A week with macOS Big Sur on M1

My curiosity with the new Apple Silicon M1 got the better of me, so I bought myself a base-model (8G RAM/256G SSD) Mac Mini. I’ve now had the thing for a little over a week, and used it exclusively to get through a week of work. Here are my notes on the experience.

Background

I have had a Mac before, it was a 13” Powerbook back in the days before they switched to Intel. Since then I’ve been Linux on the desktop with stints of Windows mixed in. Because of the last major stint with Windows I found my preferred desktop environment to be Cinnamon - it shares all of the Windows 10 desktop metaphors and many similar keyboard shortcuts, so it made switching back-and-forth easy. I share this because it helps explain my desktop comfort zone, and some of what I was looking to reproduce in my switch to MacOS.

clusterssh to tmux cluster

I’ve been looking for a clusterssh replacement. Clusterssh is great for quickly getting interactive shells on every node in a small cluster. This is particularly useful to tail logs on certain types of system, like a cluster of mail servers. The only problem is that it’s linux specific. I was hoping for something a little more portable, and I found this: tmux cluster

It reads the same config files as clusterssh, and makes opening synchronized tmux panes to each node in a cluster super easy.tmux cluster, tmc, mostly just works, so now instead of cssh cluster I can tmc cluster to open ssh connections to the same clusters I already have defined.

The couple of annoying behaviors I found were easily worked around with simple tmux commands. The relevant “workarounds” I found are:

  1. tmc always opens tmux in tile layout, which is less than stellar for an odd number of hosts. No worries, it’s easy to switch to another layout with the ^b-M[1-5] layout switching keybindings.

  2. tmc opens all panes in synchronize mode (which is kind of why we want it), but sometimes It’s nice to select only one node in the cluster to work with. Switching to working on a specific pane you first need to disable synchronzie-panes with: ^b :setw synchronize-panes. Then switch between panes with ^b-q[0-9]

I’m a tmux ingenue, so if my phrasing above is clumsy, well, you probably didn’t need this advice anyway ;) I find the tmx cheatsheet site to be pretty helpful.