TFA mentions the following software that runs just fine on Linux:
* Google Services
* Google Calendar
* Adium: Pidgin
* TextWrangler/BBEdit: GEdit, Emacs, Vim
* Mail.app replacements: GMail's web interface
replaced these long ago.
* Evernote: Can be used via the limited web
* iStat Menus (which I bought)
* Witch window switcher
External hardware generally works when plugging it into my mac, unlike the incredibly irritating experience of trying to get a webcam to work with my Linux laptop.
My mac never updates its kernel without updating its nvidia drivers, forcing me to reboot and select an older kernel in grub.
My mac never suddenly disables my ability to log into GNOME, forcing me to log an as root if I want a GUI.
If I want to output from my mac to a TV, I can do this without editing Xorg.conf (or whatever the fuck it was called), occasionally fucking up and having to reboot in text mode and restore it.
Sound works. Always.
My macbook pro also seems better at power management than my old laptop, which was itself better at power management when it ran windows.
Of course, going back to Windows after 3+ years on OSX is no option, so I looked into Ubuntu. I use Ubuntu on a machine at work and have been very impressed--we've certainly come a long ways since the dark days of Slackware `96! I am enough of a "power user" that I could weather the switch just fine; really the only thing I would miss is iTunes since I have two iPods.
Anyways, I started Googling around on the topic of "hp envy 14 +ubuntu". And that's when I was instantly transported back fifteen years to the days, weeks, months I spent tinkering with past laptops in order to get everything working on them under Linux. I had all but forgotten about 30-page hardware HOWTOs on getting Linux to work with your specific laptop; the 20% battery penalty you pay because pm never quite works; the inability of some things, usually network and sound cards, to wake from sleep; the lack of hibernate; buggy graphics drivers; etc. etc. etc.
I am aware that the situation has improved considerably since then, but problems still remain. I just don't have the time like I did in my teens and early 20s. Or rather, my time is worth considerably more now--I'm happy to pay the Apple tax if it means I don't have to deal with this shit.
That said, if some major HW manufacturer ever came out with a completely supported laptop with Ubuntu preloaded, working power management, graphics drivers that do what they are supposed to, etc., I would totally bite. (I am aware the some, e.g. Dell, have done so, but when I see warnings like http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/p/... it's evident that they half-assed it. What I'm after is a full-assing.)
Then I realized ubuntu would only recognize 3GB of my 8GB of RAM. (Yeah, it's a 32bit kernel but wtf? My 32bit OS X kernel recognizes all the RAM and 8gb isn't that uncommon nowadays.)
So I googled and found there was the option to install the PAE kernel (alternative would be to reinstall the 64bit ubuntu). So I fired up the packet manager, installed the PAE meta package, rebooted and nothing worked. My NVidia and Broadcom wireless drivers were not updated. X wouldn't start up.
So after fiddling with the X config files I got X to run again (by removing the nvidia stuff). Only to discover that my wifi card wouldn't work. I tried to reinstall the drivers but the jockey driver tool quitted with some obscure error message like "error, there was an error. see error logs." ... the error logs had something like "couldn't install wifi driver". (NVidia drivers wouldn't install because I wasn't connected to the internet but the error message stated that clearly.)
I went to bed and haven't tried again to get it running. I guess I will install the 64bit version when I got time to play around. (But I have a strange feeling that there will be problems with flash.)
Maybe a little rant to defuse my inflammatory comment:
I was really impressed by Ubuntu. I remember the times when I couldn't get copy and paste working between Netscape Navigator and a text editor. I remember when it was almost certain that I wouldn't get sound with my exotic non-soundblaster card. I remember when I had to fiddle hours with X-Setup to get a graphical environment.
Linux has come a long way. I certainly didn't expect Ubuntu to support something like keyboard backlight or the extended function keys of my Apple Notebook. But it did. The Desktop environment is really thought through and usable. I love that chat integration with the Desktop. I love that the 32bit version had installed binary blob drivers so I could just enter my wifi password and was online.
Nevertheless I chose the "dumb user easy linux" and went the recommended road. And that's why there's a bitter taste to it that something like updating the graphics drivers to a new kernel was not done for me, the dumb user, automatically.
