View Full Version : Applications I found in/for Ubuntu that made OS X history (?)

January 31st, 2006, 05:25 PM
Hello. I've written a nice little rant about applications in OSX, and applications I've begun to use now on Ubuntu. Before I tried, I though OS X was superious because of the number of Quality applications; but that's not really the truth, is it?

I posted this here because I want some discussion about this, mostly because I'm so surprised about the many great applications.

From my blog/"microcontent clipbook" (http://www.student.lu.se/~cif04usv/ulrik.html#%5B%5BOS%20X%20--%20Gnome%20switch%20comparison%5D%5D)
OS X - Ubuntu switch list. This is a rant about all the different apps I found but didn't think I would find (actually true for almost all on the list.)
And yes, I know the world has lots of OS X junkies talking about Gnome -- but I don't think it's enough. Ubuntu needs more attention.

RSS reader: Vienna - Liferea; Liferea is almost exactly like Vienna, but better! Insane but true, on OS X I always believed the hype that said that OS X had the best RSS readers, and was _the_platform_ for bloggers. It ain't true.

Web browser: Camino - Galeon; pretty even, Camino develops faster than Galeon, but it's the same gecko, and Galeon is more configurable

Illustration tool: Inkscape - Inkscape; on Ubuntu, inkscape flies. On OS X, it's mostly the same, but sluggish and of course gtk-looking, not aqua-looking

File browser: Finder - Nautilus: FTFF is a word in the apple community, always current in OS X rumors. It means "Fix the Freaking (or worse if you want) Finder". Anyway, Nautilus is not too great, being slow, but both apps have the same Ideas about file browsing. More configuration wanted, though.

Music player: iTunes - Rhythmbox: iTunes is a winner, even without the store and the iPod (nothing for me)

Launcher tool: Quicksilver - Gnome-launch-box; Well finally we found a clear OS X winner. This Quicksilver is a launcher, your best friend, a belief and that's just without the (almost) endless selection of plug-ins. I've already contributed one patch to gnome-launch-box, and I hope that it will try to improve times 3, but I still know it can't -- it's not object oriented. Seriously, there is no wonder Cocoa w/Obj-C wins hands down over gtk w/ C. C++, Obj-C, Python, I know not, but my guess is that it's dramatically better

Terminal: Terminal - Gnome-terminal: Same, same, but one has tabs. Gnome-terminal is _even_ slower than OS X Terminal, something I didn't think was possible. Seriously, I need a gnome-integrated term that's fast like rxvt.

Widgets: Dashboard - gDesklets: I haven't run too many of these, but I think the gDesklet platform would be great, if it _wasn't_ sandboxed. Seriously, I wanted a widget that launched evolution when I clicked on it -- I couldn't have it, if I didn't set up a freaking Control or somesuch. Anyway, Dashboard is stupid (they made a new desktop an hid it. Do you know the Mono Desktop idea? That's how widgets should be implemented, and they almost are with gDesklets + ctrl-alt-D.) And, dashboard again manages to mysteriously use even more cpu and memory then desklets.

Workspaces: Desktop Manager - Metacity; Well Desktop Manager is a hack, Metacity is an absolutely no-frills standard window manager with workspaces. This is even, but Desktop Manager makes OS X do those nifty transitions and 3D stuff (properly set up, this actually adds _a_lot_ to the spatial notion of workspaces; if you think it's fluff-- it's not.)

Compositing: WindowServer - Xorg cvs and xcompmgr: WindowServer wins hands down, and you know it. We can do stuff on Linux now that we do in OS X, but the apps and window managers either do not handle that (vlc) or do not take advantage of that (effects and stuff)

Simple text editing: Text Edit/SubEthaEdit - Gedit; know what? Gedit wins. Text Edit is too simple, and SEE is too darn slow. Gedit is simple, so it's perfect for simple text editing.

Instant Messaging: Adium - Gaim: Both use the same backend, the libgaim as (only) Adium calls it. But Adium is honestly much, much better; better-looking and more clear user interface, and lots of skins. I think we need a libgaim for real to simplify the next step - a fork to make Gaim skinnable and nice.

Zip, Tgz, whatever archives: Nothing really - File-roller; OS X just unpacks whatever you double-click, leaving you in a mess of files. I like the simple but powerful interface and features of file-roller.

