Transitioning from Ubuntu/Windows+WSL to Mac?

jacoby profile image Dave Jacoby ・1 min read

I have accepted a new position, starting next month, and will be issued a MacBook. I have worked from Windows, Solaris or Linux from all of my development career, and have a bag of tricks that is based on that.

I mean, I've touched Macs, but last time one was close to my daily driver, it was System 7.

Yes, I'm old.

What suggestions do you have for someone moving from Linux on the Desktop (and also Win/WSL) to Mac?


Editor guide

Be ready for some major cognitive dissonance. I'm old too and I regularly practice the rituals of platform agnosticism: work/Windows, home/Linux, church/Mac. If you're happy on the command line (where I do most of what I do on all of the above) then the dissonance will be tolerable due to the availability of good shells like bash and fish.


For me it's more what can get me closest to the experience of Linux since that's where I'm the most comfortable working. When that isn't an option, my go-to has been MacOS, but that's slowly shifting to Windows with the advent of WSL.


One thing I like to do on Linux is interact with the clipboard from the command line. "some_command | xsel -b" or the like is something I use reasonably often.

If you too use this, the Mac equivalent is pbcopy/pbpaste.


I have xsel aliased to c and p, IIRC. Thanks.

# copying and pasting via command line
    alias c="xsel -i -b "
    alias p="xsel -p -b "

Yup. Will be sure to look at that.


Hardware-wise i think there was never a worse time to switch to mac than now, unless you are going iMac, which wasnt refreshed for quite some time.

I have 3 macs, pre 2016 and im cosidering the reverse switch - to Linux, because there is nothing interesting on apple lineup for far too long and im loosing hope.

Laptop with broken keyboard by design? No thanks.


My new employer hasn't asked my preferences, except what color I want for my official iPhone.

I am aware of the keyboard issues. I'll make the best of it.


The built-in keyboards are very bad, and I'm not sure what happened to them. I used a 2012 MacBook for a while when I worked at Purdue and the keyboard on that one was perfect.

That said, the official external keyboards Apple sells are actually pretty good (or were as of 3 years ago at least).

Yep, external are pretty good, but when going external nothing beats good mechanical stuff. <3

Clicking is addicting :)


(man that was a lot of work to post a reply. shoulda just tweeted)

Okay! The app suggestions are fantastic. I second those suggestions, especially Spectacle.

I made an account to post so I could mention: command line flags will be different, from ps to date. GNU CoreUtils is available (via Homebrew) but setting it up as default can sometimes confuse scripts that expect to find BSD-style utilities on macOS.


I appreciate the effort, not just for me but for any others who need this.


I've have always used Windows OS since around 1994. I just switched to a Mac back in March of this year. It's not as scary as it seems, I found it pretty easy to pick up on and my workflow's etc are pretty much second hand nature now.

some apps I use.

Bear Notes
HomeBrew - I try to use Homebrew cask to install most of my apps through the terminal.


I did same (haven't heard System 7 though). I'd suggest to check this list of apps/tools I use:

I'd also suggest that you use Homebrew (brew.sh/ | github.com/Homebrew/homebrew-cask) to install most of them.



Quick Tip: CTRL key is equals to CMD/Command key on Mac e.g CMD + C to copy.


This reminds me: I use the ctrl key a lot in bash & vim, and the fn key on the bottom left corner of the built-in keyboard is the bane of my existence.