First Impressions

I've now been using my "new" (i.e., second-hand and thus old!) Mac Mini for about a week, and it has been very much an enjoyable learning experience! There is much about it (and macOS) that I like a lot; there has also been much that has been mystifying or infuriating 🙂 I thought I would keep a sort-of 'diary' of things I've come across, as I came across them, so that any other Windows or Linux users out there even considering moving to the world of Apple will have at least a taste of what might be in store for them. I should emphasise that what follows is what a complete Mac neophyte (with about 40 years of Windows, Linux and Unix familiarity) is experiencing: I did once touch a G4 Mac back in about 2009, for around 20 minutes. I also once ran a drawing program for about an hour on the original Apple Mac back in 1985. Apart from those two brief brushes with the world of Apple, however, I had precisely zero familiarity with or understanding of macOS... so I came to this completely and utterly 'blind'. Long-term Mac users are probably, therefore, going to be tearing their hair out in despair at my clutzy approach to things, for which I apologise in advance: hold on to those hair follicles!

I should also perhaps explain that I have a very functional Linux PC at hand: my goal was, as far as possible, to match that experience on the Mac Mini, program for program. There may well be better programs available for the Mac than for either Windows or Linux -but learning what they are and how they work is a problem for another day. My present purposes simply require that what I do on my Linux PC I should be able to do equivalently on the Mac. Spoiler alert, however: there are already Mac-specific programs I prefer using to the open source options I've been using for years on Linux and Windows. For example, Apple Mail seems a perfectly decent alternative to Thunderbird; and Safari is a nice-enough browser that I've really cut back on the occasions when I'm running Firefox. There are probably other instances of the same sort of thing that will become apparent as I ramble on...

Finally, remember that in what follows, I'm using macOS Sierra, which is version 10.12, and was supported between September 2016 and 2019. It is, therefore, now nearly three years out of support -though that's not exactly an eon in Linux terms!

Anyway, with all that said, let's get started, in no particular order.

First Impressions

1. Trying to install software I'm used to is a trial. Things like ImageMagick are not available from the App Store, so you have to side-load them. But doing so via Homebrew or Macports merely produces a lot of errors, because the operating system is said to be "outdated" (it "expired" 2.5 years ago!). That would be like not being able to install or run Microsoft Office 2019 on a copy of Windows 7, dating from 2009 -which I've done just fine, multiple times. Or being told that your Bash script won't now run on Ubuntu 18.04 because that 'ancient' OS is no longer in support.

It is equally bewildering to this Mac newbie to know whether to side-load an application using Homebrew or Macports: both seem (usually) to be able to install the same program, but sometimes Macports will succeed where Homebrew fails (because of OS version issues, usually). In either case, the software installation process is seemingly an endless (and endlessly slow!) series of configure/make/make install commands, compiling the software from source much as you would with a tarball on Linux. It isn't a particularly nice experience, basically.

2. The dock is mystifying to me! I don't like it occupying so much bottom-screen space. I can make it smaller, which helps. But it's annoying. And it's inconsistent: why is Spotlight launched from a little magnifying glass icon in the system tray area at the top of the screen (I know it's not called that in macOS, but I'm using language I'm familiar with for now!) whereas Finder gets a place on the dock? I get why network settings, the clock and so on are in the system tray, but Spotlight seems to be quite a powerful way to search-for and launch apps and its placement on the top-bar is therefore odd to me. (Edited to add: I have since learned what the black dots are, what the right-hand side of the dock divider line is for; and -most importantly- how to switch on auto-hide behaviour. So, it now gets out of my way and I don't mind it so much).

Likewise, the difference between a vanilla dock icon and a dock icon with a black dot under it is not obvious: it doesn't seem always to mean a window for that program has been minimised, for example, though sometimes it does. The distinction between the icons on the left of the vertical spacer line and those on the right is also not entirely clear: sometimes new documents will show on the right, but newly-run programs won't. You can't click a program icon to toggle minimize/maximize of the relevant program window, either -something taskbars in Windows and Linux have done for years.

