Thinkpad + Fedora
Fedora stays on the cutting edge of the kernel, which means that driver support is quite good. Additionally, most of the Linux kernel developers use Thinkpads, so the drivers for Thinkpad are always good. I've never had to download drivers individually.
Here's a list of things that just "worked" without me having to do anything:
1. My bluetooth noise cancelling headphones paired with no issues.
2. My desktop display with usb-c just works.
3. Old-style plugin iphone headphones worked as did their builtin mic.
4. Logitech camera plugging into my monitor and routing to the laptop via usb-c just works.
5. I have yet to find a printer (as long as its on the same wifi network) that I can't use (granted I barely print anything).
6. You can install and manage everything via the GUI.
7. Docker just works.
Things that didn't work:
1. I had to install "gnome-tweaks" in order to remap my CapsLock key to Control.
In my ten years of using Thinkpad+Fedora I've only encountered one issue and that was during the Wayland transition. The Zoom client (as in video chat) briefly didn't support screen sharing, but that was fixed several versions ago.
Also, people saying that "M1" is a gamechanger: I totally get it for certain sectors, but for Software Engineers? Memory has always been my bottleneck. I don't think I've ever seen my CPU choke on a legitimate task.
Stick to the X, T & to some extent P series. Avoid nvidia graphics if you can.
Arch Linux (and to some extent OpenBSD) probably has the best support/documentation/fixes for any ACPI/APM management issues you have.
I have a top-end 2017 MBP and I just recently bought a brand new 7th Gen X1 Carbon for very cheaply (like $800) and it _screams_ in comparison to the Mac.
No one would say it's as seamless as using a Macbook, but being able to tinker with and customize everything has been half the fun.
Being limited to 802.11n networking is fine.
That's not to say that it's been perfect. The touchpad on this thing isn't great. I've had issues with sporadic jumping of the pointer when touching it with two fingers. I replaced the touchpad which did not have any effect. The funny thing is that the problem has been slowing going away over the months. I have never tested it on Windows, so I wouldn't know if there is a hardware problem.
The reason I was mentioning this is because I wanted to give some credit to Lenovo support. I fully expected them to tell me to test on Windows before replacing the touchpad but they were happy to tell me they supported Linux and me showing the issue in Arch Linux was enough for them to replace it.
The 7th gen has two different screen options. I gather you got the higher density one. I don't use Ubuntu but I have the same display and don't have scaling issues. I use Arch & OpenBSD and configure everything myself though.
> Speakers are incredibly quiet.
Mostly a PulseAudio issue (doesn't play well with 4 speaker configurations). Has multiple workarounds (2 speaker only and to use all 4). I got it working in an hour. Full fix coming in next major version.
> Suspend / hibernate does not work reliably.
Has had a fix since February
Also, Lenovo now directly supports Linux on some of their laptops, including the X1.
Stand-alone Nvidia GPUs are fine but on Fedora you have to do some work because the Mutter and Kwin devs are currently in a spat with Nvidia.
Also look at what Redhat or BSD developers use.
Besides, try to avoid discrete GPUs if you can. An all Intel machine, or lately all AMD, usually works really well.
Another good sign is the availability of EFI firmware updates that are OS independent.
I had Mint 20 running on it briefly. Everything (that I tried) worked perfectly, except that the trackpad was jumpy. Eventually got fed up with the imprecision and put Win10 back on it (I still run Mint on a Yoga S730 and have Ubuntu under WSL2 on the L14).
I'm sure I'll try again at some point as it is probably a simple fix; I just couldn't spare the time to investigate. I'm assuming as this is a fairly new machine, when I try again in a few months it may work better.
Except for ultrabooks where the sacrifice makes sense, I don't expect Thinkpads with soldered RAM to ever become standard. That's just not their target market - their warranties even allow CPU repasting.
OK first i was thinking that must be BS. But your are right and I'm really angry about it...seams that my x250 is my last Thinkpad until they change that BS. I understand it for a superlim thing, but NOT for a T or P series.
When talking about ThinkPads, I always recommend going with the T line and skipping anything with S at the end.
I would always recommend buying used with the minimal amount of RAM for cheap, and then upgrading everything manually, from RAM to NVMe to Wi-Fi card.
With the T14, however, it seems Lenovo fucked up big time. No more extra removable battery, no more empty RAM slots. The one soldered does seem to be 3200MHz, so Ryzen benefits greatly once you fill the second RAM slot with another 3200MHz stick — since Ryzen, and especially the integrated graphics, love dual channel fast memory —, but if you choose wrong when you buy, you are stuck.
That sucks and does create a problem for my future self. Right now I have a T495 and my wife has a T480 with an extra big battery, and we were going to upgrade both to the T14 for Ryzen 4000, but soldered RAM is a travesty.
I wonder where we are going to go now. I mostly use desktop workstations because working from home for 11 years now, I learned that workstations help with work discipline, but a laptop always end up being needed.
I hate Dell with a passion, the Asus Zephyrus G14 suffers from the same issues as the ThinkPad T14, and HP uses ugly fonts in their keyboards, which bugs me. The Pinebook Pro is nice, but mine hasn't arrived. Maybe the Slimbook from that German KDE shop?
Hopefully it ships to Brazil.
My X270 is a true road warrior with the spare 6-cell that I bought and I can get about 30 hours of battery life out of it with the way I work. It's the perfect travel laptop.
COPR  is interesting, like PPA, with the worst user experience I've ever seen. The patched kernel I was interested about was already compiled by somebody, and available through COPR, but good luck finding which repo has an up-to-date version of the package you're interested. The whole Fedora COPR site is more than useless.
I mean, the default experience was pretty good, but being the unstable branch of Red Hat means there's a lot of breakage, every release changes something big and you're constantly on the bleeding edge without the safety net of a top notch wiki like Arch Linux has.
I recently moved over to Podman from Docker and found the documentation for it very good as well.
I do agree that the search functionality of Copr is extremely basic to the point of being useless for popular packages such as custom kernels, but I believe there is some effort to remedy this with upvoting Copr repos, but I'd argue this is still not enough.
I found though as someone new to Copr that it was very easy to figure out as someone simply building my own packages.
I've never had anything break, unlike in Ubuntu. (Constant Ubuntu breakages were the thing that drove me to Arch in the first place.)
Arch Linux is basically "default upstream Linux", which means less random patches and stuff built on top of it.
On Ubuntu I get security and reliability fixes, and every time I upgrade to a next version I got stuff to fix; ie. every half a year, if I upgrade to next release and decide to not stick on a LTS version. With LTS it is rock stable for years to come, at the sacrifice of not being able to run the latest and the greatest version of software.
Yeah, exactly. This is everyone's experience.
> And, practically every time I boot into it, I got stuff to fix...
But this isn't, you're definitely doing something very wrong.
(Create patch, install src.rpm, add patch to SOURCE directory, mention patch in .spec and add instruction to apply patch to %setup section, and then rpmbuild the .spec).
