One Year With ThinkPad and Linux (From Macbook Pro)
I wrote this post for my past and future self. I was looking for something like this last year but couldn't find much.
Growing up I used Windows and later on Linux (Slackware!). I started using Macs around 2009. So it's been roughly 10 years straight in Apple land.
- ThinkPad T480 (14")
- Fedora Linux with Gnome, and sometimes i3.
- Editor: Emacs
- Terminal: Gnome, and sometimes urxvt
- Shell: Bash
- Brower: Firefox, and sometimes Chromium
What's been working great
It's a really solid machine. Especially for development work.
- More performance for the $.
- More control over the environment, like
- Faster Docker
- Emacs and programs in general feels snappier
- Can disable webcam in BIOS when not used
- Ports: USB-C, USB and SD card reader (for DSLR camera)
- Great keyboard
- Maintenance: T480 is not slim and this is for the better. I can replace/upgrade most components by myself.
- Thermodynamics: There's a proper fan and heatsink on this one. Fan rarely spins loudly.
- Battery time is not like Macs. ~ 5 hours (after one year)
- Can't debug issues in Safari without borrowing a Mac
- Can't do iOS development
- Need a VM with Windows to sync my Suunto GPS watch
- Touchpad is not close to Mac
- Emoji support is not 100%
- Some video conference tools can be a bit glitchy until you get the setup right
Tools I've found useful
- Gnome Terminal
- Todoist (Homemade Electron wrapper but I believe they're working on Linux release)
- Peek (GIF recording)
- Kdenlive (Video editing)
- GIMP (Photo editing)
- Darktable (RAW Photo editing)
- FFMPEG (Converting videos etc)
- ImageMagick (Converting and resizing images)
- LibreOffice (Spreadsheets)
- Bitwarden (Password manager)
- Evince (PDF reading and annotating)
- Spotify (Music)
- Telegram (Messaging)
- Evolution (Mail, Calendar)
- Geary (Lightweight mail)
- Gnome Calendar
In general I think I've found a worthy replacement for every essential tool that I used on my Mac.
Staying with Linux?
Yes. It took a few weeks of tinkering but now I feel at home. Only reason to buy a Mac would be if I needed to work on an iOS/macOS project.
Got questions? I'm on Twitter @drikerf.