But it's nice to see that there's an alternative to OS X for my Macbook if Apple should ever decide to completely fuck up OS X or to deprecate my hardware too soon.
I use a Linux desktop every day, and if I had to pick just one OS, it would be Linux hands down. However I too have a MacBook Pro which I love. It's true that MacOS has polish that is lacking in Linux - it's hard to match the fruits of Apple's unique position of being able to match their hardware and software so closely.
I'm pretty satisfied with my current set up, a Linux desktop paired with a Mac notebook.
They're not the only reasons, but the industrial design and battery life of Apple notebooks are quite compelling.
This... can cause issues with pro-mac network admins, one had a minor freak-out when the first thing my buddy did with his 2.5k laptop was to use a 3rd-party bootloader to remove all traces of OS X.
I took a quick look at the list, and found myself only using a TextEdit replacement (MacVim) and a QuickTime replacement (VLC). Even these two are not really replacements but more like complements.
A Mac is the only machine that I can start hacking after installing one application - MacVim. Even easy_install is built in.
Why not use both (as I do)? Local backup is faster; remote backup is ostensibly safer from disaster. Oh, and Time Machine is invaluable if you're upgrading your boot drive or are surrendering your Mac to AppleCare.
Maybe I haven't been with Ubuntu long enough to see through these slight details, but they make all the difference for me.
Another solid advantage is that when you hit a wall on Ubuntu and start googling around for a solution, you typically need to sort through several pages of "What's your configuration". On OS X, there is no such issue.
Disclaimer: I'm probably not a power user by HN's definition.
That said, more and more I'm moving to the cloud for doing things that aren't Emacs or a shell, and I'm thinking that Ubuntu and a tiling wm are all I'd really need to be productive. I've tried in the past but it just never seems to gel for me in terms of usability.
If you actually use expose and drag and drop on a Mac (e.g. try dragging a file to a choose file button in a web browser) you'll quickly realize just how far behind every other OS is. It's not just that the Mac has deep UI advantages over Windows/Linux/etc., but that it's had them for ten years and it's ingrained into the DNA of third party apps.
That's pretty harsh and rings of fanboy-speak. Have you tried Ubuntu recently? Compiz (which has been around for 5 years) replaces and dare I say improves on expose, and you can drag/drop files into choose file buttons.
Yes, I know you said it's the long-lasting/deep integration that makes those features compelling, but I fail to see any examples of that integration that warrants such a negative blanket statement.
And what's more, you can drag the icons from application titlebars and it has the same effect! Try it with icons in file browser trees inside 3rd party OS X apps, AND IT STILL WORKS! Try dropping the icons directly onto textfields that are meant to contain file paths (ones bound to browse buttons) AND IT STILL WORKS!
This is what having a consistently applied collection of user interface controls, and the first party devs dogfooding them, does for an OS.
For me that's where the road in the long term is going. At the moment Ububtu is still a little to rough for everyday use (for me at least). But I give it another one or two years and the quirks will be gone.
And then it will be: tiling WM + terminal + vim (and a browser). Tiling WMs are just too productivity friendly to pass up on. :]
I'm currently looking for "my" tiling WM and am overwhelmed by the amount of available tiling WMs. Awesome-WM vs XMonad?
* iTunes (and its iPod sync'ing)
I've found digikam ( http://www.digikam.org/ ) to work pretty well. Never really cared for iPhoto though.
Keynote, again never really used it. I hear it's much nicer than the MS equivalent.
The wife likes GarageBand and it does seem to be a pretty sweet app. Not really sorta thing so I don't really know of any replacement for it. Audacity is the only thing that comes to mind and it's not exactly the same kinna thing.
Renaming a file on OS X requires you to single-click the file name, wait a second, and then change the file name. If you have to rename a bunch of files, that's a ton slower than Ubuntu or Windows. (If anyone is going to suggest dropping to the command line, I'd answer that's not a very OS X solution)
OS X uses THREE keyboard modifiers? REALLY? And they aren't even named? I have to actually look at my keyboard and think about what it what. Nevermind if I'm using a Windows keyboard on a Mac Mini or something...
