Some useful Mac applications

Once upon a time I used to use a Mac. I have now gone back to Thinkpads and Linux (that Apple’s hardware is perhaps the worst that I have ever used is a long and tedious rant that I will save for another day…). For historical interest, here is an old list of applications that I used on my MacBook. This is mainly for my reference for whenever I need to install a new Mac. Also see my iusethis page, VersionTracker, Open Source Mac and macosxhints.


  • MacPorts - UNIX tools. I used to use fink but that doesn’t seem to be updated much anymore; most of the packages are extremely out of date… If you want to see those unix applications so useful to me that I actually bothered to write packages for them, click here.
  • Quicksilver - application/file launcher, keyboard shortcuts and more
  • Desktop Manager - virtual desktops. VirtueDesktops is a more recent version, but most of the additions are just superfluous eye-candy… (although that’s probably more appealing to the average mac user!) Most importantly, VirtueDesktops comes in a Universal version for running on Intel Macs.

System enhancements

  • Growl - system notifications
  • Esperance DV - RAM disk (I now just use shell commands, but others may find the GUI easier to use)
  • OnyX - (ugly) GUI for running various maintenance tasks
  • CLIX - GUI for lots of CLI tools and preferences
  • Safari Enhancer - useful for bookmark import, enabling debug menu
  • AppleJack - useful shell script for single-user mode
  • iScroll2 - better trackpad driver (needed for my PowerBook, but not my new MacBook)
  • Unarchiver - Stuffit is no longer included in Tiger
  • osx2x - Mac version of x2x: useful for controlling other machines
  • also see ResExcellence


  • i-Installer - packages for various UNIX tools. The included version of TeX is nice because it can use native Mac fonts (also available here, or you can try the MacPort that I submitted here).
  • NeoOffice/J - native (but slow) OpenOffice
  • LaTeX Equation Editor - equations in Keynote
  • R - Mac port with GUI
  • MouseposĂŠ - mouse highlighter, useful for presentations
  • Palm Desktop - see this to get it working with Sony TH55


  • KisMAC - like Kismet
  • iStumbler - another wardriving tool
  • Romeo - Bluetooth control
  • airport - command-line 802.11 info. I used to use this, but have since found that Apple provide their own command-line tool at /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/ Versions/Current/Resources/airport


Other network stuff