My new employer is offering me a choice of laptop, and I'm a bit unsure as to which one to choose. I've mentally reduced the offer to three options:
- the MacBook Air 11"
- the MacBook Air 13", and the
- Lenovo X1 Carbon
On one hand I'd like to get rid of the whole Mac culture of control and approval, but on the other hand I am a bit scared that a Linux system might totally break on an update, leaving me unable to work. The latter has happened to me quite a few times already while tinkering with various flavours of Ubuntu and Arch Linux. I'm not sure if it's "my fault" or "their fault", or just a lot of faults, but the fact is that I don't want that to happen when I've got work to do.
The fact is that I am more comfortable using Linux+Gnome, probably because the GUI tools I use are GTK applications, and the repositories offered by a distribution are certainly more consistent than having to use ports, or brew, or downloading a DMG or an App from somewhere. But since the whole Linux Desktop Manager concept is in such an state of flux, I'm really, really terrified of something breaking on an update and... boom! get ready for an unexpected Reinstalling From Scratch Day!
For that reason, I'm leaning towards the Mac side. iTerm2 makes command line tasks certainly bearable, but software like GIMP and Inkscape are painful to use on Mac, and I do use them a lot. There are prebuilt binaries for most of the things out there, so I shouldn't need to use a repository (even though they are way convenient, dependency and manageability wise).
But here comes the doubt: the 11" or the 13" version? Is 11" too small? I checked the specs and the resolution of the 11" is roughly the size of my current 13" MacBook, only a little bit shorter and a little bit wider (and a lot lighter!). I am now using a MacBook Air 13" at work so I am sort of familiar with its performance, but to be totally sure I went yesterday to an Apple Store and visited several WebGL heavy websites (after enabling WebGL on Safari ;-)). There didn't seem to be much of a difference between the 11 and the 13 sizes. (As a side note, I noticed that WebGL antialias was disabled in both of them. URGH, APPLE!)
I like the idea of the smaller MacBook Air, but I am afraid I won't have space for doing things such as live editing a page with the browser's CSS inspector, without having to open it in a different window and switching between them both, so I think the 13" might be a better option.
Unfortunately, since I couldn't find any "Lenovo store" in London to go and try the machine, I am at a loss about its performance and real-life "look and feel". Yes, there are reviews on the Internet, but they don't seem written by people using Linux on a daily/monthly/yearly continuous basis.
So people using Linux on an X1 Carbon, please help me get even more confused and add your opinions on the matter! What distribution and desktop manager do you use? Is it stable? What about drivers? WebGL? Can you hear the fan usually? Does it get too hot during normal work? Etc. :-D