Two Days Without Mac OS X Leopard: Ubuntu 8.10 Review

I love open-source and I really admire Linux for what it is and what it stands for. But I’m a Mac user. Can I last two days only with Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex?

I’ve used Linux distributions a couple of times, but just for Windows recovery purposes. I never really gave Ubuntu a try until two days ago. Obviously, I had to write a comparison about the differences between the features of Mac OS X and what Ubuntu has to offer. So forgive my lack of experience in the Linux field, and join me while I try to make a head to head comparison.

Here is a quick overview of my favorite Mac OS X features that would make many Windows users envious: Exposé, Quicksilver, spring-loaded folders, the Dock, iLife suite, QuickLook, Finder CoverFlow, TimeMachine, extended out-of-the-box support for multimedia devices and printers, iSync, Dashboard, Safari’s Web Clip, drag&drop support for text, Spaces, Growl notifications, system wide grammar check, Automator, smooth screen zoom, just to name a few.

Installation

Before I started on this path I had Windows XP installed in Bootcamp. I imaged the partition and stored it safely.

First of all, to make sure I can boot to Ubuntu, I installed rEFIt.

Ubuntu setup is a smooth ride until you have to choose where to install it: I formatted the Bootcamp partition to ext3 and set the mount point to / .

Look and feel

Gnome is no Aqua, but I got used to it. In fact, after two days, I didn’t missed Aqua at all, even though I could have installed a Mac theme with Mac4Lin. Changing the theme is a breeze.

mac Look

I don’t know if it’s my reality distortion field, but those default fonts are really ugly. I quickly changed to some normal Mac fonts using this tutorial. After enabling Subpixel smoothing everything looks a lot better.

fonts

By default some nice visual effects are installed, powered by Compiz, a compositing window manager that uses 3D graphics acceleration via OpenGL. Installing CompizConfig  Settings Manager  to add some vital effects, that makes Ubuntu almost feel like a Mac, is a must. Most of the effects are just eye-candy, but some are really useful. The ALT-TAB is nicer. You don’t just shift through applications’ icons but through the corresponding window also. Like on the Mac, when you ALT+TAB you can quickly close an application by keeping ALT pressed and then press the F4 key.

 

There is another nice window switcher you can enable in Compiz and trigger with Command+Tab, a sort of a cover-flow window switcher.

 

I managed to get Vista-like Taskbar window previews with Compiz.

 

Screen zooming with Command+Mouse wheel up/down can also be enabled in Compiz and it works just like its Mac counterpart.

Exposé

With the help of Compiz, Ubuntu now has Exposé. I just enabled the Scale plugin in CompizConfig, set my corners for mouse trigger (you have a wide choices of screen trigger positions) and I was all set. One irritating thing though: I could not set a mouse trigger for hiding all the windows, which means I can no longer drag a file from a window to the desktop when the screen is all covered up.

Finder

Nautilus file browser has it strengths and weaknesses when compared to Finder. First of all, it does not have Cover Flow, Quick Preview or spring-loaded folders. If you are used to Quick Preview and you press the Space key by mistake, the file will actually open. For me, no spring-loaded folders means a loss in productivity.

External drives have an eject button for unmounting and will appear on the desktop, just like on Mac OSX. You can read/write NTFS drives and read Mac OS partitions (but you don’t have access to the user’s folder).

Unlike Finder Nautilus has tabbed browsing (like PathFinder), displays a search field when you start typing a file’s name, displays in a text file’s thumbnail the actual content, and you can modify the thumbnail size live on the spot.

nautilus

But Nautilus has two killer features: you can resize an individual  file or folder thumbnail as large as you want and you can overlay “emblems”  just like you would label your e-mails with super stars in Gmail.

thumbnail size

Another feature that surprised me was the detailed information the properties window would show for a movie file, like duration, codec and resolution.

video details

System Speed

I haven’t reinstalled Mac OS X  since I bought my MacBook, about two years ago. I have to admit it has become slower.

