My brother will buy his very first laptop soon. He was saving for a MacBook Pro, but hearing me go on about Apple being PRISM-compliant and about how open source software is awesome, he’s open to new options.
His main argument to buy an M1 is that there is currently no chip nearly as good (in terms of energetic efficiency). And I see that he has a point there.
However, I was also kinda hoping he’d use his savings for a Framework laptop running Linux. Regarding those computers, my biggest hope is that they’ll eventually run good RISC-V chips, chips that can be easily be changed with a simple module change. But that may be a long time from now, maybe decades.
Another option I thought about was him buying the M1 and fighting his way to install a Linux distro that supports all the M1 MacBook hardware. He’ll have a really fast and efficient chip, as well as a good system!
But the main objection for this is that the M1 is not really future proof… like, it is guaranteed that in the next two years the much better M2 will be put into the MacBook Pro. That improvement isn’t trivial; it’ll be a 20% reduction in transistor size. But apart from quick changes, it’s possible that the novelty of the M1 is problematic. For example, I was reading about a vulnerability in the M1s because of not having adopted a particular instruction set in the very basic operations of the chip. It’s almost as if this M1 is an early-adoption technology, if that makes sense.
Anyway, those are the considerations that I have about my brother’s computer… hopefully we’ll have more clarity by the time his classes begin. Do you have anything that could help us achieve that clarity? Or even muddle the waters a bit more in an interesting way 🙃?
Thanks for all the comments! They spurred lots of discussion and some changes of hearts!
So, I was really looking forward to getting a Linux-first machine, but two things happened.
One was that there were few options (due to the chip shortage probably?): System76 Pangolin not available, TUXEDO quite expensive (and only integrated or Nvidia graphics), Slimbook Titan quite expensive, Slimbook X15 without dedicated graphics (or Nvidia I forget which).
The other thing that happened was a friend having us consider the possibility of getting a pure-AMD machine. Since AMD has open source drivers (unlike Nvidia), they will probably work with Linux without much of a hassle. He’d also keep having the option of a dual-boot with Windows, to work with non-Linux software (in case he needs that for school). Such computers could be those with the ‘AMD advantage’ (AMD CPU and GPU), though they’re a bit pricey. Yet this is his money and he’s very excited about gaming in them!
This is the most likely route. So, no longer Apple. I would’ve liked to support Linux-first machines, but I guess AMD was the winner here?