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MacBook Pro (2016) Disappointment Pushes Some Apple Loyalists To Ubuntu Linux ( 535

Linux distributions have emerged as one of the beneficiaries in the aftermath of the MacBook Pros launch. Many people aren't pleased with the offering and prices of Apple's three new laptops and some of them are resorting to Linux-powered laptops. From a report on BetaNews: Immediately after the Apple Keynote, famed Ubuntu laptop and desktop seller, System76, saw a huge jump in traffic from people looking to buy its machines. The traffic was so intense, that it needed to upgrade servers to keep up, it said. "We experienced much more traffic than we had prepared for, the website didn't go hard down but experienced slowness. We had to scale up to return to normal. It was a pretty big surge, I don't have the details in front of me at the moment but I've not really heard of anything like this before. People being so underwhelmed by a product that immediately following a new product release they actively seek out competitor's products," says Ryan Sipes, Community Manager, System76. I decided to compare specifications and pricing on my own, so I headed to both and to compare. Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,400. This machine has a Quad-core Sklyake i7, maxes out at 16GB of RAM, has an NVMe 256GB SSD, and a Radeon Pro 450 with a paltry 2GB memory. Alternatively, I headed to System76 and configured its 15-inch Oryx Pro. I closely matched the MacBook Pro specs, with a Quad-core Sklyake i7 and NVMe 256GB SSD. Instead of 16GB of RAM as found on the Apple, I configured with 32GB (you can go up to 64GB if needed). By default, it comes with a 6GB Nvidia GTX 1060. The price? Less than $2,000! In other words, the System76 machine with much better specs is less expensive than Apple's.
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MacBook Pro (2016) Disappointment Pushes Some Apple Loyalists To Ubuntu Linux

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  • by KBentley57 ( 2017780 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:03PM (#53184443)
    The summary sounds like an obvious plug for system76. I'm not saying it's bad, because what the summary says, is in fact true. I've compared them myself. I even have a System76 desktop and am pleased with it. However, and advertisement disguised as an article is still and advertisement.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's the jobs bubble exploding. I can see lots of religious Apple fans saying bad things about Apple.for the first time. Heck even arstechnica posts who say the new Mac is crap don't get the autodownvote they used to enjoy every time you didn't praise Apple. Sold all my Apple stock a few days ago.

      • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @01:41PM (#53185475)

        Apple has been on records even with Jobs, on producing a bunch of flops.
        That design that was a bit too far out (iMac G4, G4 Cube).
        Tried to make something too ahead of its time and expensive (Lisa, Apple ]|[)
        Tried to make technology without a good infrastructure (Newton)
        Tried to get into markets no one wanted Apple in (Pippen)

        Apples Laptop design is essentially the same as G4 Titanium Powerbook. From 2002. Apple is starting to get ThinkPad level of boring.

    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:16PM (#53184575) Homepage Journal
      This would be nice (and I"m a Linux fan, my day job involves Linux servers)....but this linux laptop offering while being nice spec wise....will it run the programs I need it for....Photoshop, Davinci Resolve. I like FCPX, but could do Premier Pro....

      Trouble is, none of these run on Linux. DaVinci Resolve does have a linux version, but not the FREE version....

      I do my artsy stuff on the mac...I'm still refusing to rent my software, so for all the Adobe stuff, I have OS X versions of CS6, I was hoping for a nice mac to upgrade to.

      I was actually hoping against hope that they'd have an upgraded 5K iMac ready for market that had a boosted GPU and more graphics RAM available....or even an upgraded Mac Pro.

      I'm still able to work with what I have, and can hang on a bit longer...but at some point.....well.

    • by msmash ( 4491995 ) Works for Slashdot <> on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:21PM (#53184631)
      Everything sounds like a plug when you think about it.
    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:35PM (#53184777)
      I will say this much. It's a very well written "press release" which essentially is and ad, but on the other hand I only knew of one Linux-ready laptop that was vendor-supported out of th box, and that is the very expensive option from Dell.

      I've been holding-off on a laptop because last time I bought a new laptop to put Linux on, it had a problem with how the real time clock was handled and it was essentially not usable as a Linux box. I've put it on used laptops since then (like the Alienware M17R2 that I'm typing this on) but I hadn't seen any good sources for immediately-supported hardware. This fixes that and gives me some thought as to what I am going to do in the future, especially since the Late-2011 Macbook Pro that I'm using has the video-chipset problem that I need to take in for recall-fix, and it's getting long in the tooth anyway.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:04PM (#53184461) Homepage

    Linux is fine and all but it is *still* missing a number of high end professional level programs in a number of fields. Until that changes (and it hasn't in how many years now?), Linux on the Laptop will be a fairly niche product. If it meets your requirements that's great. You get lots of options including MacBooks in their limited incantations.