Ubuntu 8.10 seems blazing fast. I was actually amazed how fast it loads applications like Firefox or Open Office. A lot faster than a clean Windows install on Bootcamp.

Software Installation

Ubuntu has an iPhone Cydia/Installer-like application where you can find, install, automatically update or remove applications (something along the lines of MacLibre and AppFresh but much better). I thought that dragging an app in the Applications folder to install or dragging it to the trash to uninstall was cool, but what Ubuntu offers is way cooler. But you manually need to add some sources for some programs you may need.

add-remove programs

Unfortunately, I’d say about 15%  of the apps you need are not there. If you find a .deb package you are saved. It will be opened by an installer, but if you find a .tar.gz , a .rpm, an iso or bin and you’re a linux newbie like me, then you will certainly have some problems. You have to Google it and get down and dirty with the terminal. And even if you figure that out, after a ./config there are 90% chances your are missing some libraries or something is incompatible. If those 15%  of apps you need are vital, then manual installing is a deal-breaker.

install giachy

Quicksilver

I have Quicksilver on Mac, Enso for Windows but is there any equivalent for Linux? Unfortunately the shell is not the answer for me or for any Mac user. I must admit that 70% of the time I use Quicksilver as a launcher, so for launching and searching needs Google Desktop for Linux does it’s job well. Combine that with Firefox Ubiquity Extension and you can overlook the absence of Quicksilver.

google desktop

What you can’t overlook is the absence of an Automator alternative. No shell, please!

Dual Monitor

It works out-of-the-box. You can arrange your monitors how you like in mirror or extended mode and set the resolution and refresh rate. No color profile though. I’m not a professional photographer but the absence of integrated color management may be a serious issue for some. I had only one external monitor attached to my MacBook, but it showed up 3 monitors in the settings applet.

dual monitor

The Dock

By default, Ubuntu doesn’t come with a Dock, but with a taskbar, like Windows. I tried two dock solutions: Cairo-Dock and AWN Dock. One was a resource hog and the other had far to many glitches. I tried installing a couple of other dock solutions but they didn’t come in a .deb package and ./config reported lots of missing libraries so I sticked with the task bar.

Dashboard

There are three important widget applications for Ubuntu: screenlets, gDesklets and Google Desktop Widgets. I only tried the first two and I was extremely dissapointed: most of them are useless and they look like old DOS programs. To simulate the Mac Dashboard effect on pressing an F key you need to enable in Compiz the Widget Layer and select one by one  all the windows that are widgets (cumbersome).

On top of that, there is no Safari Web Clip equivalent, a very useful feature.

Fortunately, Ubuntu offers you applets that you can put on the menu bar or the taskbar (referred to as panels). These turned out to be very useful and they compensate for the lack of a good Dashboard replacement.

applets

My favorite applets are: Weather Report, Invest (stocks), Network activity, Drawer and the fabulous Force Quit applet. To kill an unresponsive application, click the Force Quit applet and then, with the cursor turned into a cross, just click the hanging window and it goes away. The Drawer applet lets you store files and folders for later operations (Similar to QuickSilver’s Shelf).

Printer & Scanner

Linux has come a long way since I last tried to print something a few years ago in Knoppix. Now, when connected to an USB port, Ubuntu automatically detected my printer type and the test page printed just fine. I didn’t perform some thorough tests because my blue cartridge is out of ink, as you can see in the picture. The scanner function worked great with Xscane.

printer

Wireless

It worked flawlessly out of the box and surprisingly it didn’t drop the connection to my home wireless router at all in my two days of heavy testing. On Mac I’m used to dropped connections at least once a day. The network manager is quite nice.

wireless

Power Management

You get all the Mac features you are used to and one extra bonus: Hibernate. Sleep works perfect ( to wake it up I had to press the power button) but Hibernate worked only once in three tries. Battery life seemed the same.

