I switched from a Macbook (OS X) to a Dell XPS (Ubuntu)

August 14, 2016 0 Comments linux, dell, twitter

Just recently I had the pleasure of reviewing the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (9350) for Linux User and Developer magazine in the UK. And it really was a pleasure.

Hardware wise, I don't think there's anything that comes close to the XPS 13 right now, be it Windows, Mac or Linux. The 13.3" QHD+ touchscreen is exceptional (although I don't care about touchscreen, I'd rather have a matte finish) and the ultra thin bezels mean the laptop itself is incredibly compact, surprisingly light with its metal and carbon fibre, and incredibly desirable. Battery life is good, the specs (on my device) are ample (i7-6560U, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM) and battery life is impressive. Most surprising of all for a non Mac? The trackpad is excellent.

Dell XPS

Until I tried the XPS, I'd been an exclusive OSX user for a while. I use a 5K iMac in the office and had been using a Retina Macbook Pro 13 for mobile use. There's no question that Mac hardware has fallen behind (something we expect to be rectified soon with a refreshed MBP) but where OSX really kills it is in the software. There's a whole bunch of great apps I use daily, including Pixelmator, Tweetbot and many more. So surely switching to Linux would be too hard?

Actually, not so much.

I'm using Ubuntu Xenial and while there's no denying that the software isn't as rich as it is on Mac, it's far, far better than it used to be. I'll be posting on the blog over the coming weeks about exactly what I'm using, but I've been wowed by Gimp, impressed by WMail and YakYak and blown away by Atom. Sure, LibreOffice still isn't close to Microsoft Office (probably Linux's achilles heel), but it is good enough for most people. And hey, with the 'new Microsoft'... maybe we'll see office for Linux? Maybe not.

If you've not tried Linux for a while, maybe you should give it a go. Stick with it, try and find suitable replacements for your most used apps and let me know how you get on!

Paul O'Brien
Norfolk, UK