macOS certainly has issues but MY GOODNESS is it ever a world of difference once you:

- use any Linux DE for a long stretch of time
- switch back to macOS

I have yet to find any all-encompassing Linux "system" that feels as well thought out as macOS. Linux is certainly superior in terms of user control at a deeper level, but more experience is needed to tap into those "features".

Design, ease-of-use and attention to detail cannot be overlooked. macOS just does this better.

Following up on this discussion, I decided to jot down my quick thoughts about the "Linux desktop" overall:

"The Linux Desktop is Hard to Love"

Linux :linux: : great customization
Mac :apple_inc: : : professional and clean
Windows :microsoft: : hot garbage

@kev @allinone0 @tdarb If macOS and iOS didn’t exist, I’d go back to Linux for sure. Microsoft couldn’t pay me to use that dog’s breakfast. 😆

@pim @kev @allinone0 @tdarb I don't think I could do Linux again. Did it for way too many years before in the corporate and startup worlds.

@mpmilestogo @kev @allinone0 @tdarb Ironically that’s how I feel about Windows. Used it for far too long back in the day, and don’t miss it one bit. In fact it now serves as my perfect excuse not to help people with their tech support questions. 😂

@pim @kev @allinone0 @tdarb I never cared for Windows much either. Ended up using it way too many years in corporate IT endeavors. Now I shiver when confronted with Windows or Linux. Hahahaha.

@mpmilestogo @pim @kev @allinone0 @tdarb I used to be a Linux... "user" for many years... for a lack of better words, but I was rather... exclusive about it, if you get what I mean. Now I'm on Mac, so there's that.

@sindastra @mpmilestogo @kev @allinone0 @tdarb Honestly if you’d told me years ago I would give up macOS at home for an iPad, I’d never have believed it. Yet here I am using iOS/iPadOS only at home and loving it. I’m way past the point in my life where I want to tinker, I just want to create and get things done—hence why I think plans to self-host things will be changing. Here’s an article I wrote about my experience:

@pim @sindastra @kev @allinone0 @tdarb I had an iPad and iPhone only when I lived in Vietnam. It seemed to be perfect for my needs but then some friends with Vietnamese kids doing online learning for school had problems with accessing the school materials. I gave away the iPad to the boys and bought the M1 MacBook Air there. I love this laptop. I did like moving around only with the iPad and iPhone though. So much easier.

@mpmilestogo @pim @kev @allinone0 @tdarb I also got the M1 MacBook Air! Have been using just this machine with macOS since. Before this, I kept switching machines and distro hopping and sometimes Windows for games, etc. It's so much nicer to just have one machine and OS while feeling right at home. This M1 laptop is thin, lightweight, silent (no fan), has great performance and still lots of battery life. It's like mutually exclusive things all put together. I love it. :D

@sindastra @mpmilestogo @pim @allinone0 @tdarb +1 for M1 Air here. Been using it for around a year now. Sold my desktop - it's now my only device. It's fantastic.

@pim @mpmilestogo @kev @allinone0 @tdarb I could imagine just using an iPad or iPhone temporarily if I had to. Say, for camping, airplane, traveling, hospitalization, etc. where a laptop would not fit or be too cumbersome or otherwise impractical. But an iPad couldn't (for now) replace my development environment or real sysadmin applications and CLI tools and so forth. It's great for consuming, but I'd be impaired in IT. I guess if you're not doing heavy IT at home, then it's fine, though. (:

@sindastra @mpmilestogo @kev @allinone0 @tdarb If I was heavy into development, video production, or graphics design, my situation would likely be very different. Though to be fair, if your workflow accommodates it you can SSH to a remote machine for coding, so even that has improved. The iPad is not a panacea for everyone, but when it works it’s a joyous experience.

@pim @sindastra @kev @allinone0 @tdarb definitely Pete! One of the joys of the iPhone and iPad has been the Working Copy app. I have had an SSH client before but that app. Even if I don't use it, I support the developer. What a wonderful invention.

@mpmilestogo @pim @kev @allinone0 @tdarb Did you know that all iPhones and iPads these days have a hardware security chip? It's called the "Secure Enclave", it's been around for many years and some apps can make use of it to store the SSH private key. It's kind of like having a built-in YubiKey, sort of. M1 Macs also have this chip, and there are ways to use the Secure Enclave for SSH in the terminal, too. Since both of you mentioned SSH and iDevices, I thought I'll mention it. :D

@sindastra @mpmilestogo @pim @kev @tdarb me just having no idea whats going on because im too poor to get an apple product

@tdarb i find the Mac hardware far superior than most other manufacturers. Especially the touchpads.

