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Ask HN: Feasible Alternative to the MacBook Pro?
563 points by ryanmccullagh 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 602 comments
The MBP is by far the best laptop I’ve used. The graphics are amazing, and the touchpad is ergonomic. However, Apple has demonstrated their inability to be reliable. I bought my MBP in January of this year (2019) and tomorrow I’ll pick it up from its 3rd repair. I’ve grown tired of this repair routine. And after the 3 years runs out, they will start charging me.



I switched from MBP to a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu. I compare the experience to living in a hotel vs. living at home [1]. In a hotel (=on Mac), everything is stylish and cared for, but you have very little freedom to change things. At home (=on Linux), you need to do the dishes yourself but there's no external agenda. It's simply yours.

I'm very happy with the switch. Though I'm on (Debian+) Xfce now instead of Ubuntu and would go for a ThinkPad instead of the XPS, because 1) I want a 14" screen 2) the XPS's fan is too loud, especially when Skyping 3) the XPS's camera is placed at the bottom of the screen instead of at the top, so people you have video calls with look up your nostrils.

[1]: https://fman.io/blog/home-and-hotel


> In a hotel (=on Mac), everything is stylish and cared for, but you have very little freedom to change things.

I've heard this over and over — that Macs are locked-down, uncustomisable machines — and I don't agree with it at all.

I use replacements for almost all the built-in apps. I use a custom launcher. My editor config Git repo is approaching ten years old, and my shell config Git repo is almost eight. There are standard interfaces to per-application Preferences and keyboard shortcuts. When I sit down to use someone else's Mac, I have no idea how to use it!

What changes am I missing? The only thing I can think of is that I can't use a different window manager or a different kernel, but I'm fine with those already.


Once upon a time this was true. User-facing documentation was scarce (usually requiring internet searches). However, between unofficial package managers like homebrew, the excellent efforts of a few devs (LaunchBar/Quicksilver, PathFinder, Little Snitch, etc...), `osascript`, and the internet providing defaults documentation for obscure apple apps, I always felt like I could get the system to behave the way I needed it to.

This started changing about a decade ago. The first time I noticed it was when Apple bundled all of the services involved in NAT into a huge binary (this would have been about OS X 10.8 or .9). You could turn it on or off, but there was no longer a built-in way to serve DHCP on both ports.

There's been a steady progress away from tools aimed at the entire skill gradient and towards the lower end of that gradient: Around 10.9 OSX got new file open/save dialogs, which were infinitely better if you used a mouse... but lacked any cmd-key shortcuts.

Gatekeeper has made it progressively harder for system tweaks like LaunchBar or Little Snitch to exist, and I've had to wrestle with SIP more than once.

In summary, earlier versions of OSX are perfectly fine (my one remaining mac is on 10.10), but Apple has not been doing itself any favors with the dev community in more recent iterations of the OS.


> In summary, earlier versions of OSX are perfectly fine (my one remaining mac is on 10.10), but Apple has not been doing itself any favors with the dev community in more recent iterations of the OS.

The GNU/Linux community also isn't bending to my will arbitrarily either. Frustrating, to say the least.

In all seriousness, people are all happy to talk about how easy linux is to customize until you broach the subject of changing keybindings to use a mac-like scheme (using command for gui interactions as a rule of thumb, readline bindings everywhere there's text entry), and you find out this is pretty much impossible. In reality software is mostly customizable in the way the creators built it to be customized, including things like windowserver and macos mouse behavior and X11 and gtk and emacs and bash.


It seems like you're using OSes that are trying to cater to a diminishingly technical crowd. I read (somewhere, a year or so ago) that the generation now in their late 20s/early 30s was the last one that actually needed to care about how their computers worked, because their computers occasionally needed to be fixed. Generally speaking, I think that the newer generation has likely never been exposed to a computer that they could try to troubleshoot and fix themselves: everything is iPhone apps and Windows 7 / 10 and Andriod and slick websites. The information age no longer requires technical knowledge.

As a result, I'd guess that most of the purchasers of new computers are in the generations above and below the ones with technical knowlege: the new generation, without the background to even care about being a power user, and the older generation where most aren't power users anyway.

BTW, I'm using i3, and I think it would be (relatively) super easy to change the keybindings around to what you're describing. It sounds like you may need to find an OS that's designed to expose the level of customization that you want.


> > people are all happy to talk about how easy linux is to customize until you broach the subject of changing keybindings to use a mac-like scheme (using command for gui interactions as a rule of thumb, readline bindings everywhere there's text entry)

> BTW, I'm using i3, and I think it would be (relatively) super easy to change the keybindings around to what you're describing.

Really?

How does one go about configuring i3 such that, say, any time you hit ctrl-w it deletes backwards to the previous white space (a common readline binding) in any text entry box in, say, Firefox, IntelliJ, Spotify, VLC, Amarok, Gimp, etc?

Are you quite certain that “readline bindings everywhere there’s a textbox” is really in the scope of i3’s customizations? What OP described goes quite a bit beyond window manager customization.

> It sounds like you may need to find an OS that's designed to expose the level of customization that you want.

On OS X this can be achieved by placing

    {
      "^w"        = "deleteWordBackward:";
    }
in $HOME/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeybindings.dict, so I rather think he already is using an OS that exposes this level of pervasive customization.


The Cocoa text input widget supports these keybindings and is used in many applications. Linux does not have one single input widget that is as popular (Gnome apps use a GTK text widget, KDE apps use a Qt text widget, etc.) On Linux, you would need to address this setting on a per widget set basis.

I don't think this supports the argument that Mac OS X is somehow more customizable that Linux. In my opinion it's the opposite: every application is strongly encouraged to use the same text widget. We're lucky in this case that we like this function. In other cases (like virtual desktop management) Apple's decisions have been towards less customizability. I believe that has long been a Hallmark of Apple, back when OS X was released Apple scoffed at the idea that anyone would ever want to change the default theme (which at that time was a bit more extreme). A "gray" theme.was introduced after much pressure from customers.

That said, I seriously doubt that the Apple Computer of today is as interested in ensuring this functionality to the same degree as the Apple of ten years ago. They have made many developer unfriendly decisions in the past decade, I wouldn't count on this feature being present indefinitely.


> Linux does not have one single input widget that is as popular (Gnome apps use a GTK text widget, KDE apps use a Qt text widget, etc.). On Linux, you would need to address this setting on a per widget set basis.

Yes, I clearly already understood that. I was pointing out how absurd ColanR’s claim was that he could do this all through i3 config “super easy”. It isn’t within the domain of the window manager to control the toolkits’ widget bindings, which are all over the map in terms of customizability.

> I don't think this supports the argument that Mac OS X is somehow more customizable that Linux. In my opinion it's the opposite: every application is strongly encouraged to use the same text widget.

Which, in my opinion, strongly increases customizability because I can be sure the things I customize work the way I want them to effectively everywhere; I am not limited by every third application author’s obstinate choice to hardcode some other set of bindings in some deliberately incompatible toolkit.

I’d suggest that our disagreement comes down to the fact that configurability is not a linear gradient, but a fairly complex, multi-dimensional topic with a lot of subtle trade-offs that different people may have different preferences surrounding.

> I wouldn't count on this feature being present indefinitely.

Sure. Similarly I don’t count on however you do this in GTK today still working in 5 years, given how often they CADT their way into new incompatible configuration systems.


How does that work? If i implement my own editor using sdl2, how will it know? Are you sure it's not just cocoa specific? If that's the case it's possible for gtk too.


> If i implement my own editor using sdl2, how will it know? Are you sure it's not just cocoa specific? If that's the case it's possible for gtk too.

Of course it’s system textbox specific; if you reimplement your own, there is no magic involved.

And obviously it’s possible in GTK. And KDE, and one-offs like Firefox, for that matter. I’d suggest that the fact that you have to do it in about 20 different ways to cover your common apps, and a few will not even offer this kind of configuration, is net-worse than the OS which makes this so easy because there’s a standard GUI toolkit that nearly everything uses.

This doesn’t mean “Linux Bad, OS X Good”, but it is indicative of the fact that “Linux is configurable and OS X isn’t” is a very poor descriptor of reality.

Configurability is a complex topic with a lot of different facets, and both OSes offer different ranges of ease of configurability in different areas.

ColanR made the extraordinary claim that, ostensibly because he uses i3, “it would be (relatively) super easy to change the keybindings around to <command for gui interactions as a rule of thumb, readline bindings everywhere there's text entry>”. This is a very typical Linux user’s response in which they very narrowly equate mac keybindings with “window manager configuration”, when the flexibility offered by the system is in reality much broader than that.


Well, the point is all of this problem is there in osx too, since GTK, Qt, sdl2 and custom made windowing toolkit can all run in osx.

I know atleast a few programs that people use on osx which break these conventions, hence it's not as universal as your proclaim.

Unless you run only their store apps on your computer(which most likely no developer does), then maybe what you say makes sense. Otherwise it's not better than linux distros like elementary OS where convention is also to use gtk only apps(similar to cocoa only).


> Unless you run only their store apps on your computer(which most likely no developer does), then maybe what you say makes sense. Otherwise it's not better than linux distros like elementary OS where convention is also to use gtk only apps(similar to cocoa only).

This is, frankly, horseshit.

I run a lot of non-store apps, and absolutely none of them are GTK based, because GTK apps on OS X run through X Windows and look and work like dogshit. Next to nobody is voluntarily running that garbage.

Qt uses native text widgets, and works with the default input customization just fine. I can’t even begin to think of a development app that would be written in sdl2, a bloody games API.

Very, very few apps commonly in use by devs on OS X use anything other than native widgets, and it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

The situation is a far, far, laughable cry from elementary OS, because outside of a small limited set of apps specifically targeted at such a niche distro, most Linux apps are still written in a hodgepodge of inconsistent wheel-reinventing mess of incompatible toolkits. The situation is night-and-day in inconsistency compared to OS X.


