General discussion


OK, let me try this a different way.

By Parrish S. Knight ·
I'm an OS X user. Here are the primary ways I use my two MacBooks (one at home, one at work). Neon Samurai recommends that I describe them, then ask what Linux can do for me. So here goes.

1) Email. I use Mail for this; my accounts are mostly Gmail accounts configured for IMAP. I also use Mail at work, but there, it's configured to use an Exchange server. The Work MacBook (hereafter, WMB) is joined to Active Directory, by the way, so Linux is already losing serious points on that one. (Joining a computer to AD in Windows is, of course, very simple; in OS X, it's only marginally more involved. Under Linux, it's a nightmare.)

2) Web browsing. I use Safari, with SafariStand. At any given time, I typically have at least two windows open, each with several tabs. I watch quite a bit of video in a number of formats, including YouTube, Vimeo, and Netflix instant viewing. I also use music services like MP3Tunes.

3) Scheduling. I use iCal to remind me of things like when it's time to replace the filter in my Brita pitcher or perform other tasks. I also have written a number of AppleScripts to take care of some things for me. For example, every Sunday afternoon at 2 PM, iCal launches an AppleScript that opens a browser window for a local performing arts venue to show me what shows are coming up.

4) Alarm clock. Each weekday morning at 6 AM, the Home MacBook (HMB) wakes itself from sleep and plays my morning wakeup music. At the same time, it executes another AppleScript, opening up the sites that I visit daily (as well as weekly and monthly sites as appropriate, handled by different scripts). And while *that's* happening, Mail is getting my email and my RSS feeds.

5) OS X Services. I exploit them heavily, a fact not true of most Mac users. In OS X, if I hover the pointer over a word and hit Ctrl-Cmd-D, for example, a small dialogue box pops up giving me the definition of the word. It also gives links to Wikipedia and other online resources. This feature works across all applications that are programmed to be OS X-aware (some apps aren't, but that's not OS X's fault.)

6) Personal finance. I have a rather detailed Excel spreadsheet with about a dozen tabs, each of which refer to each other. I use it to keep track of my assets and liabilities, and I update it once a month.

7) Photography. I take a lot of photographs and video, with two different cameras. I mainly use iPhoto for this, although I sometimes use editing software on unusual occasions when my typically-basic needs are higher than normal.

I use iTunes for my music library, my podcasts, and for syncing with my iPhone

9) I use a password manager called 1Password, which integrates with most browsers and is also available on my iPhone (it syncs with the OS X application).

10) Webcam. I don't use this very often, but I do want it to be available to me.

11) World of Warcraft. I'm an on-again, off-again player.

12) I use an application launcher called Quicksilver.

13) Once in a great while, I rip or play DVDs.

14) I have a number of Dashboard widgets, some of which I created myself using OS X's "create your own widgets" feature. I use all of them constantly.

15) I have a color inkjet MFP (print, scan, fax).

16) Wireless networking, of course.

17) Trackpad gestures.

That's about all I can think of offhand, although there are probably a few things I'm overlooking.

Now. While I haven't actually looked into it, I'd say it's probably a safe bet that if I were ever to switch to Windows 7, I would probably be able to duplicate most of the above-described functionality. (Although there are a few things, like Services, that I'm not sure about.) And it wouldn't be very difficult, either.

Can anyone recommend a Linux distro and appropriate applications that will take care of everything I've described above in a manner that works as easily as it does in OS X or as easily as it probably would be in Windows 7? If so, tell me what they are, and I'll try them out.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

But.... Why?

by dawgit In reply to OK, let me try this a dif ...

The point is that people have choices. And you have chosen OSx, ok that's kool. You could have chosen other OS's as well, such as one of the Linux's. Or BSD. Or...
They can all do the job, but of course do so differently. If you're happy with what you have, well then be happy.
I think what Neon and others have tried to point out, and not just to you, is that a person can do all that you describe with many alternative OS's.

Collapse -

And that's fine,

by CharlieSpencer In reply to But.... Why?

but 'throwing down a gauntlet' is by it's very nature a challenge.

Collapse -


by Parrish S. Knight In reply to But.... Why?

First of all, what Palmetto said. I've been challenged, and I'm accepting the challenge.

And I don't want someone to just tell me, "Oh, one of the Linux distros can do everything that you do with OS X," because that's not a response to the challenge that was made to me. I want to know which distro it is and which apps I need to install to do the specific tasks that I've described above. (That's called "picking up the gauntlet".)

And by the way, one thing I forgot: no fair telling me that some of my tasks, such as automated reminders, can be handled in the cloud. The gauntlet thrown down is that *Linux* can do anything that any other OS can do.

Collapse -

Hmm, I think I messed this up somewhere.

by Parrish S. Knight In reply to OK, let me try this a dif ...

This post was supposed to go into the discussion thread entitled "Throwing Down the Gauntlet", here:;leftCol

But apparently it ended up on its own somewhere. I apologize for the confusion. Might there be some way to move it?

Collapse -

No way to move it, but you can copy and paste. No text.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Hmm, I think I messed thi ...
Collapse -

Already done, thanks. Also no text.

by Parrish S. Knight In reply to No way to move it, but yo ...
Collapse -

Started thread over there

by Parrish S. Knight In reply to OK, let me try this a dif ...

Anyone wishing to continue this discussion, please put it in the chat for the pertinent article:;leftCol

Related Discussions

Related Forums