My OSX Survival Guide

So, as promised this is a summary of the things that let me get through 30 days of OSX relatively unscathed emotionally.

First of all, I live in the terminal and the default terminal sucks. iTerm2 is a damn fine drop in replacement, but if you’re like me and use focus follows mouse, have a close look through it’s options straight away, instead of with 4 days left to go in a bet.

I had to fiddle around a bit with it to get it to my liking, although most of it was just importing my color settings from my .Xdefaults and setting sane scrollback and initial size settings.

I then setup homebrew and installed my normal suite of utilities/environment (zsh, tmux, ctags, a bunch off stuff) via that mechanism which was relatively painless.
The window management /sucks/. So goddamn bad. I am very used to being able to ctrl click to move and ctrl right-click to resize, this doesn’t seem possible on OSX but divvy provided a workable alternative.

I installed Alfred as a spotlight/gmrun dropin replacement which seems to do the job. I can see where people would probably use it a lot more than I do, but I don’t use a lot of it’s featureset (bookmarks, etc).

As far as my environment goes, porting it to OpenBSD and FreeBSD had already solved most of the problems and so it was just a case of adding a few Darwin’isms to the mix (TIL: Darwin’s sed wants -E instead of -r for extended regexps!)

Some hurdles I just couldn’t jump though. Having a key to start a new terminal at any time is a luxury to which I’ve become accustomed and it is something that I sorely missed. The ‘visor’ mode of iTerm just doesn’t fill that gap (particularly because the insane “Switch apps with Cmd, switch windows with Cmd`” idiom counts that visor terminal and throws out my brain).

On top of that, I’m used to having to find my windows by name alone (Through the window menu in Openbox) so I have extensive hacks to make that happen- OSX shows you a small screenshot and a truncated title in Expose`. And there are no vi keys for that. Suffice to say, it didn’t get along with my workflow.

The inability to set a single window, rather than a whole app as being omnipresent for spaces was an issue, and the only workaround was to create and set that.. which doesn’t help a whole bunch when you change your mind 25 mins in that you want that one omnipresent (Ok, tmux makes that easy but it’s beside the point).

In saying that, OSX wasn’t all bad. When I wanted to do just one task, it was downright tolerable, as in browse the internet, or write code. It was when I wanted to multitask in the way I’ve become accustomed (in the environment I’ve built to suit my needs) that it become problematic.

About richo

I enjoy exploring interesting concepts in weird languages. I also like hacking on all of the things.
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