Mac v Linux

I first switched to the Mac in ’03 after a few years of being a mostly Linux/BSD guy. Aside from the ability to test Wikipedia in Mac browsers, I was drawn by the oh-so-cute factor of the 12″ aluminum PowerBook and more importantly the way it actually was able to detect its included hardware and attached monitors. ;)

Four years later, desktop Linux is better than ever but still tends to fall down and wet itself when doing things like configuring a multimonitor configuration or installing Flash and Java plugins in 64-bit mode. I’d be afraid to even try it on a laptop without knowing that sleep/wake and external monitor hookup work properly on that exact model.

But when I switched I promised myself I would retain my freedom to switch back. Today I’m using a Mac laptop and a Linux desktop together in the office; if I wanted to switch 100% to Linux, what would I need to change?…

Mac app Linux app
Firefox Ahh, open source. :)
NeoOffice OpenOffice
TextMate / BBEdit gedit? jEdit? Eclipse? I haven’t really been happy with *nix GUI editors. Emacs is not an acceptable option. ;)

I need a good project-wide regex search/replace, good charset support, ability to open & save files over SFTP, and syntax highlighting/sensitivity that doesn’t interfere with my indenting.

Being easy to load files from a terminal and not sucking are pluses.

Yojimbo Tomboy? I use Yojimbo constantly for notes, scratch space, web receipts, chat snippets, todo lists, reference cheat sheets, anything and everything.

Simple as it is, I love this app! The closest thing I’ve used on *nix is Tomboy, but it doesn’t feel as smooth to me. I’ll just have to fiddle with it more… figuring out how to import all my existing data would be another issue.

QuickSilver Gnome desktop launcher? I’ve found QuickSilver invaluable for launching various apps… I used to switch to Terminal and run ‘open -a Firefox’ and such. ;) I think the new launcher which will be included with Ubuntu Gutsy will serve okay on this, though I haven’t tried it.
Keynote OpenOffice Impress Wonder if it’s got the nice preview-on-second-screen that Keynote does.
Parallels VMWare Workstation Already use this on my office Linux box.
iChat Pidgin Been using Pidgin a bit on my Linux box in the office; it’s pretty decent these days.
Colloquy XChat-GNOME Kind of awkward, but I haven’t found an IRC client I’m happier with on *nix.
Google Earth Google Maps I haven’t had any luck getting the Linux version of Google Earth to run on my office box, but the web version is usually fine.
iTunes RhythmBox I’d have to strip DRM from my iTMS tracks, but that’s certainly doable. Don’t know whether it’ll be able to sync with an iPhone, though. ;)
iPhoto F-Spot I took a quick peek on the F-Spot web site and was surprised to find nothing about importing from iPhoto. Should be doable; the photos are all just JPEGs and the metadata’s in some kind of XML last I looked.
NetNewsWire ? I haven’t found a good RSS reader on *nix yet.
iCal Evolution calender? Sunbird? I guess I could use Google Calender, but it’s kind of nice to have something that works locally.

The biggest lapse if I switch at home would be in the video editing / multimedia end of things, which I dabble in sometimes and keep meaning to get back into more. I’m pretty happy with the Apple pro apps (Final Cut, Motion, etc), and there’s not really much touching that in Linux-land.

4 thoughts on “Mac v Linux”

  1. KDE has a bit of an undeserved reputation as a “Windows clone”, but really, once you get over the initial UI configuration, it’s quite powerful stuff. Give Kubuntu a try, there’s a few KDE apps that you’re not considering right now, e.g:

    – Katapult, built-in quicksilver like launcher

    – Digikam, fairly decent photo management

    – akregator, excellent RSS reader. Can’t live without it.

    – Kate, decent GUI text editor with all the features you describe (open and save files via SSH using the fish:// KIO stack that works throughout all KDE applications). I use joe on the console to avoid the nightmares of vi and emacs.

    – Basket, notes management similar to Tomboy (I don’t know that Jimbo thing)

    – Amarok, decent media manager & player with support

    I have no problems running Google Earth, but it does require 3D acceleration. And yes, X server configuration is still horrible much of the time, but it’s getting better (compared to when you had to spend days to just get the fonts to display well). It took the project some time to recover from incompetent management during the XFree86 days..

    There’s a bunch of other KDE apps that match your needs that may be worth trying as well, though I personally use a mix of KDE, GNOME, console & web-based apps. I’m not really happy yet with any presentation tool (MagicPoint came the closest as a fairly cool scripting language, but it doesn’t seem to be very actively developed), but I have yet to try beefing up presentations with Compiz .. Michael Dale did that at Wikimania and it was pretty neat.

  2. I’ve used both Gnome and KDE on and off over the years but generally found KDE to be kind of… overload. ;) Gnome apps usually stay out of my way. Definitely worth giving the latest release a try, though.

    joe is definitely my favorite console editor. :) Tried kate on and off, I probably just need to sit down and use it for work for a few days to get used to it.

  3. Thought about using my web-based IDE for development? It’s got everything you mention, minus regex search/replace (which is on my todo list). A bit alpha, but it does the trick with my development (MediaWiki stuff). As a bonus, it’s got some nifty collaborative stuff, like “Publish this diff”, so you can show people your changes in nice wikimedia-style formatted diff pages.

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