Here are some tips and tricks I've collected to help Mac users adjust to Ubuntu and Linux. I switched my work system to Ubuntu; ever since OS X was released I've used a Mac but my new job has little use of Office docs, so a great time to try out a full linux setup. I still use a Mac desktop at home, so not trying to replace everything, mainly apps I need for work.
Equivalent Command-line Utilities
The Mac has two great built in functions pbcopy and pbpaste which allows you to pipe content to and from the clipboard. So you can pipe the output of a command to pbcopy and it will place it in the clipboard, which you can paste elsewhere. Here's the linux equivalent, once the aliases are setup they are used the same as the Mac.
alias pbcopy='xclip -selection clipboard' alias pbpaste='xclip -selection clipboard -o'
The Mac command open will open a file using its default application, the linux equivalent is simply xdg-open, used the same way. The following will open the image filename.png in the default image viewer.
$ xdg-open filename.png
There are numerous screen capture tools available on Ubuntu, but this is a cool trick I saw using ImageMagick's import. Calling import with a filename will be the equivalent of Mac's Command-Shift-4, which you can select the area you want to capture.
$ import my-screenshot.png
Since its just a simple command, it can be scripted, this example will sleep for 10 seconds and then take a screenshot of the entire desktop.
$ sleep 10; import -window root ScreenShot.png
And even a slightly more powerful script, this will take a screnshot and upload to CloudApp in one command, cloudshot.py
Short cuts and Application Launch
The Mac has a few great apps for quick search and launching applications, Spotlight, Quicksilver and Alfred are three that I used on the Mac. The Ubuntu equivalent has the built-in Unity interface, which does a good job for most apps. I also have Gnome Do installed for those get calculations, still not quite as good as the Mac alternates.
TextExpander is another great Mac time saver, the Linux equivalent is AutoKey. AutoKey does a good job expanding text and also easy to extend, you can use the shortcuts to trigger python scripts to do even more. Install:
apt-get install autokey-gtk
I had to switch from 1Password to LastPass for password management, since there is no full client for 1Password available on Linux. LastPass supports importing of a 1Password export so transitioning was easy. Note: You can access 1Password on Linux by using Dropbox and 1PasswordAnywhere but it is only read access, you can't create passwords or auto-fill.
Here is a much larger list of Linux equivalents for OS X Apps
The following are cross-platform applications that I use on both Mac and Linux.
- Sublime Text
- Pidgin (IM)
Have you switched? Leave a comment to help me and others out with any other tips or tricks you use.