    But no Adobe, Autodesk, Maya etc.

    Life's a bitch. Then you vote.

    • But no Adobe, Autodesk, Maya etc.

      I am using DraftSight as a replacement for Autocad on Linux. Free as a beer. It is very compatible opening drawings and other Autocad related files and has 95% of features in comparison with full AutoCAD.

      • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @01:00PM (#53185041)

        A common problem is that being 99.9% compatible is not enough. As soon as a customer gets a drawing or document with messed up formatting the jig is up. If it is a MS Word 201X vs MS Word 201Y issue, management doesn't care. As soon as you mention open source, for "equivalent" or anything of the sort, you get shut down. For business it often is not worth the perceived headache to not be 100% the same as your customers or colleagues, even if the license fees look horrendous to a mere peon.

        We recently swapped all our machines from CentOS to Redhat because the vendor would not believe our bug submissions unless we used the officially supported OS. None of our bugs were OS related (we had been keeping one Redhat machine around for bug double checking, but it was becoming a hassle). According to our moles the vendor actually does all of their development on CentOS and then verifies against Redhat, but they will never admit it openly.

    • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @01:10PM (#53185159)

      Big-ish (such as Adobe) and niche consumer software vendors have had no reason to support Linux and its paltry 2% usage share, and many reasons not to, including MS platform FUD and the legal understanding of FOSS licenses.

      Apple has a reputation for supporting professionals, but this new lineup all but wipes that out. The hardware is too underwhelming to maintain the hype. Apple has finally reached the point where their obsession with aesthetic design is compromising their products' capabilities. Apple has fully abandoned "form follows function" in favor of "function follows form", and in doing so have put themselves on a path to failure.

      System76 may have experienced a traffic spike, but unfortunately it won't last once all the disillusioned Apple users realize how spoiled they've been by OSX.

    • by Holi ( 250190 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @01:36PM (#53185431)
      Not sure why you put Maya in there as they have had Linux compatibility since at least 2007.
  • That's excellent! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:04PM (#53184463)
    I'll just pop on over to System76, grab a machine, and install the Adobe suite that's necessary for doing business.
  • I recently switched from my aging MacBook Pro to a 17" HP Envy running Windows 7, because HP at least hasn't removed all the useful ports, and the older OS will run happily without a cloud. Oh, and it can run all that engineering software I need to do my work.
    • by dbialac ( 320955 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:10PM (#53184515)

      I figured out with Yosemite that Apple was moving in a direction I didn't want to follow anymore. I'm using a Surface Book these days and IMO it's the best computer I've ever used or owned.

      • "I figured out with Yosemite that Apple was moving in a direction I didn't want to follow anymore." In What way?
        • by dbialac ( 320955 )

          A few things, but it falls under nearly all of the new features didn't help me as I didn't have an iPhone nor did I want one. On top of that, the user interface overhaul left me unable to have desktop background featuring a photo because the icons lacked edges. Due to the way I perceive things, I had to consciously 'look' for icons because without edges, I just saw blobs of color blended in with everything else.

  • Who is the genius at Apple that thought of making the Power Button and Touch ID the same? It's comedic. Give that guy his own show on Comedy Central. How many people will inadvertently shut off their Mac?

    They will need a software fix. But can they make it work properly when stuff is frozen?

    • Who is the genius at Apple that thought of making the Power Button and Touch ID the same? It's comedic. Give that guy his own show on Comedy Central. How many people will inadvertently shut off their Mac?

      They will need a software fix. But can they make it work properly when stuff is frozen?

      You get a nag screen if you push the off button on a Mac much like you get in Windows and most Linuxes today. I'd be pretty surprised if inadvertently shutting the thing down via Touch ID would cause it to shut down without warning and nix all your work.

    • When you push the power button now it doesn't turn the laptop off. You need to hold it down to take effect. So I assume it will work the same and it will be difficult to accidentally turn off your computer.

    • They need a software fix for a button nobody outside of Apple (and a few tech media) has pressed?

