I Want My Linux Laptop Now! (A Voluntary Simplicity Exercise)

I’m being impatient, and it’s my own fault.  I started that Linux Craptop experiment to see how much mileage I could get out of a decade old laptop running a lean(ish) Linux.  That actually became my only home laptop while my 6+ year old (I think) MacBook Air was getting its battery replaced.  I was going to “suffer” through it for just the few days and then the MacBook would hold me over for at least another couple of years.  At this point however I’m really chomping at the bit to retire that Mac and go Linux full bore.

I don’t have to try to avoid being overly consumerist.  What consumerist would try to make a go of a ten year old laptop or make their current one go to the eight year mark?  At the same time my embrace of Linux over the past nine months has been quite profound.  Once I got it on my bare metal computer and not just a VM I got really comfortable.  Once I showed that I could do everything I want to on my Linux craptop I was really ready.  Now that I’ve finished my successfully Linux pilot program at work and am Windows free (except for a VM to run MS Office and WebEx every once in a while when needed) I’m totally ready to just ditch Windows (of course) and now Mac too.

None of this is news, but it really didn’t strike me how much I am dying to do the switch until this morning.  I wanted to get some blogging done and browse my news feed.  My first impulse was not to go grab the MacBook Air in the living room but instead to grab the Linux Craptop.  I find it feels more suffering to me to fire up the Mac, especially if I have to do anything with Samba, than the Linux Craptop.  This is all despite the fact that the craptop is really hampered video card wise, has an ancient battery that won’t last more than 20 minutes, and seems to double as a space heater even under light loads.

With the announcement of System76’s new ultrabook lined up for April I’m totally ready to ditch the Mac and go full Linux.  However it’s not something I *need* to do right now.  The urge to practice Voluntary Simplicity (VS) principles however makes me evaluate the need versus the want of the purchase.  Do I need a new laptop?  Absolutely not.  That MacBook does everything I need it to and more with the exception of being dreadful with anything SMB, but I have the Linux craptop nearby for those occasions.  Am I feeling any performance problems with the MacBook?  No.  Everything runs more than fast enough, in fact most things are even tolerable on the craptop.  Plus, I just spent $150 replacing the battery on the MacBook to give it a few more years of life. I suppose one compromise solution would be to put Linux on the Mac, but I think that would create quite a Frankenstein system that would make me even more frustrated.

So there it is.  I’ve tempted myself with the reality of going full Linux just waiting for a hypothetical future in a few years where System76 or another vendor would put out a good ultrabook preinstalled with Linux only to have that future arrive two months from now.  When it comes to the point that I need to replace my laptop because it dies, or has performance problems in regular operations, et cetera, then I am certain which way I’m going to go.  For the time being though I’m engaging my VS principles and forgoing the unnecessary purchase.  I should probably stop going to the System76 store to play around with configurations on a regular basis too :).

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