> I can’t even begin to think of a development app that would be written in sdl2, a bloody games API

A lot of games do, some even have their built-in editor and it's not about sdl2, it's anything custom widget toolkit. So your thing is a nice convention which often works but not always.

> laughable cry from elementary OS, because outside of a small limited set of apps specifically targeted at such a niche distro

Small limited set? a lot of programs are already written with gtk, distro merely enforce this convention in their app store like apple does.

I am not going to bother commenting on obvious things about how consistent OS X is.


What cmd-key shortcuts are you thinking of? FWIW every apple filepicker window I come across I can utilise the following shortcuts consistently, which is very nice:

Cmd-Shift-A: Open Applications folder

Cmd-Shift-H: Open Home folder

Cmd-Shift-D: Open Desktop folder

Cmd-Shift-O: Open Documents folder

Cmd-Option-L: Open Downloads folder

Cmd-Shift-L: Open Library folder

Cmd-Shift-.: Toggle Hidden Files

Cmd-[: Back

Cmd-]: Forward

Cmd-Up: Up


That's a useful list. If I may say so I think it omits the best one!

Cmd-Shift-G: Use the filesystem however the fuck you like, with tab completion.


That hidden files toggle shortcut is amazing! I've always used a terminal command I have saved in notes to do that.

So much easier!

Embarrassingly I am not new to OSX/MacOS.


It's useful to emphasize that the Cmd-[ and Cmd-] shortcuts specifically, work pretty much everywhere: in iTunes, Safari, Mail, Preferences, etc. It's almost like macOS has universal "scene-graph navigation shortcuts."


I forget the full list, but these had been standard since I started with OS7.

cmd-s Save

cmd-n New folder

cmd-shift-s Save As

It's possible some have been added back.


If anyone is interested, here's a full list that I got it from that blew my mind https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201236


This list of shortcuts is really useful. Thank you!


> but lacked any cmd-key shortcuts

Not true. The shortcut is cmd-shift-g which allows one to select files via the standard filesystem directory hierarchy, using a widget which supports tab completion.


> Around 10.9 OSX got new file open/save dialogs, which were infinitely better if you used a mouse... but lacked any cmd-key shortcuts.

Cmd+Shift+G withing an open/save diolog gets you a dialog where you can enter a path with tab completion support.


There's no real package manager. You can't rebuild your kernel. You can't upgrade your hardware. Once your HW is unsupported by Apple you're stuck with an old OS that is unsupported by third party software as well.


I don’t... I don’t want to rebuild my kernel? I want my goddamn computer to compute. I want to get my work done, then maybe order Chipotle. At least the Mac sleeps properly when I close the lid, unlike every Linux laptop I’ve ever had.


My Thinkpad T460p on ubuntu sleeps properly when I close the lid, every time, which is better than Windows managed on the same machine. I am running a stock kernel though.


I’m glad it works for you. It doesn’t work for me, on top of the myriad other Linux things that don’t work for me that, although well within my capability to fix, I would rather not have to deal with.


Right, yours does. OK.

All macs do.


On my Lenovo sleep works as good as on my older Macbooks. Not having a power saving sleep mode as good as the Macs was one of my main complaints when switching away from Apple. The key to success was the systemd's hybrid sleep mode. With it I can use the Lenovo just as the Macs, that is: never switch off, just close the lid and restart work when I open it again. As a bonus it also properly hibernates when it runs out of battery (just as the Macs do).


Well done - a function works well on a restricted set of hardware which the OS has been tested thoroughly against. How do you expect that same thing to be achieved with the hundreds of potential laptops out there which could run Linux?


Who cares? The tribulations of the creator are not the concern of the end user.

If i can expect a macbook to work properly running macos, but can't expect a laptop running Linux to work properly, that's all I need to know. I'm not going to be all "I guess it doesn't matter that my laptop doesn't sleep, they have hundreds of models to account for!" and just deal with it.


> a function works well on a restricted set of hardware which the OS has been tested thoroughly against

So--mac and linux are equal?


“You can’t rebuild your kernel.” Are you kidding me? Apple supports the hardware it ships on day one, then provides free updates until the device is obsolete.

If you must rebuild Apple’s OSS kernel, you can follow the instructions here: https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/Da...


what means device is obsolete?

Do you mean i3 cannot handle general browsing tasks?

Please read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence


It means "until the third-party developers in the OS's application ecosystem have changed their definition of 'state of the art' to include the use of enough new layers of bloat that old devices can no longer run the newest [versions of] apps."

An obsolete laptop is the same as an obsolete phone: it's one where it chugs when opening Spotify, or Slack, or any other "nobody ever bothered to optimize this" app that everyone uses anyway.

Or, to put that another way: you can certainly retouch photos in GIMP, or even in Paint Shop Pro 7 on Windows XP. But what if you want to use seam-carving in your photo-retouching? PSP7 ain't got that. Once you know that your use-case dictates a modern version of some memory-hogging software, well, that constraint dictates what kind of computer is "obsolete" or not for you.


> the device is obsolete.

One of my biggest complaints about Apple is the difference between what I consider to be obsolete and what they do.


What about hardware Apple doesn't ship? Or support that is buggy? What about GPU support using a non Apple-only APIs (I'm looking at you Metal).


> What about GPU support using a non Apple-only APIs (I'm looking at you Metal).

My Unity projects work out of the box.


"no real package manager" [MacPorts has existed nearly as long as the public OS][0] and was even hosted by Apple until a few years ago.

(And there's the App Store, which is effectively a non-technically-inclined-user's "package manager".)

[0]:https://trac.macports.org/wiki/MacPortsHistory


> There's no real package manager.

There's no "real package manager" on any of the BSDs; package managers are a Linux-ism. BSDs (like Darwin) have base-systems, developed and released as a whole; and then, separately, userlands, delivered through some kind of ports system. Critically, nothing in the base system is ever dependent on the userland; the system always works fine with zero userland ports installed.

Under such a paradigm, there's absolutely no difference between a first-party ports ecosystem and a third-party one.

> You can't upgrade your hardware. Once your HW is unsupported by Apple you're stuck with an old OS that is unsupported by third party software as well.

Personally, I like the era of disposable computers. Most computers have got hardly anything in them these days, anyway; just an SoC and a battery. What would you upgrade? It'd be like upgrading the parts in an electric toothbrush. In both cases, there's just a few parts, and they all wear out at about the same rate, such that when the device is worn out, it's all worn out. Just get a new one, and recycle the old one for scrap (i.e. what Apple does when you use their trade-in program.)


> There's no real package manager

I like Homebrew -- is it not adequate enough for your needs?


There’s also macports, tends to have more packages, updated more often. Maybe what he meant was batteries aren’t included?


> Once your HW is unsupported by Apple you're stuck with an old OS that is unsupported by third party software as well.

The latest version of MacOS supports hardware from 2012. High Sierra (released 2 years ago) supports hardware from 2009 and 2010, and very little if any software released today won't run on it.


speaking as someone with a long history of old macs, I'm very comfortable in saying this is a straw-man argument that doesn't matter BECAUSE every single mac I have ever had that they've dropped support for has been EFFING PAINFUL to use long before they dropped support. I've been using Macs since the Mac SE. Apple maintains support for their devices long after any reasonable person that wasn't dirt poor would have replaced them. Any poor person in the US would probably be better off going to the library and using the crappy free computers there, because macs that old are ridiculously slow.


Cool stuff I used to do when I had time to spare back in the 90's at the university shared flat.

I don't want to do any of that any more.

Either it works out of the box, or it doesn't.


As to your last point regarding incompatible hardware, you can use tools like this to patch the installer.

http://dosdude1.com/catalina/


The complaints usually refer to hardware customization (RAM, for instance). Now they glue components in and discourage the ability to change components whatsoever.


Agreed. I didn't immediately like OS X when I switched to it from Linux at home (and eventually Windows at work), but once I got the right set of 3rd party utilities (tiling app, keyboard shortcut modifiers, launcher, UNIX package manager, etc), it was a great fit.

I think it'd be difficult to get the keyboard shortcut mappings I have working even in Linux -- Emacs-style keyboard shortcuts everywhere without interfering with the more typical keyboard shortcuts.

Another thing is that if I really need something from Linux or Windows, I can either run a VM, boot into one of those OSes natively, or remote desktop to a server with good remote desktop performance. Hackintosh's are a possibility though have their rough edges, and macOS runs better in a VM these days from what I hear, but macOS is my preferred host OS anyway for things like audio/music production apps and video editing, so I'd want to run macOS natively over other OS's anyway. For the stuff I currently do, Linux and Windows run fine in a VM.

So, going with the original analogy, macOS is like a hotel where you can have your own house inside.


"I use replacements for almost all the built-in apps. I use a custom launcher. My editor config Git repo is approaching ten years old, and my shell config Git repo is almost eight. There are standard interfaces to per-application Preferences and keyboard shortcuts. When I sit down to use someone else's Mac, I have no idea how to use it!"

I run an environment, on OSX, similar to this although (I assume) much less ambitious in the customization.

My biggest problem is the lack of focus-follows-mouse. I had this in the snow leopard days with an add-on called "mondomouse" which is abandonware and I attempted to solve it with "dwellclick" but that isn't really designed for what I need and doesn't work.

Now I see that in very, very new versions of OSX there is some buried setting in accessibility that does honest-to-god focus-follows-mouse (as in, raise window as if I clicked it when I hover over) ... can anyone confirm/deny ?


The only reason mouse focus was ever useful to me is NOT raising the window. That way you can type at one window while reading the other. Otherwise you are just saving ... one click? ... when your hand is already on the mouse? Why not Cmd-TAB instead?


A coworker of mine used the X11 application (or XQuartz?)'s terminal windows for their focus-follows-mouse.


