Living On Linux, Part 0

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linux crankery


So for reasons that defy explanation, I have decided that I need to live on Linux, or at least, make a go of it. I have been a Mac user almost exclusively for decades, but as I have aged, my asks of a computer have largely shriveled down to Emacs, and a web browser. I still appreciate the craft of a lot of the software I use on the Mac; and I still think that Apple’s hardware is basically best in class, but I’m distant enough from needing e.g. XCode or Logic that I can probably make a pretty good fist of it somewhere else.

I thought about Windows, because the software story there is more straightforward for a Mac refugee like me, but ultimately, I am a creature of Unix (having encountered in via Andrew at CMU 35 years ago), and as much as I hate it, it is by far easier for me to moan about Unix than to try and muscle Windows into something that my muscle memory can handle.


I divide the problem of switching into four classes – hardware, application software, integration with cloud services, and the operating system itself. Some of the differences between the Mac and this Linux machine are insignificant, or have superior options in Linux; some are replaceable, in that I can learn to live with the difference, and some things simply have no analogue. I’ll enumerate these over the next few days, with explanations of my solutions, where solutions exist, and workarounds where not.


My suspicion is that this will be easier today than it was the last time I tried it (in 2015), and the existential issues I had then are either entirely relieved, or are at least amenable to workaround.