$ cat ~/.config/autostart/map-caps-lock-to-ctrl.desktop
Name=Map CAPS LOCK to CTRL
Comment=Remaps the CAPS LOCK key to another CTRL key
Exec=/usr/bin/setxkbmap -option 'ctrl:nocaps'
I wish there was a drop-in file that did this at the console/keymap level. It seems every distribution does it a different way.
I always have to make my own keymap for loadkeys
If you look for a Laptop, Dell XPS are pretty good. If you buy one used, avoid the one which has the camera at the bottom of the screen. People look right up your nose in meetings I was told.
As for magic mouse, right clicks works, but it might be because I already configured the mouse to enable right click on my mac. The mouse seem to store that settings locally in the device itself. My only gripes is inertial scrolling doesn't seem to work. I'm using ubuntu 20.04 desktop.
Edit: forgot to include the biggest annoyance related to using apple bluetooth keyboard on my linux desktop: for some reason, ubuntu seem to think the right half side of the keyboard is actually a numpad. I had to install numlockx and add `numlockx off` to gnome startup command list to fix this.
Steam is also at a point where I can just install native windows games and run them with barely any trouble.
I’d say 50% of games works out of the box. And 25% more after installing some video libraries that are for some reason not automatically installed.
It can support up to 64gb though and two NVMe drives + one Sata drive so that’s nice. But it drove me mad in the past few months that I’ve been using it, by hanging several times a day so I built instead a desktop machine for Linux as they never have these kind of issues, and for mobile use I might as well be fine with MBP from 2015
Also, I have found a few things that seem to make a large difference on power/battery. Currently running i3 desktop, and a Firefox extension (auto tab discard) that unloads pages I've not been in recently.
I have a desk at home in an office. I have the same setup at work. I don’t carry my dev environment with me. When I need to work I go to the ’do work stuff’ place.
Nice keyboard. Nice mouse. And a nice OS that, yes, took a whole day to configure but over which I have total control. (Full-screen focus-mode no-ornaments note taking, web browsing, and hacking.)
Needless to say, I can no longer work on macOS or an Apple device. The speeds you get with a bare-bone install and a window manager are unparalleled.
Just curious, as I’m looking to upgrade the processor that I bought - are AMD processors widely known as being better than Intel?
Not trying to start an argument about which is better, I’m just genuinely curious as I have no idea as I’m not a gamer and have always gone for Intel processors.
Basically AMD did a full redesign of their processors when they introduced their Ryzen CPU line. That and Intel's problems in manufacturing has resulted in AMD chips beating Intel on price, performance, and temperature.
AMD's high end desktop chips literally perform better than Intel's top commercial Xenon.
Gamers Nexus is a pretty good YouTube channel with detailed benchmarks, but there are others, too.
It's not perfect and perhaps not good replacement for many of those things, but it is so practical. Especially if you live in a small apartment where desktop and TVs would take a lot of space.
So I bought a Dell gaming machine, for the GPU.
First impressions from the week:
* Windows is still pretty kludgy.
* There are no good Gmail cients for Windows (settled on eM, but it crashes a lot, on macOS I used Mailplane, Mimestream and Outlook; Outlook on windows doesn't automatically connect to Google Calendars, even though the macOS and iOS versions do).
* The Dell came with a terrible keyboard, I'll have to buy a better one. It didn't come with speakers, so I bought some (I was planning to get reference monitors anyway, but having NO sound for a few days was interesting). It doesn't have a webcam, which is fine, but I'd have to buy one if that becomes important.
* The cables, cables, cables.
* I can use the Phone app to connect to my iPhone, and iCloud on Windows works well enough (for Drive and Photos).
* Windows apps don't adhere to the design guidelines nearly as consistently as macOS apps do. Fonts and usability is far more varied.
I will see about dual-booting Linux, and I'll see about getting Davinci Resolve working.
I use Mailspring (has both MacOS and Windows version).
How long were the train trips
Something about being in motion really aligns my creative and productive juices simultaneously.
I also tend to do different types of work in different places.
* Coding - Desk with monitors
* Meetings - Table looking out of the house
* Writing - chilling out on a couch
My work is done at a desk with monitors, meetings with a tablet and stylus, and my laptop is for recreation and work when I have to travel.
I spend 99% of my working hours at my desk so it's a no-brainer for me to use a desktop. For the rare times I need to work somewhere else I just git push on the desktop, git pull on the laptop, and keep working.
Also some people prefer buying gaming laptops for better performance. The problem often is insufficient cooling, fans too noisy and ridiculously low battery time (obviously) from already-big and heavy battery pack.
This is configurable on many laptops. I keep my laptop around 75% charged unless I'm traveling for this very reason.
This is exactly what I've returned to as well, and I'd forgotten for a while (or maybe didn't understand) what was so good about this setup. Working only in my own "do work stuff" office at my own desk means when I'm not working, I'm free to enjoy things without technology getting in the way, and I find that when I do get to my desk I'm a lot more focused, energized, and ready to go. Best of all, I don't have to deal with obscure laptop config issues.
I have a Linux box: it's an ATX tower, a 40" monitor, an Apple Magic Trackpad 2, and most significantly a mechanical keyboard. The importance of the latter can't be overstated: having good key travel, Cherry MX switches, and tactile feedback makes development a vastly better experience.
My work is done in a nice quiet room and I don’t have to or want to travel. I never understood why people want to optimize for working on trains, planes and in meetings. Even when I was going into the office, I didn’t need to bring my computer home because I had the exact same machine at home since it was so cheap.
I do have a 2015 Macbook Pro and an Acer E5-575g laptop as well. If I feel like working on the couch or in bed, I can absolutely do that, but I never do. Mostly the Mac is just there to test Mac things or compile iOS things. The Acer was just so cheap and it also runs Manjaro perfectly.
People may be most familiar with WireGuard as a light-weight proxy, but as a true virtual private network, it's also been great for making my home desktop accessible to my laptop on the go (desktop <-> digital ocean droplet <-> laptop).
All my machines now have static public addresses. All my containers too. The firewalls are simple. It’s refreshing doing this in 2020. It also brings a sense of freedom (but not mobility) that might explain why I’m happy without a laptop.
What’s old is new. I must have had an unrequited nostalgia for 1990s Novell Windows NT Workstations, but with Linux. (Come to think of it, when I was using WinNT at University we had so much IPv4 space that they too all had routable IP addresses. When I were a lad...)
 Ha, I used the word uplift before remembering https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uplift_(science_fiction)
Couple it with a USB switch and you won't have to bother with unplugging cables when switching between your work laptop and your personal desktop. (The only thing I have to unplug and move between my laptop and desktop is my microphone cable).
Granted, my high end gaming machine can get a bit noisier compared to my macbook, but even then the kind of noise is more pleasant than the relatively high pitched wind coming out of the MBP. The 3900X and the GPU do generate a ton of great though, so the focus is not on noise and heat output like in your case.
Older generations [of the hardware!] have more stable Linux support. I currently have a gen 4 Intel NUC (Haswell) and it is a lovely platform.
