Why I’m moving my desktop from OS X to Fedora Linux

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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.

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