power management

Mail and calendar

This is a sensitive topic. You get two noteworthy alternatives: the default Evolution Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird. Both offer the same functionality as Apple’s Mail but none of them have the same look and feel. Evolution’s interface is more attractive but in Thunderbird you can easily install extensions to Sync Your Google Contacts and hide the application to tray (by default if you click the Close button the application exits.

email

Another thing I’ve noticed is that you cannot drag&drop a file over the taskbar, desktop icon or application window to create a new mail. You must use the Send To menu. Very frustrating for a Mac user not to be able to use the drag&drop like he is used to!

iPhoto

I used Google Picasa. When it doesn’t hang it actually rocks. You can import files from digital cameras, send them by mail or upload them to Picasa Web Albums among other things. It is permanently scanning for new image files and it doesn’t look like a resource hog at all.

Picasa

iTunes

Amarok music player is simply incredible. On the other hand, Rhythmbox allows you to listen to LastFM, web radio, download audio podcasts, download music from Jamendo music store or sync your iPod. For you video podcasts you can use Miro. These are way better than iTunes.

Amarok

iMovie

You can try Kino and KDEN live but you will be dissapointed. KDENlive looks quite good but the interface is not that intuitive and crashes a lot.

Movies

The default video player, Totem, has no DivX/Xvid codecs installed, but when you attempt to play a file it offers to search for a codec and it automatically downloads it. You can do that or you can quickly replace it with VLC, the player I use on my Mac.

iWeb

I managed to use Dreamweaver 8 with PlayOnLinux. It works quite nice. I can’t say the same about iTunes installed with PlayOnLinux – it’s very slow and it hangs in the iTunes Store

Photoshop

A big drawback for Linux is the absence of native Photoshop. You can use Photoshop CS2 with Wine, but it runs slow and is a little unstable. Gimp is a good-enough alternative for my needs.

Growl

Good news here. There is an equivalent called Mumbles. Worked fine with Amarok and Pidgin, but not with Firefox.

mumbles

Spaces

Virtual desktops were present in Linux long before Apple introduced them in Leopard. With Compiz you get multiple ways to change between virtual desktops/workspaces (the cool cube effect:-).

Time Machine

No TimeMachine goodness in Ubuntu. By default it comes with Simple Backup Restore,a pretty basic backup client. Other alternatives are TimeVault and FlyBack. They may do their job well but they are no match for the stellar 3D interface of TimeMachine.

Sound and Microphone

I could barely hear the sound in my Macbook’s speakers and by default the mic is not working. I had to fiddle with the sound settings to get it to work.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Some little problems here: Eject button does not work and CAPS, NUM don’t light up even though they work as intended when pressed. The F keys act like FN is pressed for adjusting the brightness and volume. To actually use the F keys you have to press the FN key.

To enable right-click and scrolling with two fingers I had to follow this tutorial, but now it works fine.

Web Camera

For iSight to work I had to follow this tutorial. Now iSight works with Skype and Ekiga( a voip client).My USB Logitech QuickCam Chat worked out-of-the-box with Egika but I had no luck with Skype. So far I have a mixed feeling in the web-camera department.

Chat

Pidgin is a great chat client supporting all the protocols you need, similar to Adium. Unfortunately it has no Video/Voice capabilites like Skype, but at least the file transfer works.

contact_window

99% of my friends use Yahoo Messenger. On Mac, the Yahoo Messenger client supports video,but no audio. The Linux client is a joke. There is an application called Enhanced Gyachy that supposedly supports video and voice but I did not managed to install it.

Bluetooth

It worked out-of-the-box. I managed to pair my Nokia phone immediately and I was able to browse the phone or send files through the Send To menu. To receive files I had to install Bluetooth File Sharing application.

Ubuntu 8.10 is supposed to work with 3G dongles and phones for internet connections, but I bet setting it up is not a walk in a park.

