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It's quite hard to phrase this question as the answer is very subjective and I don't know the right terminology to ask for what I want, but I will try my best.

I love linux and would love to use it full-time as my main OS but the one think I have a problem with is the look of it. In my opinion it looks like it was designed for a child and I like my computer to look stylish rather than dated (this is opinion obviously).

I like the look of OSX but there are certain things that I don't like, so no, I am not asking the age old question of "How do I make Ubuntu look like OSX"...most of the attempts I have seen of this have been pretty poor when put up against the real thing so I just want to take certain things from it.

Things I'd like to take from OSX:

  • Spotlight (I don't like the Unity dashboard-esque thingy)
  • Expose
  • Spaces
  • Dock (at the bottom)
  • Icons (apart from the apple one)
  • Look of file manager - its more pleasant to navigate around the file system.
  • Closing an application window doesn't actually quit the program, so when you next launch it - it is instantaneous.
  • Global menu (at the top)

What are the latest Ubuntu alternatives to these?

When it comes to actually changing the look of Ubuntu what should I be looking at? I know the following exists:

  • Shell theme
  • Icons
  • Fonts

...but is there anything else I need to look into to actually change the look? I hear the term "Window Manager" thrown around, but I don't actually know what that is. What are good sources for reviews/links to the latest and greatest customisation techniques?

Ubuntu now comes with Unity which I don't like very much. What are my alternatives? Should I look into Gnome3 or switch to classic desktop which is Gnome2 if I recall correctly?

I hope I haven't put too much in one question and that it makes sense.


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Downvote? Have I broken etiquette? – Cheetah Apr 1 '12 at 13:42
Ubuntu!= osx you cant expect same look and feel of osx in ubuntu ,but still you can install macbuntu theme +cairo dock to get similar interface and if you are a designer and developer you can create more mac like apps for ubuntu – Tachyons Apr 1 '12 at 14:06
I know. I'm not looking for a mac lookalike, because things like macbunutu theme looks crap! I am just looking to take certain elements. – Cheetah Apr 1 '12 at 14:27
This is really a lot for one question. I'd break it up into the essentials and post them separately, e.g. "What is a good Spotlight replacement?" As you might guess, your questions will then likely be duplicates. – Chan-Ho Suh May 1 '12 at 5:59

Things I'd like to take from OSX:

Spotlight (I don't like the Unity dashboard-esque thingy) unity's dash home does have a search feature. it will automatically focus (put the cursor in the search field) when you click the dashboard button or press the super key (windows key on most keyboards) the next verison of ubuntu (12.04) due to be released this month will have a feature called HUD that should also meet this need and seems a lot better at doing so

Expose hold super (windows key) and press w this should be customizable in some way in compiz (see below) but im not sure where

Spaces this is referred to as workspaces in linux unity has an icon in the dock (last of the dock icons before trash) that shows you 4 workspaces and allows you to switch between them this can be customized for more or less workspaces using compizconfig settings manager (ccsm) if you open the ubuntu software center and search ccsm or compizconfig it should come right up you could also install an indicator to manage the workspaces indicators are the icons in the top right of the dash, ex indicator-sound, indicator-datetime, indicator-network here are some cool indicators (including workspace indicator) if you decide to switch to gnome3 (also referred to as gnome-shell) the workspaces will behave a bit differently but accomplish the same thing in your dash you will have an area on the right that will show your workspaces if you only currently have windows active on one workspace you will see two workspaces (your active one and an empty), if you move a window to the empty one you will then see 3, and the pattern continues, always providing you with your current + an empty

Dock (at the bottom) there are quite a few options here, there's docky, awn, cairo on older versions of ubuntu i preferred awn, but with unity and the dock on the side i ended up sticking with the built in dock gnome-shell's dock is also on the left like unity but it's only shown when you open the dash, all of the above mentioned docks should also work with gnome-shell, and you will also have a few other gnome-shell extensions available as alternatives to the docks listed above

Icons (apart from the apple one) i believe the most popular icon set is called faenza (which im using) it's quite elegant by comparison to the default icons - there are TONS of icons out there, most are quite easy to find via google if you prefer more osx like icons, but i'd strongly recommend checking out faenza

Look of file manager - its more pleasant to navigate around the file system. this is a tough one, the only thing i could recommend would be to switch between "places" or "tree" in the sidebar, or try a different file manager like marlin - i'm honestly not too sure about this one. marlin hasnt been a great experience for me, but you might like it

Closing an application window doesn't actually quit the program, so when you next launch it - it is instantaneous. this one is definitely over my head, so i'm not even going to try, sorry

Global menu (at the top) global menu is a part of ubuntu 11.10 at least in unity, im not positive about gnome-shell

that's about as much as i have, if anyone wants to add to this or if you need more specific answers let me know (just trying to swing at everything at once as best as i could)

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