Bit Cannon

A Tiling Desktop Environment

I’ve been thinking about graphical shells recently. One of the great things about open source desktops1 is there is a plethora of choice when it comes to graphical shells. However they seem to fall into two camps: Full featured desktop environments that stick to the conventional stacking window metaphor. Narrowly featured window manager based environments that include tools like tiling window managers often optimised for efficient keyboard use. I am currently using the second of these through the Awesome window manager. Continue reading

Two Years on Linux

This is the sixth post in my series on finding an alternative to Mac OS X. The previous post in the series recapped my first year away from Mac OS and my move to FreeBSD on my desktop computer. The search for the ideal desktop continues and my preferences evolve as I gain more experience. In this post I summarise where I’m at two years after switching away from Mac OS. Continue reading


At various points in my Finding an Alternative to Mac OS series I’ve made promises about trying Windows and writing about the experience. This is as close as I’m going to get to that post: What about Windows? Or, Windows 10 is better than previous versions and has the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) now. Regarding Windows, I should say that I am strongly biased towards *nix style operating systems and find it unlikely that I’d be happy using Windows full time. Continue reading

Stardew Valley on FreeBSD

In, A Year Away From Mac OS, I wrote about my switch to FreeBSD on my desktop computer and noted one of the downsides was losing Stardew Valley: I initially missed playing the game Stardew Valley on FreeBSD. It was consuming a few hours of my time each week prior to the FreeBSD install. The extra friction of rebooting into Arch to run the game basically stopped me playing, which wasn’t entirely a bad thing. Continue reading

Linux on ROCK64

I recently picked up a ROCK64 with 4Gb RAM to test it out as a fanless desktop computer. The ROCK64 is a credit card sized single board computer (SBC) like the Raspberry Pi. It’s available with 1, 2, or 4Gb of RAM, and optional eMMC storage in addition to a microSD slot. The ROCK64 is fairly comparable to the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ except it does not have Wi-Fi, can be configured with much more RAM and supports 4K output over HDMI. Continue reading

A Year Away From Mac OS

This is the fifth post in my series on finding an alternative to Mac OS X. A bit over a year ago I wrote about my search for an alternative to Mac OS and switch to Linux. In this post I reflect on how that year went and detail some further adventures into Mac OS alternatives. January 2017 — Linux All The Things After originally choosing to use elementary OS full time I grew frustrated with some aspects of the system and switched to Arch Linux. Continue reading

Replacing a MacBook Pro

This is the fourth post in my series on finding an alternative to Mac OS X. Part 3 was about finding replacements for some of my favourite Mac productivity apps. My migration away from Mac OS X is still going well. I rarely use Mac OS anymore. The one remaining application I’m yet to find a suitable replacement for is MoneyWell. Update 30 March 2019: I have discovered Buckets and will be trialling it as a MoneyWell replacement. Continue reading

Being Productive on Linux

This is the third post in my series on finding an alternative to Mac OS X. Part 2 was about my experience with elementary OS and the switch back to Arch Linux. I received a lot of great responses to the last post, thanks to all that commented, emailed and shared the post. I’d like to particularly call out the comment that Daniel Foré, the founder of elementary OS left on Reddit: Continue reading

Finding an Alternative to Mac OS X — Part 2 Video

I gave a short (10 min) talk at work on my adventures with Linux. It covers the same core content as the post, Finding an Alternative to Mac OS X — Part 2. Continue reading

Finding an Alternative to Mac OS X — Part 2

This is the second in my series on finding an alternative to Mac OS X. Part 1 was about evaluating 13 alternative operating systems and then choosing one to use full time. The selected OS was elementary OS. The motivation for this change is to get access to better hardware since Apple is neglecting the Mac lineup. Continue reading