3. Launchpad seems really to be the equivalent of the Windows and Linux Start Menu buttons, in that when you click it, it displays every program you've installed, not just those with the luck to get placed on the dock. Unfortunately, the launchpad is full-screen in the style of (whisper it quietly!) Windows 8.0 or (shudder!) Gnome. The information density is woeful, basically: you can see only 28 programs at a time, in no particular apparent order. It's not alphabetical; I can't discern any other organising principle either. It's very peculiar. I've since discovered the following lines of code:

defaults write springboard-columns -int 8;
defaults write springboard-rows -int 6;
defaults write ResetLaunchPad -bool TRUE;killall Dock

That gets the launchpad displaying things in a 8x6 array of icons, and by fiddling with the specific numbers, you can get something that seems more usefully full of information. Sadly, this has the side-effect of putting all your apps on the second page of the display, with only Apple's built-in apps appearing on page 1. You can re-arrange things by click-and-holding one program icon and then dragging it to wherever you like, repeating for each program launch icon in turn... but it's a hell of a tedious way to get the equivalent of a start menu organised properly. Would it have killed them to allow program groups? Or to add a button to 'sort alphabetically'?

4. Finder is a pain in the butt. It's almost/sort-of the macOS equivalent of Dolphin or Windows' File Manager (amongst other things), but it doesn't easily display editable full paths, so apart from clicking items in the left-pane, there's no obvious way to use it to navigate around your hard disk. God knows where documents you write and spreadsheets you create end up or how you find them again later on! The Mac world seems not to take much interest in file placement on a disk, so long as it's stored "somewhere"! I quickly gave up and installed Commander One as a file manager replacement, I'm afraid: a much more Linux- and Windows-like way to prowl around your hard disk at will. (Edited to add, about a week later: I ended up ditching Commander One and replacing it with ForkLift, available for free from the App Store).

5. There seems no way to disable "deleting" things by moving them to the Trash Can. I get why some people want a delete to mean 'move to Trash and I'll empty it later after due deliberation', but on both Windows and Linux, I always opt to disable the Recycle Bin and enable instant-delete-with-confirmation. I don't seem able to do that in macOS, which is irritating.

6. Default shell is ZFS not Bash, which I can live with (because I can change it!). Worse, the supplied version of Bash is 3.something, which is ancient. Apparently, Apple won't ship anything more up-to-date because the Bash developers adopted the GPL 3.0 license around the time Bash version 4 was released, and Apple is allergic to GPL3! It's relatively easily fixed with a brew install bash, followed by a series of command-line shenanigans to make the new Bash your default Bash, rather than the outdated but built-in one. but it's a shame to have to fiddle that way. It also poses a problem for scripts written for other Unix-like systems: if you've put the shebang first line of a script as "#!/bin/bash", that will trigger the use of Bash version 3 on macOS, even if you've installed a later version. To use that newer version, the shebang line really needs to say "#!/usr/local/bin/bash"... but now the script is not cross-platform, as that location probably isn't correct for any other Unix-y OS. You don't seem able to remove the version 3 Bash and symbolically-link to the new version 5 one, either, which would have resolved the issue. Still working on how to deal with this, to be honest. (Edited to add: the fix seems to be to use a shebang line that reads #!/usr/bin/env bash and this revised line works on both Mac and Linux equally effectively as far as I can tell).

7. There is no compose key! This is practically a show-stopper, if truth be told. In Linux (or even Windows with something like WinCompose), you can type foreign characters simply by combining multiple characters into one. Thus, s and s can be composed into ß; or ' and e can be composed into é; or , and c can be composed into ç. And so on. No such functionality exists in macOS -and no third-party apps appear to provide it either, which is surprising. There are ways to type some foreign characters. Option+u+u (which is Alt+u in non-Mac language) will get you ü, for example; Option+e+a will get you á. That's already an extra keypress per character, which is bad enough. Worse, however, is that there's no way I can find to type ł or ů, just to name two. There is a 'keyboard viewer' app which will display the complete set of characters, a bit like Windows' or KDE's Character Map utility, but there seems no obvious way to copy-and-paste the characters once located (there's an option to copy 'character info', but that copies not only the character in question, but all its Unicode descriptors go along for the ride too: it's very cumbersome). There are allegedly ways to fiddle with key bindings, but the instructions I've read seem complex and convoluted and didn't work when I tried. I will have to work at this, and I shouldn't really have to. The basics are there, but clunky; the more advanced characters are just not easy to come by at all, and they should be.

The workaround I eventually adopted was a sudo port install gucharmap, which installs the Gnome character map utility, which does provide simple copy/paste of accented characters. It is still a clumsy way to have to deal with such characters, however.