  • When Apple stopped making their 17" laptops I jumped to Dell.

    My current machine is a M6700 with a 3940XM [], 32GB of RAM, 4 hard drives, 2 wifi cards, IEEE1394, 5x USB, eSata, Display Port, VGA, and HDMI. I've tested it with Windows, Linux and BSD and all work just fine.

    Then again it's the antithesis of what most Apple laptops are, the battery life sucks but it's a mobile workstation and I need that.

    With all those specs, new, it cost ~$5k.

    • Yes, you definitely need a laptop with 4 hard drives and 2 wifi cards.
      • Because you know my usage cycle best?

        With ZFS that gives me a mirrored 1TB pool for redundancy working anywhere. 2 SSD drives are 2 OS drives or an OS drive and scratch SSD drive.

        2 Wifi cards allows you to connect to separate networks or turn one into an access point. (For those hotels that only allow 1 device on their network at a time.)

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:13PM (#53184555)

    Pushes Some Apple Loyalists To Ubuntu Linux

    I would think that some will actually be very few. I'm a Linux fan, but I think it will only attract the very few technically aware MacBook users. Though getting better, Linux is does not match the "everything works" Apple philosophy, i.e. you buy a graphics tablet or whatever, plug it in and all your apps will work with it straight off.

    • That was my thought too... They're on opposite ends of the spectrum.

      You have Expensive, lots of hand-holding with Apple to Free (OS) and comparatively cheap hardware with no handholding with Linux. Microsoft windows sits between Apple and Linux on the spectrum. Or is, owning Apple a prescription to hating MS so willing to skip over them completely.

  • Not me (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bryan Ischo ( 893 ) * on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:14PM (#53184561) Homepage

    So I've been a Linux user since 1994, and it's been my primary development environment, and provided me a job, for 20+ years now, and for that I'm very thankful. I love developing on Linux.

    That being said, I owned a succession of Linux laptops that never worked entirely correctly before I got my retina macbook pro in 2012. I'd say 25% of system updates to my Linux distro would break something, maybe a wireless driver would get flaky, maybe X11 would crap out in some new or unusual way, maybe the battery life would be bad because some kind of battery optimization would stop working. There were ALWAYS problems, it was like living with a finicky collector's automobile that you're spending as much time tinkering with to keep it running as you are actually driving it. A major source of problems with Linux was always sleep and hibernate modes, which were clunky to engage, slow to suspend and resume, and, if they worked, almost always had caveats (I don't know how many scripts I wrote that would switch to a virtual console away from X before suspend and then back again after resume, because X would so often just die if you suspended while it controlled the display).

    Maybe things have improved, but I doubt it. On the other hand, this 2012 macbook pro has been a complete pleasure to use. EVERYTHING works correctly, I have never had a single problem of any kind with it. Tons of little details all work seamlessly together. I can close the lid and the thing sleeps, open it, and it wakes up. Never had a graphics problem or a driver problem of any kind.

    Of course I know this is because the deck is stacked in favor of Apple, who own the entire stack from hardware through operating system and up through most software. But I don't care. Because it just works, and works so well.

    That being said, I am very disappointed with the newest iteration of the macbook pro and I don't think I'll be buying one despite having assumed that I would, leading up to the actual announcement. I will just chug along with this 2012 rMBP. I will NOT switch back to Linux. I'll take a correctly functioning slower and older laptop over a fast and new machine filled with quirks and bugs.

    • Re:Not me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:29PM (#53184717) Homepage

      This. I had the exact same experience with Linux, and made the exact same switch when the Retina MacBook Pros were first released. I still use Linux whenever possible on servers, but I don't have time to screw around with my desktop and laptop machines. I need them to just work, which Apple mostly accomplishes (aside from a few relatively minor and very occasional issues).

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Things seem to be a bit better now; I had some problems with my last laptop and Ubuntu last year, mostly around hibernation. But a Dell Precision I purchased last week seems to work great with Xubuntu right out of the box -- everything just worked, from the very first boot-up. It's a beautiful machine, too.

      That still doesn't buy you a lot if you need stuff that runs specifically on OSX, although I think that most commercial stuff should at least have a windows port. I might end up feeling differently abou

  • by mortonda ( 5175 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:15PM (#53184567)

    "We experienced much more traffic than we had prepared for, the website didn't go hard down but experienced slowness." And now it gets posted to Slashdot? Way to go!

