Latest Update – August 2012, for Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion”
This is my list of essential software for OS X – it’s what I install on my Macs and use every day.
To have a software product reviewed for possible inclusion to this list, contact email@example.com.
- Running With Crayons’ Alfred is my preferred application quick-launcher.
Previously I used Apple’s Spotlight, and before that, Quicksilver.
- Apple’s Spaces, combined with TotalSpaces, replaced Virtue Desktops as my virtual-desktop provider
- MenuMeters gives me menubar system status.
- Google Reader is my preferred RSS/RDF/Atom reader
- MarsEdit for weblog posting
- AppZapper for clean application uninstalls
- Adium is the best multi-service IM client for OSX
- Handbrake rips DVDs to MP4 or DivX video files, and does all my video conversion now that work on VisualHub has stopped.
- SimpleComic is the closest thing to CDisplay for OSX, and has replaced FFView as my preferred comic book archive reader.
- Burn-OSX for CD and DVD writing
- SuperCal to keep my monitor colors calibrated and sharp
- VueScan for my flatbed scanner
- xACT and Max for audio file conversion
- For the most part, Pixelmator has replaced Photoshop Elements (or Photoshop CS5) for graphic work
- VideoLan Client (VLC) – plays any media format under the sun
- Quicktime MPEG-2 Playback Component – well worth the money.
- Xiph Quicktime Components – for playing back Ogg and FLAC formats.
- Flip4Mac WMV enables playback of Windows Media files
- Perian handles video formats that the other plugins won’t.
- Tweetbot is my Twitter client of choice.
- Transmission is my BitTorrent client.
- VoodooPad is a desktop wiki and notepad
- TextMate is nice, but I still prefer MacVIM or plain VI in a Terminal.
- iLife for iPhoto and Garageband.
- MacTeX and the TeXShop front-end, for nice-looking document preparation
- Yasu lets me tweak system settings and clear caches.
- Apple’s Time Machine for regular backups.
- SuperDuper for disk duplication.
- The Unarchiver is a good replacement for Stuffit Expander or the built-in Archive Helper, and I use UnRARX for RAR archives.
- iDefrag keeps my filesystems operating at maximum performance
- Apple’s built-in VNC client support has replaced Chicken of the VNC as my preferred VNC client
- I use iTunes for music.
When I’m doing Lisp development,
- Aquamacs, SLIME, and Steel Bank Common Lisp.
- MacVIM is what I use for most other general text editing and web development.
My web browser of choice is Google Chrome.
I don’t use the “Dashboard” facility in OS X (it’s a waste of CPU time and RAM), so I can’t recommend any widgets.