don't be one of those people

My first computer, which we got when I was 6 years old was a second-hand Macintosh SE from my aunt. It was a Big Deal in my household. I remember the smell it made when you turned it on. The tiny black and white CRT. The sound of its 3.5" floppy drive. It was a great computer.

Or what an upgrade it was when we got an iMac in the late 90s. Or an eMac in the early 2000s. Or my first Intel Mac, a 2006 MacBook Pro. And what a great keyboard that thing had!

In short, I have been a Mac user all my life.

I’ve tried really hard to get into using linux as more than a server OS. Notably, following a directive from my boss at the time, I dualbooted a MacBook Pro with CentOS (not the best way to go about that, TBQH). I am an active member of the tildeverse, a confederation of pubnix (primarily Linux and some BSD) systems.

I have a 2016 ThinkPad T460s at home with Void Linux. I have a 2014 Mac Mini running Void. I maintain packages on Void and do my best as I’m able to contribute to that community. This is all to say nothing of the nine (9!) Debian VPSes I run, including this one, and one Void VPS.

When the 2016 MacBook Pros came out with their shitty keyboards and USB-C only, I was really worried that my days on the mac were numbered. I was a grad student at the time with no idea what the future held for me. And there are Mac only applications I use—Devonthink or MailMate—which lack anything remotely equivalent on Linux.

Writing emails in markdown or plain text with a clean UI and keyboard commands for everything or organizing documents and running OCR on shit as needed would be pretty logical things for linux to have, or so I’d thought. But good luck even getting Neomutt and Notmuch and whatever else you fucking need for basic email on linux in 2023 not called Thunderbird or—god help you—Gnome Evolution or Geary. I tried, I tried really fucking hard.

Don’t get me started on how much fucking PDF manipulation on linux sucks. how you can’t even manage to do something like MacOS’ Preview application can do in a cleanly written UI. As I’ve said before:

it is the year of our lord 2022 and Linux still can’t easily manipulate goddamned PDFs. No, ghostscript (gs(1)) does not count as ’easy.’ No, annotating something in evince(1) does not count. edit 2022-11-26: to be clear I just want what MacOS’ Preview can do, I’m not looking for a feature-to-feature Acrobat replacement.

As someone whose previous job title was “Digital Publishing Lead” in a major university library publishing program, turns out the generation, manipulation, and management of PDFs for publishing and archiving is really fucking important. Who’d have thought!?

With Void Linux and BSPWM I have a vaguely decent solution that involves me living mostly on the CLI—as I already do on MacOS. But as hard as I tried with Debian, Manjaro, and Arch, starting back in 2020 when i started to think about replacing my creeking 2013 MacBook Pro with a bad battery, I could never get it to work well enough. And I’ll never get the weekends and nights back I spent trying to get my custom keyboard layout to work correctly or prevent every program from creating a .foorc in my home directory. Especially things that MacOS places in ~/Library. Where it also sandboxes applications in a way that Linux can’t by default (have fun writting custom configs for firejail)! Not like the XDG Desktop Spec has been a thing since—oh idk—2003.

In sum, I’m really tired of Linux users taking every opportunity to give Mac users shit. I’m sorry you think it’s funny to try and make fun of shit like Macs only having USB-C ports and not USB-A anymore. That was relevant and true in 2016 but that was also seven years ago. It’s true that the switch to Apple Silicon (ARM 64) was a little rocky for a few people. It’s true that getting a version of NodeJS from like 2017 or Ruby from 2018 to work wasn’t easy at first. sometimes, that’s just how it is. Yeah the 2016-2017 keyboards were garbage, but that hasn’t been the case since then.

in sum: stop making fun of the choices made by people who know what the fuck they’re doing. people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Stop trying to get into editor pissing contests with each other. IDGAF that you use vim or vi or spacemacs. Good for you. Some people like BBEdit or—heaven forfend—use nano.

At the very fucking minimum, get some new material.