I've been using Windows, then Linux… then MaxOSX. I've actually been quite happy about the last 2 OS. However, Mac has been disappointing lately on some point and that make me curious about what was Linux like in 2020.
Too often open source projects have left design and UX behind. Even though design and beauty are subjective topics, a vast majority of non-power-users would prefer a Mac graphical interface than a Gnome.
I therefore started digging for a Linux that would be not just decently looking, but good looking.
Long story made short, here are the distro that caught my attention:
Parrot OS is just another Ubuntu (other forks exist) with a Gnome or KDE and some specific software. Still it looks a little nicer to me by default with a KDE.
Elementary OS has been there for a little while now. It is inspired by Mac OS and is a overall better looking interface than a default Gnome. It is based on Ubuntu. It could eventually be a good choice.
This distro quite amazed me. It's getting very close to an ideal choice. The interface is well balance, animations make it fluid, graphics and transparency are well tuned.
The difference with ElementaryOS might not be so obvious based on a simple screenshot. However the touch and feel is much better with transparency, nicer icons set and smooth animation.
Deepin is available in various forms that you can choose between:
- the full desktop environement that comes with a Debian Sid and a full feature Deepin experience
- the desktop transplantation to use Deepin as a layer on top of your favorite distro
- the Deepin applications which are a market place with a set of smooth looking apps.
The only downside so far is that some default language is sometime Chinese (like the latest Firefox in the market place). That can make it trivial at some point for a non Chinese.
Linux on a MacBook
I've been looking around to run a Linux on my MacBook. I had done this a couple of years ago already without much success. The conclusions are similar: it will run, it won't really work. The keyboard, touchpad, touchbar, sound, won't work out-of-the-box.
Running Linux is very fine through VirtualBox but not natively. The downsides of a virtual machine are non negligible however: slow, shared and less memory, need to run an environment to run another, dependant, no direct access to peripherals…
Stephan Harbauer wrote another article about Linux on a MacBook with touchbar too.
This is a very short article as getting into details is more a matter of taste at this stage. My personal favorite is by far Deepin, which is a true win! Eventually I'd try an Ubuntu (or Parrot Ubuntu?), with a Deepin desktop if it works well, else the default Debian and learn to use it on a desktop.
Even though they all run well from a VirtualBox, I have only been able to run Deepin natively from my MacBook Pro 2016. It's so smooth on a Retina screen and so tempting to get for real into it. However I've been stuck quite fast due to lack of hardware support: no wifi, keyboard, trackpad, sound, touchbar, bluetooth…