New Laptop, New Linux Distro

Having returned to running my own company, I decided it was time to retire my 5-yo MacBook Pro and get something modern to run Linux in. After careful consideration I decided on a Dell Precision M3800 since it’s actually being sold by Dell with Ubuntu 14.04 pre-installed. The M3800 is thin and light, in spite of the 15.6″ screen, robustly built and includes a 4k screen. Simply put, it is gorgeous.

I didn’t order the Ubuntu version, though, partly since I actually need Windows every now and then, but mostly because there’s the “free” Windows 10 upgrade once it becomes available, and I’m curious. Instead, I added a second hard disk for the Linux install. The extra disk can be fitted if opting for a smaller battery, and the installation didn’t void the warranty, since Dell actually accepts that people will want to tinker with their machines (beat that, Apple!).

After careful consideration, a few live USB sticks and one test install of Ubuntu, I have now set up Linux Mint 17.2 as my primary OS. It handles the HiDPI 4k screen beautifully, except for some older apps with hard-coded font sizes and such (shame on you, Skype!) and most Java-based programmes I have tried so far. oXygen is pretty much the only Java app I really need, so for now I’ve doubled every font size in the preferences, which makes oXygen usable. The toolbars are still tiny, but I am now able to work.

All in all, I’m really pleased.

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