don't be one of those people, part 2

following some discussions both on Mastodon and IRC after my post yesterday about Linux vs. Mac I think (and here I have Nora Tindall to thank for asking) about the apparent difference between my experience with MacOS and Void Linux+BSPWM which made me realize that I am much much closer to what I want tht Linux experience to be on Mac and the Mac Experience on Linux. But wtf does that mean?

It means that I love having my windows tiled and managed automatically. For this I have Amethyst. I wish I could just port my bspwm config into it.

It means I love MacOS’s global menus which change based on the application but are always in the same place. It means no matter the application I can hit cmd+F1 and get to the menu bar without taking my hands off the keyboard. It means that the command key I use the most on MacOS is the also the most ergonomically placed. Why the fuck is control way out in lala land on the edge?

It means that I appreciate how lightweight Void is. My Thinkpad regularly uses about 500mb of RAM (without firefox). The vast majority of MacOS’s RAM usage is shit I never use.

It means I love not spending so much goddamned time fucking with xmodmap in the event that my special keyboard layout stops working right. It means I can use Karabiner, an ugly if perferctly function GUI keyboard layout editor to make new layouts. in less time that it’ll take to read the relevant manpages.

It means that I can order a Mac laptop with the hardware keyboard layout I want. Direct, from the factory, no problem. Yes you can drop in a new keyboard on some Thinkpads, I did. but it helps if the new keyboard isn’t a few mm wider than the old layout one. it works, at least. The keyboard backlight does not (I couldn’t get the connector to stay in :/). If you order from Lenovo in the United States, your options are US-English or Spanish keyboards only, for reasons passing understanding. Are they making EU computers in a different factory? What makes it impossible for them to do the decent thing and let people order different keyboards if they’re already making each machine to order? If you order from Apple in the US, you can choose whichever keyboard layout you want.

It means that I can buy applications from small and indie devs who spend their time just making their applications better. Not, for example, getting into arguments with random assholes on github. cf. using Devonthink and Mailmate which I referenced yesterday. I wish very badly that Linux had a culture of shareware and small indie devs like Mac does. An obsessive commitment to everything being F(L)OSS does not necessarily result in good software.

It means I wish—more than people might think—that I wasn’t tied to a single company that makes a lot of shitty choices. I share a lot of the concerns that JWZ et al have.1 2

I write almost everything using nano. I love fish. The first application I open when I start up my machine is a terminal (iTerm2, sadly mac only, or Alacritty which I also use on linux). Maybe someday Darling will be ready to fully support GUI apps. Maybe, someday I’ll be able to run Mailmate and Devonthink on Linux. I hope that day comes.

In sum, I am a lot closer to how many linux users want to use their computers than the median mac user. Which is maybe what upsets me the most about the linux vs. mac nonsense.

  1. ↩︎

  2. cf. Riccardo Mori’s ongoing critique of Mac OS macOS design evolution, eg., The Notch is Wrong ↩︎