There is something wrong with me. Well, several things wrong with me, but I’m here to talk about laptops. Every couple years, I get tired of paying the apple tax, and get it into my head that I’m going to either

  • Take some PC hardware and make it a hackintosh
  • Make this year the year of linux on the desktop

So, for the last 9 months or so I’ve been screwing around, all the while my main machine was a pretty lackluster Macbook. It has times where it’ll just seize up suddenly. I’d had it maybe three months when I bought a Lenovo with the intention of turning it into a hackintosh, and when that didn’t work out, I tried to be an Ubuntu user for a month. That almost worked.

Eventually I gave up and committed to suffering with the macbook a little longer. There’s only so much of that I can take, though, so about a month ago I started again, in earnest. I figured I’d give a different distro a try, so I downloaded and installed Elementary on the Lenovo. It’s a really great desktop distro. Polishes a bunch of the rough edges of Ubuntu with a custom window manager, and some sensible defaults. No cruft at all, and runs really well.

It came down to a couple missing pieces of software though. The lightroom replacement, Darktable, well, it sucks. Like, its error conditions were difficult to troubleshoot for me, and I’m a developer. The UI is plain bad (sliders that are 4px on a side? who thought that was a good idea?). The methods for organizing photos are sub par. It’s possible it’s like KiCad and I’m a couple hours of video tutorials away from happy productivity, but I really doubt it. The aesthetic sense of the person who designed that UI… is just someone I’ll never understand. It’s like nobody told them it was supposed to look good, so they just threw all this junk in a bunch of different places.

Enough ranting about darktable, except to say that it’s actually gotten a little better in the last 2 years. Not a lot, someone needs to put some money into it and completely re-design the UI with a cohesive strategy, but a little. Slightly less crashy.

I did not, after that, try to find any 3d CAD software for linux. Blender is supposed to be usable, but it’s not really CAD, just 3D modeling.

So, I’m writing this from a 13” macbook pro, fresh out of the box this afternoon. it’s a thing of beauty. Everything works. I can use my 4k display at 4k. I can edit photos on that 4k display, and it’s marvelous. I’m reminded of basically every other tool I’ve used that’s suited for the job: it just gets out of the way. So yeah, I’m happy with the new machine.