Not a lot of local compute power though. For that, it seems better to go all-in on well cooled datacentre hardware and connect to it remotely.
Which could lead us in a few years to a situation where mac developers will face the same fate as ios developers : forced to buy hardware to sign their app, forced to push them on the mac app store, forced to give 15/30% cut, forced to be removed whenever an app doesn't feel "right" to apple, or a government strong enough to force Apple.
And competitors will probably follow the trend, because Apple will have proven that it's doable and profitable.
That future looks extremely scary. What can we do, now, as developers ?
Stop buying, using, and supporting the Apple ecosystem. Vote with your money. The new chips are faster. So what? The laptop you have today works fine, you don't need the latest and greatest hardware.
I'm already stuck developing for the app store, using xcode to sign and deploy, using a programming language (that i love) swift that only really works on mac OS.
My personal situation isn't going to change anytime soon unfortunately. I was about to dump my iphone next time i had to pick one (and keep my current one for testing), however my laptop is my work computer.
I think "stop being part of the ecosystem" isn't realistic for many of us. We don't want to work on crap hardware, with a crap OS because that would make us unhappy and unproductive (or in my case, would simply not be an option at all).
However, we can use this current hardware /software to try and build the next generation of tools we would happily be using. My question now being : where to start ?
I think you answered yourself. I am not anti-Apple myself and think it's fine being in the Apple world and buying their crap but if you have doubts about Apple's overarching impact on technology in general, you should beging by ending your relationship with that ecosystem as soon as possible.
In hindsight I marvel that I ever allowed a single corporation to have absolute control over whether or not I’m allowed to publish my work to users.
There isn't much you can do other than sucking up what they feed you or getting a new job. If there's a 3rd option I'd love to hear it.
I have a co-worker that was in your exact same situation and just by showing interest in the devops world and sitting next to them and expressing his interest in that area he managed to just move there and now he loves it. You might find something similar, it just takes will, courage and effort.
It's enough if you just start to seek a way out. Even if it takes years, after you eventually do it, it will be worth it.
You consider a Thinkpad with Linux installed and configured properly as "crap hardware, with a crap OS"? Really?
So anything that is not macOS is crap now?
IMO what an alternative needs is momentum, mindshare, and a reality distortion field of its own. Find out how to get a million prople to believe in the need for a next thing, and convince them to cooperatively choose the same next thing. And somehow keep that thing from being mangled in the process.
I am curious if it will be faster on sustained loads comparatively to some gaming grade laptops.
Wayland already has trackpad support that's nearly identical to macOS.
Gnome with a dock is basically the same desktop experience - Pick a distro of your choice.
I can honestly say I prefer my linux XPS to my work macbook, by a large margin.
Plus - It doesn't spy on me. I actually own it. I can release software through channels that aren't entirely abusive.
Basically - The only thing Apple does truly well at this point, in my opinion, is marketing how great Apple is. But it turns out they just aren't all that great.
Don't buy their shit.
No it's not, macOS has a fundamentally different approach to apps and windows. Where you open only 1 app instance that can run multiple document windows. You switch between apps, and can then switch between windows in that app. This can partly be immitated in the window manager, but not all apps will work well with this pattern. Also standardized keyboard shortcuts, spelling check, secrets management and general app behaviour is hit and miss on Linux. Whereas on macOS most apps adhere to the human interface guidelines. This consistency and predictability gives me a greater efficiency on Mac over Linux system. I tried going back to Linux for 1,5 years when my then employer didn't allow me to work on a Mac and no matter how much I tweaked it, I could never get the same enjoyment and productivity compared to macOS.
Employer gave me a MacBook pro, I tried for a year to get used to it, but no matter how much I tweaked it I couldn't completely get out of the horrible (imo) experience that is Mac os Windows manager.
It I want to switch to an open window I'll switch to the freaking opened window, stop trying to hijack what open an app means.
Anyways, Mac os isn't bad, but you have to accept to give up a lot of things. It's their way, or nothing.
It's literally the same as the macOS dock, complete the with the dot indicator for number of open windows.
Plus my upper left hotcorner displays all application windows, and I have my upper right set to display each window of the current application.
They're preeeetty much identical.
I'd know - I use both daily.
While PC trackpads were absolutely terrible for a long time, I actually really like the one used on my X1 Carbon. Inertia scrolling and gesters are not as smooth, but the hardware itself is quite pleasant.
i have now Manjaro Linux on a HP Spectre. (Debian installer crashed .... )
- 4K support is pretty bad for a lot of games. usually some tweaking is required to get the text size - to a readable level.
- Internal Sound-card doesn't work.
- Wifi - had to switch iwd to get stable network. (had lots of packetloss with with wpa-supplicant)
- Getting the Geforce and Intel card working was a pain.
- Touch screen doesn't support reading pressure levels.
- Terminator is misses a bunch of feature that iTerm2 has.
- Last manjaro upgrade disabled the Nvidia graphics card, without warning. (had to restore a previous timeshift backup)
- external monitor doesn't work yet.
- listening to music while lock screen is on doesnt work
- fingerprint scanner doesn't work.
- have to restart bluetooth swith medium probability because it fails to connect to my airpods.
- the UI to unlock your encrypted harddisk at boottime looks also really bad. only text mode. and the text is also not very friendly.
almost all issue, i don't have on the same hardware with windows, but since i really want use linux i accepted it that the HW support is crappy.
I never really understood how input-driver responsibilities are divided between the Linux kernel and X/Wayland.
If you're talking about Macbook's reputation for a pleasant trackpad experience, are you saying that in Linux the relevant code resides within Wayland but not X?
I can see you’re frustrated and lashing out with “Don’t buy their shit”. Honestly I would be too if I had to read another hn post on apple & their policies.
But the biggest gap here isn’t technology. Rather it’s empathy.
Empathy for all those people who don’t read hn and would walk into apple stores to buy the best computer they possibly can.
Apple didn't change that by suddenly being excellent and having great marketing. Developers changed that by realising that Macs were good dev machines and writing software that ran on Macs.
Non-tech people ask their tech-savvy friends for advice on what tech to buy. For years that was "buy Apple; it costs more but they're more reliable, the support is great, and they're way cooler".
That's no longer the case. There are manufacturers shipping great Linux laptops, that just work, and it is actually feasible to recommend one to a friend. And running Linux is way cooler these days - every muppet out there has a Macbook ;)
That is actually pretty much precisely the reason.
Then the web changed things, and a huge number of devs moved from writing Windows desktop applications to writing web applications for the dotcom boom (I was one). This took about a decade, from around '97ish. It also freed people to use different dev machines because most of the servers were LAMP (or variants thereof), and Macs could run the AMP bit fine. Web designers who had started off in Apple-land being designers on Adobe migrated into being web developers, and that helped spread Macs into the web dev community.
Yes, Macs did get better during this same period, and there was a lot of great innovation. But if nothing else had changed then that wouldn't have mattered - if you had to write Windows applications then you couldn't do that on a Mac, no matter how sexy it was.