@brianb This is another great point as well. The quality and long-term use is impressive too (I have an old 2011 MacBook Air still chugging along just fine)

@tdarb same - thought mine was the 2011 MBP with the bad thermal paste, so my GOPU fried. Disabled that one permanently and now run Xubuntu on it. The hardware, though, is just as good as when I bought it otherwise.

@tdarb I've found KDE is taking steps towards being a consistent, unified experience. I've been using it for a couple years now and each update seems to pull together more things and fix up consistency issues.

@JayT Yeah I was/am using Zorin OS myself recently (although that's Gnome-based). Zorin has been getting closer and closer to a more fine-tuned experience. Still has some places to improve, of course.

@tdarb The thing that always bites Linux DE's is that the apps are not all the same framework/platform. I have some KDE+Qt apps, some Gnome+GTK apps, and then a few Electron, a few web app wrappers, etc. Each draws it's UI slightly differently, causing random visual inconsistency.

@tdarb I really like MacOS UI but tbh I find that current Gnome is just an improved version of MacOS in a lot of things, and for me is overall better.

@tdarb if your target audience is the all "about the looks" hipsters, you don't have any other choice 🤣

But joking aside, "attention to detail" and "ease of use" are those kind of things that really cost you a lot of money to achieve marginal improvements. In a free software project with limited budget, targeting people who are willing to put up with a few inconveniences for the freedom, it is easy to see why they undershoot whatever Apple is doing.

@tdarb with 30 years of Mac experience and almost 20 with open source desktops, I agree on the UI/UX level.

But in terms of app management macOS really suffers (or its users/admins do I should say) for not having a unified approach. Base install, App Store, the inevitable Homebrew, "downloaded from the Internet" items - all with different management/update regimes.

@pbx @tdarb yeah, but you can run into the same problem on Linux.
Stuff from the package manager. Stuff from flathub and the snap store. Stuff built from source for the user.

@nicemicro @pbx @tdarb You CAN run into it on Linuxes, yes, but you can also avoid it.

You can't avoid it nearly as easily on Mac or, void forbid, Windows.

@pixelherodev @nicemicro @pbx @tdarb Not everything is in the distro repo, and not every dev provides a repo, or even a binary build. So, "avoiding it" in this case would mean just not using that software. By that logic, I could also say I can avoid it on Mac, by only ever using the App Store and ignoring other software. Neither of which is truly practical. Sure, it may be easier on some Linux distros, but you can't truly avoid it unless you also avoid some software...

@sindastra @nicemicro @pbx @tdarb Yes, but my point is that on a normal Linux, basically all software you could ever need is in the repo.

The main exception is games, and people typically use or Steam for that, so it's kinda moot.

Relying on Portage is a lot more practical than relying on the App Store. That was kinda my entire point.

@tdarb this comes from a guy who doesn't want to center his blog contents because 2 lines of css is too bloated

@joel Hey! My blog is center aligned I’ll have you know 😛 and it never will be, since gnu/linux distros are legos put together with ductape while macOS systems are like a vase for cookies.

Closest "integrated" environments I can think of are PoPOS, KDE and GNOME.

But is not something you really need, is it? Like coming from windows, KDE and GNOME worked just fine most of the time.

@tdarb I think MacOS is a good middle ground between Windows and Linux. Got more opinions on this that can for into 500 chars, so might write about it…

@kev I have similar “in progress” post sitting in my drafts as well 😉

@tdarb MacOS of course has a huge advantage over Linux (and Windows) in that it's targeting an extremely limited hardware base. That means that proportionally more of the development time & money can be spent on polishing the UI and look & feel, and significantly less resources having to write, upgrade and test drivers for thousands of different possible hardware combinations

@losttourist @tdarb In fairness, [most of] the DE folks don't work on drivers anyways. They're separate groups.

KDE, MATE, GNOME, LXDE, whatever, basically all of *their* efforts go into the desktop.

@tdarb I used macOS for OSS development for 13 years and it certainly took much less of my time to maintain than Linux does now (thanks NVIDIA).

@tdarb never seen whining as much as in company’s mac users community. I wonder can us mac users get any actual work done. I will go back to windows work laptop. If nothing else, I get a reason to leave that community.

