Looking for a Linux distro that looks and feels like MacOS. Before you respond, pleeease don't recommend me these:

Elementary OS | Takes forever to update to latest LTS, and the pre-installed software is terrible

Deepin | Severely outdated software repos, and I hate the deepin desktop for many reasons.

Backslash Linux | Under development by devs who don't know what they're doing.

Pear OS | Discontinued

"Setup something yourself" | No, piss off.

This is probably a noob question, but I'm not a linux noob. I want something clean & simple, and I was wondering if someone perhaps found some hidden gem distro that emulates Mac OS, doesn't have outdated software repos, and is maintained by people who know how to use their brain.

  • 12
    Windows 10? 🤷🏻‍♂️

    It's better anyways lol

    Nah idk man. I was gonna say elementary but nevermind then.
  • 16
    Well....you pretty much covered all the distros that look like MacOS.

    My favorite and personal recommendation is Linux Lite. It does not look like OSX but if you are a Noob(which you said you are not, but i am still mentioning here)it will hold your hand, work fast, not break, use a low memory footprint and grow with you. I have yet to find a Linux Distro as beginner friendly like this.

    Also, don't add "piss off" in the list of suggestions since telling you to set this shit up yourself is a damn good option......all it takes is a little bit of research which if you are not willing to commit to then Linux might not be for you my dude.
  • 4
    I was in a simillar situation, where I wanted to get the most Mac OS X-like setup I left the distros you already mentioned because of those reasons.

    In the end I kinda gave up on the whole "as much like Mac OS X as possible" and went with the setup I like best. Now, any distro, that comes with GNOME3 I can call home and get the same settings set up.

    My current theme is Arc theme, Papirus icon theme, DMZ mouse cursor theme (white ).

    Additionally, I got Gnome Tweaks and the extension: "dash to dock, topiconsplus, dynamic top bar, user themes" and a couple others as my main configuration... I guess it counts as "build your own"?

    I'm currently sporting said theme on Manjaro at home and on Fedora at work.
  • 7
    Manjaro Linux/Antergos with KDE & Latte Dock? You get the benefit of the latest FOSS software with the closest look and feel to macOS in any DE I've used.
  • 1
    @AleCx04 I need Linux, for programming.

    Linux runs on any decent web server. As for actual coding, I'm too dirt broke to get a Mac & Windows is crap when it does anything involving programming.
  • 0
    Debian 9.5 gnome.
  • 1
    @RustyCookie Debian is a pain to install on actual hardware.

    Plus I don't like Gnome, it's too clunky. Also it's nothing like MacOS.
  • 0
    @EclipseMain I think you might struggle to find something that ticks all the boxes as fundamentally macOS has a lot of very tightly integrated components which comprise the core ui.

    If you consider gnome too clunky, your best option for a macOS like ui would be to go for something xfce based, and then install a dock component.

    I’ve had success with xubuntu in the past. Although I’m not a big advocate of Ubuntu on the whole for the desktop, it does have excellent hardware detection and the install process is usually quite straightforward on real hardware.

    That said, I’ve had pretty good results from Debian on real hardware on almost all machines I’ve tried recently with the exception of one HP laptop which has had issues with Linux in general.

    As for docks, Plank is really very good, and plays nicely with Ubuntu distros when installed from the PPA, though I’ve not tried this with an xfce based install up to now.

    I used docky for a while, but I found it to be a little too slow for my liking.

    Is there a specific aspect of the macOS user experience you’re trying to recreate, or is it just the general look and feel of the desktop?
  • 0
    Ubuntu 18.04 with Macterial
  • 0
    @oudalally No, I want an MacOS replica/wannabe directly from the iso. If it doesn't exist (properly), my post would make for a good project idea for some hobbyist to pick up on.

    I know about docky/xfce/other interfaces. I've been a Linux user for some time now. I could try to shuffle stuff together and make something like Mac, but it'll turn out buggy & terrible, not to mention doing that is tedious especially when installing on multiple machines.

