From Linux to the Mac and Back to Linux


Years ago, when I worked at Virtumundo/Adknowledge, we used Dell laptops (other than an unfortunate foray into Toshiba), which I loaded Linux on.  I used Fedora, SuSE, and Ubuntu for years.  At some point though, I got tired of some issues with audio and Linux, and I made the switch to the Mac, starting with a Macbook Pro.  There is nothing I can say bad about the first MacBooks I used.  They were fast, great looking, and ran OS X (now macOS), which I still view as Apple’s best product.  My last MacBook, from 2012, was a pretty supercharged retina MacBook Pro, but it had some issues.  The GPU switching was clunky, and it had terrible ghosting in the display.  In the fall of 2014, though, it has ground itself to  a halt.  To replace it, I would have had to spend a few thousand dollars, money I didn’t want to spend.

I looked seriously at returning to Linux.  My developer IDE’s (all JetBrains based) run on Linux. My favorite database tool at the time ran on Linux.  Chrome is on Linux of course.  The web apps for Slack and Spotify were good enough.  It seemed that Linux could once again be my workstation OS at a fraction of the price.

So I bought for around $650.00 a tiny little Brix box as my workstation, 16GB RAM, and a 500GB SSD.  Because of the size, the fans ran a lot, but was so much faster than my laptop.  I went back to Ubuntu, and didn’t miss a beat in terms of productivity as all my apps ran just as well on Linux.  Ubuntu is not perfect, but I’m a developer.  I can take care of any rough edges.  I also learned about CODE keyboards and returned to using a big, heavy mechanical keyboard.  You could take out a home invader with the CODE keyboard.

Well, a year later, that tiny Brix box seemed to be having issues with heat.  In that small container, I wasn’t surprised.  So I upgraded again to a regular workstation.  I added another 500GB  SSD, got a really recent i7 processor to put into it, and filled it with 32GB of RAM.  Even better, I threw in a NVidia 950 graphics card.  This box screams.  I’m so much more productive with this workstation.  It does everything quickly.  I don’t have many issues with software.  I can stream games from my gaming machine to my office machine running Linux.  It’s a really sweet setup.

If you’re an iOS developer, you need a Mac.  If you’re not. I think you should be considering Linux again.  It’s a great OS for developing, you have tons of hardware options, and the days of it being clunkier than Windows are long gone.  I’m sticking with Linux for a long, long time, as it seems that Apple, despite having macOS, doesn’t care enough about pro users to deliver pro hardware products anymore

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