Elementary OS And The Importance of Not Asking Why.

Two weeks ago I tried Elementry OS on my Mac at work.

Elementy OS is an Ubuntu (thus, Debian-based) Linux distro Operating System, which doesn’t make it unique. What does make it unique though, is its approach to simplistic, polished design. It seems like the guys behind this project have built an operating system inspired by Apple’s Mac OS.

Elementary OS was not going to make my work easier or more efficient. In fact, it failed within the first day, because I just couldn’t keep working with shortcuts and workarounds under regular work pressure, it was too much of a high step. I might try again in the future.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For you, people who read this, the question is probably: “why the hell would you want to install Linux on your work Macbook Air?” My job is to support Mac users both of software level and hardware. We all use Macs, which is why it makes sense that the guy who fixes them has a Mac as well. So, Why?

Why? I’m not sure I can answer this question. The same way I can’t answer why I love technology, or why, after a long week at work, I pass my weekend learning how to code, design my website, or trying to hack my own WiFi for fun while watching Netflix. It’s just my thing.

It’s an impulse I can’t let go of, sometimes strong enough to wake me up from my sleep with a new exciting idea. It’s just something I gotta do, man, and if you don’t get it — well, you just don’t.

Some of you understand the “itch.” You know what I’m talking about. You don’t do something because it’s cost effective, efficient, good (or bad), or helpful. You do it simply because you think you can. And if you fail, well, that’s just a whole bunch of fun to make it work anyway.

 The worst question you can ask yourself is “What for?”

As an IT professional, someone who is expected to deliver a certain service within a certain time frame at a certain cost, I understand where the question is coming from. But as a technologist? It’s a death blow to creativity and innovation.

“What for” is the same as saying, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. “What for” is a question usually coming from folks who rather play it safe and stick with what they know. But if you stick with what you already know, how can you learn what you don’t?

So, it took me a week to decide to scrap the whole idea of Elementry OS on my Mac. Technically it’s still installed, but I stopped trying to boot into it. You’d say I lost, that I failed.

did I?

In a single weekend, I managed to install, update, and customize a new Linux distro on a Macbook air. Installing Linux on a Mac can be a major pain, but this was not the first or second time I’ve done it – hence the value of learning. Things you take for granted, like the computer hydrating when you close the lid or the screen’s brightness automatically adjusted by the light in the room stop working. But it can work. I’ve done it before. And each failure like that, each “wtf” moment, brings another promise of triumph.

I might try Elementary OS again. Perhaps as a side project, try to get it to work smoothly, and install different tools that usually come with Kali or Ubuntu. There’s absolutely no sense in keeping that small partition on my already too little Mac hard drive. At it’s best, the Elementary OS-powered Mac will function at perhaps 70% at what it used to be under Mac OS. No matter.

That’s not the point.