Resuming the Linux Laptop Lifestyle

Resuming the Linux Laptop Lifestyle
Photo by Gordon Dymowski

Earlier this year, I was looking forward to working with my Linux-powered writing laptop. After discussing how I revived several laptops with Linux distros, I managed to be highly productive with thirteen-year-old hardware. Even taking on paid work wasn't an issue; my Windows laptop focused on work product (some software I use is proprietary to Windows), while my Linux laptop focused on creative endeavors...at least, until June.

My Linux laptop began overheating (it was an older model) and one of the screen/cover hinges fell apart, making it unusable. So my mission because finding - and converting - a new laptop for both writing and creative efforts. My overall goal was still the same: a writing/self-publishing machine that would allow me to craft articles and fiction as well as regular blog posts. Thanks to COVID-19, my normal backup plan of purchasing a machine through Free Geek Chicago was out of the question. (They were closed at the time; they have reopened since then). So I did what anyone else would do: purchase a refurbished laptop.

chicago-now-linux-3-header

(You may be wondering why I did not just use my Windows laptop for writing and work. Since I am often working with client materials that are not for public consumption, distinguishing between the two helps me stay focused and productive. Plus, my work laptop, a low budget model purchased at Walmart, has a keyboard that doesn't quite respond to my fast typing speed - I have to wait about forty-five seconds before I see typed text appear on my keyboard).

My laptop of choice, after considering various models, was a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad T530. It helped that I was already looking for a Linux-friendly model, but found a great deal via eBay. With a quad-core processor and 12 gigabytes of RAM, this machine was more powerful than I expected. (My last Linux laptop was a dual-core with 4 gigabytes of RAM). Although it has been upgraded to version 20, I chose to reinstall Linux Mint 19.3 - it hasn't given me any problems and runs very smoothly. Although there are some deficiencies in my Thinkpad (which lacks a Bluetooth card and requires a dongle for connectivity), it works well...especially the keyboard. Many laptop users claim that typing on a Thinkpad is like driving a race car.

I'm writing this blog post on my Thinkpad, and the hype is true. It's refreshing to see my words appear as I type...but I digress.

Linux Lenovo Thinkpad T530 With Stickers

Photo by Gordon Dymowski

Having used my Linux laptop regularly for writing in the past two months, I'm finding Linux to be an extremely reliable daily driver. Working with Windows can be frustrating even after "debloating" the operating system. (Many of the privacy concerns around Windows 10 do not make it easier.) However, I have to acknowledge that several software packages that I rely on are Windows-only and do not have any open source equivalents. However. using a separate laptop for work may seem like a luxury (especially in current time), but there is comfort in moving from one laptop to another as a way of indicating that "work" is over. Plus, the Lenovo Thinkpad is a business laptop designed to be sturdier and more customizable, making it ideal for writing and self-publishing.

It would be impractical for everyone to switch over to Linux-based operating systems, but it makes a great way to revive older hardware and extend the life of a given machine. My previous Linux laptop had been initially released in 2008, purchased (refurbished) in 2013, converted to Linux in 2016, and fell apart (to be recycled) in 2020. My Linux-powered Thinkpad model was initially released in 2013 and purchased refurbished in 2020. At a time when recycling and repurposing older hardware is becoming more economically feasible, Linux provides a great opportunity to not only save money but also stay productive and learn about hardware functions.

Please leave your comments below or join the conversation via our Facebook page. Email me directly via this contact page.

And as always, thanks for reading!

Leave a comment