Switching from OS X to Linux full time, software hints

I’ve been using Macs all my computing life, and relied heavily on headless Linux boxes for most of my computing career (I must also admit to two stints as a Windows user, during internships at FAST Search&Transfer and SpaceX respectively). Besides a small Linux laptop, which I got as a failed experiment, I’ve never before used a Linux box as my main machine.

That all changed when I started my postdoc at Caltech and decided to become a full time (at work at least) Linux user. I chose Ubuntu as the distro. On Ubuntu here are a few tips to get the same experience as my favorite OS X software.

Note that many of the Ubuntu solutions are available on OS X as well; I had simply previously been partial to OS X only applications. In the early days these were often superior, now many are beginning to show their age, and I think that cross platform has its unique advantages particularly in working with and supporting colleagues in their quest for productivity.

Purpose OS X Ubuntu
Edit text files TextMate Sublime
Organize Research papers Papers.app Mendeley
Resize windows on grid SizeUp CompizConfig Settings Manager
Site specific browser (standalone web apps) Fluid Google Chrome Shortcuts
Multiple desktops Native Unity tweak tool

Applications like Spotify, Emacs, Chrome and Eclipse I used on both OS X and continue to use on Ubuntu. Are you a fellow user who switched from OS X to Ubuntu? What are your tips?

1 thought on “Switching from OS X to Linux full time, software hints”

  1. Having done the opposite switch recently, I would like to offer an alternative to Mendeley, that lets you use native PDF viewing on whatever OS you are working on (on Ubuntu I used qpdfview because it was less bloated), works cross-platform, can sync with my personal Dropbox, and can automatically create bibtex files for you when those are needed for papers and the like. Presenting: Zotero: https://www.zotero.org.

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