    I want something like Elementary OS, but better designed and doesn't have outdated repos. I appreciate your recommendations, but it seems that what I'm looking for just doesn't exist yet (maybe)
  • 2
    @EclipseMain do you want something that looks like macos, or feels like macos? or both?

    either way, nothing does that out of the box. but depending on how perfect you want it, it might not be that hard to set up yourself.
  • 0
    How about using a basic image as a base system and installing the Elementary DE on it?
  • 5
    Sounds like you want a rolling release. As for the look and feel, that's nothing to do with "linux" or the gnu software. You're talking about Desktop environments and there's a whole handful of them that can emulate a sort of mac os feel.

    Reading the replies to comments it really just seems like you want someone to have set something up for you. But that isn't really the whole idea of this "ecosystem".

    Since your not a "linux noob" I'm a little surprised that you wouldn't just take the few minutes (an hour tops) to just research the available desktop customization options and quick modify one of them (rice it) on a rolling release distribution with up to date packages.

    But what do I know 🤷‍♂️
  • 0
    How about arch + deepin DE
  • 0
    @EclipseMain Hm 9.5 has the same installation as any other distro.
    If you have issues installing it, you might reconsider your move to Linux.
  • 0
  • 0
    Ubuntu Budgie + nice theme and you’re good to go
  • 0
    @AleCx04 What he said about having named them all already. I'd still recommend elementary as that's what comes closest. If it updates so slow for you maybe search around for that one? It has always ran very fast for me.
  • 1
    Arch, if you want full control ;^)
  • 1
    Man, elementaryos Juno will be there soon, get ready for that! It’s awesome
  • 0
    KDE Neon ?
  • 2
    @ EclipseMain Linux is not macOS, and that it’s fundamentally a different look and feel.

    You can skin it, but what you’re looking for has been tried numerous times and never really took off.

    I used to have a macOS theme for mandrake but we’re going back about 15 years now. I skinned Linux to look like a lot of other operating systems, BeOS, windows, system 7 through to 9.22, and OS X, and the one common issue is that they’re just not the os I’m trying to replicate.

    There is a comparison of macOS like distros at this link, but I suspect they will try be the right solution as what it seems like you actually want is macOS.


    Do you just want it to look like it, so menu bar at the top of the screen, similar icons, dock, window controls on the left, duplication of the finder etc
  • 0
    @oudalally The problem I found was that all those Mac OS X reskins are just that - reskins... they don't offer the same functionality to go with the looks. In the end tho, it's not necessarily bad - I find a lot of Mac OS X features to be too vague, minimalistic or just too limiting at times (when compared to regular linux distro).
  • 1
    @illegaldisease KDE Neon is nothing like Mac, it's more like poorman's Windows 10 desktop.
  • 0
    @LeFlawk I can get full control on any distro, and I have used Arch in the past. It's okay, but not what I'm looking for (aka a MacOS-like distro)
  • 1
    what specific features do you want from linux that you can get from mac? besides the look
  • 1
    @EclipseMain have you looked at the second hand market?

    I managed to get an i5 MacBook Pro for £350, which I maxed out the ram on and put an ssd over a 3 month period.

    It was my main project machine for 2 and a half years, until I got my Mac Pro.

    That was a 2010 quad core Xeon, which was about £500.

    When I sold the MacBook Pro, I still got £350 back for it, and at the point it was running a 2.6ghz i5 with 8gb ram and a 250gb Samsung ssd.

    Spec wise, it was easily capable for development, and even handled some vm work on occasion.

    It’s worth scouring the second hand market for one as they do crop up on occasion, and considering how the more recent machines are pretty poorly spec’d now, second hand works out really cost effective.
  • 1
    @oudalally I don't want a mac. I'm sure they're great but I'm used to Linux for programming.

    I want Linux with a mac-like interface, so I don't get distracted while programming, and plus I like the MacOS interface.
  • 1
    @tbodt The look, that's all.
  • 0
    @EclipseMain i beg to differ. Just put the panel to the top and you will get this.
  • 0
  • 1
    @jesterishere Pop OS is using a semi-themed Gnome desktop. It's nothing like Mac.

    Thanks for the recommendation and I'm sure Pop OS is a great distro, but it's not what I'm looking for.
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