Brief: This article lists out MacOS look alike Linux distributions. The comparison here is done on the similarity in looks and functioning to MacOS.
There are several beautiful Linux distributions already present in Linux world. But for some reasons, people are fixated on the looks of Apple’s MacOS.
Now, not everyone can afford or would want to buy a MacBook just for using the MacOS. You could go for Hackintosh but that would mean ditching Linux, something a Linux lover like me wouldn’t do.
The good thing about Linux is that it has endless possibilities. When it comes to tweaking looks, you can do wonders. Imagine making Ubuntu look like MacOS. It’s totally possible.
But why bothering tweaking when you have Linux distributions that imitate or get inspired by MacOS’ looks. Yes, there are several MacOS look alike Linux distributions and I am going to list them for you.
This is the last one in our series of look specific Linux distributions. Others are:
Linux distributions that are inspired by MacOS
Before I show you the MacOS inspired Linux distributions, I would like to mention Pear OS.
If you are a well aware Linux follower for last 4 years, you might have heard of Pear OS. This was simply MacOS of Linux world. It has a logo of a bitten pear. It has its own Pear Cloud, Contacts, Music app, color profile, search etc, everything on the line of Apple’s MacOS.
But 3 years back, Pear OS suddenly announced its demise. Apparently, it was bought by an anonymous big enterprise.
Pear OS aside, we still have a few MacOS look alike Linux distribution or inspired by MacOS. Let’s see them.
Note: This list is not a ranking, it’s not in any particular order.
1. elementary OS
No matter how much elementary OS team denies, there are footprints of MacOS everywhere. It is clearly inspired by MacOS.
The bottom plank is not the only thing that you can relate to MacOS. Look at the Geary, Photos, Scratch and other apps. They have a Mac feel despite being so elementary-ish.
In fact, getting inspired by MacOS is kind of boon for elementary OS. Do keep in mind that they are not just putting a MacOS looking theme on the top of Ubuntu. They are doing some serious work to give the entire OS an elementary feel.
Apart from the Pantheon desktop environment that is developed from scratch, this effort is quite visible in the applications they have forked. It’s an ecosystem where everything is created aesthetically.
elementary OS is quite protective of their ecosystem and hence they have strict guidelines for the app developers to design their apps that would mix well in elementary OS environment.
Another plus point about elementary OS is that it’s a widely used distribution. This means that you won’t end up with a Linux spin which is rather unknown and you keep wondering where to get support and help.
If you want a Linux that has a Mac feel but provides a great community support, elementary OS should be the first choice.
2. Deepin Linux
After elementary OS, Deepin Linux could be the distro of your choice if you want your Linux to look like macOS.
Deepin Linux was initially based on Ubuntu but it now uses Debian as its base. They have created their own desktop environment along with a range of other Deepin specific applications that blend perfectly to give you an aesthetic feel. As you can see in the video above, Deepin Linux is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Linux distribution ever.
The Deepin team is based in China and their primary target is Chinese audience and hence some of their applications are not available in other languages. This is an area where they can certainly improve.
3. BackSlash Linux
BackSlash Linux is relatively new and relatively unknown entrant in the Linux distribution world. If looks were the only thing, BackSlash Linux does a marvelous job of imitating the looks of macOS.
It goes on to provide icons similar to Mac OS. You can even consider it Linux clone of Mac OS.
It is based on Ubuntu and follows a release cycle similar to Ubuntu. While it is available for a free download, you also have the option to buy support.
4. Gmac Linux
Gmac is short for GNOME + Mac. Unlike the above mentioned MacOS look alike Linux distributions, Gmac is not a full-fledged distribution. It is simply GNOME desktop with Mac theme.
Which means that you get Ubuntu Linux with a heavily customized GNOME desktop environment that looks a lot like MacOS. This also means that you won’t have to do all the customization all by yourself to make Ubuntu look like MacOS. Gmac already does it for you. Plus you get to keep your Ubuntu distribution.
The one weird thing about Gmac Linux is that weird logo that is a mix of GNOME and Apple logo.
5. Trenta OS [Under Development]
There is not enough information available about Trenta OS at this time. It is under development and hasn’t even reached the beta stage.
From what I could surmise from their website, blog and social media accounts is that it’s based on Ubuntu and is using GNOME desktop environment.
Focus has been kept on the looks and UI. Rainier icon theme that imitates MacOS icons is the main USP here.
Terminal and some other regular applications are also tweaked to make it look like MacOS.
Of course, It’s FOSS will cover the news when the final version comes out :)
Macpup [Unsure of development]
Puppy Linux is one of the best lightweight Linux distributions for older computers. This would make Macpup a good option for you if you got 15-20 years old computer.
There is one problem with it, though. Its latest release is based on Precise Puppy 5.5.0 which is based on Ubuntu 12.04. In a few months, the support for this version would end.
Moreover, I am not sure if Macpup is being actively developed as well. Their forum is an abandoned place, their website doesn’t seem to have been updated in over a year.
I wouldn’t recommend you to use it for this particular reason. Additionally, I didn’t even find it that close to MacOS looks. Maybe back in 2012 it might have looked like MacOS but not anymore.
Apricity OS [Discontinued]
Apricity OS is one of my favorite Arch based Linux distributions. You can even call it a cloud centric Linux distribution. Though it’s first stable version was released only a few months ago, it has already gathered a good userbase.
Apricity OS may not be exactly like MacOS but it does have a slight feel to it. It’s GNOME based clean user interface and beautiful icon themes make it a stunning looking Linux distribution.
MacOS look alike or not if one day you want to switch to ‘Arch domain’, do consider Apricity OS among your options.
While obsessing over MacOS look is one thing, you’ll have to accept that Apple does have a good sense of design. And somehow it does influence others. To be honest, I feel that Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment takes a lot of inspiration from MacOS.
What do you think of Linux distributions that look like MacOS? Is it ridiculous or is it simply trying to provide a good UI to end users? What’s your opinion about it?