How was my transition from Mac OSX to Linux

How was my transition from Mac OSX to Linux

My first contact with Linux, as I mentioned before, was in the middle of 2004-2005 with Kalango & Kurumin Linux. Both were very famous BR distros at the time.

But I only started getting excited about programming around 2010, a year after I started college.

My period as a programmer using GNU/Linux as the main environment was very short, in the middle of 2011 I bought my first 13" MacBook Pro and entered the Apple world, where I remained until 2020.

In March 2020, I decided to exchange my current MacBook Pro as it was already relatively outdated. It was a dual-core i5 core (2/4) with only 8G of ram and what annoyed me the most, only 128G of SSD storage.

It was not an impossible computer to work with, but when working with many applications at the same time, such as the application backend, Redis, database, queue, node, web browser, etc... constantly the memory ran out.

That's when I started the quest for a new MacBook, at the time the top of the line was 16" MacBook Pros with intel core i9 and 32/64G of ram.

March 2020 and the pandemic was already affecting the whole world, and as Brazil is not an island the dollar was already at R$5, buying a new computer for R$20-25 thousand reais was definitely not in my plans.

That's when I started considering going back to ubuntu initially, talked to some friends who were on Linux, installed a virtual machine on my MacBook with ubuntu to test the system, and to stop my surprise Gnome 3 was still the same as 2011 visually speaking, ubuntu was super stable in its LTS version, so I made the following decision: - I would go back to Linux.

I started searching the internet for a computer that had the following settings

  • 9th generation Intel i7~i9 processor
  • Minimum 16G ram memory
  • 512G nvme SSD
  • A good graphics card to play some games
  • 144hz screen

As a laptop you don't buy every day, I was actually willing to spend a little more so that it had a longer lifespan, but that it was within the budget I was willing to spend and the main thing: that it was compatible with Linux.

I want to make an important note here, when you have in mind that you are going to use a Linux distro on a computer, it is very important to pay attention to the compatibility of some important peripherals such as video cards, processors, and motherboard.

Within my scope, I ended up finding some notebooks:

  • Samsung Odyssey 2
  • Lenovo Legion
  • Dell G5

All of the above notebooks were very good, the Samsung odyssey 2 was really amazing, but I ended up opting for the Dell notebook, the G5 model.

The main reason I chose the Dell G5 model was the compatibility with Linux and having a friend who also bought the G5, so I already knew from him that everything would work fine under Linux.

Compatibility issues or lack of drivers in the Linux world is something you definitely don't want to have.

When the notebook arrived the first thing I did was install Ubuntu, I didn't even let windows go up.

As I was installing and configuring things on Linux, I started to realize that it would be interesting to create an automated script for this. That's when I got the idea to create Jarvis, a repository on my Github where I keep my easy-to-install script for Debian-based systems.

Also in the early days, I realized the need to create aliases and some settings for routine use, so I started to create my dotfiles for Linux, since what I had for Mac OS X, a lot stopped working.

After a few months of using ubuntu 20.04, I got to know POP_OS! through the DioLinux channel, I really liked the proposal that System76 brought with POP_OS! and decided to give it a try.

I confess that I liked it right away and today it is my distro.

Some of the strengths in my opinion of using Linux:


Price

This is one of the points that weigh most in the choice I believe, as the cost of my Dell G5 was R$ 8,500, while a MacBook Pro with the same configurations wouldn't cost less than R$ 20,000

docker

Who comes from OSX knows what I'm talking about, working with Docker on Apple's system is quite complicated, as it doesn't run natively, but on top of a virtual machine, which makes it very slow.

The situation is so complicated for someone who only has 8G of ram on a MacBook that I couldn't docker on the MacBook, I used everything native 😱

Nowadays I don't live without a docker, I use docker in all my projects!

Freedom of choice

You are much more freedom to customize your work workflow, you can use KDE, GNOME, XFCE, etc.

Forced learning

When you're dealing with Linux, you're forced to learn more, need to interact more with the command line, scripts, logs, and so on.

💡Tip: if you already have some experience with Linux, I strongly recommend taking a look at Arch Linux and trying to install it.

You may not use it as your main everyday distro, but it will definitely be a learning immersion!

Some of the weaknesses in my opinion in using Linux

Lack of native apps

I really miss some native apps like Google Drive for Linux, although there is a web version that we can use perfectly, having the ability to sync local files is way better. Alternatively, you can try Dropbox, which has a native Linux client.

Another application that I really miss is Table Plus, a very good visual interface for databases. Although Table Plus has a Linux version, it has nothing to do with the Mac OS X version.

iPhone

Since I still use an iPhone as my main smartphone, syncing some stuff with my computer isn't the easiest task in the world.

But here I have to be fair, this is much more Apple's fault, which shuts down its ecosystem as a whole, than gnu/Linux itself speaking. But regardless of who is to blame, the user is the one who suffers at the end of the day.

Final considerations

Moving from Mac OS X to Linux did a lot of good for my pocket and also helped me to see how the desktop environments world for Linux has matured in the last 10 years.

I'm a big fan of GNOME, and its version 40 has a workflow incredibly similar to OS X, I believe that users who have the same work profile as me will benefit a lot from this new version.