> The only thing I can think of is that I can't use a different window manager

There are some third-party macOS window managers out there. Personally I use Amethyst. I'm sure they're not as powerful as Linux WMs can be, but it suits my tiling needs when I have an external monitor plugged in.


Last time I used a Mac (about a year ago) I could not for the life of me figure out how to add shortcuts for repositioning windows across monitors. It seemed the only way was through a 3rd party paid app.


Remapping keyboard is ridiculously hard for example.. I had a somewhat working solution (never 100%) and one update destroyed everything (i think it was sierra)


How do I remove Siri so that it never comes back to ask if I want to enable it? Just disabling doesn’t work, it comes back asking to be turned on


Get back to me when you can figure out how to upgrade your ram.


Huh? I had 0 problems upgrading the RAM in my 2011 MBP. Have they made it inaccessible since then?


Unfortunately, yes. Several years ago they started soldering the RAM directly to the motherboard, and don't provide any ram slots. So, whatever amount a unit shipped with is the max it will ever have.

I'm still using a mid-2009 MBP. Upgraded the RAM, replaced the hard drive with an SSD, and just last week installed Catalina on it. It's still my daily driver lol.


People always criticize the lack of customization too as though it's an inherent flaw, like things must be customizable or not be good and I disagree. I love having my Windows Desktop to tinker on, but my Macbook is my workhorse. I don't care if I can customize it to any great degree. I've paid a lot of money for that machine and I expect it to work, without troubleshooting, and without fiddling. I akin it more to going to a very nice restaurant and spending $150+ for a dinner for two: I don't want to give the chef my recipe for some mediocre meal, I want the chef's recipe because it's likely going to be amazing.

Tl;dr: Customization is highly overrated.


> Tl;dr: Customization is highly overrated.

False. Adding 16GB or 32GB RAM makes real difference to any machine. But it's not profitable for Apple, they want you to buy new one.


Apple is not even close to being the only company selling laptops with soldered RAM.

All the popular competitors to the MacBook Pro have soldered RAM including the XPS 13 and ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

Really the truth of the matter is that for 95%+ of people, RAM requirements have completed plateaued in the last 5-8 years or so.


> Apple is not even close to being the only company selling laptops with soldered RAM.

They were certanly the first to implement that and starters of the wider trend.


Certainly? Were they verifiably first, or is that a guess? What about ultraportables like the Sony Vaio UX series?

I would argue that consumers demanding portability is not a “trend.”

And the only way to deliver true portability is to combine components. e.g. smartphones.


Yes, the non-upgradability of RAM on MacBook Airs and later other MacBooks has been widely called out in reviews and media at the release of those models. You can easily verify that by going back to read those reviews.


That doesn't mean that it was the first, just the first that they bothered to look for that... which makes sense, because apple's hardware is generally going to be under more scrutiny than other manufacturers.


No, they just suffer through a sluggish experience and don't know any better.


Adding RAM aftermarket is not important. Paying a reasonable price is. If Apple didn't charge $100 per 4GB of RAM (actual retail price in absence of lock-in: $20) and just shipped 16GB on every device at a fair price, there would be no problem (except Apple couldn't soak their whales for upgrades and replacements


Except you are paying 150 $ for a dinner and they are serving you a very over priced average meal and you can't even add anything to it to make it better.

Do you want some oil on it(ram)?

It's 80 euros because you have to ask the chef assistant (apple store)

Do you want different kind of pasta which is the standard for that receipe? (Nvidia GPU)

You can't

So what are you really paying for?

The forniture?

I go to a museum if I wanna see some fine classy decor...


In an expensive restaurant adding salt or oil to your meal is an insult to the chef.


Somehow I imagine that the same people who hate macbooks probably also hate fancy restaurants where adding salt is an insult to the chef


I have eaten at some incredibly fancy restaurants and I think the chef would have to be an incredibly self-centered dick to have an issue with me adding some salt or oil to the dish - everyone has different tastebuds, if I want more soil then judging that is silly.


I love this analogy, and it's remarkable at how much sense it makes when I look at the choices I make in my day to day life generally.

Hotel-chic is very clean, very minimal, very sparse. Just enough to have the necessary conveniences that appeal to everyone, with absolutely nothing personalised for any individual.

As of about 10 years ago, I made a conscious choice to stop customising my desktop (and then later, mobile) experience away from the defaults as much as possible, as I was fed up of having to document and then re-deploy all of my customisations every time I had to reinstall for whatever reason, which was far too frequent for my liking.

At the same time, I'd been moving home roughly every year for the 7 years prior already, and had grown weary of all my physical effects. I started disposing of more and more of my things (inadvertently marie kondo-ing my life before it was a "thing" I was aware of) and decreasing the personalisation of my physical space down more and more.

I now essentially live a hotel-esque lifestyle, with most of my personal customisations fitting in a small corner of the room. Added bonus of this is with the frequent travel I need to do for work, I can take one or two items with me, and the hotel room instantly feels like home.

I guess this explains why I'm relatively happy as an Apple user. The lack of customisation doesn't bother me, as I don't customise anything outside of the bare minimums (wallpaper and privacy settings, thats about it).

It also explains how I'm able to use Windows 10 at work without killing anyone, while my colleagues are all using tiling window managers under Linux and looking at me like I'm crazy for not wanting to spend a week tweaking and customising my environment....


> I made a conscious choice to stop customising my desktop (and then later, mobile) experience away from the defaults as much as possible, as I was fed up of having to document and then re-deploy all of my customisations every time I had to reinstall for whatever reason.

I just copy my home-dir settings everywhere I go. I have a different setup on my desktop and laptop. It is mostly .config that I need. But when moving, it just moves along to a new machine or install. Happily living on the same config files for 20 years now, and I only need to adjust as I desire. I do have daily backups ofcourse.


> Happily living on the same config files for 20 years now

I just wanted to draw more attention to this particular snippet. That's a remarkable achievement, and you should be proud of yourself and your working environment.

Regardless that most other people (myself included) are unlikely to be able to replicate what you've done, the reality is you've done it, and it works for you. Good job.


I have a similarly low, although very important to me, set of requirements for my personal configuration.

I use KDE, which has many, many, many buttons and knobs available for tweaking. I use hardly any of them: I can set KDE as I wish in about 2 minutes. I add a "Keep window above others" button to the default minimize-maximize-close set, activate "Focus follows mouse", and swap Ctrl and Caps Lock. I think I also change the task switcher (Alt+Tab thing) to only cycle though not-minimized windows on the current screen.

For everything else (Zsh, SSH, etc), I just carry around my dotfiles. I've done this since about 2002.

If I were setting myself up with a clean KDE environment more than once every 2-3 years, I'd make the small effort to work out which bits of KDE config I need to keep. So far, it's not worth it.


I also use KDE and to be honest, the (deliberate?) opaqueness of the settings when not viewed through the settings app is really annoying to me.


I also have very minimal dotfiles. Less than 200 LOC in total, including whitespace.

They have barely changed in the last decade. Two key things to be able to work like this were:

* Moving most of my computing to 3 platforms (Emacs, Unix and Firefox). I don't use any GUI application aside from a manual tiling window manager.

* Migrating to a barebones distribution, Arch / NixOS. A small half a page imperative / declarative script is enough to configure all my system.


Are they publicly hosted? This sounds like a setup I'd like to move toward


>Regardless that most other people (myself included) are unlikely to be able to replicate what you've done, the reality is you've done it, and it works for you. Good job.

It's more about personal psychology (willing to stick to something that works and not tinker, or even willing to do with less and not seek improvements all the time), than some technological feat (e.g. achieving some "perfect" config).


Good for you.

Possibly not for many people.


In case you didn't notice, Windows 10 is now a tiling window manager with virtual desktops, by default, if you just learn the new keyboard shortcuts.


> In case you didn't notice, Windows 10 is now a tiling window manager with virtual desktops, by default, if you just learn the new keyboard shortcuts.

But it's not comparable to sway/i3 - not in terms of customisability or functionality. What I suspect we have on Windows, are virtual desktops and snap-to-edge/quarter tiling. Maybe you can get some rigid layouts if you install PowerToys/FancyZones, but it's still a far cry from my usual working environment where I can dynamically create layouts by opening new windows, configure shortcuts to my own desire, programmatically send messages to the window manager and so much more.

With Windows (and to be honest, macOS too), you get least-common denominator functionality aimed at users who don't know what a window manager is.


I make this same comment every time this topic comes up, but Sysinternal's lightweight utility Desktops is far, far better than the W10 window manager. Its orders of magnitude faster and requires fewer inputs.

I have a couple config changes i make to use W10, and Desktops and f.lux are must-haves.


> I made a conscious choice to stop customising my desktop (and then later, mobile) experience away from the defaults as much as possible, as I was fed up of having to document and then re-deploy all of my customisations every time I had to reinstall for whatever reason

I tried this for some time and came to the conclusion that for me most desktops' defaults don't fit me and it seems to get worse from release to release.


I love how my work is now about 99% OS agnostic. I've been working from home a lot lately. There are times when I want to do some deep research and I don't want to do it on the desktop. So I just get my MBA, plop on the recliner and Google away.

Save the pages with SessionBuddy on Chrome. Then when I have to actually work, I can go to my Windows desktop and jump right into work.

It's come to a point where I'm basically using two operating systems daily and it hasn't affected my workflow one bit


> Hotel-chic is very clean, very minimal, very sparse. Just enough to have the necessary conveniences that appeal to everyone, with absolutely nothing personalised for any individual.

It is also terrible if you stay there for more than a couple of days.

Apple is not an hotel, it is a fast food with overpriced menus because they use expensive ingredients, charge 2x the price because of their fancy plates, but what you get it's still an overpriced hamburger.

It's like ordering a 25$ cheeseburger from McDonald because it's made with a percentage of Kobe beef


I tried this switch (2015 MBP 13 to top-spec XPS 13) about a year ago and was not so happy with it. The reasons that I remember:

- Unless watching movies (not something I used it for) the wide screen aspect ratio was a big step down for productivity. IDEs, browsers, etc. all feel very cramped compared to on a more square 13" MBP.

