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BLOG: Farewell, Apple. Hello Linux Mint!

Tom Henderson | April 18, 2012
That's right, I packed it in. My MacBook Pro is now on the shelf. In a while, it goes on Craigslist -- not because it's been obsoleted by the latest version of Mac OS -- Mountain Lion as mine will work okay (some MacBook Pros will not). Instead, there's a cushy comfort zone that's dangerous for a product reviewer to fall into.

Initial WiFi connection to an access point is slower. The Lenovo is plainly more difficult to get wireless connections and get moving. It's not much, but frustratingly discernible.

I've had to use a terminal about a half dozen times. I have no fear of CLI, but some people look at a CLI prompt and haven't the vaguest clue of what to do. Linux Mint has the Debian version as an underpinning, and I had to remember the few interesting ways that Debian does things. It's a school of thought that installs software differently than SUSE or Red Hat versions. After a fashion, I recalled the salient differences and was merrily installing the smaller apps quickly. It's Ubuntu underneath, atop Debian, so Ubuntu support sites have lots of usually useful information for tech questions.

Day seven: Final grade

The photos still aren't imported. Bluetooth still doesn't work, but I have a few clues as to why. I just took the machine on a 12-day journey and didn't have to login to the MacBook Pro even once. It sat on a desk, lit up and ready for a remote logon, in case I couldn't make the Lenovo work. I believe in backups.

I'm officially off the MacBook Pro. Civilians will probably need an integrator's help (read nearby geek) to pull off what I did, and much depends on applications and data critical to that user. Some can have an easy transition. Others may have dependencies on the Mac that I don't. Windows users will have other experiences, although the similarities between Mac and Linux are closer. Windows has legacy problems; Linux/Unix/MacOS all have their own legacy quirks.

Today, at least, I'm rocking on a small Lenovo with a total cost under $500 that's brand new. Do I still covet a Mac? They're lovely and a wonderful experience. Excuse me, I have work to do.


The Macbook Pro replacement, a small but very usable Lenovo X120e, has become a great companion. Ultimately, however, I found it's unusable for a single reason: its screen is too small. I obtained a larger machine after a month, a T520 Lenovo, which is at least twice as heavy, but has a far larger screen that allows me to have many items open visibly and usably at once. It is with great reluctance that I now carry a machine around that weighs approximately as much as the MacBook Pro that it replaced. But I do. Work production mandates it. The small Lenovo 120e, oddly, gets packed as well. It's just too fun.

Apple's power cord, with its magnetic connector is also superior to Lenovo's power supply and cords. I'm waiting to find a full-search text method for indexed document files, too. I'm close to a solution, but nothing yet. Otherwise, I'm out of the Apple sphere of influence, and what some call the Reality Distortion field.

Apple, like other vendors, now has vast economic ecosystems that are building data empires of analytics, and dossiers of their clientele. I'm no longer a customer, I'm a profit center.



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