Mountain Lion with Favourite Apps

With mountain lion being out, I decided it was time to do a clean install and rid my system of the clutter I’ve accumulated over the last few years.

When choosing applications to use I am mindful of not only how useable they are but also whether or not they are open source or low cost and can be used on other platforms so the knowledge and skills are transferable where possible. I’ve tried to loosely group these into sensible themes. Where these apps are available in the app store I’ve included a link for that also.

File System Browser

Finder does not offer the filesystem visibility that I like, so I use PathFinder when I need a little more power.

Web Browser

I use Google Chrome and occasionally Firefox depending on what I’m doing and how well the sites work in the browsers.

To synchronise browser information, I use Xmarks and LastPass.

For Chrome I use the following plugins for general use:

  • Add to Amazon Wishlist
  • Google Calendar Checker
  • Google Dictionary
  • Google Mail Checker
  • Google Reader Notifier
  • Google Similar Pages
  • Lastpass
  • Microformats for Google Chrome
  • Pocket
  • RSS Subscriptions Extension
  • Session Buddy
  • The Camelizer
  • Xmarks Bookmarks Sync

And the follow plugins for development:

  • Firebug Lite
  • JSONView
  • LiveReload
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Speed Tracer

Resource Monitoring

iStat Menus provides the slickest resource monitoring for the menubar. I end up ditching most of the standard menubar icons by holding down ⌘ and dragging them off.


Growl was the defacto notification system for OS X, though this may change now that mountain lion has notifications built in. For now I’m keeping it around till there is more support for native notifications. Many applications utilise growl if installed. I use HardwareGrowler too.

Instant messaging

Adium is a generic chat client with support for most chat protocols that also integrates with Growl. Skype is also very good and can be used for messaging, voice calls and video calls.


FTP Client

Filezilla is a free, open source, cross platform ftp client. Cyberduck is a free, open source FTP, SFTP, WebDav and cloud browser for Mac OS-X. For those happy to spend a few coins, Transit is highly commended.



VLC is a really good cross platform media player with support for most formats.


Handbrake is a good cross platform video transcoder.

Little App Factory

Little App Factory do a number of cool little apps, such as ripit and tagalicious.



Dropbox only syncs files you put into it but has the advantage that its software as a service and therefore a backup is stored on a server and you can also access files through the website or mobile phone applications. Its free for up to 2GB of storage and this can be extended through referrals and rewards through participation in events, and you can pay for larger storage needs.

Text Editor

There are quite a number of text editors available, however, there is a lot of support for TextMate on the mac. If you are happy with the command line, vim is very popular especially when used with tmux. Sublime Text has been gaining a lot of popularity recently also.

Screen grabber

Skitch is a really good screen grabber and editor.

Image Editor

There are numerous image editors available at varying costs. For most needs, I highly recommend Pinta which is based on Paint.NET for windows.


Spotlight is pretty good, but Alfred is even better. Launch what you want quickly and intuitively with some nice extra features thrown in.

General Development


iTerm2 is a terminal replacement that supports tmux and panels. Very useful when working predominately in the terminal.


Xcode is a suite of development tools used to create Mac and iPhone applications. It provides a number of building blocks for other applications, such as build tools and compilers. Make sure you install the command line tools too from the preferences -> downloads dialog once xcode itself is installed.


XQuartz is a version of X Windows that runs on OS X. It is used by some cross platform tools.


Homebrew is the best package manager for OS X. XCode and XQuartz are prerequisites for some packages (aka formulae in homebrew), providing gcc and other important tools. Be sure to run brew doctor to ensure you have the right configuration.


Ruby is a great programming language and has packages that are called gems. Some gems contain binaries and are therefore executable from the terminal.

To manage the ruby environment, it is useful to an environment manager. rbenv and ruby-build take a lightweight approach, whereas RVM is a collection of tools for ruby development.


Java is not installed by default on mountain lion, but simply running java -version from the terminal will ensure it installs, prompting you as appropriate. Over time, Oracle will be taking on the responsibility of providing java packages for OS X.

Base Packages

I use the following script to populate base packages / gems / eggs / npms:

brew install ack bash-completion curl dos2unix readline rename tmux tree wakeonlan wget zsh
brew install gist git imagemagick subversion xmlstarlet
brew install mongodb mysql postgresql redis riak sqlite
brew install rbenv ruby-build
brew install node
brew install maven
brew install python

# java stuff - this forces install on mountain lion
java -version

# ruby stuff
if [ ! -d ~/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p194 ] ; then
  rbenv install 1.9.3-p194
  rbenv global 1.9.3-p194
  gem install --no-rdoc --no-ri bundler yard pry whenever lunchy
  gem install --no-rdoc --no-ri rails cucumber-rails rspec-rails capistrano
  rbenv rehash

# python stuff
pip install jsonpipe pygments

# npm for node
npm install -g coffee-script


zsh seems to be the way to go these days over bash. If you want to use the latest version from homebrew, you will need to register it as outlined in the info showed after installing, i.e. adding /usr/local/bin/zsh to /etc/shells. oh-my-zsh is a good collection of zsh goodness to get you started which does most of the hardwork for you, including switching your default shell.


There are a few good git graphical user interfaces, SourceTree, Github for Mac and GitX fork by Laullon.


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