  • by Drunkulus ( 920976 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:19PM (#53184605)
    This is nothing more than an infomercial for system 76 hardware. There's not a single mention of a Mac user considering trying Linux instead of OS X.
  • Reusing an old slogan, it does work however just without the fanfare.

  • it needed to upgrade servers to keep up

    500 Internal Server Error. Apparently not enough of an upgrade. Hopefully they are better at building computers than they are at running websites. =)

  • System76 laptops sound all fine and good, they're no more ugly than the rest of the non-Mac world....

    They fail to offer the one thing I need for a computer to actually be functional for me - Run macOS. (legally, without fighting drivers and hacking kexts)
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      What application does macOS run that neither Windows nor X11/Linux also runs? The only important one I can think of is Xcode, if you happen to be employed as a developer of applications for Apple platforms.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:24PM (#53184665)
    I would venture to guess that the majority of Mac owners do not fall under the category of power users, where they would be inclined to experiment with a much less user/noob friendly platform as Linux is vs OS X. If anything they would consider Windows 10, which based on the posts at MacRumors seems to be what's happening, esp after Microsoft's recent Surface product announcements.
  • I doubt they were really so deluged with orders they had to bring new servers online after the MBP launch, but they certainly need them now that they got such a lovely fluff piece on Slashdot! I've been an Apple user for 27 years, and I'm less happy with them now than ever because they are going too far in the consumer market with the computers. But their market and System76 has a tiny overlap. But kudos to System76 for getting this marketing published on Slashdot!

  • If all you wanted was to run someone's flavor of Linux, there are plenty of non-Apple hardware options better and/or cheaper right down to a Chromebook, or you just get a pre-2014 vintage Macbook. I don't think if you really needed to run Linux and only a Linux that a nearly $2.5k Macbook Pro was the first consideration, especially if you can't swap the memory/storage/battery in it.

    The conclusions of this article make no sense outside of the context of an advertorial.
  • by el borak ( 263323 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:26PM (#53184693)

    Depending on which side of the religious divide you occupy, people buy Apple because:

    1. It offers an unparalleled user experience.
    2. They're sheeple/fanboys and have to have it.

    You've always been able to get more performance for less money, and yet they still sell. So what's the news here?

  • I'd be more curious about any bump in upgrades for existing MacBooks.

    My 2012-era MacBook Air and MacBook Pro both work fine, save for the battery in the Air and the drives in both. I was waiting to see if it'd be worth getting a new one or just spending the money on upgrades. Verdict? Upgrades for the win. Rather than spending $3-4k on new computers (and a few hundred more on all the adapters I'd need to get my peripherals working), I'll spend around $600 and have both running fine for the next few years.


  • Immediately after the Apple Keynote, famed Ubuntu laptop and desktop seller, System76, saw a huge jump in traffic from people looking to buy its machines.

    Pfft. Idiots. Good luck trying to compete when you're spending all your time escaping out of applications and powering off the machine with errant key presses and picking your emojis from a list like a bunch of animals.

    Grow up and get serious, you dinosaurs.

  • Don't forget the magic pixie dust they sprinkle in every build. That's gotta be worth a lot, right?

  • I have looked, found nowhere the same form factor as 13" macbook pro. Only big ugly laptop to be found there. I'd go with the Dell XPS 13" Developer edition that is about the same price range as the macbook.

  • by thecombatwombat ( 571826 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:45PM (#53184875)

    I can't believe this is on the front page. This is the oldest Apple flamewar ever.

    I agree, the new MBP is . . . terrible. But the idea that this Oryx "closely matches" the MBP is ridiculous beyond the CPU. They're wildly different. Apologies, but . . . apples and oranges.

    The Oryx:

    - is made of plastic
    - weighs about 40% more
    - has a much lower resolution screen
    - lacks that touch bar and expensive ARM hardware (which granted, pretty much no one, including me, wants)
    - lacks any thunderbolt, let alone two separate thunderbolt 3 controllers (the big "pro" feature in the new MBP)
    - has a smaller battery and way more power hungry components
    - an SSD that I'm pretty sure is nowhere near as fast
    - doesn't run OS X

    These are the things that jack up the price of the MBP. Whether or not they're a sensible cost proposition is very different from "see, practically the same." Apple screwed up and inflated the price with things people don't want.

