Debian Linux Saves Me Serious Money Verses a New iMac

The view into iMac land is a little hazy looking forward these days. My beloved, at least eight year old iMac is becoming a one program at a time computer. I think Apple has allowed their software to become so bloated, that it is in its own way, provides planned obsolescence by software bloat.

I was considering buying a new iMac. I wasn’t splurging, I was looking at a 21.5″ model that could take at least 16 gigabytes of memory. Apple however is playing games with this model. Under powered under ram supplied for a lot of money, or what is needed for almost five-hundred dollars more.

Don’t get me wrong, Apple makes awesome computers. Normally, a new iMac could be expected to be around perhaps ten years in most cases. This year, that may not be the case. Apple also has what is now a very small slice of the computer market. Since Apple has declared they will be moving away from the Intel platform and will start using ARM chips, the fate of a current iMac purchase is questionable in my opinion, though several known writers disagree. Only Apple holds the crystal ball for their products.

Plus there is the software problem. IMac software offerings, compared to almost any other platform beyond an e reader is minute. If there is a program you want, it is probably expensive. With a few exceptions, the program you really want runs on a Windows PC. That being said, if it works for you the iMac is the best computer out there, bar none. Once again however, it is time for me to leave iMac land behind.

After some thinking about what I really want on my old and slow iMac, it is the security. iMac’s because they have such a small market share are fairly immune from being hacked. There are better and easier targets out there. I use a program that is a sibling of Notational Velocity, a simple to use note storage program. I store everything important in it. Passwords and other information I want to keep on hand for easy access.

This is my expensive new iMac substitute. On my Windows PC, I installed a Linux distribution that offers disk encryption. Any time the computer is not on, the data is encrypted. The distribution I picked, Debian Linux, is one I have used for years. It is rock solid, and only has a little more than the minimum wanted software.

Stodgy and initially bland, Debian Linux is a superb Operating System

I installed Zim Wiki for notes my passwords and notes storage. I like Zim Wiki because in Linux at least each note is stored independently as a text file. Zim Wiki also makes my notes easy to find. I can remove Zim Wiki and still have the notes files.

Last but not least, and this may be overkill as my computer is behind a router, I installed a firewall. The firewall, named GUFW is about as painless and brainless as humanly possible to use. It is installed and turned on. Set it and forget it. Turn it on and turn it off if you need occasional access to a local network.

The short term downside to all this is looks. Debian Linux, though rock solid is ugly starting with the really boring blue/green/grey wallpapers. I will spend some hours improving it’s looks starting with a dock named Plank. Plank is a simple to use dock where you can add and launch programs from.

All in all, I am trading some hours of improving the looks of the desktop for the price of a new imac. I think I can afford the hours. Debian Linux is not a friendly distribution. There is no big happy forum where people will regurgitate the same information over and over. MX Linux, one of the hottest Linux Distributions available today, is Debian Linux based, and four times the correct choice for most users. It is a matter of choice, though. Install Debian and add and remove a few programs, or use another Linux Distribution adding a few favorite programs, and removing many most users will never use.

If it wasn’t for the shortfalls of what an iMac offers me based on price and my needs, I would be purchasing a new iMac tomorrow. For a few hours tweaking, I am saving some serious money for computer security and ease of use which provides more value for my needs and wants.

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