New poll: What would you miss most when switching to a Mac?

by Volker Weber

Two out of three liked the idea of polls on 483 votes - that was a pretty large number. Time for a real poll:

I have talked to many people who really, really would like to use a Mac. Many are surprised to see that there is a wealth of software, but it's far from complete. There are some applications widely used in corporations which are not available on the Mac.

My question is: "What would you miss most when switching to a Mac?" Vote in the sidebar. The results:


You're missing "a right mouse button on the trackpad thingy" ;)

Colin Williams, 2007-01-04

Good games.

Domino Administrator.

Scott Gentzen, 2007-01-04

Having done it, I miss Domino Designer, IE6 ('cause I have to develop for it on our intranet), Sizer (to define window sizes in pixels - to be fair, I haven't looked for a Mac equivalent lately), MS Project (miss is the wrong word, since I hate Project, but I am required to *use* it), and our VPN client.

But, of course, I use Parallels to run XP on my MacBook Pro, and I have all of those things available today. So, ultimately, as a Mac switcher, I don't miss any Wintel applications.

I do miss the presence of a "maximize" control for windows - though I realize that working with maximized windows is a very Windows-centric model, it is still a useful model sometimes.

Rob McDonagh, 2007-01-04

@ Colin: a two-fingered tap on the Trackpad takes care of that.

For me there is one thing that stops my using a Mac for work (well, apart from the IT and risk police of course): the VPN client that’s used by our organisation.

That’s it really (I’m not going to tread the old Domino Designer path). With VMWare / Parallels / Bootcamp pretty much all issues go away.

Ben Poole, 2007-01-04

I would miss the Notes Designer and Java within Notes.

Thorsten Ebers, 2007-01-04

What do I miss? I regret the fact that I still have to have a Windows computer on hand to check (on behalf of my clients) just how ugly my beautiful, gorgeous websites can be when handled on a computer that doesn't understand typefaces.

Oh, and ArcInfo/ ArcGIS. You don't have a button for that...

Nick Daisley, 2007-01-04

@Rob: For maximizing windows of an application like in Windows there is an app called Stoplight. Configurable on an app per app basis.

Andreas Muth, 2007-01-04

I do miss (currently trying to live in both worlds):

1. a good image browsing and organizing software. ViewIt came close but wasn't as good as ACDSee on Win.

2. a good and affordable photo editing tool (like Paint Shop Pro on Win). Photoshop Elements might be a candidate.

3. don't know about alternatives but Finder on Mac doesn't work for me

4. if I'd like to use it at work: Domino Admin and Designer

Btw: a Mac with similar technical specifications to my current PC would cost 50% more.

Oliver Regelmann, 2007-01-04

@Oliver :

Image Browsing - have you tried FFView or EOS Image manager ? Particularly FFView is very very fast to view images.

Photo editing - I use The Gimp, free to download, it has quite an extensive help system now. You do need X11 installed though.

Finder - Yes, I agree, this could stand some improvement, although I almost always use Spotlight to launch applications.

And as for the cost, yes I totally agree, but my imac is such a beaut ! And above all, quiet... I can't stand the noise anymore my pc makes, so I'm gonna get rid of it as soon as I transfer it's contents.

Alex Boschmans, 2007-01-04


for a finder replacement check out Pathfinder at

Jan Fuellemann, 2007-01-04

I miss an easy way to develop for J2ME. Would really nice to see this in Mac flavour.

Martin Kautz, 2007-01-04

@Oliver: Take a look at Path Finder as a Finder replacement.

FWIW, for file management and navigation I am using Path Finder, Default Folder X and LaunchBar altogether.

The only thing I am missing once in a while is a Total Commander-like file manager.

Helmar Steinberg, 2007-01-04

Having just bought my first Mac (delivery next week) I'll find out what I miss and let you know at a later date.

Chris Coates, 2007-01-04

I changed in December and the only thing I'm missing so far is my Ultra Edit - now I'm trying to use Textmate.

Martin Hiegl, 2007-01-04

I would miss the freedom I have with GNU/Linux.

Tim Daniel, 2007-01-04

I miss the delete key. There's a key labeled delete on my Mac, but it performs the backspace function. I'm not going back to Wintel, but this is an annoyance.

Chris King, 2007-01-04

@Chris: in case you weren't aware -- and apologies if you are -- if backspace doesn't do what you want (and it does vary: e.g. in the Mac Notes client backspace in a view will mark the selected document(s) for deletion, which seems odd), Fn + backspace acts as the normal Delete key.

Ben Poole, 2007-01-04

@Alex: I tried FFView over a year ago and wasn't happy with it at all. I might look at it again.
I think The Gimp is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of software. I hate its GUI. And having to use X11 wouldn't make this better I suppose.

@Jan/Helmar: Pathfinder looks good, thanks.

@Chris: try fn+Delete (or Alt+Delete?)

The funny thing about posts like this is that you always get piles of new tools to check out.

And, to turn things around: There's one Mac app I totally miss on Windows: Quicksilver.

Oliver Regelmann, 2007-01-04 2.x native

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2007-01-04

@Oliver. Re the GIMP, I agree, I'm not a big fan of firing up X11. However, a couple of options are here / on the horizon:

Gtk+ natively on Mac OS X


Ben Poole, 2007-01-04

I would 'miss' Autocad, and a few 3D, lighting and audio modelling packages. We need those programs for our design work, and for being compatible with our architectural clients.

