Skip to content


Switch, ep. 3: revert!

So, that OSX thing. I’m afraid I’ve given up on the switch; I’m back on Linux. :(

I got the keyboard mapping working, but Focus-Follows-Mouse and the couple of window-management hotkeys I rely on were impossible to work around.

Focus-Follows-Mouse is emulated by iTerm, but every time you switch to an X11 app or to Firefox, a click is required. This app-specific behaviour is jarring and inconsistent.

For some reason, the window-management hotkeys had a tendency to break, or to be disabled by other hotkeys or apps. I never figured out exactly why.

In addition, OSX has a built-in tendency to hibernate once the laptop’s lid is closed. I wanted to disable this, for a number of reasons; most importantly, I tend to leave the laptop closed, leaning beside a chair in the TV room, while I’m at work, but there’s frequently something I want to SSH in for. I tried to avoid this, but it failed entirely on my hardware. InsomniaX generally works, but for some reason it tends to turn itself off occasionally for rather random reasons (such as switching to battery power, no matter how briefly, then back again). This was the final straw.

So just over a week ago, I installed Ubuntu on the MacBook Pro, following the documentation on the Ubuntu Wiki. Everything worked!

The Wiki’s suggestions were a little hairy to configure — but then, the OSX experience had been, if anything, less easy. Plus, I know my way around a Linux /etc.

On the Linux side, the Avant Window Navigator is truly excellent, and rivals the Dock nicely, and the Baghira kwin theme gives a pretty good OSX sheen to KDE 3. It’s not quite as pretty as OSX, but I’m happy to lose some prettiness for better usability.

Regarding the interface — the current version of the Linux Synaptics driver supports multi-touch (Apple’s patents be damned, seemingly), and all the nice multi-touch tricks supported by most OSX apps work with it too. I’m still working out the optimum settings for this, but it’s very configurable, and quite open.

It’s fantastic ;) I feel like I’m home again. Sorry, Mac people.

(image: CC-licensed, thanks to Dr Craig)