BT browse device

iSync

Ubuntu doesn’t have such a thing by default. I tried a couple of applications but they didn’t work for me. Solutions might exists, but they aren’t for newbies. I really need bluetooth calendar, tasks and contacts syncing(I had to manually modify some configuration files in order for iSync to pick up my Nokia 3110 classic. I just wish it was that simple in Ubuntu.)

Screen Capture

You know Command+Shift+3 and Command+Shift+F4 right? Well, in Ubuntu, when pressing PrintScreen you are presented with a window that asks you where to save the screenshot and if you enable ScreenShot in CompizConfig you can take a screenshot of the desired area by simply pressing the Command key and drawing a rectangle with the mouse.

Blogging Tools

Yes, Windows Live Writer is the best. No point in discussing that further, at least for me. But at least on Mac I can use MarsEdit or Qumana for quick blog posts or little modifications of past posts on WordPress. With Ubuntu I didn’t find anything. I had to stick to ScribeFire Firefox extension.

Conclusion

Linux has come a long way, but it’s not totally ready for the mom and pop folks, in my opinion.

In the two days of testing, with two occasions it refused to load the graphic drivers and I could not enjoy Compiz. I found a tutorial which taught me how to modify XORG.conf to load XGL. (I suspect that messing with the resolution of the second screen might have overwritten the XORG.conf file.)

I think I jinxed my Ubuntu after installing KDENlive and some updates: it didn’t want to boot anymore. Now I have to reinstall it because I have no idea what to do. Sadly, this reminds me of Windows. Stuff like this doesn’t happen that often(ever?) on a Mac.

Even so, I’d say Ubuntu 8.10 is a fantastic operating system. I guess it may take a while to tweak an Ubuntu installation to perfection, especially for more demanding users. I will recommend Ubuntu to everyone who doesn’t afford a Mac, are not into heavy media content creation or hard-core gaming.

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100 comments
  1. csarak said:

    A good Quicksilver alternative is GNOME Do. It looks much the same and has many of the same features. I usually don’t even use my apps menu. I believe it’s in the repositories too, so no TGZ installation.

  2. elvinu said:

    U MADE ME LOL! How can a mac crash if it is made for 1 PC??????
    Linux & Windows is made for 1 billion(or more) pc`s ..so..U CANT COMPARE!!!
    1. linux is NOT windows nor mac
    2. is FREE!! if u have 100$ – u have a pc.
    3. u have NO viruses & garbage
    4. if u want erm..almost everything? u can have windows. if u want safety, freedom to choose, customisation & more u have linux. if u want ..ermmm….buy a mac? what? visual? search youtube and u will see some BETTER desktops in ubuntu.
    windows & linux are the best in all they do. if u have them both u can do whatever u like..
    i keep them both…WINDOWS for GAMES & PHOTOSHOP, UBUNTU for the REST.

    my 0.2$

  3. Vinod said:

    Hi,

    I would like to point that the new beta of Yahoo messenger supports voice as well as webcam on Mac.

  4. kodiakmike said:

    You should try gnomedo. sudo apt-get install gnomedo. Its a great alternative for quicksilver.

  5. Maarten said:

    Nice review, but I don’t agree with your conclusion. How many persons that buy a computer install their OS? How many persons that buy a computer tweak their OS until perfection?
    Answer is few percent. The average person buys a computer, preferably with all the software pre-installed. The average person just wants to surf the web, write a document, adjust a picture, chat with friends listen to music and watch a movie.
    These are all things that you can do perfectly with UBUNTU (or many many other GNU/Linux distibutions).
    Things get different if people are used to one thing, let’s say Windows. People don’t like changes and therefore don’t like Ubuntu and say it’s not ready.
    You messed up with XORG, whereas 90% of other persons never would have touched that file. Ubuntu works perfectly without compiz.
    But you might be right that the more technological users (like you) expect more from an OS and therefore consider Linux as ‘Not ready’. For you that’s the right conclusion, for many many other person it is not.