Other small things that are just the same:
Vlc is vlc, it's nice on both platforms, but compositing is better on OS X.
Irssi is absolutely still irssi, but now it has Unicode, and I can run it in tty2, that's great.
Evince does document preview nicely, and seems to be much faster than the OS X Preview. It's still the same kind of app, even though you might have to use Evince, Eye of Gnome and gThumb to get all your viewing needs satisfied.

Some notes: I don't do OpenOffice, I don't do Evolution, I don't do gimp. Others do, and they know what's good and bad about that. It could be that OpenOffice is so monolithically sucky (that's _not_ a word) on OS X that I never wanted to use it again. I trust it's better on Ubuntu.

What am I missing to make the switch? Quicksilver, perhaps. I make it without it, I know, but I'll miss it. And Xcode is great, but before I learn something about gtk (I only know the basics ofPyGTK so far) and such, I have no idea what to replace Xcode with. Cocoa and Obj-C is a really good pair, so it could be that what Ubuntu and Linux has won't fit me as well as that pair does.

What do I really like about the switch? Synaptic is great, and the selection of packages is great. With a fast connection like mine, it's select an application you need, and in a minute, you got it.
Most people seem to hate sessions, but I like the xsessions implementation, and the gnome-session implementation.

February 1st, 2006, 01:39 PM
Thanks for the tip on Liferea! Looks nice!

February 1st, 2006, 02:39 PM
Gaim does have skins. And I disagree with some of you're comments.

February 1st, 2006, 03:43 PM
..which is fine... but could you elaborate a little bit on the points you disgaree on and argue your case?

February 1st, 2006, 06:42 PM
I agree with engla on the Finder. I like OSX but the one thing that really **** me off is the Finder. Is so big and bulky that you can literally stuff KDE in the finder and still have lots of room to stick more crap. If I had the tools and knowledge I would port nautilus to OSX, b/c Nautilus is the only good thing from gnome.

February 1st, 2006, 07:10 PM
What exactly do you mean by Finder is big and bulky? I agree that it really needs to be fixed in order to be more usable, but in what sense is it bulky?

February 2nd, 2006, 10:08 PM
Look at a OS9 finder window and then look at a Panther or Tiger Window. The OS9 finder window is small like a nautilus window when nautilus is in spatial mode, The OS9 finder didn't have column view or a large toolbar and a sidebar, and it never needed them, you can do file management just fine without them. But the Panther and Tiger finders window is large, usually takes a large amount of screen space, and have a large toolbar and a sidebar. And if you manage to hide the toolbar and sidebar they reappear at random making the finder quite useless for those (who like me) prefer the way the OS9 Finder (and Nautilus, the old Win95 explorer, the RiscOS File manager, and the AmigaOS Workbench file browser, among others) worked and are quite fed up with this new corporation-imposed way of managing files using big windows and trying to do all in a single window which is quite awkward. As for what would make the Tiger finder usable. I would say dump the f*cking thing at all, port Nautilus (and port also it's ability to draw the desktop, and it's trick of putting a "Computer" icon in the desktop) to OSX add to it the ability to handle tarballs by itself (no file-roller please, make it built into nautilus like the CD burner ability), and make it the default file manager.

June 15th, 2006, 07:53 PM
Amusing thing i didn't know: the first version of nautilus was originally written by Eazle and several of Eazel's founding members were on the original Macintosh design team. The idea was to bring the finder to linux !

July 11th, 2006, 05:00 AM
Can't agree more about TextEdit being too simple; don't forget, though, that TextEdit is a bit misnamed and has been for years, predating OS X even. It's actually both a text editor and RichText editor, with the OS X improvement of being able to read simple Word .doc files.

If you want to pit gEdit against a contender, how about TextWrangler or Smultron? Or if for-pay addons are permissible, how about TextMate?

On the iTunes debate: Give Quod Libet a try. Or amaroK, if you don't mind a KDE app. Both have similar functionality, and are lightyears ahead of Rhythmbox.

Terminal: Try xfce4-terminal. Fast, integrates fairly well, works basically just like the gnome-terminal except smaller and faster.

