Trapped at home, I’ve been slowly making my way through chores I’ve been putting off. One of the things I put off is performing a clean install of my operating system on my aging MacBook Pro. At nearly 10 years old, it is starting to show its age. In an effort to breath new life into the machine, I decided to switch to a Linux operating system.
I’ve been thinking about switching operating systems for a little while so, I spent a time using Ubuntu, Mint and Fedora in VMs before committing to the change. While I preferred the look and feel of Mint, I ultimately selected Ubuntu as my distro. The strong support system that has developed out Ubuntu’s popularity is hard to beat.
Having settled on Ubuntu, I spent a day preparing for the switch. Most of my files live in Dropbox or Google Drive so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time copying files to an external drive. All of my files would just sync after installing the appropriate software.
While the files in cloud storage would just appear, all of the photos I’ve accumulated in a decade plus as a Mac users wouldn’t. All of them were stored in Apple’s Photos library. I needed to extract all of them from the library to transfer them to my new OS. Fortunately, Photos made it was easy to export the originals to an external hard drive. I just selected all the images and chose export from the file menu.
With all of my files prepared it was time to make the switch. I ran one last Time Machine backup, just in case, and created a bootable installer. With a final restart of my computer I said good bye to MacOS and hello to Ubuntu.
Once Ubuntu was installed on my laptop it only took me a couple of hours to copy my photos, sync my files and install all the software I needed. I replaced Thunder Bird with Mailspring for email. I installed Ao to interface with Microsoft To-Do. The usual suspects of R, RStudio, Anaconda, VS Code and Docker also found their way on to my machine.
I’ve been operating my “new” computer for a couple of weeks now and I’m really happy with it. Ubuntu felt familiar from the start and has all of the tools I need for a home computer.