Right clicking is inconsistent, and the context menus rarely have what I want (like, oh, renaming a file?). This is probably why they have 3 keyboard modifier buttons.
Safari is not nearly as good as Chrome is.
Multiple desktops is trivial on Ubuntu. In fact, it's preinstalled that way.
(There's lots more stuff that irritates me, but I'm actually on Ubuntu right now, and it has allowed me to forget such nonsense)
I'm not saying Ubuntu doesn't have issues, but given that Ubuntu is free (in both senses) and runs on hardware I can select piece by piece and get a much better machine for a fraction of the cost... I seriously doubt I will ever have more than a single development Mac.
Select file, hit return, rename, hit return. Go to next file. Are you going to say Windows's F2 dance is faster?
> OS X uses THREE keyboard modifiers? REALLY?
No, 4. Is that supposed to be news? Windows also uses 4 keyboard modifiers, and Gnome uses at least 3.
> And they aren't even named?
Shift, control, option (alt), command.
> and the context menus rarely have what I want (like, oh, renaming a file?).
Ever considered opening the Get Info dialog? No? Thought not.
> Multiple desktops is trivial on Ubuntu. In fact, it's preinstalled that way.
So is it on OSX. I'd even say it's more trivial, as you can switch to an application living on a different desktop, it will just switch to the right desktop. Not so in Ubuntu.
Is that true? I'm an Ubuntu user and that always works for me, but I suppose I perhaps checked that setting in Compiz and forgot about it, so it wasn't like that by default.
I also don't know what the Windows F2 dance is. I can right click and choose Rename from the context menu, or right click and press M, or press the stupid context key on the keyboard and then press M.
2) I didn't count Shift. Oh well. Windows doesn't use that Windows key in the same way. There are no context menus with that key as it's listed shortcut, and I've never seen an application that uses it.
3) Control and command are WAY too similar, especially since historically the F keys are also called "command keys". Option/Alt has two names? And what is what that weird symbol that represents it in the context menus?
4) Get Info? Sure. It's a Properties window. Wow.
5) I use AWN on Ubuntu, so I didn't realize Gnome doesn't take you to the right desktop when you click on a window in their task manager. In fact, I still only have your word for it.
Besides, I didn't say OS X was bad, I just said it wasn't good enough to justify me switching to it for triple the cost.
Yet you had no problem whining about how it's impossible to rename files on OSX. Great.
> I assumed that pressing Return would, you know, open the file.
You assumed wrong. You should stop assuming stuff like that.
> How do you open the file from the keyboard, then?
Command-O or Command-down.
> I also don't know what the Windows F2 dance is. I can right click and choose Rename from the context menu, or right click and press M, or press the stupid context key on the keyboard and then press M.
So... you like making your life harder than it should be?
> Control and command are WAY too similar,
> Option/Alt has two names?
Its name is "Option Key", but in non-OSX software it maps to Alt. As a result, the key is stenciled with both "alt" and the option key symbol.
> And what is what that weird symbol that represents it in the context menus?
The unicode character U+2325 called "OPTION KEY". Seems fitting isn't it?
> I didn't count Shift.
You didn't count AltGr either.
> Oh well. Windows doesn't use that Windows key in the same way.
True, Windows generally does not provide many ways to reach variants of existing actions. Which is the point of the Option key (that and AltGr's: provide supplementary character mappings on the keyboard).
> Get Info? Sure. It's a Properties window.
And one of the properties of a file is its name.
> Besides, I didn't say OS X was bad
Oh come on, your whole comment screamed it.
Regarding "not a very OS X solution", I would just note that a "power user" is going to be on the command line all day long in Mac OS X, like any UNIX. Terminal.app is very capable, iTerm is there if you prefer, and many more technical users on the Mac will be using more powerful Finder replacements like PathFinder (that have built-in slide-out terminal panes), or using the excellent D-Term, which pops up a HUD-style one-shot command line in the context of wherever you happen to be in the GUI.
There's at least one other way to do it - single-click on the file, press enter, then type the new name.
Yes, but you're ignoring a pretty steep learning curve for the last two.
1) People who occasionally want to open/save plain text files: Gedit works just fine.
