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Do Hoang
Do Hoang

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I made the switch from Mac to Linux"


I have been a huge Mac fan and power user since I started in IT in 2015.
But a few months ago—for several reasons — I made the commitment to shift to Linux as my daily driver.
This isn't my first attempt at fully adopting Linux, but I'm finding it easier than ever.
Here is what inspired me to switch.

Why Im falling in love with macOS

First of all, in 2015 I had my very first macOS laptop which is an Macbook air 13 inch model.
Before that, I use Linux as my daily driver.
The macbook air is light, fast, the battery life is awesome.
It came with macOS El Capitan at that moment - which is ultrafast comparing to window and linux.

Macbook is not the best ultrabook nowaday

Recently I have a gift which is a new Macbook Pro 2017 without touchbar version.
The design is great, very beautiful screen, the trackpad is good and also the battery life.
But It shipped with the Butterfly gen 2 which has alot of issues, and Apple said that they did fix these problem in 2nd generation but...

My keyButterfly keys use a butterfly mechanism that's different from the scissor mechanism used for traditional keyboards.
It's called a butterfly mechanism because the components underneath the key resembles a butterfly's wings, with a hinge in the center rather than overlapping like a pair of scissors.

Apple swapped to a butterfly mechanism to make a thinner keyboard, which is possible because each key moves less when pressed so less space is needed.
The keyboard provides a satisfying amount of travel and stability when each key is pressed, but unfortunately, the thin butterfly mechanism can get jammed up with crumbs, dust, and other particulates, resulting in keys that don't press properly, keys that skip keystrokes, or keys that repeat letters.

Traditional vs Butterfly keyboard

Keyboard failure is an in Apple's notebooks because replacing the keyboard requires the entire top assembly of the computer to be replaced, which is not a cheap repair.

Unfortunately, I fall into that trouble 3 times just 2 weeks after purchase.
So I decided to trade it to a new dell xps 13 inch 2019 model.

Dell XPS - my new favourite ultrabook

The dell xps is slightly thicker than the macbook but they are both lightweight and beautiful.
The performance is solid, though not industry-leading by any means.
All the XPS 13 laptops use eighth-generation Core CPUs.
Comparing to my old Macbook, the performance is much better. More cores haha \m/

Dell XPS + Archlinux > MacOS

So I decided to install Archlinux on this machine thus Im a fan of this Linux Distribution.
I also have a PC running Arch powered by Ryzen 🎉🎉🎉

There was only a few issue on this machine, first of all is the coil whine sound :(, I still have no idea how to fix it, not that loud, but weird on a expensive laptop like this.
The other thing is screen flickering.
Panel Self Refresh (PSR), a power saving feature used by Intel iGPUs is known to cause flickering in some instances.
A temporary solution is to disable this feature using the kernel parameter i915.enable_psr=0


Im using Archlinux + KDE, used to be a fan of i3wm but I want to give a try on KDE.

Dell XPS Archlinux + KDE

Thus this have only been used for 2 days so need more time for review. I will update in some future posts.

Top comments (6)

chrisjimallen profile image
Chris Allen

As I write this ( on my external keyboard because the H key on my MBP failed ) I am preparing to erase my mac in the morning, when i pick up my XPS13.
I've been a Mac user for over ten years but I'm sick of Apples form over function approach to hardware, plus whoever signed off this keyboard mechanism design needs firing.

By this time tomorrow I'll be using Linux for my daily driver, and I can't wait.

huyhoang8398 profile image
Do Hoang

Arch with xps is perfect btw :)))

huyhoang8398 profile image
Do Hoang

great, which model you gonna buy then?
I saw that dell provides new xps 13 with 16:10 ratio, it looks beautiful, but the price is a bit high

chrisjimallen profile image
Chris Allen • Edited

Its through work so no worries about the cost :D I opted for the one with Windows on, so i can erase it. There was a 2 week wait time on the preinstalled with Ubuntu models.

Funny thing though, the DAY AFTER I ordered it, Dell launched their 2020 model :P

Thread Thread
huyhoang8398 profile image
Do Hoang

i switched to xfce thus kde ate my ram alots
xfce with a retro theme heheh

metalmikester profile image
Michel Renaud

I've considered this, but I have a 27" iMac with two 27" Thunderbolt monitors and, at least the last time I checked, Linux didn't support Thunderbolt monitors. Since the machine still has more than enough firepower to handle everything I throw at it (and it's 7.5 years old), I'm not really interested in dumping for new hardware. I do think about it every time there's a macOS update that messes things up (which is every time, in my case; thankfully usually just annoyances and not serious problems).

I have a lot of automation set up using AppleScript and Hazel (I used Folder Actions before Hazel, but macOS updates had a habit of breaking that). I haven't seen anything in the Linux and Windows realms that could replace that combination (maybe there is; I'm just not aware of any). Alfred is another one that may or may not have an equivalent.

When this machine is up for replacement, it'll be time to evaluate what's available and see if I'm due for yet another platform switch (DOS, Windows 3.x, OS/2, NT and its successors up to Windows 7 and now macOS, so it wouldn't be a first...) I'm trying to stick with cross-platform software when choosing new or replacement tools, which would make an eventual switch easier.