Edited to add a week later: With a little effort, it's possible to re-create the Linux compose key functionality completely. I will document this shortly.

8. I had to side-load wget! That seems like a Unix-a-like utility which ought to be there from the get-go (and may be in later versions of macOS for all I know), but I had to add it via Homebrew or Macports, which seems a bit bonkers to me.

9. The default text application (cunningly named "TextEdit") has no way of displaying line numbers. Really?! Oh, and also: there's no Notepad++ (or notepadqq) for MacOS. Brackets is available for free, but it's 370MB of heavy-duty software and not the light-weight bit of programming genius that notepadqq is, for example. It is in fact written in Javascript... and it shows, from the minute it takes er... a minute to display its windows decorations, which use their own colour scheme that don't match anything else you're looking at! I'm sure alternatives exist... but they aren't so obvious that I found them first time of looking. Another item to add to the list of things I need to find better ways of achieving results, basically. (Edited to add, a week or so later: There really are few truly free, relatively lightweight text editors out there for something as old as Sierra. In the end, I found Microsoft's Visual Studio Code Editor a much better text editor than either TextEdit or Brackets, though it does rather sound like sledgehammer meeting nut time, I realise!)

10. There's no obvious way to uninstall software. If you installed it from the App Store, you can use Launchpad to display the program icon and click-and-hold the 'X' next to it to get rid of it. But if you installed it by non-App Store means, you have to use a completely different way of achieving the same thing: launch Finder, find the program icon, right-click and select 'move to Trash' -and then empty the Trash as a separate exercise, of course. Or you might be able to do a 'sudo ports uninstall program-X' or 'brew uninstall program-Y', for example... but you'll have to remember which utility you used to install what program by yourself. It's not ideal.

In short, I could do with a 'pacman -r' or 'sudo apt remove', as assorted Linux distros give you. Or Control Panel -> Uninstall Programs, like you get in Windows.

11.MacOS doesn't use the X11 server all Linuxes use to get graphical goodness on their desktops (when they're not implementing Wayland, that is!) That makes manipulating window locations using tools such as xrandr and xdotool a non-starter. Happily, one can install xQuartz to provide the missing X functionality -but I haven't yet worked out how to use xrandr and xdotool with that, either!

12. Mounting (or even accessing, via Finder) an NFS share is a pain in the butt, and required me to add in new parameters on the server side of things. Specifically, the default user account ID in Linux tends to be 1000. In macOS, it's 501. By default, therefore, the Mac user may be able to see the NFS share, but the userid will be all wrong and he or she won't actually have permission to access the share contents. Shared folders will therefore appear blank when entered. The fix turns out to be adding "anonuid=1000" to the server's /etc/exports file's lines. That is an instruction to make any otherwise-unknown user accessing the share be 'thunked down' to be userid 1000... and thereby gain permission to fully access the NFS share folders.

13. The windows controls (maximise, minimise, close) are on the wrong side! Yes, I know that's just a matter of getting used to the placement. Ubuntu had the same problem a few years back! I can at least now see why Ubuntu decided to adopt that way of decorating windows back then: they clearly wanted to be a mac-a-like! When Ubuntu inflicted that on me back in the day, it didn't take long to come up with a way of putting the windows controls back on the right side, where they should always have been. No such flexibility of control placement is available in macOS, however. Yes, I will get used to it. No, I don't enjoy the experience of having to get used to it.

The universal top menu is annoying, too: it's in the wrong place! I'm used to looking at the window that has my attention, and I expect to find program control options (File, Edit, View and so on) attached to that window. In macOS, no: the program options are permanently at the very top of the screen, detached from the window they actually control. The contents of the top bar therefore change, depending on which window has focus. I could get used to it, I think, but it's a muscle-memory problem right now.

In related news, I got flummoxed by the complex task of maximizing a program window. Linux and Windows provide little buttons (at the right of the program title bar!) to minimize and maximize. So does macOS (though at the left of the title bar!) Minimize seems to work the same on all platforms. But the macOS maximize button turns out not to be a maximize button, but a 'please go full-screen' one! In other words, when you 'maximise' a program in macOS, it takes over your entire screen, including obliterating the universal top menu and the dock. Switching back and forth to other running programs thereby becomes a problem. It took me a while to realise that the real macOS equivalent of Windows and Linux 'maximising' isn't using the title bar controls, but simply to double-click the title bar itself. That makes the program window grow to be as big as it can be without obliterating the dock or universal top menu. It's annoying to have a control provided for a function I'll seldom use; and not to have a control provided for a function I'll use all the time.