- With Ubuntu pre-installed, out of the box, the sleep/hibernate mode used about 25% battery per 12 hours of sleep. I was able to configure a working sleep mode but this is the sort of basic functionality I expect to work on a high-end laptop.

- Multi-monitor - with mixed DPI - just never worked and I tried every suggestion I could find.

- Overall battery management was poorer - probably not Dell's fault as I expect this is an issue with the way Linux applications are written. A regular pattern was re-starting applications whenever the fan would start whirring up.

- This could be an issue with our set-up but I had to write a script that ran in the background to refresh the WiFi connection. There was some ARP issue that I wasn't able to (nor had time to) fully debug.

- This is pretty subjective, but I found the keyboard to be cramped an unergonomic.

I actually wanted to like this as I've primarily used Linux on my desktops for a couple of decades.


The better battery usage and wi-fi are some of the basic things that don't work out of the box even on a preinstalled ubuntu on XPS are real let down. These are the same problems I faced when I had used Linux laptops before, and so now happily settled with 15" mac pro since past 5 years - no issues whatsoever.


> the XPS's camera is placed at the bottom of the screen instead of at the top, so people you have video calls with look up your nostrils.

The camera is no longer placed at the bottom of the screen in the newest model (9380), they moved it up top


That's great to hear. Maybe everyone complaining loudly about that got them to redesign it. I completely ruled out getting an XPS previously because of that design decision.


Huh, weird. I used to have an XPS 15 (from 2015 or so) with the camera placed on top, but my newer one (2018) has it at the bottom. Weird and unwelcome.


It's back on top in the 2019 XPS 15


Ah, okay! That's great.


Give me the hotel then because I want to spend my time doing work not having to do laundry or cut the lawn.


Stretching this analogy even further:

With Linux, we have a choice of over 20 different housemaids and lawn-cutting robots, though choosing between them is difficult at first.

Most lawn robots can also sweep patios or shovel snow, so if you move to a different climate you can use the same tools.


And all the robots run Linux as well, so you better start customising those first in case the package maintainer doesn't share your conviction that lawns and carpets are not the same thing in every respect :)


I'd like to have a house set up and ready with a decent selection of pre-configured robots to take care of my needs, with an easy interface to reconfigure them or add some new ones.

Or are we still talking about Linux?


TBH, at this point I think you just described Fedora. I’ve been using it everyday for three years and the total set of customizations I’ve needed to make, outside of my developer stuff, has been...remapping a few keys, really.

The absolute worst, edge-case-est thing I’ve hit: I did have to install a COPR to install (with zero configuration) Bumblebee to be able to completely disable my discrete GPU to save battery life when I was on vacation, and multi-monitor with Bumblebee sucks, so when I got back I uninstalled Bumblebee and Nouveau took back over.


  > Most lawn robots can also sweep patios or shovel
  > snow, so if you move to a different climate you
  > can use the same tools.
I thought that the UNIX was was to one job, well.


The robot's job is to move back & forth the tool it is holding in its arms as it sweeps across the surface it is on. Give it (pipe) a shovel or a mop or a crass cutting thing and there you go.


No, that's some philosophy from 40 years ago regarding the bare-bones UNIX userland (tools like cat, tar, grep, bc, etc).

It never applied to other things, like Emacs, and was never a core tenet for server and GUI applications, or frameworks...


That is the official Unix philosophy, but a glance at just about any man page will suggest that it's never been followed.


Yup. My copy of "sudo" has 23 documented command line switches, 15 documented environment variables that influence various behaviors, plugins(!), and can also use a configuration file for setting up paths, debugging tools, etc. Do one thing well, indeed.


Yes, but the point of Unix is that sweeping leaves and sweeping snow are the same task, when viewed in the right way.


I've spent more time fighting with brew and the third party package manages than I have with issues in Ubuntu.


You might have had some exotic edge cases then because I’ve never run into this situation.

MacOS is unix-y enough to compile your own binaries like a John Siracusa does.

And if you’re a dev the Mac is still a much better platform for getting paid than any other platform (until ElementaryOS takes off...).

I use a number of really cool apps to do things I would get likely for free on Linux like magnet for window management (though that’s gotten a lot better in Catalina).

And... even though the current laptops have terrible keyboards my 2013 MacBook Pro is a bit rough around the edges it’s solid and fast and in my experience none of my pc laptops ever made it that far.

Side note: is there a Linux distribution or desktop environment that does what the Mac does with the scaling. Native res is 1440p but renders at half that to effectively give a 2x sharpen on image quality?


> I use a number of really cool apps to do things I would get likely for free on Linux like magnet for window management

I'm not sure I understand your point here; is the fact that you need to use third-party apps for these things being described as a selling point, or is the argument just that you can still find solutions for things that might initially seem like they're missing?


Keeping with the analogy I’m saying that everything is there and polished and clean and works and if I want to put a spin on things or make things even better I can.

The same can be said for Linux but I find OSX so far more productive for me and the eco system is so nice everything fits nicely with my other idevices


Most Linuxes attempt to detect a HiDPI screen (hi resolution basically) nowadays but you cannot do fractional scaling as easily as you could on a Mac, especially on Wayland. You can only do 2x or 1x.


Latest version of gnome supports fractional scaling


The hotel "because I don't want to do laundry" is the worst choice immaginabile

If you can afford hotel prices to actually live inside a nice one (more than 12 sq meters), you can afford 5 people doing your laundry and other chores at your house


+1 for ThinkPads, they just work. The XPS has super annoying fans which change their speed randomly all the time (though it's possible to override: https://github.com/TomFreudenberg/dell-bios-fan-control).

Btw, Xfce is a desktop environment while Ubuntu is a distribution. Perhaps you meant to write you're on Xfce instead of Gnome?


Thinkpads come in different flavours, and the have very different quality. Either get a T-series, or X-series (X series is basically smaller version of T). Or if it's a used one, the later A-series are good as well (A series means AMD instead of Intel). The old A - series were crap. Nowadays T and X series have AMD also (if model ends with 5, it's AMD). T and X series have MIL certification. For example there's also X1 Extreme (costs around 3000€), but quality wise it's a lot worse than T or X series, because it does not have the MIL certificate.


Lenovo claims it has the usyal MIL certications, see Features under: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-x/Thi...


My bad. It reality it has the MIL-STD-810G cert. Sorry for causing confusion.


Or, if you need the power and don't mind the size/weight and price, P-series.


Yes, when I wrote ThinkPad I meant T or X series!

First time I hear the X1 Extreme is worse quality wise - I was thinking it'd be my next machine... like in a couple of years. Do you have more info?


Two examples: 1. No drainage system (like in X and T series) 2. Screen hinge becomes loose in less than a year (anecdata)

Edit: in order to remove battery, you have to remove the whole bottom cover.


So, just the same as a MBP in that regard.

I use X1Carbons as a daily Linux driver after MBP and am very happy with them.


Thanks for the info. Nothing worse than loose hinges!


Just do not make the mistake of assuming that the lenovo's next business day warranty means next business day. My current understanding is that they try their best to give a call to you next day but what comes to actual repair, there is no guarantee whatsoever when that is going to happen (some time ago my latop was in a brick-like state for more than 10 days and lenovo seems to be perfectly happy with their performance.)


Yeah, sure. I was on Ubuntu, now I'm on Debian + Xfce. It's better because it's faster and does not have some of the bugs I mentioned in the article I linked to.


Sure, but Xubuntu is a thing, so your phrasing is very unclear.


I use a 2014 MBP at home, a new xps 13 at work. Everything about the Mac is more polished. The hardware differences being more important to me than the software differences. The xps trackpad is a bit flakey, too sensitive maybe; I'll be working away when suddenly I'll have miraculously switched focus to a window on another screen. Does my palm get to close to it whie typing? I guess, but no such issue on the mac. After less than six months I can see keyboard marks starting to appear on the xps screen. The xps 13 keyboard is far better than the Latitude I had previously, which was outright hell, but the mac is higher quality, precision engineering. No contest for me, but I do wish Apple had built a Linux OS for compatibilty reasons. And the reason I'm still on a 2014 model is because the subsequent models haven't appealed. I've been considering an x1 carbon as a mac replacement. Time may soon force my hand.


I second a ThinkPad with XFCE (such as Xubuntu) as the best combination.

A few things which, although obvious in retrospect, I had to learn the hard way:

• Get a ThinkPad with physical buttons under the touchpad, if you like to track with your index finger and click with the thumb. I made the mistake of getting the kind where you push the entire touchpad, and it's very hard to use. Apple's was at least useable, this is not.

• Get a ThinkPad with a physical Ethernet port. USB dongles are finicky and unstable on Linux, and there are places / desks / offices where the WiFi is flaky.

• Choose the stable release of a well-supported OS (Ubuntu, Mint... whatever) because the beta / newest / testing version will make you lose time on bugs and freezes.


Overall I agree with your post. There are some things I'd like to point out.

- ThinkPads have amazing linux support. Dells aren't bad either. I have used a few dell laptops with linux as my daily drivers and no issues. Currently typing this on a Latitude E7450 and have had everything working out of the box.

- I am using a USB wired connection without issues, works out of the box.

- Currently using Manjaro linux and enjoying the heck out of it. Haven't done a reinstall in over a year and it's very stable across updates.


There are not many ThinkPads with Ethernet ports. T4??p or P?? are the only ones left, IIRC. Others have either no port or a difficult to use clapet.


My T480s does have an Ethernet port. I believe T490s lost it but the T490 (which has similar size to the T480s) still has it.


Did you try to use it? Whenever I have to take out the cable, I ask a colleage with long nails for help. As I keep T480s upright with on hand, they pull down the clapet simultaneously from both so I can pull out the cable with the other hand.


You have also an option to use a docking station.


