Why I’m moving my desktop from OS X to Fedora Linux
I’ve been a hardcore Apple/Mac/OS X fanboy ever since the first Intel Macs came out and since I made the switch from Windows I’ve never really look back. However I’ve always had this niggling feeling in the back of my head that my desktop OS wasn’t as open as I would like it to be. OS X and Macs have just been so popular with developers and Mac laptops really have the best hardware — for me the killer feature has always been the trackpad, even though others are now imitating the aluminium form factor nobody has come close with their trackpads yet. This fantastic machine definitely won me from one closed ecosystem (Microsoft) to another (Apple’s) but it’s still a closed ecosystem and since I got my first MacBook Pro in 2006 I’ve noticed that this ecosystem has gotten more closed — Mac App Store being a great example.
However I sometimes write code, mess around with new technology and most importantly I wanted to be fully in control of my desktop and my data and move to an ecosystem that was by default open. Linux seems the perfect choice but I’ve really struggled to have a compelling event to move me over to the ever improving Linux Desktop, until this year…!
For me the compelling event has been, surprisingly, Docker! Yes I know you can run docker on OS X using boot2docker, but it’s always felt like a poor second cousin to running docker properly on your own host machine. Things like mounting a volume from my host into a docker container have been painful and I don’t see those pain points going away anytime soon.
On top of this all of my servers running in the cloud (along with the rest of the world’s) are running Linux, they are not running OS X and IMHO nobody in their right mind runs a Windows server except to host Microsoft applications. I really want to know one OS and Linux seems to be the right OS to know these days.
Now, I’m not a full-time developer (in fact I’m definitely NOT a developer these days) and I have other needs like email, calendaring, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, pictures, music and so on that are critical to me as well so I’m hoping to document how I solve all of those as I progress in my journey to a fully open ecosystem for all of my uses.
For now my first step has been to configure my 11 inch mid-2012 MacBook Air to dual-boot into Fedora with a shared partition between Fedora and OS X for my data/home directory. I am keeping my Mac hardware though, because until I find a comparable laptop with the same quality I don’t see the point in ditching it if the software on it is open.
Why Fedora? I guess a few reasons, firstly there are some inspiring folks who have already blazed a trail in getting Fedora to work on Mac hardware and Fedora is the upstream project for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and it’s Enterprise Linux derivatives like CentOS and if I’m going to really know one version of Linux I’d rather know the version that most big enterprises use. Finally I really think that Fedora is getting better and better as a distribution and is catering really well for developers and normal users, so I think it’s the right choice to bet on this distribution’s ecosystem than on some of the others.
Let’s not get too religious about my choice of Fedora though, you could equally go with something else out there like Ubuntu, the important thing is that I’ve made a choice to move to Linux and I will be documenting my switch and the problems I overcome and the choices I make to move to a more open ecosystem for my software and my data.