  6. James said:

    I recently switched from using a Mac to using a PC with Ubuntu and have not had too much trouble making the transition. The nice thing about Macs is that you simply buy it, plug it in and everything is there. With Ubuntu you have to install it yourself, however once you get a machine has well known hardware (I simply looked at what DELL offered with their Ubuntu machines and duplicated that), it works pretty much flawlessly.

  7. BobCFC said:

    Well balanced review and quite thorough for only two days.

  8. @Bogdan Stroe: Gotcha. I use the terminal to open and close and just-about-everything my mac. :)

    Good Review :D

  9. reg said:

    If you are looking for an application launcher, you may want to try Katapult or just press Alt-F2.

  10. Michael said:

    Btw note that XGL is very old code and should not be used anymore.

  11. himanshu said:

    Well,

    I have used a lot of desktop operatings systems: beos, mac os x , linux ( a lot of distros ) , windows, dos , bsd ( freebsd and openbsd ).

    However, I am in love with windows XP. It just works, and has a simple interface. I havent reinstalled windows xp on my laptop for more than a year now.

    I did installed some worms because i dl tons of warez from torrent sites…but if you have got Process Explorer and Recovery Conssole, it’s just too easy to spot the malware and remove it.

    Yup, i dont even have any antivirus installed on my machine. If you have process explorer and other nice sysinternals tools, and you know how to use them, then you will never have to rely on any kind of antivirus.

    There is a reason why XP is intalled on 90% of desktop PCs: It simply works ;)

  12. BK said:

    As many people have mentioned already. Gnome-do is your Quicksilver replacement, moreover than Google Desktop. It has MANY plugins and can do pretty much the same thing.

    With iPhoto, you will want to look at F-Spot. It has a lot of features and great plugins. The reason I say that is because the last I checked, Picasa is a pre-packaged wine application. Likely the cause of the hangs you are seeing.

    Other than that, great review man. I agree that Linux on the Desktop still has some downfalls, but just as many as Windows and OS X when it comes to setting up from scratch. Once it’s running and someone knows how to use the niche apps, it’s just as good in my opinion. Much better these days than a couple of years ago.

  13. artbar said:

    Photoshop issue

    I would recommend GIMP 2.6 + UFRaw 0.14, it is not replacement for PS, but does the job realy good.

  14. zeckalpha said:

    Check out the Hotwire Shell for an interesting, easy to use, new approach to shell for beginners… I’ve used Automator and this is the closest thing I’ve seen on the Linux side to that… It is NOT just a shell keep in mind. It is different.

  15. Mike Brown said:

    Very nice and unbiased article! I see that you didn’t get Firefox working with Mumble though? Did you download the DBus Notifications Extension so that Firefox would display when downloads are completed?

  16. @himanshu You like living dangerously with no Antivirus on Windows XP.
    @artbar UFRaw is a nice addition to GIMP
    @zeckalpha Hotwire is more like Windows PowerShell than Automator. I’ll certainly check it out.10x
    @Mike Brown Thanks Mike. I didn’t know about DBus

  17. darkhole said:

    Gret Post!!! By the way.. you must to forget the old method to install programs and apps… In Ubuntu Linux you can install all this using Synaptic (installed by default in Ubuntu) or the “Add/Remove Applications” dialog, you use to mention this in the Software Installation section.

    You don’t have to download.debs.. Many, and many programs can be installed using this tools.

    Try to search n this dialog:
    avant window navigator
    gnome-do

    AWN = Avant Window Navigator

    By the way.. F-spot is a Photo Application that is installed by default in Ubuntu, you can use that for a replacement of iPhoto. This can also import photos from cams, and upload photos to Flickr or Picasa.

    And, remember.. Don’t download .debs, .tar or .rpm from web pages.. This is not the method to install applications in Ubuntu, you just search using the Add/Remove Applications dialog.. and if this didn’t work, you can use Synaptic (Package Manager).

    But, if you want to search .debs.. you can download this from the official page:
    http://packages.ubuntu.com/ … but you will be doing the same of install this across the tools preinstalled in Ubuntu.