I'd rather compare it to living in a hotel vs flat-sharing.

You can customize your room (your Window Manager, Terminal, etc...) but when you try to make yourself at home in the bathroom or kitchen (use and/or customize common applications), you run into issues. [1]

Since everyone has a different preferences, you have to make compromises.

On Mac, all apps follow similar guidelines. And the end result are beautiful, powerful, intuitive and feature-rich native applications, that make the best use of all the available system features.

[1]: https://stopthemingmy.app/


> On Mac, all apps follow similar guidelines.

The good ones, at least.


My work laptop is a Thinkpad T480 running Fedora. It’s a wonderful machine but not without some flaws:

1. The thermal situation on newer Thinkpads needs to be called out. Even with undervolting, there doesn’t seem to be a sweet spot where you can avoid regular throttling without the CPU hitting unsafe temperatures. I’ve heard it can be somewhat remedied by applying more thermal paste to the CPU than the meager amount Lenovo provides out of the box (doing it yourself voids your warranty). Ultimately, I think there is a clear regression in the thermal design between Lenovo’s newer laptops and classic Thinkpads like the X200. The internals just aren’t designed to properly dissipate heat and while it’s nice that the fan is quiet, I wish it did more to cool the device. This seems to be a common issue not just with the T480 but other newer Thinkpads like the X1 Carbon. If anyone has any advice here beyond iuvolt, throttled etc. please let me know.

2. My model has a WQHD display and I use an external monitor with the same resolution but a lower DPI. Linux in 2019 is still a bit dicey when it comes to mixed DPI setups. GTK+ 3.0 applications on Wayland scale perfectly between displays but Firefox is a bit buggy and Electron apps are laughably bad. It has come a long way for sure but there’s still work to be done.

All that said, I’m coming from a 2017 MacBook Pro that had way more issues from the failing keyboard to dead speakers and screen burn-in. I’m happier with the Thinkpad and enjoy using it as my daily driver. It’s a solid machine and the keyboard and port selection are perfect. No issues with running Linux on this device either. Everything just worked on a clean install and I’m able to do everything I did before on macOS whether it be software development, multimedia creation or just personal computing. The “hotel vs. home” analogy you used is dead-on and speaks to what I’ve always loved about Linux. I’ll take an OS that lets me tailor my own software experience over the proprietary equivalent any day.


I have new Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu and I'm satisfied with it. Camera has moved in these new models.

Dell Thunderbolt Dock (TB16) is is disappointment. Others report problems as well.


I agree w.r.t. TB16. While it works (unlike TB15) it's very loud (fan is enabled 90% of time).

Generally I'm not fond of XPS 13 (9350) but later firmwares got rid of most issues (except extremely long boot time).

On the other hand Dell is contributing to several Linux projects (such as fwupd) and all of XPS hardware (including touch screen) worked out of the box.


> the XPS's camera is placed at the bottom of the screen instead of at the top, so people you have video calls with look up your nostrils.

This is no longer the case in the latest gen, they've placed it back at the top on a very thin bezel still.


Our company offers Dell XPS 13 and Precision 5530 (based on the XPS 15 chassis) as Macbook alternatives for all employees. I've had my Precision for a couple years now and couldn't be happier, it's an awesome device and imho as close as it gets to the overall hardware quality and usability of Macbooks with Windows-/Linux-based devices.


An alternative or a replacement, could you still opt for a MacBook (pro)?


An alternative. We can have both 13" and 15" MBPs as well (and I assume the upcoming 16" will be an option, too).


Tried to switch from an MBP to a XPS13. XPS13 (maxed out CPU, memory, screen) was the worst notebook I ever had, two power supplies broke, battery broke, fan broke and BIOS made a fire-alarm-level alarm every time it booted, service was abysmal, although I had a business level all-care next-day package they wanted to jump me through many loops, install firmware updates etc. before they did anything - in the end they would not come and fix the laptop.

Never again.


I am moderately happy with XPS-13. My main problem is touchpad ergonomy http://lambda-files.crocodile.org/2019/01/dell-xps-13-touchp... which I was able to alleviate a bit by "moving furniture in my home" per your analogy.


Serious question: how’s the transition trackpad wise


I moved from a MBP to a Dell XPS 13. This transition made me appreciate just how nice the trackpad on the mac is. I am no apple fanboy by any means, after my MBP died out of warranty. They wanted $700 to fix... but after some use, the XPS trackpad is a real aggravation machine. In laymen terms, it is like the MBP knows when I am typing and reduces the sensitivity of the trackpad. On the Dell, it surely seems like the Dell knows when I am typing and cranks the sensitivity of the trackpad up 10X. I consciously have to move my hands up to type, which becomes a real problem when the laptop is in your lap and not on a desk.

I have used Linux since 1992, literally, but I still find the mac os X more cohesive and fluid. Do not get me wrong, I love linux, but on the XPS I felt like I still have to futz with the OS too much. "hey, I just went to work, I am on the OTHER wifi now mr Dell XPS laptop. Hello? HELLO? OK, gotta reboot and turn the wifi on and off three times to connect". This is with the Dell supplied ubuntu fully updated. Ugh.


I think disabling the touchpad when typing is a macOS feature which Ubuntu has tried and failed to emulate.

I have the same problem big time on a ThinkPad X1 Carbon (which otherwise I love). Very unnatural wrist posture to avoid errant clicks!


There is some tool I've forgotten that disables the touchpad when the keyboard is in use. You can set the timeout period, I think that my sweetspot was 1.5 seconds.

If you can't find it then let me know, I'll google it.


It's still rather clumsy though, if you go too fast from typing to touchpad you have to wait for the delay. If you set the delay to be too quick, you will get wrong clicks. It's more a question of palm detection, and the Linux touchpad drivers are not great at this.


I started having the exact same problem when I bought my latest Dell laptop. This was infuriating at first, but slowly I got better at avoiding the problem. (Still somewhat infuriating at times.) Periodically I'll disable the trackpad entirely via xinput if it screws up my typing too much.


"Every time I plug in my headphones, there is some white noise and I have to run a command line tool alsamixer to get rid of it"

Glad to see my suggestion at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17314002 worked then :) But I run it once in my startup script along with my xmodmap changes and it seems fine to me...


It did! :) I think I now also run it upon login.


I use a XPS 13 as well, KUbuntu with i3 as the window manager. Works great and the newest XPS I believe fixed the camera placement.


I’d get a Thinkpad!

Compatibility wise the dell is great but build quality is lacking. The Thinkpads (X, T, Carbons) are all light years ahead and have similar - if not better - compatibility out of the box.

I have a X1 Carbon 6th gen and the battery life is awesome and everything besides the fingerprint reader works out of the box.


How does the trackpad perform compared to Macbooks? That's one area where I haven't found a Macbook equivalent


It is excellent.

Why would you ever want a customizable laptop anyways? I want to open mine, work and close it. Mac does it excellently. No endless loop of configuration or searching for the best theme, apps, key bindings, whatever.


FYI they fixed the nose cam in the new models


Great analogy


After using macs for a decade I switched back to Linux last year. I really like your hotel-vs-home analogy, that describes my experience (and motivation) quite well.


[flagged]


Hi, a little feedback from a wise person who has been on the internet for a while: while you probably thought this was a clever analogy, you would do a lot better not saying things like "I might stumble a bit and touch her in ways she doesn't like".

try to avoid gender-specific analogies in computing. You may think you are being clever, but you're really just making yourself look like a cad (And not everybody will give you this feedback directly. They will just stop talking to you).


Thank you for the feedback.

What is the problem with gender-specific analogies in computing? If I'm making an analogy with relationships, and I am a man, why wouldn't I use a female for the other half?


There's a subtle distinction here so please bear with me.

I guess that to some extent this exchange is affected by being cross-cultural without the participants being aware of it. The fine-pointed contemporary standards that currently apply in—for example—the major cities of the U.S. are not in circulation worldwide. This leads to misunderstanding and excessive harshness. People read comments as if they were written by their next-cubicle neighbor instead of someone on the other side of the world. Does that matter? I think it does; we instinctively make allowances for who the other person is and where they're coming from, in the interests of getting along. Alas, on a text-based internet forum that information isn't available, making tolerance harder. This can easily make the difference between thinking "god, what an asshole" and thinking, "wow, what a pleasant and articulate person". Unfortunately for us all here, the bias is always toward the asshole bit, not the pleasant bit.

Because this bias is so strong and so poorly understood, as moderators we normally urge tolerance and ask readers to stretch a bit to understand each other. In fact I was just writing a defense of your original post in that spirit. But then I figured I'd better read it thoroughly, and noticed this:

> I might stumble a bit and touch her in ways she doesn't like, but overall we get the job done and nothing is broken afterwards

That one sentence is in a different category from the rest of what you wrote. It's one thing to use gendered relationship analogies in a technical discussion. In many places where HN readers reside, that now feels anachronistic and crude—a bit like "take my wife, please" jokes—but is easy enough to give the benefit of the doubt to. But when you take it as far as a sexual analogy that toys with ambiguity around consent, that's crossing into a different zone altogether.


Thank you very much.

I defend that sentence as meaning "touch her with consent in ways that are different that what she is used to". In keeping with it being an analogy for config files, I would like to edit it to read "stumble a bit when I touch" but it seems that my post is locked to editing.

You are invited to edit that phrasing in, or if you can unlock the post I'll do it.

Thank you for taking the time to explain. I'll do my best to apply what I've learned.


After thinking about it some more, I stand by my original wording. The first time that we do something - whether it be with a woman or a new server - we make mistakes. That is what I was trying to express. In no way did I say or suggest that I would do things without somebody's consent. I'm sure if somebody is out looking for examples to make then he can twist my words into meaning that, but it is very clear from the context that "against consent" was not my intention. Those people out on their witch hunt are the problem.