2) Programmers, who should know one of Emacs or Vim out of hand. I totally get that some folks like using TextMate all day, and that GEdit has some great programmers' features now, but if you know emacs/vim, you'll never be on a machine where you can't get an editor you know.
Infact, most of the questions on http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=votes are worth checking out. It'll make life a lot easier (at least it made mine).
The whole eco system of applications on the Mac makes me think that switching over from an ArchLinux box to a Macbook Pro was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Aside from using Chrome, Quicksilver and Emacs, I find most of the other listed OS X defaults to be perfectly adequate for my needs. I'll handle my own replication and backups, thanks.
Personally, it’s one of the most aggravating features I have to deal with on XP, so I can’t understand why anyone would want it on their mac.
Because of this nuisance I never managed to get used to Spaces.
There are at least three applications where different windows are "morally" different applications: Terminal, Finder and web browser. I should be able to focus individual windows without bringing to foreground the whole application.
A "one task, one app" type of app should have it's functionally-related windows grouped for switching, but a highly multipurpose app where different windows do not serve different functions should be separate.
Trying to work on Windows without good multiple desktop support is horrid now.
Envisage, if you will, this scenario. I have multiple terminal windows open in the background connected to various services and my current focus is on my fullscreen IDE of choice. Now my IDE has various pieces of information on it and, given that my short term memory isn't what it once was, I would like to always be able refer to it. So I switch to Terminal and ALL the Terminal windows are pulled above the IDE window, often obscuring the piece of information I wanted to reference.
It's not that the 98-esque model is necessarily superior, it's rather that it's surprising when windows you haven't requested to see are pulled into the foreground. Now this may be due to me having used `window-centric` switching for many years but after 3 years of owning a mac I still find this behaviour frustrating.
Another more visual option (that you can manage with keyboard only) is to use Exposé. In Snow Leopard, press the Exposé key on the keyboard (or set your own shortcut), start typing the name of the window you want, and press return to bring only that window to the foreground.
I've found these to be pretty good built-in solutions to the single-window problem.
But a power user is probably using more than one app per task, and is multitasking (or whose task requires many separate subtasks), and of course some of the apps are used in multiple tasks.
It would increase productivity if I could easily bring up the windows I'm using for task a, and switch easily to the windows I'm using for task b, even if textmate and a terminal are in use in both tasks. Yeah yeah, we have spaces... the point is that, for me, while purely window-level switching is a poor solution, app level switching is both a poor and often actually anti-productive solution.
(I, also, am a longtime windows user now using os x. That's definitely a factor, here)
Another bonus for Dropbox is the ability to share folders with other users. It makes sharing docs so easy because everyone sees the same version.
I don't keep 100% synchronisation between machines. I don't back everything up. I'm happy working at this level of granularity because it allows me to stay selective and not accumulate cruft due to relying on an automated backup of my entire drive. (In my case, backing everything up would result in a lot of useless noise.)
I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it works for me.
Version 2 is built in, but if you follow the directions at:
you can build a newer rsync that syncs all metadata.
I suppose I've also technically "replaced" my dock and Spotlight search with Launchbar, which gives you, essentially, an Apple-fied version of a command line. Hitting a shortcut (cmd-space for me) opens the app, and it auto-completes application names and common OS tasks for you. Quicksilver is an FOSS alternative that does much of the same.
Finally, not a replacement, but anyone who runs Boot Camp or anything similar owes it to themselves to install NTFS-3G, to read and write to NTFS partitions: http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/
edit: Fixed a bit of formatting. Also, saw a few of these were already mentioned (at least in passing) while I was putting my reply together. Sorry about the repeats.
Snow leopard has native NTFS write now, you just have to enable it.
It's a really great Finder replacement. Especially if you're rocking a 13" or smaller screen. TotalFinder is the first app I install on a new machine.
Go to Finder>Preferences>Advanced and you'll find it at the bottom of the window.
Is there a way to make this works with SizeUp? I'm heavily depended on SizeUp :(
Not much else on a daily basis.
The point of OSX, to me, is that it's a Unix which generally just works and has an interface worth using.
Oh, and it has a thriving and high-quality indie community.