I find the parallel with today's situation (and this discussion) fascinating.
I absolutely agree with you - The vast majority of folks don't give a rats ass about the technology.
But I don't have to convince those people.
I have to convince you, and me, and the other developers that will read this thread.
We're the facilitators that make that hardware useful to the average person. We matter SO much more.
So I'll add some more - Don't take a job at Apple. Don't develop for Apple. Don't advertise to all your non-technical friends and family that you support Apple by buying their shit.
Ethical software allows users to modify it, but most users have little desire, let alone ability or time to learn how to do so.
Develop for open systems. If you write a program for Windows, make it also available on Linux, or at least make sure it works well on Wine. If you develop for the web, make sure it also works well on Firefox. If you develop for smartphones, make also an Android version, and make sure it also works on AOSP without the Google libraries (or with an alternative replacement). And so on. That way, if these ecosystems become too closed, users will have an alternative; and the existence of that alternative might even help prevent these ecosystems from becoming too closed in the first place.
Don't buy Apple products.
Don't use Apple products.
Don't support Apple products.
Don't develop for Apple products.
Raise awareness among those who would listen.
The forcing function, for all the attributes you listed, over the last 10 years has been the iPhone.
Even the headway’s in 3rd app support that the Mac will get now, is funnily because of the iPhone. Can you imagine what it must look like to Bill Gates from 2003? “Wait you’re telling me that a not yet built device with zero support for existing apps is going to magically make macs have the most abundant catalog of apps in 17 years?!!”
There’s only way counter action to those problems — stop buying apple products.
/disclaimer: I love apple products. But I didn’t mean any of the above with sarcasm.
Write blogs about how Apple's business practices threaten the profession of developers, how they can hamper innovation, and how they work against the interest of the consumer (see e.g. IDFA). Also discuss the idea of breaking up Apple in a hardware and a software company, and how this would help improve the market and provide a brighter future for general purpose computing.
And then there are basic things, discussed also by others, like not supporting Apple in any way, i.e. not buying their hardware, not developing for that hardware, and not recommending friends and family to buy Apple products.
More harsh things you could do are: buying an Apple laptop and returning it (your right as a consumer; make sure you state a reason), or putting a license on your FOSS software that is more restrictive on Apple's closed hardware.
I am not at all convinced Apple wants to go that route so the future of the mac doesn't look scary to me it looks pretty great.
They have to tread carefully because anti-trust, and they'll make all the relevant noises, but I think it's clear that the end-goal is only allowing app store apps to be installed.
But tbh the same is true of Windows. They're further away, because history, but they've already played with this once and will do so again.
Apple has no reason to turn the Mac into a total walled garden. They already have that in the iPad. Walling off macOS would mean getting rid of the Terminal and all of the other developer tools. For what? They would be cutting off their nose to spite their face.
Instead, they'll push iPad to be usable as a laptop alternative for more people.
Gatekeeper, requiring Developer ID, deprecating kexts, T2 chip, deprecation of the inclusion of Tk/python/PHP. We are slowly boiling frogs here. It's being squeezed into the direction of iOS.
I don't have any intention to contribute to the mac ecosystem. I still hog in what I like best - the terminal.
I treat the mac as a client - web+cloud is my backend. The client should feel good to me with decent battery life and snappy experience, and maybe some gaming. But I don't care much else about it.
I'll never give up my Fedora ThinkPad, but if I was forced to I could do all my development on a Chromebook with Linux.
I've been using a Chromebook for linux stuff with Crostini for a while (before that I used Crouton). With some frequency something (me or an update) manages to bork things up and have to reinstall the Crostini subsystem, which wipes out all my stuff (things that I care about are usually backed up).
It happens often enough that I'm thinking about going back to a dedicated linux machine, since I think probably that would be more stable for me.
With Crostini something did happen that horked the VM and I had to remove and reinstall it. That is pretty annoying. Not sure if I did something to cause it, but I also respect that the feature is still "Beta" and I guess I'm so overjoyed that they're doing it that I'm willing to accept some brokenness :-)
The new Macs are fast and have great battery life, but I wouldn't worry about them taking over the market. Windows machines and Chromebooks are arguably better versus Macs now than in 2015 when you couldn't find a laptop outside of a Macbook with a decent trackpad or high resolution screen.
create a killer app for the average person that _only_ works on linux, and force users to move.
If your app is attractive enough, and there is enough developers doing this, it will force users to slowly migrate.
To compete, walled-gardens will court you, and you can then negotiate conditions to make it better (instead of taking just money that they will offer).
Get a job at one of Apple's competitors, and make those competing products better.
Apple beats competitors because their product lineup is simpler and their products don't generally suck as much.
Look at Microsoft's attempt at ARM notebooks a few years ago compared to Apple's now. The difference is staggering.
If we want to see people move away from Apple, they need worthy competitors.
If Apple had created their own proprietary ISA then it is likely that almost nothing would be ported from the get go.
Or at least this is what this thread implies: https://twitter.com/never_released/status/132739810298317619...
The CPU is good, but it's not a miracle.
Ryzen is still faster, what makes waves is that this is the first time an ARM CPU has beat Intel.
Dunno. Been using it on desktops (well, laptops, mostly) since early 2000s, then some 6-year hiatus with OSX, then back to Linux. Works/worked great for me.
So, Year of Linux Desktop is really old news for some. For most, it'll never arrive.
And that's fine.
What I do like is choice - to each their own. You can now use and be fully productive 3 on completely different platforms, depending on your personal choice and work you do.
The biggest problem is that none of the DEs really fit my tastes — they all have to be poked and prodded into kinda doing what I want them to do, but they're never quite there and it's incredibly frustrating. I've also faced similar issues with starting with a bare WM and snapping together smaller pieces.
To get what I want I'd likely have to build my own DE from scratch, which I'm not even necessarily averse to, but I have no idea where to start with the mess that is X11 and Wayland and all the "build your own WM" tutorials that could be used as a springboard are written for building hyperminimal borderless tiling WMs, which aren't straightforward to adapt for a more "typical" floating WM with titlebars and the like.
So I guess the endpoint of this rant is that it's frustrating that building one's ideal Linux desktop from the ground up isn't all that accessible in reality. The configurability and openness is there on principle but it's difficult to take advantage of past a skin-deep level.
I find it really sad that in the Wayland world all the window managers are coupled with compositors (and possibly even more than that), which makes it that much harder to roll your own. I wish there was a generic compositor/input server/whatever with some sort of window management RPC interface that would allow running a separate window manager in a subprocess. This would make it so much easier to port xmonad over to the Wayland world and take it from there...
(I'm aware of waymonad's existence, but I believe the process barrier between compositor and WM is really practical, especially during development where the WM rapidly changes, sometimes crashes, but the session still survives.)
I feel sometimes linux almost has too many choices. There are a few main stream ones and a bunch of others that have bunch of fans/developers so the end product feels very rough. When the other choices (Windows/mac) are good enough but consistent.