But it was not clear that it wasn't your intention. Intention doesn't explain itself, least of all on the internet where we don't have the nonverbal signals people mostly rely on for that. You can't assume that clarity of intention in your own mind translates into comparable clarity in the reader's mind. The opposite is more likely the case.

It gets worse actually. If you word your comment in a way that pattern-matches any highly-charged idea that people already have from elsewhere, they are sure to interpret you as meaning that, even if your intention was in a different place entirely. It is comparable to a smaller mass getting pulled toward a much larger mass, even if its intention was to fly elsewhere.

On a forum like HN, where we'll all responsible for taking care of the commons, the burden of disambiguation is on the speaker. To do otherwise is effectively to troll the community, and it turns out not to matter much whether someone did that intentionally or not; what matters is the effects it has.


  > If you word your comment in a way that pattern-matches
  > any highly-charged idea that people already have from
  > elsewhere, they are sure to interpret you as meaning that
I see, thank you.


It's not "gender specific" analogies, so much, it's "extended sexual metaphors" that are off-putting.


I don't think I'm wise honestly, but I know I'm not a rapist and am not overly sensitive

There are 7.7 billions people in the world, even if every American chose to not talk to me, there will still be 7.4 billion people to talk to.

Fortunately most of us don't live in the US and people are not creepy weirdos who stop talking to you for stupid reasons.


This is straight up misogynistic and is a great example of why women are driven away from our industry, because of language like this.


I don't think so. If you swap gender roles in the text its not demeaning and is still a cheeky commentary on married life. Mentioning a woman or their relationship to a man (in this case) doesn't automatically make it offensive.


While it is a very unusual metaphor, I don't see how it is misogyny or derogatory against women. This is wildly off-topic but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.


It’s archaic. The analogy isn’t well served by using women and sex as an example, and I don’t really see why someone needs to hear about touching women in ways they don’t like when all they’re talking about is a shell configuration.

This probably would have gone down well back in the 60s, but we’ve hopefully since moved on from comparing women to objects, and comparing how we treat women to how we treat inanimate things.

Personally, I downvoted because the author’s attitude to women has absolutely nothing to do with discussing good alternatives to laptops.


Because men and women still marry and still chose each other as partners?

And the more men and women wait for that moment to chose the right person, the more the probability of making the right choice increases.

As long as I support women rights, I don't see what's wrong if an eterosexual man talks about choosing the right woman for him.

Should men not chose carefully their partners?


Yes it is a strange metaphor but language like “I might stumble a bit and touch her in ways she doesn't like” is rapey and comparing women to config files is just weird. The whole comment feels like it is objectifying women


You're right, you have a good point there.

adamsea 24 days ago [flagged]

> “I might stumble a bit and touch her in ways she doesn't like, but overall we get the job done and nothing is broken afterwards.”


Why the downvotes?


Because it's an analogy for user preference files in drunken frat boy language... And no one here is a drunk frat boy. So it just comes off as tasteless and creepy.


I do not see any drunken frat boy language. I see an analogy. An analogy that makes sense to me.


What people are saying is that you should use an analogy that does not involve touching women in ways they do not want to be. Regardless of whether it "makes sense" to you, outwardly it feels degrading—especially that specific sentence that multiple people have pointed out to you.



Another poster mentioned that is was because I used a female example in a relationship, instead of a gender-neutral example.

There are very vocal people who have very strong opinions that all hypothetical relationships much be gender-neutral, to them it is horrible to "assume" that if one partner is male then the other is female.


No, it's because you drafted sex talk into a non-sex topic.


Perhaps the mild cognitive dissonance caused by the choice of reference points.

Possibly also cross-domain projection of various strongly held views.


Some very vocal, very opinionated people are on a crusade to remove the idea that man with woman, or woman with man, is the default configuration for sex.

They actively downvote any comments that suggest that M-F is "normal" all over the internet, from Reddit to StackOverflow. I would say it's been happening for a while but the past few months have been very extreme.


Nope. It’s about objectification.


Hi, I'm the OP of this "controversal" opinion.

There is nothing objectifying anybody here. I really do not see how anyone is getting at that. In what way have I made anybody an "object"?

With all the respect in the world, I understand what you are crusading for. But you are on a witch hunt, and actively making people your enemies who would otherwise support your cause.


Your failure to understand how your comment could be considered "objectifying" is your own. The reasoning has been explained to you. Saying those who would point it out to you are on a "witch hunt" reveals a serious lack of reflection on your part.


What are you wittering on about? I was merely pointing out that the criticism for your, frankly crass comments has nothing to do with gender or orientation. Don’t shoot the messenger...


It could simply be a single person with multiple accounts trying to manipulate the overarching discussions through downvotes. The downvoting patterns sometimes raise an eyebrow for me too.

That type of behavior is termed "Call-out culture," or "Cancel culture."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call-out_culture


Since you made an analogy, it's worth going back and reading In The Beginning Was the Command Line. Mac OS X is a hermetically sealed german car, Linux is an M1 abrams tank that gets 100MPG.

(I also find many Dell and Thinkpad models to be as good as if not better laptops than MacBooks).


It saddens me that Apple used to make (almost) perfect laptops – price aside – and it's no longer the case, leaving a bunch of geeks looking for a replacement. In 2017 after searching the market, filtering on required specs and reading reviews, I came to the conclusion that there are no perfect laptop: every time there's a compromise to be made.

For me, I had requirements that were previously met in the MBP: good battery life, good processing power, and not too bulky. I didn't really care about camera or touch screen or fingerprint reader. Based on this, I finally found the Dell Precision 5520 which is the workstation version of the Dell XPS 15". Everything was configurable (OS, CPU, GPU, RAM, battery, screen) and with a good build quality and small form factor. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS was an option, meaning drivers were configured and supported by Dell – a relief, after some experiences using Linux on laptops years ago. Now I've changed the OS to Manjaro, added a 2nd RAM stick for a total of 32GB, configured a bit the power settings with `powertop` and I'm really happy with my portable powerhorse lasting >10h when coding.

As for the Dell client service, I happened to use it a month ago because my 2 years old battery was now swollen. As I took the 3-year warranty extension "Next business day", I called on Monday and Tuesday the technician was there to change battery and touchpad (that can sometimes break when the battery swells) and it was all. Fast and convenient !


Here is an anecdote on Dell laptops. I have an XPS 15. I too had a swollen battery and I got it replaced while it was in warranty. It swelled again about a year later. Seems to be a design flaw in either their laptops or their laptop batteries.


me too, I purchased a 3rd party battery from amazon and so far so good... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0748BRHH4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b...


Going to put a blanket warning about buying battery replacements on Amazon. I bought a replacement battery on Amazon that was a Chinese knock-off. It barely holds a charge and started swelling within a few months. I don't think it would be safe to bring on a plane.


Amazon basics high capacity AA rechargable used to be made in Japan. People speculated they were rebranded enloop based on specs and charge profile.

I just ordered a new batch and they are made in China! Same product description, same picture with the old label, and same good reviews(though the recent reviews are now warning of the change and complaining of quality issues).

Amazon is now gaming their own review system. Supposedly Amazon is under heavy scrutiny over Chinese batteries in general and are getting sued by insurance companies.


I agree... I've had some bad batteries via 3rd parties. That's why I posted the link as I've been using it for six months with no issue and about 85% capacity of the original (at a fraction of the OEM price)


Let’s be fair with our memory of Apple hardware. Apple had huge issues with thermal management that resulted in GPUs failing which of course Apple blamed on the user until they could strong arm a supplier to pay for a recall.


You mean the same supplier that buyers of Apple, Dell and HP laptops collectively sued?

But sure, blame Apple.

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2524868/apple--dell--h...


Louis Rossmann made a video highlighting a lot of the engineering problems with Apple laptops. His whole business is about repairing Apple laptops so he has all the reasons and incentives to defend Apple and downplay their issues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUaJ8pDlxi8


> His whole business is about repairing Apple laptops so he has all the reasons and incentives to defend Apple and downplay their issues.

How does this follow? He has developed a following around posting these types of videos which seems like a pretty sweet incentive for making them.

Not to say he's being dishonest or something, it just seems like a stretch to say that some random repair guy somehow has more to gain by (A) hoping 0.000001% more people buy Apple products by forgoing these videos so that he can repair a few more Macbooks than by (B) making these popular videos that net him subscribers and attention.


He has developed a following because of his repair videos. He is an advocate for repairing your own stuff, has put out hundreds of videos teaching people board repair and has even put out an extensive guide for beginners: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1PkeO_lC5WTPScSV3ZzEE...

And he is internationally renowned for Macbook board repair and literally receives and fixes laptops from all over the world. He actively tells people to not watch his videos on YouTube and prefers Vimeo. I have no proof but I'd bet that his revenue from his YT channel is a small fraction of his overall income from his repair business and online e-store.


Now imagine how many more videos and complaints would he have if he was repairing laptops from any other brand.


But he himself recommends other brands, and he recommends Lenovo ThinkPad heavily and owns one himself. For good reason too, they are amazing machines. He says that even though he makes a living off repairing Apple laptops, he'd be happy if people stopped buy Apple products because of their poor engineering and Apple's questionable conduct.


Someone making youtube videos, with > 1M subscribers has "no incentive" to put out videos that attract more viewers?

Ok sure, and the Earth is flat, Donuts are a health food, and lizard people are real.


Believe it or not, not everyone's top priority is money. There are some people who hold their ideals above money. Louis literally has made videos against YouTube and in favor of vimeo, all of his content is mirrored on vimeo, and everyone of his videos have a watermark promoting vimeo. My whole point was that he makes his videos to educate. I'm sure the extra revenue is nice but that's not his daily gig and I don't think money is the prime reason for why he makes the videos. Otherwise he wouldn't be actively driving people to look at his content on vimeo instead of YouTube.


Perhaps he should go work for Apple hardware design then and make substantially more money than he does doing repairs. Oh wait....


