s not my kind of workload.

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                                Hey OP, just mentioning that KDE does come with Google Drive integration out of the box, so you don’t have to rely on a third party.

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                                  Hi :) Thanks, that was a really great hint! I found this: https://community.kde.org/KIO_GDrive Integration in Dolphin works great. It let’s you browse files like fuse would. Exactly what I need!

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                                  What still stands out are the touchpad and the speakers of the MacBook.

                                  While the touchpad on MacBook is indeed amazing, surprisingly, Android (on x86) comes with a better gestures support than the stock macOS. People always forget that Android is, uh, a Linux distro.

                                  I had an Android installation on MacBook Pro 2015 and everything worked flawlessly up until Oreo release where the Wi-Fi crashed the system on connection (kernel panic, seems to be specific to Macs…). Haven’t tried the new releases though, but otherwise that was the best UX out-of-the-box I’ve seen on desktop Linux. The shutdown was also instant (systemd has an excessive DefaultTimeoutStopSec=90s and macOS takes a few seconds too).

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                                    While the touchpad on MacBook is indeed amazing, surprisingly, Android (on x86) comes with a better gestures support than the stock macOS.

                                    For me it’s not the amount of gestures that win. I turn most off. It’s the precision in moving the pointer and how well macos removes accidental taps/moves.

                                    This gets me every time I think I’m ready for Linux. The macos input handling is just in a league of its own. That and high dpi, shearing while scrolling and jerky scroll.

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                                      Libinput (the default touchpad driver in most recent release on most distros) is a huge improvement over where things were even a couple years ago. At least in my case, palm rejection and accidental clicking is something I don’t worry about anymore, and input responsiveness is great.

                                      Jerky scrolling and tearing are mostly a graphic driver issue. Unfortunately, it’s still pretty pervasive on some Intel GPUs.

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                                        Sounds good! I look forward to trying out Linux soon again since Apple seems dead set on ruining macOS for me.

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                                        I’d agree with this. For me everything else (my freedom, ability to tune things, trustable code etc.) is well worth ditching macOS, but I still miss the Mac touchpad. Natural scrolling is a big part of the reason why. GNOME has an option to change the scrolling direction so it’s “natural”, but it’s not at all the same because moving my fingers down on the touchpad does nothing for a bit, and then scrolls down a few lines - just like it would on a mouse’s scroll wheel. On the Mac the scrolling matches where your fingers move exactly, like it would on an actual touchscreen device.

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                                          Ah yes. I’m not much of a tinkerer, but I’m totally with you on sandboxing. It’s like, let me be in charge of my computer, thanks.

                                          That’s exactly it, scrolling on Linux often feel like a mouse scroll wheel, and it’s not the same.

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                                      Nice post, desktop & app choice/taste are pretty similar but I never got to taste a mac. Nice to read it from that angle. And I envy your up to date KDE Plasma, I should start trying out Manjaro or NixOS :)

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                                        Interesting article! I’m in a similar situation as the author, pre-switch, with an MBP as my main computer for the last 7 years. It’s a fantastic piece of hardware and has held up extremely well considering it was the base model. It’s only lately when I tried to run Android Studio that I felt it to be lacking in performance.

                                        While I like macOS, I’m getting rather tired of it, having to keep up with ways to customize or revert with every release. I’ve also grown tired of Homebrew, mostly because it’s really slow. Recently, I got my hands on an old desktop machine and decided to try out Void linux which impressed me greatly from the package management to the simple configuration. No more (forced) hand holding!

                                        Recent Apple hardware like the touch bar doesn’t appeal to me either, but what I appreciate is their commitment to great displays. I’m stunned to see that Full HD is still the norm with the competition and upping the resolution is often only available with a touchscreen display that I’m not willing to pay for. I’ve mostly been eyeing Lenovo and Dell, the latter of which introduced what seemed to be the perfect macbook-killer last year. Sadly that specific model (or configuration of it) was not available in Sweden.

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                                          A brief comparison from my perspective:

                                          • FLOSS vs. not. This is my primary reason. I realize you can run FLOSS stuff on OSX, too, but I feel I’m supporting FLOSS more with Linux than with OSX.
                                          • Linux (KDE) provides a much better day-to-day UI experience; window management, theming, customization
                                          • With Linux, I (generally) don’t get updates force fed to me by the powers that be, compared to proprietary OSes like Windows and Mac.
                                          • PC hardware is significantly cheaper for comparable performance (at least I assume that’s still the case).
                                          • Macs have high-DPI displays, and that’s nice. I realize PCs can be high-DPI too, but, to date, all my computers have been 1080p at most.
                                          • I really appreciate how physically solid Macbooks are. No real chance of warping, bending or cracking the case/frame. The hinge goes all the way across the device, and has withstood opening and closing for 4+ years now. In contrast, both of my PC laptops over the last 10ish years began to have problems due to general daily wear and tear of the hinge. My Thinkpad also has a slight crack in the case around one of the ports.
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                                            Nice article!

                                            Google does not provide a Linux client for Google Drive. For me it is enough to use the web version. But there are some promising (paid) 3rd-party clients.

                                            Maybe Rclone can help.

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                                              After i install it, I usually never hear a beep from Insync. It just works. I see that they alsosync OneDrive now, but I have no need for it.