Ok, I ordered a off eBay! Many decisions to make while waiting for it to arrive, such as which distro to put on it, which desktop environment to use, and so on.

Update: DHL fucked up the delivery (of course) so now it will arrive either later in the day today (not too hopeful) or on Monday.

While I'm waiting, I'm thinking about everything I want to try with this laptop. Basically this laptop will be my test bed to find out whether Linux is ready to be a daily driver in a professional setting that isn't (just) about writing code.

The real OK/NOTOK test will be how it handles my workflow. (cont'd)

I have two distinct parts of my practice: a personal part, and a commercial part.

In the personal part, I mostly shoot film. That part is at least half covered as VueScan is available on Linux, so I expect I'll be able to drive my scanner without problems. (cont'd)

However, I use a Photoshop plugin called ColorPerfect ( to convert negative scans, and AFAIK there's no way for it to work on Linux, as I don't think Gimp is fully compatible with the Photoshop plugin spec (am I wrong?). I guess this could be partially mitigated by running Photoshop in Wine, but that kind of defeats the point of using Linux in the first place... (cont'd)

The other part of my photography practice is commercial. We go on location with a laptop, tether a big-ass medium format camera to it, and shoot few dozen gigabytes worth of pictures into Capture One. As far as I can tell, there's nothing like Capture One on Linux, and C1 itself doesn't run in Wine. So I might have to cobble together a solution. There's something called Entangle ( and the gphoto2 library (, so it could be possible in theory...

I think that last part will be the biggest challenge. Having software fail on you during a stressful, time-sensitive shoot is NOT FUN, and it will be hard to beat Capture One. Let's see.

This seems to say that libgphoto2 supports tethered capture with the Fujifilm GFX 50S (our aforementioned big-ass medium format camera). That's good news!

What IMAP client do people recommend for Linux? I use MailMate on my mac and I'm very happy with that.

Giving a try to i3 now. Feels like I'll need to spend some time customising it, but it might better suit my needs (and the low-res screen) than Gnome.

One lesson learned is that settings don't necessarily carry over from one WM to another, which makes sense. For example, I remapped my CapsLock key to Ctrl under Gnome, but this doesn't apply under i3.

The keyboard on the ThinkPad is really really nice. Much more pleasing to type on than the one on my Macbook.

I'm porting my config files, which I had created on macOS. So far the biggest hurdle, as expected, is that the user homedir is under /User on mac and under /home in Linux. For some reason shortening it to ~ in .zshrc and so on isn't acceptable.

Will have to think how to deal with that before pushing the updated version to github.

Because Debian is very stable, has great hardware support and gnome, well for me that's the most decent desktop. I don't like KDE much, and unless you want to go for a tiling desktop there isn't that much competition

@sexybiggetje Intriguing! What are some examples of tiling desktops? I’d like to read up on those.

I know of awesomewm and i3, there sure are many more of those

@gueorgui @sexybiggetje If you want to try out a tiling window manager, the easiest way is probably the Manjaro i3 edition.

It's a rolling release distro based on Arch.

I use Ubuntu most of the time since everything just works. I've found it fairly easy to adapt to Fedora though, you just type dnf instead of apt.

@AppleStrudelMan @sexybiggetje thank you! I still don’t quite understand the rolling release thing. Does it mean it’s more cutting edge, but with more chances of things breaking?

Basically it means updates to packages are sent to you whenever available instead of milestone releases

@sexybiggetje @gueorgui Rolling release seems unnecessary to me, unless there's some reason you really need cutting edge packages. I don't like downloading hundreds of megabytes of updates every time I turn on my computer.

@AppleStrudelMan @sexybiggetje I watched a few screencasts about i3 and I think I'm sold on the idea! Will have to give it a serious try.

@gueorgui I used it for about a week a few months ago. It didn't feel all that different form Ubuntu 19.04, tbh. Granted, I was running pop!_os on very much not a system76 machine, and it seems that the OS is really optimized to shine on their hardware (GPU switching, etc.) -- I wouldn't dissuade someone from using it, but to my eye it seems pretty much on par with Ubuntu 19.04 with a bit of extra polish.

@gueorgui I run Ubuntu 19.04 pretty much everywhere these days. It isn't necessarily the most fun distro, but it has been absolutely rock-solid for me since release and it doesn't get in my way.

@eli_oat Sounds good. I tried it in a VM actually and I (stupid pet peeve alert) got a kind of visceral dislike towards the Gnome skin they use. Is there any way to revert to the stock one?

@gueorgui 100%! You can install all kinds of different window managers. Check out some of the other flavors, too:

- <- this may be what you are looking for?

@eli_oat Thank you! I'll take a good look at those. So far it seems like Gnome is what I want to use rather than KDE or XFCE — I'm coming from the Mac and Gnome seems like the closest thing UI-wise, so I think stock Gnome is for me!

@gueorgui My pleasure! Coming from macOS you may be interested in elementary,

@gueorgui @eli_oat If stock GNOME is your thing, Fedora would be the best distro for you. It's what most of the GNOME devs use.

@aadil @eli_oat Thanks! I remember that @amdt uses Fedora too, so I might give that a try.

My main concern about Fedora is the unfamiliar package manager (I'm used to apt-get from my server admin work).

@aadil @eli_oat @amdt I also know that there's a lot of people who seem to really be into Arch Linux, which main distinguishing feature seems to be the rolling release schedule, the benefits and disadvantages of which I can't say I fully understand just yet.

@gueorgui @aadil @eli_oat I would recommend Ubuntu since you’re already familiar with it and the large community means you can quickly find solutions to most problems you might encounter.

@gueorgui @eli_oat Install the ‘gnome-session’ package and you’ll be able to log in to a default GNOME desktop. Or, if it’s just the theme, rather than the dock and desktop icons etc., that you don’t like, you can switch it to the default Adwaita with the Tweaks app.

@amdt @eli_oat That's quality advice! Thank you. I'm very looking forward to get my hands dirty in all this!

@gueorgui I've been using it for over a year now and I like it. Pop OS 18.04 LTS is stable and I have yet to experience any issues with it. I use it primarily as Plex Media server, Samba & NFS server, as well as a VM host so you're mileage may vary. If your shopping for a new Distro check out Solus.

@infection_agent I want a machine to write code on, so our use cases might be different! I might still give it a try, though.

@gueorgui I'm running Ubuntu 19.04 with i3 as a WM. It's been solid for me so far.

@neauoire I'm probably going to try several. First, I'll try the latest Ubuntu, and once I have my bearings I'll experiment with the I3 window manager on it. Then I'll have a better idea of what I like and don't like, and adjust as needed.

@gueorgui I’m interested to hear how you get on since very few people are contributing code for these kinds of professional “creative” workflows.

@gueorgui You might want to check out Darktable, it’s similar to Adobe’s Lightroom. 👉🏻

@amdt Honestly if Darktable *just works* that will be great. Fingers crossed!

@gueorgui I recommend Thunderbird or aerc mail, both are really full featured email clients ^^

@tomupom Thanks! I didn't know about aerc, this brings me back to the good (?) old days of reading my email in emacs 😅

@gueorgui Agree! Since I have my ThinkPad for a week now I am really pleased to type on it even though it is one of the "newer" keyboards in the ThinkPad brand, but way better than the MacBook!

@drisc @gueorgui Another thing you can do is regexp replace /User/name1 with /home/name2

I like the $HOME solution better though ;)

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