Top Mac OS X Leopard Apps

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I decided to create an extension to my MacBook review, but this time, focusing on the applications. For Mac OS X Leopard users who are blown away by the amount of available software, here’s what I’ve determined to be the best in each category:

Internet Browser: Camino 1.6.2

  • Safari 4 Developer Version
    • Native browser to Mac
    • Faster JavaScript rendering than Safari 3
  • Firefox 3.0.1
    • It’s Firefox. Enough said. The new Gecko rendering engine is amazing.
  • Camino 1.6.2 Release Candidate
    • Essentially a browser that has Firefox 2 power with a Mac look-and-feel.
    • Since I don’t really use Firefox plugins, I found Camino to be perfect. I didn’t conduct any official speed tests, but the browser just “felt” faster.

appleFTP Client: Transmit

Torrent Client: Transmission

VNC: Chicken of the VNC

Instant Messaging Client: iChat

  • iChat
    • Native IM client to Mac
    • Useful for those using just AIM, Jabber, or GoogleTalk
    • I’m strictly an AIM user, so the native iChat program was just fine with me. No complaints.
  • Adium
    • Useful for users who use different IM platforms (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, etc.)
  • Skype
    • I’ve had trouble with iChat and Adium trying to video conference with AIM users on Windows. This cross-platform dilemma was resolved by video chatting across Skype.

Multimedia: iTunes for music and VLC for video

Office Suite: Microsoft Office 2008

  • iLife 2008
    • An Office suite made for the Mac
  • Microsoft Office 2008
    • An Office suite made for Windows
    • Unfortunately, since I’ve grown up using Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Publisher, Office 2008 was the obvious choice for me.
    • Since I use OpenOffice on Linux, I might one day just use that for Windows and Mac too.

Web Development: Macromedia Dreamweaver

Photo Editing: Adobe Photoshop CS3

DVD/CD Burning: Roxio Toast 9 Titanium

Other Utilities:

  • Growl
    • Provides system notifications
  • InsomniaX
    • Allows you to close your the MacBook lid without sending the system into standby
    • Useful if you’re in the middle of a long process (ie, video rendering or a large file download), but don’t want to leave your screen open.
  • Fan Control
    • Allows you to adjust the fan speed at varying temperatures
  • QuickSilver
    • This is an application launcher, but for my purposes, I found this completely useless. SpotLight (the native application launcher) is enough.


  1. Heh, yes, QS *is* a great application for other tasks (like FTP-ing); however, it’s just not for me. As for the photo editing and web development programs, I’m used to Photoshop and Dreamweaver, respectively, and am basically too lazy to learn more programs which perform the same task.

  2. Quicksilver is much more than an app launcher if you look more deeply into it. Also extensible by applications.

    Seems most of the top big apps made it to your list. Have you considered more Mac-native apps for tasks such as photo editing or web dev?

  3. Great list, we share a lot of the same preferences. I used Macs all throughout my high school graphic design program, but it’s been a few years since I consistently used a Mac. I just bought the lower model MacBook for $999 (student discount) and it came with a free iPod Touch. So far I haven’t had too much time to play with either but I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty. Thanks for the list of recommended apps, it will help me get started.

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