14. Zips are handled badly, I think. You don't get an 'extact here' right-click menu option, but an 'open with -> Archive Utility' sub-menu options (so, extra mouse clicks), and the zip file gets extracted 'here' anyway. There seems no way to intervene and say 'please extract over there instead!'. Presumably other unzipping utilities could step up to the plate -my go-to is generally 7zip, which can be installed as a port, but is command-line only and thus loses all that usefulness that comes by integrating well with Finder or similar file managers. (Edited to add a few days later: The Unarchiver from the App Store seems to do all that I need to do in the archive decompression field).

15. Natural scrolling?! What the hell is that all about?!! Short version: mouse scrolling works the wrong way round, out-of-the-box. You scroll the mousewheel towards you to make a page scroll upwards on Linux/Windows; you do exactly the opposite on macOS. Apparently, this was introduced to replicate touch-screen conventions, where you do indeed push a page away from you to get to the later, bottom parts of it and pull it towards you to get to the top of the page. But it's just awful with a mouse (though I suppose you get used to it!). Fortunately, I don't have to get used to it just yet: there's an option to switch it off in System Preferences -> Mouse (uncheck the 'Scroll direction: Natural' option at the top of the screen).

16. I have no experience with Thunderbolt ports. Are they USB-C? Are they DisplayPort ports? God knows. I try to keep up, but since I've never owned one before, I've never needed to bother about them too much. Now I do, as my Mac Mini only comes with only one HDMI port and one 'Thunderbolt-something' port: if I want dual monitors as I currently have under Linux (HDMI+DVI), I think I need to acquire a mini-DisplayPort-to-Full-sized-DisplayPort converter cable (I did, and it's all working painlessly and beautifully). I am not used to having to deal with completely novel hardware factors in this way, though!

17. No right-click and 'open in file manager' option when running Giocoso in a terminal. Sometimes, when Giocoso starts playing a piece of music, I notice a cataloguing error that needs a quick fix. Standard practice in Linux is simply to right-click the terminal Giocoso is running in and select 'open in File Manager'. Immediately, the file manager opens in the right folder and it's then trivial to right-click the relevant FLAC and edit it. That crucial ability to 'open a folder from this terminal's current location' is missing in macOS... or, at least, I haven't found it yet.

18. Text navigation (in a word processor, say) is whacky! I'm sure this will get better in time, as my muscle memory adjusts, but it's not Ctrl+C or Ctrl+V to copy and paste any more, but Command+C and Command+V (and 'Command' on my non-Apple keyboards is ye olde Windows key). That takes some getting used to! Worse, I've started typing Win+C and Win+V on my Linux systems, with unexpected results! Within a text document, too, text navigation is a bit odd for my tastes. In Linux/Windows, Ctrl+left arrow or Ctrl+right arrow gets you skipping words left or right. In macOS, it doesn't: you need Option+left/right arrow -and the Option key is ye even older left- or right-Alt key. Ctrl+Home or Ctrl+End to move to the very start or end of a document won't work either -but Command+left/right arrow will. So now it's all done with the arrow keys, but if Command is depressed, it jumps around the document as a whole, whereas if Option is depressed, it jumps around words within the document. It is neither right nor wrong, but definitely takes some getting used to!

19. There's no etc/fstab! Well, there is: but you have to create it yourself. By default, macOS uses graphical ways to configure mounting file systems -though I didn't find a way with them to be as flexible as I am used to. If I want to mount an NFS share in a specific local folder, for example, that seems tricky to do graphically, but /etc/fstab makes it trivially easy. That /etc/fstab still works is fine: the fact that it's not the 'supported' way of mounting file systems has me concerned the functionality it gives me might go away in future, though.

