Useful Mac OS X Softwares
I have used Mac OS X for more than 2 years, but (contrary to… fanboys) I also tend to use freeware or free software alternatives, rather than Apple’s. The following is the list of such programs what I have find useful. (Softwares without explicit mention are free to use, sometimes free software.)
Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary; and I’m not affiliated with any developer of applications listed here.
- OnyX is a system management utility. Normally I use it only once after installed the system, though.
- coconutBattery shows and records the battery information. I use it to track down the battery stats of my MacBook Pro and blame Apple’s hardware.
- Disk Inventory X is a decent disk usage utillity. (Well it is inspired by KDE’s similar utility.) I just manage to fill over entire HDD in months so this app is very helpful.
- iTerm is a full featured terminal emulator. At first I used iTerm rather than (then-sucking) original Terminal.app, but now Terminal.app looks good too. Nevertheless it is more flexible to configure, and I continue to use it.
- The Unarchiver is a saner alternative to
BOMArchiveHelper.app. (The author also wrote Xee, a very good image viewer & browser.)
- InsomniaX is useful if you don’t want to make dormant your laptop. (Beware, it could be bad for your laptop screen.)
- Spark is a definitive choice for global hotkey.
- Combine PDFs combines many PDFs into one PDF. Useful for printing many materials. Free version has 1000 pages limit, but other than that it doesn’t disturb the resulting PDFs.
- Audio Recorder is a simplistic audio recorder. It does its job well, and that is one criterion for excellent software.
- I don’t like adding lots of widgets to Dashboard, so I have only three widgets:
- iCal widget, for viewing calendar. Note that I don’t use iCal itself.
- MiniBatteryStatus, for advanced battery status. It shows the battery cycle and capacity.
- iStat nano, for other statistics. Its major usage is to monitor temperatures ;)
- MacVim is a modern Mac OS X port of Vim. There are some driver scripts for terminal; CJK users will want to set
- Oh well, I don’t use TextMate nor Emacs. Consult the local TextMate or Emacs expert for them.
- For presentation, I use both Keynote (from iWork ’09) and Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 (in Windows) regularly.
- For word processor, I use Microsoft Word 2007 (in Windows). Actually I try not to use word processor (which is generally too unstable and convenient); I would use text editor for most cases.
- For spreadsheet, the choice varys: I use Numbers (from iWork ’09), Microsoft Excel 2007 (in Windows) and OpenOffice.org Calc. I think OpenOffice.org is quite closer to other suites for spreadsheets; other things are quite a lot behind them. Anyway I also try not to use spreadsheet generally.
- I want to see OpenOffice.org in mainstream in Mac OS X, but there are too many things prohibiting this goal. The major obstacle is its unstability and incompatible look-and-feel.
- Xee is an excellent image viewer and browser. Forget Preview.app. (Of course you still have to use it for PDF files etc.)
- Generally I use Adobe Photoshop CS3 for editing images. There are no good free alternatives: especially GIMP uses (still) X11 which doesn’t integrate with other programs at all. I really want to see Paint.NET in Mac OS X!
- Seashore is sometimes useful for simple image manipulation. But its development seems stopped two years ago, and it lacks many basic features including affine transform. I use Seashore as whiteboard.
- Have you ever heard of Any Canvas?
- I use mplayer even in the terminal! The version of mplayer I use is MPlayer OSX 1.0rc2 which is slightly outdated but still useful. I even made my own mplayer driver script for convenience; I once used iTunes, but that was just insane with respect to my music habit.
- Flip4Mac is a Quicktime WMV plugin, which player is free. It is good for some careless applications which uses only Quicktime, for example, Keynote.
- Firefox 3.0 is my primary Web browser, and Safari 3 (not yet 4) is my secondary Web browser. Safari is used for Flash-heavy websites and PDF viewing, for which Safari is superior to Firefox. I also regularly use Opera, Internet Explorer 6/7 (in Windows) and Google Chrome (also in Windows) for web development.
- I use GMail for e-mail, with Gmail manager Firefox extension (which has unfortunately some problem with caches, IMO). Mail.app sucks.
- FireFTP is a Firefox extension for FTP. I don’t have a reason for separate FTP client.
- LimeChat is a simple but convenient IRC client. It has almost all features I needed, including sane three-column window and correct behavior of Return key. Earlier versions had some stability issues, but now it’s 1.0 and quite stable.
- Colloquy is a multi-protocol chatting client including IRC support. I used it for 2+ years, and now I hate it with a passion: it sucks a lot, especially for experienced IRC users.
- Chatzilla Firefox extension also has XULRunner version.
- Adium is a multi-protocol IM client based on Pidgin core (libprpl). I use it for MSN and Google Talk, and felt comfortable except for its very slow file transfer (which is possibly due to protocol support, I think).
- Transmission is a good BitTorrent client, surprisingly, which is multi-platform. It is just good in Mac OS X as well as in other platforms.
- I use Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac to use Windows XP Professional in my Boot Camp partition. An expense for it is acceptable, as any free virtualization software for Mac OS X is not good. (VirtualBox, for example, crashed in minutes.)
- Q, the wrapper of QEMU, is used to do some experiments with IA-32 and x86-64 platforms.
- Boycott Advance is a GBA emulator. I used it to run some homebrew GBA games and so on. There were no major compatibility issues, but some input latency issues made several games harder as they require exact timing.
- First, download the latest Xcode. It should install Xcode IDE, GCC and Mac OS X SDK.
- There are many programming languages have support for Mac OS X:
- Python 2.5 is prepackaged in Mac OS X 10.5, but the recent version (2.6.x and 3.0.x) has to be separately installed.