I see your point, totally, though I will say a lot of us over here in the Linux world enjoy the lack of "well thought out" products as that phrase is almost synonymous with "do it our way!" which we don't like so much 😝😁

@tdarb Well, I've used a Mac mini for the past two weeks after being a regular Pop!_OS user and found...

1. I can't adjust the volume except through the controls on my monitor

2. Bluetooth sometimes works and sometimes doesn't

3. Pressing Ctrl-End sometimes takes you to the end of a document and sometimes to the end of the line. No consistency.


4. I had to force quit the Notifications process to get it to restart and actually work

5. You can't even keep a window on top of all of the other ones

So, yeah, perhaps were just used to the things we're used to? 😉

@dajbelshaw Oh I'm sure there will be difference of experiences from person-to-person! I never meant to imply that my opinion was at all the "correct" view 😛

I'm sure some will think I'm insane


As for your issues, some possible solutions?

1. No volume controls on your keyboard? I have no experience using external monitors for sound, so could be wrong

2. Yeah Bluetooth can certainly vary

3. Have you tried CMD-DownArrow instead? I know that toggles to bottom of entire documents

4. I don't use notifications fully (badges only) - but I wouldn't doubt bugs

5. Agree, that's an overlook 100%

@tdarb yeah the sound is greyed out entirely. Linux 'just works' for me 😂

@dajbelshaw @tdarb I have the same issue on MacOS with my speakers fed through HDMI from the monitor. It’s weird that MacOS can’t handle this well, I ended up using the volume knob on my speakers.

@tdarb I mean, the "XY works flawless with MacOS", while you'll probably find more people agreeing with this. compared to "XY works flawless with Linux", is also heavily due to vendors of XY actively testing and working on MacOS support. A luxury, that Linux only knows from x86 server hardware and very few limited vendors.

On the other hand when we have hardware "certified for Linux", the experience is, at least from what I've seen, comparable to the MacOS situation.

@tdarb out of curiosity which distro have you tried? (the one that lasted the longest)

@minkiu It was a pretty close tie between Linux Mint and Zorin OS. I still do enjoy both,

When I want to go full "performance" I tend to lean towards something like Debian running XFCE

The "ease of use" greatly depends on what you are trying to do though. :)

If i want to use php 8.1 with the capability to use avif compression via imagemagick, i just have to install it with pacman in Arch Linux.
If you want to do the same in macos, you will have to install php via homebrew, clone the repository of the imagick, compile it yourself and whatnot.
Whenever something like this comes up, i am extremely happy to have linux on my work laptop.
Another story: someone told me, that they get lots of ram in their macbooks, as they need it for running docker containers.
Since the operating itself seems to miss the necessary namespace capabilities, you have to run linux in a vm to run docker. Which is a farce, since containers should be lightweight compared to vms, and instead of that people are wrapping them in virtual machines.

So i guess, what you end up loving might depend on your personal use case. :)

Talking about printing: isn't CUPS the printing system in mac os as well?

@daniel Yes that does sound like a pain. Since I am primarily doing UI / design work, macOS is certainly a more seamless experience to work with the tools I need.

As for my mentioning Linux CUPS, my point was more that it doesn't seem to work as well in the "simply plug it in!" way. (When it really should be the same?)

@tdarb I wished i could comment in detail on why printers make trouble, but they are hellish black boxes to me as well. :blobxd:
Maybe it is just because vendors do not offer drivers or proper hardware description to create drivers.

@daniel Printers are absolutely horrible. We seem to make progress backwards every year and increase vendor lock-in for something that just needs to put ink on paper.

We can take 4K photographs of deep space but struggle to plug in a printer and hit "Print"

@tdarb I disagree with a lot of what's in there. Cups is an apple thing and apple uses it as well as linux. Device manufacturers are much more likely to support the apple side of things for obvious reasons.

As for the User Experience and Quality Hardware parts, I don't understand much of it. Snap, flatpak, etc. isn't really required by most linux distros. It is complementary, where something like homebrew isn't if you want to do real work on a mac.

Linux is as hard or easy as you make it.

@tdarb MacOS feels deliberately hobbled to me, and you have to pay to turn on the bits you need to work. Mac has it's own learning curve, too... especially coming from windows. The engineering (credit should go to its BSD base for this) and hardware control is done for mac's benefit, not ours. It's easier to have a maintenance structure built around one kind of os and device. You also have to agree to a lot of rules if you want to develop for mac that linux simply doesn't have.

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