So I Installed Arch on My Work Mac

Ever since I went back to the office I’ve been using a 2018 Mac Mini for work. It’s been… usable. I’ve at least been able to get everything done that I needed to.

Recently though we started a big server migration. It’s much needed since we’re in need of more hardware and are still on Ubuntu 16, but working on that migration has been the back-breaking straw for me with MacOS. I’ve just had to deal too much with tooling issues, painful package management, uncomfortable workflows despite my best customization efforts, and lots of other tiny things that have piled up which I won’t bore anyone with.

Back when the 2018 generation Macs launched I remember hearing a bunch of worrying over what the new T2 security chip would mean for running Linux and Windows, so I was surprised when I got a successful Arch dual boot installed without taking any special steps. I’ve been using git to track my dotfiles, so I was able to get setup with my sway config super quickly. For now I’m managing two branches, one for my personal setup and one for my work setup. I think that’ll be manageable but time will tell.

Some others on my dev team decided to give Linux a go on their Macs too as their first exposure to desktop Linux, but it took some trial and error. Everyone ultimately settled on Pop OS which installed and worked as expected, but one team member ran into issues with both Ubuntu and Fedora. I wonder if choice of bootloader could be to blame? Both Pop OS and my Arch install use systemd-boot, but Ubuntu and Fedora use grub.

Being on Arch instead of MacOS feels like being home. I already feel more productive. It’s super neat to me that no matter how customized my setup is, I can easily replicate it on any machine.


#linux #tech