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---
layout: post
title: Switching to Linux
date: 2014-04-12 21:50:00
updated: 2014-10-01 12:52:00
coordinates: 50.86507 4.70069
proofread: yes
---
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<p>Hello, I am a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_a_Mac" title="Get a Mac @ Wikipedia">Mac</a>. I have been for 10 years ever since I bought my first <a href="https://www.apple.com/30-years/2004/" title="Thirty Years of Mac, 2004">iBook G4</a> in 2004. I was a Windows switcher at the time, and Mac delivered on every field. Now, it's time to move on.</p>
<h2>Open Source</h2>
<p>I ♡ <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source" title="Open source @ Wikipedia">open source</a>. It may not always produce the cleanest, best-looking software, but it's definitely the best software model. I earn a <a href="http://www.nimbly.be" title="nimbly, my tiny agency">living</a> thanks to <a href="https://contributors.rubyonrails.org/" title="Ruby on Rails contributors">open source developers</a> and am grateful for that. It's time to eat my own dogfood.</p>
<p>I feel more at ease using open source. I know (or hope) people look at the source code. There is less invasion of my privacy by big <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/cybertruth/2014/01/22/why-you-must-control-your-own-data/4775535/" title="Why you must control your own data @ USA Today">companies</a> or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_surveillance_disclosures_%282013%E2%80%93present%29" title="Global surveillance disclosures @ Wikipedia">governments</a>, and the software was written to solve a problem, not earn money or sell ads.</p>
<h2>Apple</h2>
<p>Apple knows how to write software, they know how to build hardware and they know how to bring the two together. I preordered the retina <a href="https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/" title="MacBook Pro @ Apple">MacBook Pro</a> the moment it was announced, and it's the best computer I've ever had (an ethernet port would have been nice, though). I will miss this.</p>
<p>Where Apple excels in hardware and software design, they lack in building services. Apple isn't Google; it's not in their DNA:</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20140415110815/https://www.apple.com/osx/whats-new/features.html#maps" title="Maps @ Apple">Maps</a> places data is wrong in many locations around me, and feedback is never looked at. I don't think Apple will ever make a <a href="https://www.google.com/mapmaker" title="Google Map Maker">Google Map Maker</a>.</li>
<li>Three years after its release, <a href="https://www.apple.com/ios/messages/" title="iOS Messages @ Apple">Messages</a> still isn't usable for me. Some messages show up as read, while the other party never received them, leading to arguments with friends and family.</li>
</ul>
<p>Apple is a company, and companies make decisions I don't always agree with, like <a href="https://blog.blockchain.com/2014/02/06/blockchain-response-to-apple/" title="Blockchain's Response to Apple @ Blockchain">removing bitcoin wallet apps</a> or <a href="https://alastaira.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/apple-maps-aka-apple-are-thieving-bastards/" title="Apple Maps (or OpenStreetMap reinvented) @ Alastair Aitchison">not crediting</a> OpenStreetMap (was later fixed by Apple).</p>
<p>Apple is shifting its focus from power users to the general public, building on the success of iOS. That's fine. There is a lot of money to be made, and making it easier for everyone to use technology is a noble goal. It's not me, though. I like the power of a multipurpose machine (and even think there is a need for one if we want to motivate our kids to hack stuff and innovate, but that's another topic).</p>
<p>In short, Apple lost its geekiness, and that's what appealed to me in the first place.</p>
<p>What I will miss:</p>
<p>Changing platforms is not something you do every day. Learning a new way to work is fun, but I invested money in hardware and software (MacBook, iPhone, Cinema Display, Photoshop, OS X and iOS apps), which will no longer be used.</p>
<p>I can keep using or find alternatives for most software I use today (<a href="https://www.vim.org/" title="Vim, advanced text editor">Vim</a>, <a href="https://www.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/" title="Firefox browser">Firefox</a>, <a href="https://www.latex-project.org/" title="LaTeX typesetting system">LaTeX</a> and <a href="https://www.videolan.org/vlc/" title="VLC media player">VLC</a>, to name a few), but some applications simply don't have a replacement on the Linux side. I'm thinking of <a href="https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html" title="Adobe Photoshop product page">Photoshop</a> (no, <a href="https://www.gimp.org/" title="GNU Image Manipulation Program">GIMP</a> is not a replacement), <a href="https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html" title="Adobe Photoshop Lightroom product page">Lightroom</a>, <a href="https://culturedcode.com/things/" title="Things taks management">Things</a> and <a href="https://acqualia.com/soulver/" title="Soulver, spreadsheets done right">Soulver</a>.</p>
<p>I really like <a href="https://www.backblaze.com" title="Backblaze online backup service">Backblaze</a>; it's my disaster recovery backup. But they <a href="https://help.backblaze.com/entries/20203476-Is-Backblaze-going-to-offer-Linux-support" title="Is Backblaze going to offer Linux support?">don't plan</a> on building a Linux client. I heard of <a href="https://spideroak.com/" title="Online backup and sharing service SpiderOak">SpiderOak</a> and <a href="https://www.tarsnap.com/" title="Online backup for the truly paranoid">Tarsnap</a> but still need to find a worthwhile contender.</p>
<h2>Preparation</h2>
<p>I am not only trying to find Linux compatible applications but also switching to open source when possible. Switching bit by bit before retiring my MacBook will hopefully make it easier.</p>
<p>I switched my main browser from Chrome to Firefox, switched my iCloud calendar and contacts syncing to my own <a href="http://sabre.io/baikal/" title="Baïkal, lightweight CalDAV &amp; CardDAV server">CardDAV and CalDAV server</a> and started using more command line applications (like <a href="https://www.ledger-cli.org/" title="Ledger, double-entry accounting system">ledger</a>) to prepare. I've switched to Vim and LaTeX, and I've been hosting my own mail for a few years now so that should be a breeze.</p>
<p>Also, I've started listening to the <a href="https://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/show/linuxun/" title="Linux Unplugged weekly podcast @ Jupiter Broadcasting">Linux Unplugged</a> and <a href="https://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/show/linuxactionshow/" title="Linux Action Show podcast @ Jupiter Broadcasting">Linux Action Show</a> podcasts to know what's happening in the Linux community.</p>
<h2>Haters Gonna Hate</h2>
<p>Regarding text editors, operating systems, tabs or spaces, developers like holy wars. Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux is no different. I am switching to Linux because I think it will suit my needs better. There will be pain, and I might turn back to Mac. But I will try. I wrote this post to look back at in order to see how things pan out in a few months; I'm not trying to preach the truth.</p>
<h2>Extra reading</h2>
<p>In <span class="vcard"><a class="url" href="https://rustyshelf.org/2014/10/01/it-just-works/">It Just Works</a> <span class="fn">Russell Ivanovic</span></span> explains his frustrations with the &lsquo;new&rsquo; Apple, I couldn't agree more.</p>
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