20. Last but by no means least, scheduling jobs to be run automatically is more awkward than I'd like. Yes, you can still create a crontab file and do things the old-fashioned Unix way... but I don't know how long that functionality will stick around for, since it's been deprecated for a long time. The 'new, improved' way of scheduling a job is to create text files with a .plist extension in your $HOME/Library/LaunchAgents folder. These are XML files and are thus a royal pain to read and write. Worse, if you want a job to run 4 times an hour, for example, you need to create four separate XML 'stanzas' for 'StartCalendarInterval', each taking four lines of code to define one run-time. A single line of crontab thus requires about 16 lines of XML to replicate. You then have to remember to run 'launchctl' to load your new XML file into the scheduler. It's far more cumbersome than crontab, in short -though I can see that it allows you finer control over scheduling -and monitoring of jobs- than crontab can provide, too.

Program Equivalence

As I mentioned at the start of this piece, my goal has been merely to replicate as far as possible everything I already do on my main Linux desktop PC. That meant I had to hunt down a bunch of software utilities that I presently can't do without. For the most part, this proved quite possible to do, leaving me with the overall impression that macOS can function as a good drop-in replacement for Linux. I had feared, for example, that you wouldn't be able to run anything much without paying through the nose for it: but it turns out that macOS has good open source access and it's perfectly possible to have a highly-functional Mac desktop without spending a cent.

Here are the programs I run on Linux and wanted equivalents for in macOS:

Notepadqq Text editor See #9 above. Brackets is a barely-acceptable alternative
KeepassXC Password Manager sudo port install keepassxc gets you the exact program
Thunderbird Email Client gets you the exact program
Filezilla File Transfer Protocol client sudo port install filezilla gets you the exact program (a Pro version is available in the App Store for £9, too, but not for Sierra).
Qbittorrent Bittorrent client sudo port install utorrent gets you an equivalent program
NX Nomachine Client Remote access to other graphical PCs/Servers Download and install from
LibreOffice Writer/Calc Word Processor/Spreadsheet gets you the exact program
Musescore Music composition software gets you the exact program
DeadBeef Music Player/Manager gets you a nightly build suitable for Macs, but only 10.13 and above.
Strawberry Music Player/Manager Only available for Catalina or higher. Older versions may be available, but I haven't found them
Audacity Audio editor gets you the software. Sierra is said to be too old, but it does actually work.
GIMP Graphics editor gets you the exact program (that doesn't require an X server to work)
DarkTable Photo development utility gets you the exact program, valid for all macOSes from Lion on.
VLC Audio/Video player gets you the exact program
Stellarium Astronomy program gets you the exact program, for Sierra and up.
Firefox Web Browser gets you the exact program
Chromium Web Browser gets you a version of the program, but it's unsigned and won't install
Chrome Web Browser gets you the exact program
HomeBank Personal finance software sudo port install homebank gets you the exact program, but requires xQuartz to be installed for it to work
Kid3 Graphical FLAC tag editor gets you the program, but you may need to hunt for older versions if your macOS is older: I ended up with v3.7
DB Browser for Sqlite GUI Database Management tool gets you an older version of the program

The big problem in this list is the lack of a decent, light-weight text editor with line numbers and code highlighting/editing capabilities. On Windows, Notepad++ fits that bill very nicely; on Linux, notepadqq does similarly. No equivalents for those programs seem available on macOS, which is a surprise.

For all other program requirements, however, my main problem obtaining the relevant software was knowing how to get it. Sometimes Homebrew side-loading worked; sometimes Macports would work where Homebrew would complain my macOS version was too old. But sometimes, it proved better to go to the program developers' website directly and install from there. This was true of GIMP, for example: it is available as a Macports port, but it won't work properly after installation ("Cannot open display"). A native version is available that doesn't have this problem is available as a direct download from the GIMP website/developers. The same may be true for other programs I've mentioned as ports -though in my admittedly limited experience, the website downloads often require a minimum version of macOS that I don't have (Filezilla, for example, demands High Sierra (10.13), not mere Sierra (10.12), so Macports is the only way of getting that on my system for now).

I should note, too, that Firefox and Chrome were installed only because I need to check my website runs on multiple browsers. Safari is actually pretty good and I've adopted it as my main browser quite easily. I normally wouldn't touch Google's Chrome with a bargepole, instead opting to install the equivalent but open source (and de-Googled!) Chromium. Unfortunately, trying to download Chromium involves visits to sites declaring the program to be 'very buggy'... and macOS refuses to run the program after installation on security/signing grounds. So Google's Chrome it had to be... but it won't be used much!

Thunderbird appears in the above list, too, because it's what I'm used to: but the Apple Mail client works well and looks good, and I don't think I'll be using Thunderbird going forward.

