Most of the reasons for the move has already been documented in a previous post, so I’ll skip the immediate compulsions that pushed me in this direction. Even while I writing that post, I was not very sure if it would all come together well in the end. After much experimentation (and some really frustrating times) I’m glad to say that the transition is complete and I won’t be going back to an Apple laptop for a while.
The overall Linux on desktop experience is a marked improvement from the last time I had attempted it. This was during a time when I was only glad to tinker around endlessly and when it was more than OK for me to insert a module into the kernel to get the sound card to work. That time, though, is long gone and I prefer having systems with me that just stay out of the way. Which was why OS X and the Apple laptops were wonderful for me.
That said, I have recently been feeling that the premium you pay for getting that experience is a bit over the top with Apple. But replicating that experience on another platform (Windows does not cut it for me because I am simply way too used to having a *nix environment to work than due to any other reasons) has been more than a painful experience every time I have tried it.
In a lot of ways, the Linux on desktop story right now resembles a lot of what the Android story was like around the time of Froyo. And that comparison is meant cover only the technical aspects, you can safely ignore the market share part of the story. Even with this marked improvement, it will be a long long time before Linux becomes a serious player in the desktop/laptop market.
Coming back to the comparison, I find the quality of apps on Linux have improved significantly. They are still not as pretty or as consistent as OS X apps, but the story is a drastic improvement from the earlier times. Then there are the projects like elementaryOS, where the teams have made a concerted effort to make everything a lot more consistent and well thought out.
In the overall picture, none of that will matter. Most of the big companies that sell desktops and laptops are all primarily tied to Microsoft and the ecosystem around it. There have been efforts like Dell’s Developer Edition, but those are hardly mainline efforts and since we are living in an age where a platform is no longer simply about the hardware and the OS, without major muscle behind it, the Desktop Linux story will always be a minor one.
For me, the Linux story has so far been extremely positive so far. Save the exception of not being able to run iTunes without virtualization or emulation (one of the sad outcomes of the demise of Flipkart’s digital music business), there is nothing that I have been unable to do on Linux that I was able to do on OS X. The UI/UX aspect is no longer an issue with eOS, which, surprisingly feels a lot less OS X once you start using it a lot more.
There are some terrors that remind me of the good old days of Desktop Linux when everything was a lottery, but once you get a stable system in place the beast just keeps chugging on and stays out of your way and I do foresee a long and fruitful association for us this time around.