  18. Fred said:

    As an ubuntu user (and definately not a mac fan), I found this review quite constructive, which is unusual for Mac users (and windows users that haven’t get got jack of microsoft).

    I hope the people creating this wonderful OS and the applications read this and get some good ideas.

    I found with Ubuntu that you have the ability to tweak to absolute perfection, and that takes time, because in 2 days something might bug you, but in 5 days, you’ve customised it out – that extensibility and customisability is a tremendous thing you get with Linux. And then every now and again, you get bored, change themes, etc.

  19. bozo said:

    gnome-do is a great quicksilver clone.

  20. T said:

    Just a note: if you go to System –> Administration –> Synaptic Package Manager, you can find more packages than the Add/Remove program does. (I think this is true, correct me if I’m wrong. Sometimes this can be annoying.)

  21. Andy said:

    @Ryan – Broadcom probably hates linux but Ubuntu 8.10 loves everybody! I have Linksys WMP54G v2.0 PCI, it worked out-of-the-box. The only thing you have to do is to connect to LAN first so the restricted driver manager can download the driver after you enable it. But for sure, no more NDISWrapper or Shell for installing this.

  22. ned said:

    hi!

    as – sadly – too few people have pointed out, deskbar applet is the application launcher you're missing.

    Did try out the others – but deskbar applet just works … normally I'm a KDE-user, but I did try out Gnome for a while, and deskbar applet was the only reason I was seriously considering switching to Gnome for good …

    The developer said he'd make it desktop-independent, so it can be used under KDE, too; looking forward to that.

  23. Jamie P said:

    @Aaron: Presumably because GNOME is the standard desktop installed with Ubuntu, and also GNOME is much closer to Mac OS than KDE, which is very windows-like. I would personally recommend GNOME over KDE.

  24. As far as an iPhoto or picasa analog, I would highly recommend digiKam.
    http://www.digikam.org/drupal/node/323
    I does a great job syncing photos with all the popular photo websites. I host my own with gallery2. I works great with that too.

  25. Chris Lees said:

    There is a bug in Ubuntu 8.10 that can cause the graphics drivers not to install when you try the Ubuntu method. If you use the normal Linux method of installing the drivers, it works. XGL is not the answer.

    I appreciate that you're first and foremost a Mac user, but it looked in some places like you were trying to force Ubuntu to become the Mac OS. For instance, I think the fonts on Mac OS X and Windows Vista look blurry.

    Kdenlive does crash, and it is very limited (it needs commercial sponsoring, IMHO), but it shouldn't cause problems booting. It's not low-level enough for that. Did you perhaps add the "Proposed" repository, which is a testing ground, to your Ubuntu?

    Lastly, those problems you had wouldn't have occurred if you bought Linux preinstalled on a new computer, which is how "moms and pops" experience their operating system.

    Otherwise, good review. Stick with Ubuntu; once you understand it a bit more you'll enjoy it more!

  26. Felipe C said:

    I love my Mac, but I also love my Ubuntu. I have Leopard on my laptop and Ubuntu in my desktop. They just do different things.

    I read in the beginning that you installed rEFIt, there's no need to do that. There is a simpler way:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBookPro#Ubun
    Using rEFIt was kind of a drawback for me when I thought about installing Ubuntu in my Mac, I knew there should have been a better way, so I searched for a while and found the solution… (then posted it in the Ubuntu wiki), so for new users who don't want to put some weird sounding rEFIt in their mac, this is the solution.

    I hope people will get encourages to at least try Ubuntu as a Live CD.

    Cheers

  27. Ed said:

    Really like this post and the rest of the site. Keep it up!

  28. Imran Khan said:

    If you r missing Quicksilver in Ubuntu then I will guaranty you "Gnome Do" is the perfect alternative for that. Just try it and you will start using it for everything you do with your desktop.

  29. Imran Khan said:

    Spring folder has a better alternative in nautilus plugging call " move to " right click menu script.