That link from 2009 is about Nvidiagate, but I think previous poster was referring to the infamous GPU problems of the 2011 MBP (which I personally suffered).


If Apple is the "same" as every other company, why am I paying them a premium?


Many people don't. So why do you?

Also Apple is the same doesn't mean they don't have better quality than others, just that it's still not perfect. And plus there's a hefty premium too on top of the already high cost of high quality. (Though since they are doing very high on the economies of scale, the inherent cost of an MBP is probably not much more than a comparable Dell, so most people really pay the premium ... because Apple is seen as high-status.)


It's a rose-tinted glasses myth. Apple had been doing recalls and class action lawsuits for broken expensive hardware forever.


X1 Carbon is a really nice device. Its pretty reliable, Linux friendly and has no spyware installed like some other Lenovo lines.

But no matter what laptop you pick, its gonna take you a couple of weeks until you are comfortable with it. But it will happen eventually. Laptops have the same interface after all.

Switching the entire software stack from Mac to any other OS is probably the main struggle.

Try a couple of Linuxes or Windows for a few weeks until you find the sweet spot. Between Mac, Windows and major Linux distributions, there is none that is objectively better anymore(for developer experience). Its a matter of preference and habit.


I've had almost every model of MacBook Pro, and quite a few models of ThinkPads. At any given time, I own 2-3 of each.

Generally, Linux works fine on the ThinkPads, as does Windows. But neither of them work as smoothly as a Mac OS for me. Especially when it comes to multi-monitors. They also don't handle different resolutions nearly as well (4k, standard, etc). I usually run dual-boot because I'm not 100% happy with either.

However, for the most part, I can do things like plug my USB-C LG 4k monitor into a ThinkPad with Linux or Windows 10 and it works just fine. But, a couple reboots later I might have to re-configure all my externals (various 1440p and 1080p monitors).

The trackpad on the MacBooks is beyond anything you will get on a ThinkPad. They are usable, they also have the trackpoint, but they don't have the 'flickability' that the Macs have. The keyboards are also better than anything you'll find elsewhere.

The place where the ThinkPads really win is cost and flexibility. Plus, they have all the ports you would expect.

Do you need a beast of a 'portable workstation'? You can configure a P5x on Lenovo.com with 64-128GB of RAM, 3x2GB SSD's in it, and you're still cheaper than a maxed out 15" MBP with 1/3rd the capacity.

Do you want a thin and light travel machine? You have the X2x0 and the X1. Neither share the footprint of the 12" MacBook but they have real processors, and you can upgrade the RAM and SSD with standard parts.

And then if you just want a 'laptop', you have the T3x0, T4x0, T5x0, if you need a 'workstation' there's the X1 Extreme, P1, P5x. Enough options to make it confusing.

We have XPS 13's at work, but I don't care for them too much. They feel chintzy, 4k @ 13" isn't ideal for me (the screens are high quality, though). The shiny bezel around the entire laptop gets all scratched up and cheap looking very quickly as well.


I used an X1 for a few months. It took me a fortnight of rage before I discovered you can switch fn and ctrl in BIOS. after that I really liked it.

I'm going to be in the market for a new <= 14" soon but want more ram than the X1 carbon offers. A T490 caps out at 40gb and has decent specs on paper, I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts on the model though.


I have a somewhat older T4xx model that's still running (bought in 2012/13 I believe). During its lifetime I upgraded the hard-drive, RAM, the keyboard (well, it wasn't an upgrade...coffee spilled on the previous one...) and even the screen.

I have since upgraded to an X1 carbon which is significantly slimmer and lighter (although I never had any complaints about the previous laptop in that respect).

I personally think the T4xx line is a perfect compromise between portability and power. So as long as you're ok with having a slightly thicker and heavier laptop you'll be very happy with it.


I recently purchased a T490 and it works reasonably well with Linux. My model has the base 1080p display rated at 250 nits, and while resolution and colour are no match for an MBP, the display surprisingly gets bright enough for some outdoor use.

Build quality is solid and keyboard is great. Speakers sound pretty rough but get decently loud. I got maybe 7-8 hours of use with the screen at 60%, and alternating between coding in Emacs and watching some videos.

I've tried Manjaro and the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and have had no issues that would be a deal breaker. The only annoyance is jittery movement with the TrackPoint, but I've had that on every modern ThinkPad running Linux. I've been leaning towards using the trackpad more often and it seems to work okay.


Same, I bought a t480 but I went with POP OS. I bought it to see if I could switch to linux.

On the plus side its a solid and stable dev machine, iterm seems slower than the linux terminal. Rubymine, pycharm etc are stable. Google cloud shell freezes in browser sometimes but firefox quantum and chromium work pretty well otherwise. It also works great with my uhd monitor even tho it doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card.

But, I encounter screen tearing a lot on web pages. The trackpad is horrible in comparison to a macbook pro. There is some pretty nice support for multiple workspaces but they dont have the amazingly useful trackpad gestures.

I honestly feel like if there was a thinkpad with a trackpad as good as a macbook pro 2012 then there would be no problem switching.


Learn to love the trackpoint and when you go back to a MacBook you'll be sad it's not there.


The trackpoint is kinda crappy on newer ThinkPads. I'm not sure what they've changed, but movement is always jittery under Linux for me.

My X230 is buttery smooth. The X1 Extreme and T490 I've tried, not so much.


That's been my experience with my new t480. I wonder if there's some other drivers that could make it smoother?


honest question, how to love the trackpoint? I constantly overshoot or undershoot my target when applying pressure to the stick. Any suggestions? Should I adjust some settings? Do I need to just dedicate to using it for a couple of weeks?


Just bought a t495 for myself and my business partner. Returned both, the keyboard is horrendous. Lookup nkey rollover, typing on the keyboard was full of missing and transposed letters. Will never buy another Lenovo again.


The new Lenovo x390 looks quite promising for being smaller than 14, but bigger then the x200 series (which is 12.5").


The x390 comes with a 13.3 inch display, as opposed to the previous 12.5 inch screens, but it's just 4mm longer and 7mm wider than the x290. They reduced the bezels on the screen to gain the majority of the new screen real estate, so the keyboard won't be any larger than the old one.


I go everything working under Arch except the sd card reader.


> A T490 caps out at 40gb

48 according to the spec sheet.


I also moved to Windows 10 and X1 Carbon (6th Gen) after using Apple products all my life and I've never looked back. That being said, my X1 also went three times to repair. I guess people have simply unlearnt how to manufacture reliable products due to the immense complexity that is involved by now, combined with a planned obsolescence mentality. It is shitty wherever you go; it's just a bit more shitty with Apple currently IMO, and Apple deserves some flak for their provocative product policy, e.g. selling the MacBook Air with the same crappy low-res screen up until 2017 which is still available in some stores.


IMO, if you're buying a higher end laptop it's worth shelling out for the on site warranty/accident protection. They'll send a technician to your location (typically within the week) and replace whatever parts needed for free. So you'll have essentially 0 time without your laptop.

It's been excellent (used it twice: fixed a broken keycap, and a spilled drink), and gives me a ton of peace of mind.


Lenovo lets you buy up to 5 years of onsite support for less than the cost of applecare. I am in my 4th year on my T460p. Had to use it once, a few months ago when the SSD died. I found out then that whether someone actually comes out the next business day depends on the technician assigned and the region. In my case they sent me a replacement drive (arrived next business day) and expected me to install it myself. Not a problem, T series thinkpads are designed to be easy to get into, but still slightly disappointing. Still, I got the cost of the onsite back with just that one incident, so I was satisfied with the service.

I am very satisfied with that thinkpad. Excellent linux support, good performance, quiet under sustained load, best laptop keyboard I’ve ever used, and extremely durable.


> They'll send a technician to your location (typically within the week) and replace whatever parts needed for free.

My Dell Latitude had included "next business day" 3 years warranty. I used it twice (to get motherboard and display replaced) and they sent technician next working day. There were a bit more failures then I would expect, but warranty was great and I happily bought 2 more years (5 years total) for equivalent of about 200 USD plus tax.


This is interesting, if an Apple laptop failed that often then passive aggressive posts would be made on HN explaining how it’s needed repair too much and the owner would like to switch to something else and would like recommendations on what to buy.


The second "failure" was about small flaws on display (mostly visible on white background). I didn't actually expect them to replace it, but they did.

I've also heard from friends that E7*70 had a bit higher failure rate than usual. It still seems (subjectively) to be much lower than Apple's issue with keyboard. Most importantly, they fixed it almost immediately.

Today, I don't expect things to not break. I'm still annoyed when they do, but more important is what happens after failure, how long (and how much effort) does it take to get things working again.


Huge +1 for this. On-site support has saved my XPS (and by extension me) a few times now. If you’re going to go for a Dell laptop I’d get ProSupport or better.


Overall, I love my X1, but I have had so many problems that they finally replaced it with a brand new machine. Premier support is mandatory for Lenovo IMO, in spite of the problems, I never once had an issue getting someone onsite to repair it and they assigned a local case manager to sort out the replacement. On the Lenovo forum I read a lot of stories from people with similar problems, but with basic warranty they reported getting a run around, being without a machine for weeks at a time with it went back and forth to the depot. A YMMV..


I have a gen 3 carbon x1 that is four years old and I still use it every day. Never replaced the battery and I still get 4-5 hours. It’s not powerful enough for dev work but perfect for web stuff and office.


I moved from an XPS13 (hated the keyboard) to a Lenovo X1 Carbon (4th gen) and I'm very happy since then (Linux, XFCE). The only bad thing about the X1 are the loudspeakers (0 bass).


In love with my X1 Carbon. Great form factor, runs Debian without issues, and has been a perfect replacement for my old MacBook.


The ones I’ve seen look pretty appealing but don’t think I could bring myself to purchase something from such a disreputable company


X1 is a nice laptop. The problem is it's weak CPU. Apple manages to crunch a whole different tier of CPU (h(q) series vs. U series for Lenovo) in the same form factor.


