The Month of Linux on my Desktop

Introduction

One month ago I wrote about trying Linux for work. A fair amount has happened since then so I thought I’d post a quick update.

The Hardware

It turned out that I hardly used my iMac I now use an Intel Hades Canyon NUC which I bought as a bare-bones box and added 32GB of RAM and a 512MB Samsung 970 M.2 SSD to it.

Fortunately you can turn the skull LEDs off in the BIOS and since they shine through the case, when they are off it is just a plain black top.

I picked this particular NUC because it will support up to 6 external displays whilst most of the others only support two. I have become used to having three displays so this was an obvious choice for me. If I only wanted two I’d have gone for something like a NUC 10.

And that does indeed mean that the iMac is off my desk and a third display has replaced it. If I want to watch something at my desk I use my iPad and if I need to do something on macOS I use my MacBook.

The Hades Canyon box is largely silent but occasionally the fans kick in for no particularly obvious reason. To help alleviate this I moved from Ubuntu 18.04 to 19.10 and it helped quite a bit and I hope that the kernel in 20.04 has even better hardware support.

I also added some Amazon Basics USB speakers because, after sleeping, Ubuntu sometimes became confused about which display to output audio through or just didn’t bother at all.

Software

Not a huge amount has changed on the software front.

I did buy a GitKraken license and am very happy with it as a Tower replacement and in some ways it is better than Tower (I really like the built-in conflict resolution feature).

For text expansion I replaced TextExpander with espanso.

As an application launcher (and quick calculator which I was really missing) I replaced Alfred with Ulauncher.

For markdown writing I replaced Byword with Typora.

What’s Next

One big area I still need to sort out are backups. Most of the files on my Linux box are in Dropbox or Git repositories but I want to get back to a similar backup strategy I had for macOS… local snapshots, a local nightly clone and off-site snapshots.

And so the experiment continues. More updates soon…