  30. Mark said:

    If you're looking for a file manager with springiness Rox filer can be set up so that folders spring open when files are dragged onto them. It can also manage the desktop and panels; PLUS there are loads of native applications which can be installed from the project website (http://www.roscidus.com) using the zeroinstall facility (which, I've been told, is a lot like the method OSX uses). It's not quite as much of a Jack of all trades as Nautilus, mind, but a lot of what's missing can be added to the panel.

  31. gnobuddy said:

    Thanks for a review that at least tries to be a neutral comparison, compared to some of the much more inflammatory "reviews" I've read.

    It's interesting, though, that the implicit assumption is that the Mac must be better, and only those who can't afford a Mac should consider Linux. In our house, my wife uses a Mac, and I use Linux. I've tried the Mac a few times over the years – and I find the Mac way of doing things drives me out of my gourd with frustration in just a minutes, and I can't wait to get back to Linux.

    For instance, I often hear that Mac's are intuitive and easy to use, yet I find the opposite to frequently be the case. As an example, who in their right mind would come up with the idea that you burn data to a CD by dragging its icon to the TRASH CAN!!?? That has got to rank as one of the worst interface design ideas I've ever run across!

    It's very true that if you work with Linux, especially if you semi-randomly install software from all over the 'Net, sooner or later something will break. There is a lot of unfinished and unstable Linux software out there, since there is nobody to ensure any sort of quality control. It's also true that there is a lot of outstanding software available for Linux, Amarok and Firefox being examples. And Ubuntu/ Kubuntu, in particular, is making huge strides in adding the surface spit-n-polish that is so often lacking in many other Linux distributions. Kubuntu 8.10 looks pretty sharp right out of the box, with the new KDE 4.1 desktop.

    For the record, I think Mac's have some nice things about them: I like the visual appearance of the OSX GUI. Other than that, though, I'm much, much, much happier working on my Linux boxes, and the cost of the hardware is not the reason why – if you gave me a new Mac for free, I'd wipe OSX off it and install Kubuntu rather than deal with the continual frustration I feel when dealing with Apple's OS.

    -Gnobuddy

  32. vinit said:

    Me too mac fan but using Ubuntu. Have a look at some screenshots of Mac4lin on Ubuntu 8.10
    here.

  33. martin said:

    Did you try the default launcher (ALT+F2)?

    It search for applications and documents based on their name and description and, of course, opens web pages. You get a nice list of all matches (hidden by default, but it’s just one click to activate).

    It doesn’t support search inside documents. But I rarely need that and when I do it’s not hard to open a specialised application from the launcher (with the words I’m searching for as parameters).

    If it fits your needs, then it’s a very nice launcher. It’s easier to use than any other alternative suggested here.

    I use GQView as my image viewer. It’s fast and stable and integrates really good with traditional UNIX command line tools. Which means you can whip up any (and I really mean any) functionality you need as a “plugin” inside the graphic viewer effortless. That is, if you take the small effort to learn basic command line skills. The UNIX command line(s) is neither the most intuitive nor most effective command lines I’ve used, but it’s not as hard as most people think and it’s both more effective and simpler to master than the OSX graphical interface for most tasks. The only command you have to remember is man (as in MANual). Don’t be afraid, commandlineofobia is easy to cure.

  34. As has Expose. It's been a feature of OS X 10.4 which came out 29th April 2005

  35. KiL said:

    And you, too, parrot the standard nonsense that Mac Users like to be told what's good. Some of the most creative minds work on the Mac, you could imagine that those people don't need anybody telling them anything, but hey why give up your snugly fitting preconceptions for something as irrelevant as reality?

