Linux on a Macbook part I: the fair jugdement

It wasn't hard to embrace Mac OS X when I bought my Macbook, back in 2010. It's a very good looking and practical UNIX flavor running on sexy designed hardware. And it is pretty usable out-of-the box, unless you like tweaking your system to the last variable and compiler flag, like many of us Linux people like to.

Everything seemed fine although kind of awkward on my Mac OS X setup. I even got used to the pain of not having a proper package manager (Homebrew, you're awesome, but still no pacman + ABS. I had ShiftIt and Spaces helping me emulate an efficient window manager and got used to the Mac way of not letting you have things the way you want. I could enjoy having all the fancy transitions/eye-candy and yet be confortable with my beloved geeky environiment.

All of a sudden things started to become weird and slow, painfully slow. I don't know what went wrong, but some fellow Mac users told me it was time for reformatting my laptop. That's what I'm doing. After reasoning over the pros and cons, I'm finally getting Linux installed on my Macbook.

So, here are my pros and cons list about Mac OS X:


  • Have a working system since first logging in
  • Full hardware compatibility
  • Music software such as Logic, Ableton Live and VST instruments
  • The Adobe suite (it turns out it can be useful for a programmer)
  • Having some problems sorted out for you like backups, network config, etc.
  • Working iPod syncronization
  • No xrandr magic to be done when using an external display.


  • No package management
  • Not customizable
  • No real choice apart The Apple Way ©
  • Can get painfully slow
  • Harsh disk usage due to static linking
  • Does not present a good service management interface
  • Struggle to keep files up-to-date with my Linux stations (not quite OS X related, but very relevant for me)
  • A filesystem that can only be fully rw mounted from OS X

It seems like a clear win for Linux.