My preference also. Currently maintaining a script of calls to 'gsettings set ...', plus a patch to gtk.css, on top of Ubuntu 18.04 Gnome Adwaita.
Doesn't quite get me back to what gtk-2 could do with a bit of its well supported, (even encouraged!) customization options. So the struggle continues.
• menu bar: one, at the top of the screen. I think KDE had this, and there might have been a somewhat working extension for GTK that doesn't exist anymore.
• keys: CTRL is mapped to Alt; Alt is mapped to Win. This is a start. ⌘C and ⌘V: work as Copy and Paste in Terminal, ^C and all the other "control" keys work as expected in Terminal. I used to configure Terminal keys using AutoKey. I haven't been able to make ⌘← and ⌘→ work in text boxes - sadly it's hard-coded in X11 to do what Windows does.
• windows: Smarter window positioning and sizing especially with multiple monitors. I miss Zoom: the button that sizes the window to perfectly and minimally fit the content without scroll bars.
• too many additional items to count like ⌥8 to type bullet characters.
> menu bar: one, at the top of the screen. I think KDE had this, and there might have been a somewhat working extension for GTK that doesn't exist anymore.
KDE has this if you use the Window Buttons, Window Title, and Window AppMenu plugins.
> • keys:
Plasma Desktop lets you remap keys easily, and you can use setxkbmap elsewhere. I haven't tried remapping the ⌘ key for terminal usage, though, but I've remapped most of the macOS shortcuts I used to use.
But I'm grateful every day to have a machine that I have some semblance of control over. I use a rolling release distro. I'm running a recent kernel and haven't done a major re-install in 5 years. During that entire time my computing experience has been incredibly stable. No huge UI changes. No forced system updates. Just a reliable tool I can use to get stuff done.
What I'm trying to communicate is, Linux desktop is usable, and it's worth pushing over the hump.
Like you, my Linux installs have been incredibly stable for a long time, even with a rolling release distro which is often considered "unstable."
I use Linux at work, and while I struggle with a few tools others do not as regularly (e.g. video teleconferencing software isn't always optimized for Linux, but overall it works fine), I also don't encounter tons of errors they do. From Apple updates bricking machines, to obscure Bluetooth/Wifi issues that you can't fix, or having to run Docker in a VM, I'm pretty convinced I've got it better.
Also, I have 4k, 28" monitors which is just the size where 1x is comically small, and 2x is comically large. I've tried recent Gnome and KDE, and they just can't scale to look right, like what I can do in MacOS or even Windows.
If I couldn't use MacOS for work, I would give Windows 10 a serious consideration. The new WSL and Windows Terminal are very good. I did use WSL 1 for a few years at a previous job, and it was awful.
As for your DPI issues, I've heard many have had better luck with Wayland than Xorg.
Gnome has a feature in Wayland (Ubuntu has a third-party patch for X11) that scales up to an integer ratio then scales the image back down to fit the right size by making the display frame buffer larger. This is what Mac OS does. It’s slower here than on Mac OS, so it’s not very optimized, and it leaves things ever so slightly less sharp.
I pretty much only use Firefox and terminals. So I set ~/.Xresources Xft.dpi to something that looked nice. Presumably a bunch of programs ignore this (otherwise I wouldn't be seeing complaints about HiDPI online).
Plasma is great and it feels lightweight compared to Gnome
Really interestingly I've been using a Windows, a Linux and a MacOS machine for many months, swapping them often. Well, Windows/Linux are on the same Ryzen 2700X with a Geforce 1080Ti, the Mac is a 2018 Mini with 32G RAM and 6 core i5. 4k 32" display in each case.
What surprised me:
- Windows UI is WAY the fastest. Linux is the slowest, and with fractional scaling turned off its hardly tolerable
- the font rendering on Windows is perfect, while MacOS is a bit blurry. This is very surprising to me since all the hype around the good scaling of MacOS. Windows hidpi fonts are just perfectly sharp.
- MacOS is absolutely consistent when it comes to rendering and scaling, the others aren't
Personally, I've turned off AA on my PC (and it's a completely useless feature on high resolution displays). What surprises me is as we have been moving into higher resolution displays, the OS makers have been making it HARDER to turn off anti-aliasing of text and this includes newer versions of Qt which have it turned on apparently so programs using Qt now pick up anti-aliasing even if your PC has it turned off.
People go on about how they love their blurry fonts. I don't get it. I like crisp and sharp.
PS. The version of the font, and the font used also makes a difference. A number of them were made during an era when anti-aliasing wasn't as common, so those are hinted to work well without AA, but I have also run into situations where an older version of a font works great with AA off and the newer version of it doesn't because they screwed something up or removed the hinting in the newer version. So if you have a really good font, back it up.
And, while Linux has gotten considerably more stable and hassle-free, at the same time, Windows, in my experience, has gotten _worse_. The start menu is slow, and makes network requests for some reason. The UI is so flat that I can't tell anything apart, and I'm frequently pestered to link my install with my Microsoft account or enable cortana. I wish I could have used Windows 7 forever :\
Probably the fact it's an unsupported OS,
As of January 14, 2020, your computer running Windows 7 will still function but Microsoft will no longer provide the following:
Technical support for any issues
Security updates or fixes
I don't really care enough to support windows 7 myself; as I mentioned, the only reason I have Windows is for video games, so as long as I'm still getting video driver updates, Win10 could be the worst OS in the world and it wouldn't bother me too much.
Around the same time my Mac Pro refused to upgrade to the latest version of macOS because I had a RAID. I installed Ubuntu on that as well. I was a little worried because it has multiple monitors but that was handled really well and worked fine out of the box. I did the same for the family iMac. Haven’t looked back.
I think Linux is cool and grew up playing with different distributions (starting around Fedora Core 4).
I spent most of my time on Ubuntu because it worked the best, but also used Yellow Dog Linux (my first laptop was a 12in Apple power pc powerbook g4), Arch, and some others.
Things that often gave me issues:
- Suspend rarely worked without hacks, even with hacks laptop would often wake and heat up to thermal shutdown in backpack. Hibernate was similarly bad.
- 'Normal' apps often didn't work or worked poorly (Netflix, flash, Spotify, 1Password), things are a lot better on this front now.
- Monitor support was typically bad and caused problems, connecting to monitor, multiple monitors, resolution issues on wake, etc.
- WiFi was often a hassle and either wouldn't work without hacks or would stop working for an unknown reason.
- Sound would stop working for unknown reasons.
- Bad anti-aliasing/font support in general.
- Personally I thought the UI (mostly gnome, then unity) felt slow and UI elements/chrome often took up a ton of visual space - in general things were uglier.
I think a lot of this stuff is better now, but I recently went to install ubuntu on an SSD in my desktop and had to spend a few hours trying to figure out why ubuntu refused to see the SSD in the installer. I eventually had to unplug the HDD to force it to recognize it.
The macOS vertical integration of hardware and software is really good. I think the touchbar is a mistake (and hopefully will go away like the butterfly keyboard did), but the OS works well, battery life is good, and the applications are nice.