The 13" MBP that is most comparable to the X1 Carbon also uses U series, while the 15" MBP is best compared to the X1 Extreme, which, you guessed it, offers the better H series CPUs.

Same for Dell XPS 13 vs 15.


You can’t have your pie and eat it, in exchange for battery life having U is completely understandable. Depend on your workload (mostly just a ssh frontend), even Y is acceptable.


I'm a big fan of the U series cpus: They consume very little energy, which leads to less overheating, less fan noise, and longer battery life.

(Conversely, the H series cpus consume a lot of energy: the laptop overheats quickly and has to slow down anyway.)


Now it makes sense why may 2018 MBP always gets hot while my previous 2015 only rarely does.


Thanks to constant throttling. Which makes an i7 feel like barely an i3. (i7-7660U in an XPS 13, at least)


I cannot understand this statement - if I need a (relatively) thin laptop my primary focus won't definitely be the number-crunching feature (more something like weight, connectivity, panel colors, input devices, etc...).


Windows 10 on good hardware is very, very nice.

My advice is "don't fight windows". I've seen many people try to make Windows like Unix. Don't. Use Windows versions of things, not things compiled under Cygwin or MinGW. Learn to use Powershell and Powershell scripting language.

I do development (C/C++/CUDA/Erlang/Python) all day long on Windows 10 and in addition use desktop applications like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud.

No problems whatsoever. My main machine -- a Surface Book -- has had no issues. It sleeps, hibernates, manages power, perfectly. The keyboard feels good and is dirt tolerant. (I also have a lightweight travel notebook -- a lenovo yoga -- that "just works" though it's a little underpowered for major development work)


Have been working on Windows machines (C# ftw) for a while now.

I hate it. Everything.

Kafkaesque configuration UIs, horrible window management, mouse acceleration is off, font rendering is atrocious, the updates make me unreasonably angry, mixed design systems leave me confused, File Explorer isn’t even trying, many apps are downright insulting, and the entire thing just reeks of PMs in ill-fitting suits prodding things this way and that with their doughy fingers.

And I need to install a linux subsystem to make it just about usable.

It’s a shame, because I do like the look of their Surface line.


Don’t forget the ads. Ads, even in the powershell. Telemetry of everything.

Automatic installs of OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, etc.

Fuck Windows. It sucks.


What ads??? I've been on Windows for decades, never saw a single ad by the OS.


I agree! I don't see ads. I'm running the "pro" version with almost all default settings. Do they consider pre-installed "Candy Crush" an ad? And if so, why isn't MacOS "iTunes" an ad?


They probably mean onedrive and office 365 ads. If you don’t use those windows can get pretty persistent about getting them.


Candy crush is an ad because the company pays Microsoft for it to be a default windows install. iTunes is Apple software.


I think it depends on your region. But I'm pretty sure every region gets a link to Candy Crush, Minecraft and other such nonsense in the start menu by default.

Enterprise versions are probably safe still.


How about fucking ads on built-in mail client - Windows Mail. "Purchase mail plus blabla". Pathetic from multi-billion company.


As someone else pointed out, Enterprise versions don‘t get ads.

As for teams, enterprises love teams since it comes with the Office license anyway.


Not everyone has access to Enterprise version so this is a non-starter argument.

Even better is the LTSC versions of Windows 10 but let's assume we are not pirating windows, and going to purchase a copy of windows, the users are left with a horrendous breach of privacy and a complete disregard to the user experience.

Also, I loving Microsoft Teams is a different argument than having it pushed to your PC without asking.


In no way did I mean to defend those actions. You are absolutely right. I merely tried to explain my ignorance towards them.


I know what you mean, LTSC is such a obscure thing from your average Joe who buys a Dell PC.


I've never seen an ad in pwsh or on my desktop. I do agree the automatic installs are terrible.


Don't forget the file system and how locking by a rogue program can stop your build (and your workflow) until you figure out which program has a handle to the file you want to rebuild. The lack of scriptability of most tools. The perpetually behind C++ compiler. The lack of a proper terminal. The fucking ads. The broken updates. The relentless ratchet to control your machine and how you use it.


The new terminal is quite good.

https://github.com/microsoft/terminal


People don't wear suits at Microsoft, even PMs. Some of my best friends are PMs, and they were offended. The rest is all true though.


Did you explicitly ask them about doughy hands?

In all fairness, the old Mac vs PC ads have left a permanent image in my mind. And them integrating Office in some (quite cool looking) earbuds just confirms it.


Windows is the wild west. There seems to be no underlying design philosophy tying together the UI elements and interactions of applications built on top of it. Funny because Microsoft actually has huge teams of UX researchers. What are they all doing?


What they are doing is continuing their decades-long commitment to backward compatibility, which makes it much harder to remove old code from the OS.


> mouse acceleration

Maybe it's the gamer in me, but who uses this? It's just going to make your mouse movements way less accurate.

If you haven't tried it yet pwsh integration with C# is amazing, I wish there was something like it for the JVM.


Maybe “mouse acceleration” is the wrong term? Turning it on means there’s no 1:1 relationship between mouse and cursor movement. Quickly moving it across the entire screen? 2cm might equal 1000px. Slowly nudging a Rider toolbar to the correct position? 2cm now becomes 1px.

I can see how it doesn’t work with gaming but for OS use it’s great. And it works slightly better on macOS. It’s subtle, but it’s there.


that’s more DPI. unless my terms are conflated mouse acceleration increases the speed of the cursor during sustained movements. I’m not defending windows here, as I wish it would die in a fire, but do this in hardware by increasing mouse DPI if you can.


There's a reason why it's enabled by default on most OSs.

Mouse acceleration can be really useful on small mousepads.


> Use Windows versions of things, not things compiled under Cygwin or MinGW

This seems like an oddly outdated notion in the WSL era. Having used Windows 10 f/t in 2018, I'd say 'use Linux versions of commandline dev tools, not Windows'.

Mostly though I agree that Windows 10 is a decent and viable Desktop OS. It does have some problems. The task bar is an appalling bit of Stalinist design (insisting on obscuring parts of running apps even when on auto-hide), and much of the Microsoft-supplied software (eg. Mail, Calendar) is terribly amateurish. If you use the Insiders builds (tempting because of WSL2), it's pretty buggy. But most of the fundamental stuff works extremely well.

All of the OSs available have their irritations, but I don't think those of Windows are any more egregious or numerous than the competitors. Certainly MacOS (my main OS for many years prior to 2018) has become irrelevant to me because of absurd price-gouging and fake keyboards.

What eventually pulled me off Windows towards Linux is largely the development experience and the filesystem. But then I have to put up with its egregious hdpi & multimonitor support and general GUI flakiness.

There are no good OSs in 2019, just balances of tradeoffs for your particular purposes & preferences.


I'm curious what cli tool you find is better on linux?

Imo WSL is fighting windows, especially WSL2, as it locks you out of the windows filesystem and you need special plugins to edit your code.

For my workflow (node,electron,java) all of the tools are already cross platform and any shell tools are usually covered by powershell. I do admit though doing C development is probably more difficult as getting ports of things like make, ld etc is harder.


> I'm curious what cli tool you find is better on linux?

It's not so much individual tools being better, but rather the whole unix shell ecosystem is still very much the dev default that everything command-related 'just works' from linux shells. Kind of the opposite from the GUI situation.

WSL2 doesn't lock you out of the windows filesystem, it just slows it down. I found when working in Windows I preferred keeping everything in the WSL2 image, for speed & simplicity (no messing about with wslpath!). So to that extent I agree with your 'fighting Windows' comment.

I don't want to exaggerate the differences - everything works in both, particularly in an age where developer toolchains are becoming ever more platform neutral (node, go, rust, java etc).


agree on the trade-offs

have you given pop_os a try for the hdpi/multimonitor issue?


> have you given pop_os a try for the hdpi/multimonitor issue?

A rule I made for myself when shifting to Linux is 'no distro hopping'. I want to spend as much of my computer time programming, and as little faux-sysadmining as I can.

So no, I haven't tried pop_os. I'll have another survey of available distributions next time I change laptops, but thats a couple of years off yet which is a long time in the Linux distro world ;)


"Learn to use Powershell and Powershell scripting language."

YMMV. I tried PS for a few years and just couldn't get into it. Installed WSL as soon as that came out and haven't touched PS since.


I think this depends on whether you embrace the philosophy of "everything is an object" or not.

For me its been leagues easier to learn than bash and 20 other non-portable utilities. It feels like a regular programming language.


You can also run PowerShell on Linux now.


WSL is miraculous. But Powershell is also very capable. I also highly recommend using chocolatey as your package manager. Makes it super easy to stay up to date with dev tools. It's nuts that the GitHub official docs still recommend Git Bash when git for Powershell works perfectly fine.


scoop is also an alternative for your package manager.

https://scoop.sh/


WSL 2.0 is a full linux kernel powered by HyperV and is very fast with minimal overhead. Useful for using all those Linux tools directly on the same filesystem.


> WSL 2.0...is very fast

Unless you want to interop with the Windows file system[0]

[0]https://github.com/microsoft/WSL/issues/4197


Interestingly it's running _besides_ Windows, not under it.


Seconding the Surface line, been using one for around a year and find it on par or surpasses an Apple laptop hardware wise.

Trackpad difference is negligible, keyboard has real key travel and feels great to type on, pen support without buying a $1000 iPad, light and thin but with both usb-a and c.

Don’t even mind using Windows, I still like MacOS but until a hardware option exists again that serves my needs then I’m being forced to look elsewhere. (Linux isn’t an option in my case due to Adobe)


The $329 iPad supports pens too.


the problem here is the rest of the world runs nix (at least in webdev) so if I can’t make it nix then I’m the odd man out. I deploy to linux servers but I’m supposed to make them windows? or more like windows? how does this work?


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