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My Laptop Condundrum and Why Apple Should Thank The Asahi Team

Where I’m At Now

I have been very happy with Linux of late. Very happy. I’m running Fedora 39.

I like the freedom, the hackability, the customizability, and just how things work how I think they should, they’re intuitive.

Why I Run Linux: Tiling Window Managers And More

The main productivity hack for me, and something that has kept carpal tunnel at bay, has been my tiling window manager and just the overall work to make almost everything I do keyboard driven.

I use i3 when running X11 and Sway on Wayland. I can quickly move from virtual desktop to virtual desktop with vim-style keybindings, I can stack, layer, move apps to new virtual desktops with a few keystrokes. It’s beautiful. And the whole time my fingers don’t move from the keyboard to the mouse.

Note: At work I run KDE. I even support the project to the tune of 20 euros a month. I often dock and undock my laptop and found KDE or Gnome for that matter much better at handling changing monitor layouts and other multimedia things. Of course it can be done with various cli tools and other things on the tiling-wm side but in a pinch it’s nice to have a heavier window manager that just has all the bells and whistles. But at home, when docked, or on my workstation doing my own thing, the setup is far more static and that’s where tiling makes a ton more sense for me.

“But you can do this on the Mac! and in Windows!” I know, I probably can, but it’s native to Linux and FreeBSD and the other open source operating systems to decouple the window manager from the OS and allow this plug-n-play style of working. I’m familiar with Magnet and other such tools on the Mac to get even better tiling ergonomics. And Windows has made a ton of strides here, too.

But for me Linux just makes the most sense. Package managers allowing for easy installation of thousands of applications which have only gotten better with modern packaging like that of Flatpaks, or Appimages, or Snaps; Different filesystems (I’m loving ZFS), container isolation is native in the Kernel (aka Docker runs without a VM and runs super nicely, shoutout to Podman for being dope, too); Games work thanks to the tireless contributions of thousands of hackers in the Wine project and from commercial contributions from Colabera, and from Valve and Steam with their work on Proton – a fork of Wine and their Steamdeck; There’s no ads in my app launcher, nothing hoovering up my data to sell; etc., etc.

So, while I didn’t need to justify it, there, those are some of the reasons I love running Linux for work and for pleasure.

The M-series Macs Are So Good I’d Run MacOS If I Had To

When the M series chips came out they were wicked fast and efficient. My wife got the M1 Macbook Air 13 with 16GB of ram and that thing flies at everything she does on it. Now her workload is not a lot but she can multitask with the best of them. She often has Notion and Figma open and Safari open with 100+ tabs, and more and it never breaks a sweat. It’s dead silent. It’s a Mac so it’s beautifully built, light, has a fantastic screen, amazing battery life, encodes audio and video like a beast, and is just overall a very well built machine that just happens to run MacOS.

And that’s the rub. If I could only run MacOS on such a device I’d be far more hesitant to buy one than I am now. But because of the Asahi Linux team I can run Linux on it and not only their spin of Linux but my favorite one from Fedora the Fedora Asahi Remix distribution which is based on Fedora 39 and has all their work baked in. So things work and I get my favorite package manager, KDE (not ideal but servicable but Sway – the i3 inspired Wayland tiling WM works just fine, too), and the like and the best part is that I can dual-boot it with MacOS like we used to dual-boot Linux and Windows to still be able to play games back in the early 2000s.

So Asahi have just added value to the Mac for me. I should really be buying a Thinkpad – I loved my P-series work-issued one (and I might yet still get one if I can get a good deal)– beacause Thinkpads and Linux go together like peanut butter and jelly, they just work. But the Asahi team have done such a good job, and without any real help from Apple, to bring Linux to the best implementation of Arm in a laptop or desktop and I think that’s just brilliant.


So if you’re a finance exec at Apple or otherwise and are reading this maybe consider thanking the Asahi team financially or open up the Mac specs a bit so they can get more features working because it will drive more wierdos like me who want to run Linux but also are willing to pay 2-4k euros on a laptop to do it to get access to the amazing Apple ARM cpus and the craftmanship that comes with the way they build PCs.

Post Script

Check out the Asahi team here:

Here’s what are in the running:

But it’s so utilitarian… It doesn’t have any of the coprocessors I think I want/need for encoding my Youtube Videos or audio for my upcoming podcast adventures It’s kinda ugly but also it’s sturdy and well built so…

Not the Framework 13 – availability is an issue – I am trying to time getting the laptop around the time my sister-in-law is flying from the US to Germany and she’ll bring it over so I need something that can be bought and shipped to her in a few weeks and not a batch that could take months. Otherwise what the Framework team are doing is really laudable. I’ve played around with one at my old job and the build and screen and everything about it was nice. They’re a bit pricier than I would like for what you get but the repairability and upgradability is top notch.

This model would have the same series AMD CPU as the Lenovo and could be specc’d very similarily.

When I priced one out it came out to about 2k euros for a 64GB model with a bit slower ram, a 1TB SSD, and all the same connectivity as the Lenovo.

Lastly the Mac that I am eying.

Now keep in mind I kept my 2013 Macbook Pro for nearly 10 years. It worked fine. It was just stolen. :( But it was also heavy, slow, out of support, etc., etc.

So I specc’d a Macbook Pro (aspiring guy with a podcast and youtube dreams and yeah don’t hate me) to last almost the same amount of time.

(Even though I, rationally know, it makes far more sense to buy enough computer for their useful life which is about 3-5 years max and then just get the better model … alas people are not rational)

So here’s the 14 in Macbook Pro specs:

Post Post Script

I don’t know really why I am gravitating towards the Mac. I mean I do live in the ecosystem. I have Airpods Pro and Airpods Max headphones so they’d pair really nicely with the Mac. I’ve a ton of iTunes purchased media. I subscribe to Apple Music (but that’s also accessible via a browser so it’s not really an exclusive thing), TouchID is nice as I can login seamlessly with that (but only on the Mac as in Asahi this is not working yet), and it just looks cool. I can be part of the hipster, cool kids club when I show up at the Coffee Shop.

Okay so I’m losing the point here of this post – Apple should thank the Asahi team – but I’ll likely just end up getting the Lenovo. Maybe.


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