Any opinions on this list of software/recommendations?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by tech3475, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. tech3475 macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2011
    I recently ordered an macbook for a course I'm going to do, I know there is a sticky which I've looked at but I'm concerned by the age of some of the posts due to compatibility, so I want to check whether this list of software is good or if there are any other recommendations.

    So far on my list I have to look at:
    Windows 8.1 (getting it for free)
    Office for Mac (discounted)
    libreoffice (I always install this as a backup)
    OSX Server (maybe)
    macdrive (I know it's for windows, but it's related)
    Paragon NTFS
    VMWare (I've read that it's better for Linux)

    Any AV recommendations as well?

    Thank you.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd look at Pixelmator over Gimp
    Why load OSX Server, what tasks are you looking to accomplish?
    Also is there a need for you to write to NTFS volumes?
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005

    ClamXAV is free and does the job.

    I agree with the Pixelmator suggestion if you can swing the $$.
  4. tech3475 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2011
    Thanks for the responses.

    Pixelmator, never heard of that before, I'll look into it.

    The reason I was looking at OSX Server is because my course covers networking so it may be useful at some point to practice with or maybe practical uses in the future.

    I mainly a windows person so I have multiple NTFS externals which chances are I'll want to write to in the future.

    Again thank you, is pixelmator that much better than Gimp? How does it compare to photoshop (in usage, I know it beats it on price)?

    I mainly use photo editing either to mess around or edit some photos (casually).
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Pixelmator is easier to use by far than GIMP. GIMP in some areas is more powerful than Pixelmator. Photoshop is the "King" of the roost but offers more bells and whistles and tools than most people use. If you are just doing general adjustments and also want to catalogue, you may want to consider either Lightroom or Aperture and because Pixelmator (and Adobe Elements for that matter) are cheap, add them to your image arsenal.

    If you are networking, you can also network via your VMware and also use your Windows virtual to talk to other Windows computers and move back and forth files in native format. OSX server is okay but is a bit of overhead.

    Just an opinion - best to keep laptops as streamlined as possible where software is concerned or at least not over tax it. Drives do best when not allowed to exceed 80 percent capacity.

    While I enjoy OSX, I am definitely not an Apple fanboy or for that matter a fan of Windows but they are here and best to get the best utility out of them.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Networking connections are done either through AFP (For apple products) or SMB for windows stuff, you don't need Paragon's NTFS if you'll be accessing NTFS volumes via networking, only if they're physically connected to the Mac, i.e., an external drive.

    Before buying software for your schooling, I'd wait to see what they recommend and/or require.
  7. tech3475 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2011

    Right now the software I'm looking at is either stuff I know I'll need (e.g. Xcode, office, etc.) or what I want for personal use (e.g. Gimp).

    It's also a general enquiry as I haven't really delved into OSX seriously for a few years (my old G3 and a short time on an old white macbook).

    In regards to OSX server as I said it's more about practice in case I ever go somewhere which uses it and I'm only thinking about it for now (which was why I said maybe).

    And for NTFS I just thought it would be better to have 'direct access' instead of going through other software, I know in the past there were decent free solutions (NTFS-3G?).

    Thinking about it, what's a good alternative to notepad++?
  8. SlCKB0Y, Mar 15, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014

    SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Try TextWrangler:
    Or TextMate 2:

    Also, regarding image editors, Pixelmator is awesome.

    If you don't need all the features of GIMP, PS or Pixelmator, give Seashore a go - it uses the GIMP engine but has a much more user-friendly, mac-like interface:


    You're much better of virtualising Linux sans GUI. You're much more likely to encounter Linux servers and if you can configure Apache, PHP, MySQL from the Linux command line, you'll be able to do it on OS X Server.


    Instead of VLC, maybe take a look at MPlayerX:

    You should also get in the habit of formatting your external drives at ExFat from now on so you wont need NTFS.
  9. tech3475 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2011
    Thanks, definitely need to check out pixelmator.

    While I probably will need to look at Exfat from now, the problem is that I have several externals currently formatted with stuff on it so if there was a reasonable solution to get support it would be useful.
  10. Crusader007 macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2013
  11. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014
    You'd probably be better off with a linux/unix server or if student discount/courseware gets you a cheap or free/very long term use trial microsoft server install.

    If looking for practical these most of the time will be you production servers you will see in the real world. DNS is DNS and DHCP is'd be better off knowing it on the 2 that mostly run the networking world and get spun up in mac os when/if you'd actually see it in a production environment.

    You will also find esx (or M$'s take on it) virtuallization is taking off big in the IT world . Until the magic day comes apple allows esx client creation you'd be better served knowing Network OS' that happily drop into ESX guests.

    I can ask my boss right now if I can make a 4 node cluster in our esx system to test something and get the green light. That light won't be so green if I say hey boss...I need 4 physical servers and I am not even sure this will work as planned.

    Rest of your software I'd wait to see what your professors want/like. At the minimum you can pick their brain as to how use the app as its assumed they know how it works.
  12. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    All good suggestions here, but I’ll put in a word not to use an antivirus. It is a waste of RAM and processor cycles, hence battery life as well, and it won’t provide any benefits whatsoever. Heck if anything, antivirus software on a Mac probably ends up adding additional vulnerabilities on balance.

    Anyway, since it sounds like you are new to OS X, as you get familiar with it you’ll probably find a number of things that you wish you could customize. To that end, I’ll recommend:

    TinkerTool to access hidden settings
    BetterTouchTool to create custom gestures and shortcuts, as well as provide window-snapping

    For office software, obviously Microsoft makes the go-to standard, and LibreOffice is quite good. Right now Apple’s iWork programs are kind of nerfed, though they are slowly adding back the functionality they lost last year.

    If you want a small, light, streamlined word processor, it’s hard to go wrong with Bean. I wish it could do footnotes, but for day-to-day document-writing it’s capable and snappy.

    TextWrangler, as mentioned, is quite powerful.

    I second the Seashore / Pixelmator options for image editing. Also iDraw or Sketch if you work with vector art.

    If you do any audio work, Audicity is free.

    Boom lets you increase your speaker volume, set up a system-wide equalizer, and boost the volume of audio files.

    The Unarchiver lets you expand a plethora of file formats.

    If you’re getting a retina machine, QuickRes lets you adjust the resolution quickly from the menubar, as well as use true native resolution if you want.

    Let’s see…for torrents there is Transmission among other programs. For charts, GraphSketcher just went open source. For other stuff, it depends on your needs.

    I’ve got FreeMat (a Matlab clone), Ukelele (a keyboard layout editor), KeyRemap4MacBook (for serious keyboard modding—like making shift keys type parens when tapped quickly), PCKeyboardHack (for low-level keyboard modding to allow remapping of keys to functions that are already remapped—like making the control key act as Cmd-Opt-Ctrl when the caps lock key is set to act as Ctrl). Hmm, I guess I take my keyboard setup seriously.
  13. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014
    if you will be spending lots of time in command line (the xcode if you run the command line tools and linux virtualization has me thinking so) i-term2 ( would be a very nice to have and I'd put it on the list.

    Its no putty (if coming from heavy use in the windows world) but it gets you closer than the stock terminal app does.
  14. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Bean is my preferred bare-bones text editor, although I use Text Wrangler sometimes.

    I'd say that Bean is closer to Notepad than TextWrangler is -- fewer bells and whistles.

    Both are free, so try both.
  15. tech3475 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2011
    Sorry for the lack of responses, for some reason I wasn't getting email notifications.

    Thanks for the advice, never heard of some of these so I'll look into them.

    BTW, it is an rMBP 13".

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