Adventures of a Mac OS X Newbie

Over the past week I have been playing around with an Apple iMac running Mac OS X Yosemite. Being someone with very little experience of Mac OS who is using Ubuntu Trusty Tahr at home while developing on Windows 7 at work, I am pretty excited. 🙂

Some differences struck me right away. The following is a brief write-up of my discoveries.


Since Mac OS launches a login shell when you run the terminal the ~/.bashrc file is being ignored. Instead it runs ~/.bash_profile.

You may want to use the following snippet in the profile that that in turn sources your bashrc. See Bash Man Page for additional information.

Window Management

By the looks of it there is no built-in feature that provides intuitive controls for window positioning and alignment. Both Win7 as well as Unity on Ubuntu do provide keyboard shortcuts for this functionality.

Win7 Ubuntu Action
win+up ctrl+super+up Maximize Window
win+down ctrl+super+down Restore Window
win+left ctrl+super+left Move to the left and use 50% screen width
win+right ctrl+super+right Move to the right and use 50% screen width

Better Touch Tool

Luckily there is a free feature-rich third-party application for this use-case named Better Touch Tool that supports custom shortcuts, which means I’m able to use my Ubuntu settings without effort.



You can automatically run BTT at start-up by adding it to the according list in your user preferences, see Apple Help:

  1. Log in as the user who wishes to have a login item or as an admin user.
  2. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  3. Choose Users & Groups.
  4. Click the name of the user.
  5. Mac OS X 10.10: Click the Login Items button.
  6. Click the “Add {+}” button.


I was honestly pretty baffled when I tried to type braces and square brackets on the mac keyboard as there is no indication of them whatsoever.

Symbol Shortcut
[ alt+5
] alt+6
{ alt+8
} alt+9

More Keyboard Shortcuts

There are more shortcuts that you may use quite frequently as a developer.

Symbol Shortcut
| alt+7
~ alt+n
\ shift+alt+7