If there did not appear to be a hidden 'deal' involving MS, we would have had Acad for Mac since long. Many attempts to get Acad (back) to the Mac have unfortunately failed. There is hardly a decent reader for .dwg files for the Mac (that I know of).

It seems to me that the world of architecture design would have Macs on all desks if the software was available and the file format 100% compatible - I mean, we fit the demographics of the cool iPodded types with designer-black T-shirts and all. The Intel Macs certainly make our desktops prettier and augment the cool factor, but for now it looks like we would still be obliged to trade valuable time doing things we like and know (design) with doing things we don't like and not really know (managing operating systems - what a paradox).

Frans Swarte, 2007-01-04

You can try JView for a simple photo viewing app. Not quite like all the stuff in ACDSee or Irfanview (I do wish Irfanview were on the Mac), but OK.

I miss the syncing. Not so much that its better (iSync is a nicer architecture), just that you regularly have to wait (often for a third party to write it) for syncing software for new devices. Grumble, grumble. Maybe there will actually be an "Applephone" coming out next week and the tables will be turned :-).

I could say I miss VPN software and idiotic corporate HR apps that make you use ActiveX controls, but that makes no sense whatsoever.

Kevan Emmott, 2007-01-04

@Andreas: Yes, I saw Stoplight as well. Unfortunately, it conflicts with something (maybe Quicksilver?), and if I install it I get the bug (reported in that forum by others) where I can't logout or shutdown. I definitely wanted it to work, though, because it does solve my specific problem. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be actively developed or supported anymore?

Rob McDonagh, 2007-01-04

@Karsten: For OpenOffice native try NeoOffice. Version 2.0beta3 is very stable.

Christian Kube, 2007-01-04

Great thread - picked up lots of little tips on keystrokes and software I'd not have otherwise discovered easily on my own. Cheers!

Colin Williams, 2007-01-04

Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio.

John Jamesson, 2007-01-04

I already switched, but these apps I miss most: Microsoft Visio, Mindjet MindManager Pro.

Oliver Stör, 2007-01-04

Mindjet has a version for the Mac, which I have not had the chance to review. Visio can be replaced with OmniGraffle Pro.

Volker Weber, 2007-01-04

The only thing I am missing is the ability to play my old PC games that I legally bought with my hard earned money as a teenager. However, I plan to get a Mac Mini when Leopard ships and as far as I understand I will be able to play e.g. Command & Conquer again with Bootcamp. Furthermore, Lucasart's Monkey Island runs on every platform thanks to the ScummVM, so where is the problem? =)

Philipp Sury, 2007-01-04

+1 for OmniGraffle. One day whilst working from home, I got so exasperated with trying to get Visio to do what I wanted, I turned to my Mac, downloaded the OmniGraffle trial, and completed all the required application diagrams in next to no time. Much nicer. And they look a lot better than Visio’s too… ;o)

Ben Poole, 2007-01-04


Here is a link to MindManager 6 for the Mac.

Bruce Elgort, 2007-01-05

@Oliver, Bruce,

MindManager 6 for Mac essentially is a MindManager 1, way behind the corresponding Windows version at the same price. Been a long time MindManager user on Windows I recommend NovaMind 3 on Mac. It is about 80 EUR.

I second Ben with OmniGraffle, same experience here.

Helmar Steinberg, 2007-01-05

I would miss Java in Notes

Lars Berntrop-Bos, 2007-01-05

Right mouse click and Double-Right mouse Click

Anthony Pope, 2007-01-05

I agree with Oliver that NovaMind is much better, and less expensive, and imports and exports mind manager files, and they have both a Mac and a Windows product, which are both excellent. Strongly suggest you check them out. Oh, and their support is excellent.

Joseph Adamson, 2007-01-06

Also I see that on their documentation page, they have a document which tells you how to get up to speed with NovaMind if you were used to Mind Manager, and also how to import your old files into NovaMind. It's called NovaMind for Mind Manager switchers.

Joseph Adamson, 2007-01-06

I would miss a non-crashing Domino Designer.

The LotusScript class browser in the code pane.

The association of ics files with the Notes client, so I can click an "add to calendar" link on a website, to add one or more appointments to my address book. I will also miss the synchronisation with this external calendar source.

The ability to make semantic markup in the Notes client. For starters marking headlines as headlines, not just bold and big.

I might as well switch to Mac since none of these things are available on Windows!

Bo Frederiksen, 2007-01-06

I switched to Mac and replaced my Visio with ConceptDraw VI. Now I prefer it to Visio, the competition is left behind easily. These guys also have mind mapping tool. I downloaded and compared MindManager and NovaMind and I still think that ConceptDraw MINDMAP is the best solution for my needs. moreover all applications are available on Mac and Win.

Nick Sarandon, 2007-01-08

Bo - Check out the free teamstudio tools on the TeamStudio Blog page - the latest version of their class browser is excellent.

Oh - and they also have a call tree analyser. Invaluable stuff.

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2007-05-06

I'd certainly miss Vista:

- I'd miss the annoying dialog boxes fifty or so times a day.

- I'd miss putting it to sleep, and it starting up and deciding to move my home directories and links every time.

- I'd miss the sluggishness of my gaming laptop on screen updates, even though it has a score of 4 out of 6.

- I'd miss the random "Aero Glass is on" and "Aero Glass is off".

- I'd miss the random application crashes. And explorer deciding to restart five times in an hour

- I'd miss the acid in my stomach every time I tried to start it up on client site, praying that I still had some data on it.

- I'd miss the "maximum 2gb memory" or "64-bit and driver roulette" that MS give us.

My next laptop will be a Mac..

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2007-05-06

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