After a couple of months here's the ugly:
No effort (there haven't been that many more) to get the NVIDIA drivers to work has proved successful. The Nouveau drivers are fine, I guess, except that VMWare barks about them and Photoshop is apprently not really happy. (Photoshop, I hear you ask? More on that in a moment.)
You can run the laptop with just its built in LCD display. And you can connect it to an (actually one or more) external display(s). But you cannot disconnect it. If you do, the LCD goes all wonky and you have to press Ctrl+Alt+F1 then type your username then your password then “sudo shutdown -r now” then your password again. All completely blind.
Although suspend and resume work, hibernate (suspend to disk so you can switch batteries) apparently does not. I was sure it did when I first tested it, but it has failed the last couple of times that I've tried.
Running WebEx, the corporate preferred group meeting/desktop sharing environment, requires 32 bit Firefox and 32 bit Java. (FFS, could you get with the program, please, Cisco?) In theory, I think I could make this work with a chroot jail, but I haven't been successful. I have installed the 32 bit versions of Firefox and Java in
/usr/local/webexso that with the right environment variables, I can get it to work.
Except Firefox insists on looking in
/usr/lib/jvm/for Java even when I've told it where to find Java. So before I start WebEx, I have to sudo mv /usr/lib/jvm /usr/lib/xxx and I have to remeber to put it back afterward.
Wireless is unreliable. This is a new development. Over the last couple of weeks, Linux has disconnected from the wireless and decided that it wasn't availble anymore. No amount of poking (networking restarts, etc.) that I've done have proved useful. Rebooting fixes it, but WTF?
In fairness, there's good:
It's fast. Rarely do I push it hard enough to make it swap at all. Compiles of big programs (like MarkLogic server) take a single digit number of minutes instead of tens, several tens, of minutes.
It reboots really fast. Emacs remembers my editing state, Chrome remembers my browsing state. It's really not that big a deal to reboot.
At the risk of repeating myself, I really like the pointing stick. I have to admit that this is mitigated slightly by the fact that I also really like two-finger scrolling on the trackpad. But that means I have to leave the trackpad enabled. And that means my palm brushing on it is a real PITA.
Also repeating myself: focus follows mouse. Really. That's what $DIETY intended. Though it's a bit awkward in the Windows VM because it's not what Windows intended.
Coming back to the aforementioned Photoshop comment. I confess, I resorted to running a few applications (Outlook for work, Photoshop, Lightroom, and sometimes Evernote) in a Windows VM. That's sort of ok. I created a VM with 16GB of memory for photography and I run Lightroom and Photoshop in there. VMWare notices that I don't have hardware accelerated video (because I'm running the Nouveau drivers) and barks. Photoshop also barks. Not always, but I'm occasionally warned that one feature or another isn't available because the drivers aren't up to snuff.
I'm not sure I'd recommend what I've done. I like fiddling. (I'm “adorkable” as one of my friends likes to say.) But the wireless thing could break me. And Tim Cook did make me smile recently.
One possible course of action is to hold my nose and run Windows on the hardware, moving all of my actual work into a VM that I just run in “full screen” mode. Maybe I could live with that.
Maybe I should just get one of those MacBookPro 15”ers with the retina display.