Moving on from Linux to OSX

I recently started using a mac. Being a long time Ubuntu user, I thought it was going to be a smooth transition. I found it otherwise. I didn’t think it would be this hard. Things I never thought would have bothered me, for instance being able to tap, “Ctrl + X” to “cut” within the Finder window and paste it elsewhere. Being able to install tools via command line etc.
So here is the list of things I setup, which helped me to be more productive and IMHO more intuitive user experience.

1. Brew
Coming from Ubuntu, I got used to “apt-get” package manager. It made it very easy to manage software via command line. On mac, going through the App store and or manual install felt so old school. Luckily there were many alternatives around. One of them is Homebrew. It truly is the missing package manager for OSX.
It installs the packages in “/usr/local/Cellar”, so its easy to locate things that were installed via brew.

2. XtraFinder
If you come from Windows or Ubuntu, you probably are used to “cut”, “paste” either by keyboard shortcut or via context menu. On Mac, context menu in Finder, did not include this option. Furthermore, I could not simply ctrl+x, ctrl+p a directory or a file within finder. I heard about TotalFinder. But I wanted to see if there was any other alternative and I did find XtraFinder.
XtraFinder is a free plugin that adds these missing features to Finder. It allows you to customize other behaviors such as open the file/directory when you press “enter”. Also has snappy side by side dual pane and also tabs.

3. MenuCalendar Clock
I really liked the Ubuntu’s pull down calendar. I am so used to pick on the time in menu bar see the month. MenuCalendar clock solved this one. This is a paid app if you want to use all its features. Unregistered version gives you basic feature which is good enough for general use. Clicking on a date opens iCal, which is very neat.

4. Menu Meters
As a developer I constantly find myself looking at the system resource usage. Menu Meters provides memory, CPU, disk and network usage graph right on the menu bar. It is customizable to your needs. You can configure things you want to monitor and choose colors in the graph etc.

5. Size Up
SizeUp allows you to quickly resize and position your windows with keyboard shortcuts or a handy menu bar icon. You can move windows between workspaces, maximize, minimize, stick window to right or left etc.

6. ClipMenu
ClipMenu is a freeware tool that manages your clipboard history. It also allows you to have snippets of frequently used items.

7. Mounting NTFS with full read/write access
By default OSX mounts NTFS formatted drives in read mode. It does not allow you to write to NTFS formatted device. This is a pain if you have external drives that you use with your Windows machine etc. My search on the internet, suggested to format the drive to FAT32, which OSX does support r/w natively. But I really didn’t like that idea. There are some paid applications out there that allows you to write to NTFS formatted drives on OSX. However, I found this blog entry to be very effective. This allows you to read write to your NTFS drives, and the good thing is, its completely free!

8. Natural Keyboard on Mac
I am used to the Natural keyboard, and found typing on a mac keyboard is not the most comfortable experience. Blog linked above walks through the steps of setting up the Microsoft Natural Keyboard on a mac.

If you are trying to setup your mac to be more user friendly hopefully this post helped. Please feel free to post about any tools you may find helpful to you in the comments section.

Thats it for today.


2 thoughts on “Moving on from Linux to OSX

  1. I am a long time Linux user, but I use it in embedded systems and on the servers. I am not a Linux hater, not at all. But as an end-user desktop OS it sucks more than Windows. Please accept my condolences for being an Ubuntu user, and welcome to the Mac family!

    1. Hi Vlad,
      Thanks for your comments. I do have to say that in the last few years Linux Desktop has a come a long way. I have been a Linux user for a long time and I never had any issues. I do have to agree that using Linux required some babysitting fixes etc but doing that I learnt a lot :).
      I also use Mint Linux, and I have been blown away by how stable it is.

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