I’ve been a Mac OS X user for about 3 years now, and a Linux user before that. I was originally attracted to the Mac not for the hardware (although it’s nice), but for the software. My first taste came from a home made Hackintosh, but I fell in love and wanted the real thing.

Recently, a coworker bought her first Mac (with perhaps a bit of evangelizing by me) and asked if I had any suggestions for good applications. I decided to compile the entire list of apps that I use on a more or less regular basis, and, admittedly, was shocked at the number.

But then again, I guess it comes as no surprise. All these little tools here and there are the reason why more and more developers are flocking to OS X. It’s evident in any conference or in any picture of a start up. Developers just seem to be more productive on a Mac.

After I finished compiling the list of applications, I thought it made sense to share the list with everyone. I hope that you will find something useful for yourself in the list. There’s a ton of applications out there that I didn’t list here, so share your favourites in the comments. Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, @arthurkalm.

Developer Tools

This being a developer blog, I’ll start with developer specific apps and tools.


Command Line

  • iTerm2 – terminal application that has more features than free/OSS
  • brew – the missing package manager for OS X, use to install just about anything. free/OSS
  • oh-my-zsh – great default configuration for zsh, the best shell :). free/OSS
  • janus – spruce up your Vim with great default configurations. free/OSS
  • solarized – amazing color scheme for your terminal, vim, IDEs, etc. free/OSS
  • autojump – a cd command that learns. free/OSS


  • Skitch – a free screenshot taking app, really kicks butt. free
  • Balsamiq Mockups – great tool for creating wireframes. paid
  • ColorSnapper – is the missing color picker for OS X. What I like is it picks colors in HEX, rgb, hsl, etc. paid
  • phone finger – giant finger for touch screen images. free

Everything Else

Aside from all the developer tools, I use a number of productivity tools that help through my workflow. I also do some amateur photography, so there are some applications for that. The rest are the rest of the apps I use.


  • Growl – notification system, has plugins for tons of apps. free
  • Alfred – use it to quickly launch apps. free + pro
  • Launchy – Simplifies OS X’s launchctl tool for daemons on OS X. Great for starting and stopping services set up by Homebrew. free/OSS
  • Caffeine – keeps your monitor from sleeping or decreasing brightness. free
  • SizeUp – quickly resize and move windows around your desktop. paid
  • BetterTouchTool – custom touch gestures for your trackpad and magic mouse. free
  • Jumpcut – an awesome clipboard buffer, great for copying/pasting stuff. free/OSS
  • Evernote – note taking application, works across a whole bunch of platforms. free + pro


  • Adium – universal chat client, use for MSN, etc. free/OSS
  • Colloquy – IRC client. free/OSS


  • Gmask – Editing host files in OS X, profiles and everything like that. free/OSS
  • App Zapper – removes extra cruft when deleting an application (uninstall). free + pro
  • BootChamp – lets you easily reboot into your Boot Camp Windows partition. free



  • Keynote – Apple’s presentation software, best out there, Mac App Store. paid
  • Twitter – the official twitter app, Mac App Store. freeThe Unarchiver – Unzip tool. free
  • Transmission – bit torrent client. free/OSS
  • ClamXav – anti-virus for OS X. I use it sparingly for downloaded file. free/OSS


  • Lightroom – Adobe photo editor. paid
  • Picasa – Google’s photo organizer. free
  • Gimp – open source Photoshop competitor. free/OSS
  • Hugin – photo stitching for panoramas. free/OSS
  • Hydra – I’m starting to get into HDR photography, and this has been the best app I’ve found so far. paid
  • Audacity – sound recording application. free/OSS
  • Handbrake – video transcoder for ripping DVDs, etc. free/OSS
  • iSquint – convert videos for ipods, iphones, etc. free
  • Miro – aggregates music and video from the web. free/OSS
  • VLC – video player. free/OSS
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Arthur Maltson



Technical Dev Blog

Technical development blog of Arthur Maltson. Covers many topics from Java to Ruby to DevOps.

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