I don't think Linux can compete for personal use, for most people macOS or Windows with WSL is a better experience. This is definitely true on laptops. On desktops I think linux has fewer negatives, but I'd still miss macOS ecosystem stuff (imessage/texting from laptop, things like that).
- Suspend works perfectly fine for me, including hibernating (incl. disk encryption) after a predetermined amount of time, and invoking a screenlock on wait.
- Spotify and 1Password X work perfectly fine for me. I have not tried Netflix any time recently, and Flash is dead.
- I use two external monitors, with different DPIs and resolutions, and this is working perfectly fine for me.
- WiFi works perfectly fine for me, no issues whatsoever.
- Sound works perfectly fine for me, no issues whatsoever.
- Fonts appear perfectly fine for me, no issues whatsoever.
- The UI is a sore spot for Linux. Linux doesn't tend to have consistent UI, between GTK, Qt, and other frameworks. Furthermore, adding Electron apps and things like Spotify into the mix, and things start to get funky. Some people put a lot of work into making their UI consistent, but it's tough. Many of the big distros (e.g. Ubuntu) have pretty good success with this I believe. For me, this isn't a huge issue.
As for iMessage, certainly you're going to miss this on Linux, but that's really Apple's fault for not adding it to icloud.com. I use an Android phone, and messages.android.com works on all my devices.
I think the vertical integration used to be a stronger argument, back before messages.android.com. These days, what is it really buying you? A consistent UI? AirDrop? Actually, I believe there's a Linux implementation of that now too.
Obviously you're saying "for me", which I recognise, but from my experience playing around with Linux Mint, Kubuntu and Fedora on a Thinkpad T480S over the past year, while things work technically, getting them perfect (in my opinion) takes a lot longer, and might not even be possible in some cases.
Take for example suspend/resume: yes, this works in terms of the machine waking up again, but things like the keyboard and screen brightness get reset (or are at least inconsistent) each time. Googling the problem, there are a lot of suggestions for hooking up scripts to run xbacklight to store / reset it each time, and I did manage to get it almost working "perfectly", but I'm not really sure why I should have to do this from a user's perspective. It's even more annoying in that at least in Linux Mint and Kubuntu's case, controlling the screen brightness isn't possible until you've logged in, so if you resume the laptop and the screen is dark, it's actually sometimes difficult to verify what's going on at the login screen.
Same goes for things like Dropbox - it doesn't know it's been woken up (maybe it's a Dropbox issue not listening for events), so doesn't resync - there are hacks to make a script to touch a file to trigger the refresh, and basically get it working, but again, why do I need to have to do this?
Even getting decent battery life involves (in my experience) tweaking things and running things like powertop to work out what system services are doing what, etc, etc.
Whilst I do agree it's technically possible to get something I'd term "good" with Linux + Laptop, I'm not convinced the average consumer would be that happy with it compared to a Mac or a PC laptop.
Things generally work, but poorly with lots of little issues that degrade the experience and regular users wouldn't tolerate.
If you use linux you learn to tolerate the bad experience, but I think it's just because you adapt to deal with it and lower your expectations of what good even is.
-No package manager. You have to download and install third party stuff like chocolatey (resp. brew). Unless you mean scoop (resp. macports)? In any case you have to commit to one and they're much less complete than Debian repos or the AUR so you still end up downloading stuff manually. A thing I don't miss from my teenage years is having to remember unchecking all the crap adware from installation wizards.
-No "open in terminal" option in file managers. Wtf?
-Windows "administrator mode" is incredibly bad and clunky to use. OS X's is better but sometimes you have to use sudo even though everyone tells you it's bad because nothing else works anyway.
-You can't just "upgrade everything" - package manager upgrades are distinct from system upgrades because, as said before, package managers are not builtin. Not only is this very clunky, you're also completely at the mercy of Microsoft and Apple.
-No shortcuts for basic stuff like "open terminal on ~" or "bring up app list with fuzzy search prompt", "hide all windows and bring desktop to the foreground" - windows used to have them but axed them for some reason? doesn't work anymore last time I tested anyway
-OS X file system is case insensitive. wtf? Windows still as really weird quirk where they won't let you easily browse to the WSL directory from the Explorer file browser, some directories can't be easily accessed and some files can't be created due to some backward compatibility behavior from 1974. wtf?
-lots of hardware won't work on Windows out of the box, especially drives with more exotic filesystems. never had a problem with Linux
Maybe all this stuff is duck syndrome but the same could be said about your "little issues"
While using a different OS's, all you see are the things that work worse, not the things that work better.
At least, that how the first few hours go for me.
And I personally haven't experienced the screen brightness issue.
Certainly, Linux still requires some extra setup to get going, and I think this area is ripe for improvement. But the experiencing of using Linux has been vastly superior in most cases IMO. And when things do break, I can actually fix them, unlike on macOS!
Consistent UI is nice and recent M1 chip + good battery life I think is also a bonus of vertical integration. It sounds like linux is becoming more of an option though for people that don't care about those things.
From your description it sounds like baseline functionality mostly works (particularly on a desktop).
The other Apple hardware advantage is the trackpad which even windows machines can't compete with. I suspect this is because Apple factored a lot of their iOS multitouch research into their trackpad support. It'd be hard for me to use a non-apple laptop, but linux on a desktop would probably be fine.
And you're right - Apple's trackpad has everything else beat. The gestures are great too! I am more of a keyboard aficionado, so I don't mind this too much, but I'm not an average user in this way.
It's Apple's M1 design plus ARM plus their software stack that makes it great. Their power also lets them force others to write high quality native software for their chip (along with their design just having way better performance).
One of the problems is that experience is highly dependent on hardware choice and/or distro/software choice in rather unpredictable ways.
Generally I agree with grandparent: Linux for the desktop is a lot more reliable than for the laptop. The kind of stuff that needs to work on a desktop/server has considerably more testing and polish behind. With the laptop is about as hit-and-miss as things used to be for desktop in the late 90s. A surprising amount of people just accept some stuff not working or working unreliably in their laptops (some of my mates just "deal with it" - for instance one has a webcam that simply isn't supported, just got an external one - and same for the microphone; another one has trouble with external monitors not keeping config or even crashing the machine sometimes: "it's ok I don't need to use an external monitor", eventually managed to make it work after some research - but I'd rather not have to deal with that sort of thing... etc etc).
Having said that, Apple is so far gone that I'm going to have to move to Linux for my next laptop (Linux is already my main choice on the desktop for a long time).
But the thing is, the way that computers work nowadays, the "choose-your-own-OS model" is broken. It's "less broken" for desktop hardware because it moves so much more slowly and incrementally than they used to, especially at the interface level, but laptop hardware moves faster and mobile a lot faster. Hardware-OS combos with OEM pre-made troubleshooting and tailor-made workarounds (hardware nowadays is very buggy, but the user is sheltered from this fact mainly by kernels and drivers). This is much worse in mobile, btw, people are not expected at all to alter hardware or even connect peripherals beyond strong constraints.
