Essential Mac OS X Lion Features Ubuntu Linux Should Have

As always, Mac OS’s new version was released to a huge hypnotized crowd that applauded and cheered as each slide was revealed. Apple claims that OS X Lion has over 250 new features; however, only a handful of them are truly Wow!-worthy. If you’ve been a long-time Ubuntu-user, you must have noticed how inspired it is from Mac OS X. Well, if we’ve got a similar UI, then why not have some common features? After all, Unity derives heavily from Windows 7 and Mac, so it won’t be a big deal if some of the cool Lion features were added to Ubuntu. Here are some essential Mac OS Lion features that deserve to be added to Ubuntu.

Better File Sharing:
Lion made file sharing a lot easier when they announced their Dropbox-style feature that allows hassle-free sharing of files between 2 computers in the same network. File sharing on Linux isn’t something that new users will get accustomed to right away. Ubuntu can take cue from Mac OS Lion or even Windows 7 and start making networking as easy as possible for neophytes. If Ubuntu wants to go for originality over inspiration, it can create a Unity launcher or lens wherein you could drag and drop your files and share them with your friends. Alternatively, an indicator applet for the same can also be a good idea.

Mac OSX Lion introduces a nice feature, which saves different versions of the file you’re currently editing. This feature, if brought to Ubuntu, can be very helpful for writers and hardcore coders alike.

Full screen apps:
Okay, Unity does a good job at utilizing screen real estate by hiding the launcher. However, many users find the elusive launcher a bit perplexing. In fact, many users I know -- including myself --have set the launcher to always visible. Now, what Ubuntu is trying to do here is that it wants to give every application its own space, so that it looks more like an ‘app’ that’s running on a tablet or a phone. Of course, the plans have gone totally wrong so far as neither the global menu nor the sliding launcher has managed to impress end users.

If you look at how Mac OS Lion does it, it actually puts a full screen button on every window so that you could selectively put that application into full screen mode. Ubuntu can put a similar Full screen mode in most of its applications and set the launcher to always visible. Of course, they will have to trim the launcher to size 32 or 35 but that won’t be much of a problem.

The Resume feature is another cool feature in Mac OS X Lion that makes desktop apps behave like the ones on iOS. In other words, whenever you quit an application, it restores back exactly to the state where you left it, even after a reboot. Now, this may seem a bit useless at first, but it’s a pretty nifty feature to have on our very own Ubuntu.

Ubuntu comes with a full-featured Office suite in LibreOffice as well as a popular text editor. Now, the Ubuntu team, which is aiming for the ‘app’ feel can get one step closer to their goal by simply getting rid of the Save button. This may sound a bit absurd at first, but hey, it’s always cool if Apple does it, isn’t it? Yes, Mac OS X Lion does get rid of the time-honored ‘Save’ button that has been abused by compulsive writers for years. What it does is, it saves the file you’re currently editing and so when you close it, it won’t ask you if you want to save it or not. Now, whenever you open that document, voila, it’s back the way you left it. Cool, isn’t it?

This could be a great addition to Ubuntu considering the amount of work applications it comes bundled with. That coupled with Ubuntu One can be heaven for workaholics everywhere.

Multi-touch gestures:
With Unity, Ubuntu has decided that it will be an interface that will be consistent across all devices including tablets and laptops. Taking a step forward in that direction, Ubuntu could make some progress in the gestures department and bring it at par with the ones Mac OS Lion provides. Of course, Ubuntu should not prioritize this over bugfixes and essential features, but it should definitely consider it for the future.

Why just Ubuntu, why not other distros?
While reading this article you might have wondered why it is limited to Ubuntu and why not other distros like Fedora and openSUSE are mentioned. Well, the reason is simple -- No mainstream distribution other than Ubuntu is derived so heavily from Mac OS X and Windows. We, of course, don’t think that it is that bad, as Ubuntu wants it easy for users from other OSes to migrate to Linux. We just hope that if they copy some features, they might as well do it right.


  1. AnonymousJune 22, 2011

    Surely you are kidding about "Resume" and "AutoSave" both of these would surely create more problem than they would solve.

    For most apps I would always want to NOT start from the point I last closed the app. Maintain a "Recently Opened Files" list is ok but for many apps even this presents a problem.

    AutoSave would be simply EVIL. The numer of times I open files/documents/drawings/show to tinker with BUT NEVER save is HUGE. Altering a file on disk is something that should ONLY happen in response to specific commands.

    As for full screen, this is simply something that is so rarely needed as be a waste of energy to refine. The trend in Unity is one of the larger design problems. As for shrinking the launcher - that I'm in favor of - eliminate the launcher and the dock permentantly. They repesent huge steps in the wrong direction.

  2. Apparently you want to use KDE. This isn't suprising as Apple has drawn from KDE for years. Resume for example has been in KDE for as long as I can remember and I've been using it for 9 years. Other things like the concept of Core Audio and Video or a little thing called Webkit. Even Microsoft copied Kicker in Vista. Check it out

  3. Intersting acticle. I love Ubuntu and Mac features. Windows is suck.

  4. To Shaun. When I moved from kde to OS X, resume was something I really missed. And now that it's back, it is light years ahead of what kde had. I jumped in early 2007 btw. For example, in Konqueror you would lose web history, but keep the tabs. On Lion, you keep the web history. ALL apps (except terminal) go back to exactly where you had them.

  5. about auto-save :

    is it an ubuntu new feature or OOo feature ?
    yes it's usefull but ubuntu isn't the only distro. concerned !

    nota :
    am not sure easy file sharing is a good way …
    lots of netbook sold and connect to external lan cause severe lake of security …



  6. With all due respect, file sharing in Lion is a nightmare. I run a multi-os environment and the headaches that Lion's smb has prompted could fill a doctor's office for a week. One has to install samba via macports and tweak the settings in addition to turning off Windows sharing via the Settings. I am now in the process of backing up Lion to be put on a shelf until Apple picks up the ball it dropped. (We won't even discuss how Apple in all its infinite wisdom has decided to break Expose). End result?...stay with Snow Leopard for now.