Kid3 is an invaluable way to view and edit FLAC tags in a GUI way. It runs on macOS, but the current version complains if you're running on a too-old version of macOS, so an older version of the application may be required. Even then, macOS will probably object to running the program, as it comes from an 'unidentified developer'. That is fixable in System Preferences -> Security & Privacy. On the General tab, Kid3 should be listed as blocked: you simply click the option to open it anyway. Clearly, that's not ideal from a security perspective: paid-for Mac alternatives exist, of course (such as 'Meta'), if it bothers you.

DB Browser for Sqlite is an absolute deal-breaker for me -and the current version (3.12.2) won't install on Sierra. Obviously, a more modern Mac Mini and/or a newer version of macOS would help here, but in the absence of that, I was at least able to download version 3.10.1 and that runs nicely and looks fantastic. Crisis thereby averted.

A Word About X

If you need to run X applications (or run scripts which use X Server utilities, as my own Giocoso does), you'll need to be aware that Apple stopped shipping X11 with their operating system quite some time ago. Instead, they handle the display of windows on a desktop using a graphics software layer called 'Quartz'. Fortunately, a community-developed xQuartz package replicates X11 functionality on macOS and is freely available as follows

1. Visit and download the latest version of xQuartz
2. Run the program from a terminal for the first time: that should trigger xQuartz to launch automatically
3. Eventually, the program window will display
4. When it does so, an 'X' icon will appear in the dock. Right-click it and add it to the Dock permanently.
5. You can then right-click the X icon and add the program you really want to run (such as Homebank) that depends on X11 to the context menu.

Once you've taken that Step 5, you'll now be able to launch the 'real' program directly, by right-clicking the X icon and selecting the program from the context menu that appears under 'Applications'. It means I can run Homebank, for example, by point-and-clicking dock items, rather than by typing the program name in a terminal (which also works, though). It's a fairly clunky way of doing things, I think, but workable.


The conclusion I draw from all the above is that macOS is a nice platform to run on, and it's perfectly possible to wing things so that it ends up a reasonably faithful representation of a Linux (or Windows) desktop. There are muscle-memory annoyances, of course, but they aren't show-stoppers. The text editor situation is pretty dire, but I'm sure something can be worked out in the long run -and Brackets is sort-of workable in the meantime. The Bash versioning situation is more serious, but it too can be worked around. That crontab has been deprecated as a way of automating/scheduling work is also a pain ...but it can be lived with.

I think my major gripe with macOS is that Apple releases a new version every September ...and only supports a given version for three years from its initial release date. They also clobber you from the opposite end of things: your hardware might run just fine, but at a certain point, they declare 'it won't run any macOS release after version X'. The official last version of macOS my second-hand 2012 Mac Mini can run, therefore, is Sierra, released in 2016 and fell out of support in 2019. I can apparently try installing later macOS versions on it, but there's no guarantee they'll work reliably. Now, you may say that to support an operating system in 2019 on a machine that was released in 2012 is actually pretty good long-term support. But I only just recently installed Windows 7 on a 2009 PC (don't ask!) and everything about it works fine and all my Windows applications, right down to Microsoft Office, work fine too. That's a 2009 OS running on a 2009 PC, running 2022 applications. The Apple approach seems quite bonkers to me, therefore! I get that with Windows 11, Microsoft is now being every bit as bonkers by declaring obsolete CPUs released only a couple of years ago... but they haven't made a habit of it. Apple, meanwhile, have been doing this sort of thing since the initial release of OSX in 2001. They have form in being bonkers!!

But that aside, I like the macOS experience and it is already comfortable to me, at least from an application software perspective. I admit to being slightly surprised at this! I rather suspect that it's macOS's BSD underpinnings that makes it feel such a good fit for this particular ex-Linux nutter!

An important take-away for me, however, is that when the Other Half's Windows 10 experience comes to an end in 2025 (which is, allegedly, when support for Windows 10 will end -though we'll see whether Microsoft walks that one back), I know I won't have to say 'you either buy a new PC so you can run Windows 11, or you start running Linux'. There will instead be a third, sensible option to suggest: 'buy a cheap, second-hand Mac Mini and run macOS, because it will run all the software you're used to, though with a need to re-train your muscles to click in places you don't quite expect!'.