Building a desktop for CLI use.


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Dec 6, 2022
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Warning::Long winded intro.

I moved exclusively to Linux back around the turn of the century, specifically when Red Hat 7 came out. It was the first that I found that could make a real desktop for general use. Windows (XP I assume) was abandoned forever except for a bit of below-mentioned research. Several years later, and really being into movies for most of my life, and trying to find or make programs for display/saving/ripping, and finding absolutely nothing that would work consistently in either Windose or Linux, I bought a just announced Mac Mini. It worked great for such collections.

Over the next 10 years my Apple use expanded and became my main desktop, with Linux connected via Samba and SSH/SCP for execution of code. I enjoyed that fact that Apple hardware was the best of all (hold the flames, I am talking about build quality, not claiming that their stuff is the best on the market). It is/was solid and reliable. (Well mostly. Lets not discuss the butterfly keyboard and other Jony Ives form over function crap).

All of my programming is in the CLI world and really down in the silicon, with C and Perl controlling connected hardware stuff through USB or the parallel port.

My current setup is still the same. Three monitors on a Mac Studio. A Pro XDR, Studio Display, and a cheapo 21 incher Onn that just holds static images for occasional inspection. Text resolution is of maximum importance and this pair of Thunderbolt displays are beautiful in that regard. I care less about framerate. (I won't mention the ridiculous price tag on these Apple monitors - I have purchased really nice autos in the near past for less.) The edited code feeds either of a pair of huge and old Xeon PCs that are solid as bedrock and run whatever the latest version of Debian is. (12 for now).

Preamble over. I am getting really tired of Apple's desire for change apparently just for the sake of change. Anytime a new version of Macos is released, the suspense is gripping, to say the least, as I wait to see what now doesn't work. And something ALWAYS doesn't work. Their engineers will move this framework over there, that utility somewhere else, and your linked containers to some obscure and almost undocumented place that can only be found by a ten inch line of GREP. There is never an obvious reason.

Again, I am tired of it, totally. So, I would like to move back to a Debian Linux desktop but I need big displays and really crisp text. Thus far, my experimenting has been expensive and without good result. Most monitors are labeled for "Gaming," whatever that means video-wise, and will display text like a 1960's Etch-A-Sketch. Experimentation in using these fine Apple TB monitors has been an utter failure so far, and the best 27" 4k that I have tried still doesn't cut it. (And there is the problem that the stand on this expensive monitor was designed by the factory parking lot attendant and requires a block of wood under the panel to keep it from continually falling forward.) I borrowed a big curved-around display (huge, about 40 something inches) that I really drooled over until I saw that to read anything textwise without eye damage, the font had to be about 70 or 80 points.

So, I am asking any Linux user who stays in the text world mostly, what they have found to be usable on the eyes. Thunderbolt would be preferred, but good multiple HDMI displays will work. Preferably BIG. 32 inch would be great.

Thanks all.

So, I would like to move back to a Debian Linux desktop but I need big displays and really crisp text.
I currently have Debian/KDE (Wayland) running on an 9-yr old high-resolution Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop. I have maximum resolution set at 3200x1800 (makes everything tiny), and then I have scaling set at 250% (max is 300%), which brings the size back into a pretty good readability range.

Although I do not have a critical eye for graphics/video.... this setup is noticeably easier on my eyes (sharper and crisper text in GUI windows, menus, and terminals). Perhaps it's even KDE's choice of fonts that are helpful, I don't know.

It would be easy enough for you to test with a Debian/KDE Live USB, if you haven't tried KDE and Wayland yet. Or MX/KDE which is based on Debian (without systemd). It was MX/KDE where I first noticed this improved screen quality over other distros and desktops.

My current setup is still the same.
Did you mention your GPU? If yes, TL;DR and missed it. Seems like something to be considered, even though it worked okay for you with the Apple monitors.

Good luck!

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