Nicholas A. Danes, PhD
Goodbye iMac, Hello Linux (again)
One of least favorite things about my personality is I’m a perfectionist when it comes to things I use on a daily basis, especially with technology. Another thing is I like to minimze the number of devices I need to use to get a particular set of tasks done. This came to a hault again with my relationship with my iMac recently.
Over the past 6 months, I used the 24” M1 iMac as my primary personal computer. It was a fantastic machine and as much as I love macOS and all its integrations with other Apple products, I wasn’t really getting the value out of how much it costed. Today ended up being the day I sold my 24” iMac and am now using a Linux desktop as my main computer.
This all came to a head when I built a new gaming PC, which you can see the specs on my uses page. I installed the recently released Pop!
_OS 22.04 and was amazed how much their Cosmic desktop has evolved into its own flavor of GNOME. Key features I’ve enjoyed include:
- Built in (optional) tiling window manager
- Universal launcher that manages both your applications and active windows, as well as some other spotlight-like features
- Extremely great Proton support for Linux gaming. Almost every game I’ve installed with the compatiblity layer “just works.”
Even with just a few days with this computer, I realized how much I missed Linux, despite itself missing a lot of features I love about macOS.
iMac: All fashion, little function for me
The iMac of course had its perks. It had an extremely gorgeous 4.5K resolution display with extremely sharp retina text. Features like Handoff and iMessage on my desktop were extremely convenient. But these perks were overshadowed by what I actually want to do with my computer. My main uses for a comptuer includes
- General web browsing - any computer does this well, and I would the say iMac was better in this by the display alone
- Recording demos on my drums - I have other Macs n the house that can do this (see below) and technically something like Bandlab would work fine
- Playing PC games - MacOS is notoriously limited to mobile, (some) indie and even few AAA games
- CUDA programming support - My day job has gotten me interested in learning GPU programming for scientific computing, where CUDA reigns supreme. This wasn’t going to happen on a Mac.
- Virtualization/Docker - Sure support has gotten better on M1, but x86 I think will stick around a bit longer and having x86 flexiblity is nice
Two desktop computers seem silly
After using this Linux gaming PC, I really could make this work as my main computer. Sure, I am losing some iPhone integrations, but I would say they are icing but not the cake of my general computing needs. If macOS ever was more competitive in the gaming space again, and had better support for things like CUDA, I would consider it.
I ended up selling it to a really nice gentleman here in Denver for a fairly good price (I lost a little money, but not a lot) and knowing that the computer will have a good home for years to come.
My relationship with Apple continues
Despite having rid of my iMac, I am still quite involved with their hardware, including:
- A work 13” M1 Macbook Pro
- My partners’ 13” M1 Macbook Pro
- iPhone 13
- AirPods Pro
- Apple Watch Series 5
I may still consider things like my own personal Macbook or an iPad in the future, but I don’t think I can make a desktop Mac my “main” device until the things above change, or my needs change.
I will hopefully be blogging some more about how I’ll be adapting my use of Apple products with a Linux desktop. Until next time…