Adjusting OS X for development

How to make OS X feel more useful as development platform?
Here are some things what I did.

Package management

Mistakenly installed MacPorts first and realized that things could be easier with something else. Moment after realizing that, found instructions for installing Homebrew, lightweight package manager for command line. More about it on Engine Yard’s blog post Homebrew: OS X’s Missing Package Manager.


Already had previously installed Git (instructions for installing). Basic tips for using Git and more details about setting things to work with GitHub. It’s needed for getting latest changes to the my dotfiles so I could pull changes to more than one computer from single location.


Having previously found nice command line config files made by Todd Werth, I adjusted them to fit my system better. Current state of my version of dotfiles can be seen at dotfiles includes whole bunch of things to make vim more usable besides of all other adjustments for general command line usage.

There is also link script but be totally careful with it because it can remove your command line settings if you don’t remember to back up them first. Have to think of better way to make initial adjustments to avoid problems with it…

Terminal colours

Werth has also created a black OS X Leopard Terminal theme that is actually readable. Installed SIMBL first.

After that, it was turn to install TerminalColors. But to actually make it work on Snow Leopard, I had to install modified version of TerminalColors that had been updated to support 64-bit version of Terminal.

After installing both of them, I went back to InfiniteRed’s theme page and downloaded theme file. After downloading, just clicked it to install. Had to click Default-button to make colour sheme to… well, default.

Original font settings didn’t look so nice so adjusted it to Monaco 12 pt.

Color theme for Espresso

Text editors are nice so I thought it would be good thing to make them feel nicer. There is version of IR_Black theme for Espresso. How to install it? Download latest version of theme from GitHub. Go to Settings, click Colors tab and from there click button Reveal in Finder. Put IR_Black.css to directory and set it as Active Theme (might have to restart before seeing it in the menu). Installed also Inconsolata-dz font to make things look better (used font size 12pt ).

Colour theme for Xcode

There is also version of the aforementioned color theme for Xcode so why not try installing it too. As with Espresso, I used Inconsolata-dz also with Xcode.


I’m still wondering if there would be any benefit from installing new version of Ruby and if installing it via Homebrew would work. There is also option of manually installing Ruby, RubyGems, etc. but I probably won’t go that way at least now. Haven’t tested much of RubyGems yet so not still sure if preinstalled Ruby of OS X is good enough.


Moving between Mac and Linux

Found interesting post about Moving From Mac to Ubuntu. Had to read all of the comments besides the writeup since there was quite bit of interesting conversation in between.

I have been using computers for most of my life and gone from MS-DOS to Windows 3.11 to Win95 to Win98 to Win2000 to Debian Linux while also using different Macs in the same time (not at home since I didn’t have enough money for Apple hardware).

Used Apple OS 8 and 9 before starting to find more of OS 10.3 or .4 installed at computers. Wouldn’t say I know too much about low-level details of different operating systems, but I have surely read quite bit of documentation and been using them for various tasks from plain old gaming to graphic design to server administration.

I like Apple’s user interfaces (mostly consistent usability requirements help to create better combination for users) but have experienced more problems than I would have wanted to. Yet, while I have seen wide array of “interesting” error code numbers in screens of Mac computers, I have mostly been liking the use of Macs. Sadly there aren’t that much of good/stable alternatives for Photoshop (+some other software) as it’s one of the main reasons I’m using OS X.

Having experienced good and bad sides of more than few operating systems I find myself going to the mix of both Mac OS X and Linux, running on different computers. Macs are good for graphic design and digital photography (RAW image processing, retouching, etc.) and UI is mostly reasonable for daily usage. Linux (recently mostly different flavors of Ubuntu) has it’s own kind of problems but package management feels more powerful than with OS X.

Anyway, both systems have their uses. I’m just not trying to do everything with one tool anymore. Use what works for you, even if it’s more than one tool. (Some developers of Microsoft Windows actually use Linux as their main development environment as it’s more suitable for large scale software development than the Windows environment itself.)