Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I finally got my MacBook!! Tips???

Hi all!!

I finally got a MacBook 13.3"!! This baby is awesome!! I'm enjoying it very much. :) I still didn't install Ubuntu on it because I'd like to play a little bit with MacOS.

My first impressions of MacOS is that it is a very nice OS. I'd like the Aqua UI was opensource so I could have a complete OpenSource OS stack. At least Darwin is OpenSource.

Now I need to familiarize with MacOS and its utilities. So, if you have tips, links, suggestions for nice opensource applications I can install on my MacOS, please let me know.

I already have Mono installed. Thanks mono guys who provide the MacOS install package. It was pretty easy to install. I'd like to know if I can use Banshee on my Mac. I know iTunes is very good, but I'd like to use an OpenSource player. Do you know of anyone for MacOS? I couldn't find anyone.

I also installed MPlayer which worked perfectly! The MacOS sound is awesome!!

I also would like to know of a good IRC client, a good torrent client, and more important: I'd like to know some monitoring tools, like network speed, battery information, fan information, cpu etc. Which could be added to mac menu and give me information directly.

Thanks everybody in advance.


Anonymous said...


some good code-editors are textmate and coda (both commercial, but not too expansive)

songbird is an opensource-project itunes alike

transmission for bittorrent, colloquy for irc (both open-source)

istat pro for monitoring your system, is a dashboard widget

Anonymous said... has a great list of open source programs.

I'd definitely suggest Colloquy for IRC, Transmission for torrents, Adium for IMing, and The Unarchiver.

Igor said...

Do not install Linux on it... listen what Matthew Garrett have to say about that:

Anonymous said...

Disclaimer: I don't own any non-ipod Apple device for about 2 years now.

Install Quicksilver (the application that inspired Gnome Do) and don't even think about removing OS X (Calling it "Mac OS" is btw. quite a bad way to talk about it).
And read some Terry Pratchett or google for "Pratchett quote multiple exclamation marks". :-p

Mike said...

"I'd like the Aqua UI was opensource so I could have a complete OpenSource OS stack."

I think technically, Linux actually beats Apple technologies item for item (e.g., Quartz vs. X11+RENDER, XCode vs. MonoDevelop/Glade, Cocoa vs. Gnome, Objecive-C vs. Python/Mono). And Macs are a real PITA when it comes to software installation and maintenance.

Still, they make good consumer machines and they look nice. And they make for a great out-of-obx experience. I have a couple of Macs as media players, and a laptop that I sometimes travel with.

But if I had to choose one or the other, it's no question: I'd pick the Ubuntu machine. And I don't think I'll be replacing my Macs... there is no need to.

Anonymous said...

Congrats ! Excuse the length of the post but heres what I give to new Mac users I meet.

0) Not a top one, but learn all the shortcuts, click on a menu and see 

1) Turn on Apple->System Preferences->Keyboard & Mouse->Keyboard Shortcuts "All Controls" radio button. This allows you to tab around all GUI elements and hit space bar to select them, nice! Also take the time to look through the Keyboard shortcuts themselves as there are some good ones.

2) Safari "View->Show Tab Bar" and "View->Show Status bar" much nicer.

3) Learn how to use and bookmark RSS, the best way to be alerted to information. e.g. go to on the right hand side of the url bar will be an blue "RSS" box indicating the availability of a feed, click it to view the RSS feed. Then drag the feed url to your bookmark bar to keep it permanently. RSS will indicate new news items by displaying a bracketed number next to the site. Create a folder in bookmarks and move all the RSS feeds into there for easier summarised RSS item visibility.

4a) To keep some order and logic to the massive amounts of Applications you will gather over the years create a new Folder in the Applications folder called "Applications" and create the following list of sub folders (list displayed with rough descriptions of the kind of apps they should contain):-
Communications - Networking Apps like Browsers Mail Clients Torrent Clients etc
Compression - (de)Compression utilities, Stuffit unrar etc
Database - Database Programs, MYSQL Tools, Oracle SQL Developer etc.
Editors - Text and Hex editors
Games - Games :-)
Multimedia - Multimedia players etc, GIMP, iTunes, VLC Mplayer DVD Player ...
Office - Office utilities, NeoOffice Open Office Pages, Keynotes
OS - Operating System Emulation and VM utilities
Programming - Development tools, e.g. Eclipse IDE
Tools- System and other Utilities

4b) Create aliases of Apple programs (and other that are force installed into the root Applications folder) into their relative subdirectory above

4c) Drop the new Applications folder onto the Dock, just above the trash where folders go, a long click displays the whole hierarchical list of applications through menus for easy logical access to all your apps.

5) Create a Folder called "OSX Net" on your desktop with the same structure as 2a) and store all the installers you have DL'ed in there.

6) Apple->System Preferences->Security and check "Require Password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver". The benefit here is security in a multi user work and home environment. In conjunction with this either set the screen to go to screen saver when you mouse into a corner or using the setting in LockTight Preference Pane, I had to recompile from source.

7) Grab Tinker Tool from run it and go to the General section and set the "Place Scroll Arrows" to "Together at both ends". This setting puts the up and down page scroll arrows both at the top and at the bottom of every window, which means no more need to do long mouse manoeuvres just to scroll up and down.

