Not A Review: System76

I don’t usually do product reviews. Not that I’m against them, but this isn’t that kind of blog. I don’t buy or use a wide enough variety of computing equipment to have a valuable opinion. The truth is, as long as my personal computer is fast enough, I don’t have much reason to care about the nuances of processor tradeoffs, bus speeds, and the subtleties of graphics cards. Developing code actually isn’t very demanding in terms of hardware and when the code I write is deployed, it’s usually on swarms of anonymous generic servers managed by people I’ve never met.

What does matter at all levels is the operating system. The OS is the real computer. From inside a computer program you normally cannot see the hardware (unless you’re in a very esoteric field of programming.) All your code sees is the pretty face the OS puts on it. Still less can a user see the hardware. As long as there’s plenty of CPU and disk, the main thing you are aware of is the windowing system and the terminals. You occasionally have to do things that look like they involve hardware, like mounting disks, but even then, what you see is a layers-deep idealization provided by the operating system.

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