I have been on Mac HW and OS X for 8 years now. I remember the evening in Santa Clara, when Colin Charles showed me his MacBook Pro 15”, still based on the Motorola chipset, and OS X. I fell in love with the sleek design of the MacBook, the backlight that in 2006 was like a “dough!” something so obviously helpful that nobody else had thought about it.
I moved from my Sony Vaio Z1 to a MacBook Pro 15” with Intel chipset in no time. I was so pleased I got rid of Outlook and the other clunky office tools, to use Apple Mail and others. I loved it so much.
Then the iPhone came, and then the iPad, and with it IOS and OS X were in some way converging. I now have an i7 MacBook Air 11 with 8GB RAM and 1/2TB Flash Drive, a dream machine for me: feather-light, real 5-6 hours batteries (the way I use it), all the power I need, with an obvious limitation in the non-retina small screen that I top up with a USB monitor when I really need to. The software improved, but it also changed a lot. OS X Mavericks is no longer the sleek and non-intrusive OS that I saw on my old MacBooks. There are lots of great features, but also some very annoying issues that I really do not like. Perfection is something you must aim at, but you will never reach it: this is the reality for software too.
In my work, I always needed to use Linux, in a way or another. So far, I used VMs and cloud instances, but now this is not enough. I need to move the core OS too, and I found this exciting. I am going to replace OS X with Ubuntu, specifically 10.9 Mavericks with 14.04 LTS Trusty.
I am not going to replace my hardware. I did some research, and the closest non-Apple laptop that I may want to use is the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, but still, it is far, for many aspects, from the features that a MacBook can provide. But my decision is not only based on pure technology features. For 8 years, I have been spoiled by Apple. I found a limited but very clear choice of hardware, software and accessories available on the Internet and in the Apple Stores. On top of that, I have highly valued the reliability and the lifetime of a MacBook model.
Here is an example. In my search, I stumbled in a very interesting laptop, the Lenovo X1 Carbon. It was not a laptop of the size I was looking for, but I was intrigued by the performance and by its features. I looked at reviews and videos, then I wanted to check the official site, and here comes the surprise. For a laptop that wants to be at the top of the range and with its innovative design also a landmark, I found outdated web pages, I could not buy it online on official sites (certainly I can browse and find it on eBay), the “where to buy” section of the website pointed me at stores that showed all the laptops in a random way, many sites did not have that model at all. After a while, I simply gave up. The X1 can be purchased in the US from the Lenovo website.
Dell was different. In this case, there is a reliable source, which is the online store. Online, you can select, configure, check the specs and buy a laptop and you know what to expect inside the parcel delivered at doorstep. Dell also gives you a sense of continuity, with the product lines that have evolved a lot, but they still share a positioning and a target market with the previous models.
But as I said, I will stick with Apple hardware. It has been a difficult decision, since I know that Apple discourages in many ways users who buy their hardware then they install non-Apple software. Also, I know I am going to find issues with cards, components and new hardware. For example, my current MacBook Air has a PCI HD camera that does not have any Linux driver. But this, i.e. make my favourite hardware work against all odds, is a challenge that I like to take.
So, watch this space, I am going to update it with more info soon…