So the situation is that you usually get a machine with something installed that has testing done on it as a combo, and "it works" even if the "internal components" (hardware, OS sub-services, etc) don't quite work to spec. You break this link and someone has to do the patching work, which is often "the community", driver/kernel hackers, etc. But this is a lot harder than working with fixed solutions and stuff keeps breaking, and there's when the end user comes in with some final, hopefully trivial fixes. Or, if the machine is popular enough, "the community" again. But few machine-Linux combos are really popular these days, especially compared to Apple laptops.
TL-DR; server computing is pretty solid, desktop computing is rather solid, laptop computing is a mess, mobile computing is a messy hack. The more things are "integrated" and not expected to be interchangeable, the more likely you are to find hiccups along the way, and the shorter hardware cycles don't help - so it's not a problem with Linux per se (the work behind Linux is amazing in terms of adapting to large ranges of hardware, even when hardware vendors didn't facilitate things) but a problem with installing and troubleshooting your own OS rather than having the OEM do it with flexibility to just change their hardware to make the system work best.
I've been using:
2. HP Elite books
3. Clevos (Branded by sager)
4. Asus Zenbooks
About 16 years ago, the suspend and hibernate was a bit of work to get right. Now it just works right out of the gate. Sometimes it doesn't.. but that's the same for Windows and Macs.
There is no Netflix app for linux. Flash is mostly gone away, firefox and chrome fixed that 9 years ago at least. Spotify works.
Monitor support, most of the X problems are resolved. Intel graphics support is great.
Nvidia Optimus is still a dumpster fire.
WIFI- what cards are you using? the intel cards work without an issue.
Yea I don't know what is the deal with alsa vs pulse etc. But most of the time they work out of the gate.. I've had minor issues mostly. Bluetooth audio is annoying. Haven't had complete stopages issues in a very long time.
Anti-aliasing/font-support- this is more of your desktop environment than anything. KDE tends to correct those issues.
macOS often times has issues with their own software and makes it difficult to troubleshoot when things go wrong.
Not a "gotcha" question, I am seriously asking. Considering a Thinkpad for my next laptop, but memories of Superfish give me pause.
But, honestly, at lest in the past 5 years, I had no problems especially if we consider laptops that usually have more or less the same standard hardware.
4 years ago I bought an Xiaomi 13' laptop to use it as a browsing machine and occasionally as a media player.
It came with a Chinese windows preinstalled.
Without even looking at the specs I installed Ubuntu on it and I've never had a problem.
I upgraded it from Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04 to 20.04 and I'm using it right now to watch the 4th season of Fargo
I never had to tweak the configuration or change a single .conf file, it simply worked
The battery lasts 8 hours and if I close the lid it automatically goes on suspend
It's been the best setup I ever had.
Unfortunately it's too underpowered to use it as a working device, but if I could I would be the happiest man in the World.
I think it at least partially depends on the hardware.
> - Suspend rarely worked without hacks, even with hacks laptop would often wake and heat up to thermal shutdown in backpack. Hibernate was similarly bad.
I did experience this a little bit, but it's been 2-3 years since the last time it happened.
> - 'Normal' apps often didn't work or worked poorly (Netflix, flash, Spotify, 1Password), things are a lot better on this front now.
No comment on this, I haven't really used any of these on my laptop.
> - Monitor support was typically bad and caused problems, connecting to monitor, multiple monitors, resolution issues on wake, etc.
Only issue I had with this was one TV wouldn't take HDMI output at the same time as displaying to my laptop screen.
Everything else has worked great.
> - WiFi was often a hassle and either wouldn't work without hacks or would stop working for an unknown reason.
Haven't had any issues with this, but I would imagine it would be highly dependent on the wireless card you had.
> - Sound would stop working for unknown reasons.
Yeah, audio on linux kinda sucks right now. I've never been stuck without a workaround, but I've needed workarounds multiple times.
> - Bad anti-aliasing/font support in general.
I've not noticed this, but I also haven't looked.
> - Personally I thought the UI (mostly gnome, then unity) felt slow and UI elements/chrome often took up a ton of visual space - in general things were uglier.
GNOME + Pop_shell at least has gotten fast enough to keep me from installing i3 again. This is of course a matter of personal preference.
I personally trust neither Apple or MS, but they both have their upsides.
To each their own, and happy hacking!
> Only issue I had with this was one TV wouldn't take HDMI output at the same time as displaying to my laptop screen.
I just wanted to throw out some non-Linux issues I've hit in the past couple years.
I believe I had a MacbookPro 2015 and Apple's USB-C to HDMI I consistently had RGB noise patterns and it worked terribly. I switched to a third-party USB-C to DisplayPort and it worked great. I heard about similar issues online. Some talked about it being specific to hardware configuration (that series of MacbookPros) and others pointed to OS updates that triggered it.
I've had trouble with a Windows desktop and an Nvidia card with detecting which port was used to send video signal to on boot. I think it assumed the first HDMI port when I had the intention of using the DisplayPort. I think it got extra confused if the monitor was off on boot (it was trying to detect the signal?) I would often get the BIOS to show up on one output, then Windows may try and use a different one.
I've had a great experience with my XPS 13 so far. Everything (Headphones, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi,...) just works, Dell even provides Bios updates. Whereas Windows 10 didn't recognise that my headphones also have a microphone. Only downside is the limited battery management, this is definitely better on ThinkPads.
On Linux the font rendering is either far too thin or far too thick, no matter which setting I fiddle with. I don't have the greatest eyes and bleh font rendering is huge pain.
I understand others may not be so picky, but acting like the font rendering is on par with Mac is just not true.
Install some drivers
Install some apps
Configure things and set up my ui
There's a lot less forum hunting, obscure edge cases you run into, random things not working and all those other problems I remember.
Part of it is my experience at this point, but another large part is just the general improvement of the linux ecosystem over those years.
It really has improved drastically from my first days using it regularly in 2007-2008 or so.
So no. There is just as much forum hunting as ever.
With Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 I'm able to develop the same without having to dual boot and feeling just as native as running Linux on the system, and I can use Windows software like, say, Photoshop. Visual Studio Code integrates automatically, it's like I've got a Linux 'Window' open.
And when I want to switch off I'm back in Windows for a full gaming environment etc.
I'm completely switched over to full-time Windows now. Maybe not a good thing, but it sure is convenient.
It's arguably easier to use than windows and macOS because it doesn't require a bunch of separate sign-ins to do things.
I think the only "hard part" for the average user is getting into the boot settings to actually install ubuntu. For a developer I think it's a non-issue.
Prior to that, I had an issue with bluetooth drivers that, IIRC, required finding a custom driver online or some C source file? I don't really remember the specifics, but it was another "I am a dev and this isn't really difficult but is more than 0 effort and my mom couldn't do it."
Prior to that, I installed Ubuntu on my laptop for college and the display drivers were an absolute mess. The screen brightness flickered from 10% to 80% over and over, regardless of what I was pressing or they were set at. I didn't find a fix and ultimately reformatted and went back to windows.
