Surviving without a Mac

In my quest to switching to FOSS (well, as much as possible), the hardest part was to realize that I’d have to ditch my Mac (after 13 years), iPhone and iPad. It has become a joke with my colleagues because I was trying to explain I was strongly motivated to do the move to Linux and Android but there was always something” that was preventing me from doing so. It’s been going on like that for the past year until I forced myself into doing the move back in August. That thing” has a name: productivity. The Mac ecosystem is great at bringing you every single productivity app you need. Among all of them, I’ll name only three that are unavoidable:

Evernote is my knowledge base. There’s honestly no equivalent that I could find on Linux (sorry, Nevernote isn’t one) so I’ve decided to use the Web version but it’s nothing compared to a fully-featured app. It’s a bit sluggish and formatting options are not equivalent, but what kills me is that AFAICT you don’t have the possibility to create Note Links (similar to an hypertext link or anchor if you like). Really painful to track linked notes.

With an Alfred equivalent, it might even be more painful. GNOME Do or Synapse are trying to provide some of the features that Alfred does perfectly, but that’s still far from what I was expecting. I had to use ClipIt for clipboard history and Google Chrome’s custom search engines to mimic (errr, not quite) the excellent web searches”.

But what I think I’ll miss the most is TextExpander. Sure, Autokey does a great job at providing text replacement features, but you have to code stuff in Python as soon as you want anything more complicated than a simple keyword/hotkey expansion into the string of your choice. Oh, and it seems it’s no longer maintained so the future isn’t that bright either.

Still, I’m happy with the move and know that I’ll survive, now. Hopefully life without a Mac will be better and better as time goes by. The quest to FOSS has a price and I’m ready to take it.

September 14, 2013