Also, Path Finder, a finder replacement in the vain of Directory Opus on windows. It has tabs, split windows, everything you would expect. It also has command line integration and a built in hex viewer/edtior. The only thing I've ever wanted for is regex-based filtering of listings, but I can cope without that.
I would go mad without this. Finder sucks.
EDIT: And how could I forget springy, an archiver that lets me double click on archives and actually lets me browse them in their own windows and selectively extract from them, rather than instantaneously spurting files everywhere like every other OS X archiver seems to do.
It took me over a year just to find an OS X archiver that behaves like ones on other platforms. It seems mac devs are a little obsessed by mimicking the default apple workflow.
Cog is nice but unfortunately it doesn't support ReplayGain. (Ditto Vox.) I actually use VLC as an MP3 player for this reason.
It's website is bizarrely similar to Cog's one, they must have been a template. The apps are also very similar, but Play has a few extra features and consequently a busier interface. It does support replaygain however.
Also for anyone checking out cog, go to the preferences and set the auto-updater to get nightly builds, the stable builds dont really get updated. The nighties are just as stable, but the interface controls are more cleanly laid out.
I'll check this out. I have gigs of MP3s I never listen to on my Mac anymore because iTunes sucks so much.
Edit: I do use VLC though, it's great for other things, just doesn't replace Quicktime for me.
I've tried several times to switch to Chrome, but for me Safari is better. For example I like how I can access bookmarks from hotkeys.
Same for textedit and terminal, I can't think of any reason to switch, and I've tried several alternatives.
- Spell catcher to replace the built in spell checking
- Divvy for window management
Watch the video, but basically, you can define predetermined window positions and sizes, bind those to keys, and use hot keys to snap windows to the predetermined sizes. Or a size selector available on the fly.
This is particularly nice if you travel with your laptop and don't like the resizing behavior for windows that are on an external monitor when you unplug it.
If you need to open a ridiculously large log file, there's also gedit. On OS X, it looks ugly and awkward, but it gets the job done on 500 megabyte files where even AquaMacs and TextMate fall down.
Xee - A fast image viewer
The Unarchiver - Extracts everything, with some nice options
MPlayer OSX Extended - Another great media player
KeePassX - Open source password manager
Burn - Alternative image/file burning utility
Disk Inventory X - Disk space visualization
muCommander - An advanced file manager
While ubuntu was running fine i had problems with the wifi waking up after hibernate/sleep which always forced me to reboot to use wifi again. Googling revealed some people having similar issues, stating that it worked fine under 10.04 but now unter 10.10 it doesnt. I thought minor releases were ment to fix bugs, not create new ones.
People on the ubuntu forums suggested trying the windows wifi drivers through ndiswra...nope, i wont start fiddling with stuff like that for hours on end again to get basic functionality working.
Power management also was worse than on windows... i didnt even try to get bluetooth to work and installed win xp sp3 on it...
Sorry Linux, it didnt work out this year, again :/
I particularly like and use the web triggers (which let you access the KM engine using the built-in web server) and the iPhone app (free) which you can use to control your Mac from other locations. It makes a killer remote control too...
In Safari, alt-tab switches focus to the next control; tab normally just switches to the next input element.
In Expose (F3), cmd-tab cycles apps; limits the Expose view to that app's windows. Arrows select a window, <return> then brings that window in focus.
In Expose, cmd-` cycles apps, limits Expose view to that app. Similar to above but you don't see the App icons overlay on the screen; they are instead highlighted on the Dock and the switching happens immediately.
To activate Spaces view, F8 by default but that launches iTunes on my MacBook. I remapped mine to F6 in the System Preferences. Then arrow keys select a space.
* cdto: "Fast mini application that opens a Terminal.app window cd'd to the front most finder window."
* fastscripts: "Powerful script management utility." You can assign shortcuts to your scripts.
VLC for movies and dvd's.
Now when I do the same thing on windows (transfer digital files), it's plug in device and drag and drop and your done.
Overall Im a MAC person now, but far as I know there is no easy way to drag and drop digital files onto any Apple device where it's as easy as Windows.
I guess everyone is use to waiting and waiting for it to sync then transfer their media files as my initial post is getting downvoted?
Everything is very standard here in my world.
Btw, how would you assume that using threads instead of processes leads to less crashing?