OS decisions: Apple, Linux, or Windows? (Cake and eat it as well)

For many years I was on Windows, and found Mac fonts and screen shapes–they’re more octagonal–freaky. But I finally made the leap 15 years or so ago, got my first MacBook Pro and quickly got used to their odd look. Spilled coffee took care of that one! Got another one, a late-2011 dual-quad model people said was very reliable, and that lasted until about a year ago now. First the graphics card went, and I had to find an old Dell monitor and a translating cable (with help of a computer geek). But that old Pro is goners … with tons of files, much of which may be recoverable thanks to Time Machine.

I was all excited about am M1 Pro purchase when I heard of their power and speed … but I don’t believe Darktable is yet configured for that new card. Also, I don’t trust Apple any more than Microsoft regarding privacy. Clearly I should be heading to Linux Mint or something … although I had wanted to return to WordPerfect (I am fed up with Word telling me that UK English does not double the ells in, for example, ‘travelling,’ when I know damnnned well it doess!) … I always loved WordPerfect, which Microsoft robbed from but did not equal, and suddenly realised (see–I don’t want to use ‘realized’) WP was still out there! Oh my nerdy beating heart …

So what do folks recommend? How can I have all these things–power, storage, speed, WP, darktable as the gods made it (i.e., for Linux), and great joy? I’d prefer the laptop thing, because space is an issue, but I think I’ll have to go desktop. If dual-boot, which?

I’m also a musician and would love to … well, Garageband would be great.

Thanks in advance. Money is an issue–retiree.

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for a native M1 build have a look at documentation: Building darktable on macOS using homebrew · Issue #10583 · darktable-org/darktable · GitHub

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I recommend a dual boot desktop system with Windows + EndeavourOS

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Run WP on a VM.

no need for speed there and VM’s are quite fast now…then you can use. whatever OS you want…

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I used WP many years ago… it was nice back then, but I think LibreOffice is nice, too. And it’s open source. Have you ever tried it?

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Original WordPerfect was good, not so much anymore, as with other Corel products. Linux and LibreOffice is the way to go for the budget conscious and the tinkerer (for regular people too).

Windows 10 or lower is fine but Windows 11 isn’t - everyday, I hear Microsoft changing things and confusing the heck out of people. In contrast, macOS is much more stable and predictable.

Yes, I did. I can’t recall what issues I had, if any. Maybe I’m old-school and like a big fat tome to come with the software, but WP used to be almost intuitive. I really ought to try LibreOffice more, and I do have access on a Linux machine. Sounds like you think new WP isn’t as good as old WP–sorry, that was Afre. Thanks.

Ah, a “terminal-centric” Linux variant. I assume that doesn’t mean it dies and hangs up lots. Thanks for the suggestion.

Todd, I’m the guy who you tried to help with a command line. Months ago. I finally got darktable going only yesterday. Lots and lots of RAWs to cook.

VM means virtual machine? Cool. I don’t understand, but cool.

I would prefer a laptop, because space is at a premium. I’d like to be able to put away the computer so I can use a typewriter, study at my desk, or whatever. I’ve been following Rob Braxman on YouTube, and he makes Apple sound very sneaky indeed. Who really are the privacy heroes? Saw an ad for System76–maybe it was a link from this PX site?–and they had some laptops that looked comparable to a MacBook Pro, for far less. Oryx Pro?

You could just have a small windows VM to run WP was all I suggested as a possibility if you were to go Linux and really need to keep it…would be too hard to setup…

A foreign language to me!

I think I still have all the 3 1/2" floppy discs for WordPerfect! Maybe I tossed them …

I do too - not of WP, probably a game. No more 8", someone tossed those.

You mean 5 1/4"? The ones that actually were floppy. I recycled those as plastic maybe 15 years ago!

I said goodbye to wordprocessors a long time ago, and do everything in LaTeX on Linux. (No problems with ‘modelling’ and ‘realising’ either :slight_smile: ). It’s a bit of a change coming from a wordprocessor though…

You mean 5 1/4"?

Probably not, a real floppy is 8"

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Years ago, I was a die hard Mac guy. Darktable was always a bit of a struggle on these machines, though, especially with the then-new retina screens.

Work then required some serious CPU processing power for running simulations, which no Mac at the time could deliver, so I went to Linux. While this was great for those simulations, I missed a lot of software for image editing, first and foremost good drivers for my printer and scanner, and the Affinity suite and a bunch of raw developers I was experimenting with at the time. So my private computer ran Windows.

Fast forward to now. Windows has become actively user-hostile with its hard push of Edge, its mandatory spyware, more and more OS-integrated ads, and increasingly terrible performance. I nowadays use it at work, which is only bearable/productive due to the WSL. At the same time, AMD had all but bricked my existing GPU for Darktable/OpenCL, so it was time for a new computer.

Now I run Linux at home. The good news is, Darktable is screaming fast on my Nvidia GPU. Much faster than on Windows on the same machine. Everything about the OS is fast as well, apps start instantly, the UI is pleasingly frictionless. The printer driver now works perfectly out of the box, surprisingly. The scanner software runs well in a VM. The bad news is, I did need to code up a number of workarounds to get the hardware working properly, and some things such as wake from sleep can still be a bit unreliable. And the Affinity suite and Capture One are simply unavailable to me now. While they can be run in a VM, VirtualBox is unusably slow on my 4k screen.

I occasionally use my wife’s Mac laptop, and while the hardware is still great (if a bit old), anything software development related is a major pain. Homebrew is terribly slow these days, and terribly inconvenient. Better than Windows, of course, being a Unix. But a far cry from a Linux environment or a WSL. And macOS seems to be catering less and less to power users with every new release, and there really aren’t any interesting well-integrated native Mac apps any longer. Everything is cross platform these days.

So, for now I am reasonably happy with Linux as my main OS. Perhaps the upcoming releases of 22.04 will solve some of my hardware woes. Perhaps some day Wine will mature enough to run image editing software. Games already work surprisingly well. Darktable, DigiKam, and GIMP or Photopea do the trick for me for now.

But honestly, none of the three OSes are easy to recommend at the moment. They all come with major downsides that one has to live with.


LaTex, huh? Thanks for realising my modelling needs.

You are right. My first personal computer had 5 1/4". It was my school that had 8".