> I mean linux is the backbone of the internet.
Linux containers are great, I use them all the time. Linux as a desktop environment where I use an array of UI applications to develop software, make and observe video files, make games, etc, I have never once had a good experience with. The most recent try, when I encountered the Auto Login issue, I was also totally unable to get Unity to compile/run my company's game. It was yet another thing that I probably could have fixed, but the value-add vs. the effort of constantly having to manually fix each individual piece of software I intended to use, just didn't seem worth it to me. And, what's probably worse (to me), is the general response I found online was "Those issues aren't that big of a deal", which totally ignores my entire point. Death by a thousand paper cuts is a problem, even if each individual paper cut isn't that bad.
Again, I am happy to be told that my experience isn't indicative of the landscape of the env, and that I myself just have terrible luck, but if we're asking what _I_ think, that is my experience which makes me think it's not yet ready for legitimate non-developer use.
Death by a thousand paper drew a visceral response from me, it describes my experience perfectly.
I'm a developer and power user that wants to do various things beyond just browsing.
Things regularly required troubleshooting and fiddling, and for one thing that is fine, but after the 5th serious time consuming issue I get cross and around the 10th I can the migration attempt and go back to windows. Done this every three or four years for the last couple of decades.
I'm due to have another go around 2022 and fingers crossed it will work then, but I doubt it!
Linux application servers tend to be worth it though, and part of that is the use cases are usually much more limited, and on the well worn path.
This might be the first time someone could have said 'I use Arch' but decided not to.
The kind of people who use GNOME or Ubuntu or whatever the 'windows competitor' is always seem to be having problems, but are also the kind of people who see needing to use a terminal as a problem in itself.
I've never ever had a problem with i3, emacs, firefox, and simple <20 line configs. Terminal is fine, it's what most GNU tools are built around in the first place. It's apt that people who really love Linux and appreciate what it does out of the box, and who don't feel the need to turn it into Windows or MacOS, also seem to have the least issues with it.
There is an illusion that there is not as much to learn in Windows or Mac, and in fact all that knowledge is even harder to grasp as a lot of it is proprietary and not transparent.
Of course, the fact that I have the chops to fix things is key, because I really, really do (Systems Programmer, 30+ years building OS and system-level things), but for the Ubuntu experience key factors have also been: pick your hardware nicely (e.g. Presonus=great Audio for Linux), use package management, do frequent manual updates, and use containers/virtualization for anything where ones hacking around might be dodgy - i.e. keep the work part of workstation in mind with all system updates/installations, etc.
Decades of Linux desktop usage means, to me, the cliche is over. Linux is an awesome desktop workstation. Everything just works, audio, video, graphics .. WINE is perfectly functional .. and there is zero bloatware or concern about walled gardeners.
Care to elaborate? this might be useful to try. I have a similar setup macbook and ubuntu system, but I find that the LTS 18/20 versions often need reboot, and I didn't have the issue with centos. Still, I would probably continue using ubuntu because it usually needs less hacking time in my experience.
I was so impressed, I installed it next on a ~2 year old Asus Flip, and everything worked except for the fingerprint reader. Battery life was about 2/3rd of what I got in Windows 10 (which was already not great) but I used it for a couple of weeks, sometimes getting work done on it, and sometimes playing around with things like Steam - I could play Torchlight on it, or stream Torchlight II from my Windows 10 desktop. Neat! Ended up going back to Windows for better battery, but aside from gaming, the experience was very much on par with Windows, with some things better and some things worse, but no huge differences.
I'm very comfortable with Windows 10 and WSL, and I don't expect Linux to take over as a daily driver any time soon. So I guess in a way, I did "give up" on switching over, but if an employer handed me an all-Linux machine, I think I'd be perfectly pleased to use it all day for work, even if I head back to Windows when I want to play StarCraft.
And even then, moving your entire setup from a machine to another have never been easier, when you know how to do it.
Corporate OSs are more polished, that's undeniable, Apple especially provides the best out of the box experience, but it's nothing comprared to the flexibility I can experience using Linux.
I can have a beefed up work laptop with Plasma and all the effects enabled and the same exact setup on the cheap low end laptop with XFCE.
Everything, really, just works.
And when it doesn't, I can somehow make it work.
There have been times I spent days trying to make the Nvidia card work, but it was because I was looking for the perfect setup that I usually don't experience on Windows or MacOS, but there's nothing I can do about it, no matter how much time I spend trying to fix it.
It's simply out of reach.
I'm aware that that's not what the average user is willing to go through, and that's perfectly fine, I don't feel better than them because I use a more complicated system, but I cannot go back to being limited in what I can do because I am not allowed to.
Also, modern distros are really really stable out of the box.
The laptop I use as a replacement for media server is an Ubuntu 20, it was an Ubuntu 18 and 16 before, I simply upgraded it to the new version and it worked, every time better than before.
If there's something I've learned in the past 25 years is that freedom do comes at a cost, but as of today, that cost is actually negligible.
P.s. forgot to mention that I do not have to care anymore about bloatware, automatic updates, things calling home, software you rely on going out of business and, most of all, lack of support or documentation
Not sure if something like this already exist (especially with ZFS and Btrfs) but it would be nice if there was a easy to use system restore manager you could boot into and restore your system to a last known working state. Again, keyword easy. Yes I'm technical enough to where I could fix it but I just don't have the time.
> What I'm trying to communicate is, Linux desktop is usable, and it's worth pushing over the hump.
Huge fan of all of the above.
I do think though that now desktops are less inherently compelling than they used to be. They used to represent a center of activity, a locus of control for the user.
Now, a very sizable % of our computing is off in far away clouds, & the desktop itself is a less compelling, less interesting place to invest time.
My hope is that the Free Desktop / Linux world can begin to grow new roots, become more connected, & return to a little bit more of a place of prominence & relevance. Lots of visioneering & pioneering & engineering to do.
My main recommendation is stick with one of the major distros because you'll get more results when you search for solutions to issues. With Ubuntu you'll find more hits for specific problems, but I think the quality is also sometimes lower. Whereas I think Arch has the best documentation (for linux in general, not just Arch) but in general you'll need to understand more about what's happening under the hood.
Granted, I probably use less programs than most people, and I'm the type of person who would rather download the nodejs tarball and update my PATH than use the system package or nvm.
The sluggish performance you're getting is honestly probably related to CFS (the default linux process scheduler). Windows does an AMAZING job with scheduling for UI applications. You almost never feel like your computer is struggling because anything UI related gets scheduled first. CFS does not do this.
I've found that changing the scheduler to something that may be less efficient overall, but is aimed at desktop use makes my experience so much better.
Honestly the dark theme of the Gnome variant is the most beautiful dark theme I have ever found for a Linux DE. I know there are lots of ways to tweak the various DEs to get some cool looking dark themes, but my experience is that they can take a lot of manual configuring and tend to still fail on the edge cases. The dark theme bundled with Manjaro Gnome looks amazing right out of the box!
They've been fairly happy with it and they're not very technically savy.