Journey to Linux

Latest update: 2022-02-13

Over the last couple of months, I embarked on a journey to completely move my computer life over to Linux. 🤓

I was rooted knee-deep in the "Apple ecosystem" for more than 20 years and actually was pretty happy with my setup at that time:

  • 2018 i9 6-Core MacBook Pro
    • Update: In the meantime I sold my MacBook Pro and replaced it with an absolutely amazing little laptop (Lenovo's P14s AMD 1st generation) that I exclusively use to run Manjaro these days.
  • 2019 Xeon W 12-Core Mac Pro
    • Update: I kept the Mac Pro for now more or less exclusively to be able to access my macOS only audio plugins (see below) should I have the need to access/use them (what an overkill). 😜 At the moment I am pretty happy with what I have on Linux tough.
    • Update 2: I am so confident with Linux in everyday life and do more and more exclusively with open source software that I have also sold the Mac Pro in the meantime.

The reason behind my intention to move to Linux was the simple fact that I realized once more (but this time more clearly) that the direction Apple (and big tech companies in general) is headed to does not at all harmonize with the values I personally have for humanity and our planet. Ultimately, to me, this is all about freedom! <3

I guess it is worth mentioning that Apple is still a company with which I associate positive things too. The designs and the manufacturing quality of their products are IMHO mostly pretty amazing. I also still like Apple's "Human Interface Guidelines". In my opinion, there is no other software platform that is so congruent in everyday life and whose user experience is consistently high-quality. Not to mention the really good support via "Apple Stores" and service professionals around the world etc.

Steps:

  1. First I had to prepare my Mac computers for Linux. I had to disable "Secure Boot" and "allow booting from external media" via the "Startup Security Utility" on both my MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro.
  2. For the transition phase, I bought a fast external SSD and installed the Linux distribution that appealed to me the most onto this SSD. I chose Manjaro Linux because it is developed by a community instead of a corporation and because I like its "rolling distribution approach". As the desktop environment I chose GNOME.
  3. To install Manjaro on the SSD I used the command-line tool "dd" on macOS to create a bootable Manjaro install USB stick with the previously downloaded Manjaro GNOME ISO. I booted from said install USB stick by holding down the option key on one of my Macs. This engages Apple "boot manager". I choose the USB disk as the boot volume and was then finally able to install Manjaro onto the external SSD.
  4. With this setup, I am able to boot and use Manjaro on both of my existing Apple computers via the Manjaro SSD.
    • Update: In the meantime I moved my entire computer life over to my former Hackintosh PC and a Lenovo P14s AMD laptop. I sold my MacBook Pro and I am running Manjaro more or less exclusively now. 😊
  5. I made a list of the apps I used most often on macOS and started to research and test Linux alternatives (in some areas this process is still ongoing...). Here is a partial list of the most important macOS apps and my Linux alternatives for the time being:
  6. For many of the macOS apps, I was able to find viable Linux alternatives.
    Plus, some of the publishers (open source and closed source) follow the honorable approach of strict cross-platform development which makes the transition really easy. However, I can't deny that some of the macOS apps I used truly are exceptional pieces of software and that it wasn't always easy to replace them with something new/else (Affinity's Photo and Designer are good examples for that). At the same time I often was super stunned about the quality of many open source apps I have discovered so far and some of those apps are even pure genius.
  7. Although the journey overall was super enjoyable and productive, there were also a few obstacles, some of them even insurmountable:

Conclusion:

  • I am having a blast with Linux! It is extremely fast, pretty reliable and for most parts beautiful as well. I customized some areas of the OS and UI according to my liking. 🤓
  • Of course, there where many little issues along the way that didn't make it into this post and made me learn quite a couple of new things. 🤓
  • Still, it seems like I am going to be dual-booting Linux and macOS for the foreseeable future, with the clear aim to shift more and more to Linux.
    • Update: In the meantime I totally fell in love with Linux and I am now working 100% with Manjaro. 🤩
    • Update 2: I am learning more and more about the work in the command line, which I enjoy a lot! 🤩
  • I hope that more publishers will follow a cross-platform approach in the near future. 💕
  • I wish that more users will start to look into Linux as their primary OS and that they will support open source projects with donations and code. 💕
  • Also, I hope that companies like Apple will realize that in order for humanity to heal itself and the planet, greed and control mania must be taken out of their business model. In whatever direction those companies might transform themselves, I hope they will follow a concept originating from the hearts of the great people working there. 💕
2020-10-18 (amadeus)