Four years ago, I purchased a Lenovo laptop with no graphics card for the purpose of having a computing environment at home capable of running Microsoft Visual Studio, an application which was not available on my primary home computer operating system, Mac OS X.
After that particular job was over, I had no more need for the laptop, and so it sat unused for some time. It had some annoying characteristics, too. The trackpad was clunky, and the color fidelity of the screen was so bad that it was difficult to look at for protracted periods of time.
When it came time for me to test out Pop!_OS, I jumped immediately to this computer as a test bed. I cared nothing for anything on its hard drive, nor for the operating system currently installed there. In my recent investigation series, that was the hardware I was running Linux against in order to perform my evaluation.
Once I decided that I was good to go for conversion, I pulled the trigger on making a purchase from a company I've been watching for the better part of a decade, System76.
System76 sells laptop and desktop computers designed to run Linux. Like Apple, they build out hardware and firmware designed to make running their computers a smooth and workable experience. Unlike Apple, the have a stated commitment to free and open source software. I ordered both a laptop and desktop from them. The laptop arrived last Friday, a model called the Darter Pro. I'm still waiting on the desktop.
My Darter configuration has twice the RAM and twice as many cores as the Lenovo, and, similarly, no graphics card. This was intentional. I tend not to game on laptops, but I do occasionally need to edit images, tweak a book design, or do something else that will need a fair amount of computing horsepower. My desktop is where I want my horsepower.
The Darter Pro works like a dream. It runs better than the Lenovo, with operations completing noticeably faster. The Darter Pro's monitor is much more pleasant to look at for long periods of time, and the trackpad is good. Not great, but good. Overall, this is just what I want out of a laptop—enough power to do occasional heavy lifting, but also portable and well designed.
Moving to Linux, my expectation was that I would have to give up most of my games on the new machine. This wasn't really a big deal to me, as I'm keeping my Mac, and all the games I want to play are available there. I don't expect its specification to obsolesce anytime soon (for my kind of gaming), either.
On a whim, I decided to install Steam on my Darter Pro, just to see what was there. I was expecting to see maybe three or four games in Steam library be available. Perhaps maybe ten. The actual result was astounding: 88 of my 151 games are available on Linux. That's a little over half. Of those 88, twelve are games I play frequently, including Civilization 5, Civilization: Beyond Earth, Civilization 6, Stellaris, Kingdoms and Castles, Cities XL, and Factorio.
From what I can tell from installing and running a handful of these games, they actually work, too. Linux's reputation for poor gaming support clearly hasn't caught up with reality.
I went silent on my blog this weekend primarily because I was working on laying out The Shipwright and Other Stories in Scribus. I am learning a ton, and I am more convinced than ever that dumping InDesign in favor of Scribus is the right choice. However, the weekend has also reinforced the fact that I still have so much to learn about this new environment.
I'll continue working on my Scribus layout of Shipwright, in order to build up my knowledge of the application and how it works. However, after this weekend, I'm leaning toward publishing Shipwright against my InDesign-generated PDF in order to safely hit my release date of August 5. That way, if any last minute problems arise, I will be able to quickly affect a fix without having to learn something new about Scribus. That said, my goal remains to ultimately convert my workflow to Scribus (and thus saving myself $600 per year).
Categories: Technology Linux
Tags: System76 Scribus InDesign-to-Scribus