Transitioning back to Windows/Linux

Wooden window with red wavy curtains

For the last four years I have been using macOS either part-time or full time. Unfortunately it’s time to change because I need space, literally, more speed and, just may be, larger pixels.

How I arrived to Mac

Since I was 10 or so when Apple introduced new shiny iMacs I wanted one but they were always too expensive for someone living in post-communist country, they still are even when I look at it from “Western” optics. It took me until graduate school when I was willing to splurge money on a new computer and chose Mac Mini as a starter machine.

I was hooked because I didn’t have to use dual boot or virtual machine to get things done. That for me as a Linux gal was liberation because I could just work and use as few hacks as possible.

Time spent on a Mac

First two and half, three years were awesome. I was learning new things without needing to do a lot of hacks like I had to do on Windows machine and I didn’t have to bother checking if Linux can read/write from/to Windows filesystem or not. Seriously having Windows system partition, FAT partition for sharing and Ext2/3/4 partition is ridiculous.

But as I progressed and started to learn things like Sass I started to rely on hacks again. Homebrew and others are awesome but in my opinion Apple should’ve introduced something for developers and designers which would allowed us to avoid those things. With recent upgrade to High Sierra Sass on my machine broke and frankly I haven’t had time to fix it.

Fortunately I chose not to use Sass in my personal projects for different reasons but that’s for different blog post.

One of the main reasons why I chose to commit to Apple ecosystem was their approach to accessibility. They’ve developed their own screen reader, VoiceOver, and provided it with the operating system for free. At the time when I bought Mac Mini it was cheaper than buying Windows machine and JAWS license. I needed screen reader quite badly.

Another reason to at least try Mac were tools for design and development. Sketch was picking up on popularity, Pixelmator the same and Affinity Designer came quite soon after. I even bought Scrivener and BBedit because at the time those were state of the art things and I had a use for them.

Going bad

As I’ve mentioned after some time the awesome place ended for me. There have been updates which made using my Macs, I bought later laptop before I tried digital nomading, a bit uncomfortable. I’ve been fighting with space because the music which I bought through iTunes had default storage on internal drive. I had to install ~5.5GB for XCode which I don’t use, ~2GB GarageBand’s effects. It may not sound much in the era of TB drives but SSD on my MBP is only 128GB. So couple of gigs here and there count up.

So now I have permanently connected 2TB external hard drive to my laptop. It’s not an ideal solution but I can live with it for the time being. At least until I get too angry about it.

As I’ve mention Sass broke after High Sierra update. npm still works though. VoiceOver has now quite different keyboard controls than it had when I started. ctrl+cmd+space wasn’t used to open Emoji and Symbols viewer couple of years ago.

Reason for going back

Screen reader on Windows couple of years ago was pretty much unheard of except for pricey JAWS. Since then Microsoft got Narrator to a better place. NVDA appeared on my radar and I learned how to use it.

Ubuntu appeared on Windows out of nowhere which was one of my wildest dreams. I believed that was something impossible because Microsoft always had PowerShell for power users and kept their best tools in their ecosystem. I would’ve said that Microsoft would try to convince Linux people to switch to Windows by helping with WINE development.

With Ubuntu my development process will be easier because I am able to configure Apache, MySQL, what have you server. No more MAMP or WAMP solutions. Honestly this one thing is probably the best one for me because I am not fan of solutions which would take me at least weeks to study before I could understand them.

Humans behind browserSync and others utilities who make my life easier are awesome, though.

Design software was always the one reason to move to Mac but the situation is changing. No, Adobe won’t bring Fireworks back. invision announced their new, free product Studio which should be released in January 2018 on macOS and Windows. And I think I’ll be able to find a good vector editor for Windows as well.

When I’ll be buying new machine it’ll have Windows and I am happy with this decision. (My high school hard core Linux nerd is screaming right now.)