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Mac replacements for Windows software: Bonus points for open-source and/or freeware
July 24, 2008 4:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the market for an MBP, and thus will need to migrate stuff from my PC eventually. I'm looking specifically for Mac software that are very similar in UI and/or features to the Windows software I'm using now.

I found this AskMeFi post, which helps a bit, but doesn't cover everything I'm looking for

My list (sorry, this will be long):
- Notepad++
- FileZilla
- Trillian - I understand there's Adium
- Manga Studio EX - it's kind of stupid how the Debut edition is available in Mac, but not the EX version. Might downgrade.
- VirtualDub
- Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP)
- MozBackup
- Bink and Smacker
- WinRAR
- I need CD/DVD burning software. Nero crapped on me a while back.
- A simple font viewer. Right now I have Free&Easy Font Viewer.
- Cabos - Am looking at AcqLite
- CamStudio
- MP3Gain
- Total Audio Converter
- PowerISO and MagicDisc
- if anyone can think of a better torrent client than Deluge, let me know
- OpenOffice - I know it's available for Mac, but I'd like to know if there are better suites.
- Acronis Disk Director (is partitioning available on Mac?)
- Notebook Hardware Control

Again, it'll be great to get Mac software that are similar in interface so I don't spend too much time hunting for some task that used to appear on the left hand side of my PC screen, or something like that.

Thanks in advance!
posted by curagea to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'll let you in on the ones I know about. Most of it is free, some paid. A lot of this is built into the OS. I'm not including links because there are a ton, but all of them are unique enough to be easy to find on the Google.

- Notepad++ = TextMate, TextWrangler
- FileZilla = Transmit, Cyberduck
- Trillian = Adium
- Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP) = You don't really need it. But Perian is good, VLC too.
- WinRAR = The Unarchiver
- I need CD/DVD burning software. Nero crapped on me a while back. = Toast
- A simple font viewer. Right now I have Free&Easy Font Viewer. = Font Book is built in, FontExplorerX is great too
- Total Audio Converter = AudialHub
- PowerISO and MagicDisc = Mostly, you don't need it. Built-in Disk Utility works well for stuff like this.
- Deluge = Transmission
- Acronis Disk Director = built-in Disk Utility
posted by joshrholloway at 4:48 PM on July 24, 2008


Also, check out iUseThis for a great list of software available on the Mac, sorted by how many folks report that they use it. It's a much better resource than VersionTracker or MacUpdate, in my opinion.
posted by joshrholloway at 4:50 PM on July 24, 2008


- Notepad++

Textmate

- FileZilla

Cyberduck

- Trillian - I understand there's Adium

Adium

- Manga Studio EX - it's kind of stupid how the Debut edition is available in Mac, but not the EX version. Might downgrade.

Comic Life

- VirtualDub

ffmepgx

- Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP)

Perian

- MozBackup

Time Machine

- Bink and Smacker

Bink SDK says it works on a Mac

- WinRAR

UnRarX and RAR for OS X

- I need CD/DVD burning software. Nero crapped on me a while back.

Toast

- A simple font viewer. Right now I have Free&Easy Font Viewer.

Font Book (built into OS X)

- Cabos - Am looking at AcqLite

Acquisition

- CamStudio

Snapz Pro

- MP3Gain

MacMP3Gain

- Total Audio Converter

Max

- PowerISO and MagicDisc

Type man diskcopy in OS X Terminal.app

- if anyone can think of a better torrent client than Deluge, let me know

XTorrent

- OpenOffice - I know it's available for Mac, but I'd like to know if there are better suites.

Take a look at Apple's iWork: Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

- Acronis Disk Director (is partitioning available on Mac?)

See Disk Utility, built into the OS

- Notebook Hardware Control

You might be able to book the MBP into the BIOS and play around there, but you can't modify much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:03 PM on July 24, 2008


thus will need to migrate stuff from my PC eventually
The above posters covered all the Mac alternatives so I'll just mention that you can run Windows via Parallels/Fusion for anything not up to par. For example, I prefer uTorrent to other Mac torrent clients so I just run that in Windows. With Parallels and Fusion, you can run them simultaneously and seamlessly with OSX.
posted by junesix at 5:08 PM on July 24, 2008


as a FYI, the Trillian folks have hinted that the next version will run on mac. Most of your question is already answered, but i'd recomment either TextWrangler or Taco HTML Edit to replace Notepad++.
posted by softlord at 6:25 PM on July 24, 2008


I don't think the following have been mentioned yet:
NeoOffice
Burn
HandBrake

Also nthing QuickSilver from the linked thread, and adding Journler as an app you might want to consider.

I don't know your desk space/financial requirements, but I am fortunate to have both a modern HP tower Windows machine and a Mac Mini. Sometimes it's great to be able to be doing two things at once on a KVM switch, and to use the machine most suitable or convenient. Just a thought, but it may not apply to your situation.
posted by forthright at 8:15 PM on July 24, 2008


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I prefer low-resource software. I'm pretty nitpicky about resource use, because I do a lot of media and programming work.

Cyberduck was mentioned twice. I remember using Fetch some time ago. Really, I just need FTP for transferring files, nothing fancier than that. Would Fetch do the trick?

Is Acquisition as small as Cabos or AcqLite, in terms of resource footprint?

Does Comic Life allow original artwork? I make my own anime-style artwork with Manga Studio and really love the various pens and brushes available. Guess I'll try out the Windows version when I can.

softlord, I know Trillian is coming out with a Mac version, though who knows when.

junesix, I already thought of running VMWare for XP. It's just that I'd like to have as much software natively as possible.

Actually, forthright, I'm planning on giving up my Dell to my dad :P.

Also, other apps, but I'm not eager to replace them, just want to see if there are alternatives that are comparable in features:

- Photoshop
- Illustrator
- Painter X
- Reason 4
- Ableton Live 7
- Sibelius 5

Thanks for the current suggestions, guys!
posted by curagea at 11:09 PM on July 24, 2008


Another font viewing trick - just use Quick Look! (also handy for other things)
posted by O9scar at 11:17 PM on July 24, 2008


You don't need to buy CD burning software on the Mac really - iTunes will burn music CDs and the Finder will make data CDs. I own Toast but haven't used it in ages.

I'd go for BBEdit rather than TextMate as a text editor, but then I'm quite old-school.

All the apps listed in your second post (Photoshop, Illustrator etc) are directly available on the Mac, and in fact most were originally Mac only.

For Torrent stuff I really like XTorrent which is shareware (and feature limited til you pay), but there are dozens of free torrent clients.

A good place to find equivalent Mac free and shareware software is to search at VersionTracker.com.
posted by w0mbat at 1:01 AM on July 25, 2008


I made the move to OS X about a year ago. A few bits to add:

If you want more control over CD burning, Burn is free. I like it.

Witch will bring back the Windows-style alt-tab switching; cmd-tab will swap between programs but will not unminimize things on select nor will it allow you to choose specific windows for a program (ie, if you have three Firefox windows open, you can choose Firefox but not which window - Witch will let you pick).

For FTP, what's wrong with just sticking with Filezilla? Works fine for me, only major difference I see in the 3.0 version cross-platform are a few minor display glitches and that there's no drop-down menu to pick locations from the Site Manager (you need to hit the Manager button, choose site, hit "connect") - other than that, works fine for me.

NeoOffice = OpenOffice optimized for Mac. When OOo 3 is released it won't be so necessary, as OOo 3 will be a native app rather than run on X11. Your choice there. Microsoft Mac Office is shit, I don't recommend using it unless you don't have to pay for it and need it for some specific reason. If you prefer to pay for an Office suite, check out iWork. Simpler in feature set than MS Office, more difficult to save files in an Office-compatible way (you have to export as Word, for example, can't just do a "save as") but it certainly doesn't suck.

For fonts FontExplorer X is pretty good, but the built-in Font Book is simple as all get-out.

When I switched I had the budget for Adobe CS3. There are alternatives to the Adobe stuff, but they aren't Adobe, so they will have limitations and you'll need to get used to the differences in interfaces. If you prefer alternatives, there's GIMP for Photoshop-like goodness, and Inkscape for Illustrator-style vector stuff. Or there's this if you're looking for simple.

Finally, why shell out cash for Parallels or VMWare when VirtualBox is free? The only thing it won't do right now is use a Boot Camp partition - I imagine some sort of support for that is forthcoming. I haven't had any major problems with it, and to be honest I get better performance out of VirtualBox than I do from Parallels running off my Boot Camp partition. Some minor issues with USB recognition, but nothing majorly annoying (Parallels asks on insert whether it should use a specific USB device; VrtualBox requires you to set up rules for which devices it can grab. I don't recall it being very difficult to make it see and use my thumb drive.) At any rate, all three are free to try - Parallels and VMWare have free trials. Compare and decide if it's worth the money for the commercial versions.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:48 AM on July 25, 2008


I'd strongly advocate against the Acquisition and xTorrent suggestions. It's wonderful software, but the software's author is known to be highly mercurial and many have had unpleasant experiences with him. Mind you, I've not had nearly any experience with him. But given the existence of perfectly acceptable freeware alternatives, I think such alternatives are a safer bet.
posted by WCityMike at 7:34 AM on July 25, 2008


Transmission and Acqlite are the specific alternatives I'm thinking of; didn't include that in the post.
posted by WCityMike at 7:42 AM on July 25, 2008


For FTP, what's wrong with just sticking with Filezilla?

Whoops, wasn't aware that it's available for Mac. Should have done some more research :P.

Microsoft Mac Office is shit, I don't recommend using it unless you don't have to pay for it and need it for some specific reason.

I hate Office for Windows. Which is why I converted to OpenOffice.

Finally, why shell out cash for Parallels or VMWare when VirtualBox is free?

I have a free license for Fusion :). (Just need to find it :( )

I also forgot to add: I also have Virtual PC 2007 to run IE6 and IE8. I'm looking at IEs4OSX, but is it worth it? There's no mention of it having IE7 Final Release nor IE8, and I also use the Netflix player, which is IE- and Windows-only. VPC on Boot Camp after all?
posted by curagea at 9:33 AM on July 25, 2008


For the netflix player, you have to use VM / Fusion / Parallels. No native software yet. My friend who does this has basically zero trouble, and even runs a full screen of netflix-inside-vmware-fusion and then continues to run (serious) mac software on his other monitor. Pretty snazzy.
posted by zpousman at 1:49 PM on July 25, 2008


I would still recommend Cyberduck very highly for FTP/SFTP/etc. Fetch is nice, but the interface is a bit unintuitive to me, plus it is not free. Cyberduck is completely free and has all the same features and more.

(NOTE: I personally use ForkLift, which I really like, but you probably don't want to pay $50 for the app just for FTP. It does a lot of other great stuff that I love it for, so it was worth it for me.)

As far as a Photoshop replacement goes, Pixelmator is really nice and much cheaper. Unfortunately it doesn't do a lot of the cool font stuff that Photoshop can do, but literally almost every other features is there for less than a tenth of the cost of Photoshop.

I think that you will find that there is an extremely rich independent development community for the Mac that makes some really freakin' great apps. Sure, there probably aren't as many developers for the Mac as there are for Windows, but the quality of the apps are much higher, the response from the devs is better, and they all work together towards a better platform. Stuff like Sparkle and Growl (by the way, you just have to get Growl)are great evidence of this... they're basically apps written for other apps just to make them better.
posted by joshrholloway at 5:29 PM on July 25, 2008


Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I really appreciate it!
posted by curagea at 1:32 PM on July 28, 2008


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