Macbuntu - Make your Ubuntu look like Mac OSX

Updated: September 30, 2010

Do you like Mac? The answer is probably yes. Do you feel that by using Mac you will become a part of an elitist society of higher aesthetic order? The answer is yes. Do you feel spending a few thousand dollars on a posh new Mac is out of your league? The answer is unfortunately yes.

Well, in that case, you may want to try a poor man's Mac. Grab a Linux distribution and skin it to look like Mac. Many have tried and many have failed. Creating a Mac-like theme for Linux is not a simple deal. In the past several years, I've tried half a dozen of these projects, but they were all too complex, too buggy and not as beautiful as you expected. Now, though, it has all changed. Not any longer. Enter Macbuntu.


Installation & setup

Macbuntu is a Mac OSC transformation pack, specially designed for Ubuntu. Unlike all other projects, it's flawless. It's extremely easy to setup, you don't need a PhD in geekiness, there are no bugs and issues, and it looks perfect. Usually, I'm not a big fan of skinning and tweaking. But sometimes, you come across a truly superb project like Macbuntu.

All right. Let's see how this thing works. It's very easy. Download the archive (link on the page above), extract it and run the script that is included in the archive.


You'll be asked for sudo password. Then, several more questions asking you about your setup preferences. For most people, just hitting Enter and using the default choices is good enough. A few packages will be downloaded. Then, you'll be asked to reboot.

Macbuntu start

After reboot ... enjoy a fantastic transformation!


Awesome gallery

Let me walk you through this stunning project. In general, you may want to turn Compiz on to get the storm of desktop effects, but even with no visual effects enabled, you'll enjoy transparency, shadows and zoom-in icons in the dock.

I did not like several default choices, so I changed them. For example, the dock is set to autohide, so I disabled that. Buttons are positioned on the left side, true Mac style, however I changed that to the right. I removed the active window name applet from the top panel and replaced it with the active window icon applet. I also added inline search box. Popular applications are skinned with Mac themes, including Firefox, Thunderbird, Cheese, and others.

You will also like the top panel context menu, which changes based on the active application. So if you're using GIMP, the file menu will reside in the top panel, and if you switch to another utility, the panel layout will change.

Top panel


Let me show you. Here's Firefox, with its default button layout.


Moved to the right; I still haven't disabled the active window name applet.

Shifted to the right

It only gets better and better. Fresh icons loaded into Docky.

Tweaked desktop

Snow wallpaper

The GIMP context menu:


Context zoomed

Nvidia applet:


Control Center, some apps and suchlike:

Control Center


Image viewer

Nautilus, the file manager looks great, too.

File manager

Absolutely sweet icons:


You also have Ubuntu Tweak if you want to configure your desktop even more than the default selection, although you'll be hard-tempted to, considering the absolutely stellar work done here.


Here's the almost final desktop:

Final desktop

And final work:



Damn, that looks good! All of the work done on my LG laptop with Nvidia 9600GS card, running Lucid Lynx, among many other distributions, pimped to the max with this superb transformation.

Now, credits go to Ocky for pointing out this great project!

You may also want to take a look at WebUpd8 article on the topic.


Macbuntu is a genuinely superb idea. It looks great, it works great. Even someone like me, a veteran, conservative geek, can appreciate the stunning beauty of the transformation.

The solution is ergonomically smart, the layout is excellent, everything works as expected, there are no bugs or problems of any kind. Working with Macbuntu is a pleasure. Even I'm addicted now. I will surely be using this. Simply perfect.

All of this in just five minutes and absolutely zero cost. I normally tend to be aloof and impartial, but I just can't. Macbuntu is my new favorite toy. Well, there we go. All I can do now is ask you to download the transformation pack and see for yourself. You'll be amazed. P.S. If you want full-resolution images, please let me know, I'll upload them.