Archiving: 10.4 can handle Zipfile archives without an addon. Don't remember if you can unstuff .sit or .sitx, and don't remember if Expander came with the system. IIRC it did but it was broken. Anyone who has a Mac and does interchange has a full copy of Expander anyway. And if you're a raging geek, you probably know how to open a Terminal anyway. I seem to recall that there's some archiving capability in Quicksilver but I use the app mainly as a launcher anyway.

And I couldn't agree more about Quicksilver. I don't know how I ever got anything done on a Mac before that came along! And it just keeps getting better. Please, someone, make a serious effort at competing with this fine piece of software on my favorite platform.

July 11th, 2006, 05:36 AM
Terminal: Terminal - Gnome-terminal: Same, same, but one has tabs. Gnome-terminal is _even_ slower than OS X Terminal, something I didn't think was possible. Seriously, I need a gnome-integrated term that's fast like rxvt.
dont the both have tabs? maybe the OSX i sawa while ago wasnt with the stock terminal

July 11th, 2006, 05:51 AM
isn't spotlight to the locate command what the wizard of oz was to the man behind the curtain?

July 11th, 2006, 06:03 AM
a fork to make Gaim skinnable and nice.

this is what i think gnome does not need. especially ubuntu, you log in. and its all uniform. skins break the uniformity. and even if you include a skin that helps the program look more like the default ubuntu theme, then you run into more problems. If the user changes the theme, then the program with the skin looks like the old, and not like the new theme.

i want - less skins for single programs, and more well layed out programs that benefit from good themes. A skin for every program on my computer is bloated - just like windows.

August 17th, 2006, 11:30 PM
WOW... thank you for this guide, and i am not being sarcastic, I really like the way you set it all up, but i wish you could explain them more in detail, and give more comparisons. Like comparing iChat and Gaim, and other things like that. Thanks

August 17th, 2006, 11:39 PM
Great if it helped you! :)

I can't really expand on that post right now, as it's so old that I think it should really be what is was.

I will however come back to this issue. This summer I was working for a company, and mostly had to use OS X for that. Apart from that, since January 2006, Dapper has come out and I've got quite a bit more Ubuntu experience.

Derek Djons
August 17th, 2006, 11:40 PM
Well, the topic starter has written quite some interesting alternatives. They are really interesting for beginners. But it's too bad the post has so many subjective opinions.

August 17th, 2006, 11:46 PM
Well, the topic starter has written quite some interesting alternatives. They are really interesting for beginners. But it's too bad the post has so many subjective opinions.
Also importantly, the post was written by a beginner and will perhaps not help others because of that.

The post is subjective because, in some cases the lineup is so close that it is the only deciding factor. And it is always subjective because it really comes down to What is most important for me?

September 5th, 2006, 11:34 AM
I really enjoyed the original post, as I regularly use OSX and Linux by choice (Windows by mandate). Basically this is my daily grind (I work in prepress):

Quad G5 tower for main work
PowerBook G4 for my own photography business and home use
Linux (Mandrake) for RIP software (ironically the RIP is named Caldera)
Windows for project management software purchased by my employer. They've been using it for years and are way too far in to switch without significant expense.

Regardless of which computer I'm on I have to keep track of many files for every job that comes through the door. On the main server (Linux) we store all the client files, sorted by client name followed by job ID. Within that folder we have "To Print", "To RIP", "Proofs", and "Working" folders. The Working folder often ends up being a large nest of subdirectories. Then the RIP computers have their own files that have to be moved from a local directory to the server after processing. In other words I spend my entire shift every day using Windows Explorer, OSX Finder, and both Nautilus and Konqueror.

I'm sure it's different for other people doing other things with their files, but I absolutely love the OSX Finder. Many Linux fans complain that the finder is bulky, yet I use every feature that they claim is taking up real estate unnecessarily.

Why the essay response? I use OSX in a production environment, for a graphically-oriented company. This is exactly what OSX is designed for and it absolutely excels at it.

If, on the other hand, I didn't need to keep track of the contents of many folders on multiple computers at the same time, moving files from one to the other, both directions, I might feel differently. Unfortunately I don't know how else to use a file browser (what other operations would I be doing) so I don't know how to compare them for other uses.

I'd love to hear the exact uses that people have for their file management that makes them prefer Nautilus or others so adamantly. I really want to understand this, in case I learn something that makes my life easier.


- Jon