    It's cool that System76 is getting a lot more attention. I think I'm about to buy a laptop, the disappointing new MBP put me over. But come on, they are not the same. One might make a lot more sense to a lot of people, but the "see I built the same thing for way less money" victory dance is just tired, and embarrassing for the front page of a site that's supposed to have editors.

  • by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:54PM (#53184975) Homepage

    I have a System76, but honestly I barely use it because it is loud and it has the worst laptop keyboard I've ever encountered (the key spacing is designed for people with HUUUGE hands and any lateral force causes the key to stick and not go down, making typing nearly impossible). And the battery life aint too hot either. The System76 is powerful, but inconvenient. I actually prefer my chromebook, which is much smaller (smaller screen, lower resolution, much less ram, much slower cpu, etc)... but far more usable.

    Apple stuff is expensive, but I wonder about people who complain about base specs all the time. 'more' is not necessarily 'better'. My dinky little chromebook has only 4G of ram but I don't even feel it when it pages to/from its SSD. There's no point stuffing 32GB of ram into a laptop, frankly. It's just a waste of power (and money).

    I will of course stuff as much ram into a box as is economically feasible, just because I'm me. I have a dual-socket xeon system with 128GB of ram, for example, and I have a broadwell desktop with 64GB of ram. Both are being used as servers and build boxes at the moment.

    But the box I currently use for my workstation only has 8GB of ram and I don't feel the paging to/from the SSD even with tons of Chrome windows leaking memory all over the place so I have been in no hurry to replace. In fact, my workstation is just a dinky old Haswell i3 box, and yet it has no problem driving two 4K monitors or playing video. It wouldn't win any prizes playing games, but then again I don't use it to play games.

    Update to present-day NVMe SSDs, which have ~3-5x the read performance of a SATA SSD, and I kinda wonder where these complaints come from.


  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @12:56PM (#53185013)

    I've been using Apple laptop hardware since the 12" PowerBook G4. My most recent purchase was in 2014. This is the first laptop release I am refusing to buy, after having said earlier this year (pre-announcement) that I would be upgrading.

    For me, the reasons have little to do with the performance-related specifications, and everything to do with what I perceive to be tremendous arrogance on the part of Apple and the particular design choices that were made that, in my view, clearly reveal their willingness to sacrifice--indeed, completely disregard--function in favor of design.

    The first problem is the removal of MagSafe. Ever since it was introduced, they've done multiple iterations of the MagSafe connector, to the point that it was even parodied by CollegeHumor, only to remove it entirely.

    The second is the removal of all ports except USB-C / Thunderbolt 3, and then charging $19 - $45 for each optional adapter, rather than including even the most basic USB to USB-C in the box. For a machine that is targeted toward professionals and can cost $3000, this is unacceptable. You need to buy the extra adapter just to have functionality that you currently have with hardware that Apple itself provided (e.g., iPhone/iPad). Then, to say that you made this design choice to improve the portability and weight of the device, is just sophistry: by making people buy and keep track of a whole slew of adapters just to recover the functionality they had before is a step backwards in portability and ease of use. To me, this indicates that Jony Ive only cares about what the machine looks like and doesn't give a fuck about how people in the real world might actually use it.

    The third problem is the lack of an included 3-prong extension cable. Yes, for a lot of people, this was optional. But making it optional out of the box means that it's one more hidden cost, especially for an adapter that already costs so much on its own. Why take it out of the box now? Is $3000 too little profit margin for Apple?

    The fourth problem, and the most telling of all, is the overall choice to limit the hardware specifications--for example, the maximum allowed RAM--on a device that does not have user-serviceable RAM, no less, simply because it would have impacted battery life. This is an outright lie, because all you should do is make the battery bigger and the device thicker. This tells us that Apple again chooses to put design first and usability and performance last.

    Why buy this product? It reeks of hubris, and this is coming from someone who, again, has been a long-time user of Apple products.

  • by cpotoso ( 606303 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @01:35PM (#53185419) Journal
    Gosh, these are not attractive laptops at all. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Also: specs leave something to be desired. 1080p displays? Come on, we are in 2016 almost 2017. If the MS Surface 4 can have 3000x2000 and cost less... Sorry, but I will keep paying the Apple tax.
  • Linux Mint for Me (Score:4, Informative)

    by DougReed ( 102865 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @02:05PM (#53185687)

    Yup. Linux has mostly caught up. I am considering moving to Linux Mint. Tim Cook and Jony Ive have ruined Apple.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire