Mac Users:Suggested Applications

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This list are the applications that most use in CSE. We try to focus on applications that are free, inexpensive and open source. If such applications don't exist, we list the best piece of software in that category. If you want a specific piece of software, try MacUpdate and VersionTracker. You can also send your question to the mailing list.



  • TextMate is a brilliant general purpose text editor. It's good for coding, taking notes, managing repositories, latexing, etc. It's the hot new standard in OS X.
  • BBEdit the old standard from the OS 9 days. Still very popular.
  • TextWrangler is a free mini-BBEdit.
  • SubEthaEdit is a novel collaborative text editor that some use.
  • Vim in OS X.
  • Carbon Emacs is good for those who want an OS X native Emacs.


  • Xcode is the Obj-C standard, but is good for all flavors of C (and some Java). If you are building OS X native software, you should use this.
  • Eclipse is the Java standard.


  • TeXShop is TeX specific any editor is good.
  • LaTeXiT is for embedding quotations in any document.
  • BibDesk is a good bibliography manager.


  • OmniGraffle is great for creating posters, graphs and other vector based images.
  • Inkscape is an Illustrator clone and is good for free form work.



  • NeoOffice is a Mac friendly version of the free OpenOffice.
  • Office 2004 is availabe from the department. Go ask Support for install media.
  • Keynote is Apple's presentation software.
  • Pages is Apple's wordprocessing software..

Note Taking



  • Camino is based on the Mozilla rendering engine, but unlike Firefox it is "Mac-y" in nature. It uses Keychain, OS X elements, etc. You can find optimized versions on MozillaZine and extensions at PimpMyCamino.
  • Safari is the standard OS X browser. WebKit is Apple's open source (and often faster) browser engine. Find extensions at PimpMySafari.

If you are using, Camino or Firefox, you'll note that you don't by default have the ability to render PDFs in the browser. If you're running on an Intel mac, you're up a creek without a paddle, switch to Safari if you really need it. If you're using a PowerPC mac then you can download PDF Browser, which basically puts into the browsers


  • CSSEdit is a modestly priced program that can really help out with CSS editing, which is one of the more tricky aspects of current web design.
  • NVU seems reasonable and is open source.



  • Adium (based on Gaim but pretty) because it's customizable and allows for all the chat protocols in one client. It has medicore file transfer support.




Mail tends to be more popular because it's easy and simple. Entourage tends to be the reverse of Mail, and Thunderbird sits in the middle.


iCal Entourage.

iCal tends to be more popular because it's easy and simple. Entourage tends to be the reverse of iCal but has better Exchange server support.


  • Vienna is an open-source client that works well.
  • NetNewsWire (both pro and lite) are pretty good too.


  • Skim lets you take (proprietary) notes on your PDFs.
  • PDFView is vastly superior PDF Reader, but no longer developed.
  • Reader 8 is Adobe's offering.
  • Preview.
  • yep is like iPhoto for your PDFs.

File Transfer


  • Cyberduck offers good FTP/SFTP support.
  • Fugu are nice but getting old.
  • Fetch works and is free for students.
  • Transmit is nicest of all but not free.










Burning Software

  • Finder has built-in burning.
  • Toast is the burning standard.
  • Burn is a free alternative.



  • LaunchBar gets you instant access to apps, documents, search engines, etc. It's extremely quick, stable and has limited features.
  • Quicksilver is a similar to LaunchBar. It's open source, has a ton more features, but is less stable.
  • Path Finder A replacement for the Finder


  • Growl allows applications that support Growl to send you notifications. It's generally a useful thing to have installed.


  • SuperDuper makes a bootable image of your hard drive.
  • Chronosync makes versioned incremental backups of any folder you specify.
  • rsync is the venerable command line tool. Useful options include -a -v -E and --delete.


  • OnyX helps you run system maintenance tasks and configure hidden parameters.
  • AppleJack is a similar utility to OnyX but runs in single user mode.
  • MenuMeters is a system monitoring, cpu, network throughput, disk, memory, etc.
  • Pacifist Look into pkg, dmg, .tar, etc files and pull individual files out.
  • UnArchiver A much more capable replacement the built-in archive unpacker program in Mac OS X.
  • UnRarX only does .rar files, but does them pretty well.
  • Visor a systemwide terminal window accessible via a hotkey, much like the consoles found in games such as Quake.
  • iTerm a full featured terminal emulation app written using Cocoa. Supports tabs.
  • Disk Inventory X gives you an extremely useful graphical view of how space is used on your hard drive. Useful for cleaning up after yourself and your apps.

Remote Desktop


If you do a lot of hardware or graphics intensive work, use Bootcamp. If you need a full fledged Windows install try Parallels. If you only have one app and it's supported by Crossover, then use that. If you want know the differences, try this Guide for Choosing Boot Camp or Parallels to Run Windows on an Apple MacBook


Hahaha! No seriously, any antivirus solution will slow down your machine with all the scanning. Seeing as there are no known Mac viruses, the only reason to install it is to prevent spread of Microsoft macro viruses. I strongly recommend not installing any antivirus software and just regularly updating your OS software.