Tom Haines on 28 Apr 2014 08:18:22 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Linux for Mac

I can't agree more that OS X makes for a great technical computing platform - especially if you're integrating it into an existing UNIX environment. Compared to Windows, there's no headache of installing CYGWIN and then having to deal with all of the inherent differences between Windows and UNIX. Plus on top of that, you get a rock solid GUI. I don't want to incite a flame war, but I really don't understand how Windows users don't rip their hair out trying to interact with other *NIX systems. When you open a terminal in OS X you get Bash running on a POSIX compliant kernel. So obviously ssh, rsync, scp, awk, grep, etc. are already there and work like you'd expect (with the caveat that they're all BSD variants).

As for package management, I used MacPorts for a while, and had a bunch of problems. I switched to Homebrew, and it's been smooth sailing. Also, Kevin gives good advice about RVM and VirtualBox.

The big drawback for me is that I've never found decent EXT2/3/4 support in an open source package. Maybe it's out there. I'd love to hear if anyone has a solution. We work heavily with EXT2 file systems (the standard for Digital Cinema), and I keep a dedicated Ubuntu workstation for this.

OS X's Finder app is the equivalent to Nautilus and Explorer in Windows. This is one area where OS X falls short. I've grown to like Finder, but it is not as powerful as Explorer. I've also avoided this frustration by doing many of my file operations from the command line.

My recommendations for a non frustrating OS X experience:
1. Install Alfred App. OS X is a very mouse driven OS, and obviously most Linux users tend to be the opposite. Alfred gives you access to much of the system without taking your hands off of the keyboard. It's similar to the built-in Spotlight app but more customizable
2. Use iTerm 2 instead of the built-in Terminal app. It is more customizable.
3. Install Homebrew for package management
4. Enable secondary click in the system preferences under mouse and trackpad (this gives you right click)
5. If your a VIM fan, MacVIM is a nice GUI implementation. Although I prefer just running VIM from the terminal
6. Remember that clicking the red dot does not quit the app, only close that window. To quit apps, just remember the shortcut Command+Q
7. Find an OS X shortcut guide. Many common Windows shortcuts that were later borrowed by various Linux GUIs aren't the same in OS X. This was a major frustration for me when I started using OS X. There are a great many OS X shortcuts - maybe more than Windows (and some really cool ones at boot time), but you have to relearn many of them.

On Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 8:12 PM, Rich Freeman <> wrote:
On Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 8:01 PM, Kevin McAllister <> wrote:
> You'll also need to download the Apple Dev tools to use that because their
> dev tools come with their compiler, etc.  I think you can download the
> command line tools independently, but just grabbing and running XCode free
> through the App Store and telling it to put in the command line tools does
> this too.

Unless something has changed, I believe you also need XCode to build
Gentoo Prefix.

Oh, one limitation of Gentoo Prefix is that in general you're stuck
with the system libc.  Depending on how old it is, that can be a
significant limitation.  I know that there were efforts made as part
of GSoC to get Prefix working with a Gentoo glibc.  However, that
effort was focused on Android, and thus it probably targeted a linux
system call interface.  I don't know the status of it offhand and
whether it can be made to work under OSX.

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