I’ve had my current company issued Macbook Pro for about two years now. It’s been a bit of a workhorse, relatively powerful with a quad core i5 processor and 16G of RAM and a measly 256G SSD. For the most part this machine has served me well. I had to learn to compromise for it to suit my needs, which admittedly is not typical for “normal” users. I do everything from running virtual lab with 4 or 5 VMs running simultaneously to doing light programming, and having 5 to as much as 10 terminals open. And last but not least I almost always have two browsers open, Chrome with an average of ten tabs open as well as Firefox with and average of 5 tabs open( the reason is not everything works well in Chrome, looking at you Cisco!). The time is approaching for me to get a new daily driver, but I absolutely hate the new Macbook Pros. The keyboard is horrible which for a person that spends his day banging away at the keyboard is pretty big issue. But probably my biggest issues are the removal of the function keys for the toy that is the touch strip and the fact that 16G of RAM is the maximum that you can buy even if you buy it BTO ( Build to order). Now Apple’s public reasoning is that 16G is enough for almost every use case, and I would tend to agree, in my normal day to day use I use about about 10 to 14G of RAM. The problem is the occasions when I need to create a virtual lab environment or something else that takes a lot of resources.I any event I spent more words describing my issues with the Mac than I had intended, but felt a bit of background was needed.
With all the things I mentioned above I decided that my next daily driver will be a Linux Desktop for my desk and I would leave my old workhorse at home for those 3AM phone calls. I managed to get my hands on an Intel NUC that was used for some other tasks during our new data center builds. I had originally planned on running Arch ( Anterooms to be exact) but decided against it and went with Ubuntu instead. I did the usual Ubuntu desktop install, Man the world of Linux has come a long way. Now I use Linux everyday for work and all my personal servers including the one running this site are Linux based so I’m not a n00b when it comes to Linux, however I generally only use Linux servers, i.e no Desktop Environment. The one caveat is my development workstation that I use at home.
After I got the box online I began looking for the software that I would need. First things first, installed Guake because the built in terminal makes me want to pull my hair out. Next was Visual Studio Code, then I started looking for official or alternatives for my other apps on the old Goog, I quickly found that there is tons of Linux support, there’s a SNAP package for Telegram, and official Spotify Client and of course Vmware, Chrome and Firefox all offered official software. For email I had my choice of Thunderbird and Evolution but I opted to use the Outlook web client because it’s very functional and way better than the office or any other email client to be honest. I was off to the races! I was happily humming along getting shit done and it was awesome. Everything was fast as hell and software didn’t take up all my hard drive space. I was in the equivalent of geek cloud 9. Until I needed to join a Webex, no problem I thought, Webex is just a Java app and I had Java installed because other tools that I used depended on it. I click the join link and I see this funny looking Icon but paid no attention to it because I figured it’s Linux so maybe the Icon is just different. Boy was I wrong. The Ubuntu didn’t know what to do with the file. I did a quick google search but didn’t find a quick answer. In the meantime my meeting had started, leaving me no choice but to break out my Macbook to help me get through this crisis. I finished my meeting and continued to do my research and found that there was “limited” support for Webex in Linux, then it slowly hit me that while I may use Webex more than any other conferencing tool, I use other tools like GotoMeeting, Zoom and Lifesize with enough frequency that not having a suitable Linux client was just a none starter. So I very begrudgingly began to disassemble my Linux setup and placed my Macbook back on my desk.
I guess my final conclusion is Linux close, damn close to being ready for prime time in the corporate world. I know of a few businesses that are 100% Linux and more than a few people at my job use Linux as their daily driver. unfortunately being at a relatively senior level means I’m constantly in web conferences which also means that for me Linux is a no go.