I’m starting a new job as a DevOps Engineer and with it comes a shiny, new Macbook! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a hardcore Linux user that’s been using various Linux distros on my personal laptop for several years now.
By far and away, the most annoying part about using macOS is that it’s UNIX-like. Meaning that, just when you think that everything is, more or less the same, you go ahead and make some mistake like this

Note: Not all of these are the fault of macOS. The above example is actually because macOS is based on BSD, not Linux

With this guide, we will be looking at ways to make our shiny macbooks more like my Ubuntu installation on my personal computer.

Package Management

First, we need to install a package manager. Unlike nearly all Linux distros, macOS does not come with a package manager by default.

The most popular one is homebrew which we can install with the following command:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

This will be useful for installing tools in later sections.

I also recommend install Nix and MacPorts. While macOS does not have something as unified as good as the apt package manager, the combination of these three make up for it.

CLI Tools

Earlier, I brought up the difference between macOS sort and the GNU/Linux sort. This next step will involve installing the GNU Coreutils with a shell script called Linuxify.

This bash script will use homebrew to install and replace the macOS/BSD command line tools with the GNU/Linux variants.

Window / Application Management

Now that we have the command line out of the way, let’s focus on the desktop itself. One of the biggest annoyances of moving from Linux (as well as Windows) to macOS is switching between applications and windows. Pressing the alt+tab keys will switch between the open applications instead of the open windows. For this, I recommend Hyperswitch (which is what I personally use) or Witch.

Note: See this Stack Overflow post for additional macOS window managment tools

Next, let’s mimic the way Linux allows us to move windows with powerful keyboard shortcuts (specifically, I’m referring to the Super + direction). The only free one that I’ve come across is an application called Spectacle.

If you’re more a fan of linux window managers like xmonad or i3, I recommend Amethyst

Finally, we want a powerful tool to search across our machine. For this purpose, I use Alfred. You can directly download Alfred via the above link, or you can install it via homebrew

brew cask install alfred


To conclude, these are the steps that I personally take to make my Macbooks feel more like a Linux distro. For me, macbooks are UNIX-like enough for most usecases and for getting work done.
God forbid I’m given a laptop with . . . Windows shudder :p