    I for my part hate QuickSilver and love LaunchBar. Actually it was LaunchBar that started the whole typing-launcher-scan-your-harddisk-and-be-very-intelligent-about-it thingy. LaunchBar has been around since NeXTSTEP. Also QuickSilver is expandable before you make statements otherwise please check your facts. It has tons of plugins, but that doesn't make it more powerful than LaunchBar. For everything I do on LaunchBar I need at least two more keystrokes on QuickSilver… Yes and LaunchBar is not free and costs money. Oh my god, some people do like to say thank you if a developer does something great for them.

    The Mac OS doesn't indicate what's good and bad either, I'm also using a ton of GPLed software on it (Smultron, Cyberduck you name it). And your notion like nothing in life worth doing is easy is also complete bullshit. I think sex really is not that difficult. And why should I have to do things that the computer is perfectly capable of doing for me, after all it's supposed to be a tool to make me more productive, isn't it? So what's bad about thing working perfectly together well integrated etc. BTW getting that to function surely wasn't easy for the Apple developers, so there.

  36. Nxx said:

    Saying that creativity by fiat excludes one from herd behaviour is inane. And just as if the world were there to prove my point, creativity (and art) is actually /categorised/ and comes in /styles/.

    And it is equally true of all flavours of computer user that most stick to whatever the vendor (or distribution) define as /standard/ and even defend the software they happen to be made to use.

  37. leon said:

    I despise the mac interface, i really hope the Ubuntu Gurus dont go down that road!!

  38. kiwisoup said:

    The funny thing to me, is that the first few days I used a Mac after years of using Windows…I absolutely HATED it! It takes more than just a couple days to come to a conclusion like that, and only judging it based on comparisons is a sure way to dislike something new.

  39. james said:

    You don't seem to know about synaptic! If the application is not listed on add/remove you can go to the synaptic package manager under system/administration which will let you click to install around 26,000 applications that cover all the main applications available. No need to get down and dirty.

  40. zaine said:

    u recomend ubuntu for those who can't afford mac? lol, osx86 is free, it just takes forever to download (using frostwire) and all u gotta do is copy it to a disc (iso image) and reformat the drive to mac journaled using the dic utility, i've been using osx86 (10.4.6) as my primary computer, and i gotta say, i hate linux and windows compared to it, it's so stable, and well designed, unlike windows and linux, i just wish i had a real mac to get the better kernal with a better bios link, then it would be just like having a mac

  41. Boones said:

    Very good review. I Didn't saw this grom all these sides.

  42. Ranguvar said:

    Pretty good review, honest and fair :)
    I'd have to say the biggest issue I have with this review is the fact that you avoided the shell like the plague. I actually found this odd, as OS X comes with a shell as well (Windows before PowerShell is a toy, no comparison) :) Seriously — if you're willing to get a little adventurous, the shell can do many things faster, simpler, and just plain better than a GUI. The shell is a simple programming language all by itself, and can make your life much more productive :)

    I'll go back to my Mac-hating ways now :P

  43. Shani said:

    Really good review ! I'd like to add a few programs though.

    For Backup you could try crashplan. It's available for mac linux and windows.

    For replacement of quicksilver you should give gnome-do a try. Really good.

  44. thanx for that grat roundup, i have the same conclusion: not yet ready for the average user. After installing ubuntu at my new pc i got lost…no printer (i have a multi function print/san unit- the ubuntu driver installation seemed to get a nightmare)…and some more problems…

  45. sorry, i like open office and lot´s of the other open source staff, but linux ubuntu just works for me as a emergency rescue kit for windows ;-(

  46. gdfgdfgd said:

    I would say that Linux Mint (being an ubuntu sub-distro) would be great for any linux newb, It comes with great software preinstalled and configured. Additionally, it comes with Gnome-Do (use Command-Space to initiate it). I personally have MacBook (3,1) and use Ubuntu 8.10 more than Mac (10.5) as of now. I use virtual machines for testing other distros/linux stuff (VirtualBox). LinuxMint is good for starters, but once that has been mastered; I think Kubuntu 8.10 would be a suitable upgrade for a Mint user.

  47. hanum said:

    nice tutorial. Thank's a lot for info sharing ^_^

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