Must-Have Apps for OS X

Since Steve just got himself a shiny new Powerbook, and asked for a list of apps he should throw on it, I decided to blog the list. Here is my “must-have” list of apps for OS X (unless otherwise noted, everything is either freeware or open source):

  • Adium – multi-service IM client. Themes, plugins, icon sets – everything you could ever want to customize your IM experience (and it’s faster than AIM).
  • Azureus – Best torrent client for OS X, even if it is Java.
  • BBEdit – If you can’t afford BBEdit, you can download TextWrangler for free. not free
  • BookIt – Keep your bookmarks synced up across all the browsers you’ve got installed on your machine. not free
  • Chicken of the VNC – Nothing else needs to be said. It is the chicken of the VNC world – light on the calories, long on possibilities.
  • Conversation – My favorite IRC client for OS X.
  • Instiki – Best wiki out there, period, especially on OS X.
  • MarsEdit – For to be editing your blog. not free
  • NetNewsWire – Best newsreader on any platform. Pay for it, because it’s friggin’ worth it (and so you can use the beta). not free (although there is NNW Lite)
  • NVu – I use it as a word processor when I don’t feel like writing documentation in HTML or on my wiki (you know, when you have to use an existing template). HTML editing goodness that just keeps getting better.
  • OmniOutliner – Why don’t other platforms have decent outlining software? Before Instiki, I couldn’t live without OmniOutliner. Even now, it’s great for brainstorming, taking notes during meetings, and making lists. not free
  • OnyX – A must-have for Powerbooks; OnyX runs all those BSD maintenance scripts that are supposed to run at 3 A.M., but never do because your laptop is sleeping.
  • SubEthaEdit – The first and best collaborative text editors. Great for taking notes at conferences, in meetings (with other people smart enough to have Powerbooks and bring them to meetings), etc. semi-not free
  • Tigerlaunch – Nice little menu item that has all your applications in it. Great when you don’t have something in your dock, but need to start it up.
  • Transmit – A great FTP Client with right-click editing of text files in your favorite text editor. Very cool. not free (check out Fugu or Cyberduck if you’re a cheap bastard).
  • VLC – For watching all the TV shows you download with Azureus. It plays everything, and plays it well.\
    There you have it (and I can’t believe I kept it alphabetical). I didn’t include stuff that should have come with the machine, like iPhoto (even though it’s amazing) or Safari. Am I missing anything?

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.


  1. And if you happen to consider yourself a writer (regardless of whether or not anyone else does), you’d be doing yourself a great disservice not to check out CopyWrite.
    Easily the nicest word-processor-for-writers app I’ve ever used. Well worth the $29.99 purchase price. You can dowload a limited-functionality trial version and test drive it for yourself.

Comments are closed.