8) Must have Apps
- Adium multiprotocol chat
- NeoOffice 100% compatible MS Office Replacement
- MenuMeters Cools computer monitoring in your menu bar
- Flip4Mac WMV support for Mac
- LockTight Keyboard Shortcut screen locker
- FireFox for the unusual web site that wont work w/Safari
- Skype internet telephony
- VideoLan free MultiMedia Player (and/or MPlayer)
- MacTheRipper DVD Ripper (try to find a Version 3)
- HandBrake DVD Encoder
- OmniGraffle diagramming (WAY better than Visio)
- Australia Post Widget I wrote it
- WinShortcutter if you need to live in a Windows environment
- NuFile create new files with a right click

9) Must have [geek] bookmarks (some you might just want the RSS)

10) Prior to any OS and software update run "/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility" and verify your root drive/partitions permissions and perhaps verify the disk as well. This possibly reduces the chance of a snarfed update.

11) When an Apples OS update comes out wait for the (much larger) combo update to turn up and use that instead of the smaller change update and apply it yourself manually (e.g. This helps minimise the possibility of you computer os software 'somehow' drifting away from what it should be.

12) The basic way to connect to a server is by in Finder "Go->Connect to Server" URLS are structured
smb://servername/mountname - Windows Shares
afp://servername/mountname - Apple File Shares (you can drop the afp:// as this is the default connection that OSX uses)
nfs://servername/mountname - Network File System
vns://servername/ - VNC Screen Sharing
etc. etc.

Winni said...

Buying a Mac to install GNU/Linux on it, frankly speaking, makes absolutely no sense. Linux' hardware support for Apple machines is in all regards inferior to OS X, so using GNU/Linux on a Mac would only give you a horrible user experience with absolutely no benefit. Besides, I prefer the BSD user land.

Anyway. I mostly use commercial software, so my list of useful Open Source software (that does not already come with OS X, like Python, SQLite3 or other developer tools) is rather short:

- FileZilla or CyberFuck (both are FTP clients)
- pgAdminIII
- PostgreSQL
- HandBrake
- Audacity

I don't like Firefox and Thunderbird, but there are OS X versions of both of them available.

Eclipse and Netbeans also run on OS X.

I actually never had a use for them, but since you are interested in OSS, you probably want to install DarwinPorts or Fink.

Winni said...

Geez, of course I meant CyberDuck, not the f-word. Sorry for that - it's a very good program.

jwp said...

NetNewsWire for RSS feeds. I know some ppl use and like google reader, but I prefer this as it shows the unread news items count right on the dock icon, growl integration also tells me when there are new items to be read. Oh, that reminds me, get growl.

NetNewsWire also syncs your "read items" state with NewsGator, allowing other devices to sync from it. .. cant wait to get the new iphone....

Anonymous said...

I found that there are a lot of closed-source mac applications that do a lot of what I need to be done without bothering me, and lots of opensource applications for everything else.

I have bought the following applications:
- Scrivener (the best word processor for writers I have ever seen -- just keep in mind its not a layout tool).
- Apple iWork (fills every ms office need I ever had on the mac, much easier and lighter than neooffice)
- Textmate (Great source code editor -- really -- for me it's even better than emacs)
- VMware Fusion (YMMV, but for me it works faster and better than Parallels, and is much better than VirtualBox (I hope Sun changes that, but it will take some time)
- I also bought a MacHeist bundle that gave me Pixelmator, VectorDesigner, Cha-Ching, iStopMotion, CSSEdit and others. It was great value.

And for everything else, I go opensource: Aquamacs, SBCL (actually there is a ReadyLisp package for MacOSX which gives you both, plus SLIME and some plumbing), The Gimp, VLC, Transmission (excelent BT), Adium (the best IM for the mac), Colloquy, Camino, FF3RC, Quicksilver, DrScheme, and lots of things Macports.

I have Ubuntu Hardy in a VM (VMware Fusion works very well with Spaces)

For RSS I use NetNewsWire. It is so good that I abandoned GoogleReader and got me a free Newsgator account (which I use FeedDemon to read at work on Windows).

And if you really like blogging, get MarsEdit. It's worth every penny.

Anyway, did the canadians teach you to drink beer?



Anonymous said...

Transmission is quiet good for torrents...

Geo said...

You make me sick, why you want destroy a beautiful hardware/software solution with Linux, man what are you thinking?

Not everything must to be "OpenSource" to be good. Install Adium and keep chatting about new distros.

Anonymous said...

I do not recommend Fink or DarwinPorts. Although not being very Unix/Linux-savvy, I managed to compile and install quite a lot of open source apps without Fink or DarwinPorts. Have a look at Apple's developer docs, and configure your system the way _you_ like, you don't need just another sub-system... And be sure to install Xcode (the developer tools), it's not installed out of the box. (Btw, current is Xcode 3.0, and some expect Xcode 3.1 to be more or less just around the corner.)

Oh, and have a look at the scripting bridge and/or the appscript project -- OS X has fantastic means to automate stuff. AppleScript and Automator have to be mentioned, too, of course.

TextWrangler (free) or BBEdit (commercial) are both great and extensible editors. Both have tight integration with OS X's scripting languages (AppleScript, Perl, Python, ...). I also use ScriptDebugger (LatenightSoftware) for AppleScripting-jobs.

pgAdminIII works like a charm (and so does PostgreSQL). As for PostgreSQL itself, I do install it under /Library/PostgreSQL, but you can of course choose a more Unix/Linux-like location. The JDBC-driver of the pg-community works out of the box; compiling the ODBC driver (in case you need one), can be tricky. A promising, though not free ERD-tool that works well with pg is SQLEditor (

The best tool to do flow charts is OmniGroup's OmniGraffle. Other programs of this company are high quality and worth a look, too. (Payware, but worth every buck, if productivity matters.)

In general, is a great source for searching software, have a look at the site.

Have fun, OS X is incredible


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