mercredi 11 octobre 2017

Why I chose GNU Linux for my professional laptop

Before you ask the question, or even care about it, here is why I chose to put Debian on my new laptop.

I have to say I really do not like Windows. I'm sure the system got better and better among its versions and that Microsoft itself is improving its opensource policy. However, I do not like how Windows looks, I do not like how it works, I feel in jail with it. In my previous job, my screen used to show a terminal with Cygwin and Vim most of the time, helping me to gain a nice nerd reputation!

The classic dilemma then is to choose between buying a Macbook, or install Linux an another laptop.

We have a 2013 iMac at home and I was globally happy with it at first. Everything is simpler with it, the system is stable, the hardware is beautiful. But with the updates, some stuff got annoying:

  • The OS randomly refuses to mount my USB keys
  • Launchpad randomly refuses to allow me to search apps with the keyboard
  • The system takes longer and longer to boot
  • The system won't launch graphical app (even the Finder) from within tmux

Moreover, last releases of Macbooks are sooo expensive, and lots of people complain about hardware quality on Twitter.

I started regretting my previous experience with Debian on my previous PC. On the other hand, I know that with Linux, I can spend a lot of time trying stuff and fix (sometimes non existent) issues.

So I chose to buy a Lenovo ThinkPad, because I saw at Pycon that a LOT of people had one. Chances are that they are Linux friendly (besides, I think I've read somewhere that they're used by people from Red Hat).

I chose Debian because of the free software philosophy behind it, the large choice of packages and the fact that private software are often distributed as Debian packages. I hesitated with Ubuntu. But seeing Amazon ads on the default desktop on Ubuntu decided me.

I completed the installation two weeks ago and everything goes surprisingly well, far beyond my expectations.

For now, I keep the dual boot with Windows, in case I have to use it for work. But I hope to drop the partition soon!

If you're questioning yourself about going on Linux for your professional laptop, here are some advices.

  • Consider buying a Lenvo Thinkpad. They are well supported and you have a customer support. I read complains about Dell XPS, though they are shipped with Ubuntu. I also saw people with Asus Zenbooks, it can be a good alternative.
  • You'll have software and hardware issues for sure. Yet, during my Linux year I always found a solution eventually on the Internet. In the extreme case, you still can boot on the latest release of the kernel. It's not that hard.
  • You can easily taylor a system that fits your needs and helps you to be more efficient, it's priceless when you rely on your laptop to make money.