We’ve established how easy it is to make Ubuntu look like a Mac but theming Linux Mint, the popular Ubuntu-based offshoot, is a little trickier.
But no more.
It’s now possible to make Linux Mint look like a Mac too, and it’s all thanks to a customised version of the uncannily accurate macOS Mojave GTK theme we highlighted here, just a few weeks ago.
If you’ve longed to add some Cupertino styling to the Cinnamon desktop, keep reading!
Mac Theme for Linux Mint 19
Mac themes for Linux Mint are not new.
But good ones? Well, they have been a bit hard to come by due, in part, to the Cinnamon desktopbeing based around an older version of GTK, the underlying toolkit that’s used to “draw” the GUI of many apps.
Major compatibility issues and refactoring changes between GTK versions has meant that many popular modern GTK themes were not directly compatible with Linux Mint — and that included crop of clonetastic Mac themes too.
Updated GTK in Linux Mint 19
The recent release of Linux Mint 19 changes the game; ‘Tara’ ships with a newer version of GTK that supports many of the advanced theming capabilities that themes often use.
And ready to take full advantage of the new theming capabilities available to Linux Mint 19 is prolific Linux theme maker PaulXfce.
Paul creates and maintains a bunch of well designed and well made themes for various GTK+ based desktop environments, including GNOME Shell, Budgie and, more relevant to those of you reading this post, Cinnamon.
Having recently raved about his creepily accurate macOS Mojave theme I was thrilled to learn that Paul has made a custom version of his macOS mojave theme available for the Cinnamon desktop.
Not that the task was entirely smooth sailing, as Paul points out:
“This has proven to be a much more difficult thing to do, because of the way Linux Mint uses Muffin as a window-manager, which has some drawbacks (like: Server-Side-Decoration, so no transparency in Nemo, ) and the ‘multitude’ of toolbars that take half the real-estate of the window… Reducing the size of them was my first priority.”
Undeterred, Paul has re-engineered his Mac os theme for Linux Mint, building a new Metacity theme that blends with the rest of the UI while still allowing apps using Client Side Decoration (CSD) to look the part too.
The downside is that, for now, Paul’s excellent Mac os theme only affects the look and feel of applications and app window borders. A Cinnamon desktop theme is not (currently) available (and the Cinnamon Spices website turns up nothing Apple-related).
Still; the theme is a sterling attempt and well worth trying out — even if only as a novelty. You can download the theme directly from GNOME-Look:
To install, extract the archive file to the hidden ‘.themes’ folder in your Home folder (if you don’t have one, create one).
Finally, to apply the theme, Open System Settings > Appearance > Themes and select the theme in both the window-borders and controls section.
More Ways to Make Linux Mint Look like a Mac
If you’re minded to make the Mint desktop more like Mac OS X there are some additional things you can do to curate a Cupertino-style aesthetic on the Cinnamon desktop.
You can move Mint desktop panels easily. Just right-click on an empty section of the panel, choose the ‘Properties’ menu option and, from the settings you see, move the panel from the bottom of the screen to the top.
This makes way for what is surely the most iconic element of the Mac desktop: the dock.
A chunky task bar, the dock puts large app icons and folder shortcuts within reach at the bottom of the screen. There are plenty of Linux docks available but we think that Plank is by far and away the best. You can install Plank on Linux Mint be searching for it in the Software Manager app.
You can add more applications to your Plank dock by dragging a shortcut out of the Mint Menu and dropping it on to the dock. You can even add folders to Plank too!
- Change the desktop wallpaper to a Mac background
- Replace the bottom panel with a dock app like Plank
- Install a Mac icon theme for Linux
- Move the bottom panel to the top of the screen
- Install/enable Nemo Preview, analogous to Quick Look
- Install Synapse, Kupfer, Alfred or similar for a Spotlight equivalent
ASUS’ CREATION-TARGETED, REDESIGNED AIO 27 NOW AVAILABLE
Increasingly, PC manufacturers of all-in-one computers are moving the system components to the base, rather than slavishly adhering to the precedent set by the Apple iMac of cramming all the system components into the display — one of the worst places to put them. HP and Microsoft have done it, and now Asus joins the club with its redesigned Zen AiO 27.
The move lets Asus switch from the mobile to the desktop version of the Core i5 or i7 processors, facilitates storage and memory upgrades and allows for the ability to tilt and swivel the display. An additional new perk includes a Qi wireless charger built into the base; carryovers from its predecessor or older siblings include the factory calibrated 100 percent sRGB 4K display and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics engine.
Announced at IFA 2018 in August, it’s now out at $2,000 in the US; the Zen AiO line doesn’t seem to be offered in the UK, and the new model hasn’t made its way onto Asus’ site in Australia yet, but the US price converts to about £1,540 and AU$2,825.
UHD 3,840×2,160, touch optional
Eighth-gen Intel Core i5 or i7
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB
Up to 2TB SATA III, up to 1TB PCI-E SSD, SD card slot
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac x 2 , Bluetooth 5.0
Harman Kardon 8-watt stereo speakers
Four USB 3.1, one USB-C, one HDMI-in/1 x HDMI-out, Ethernet audio (mic/headphone combo)
24.7 x 20.1 x 0.8 in/62.7 x 52.3 x 2.0 cm (WxHxD)
24.3 lbs/11 kg
SAMSUNG’S TAB S4 IS BOTH AN ANDROID TABLET AND A DESKTOP COMPUTER
Today, Samsung is unveiling the successor to its well-rounded yet expensive Galaxy Tab S3 from last year. The new Galaxy Tab S4 improves upon last year’s slab in nearly every way, and it should be more versatile for users thanks to included Samsung Dex software. Confined to accessories until now, Samsung Dex software lets users connect a Samsung mobile device to a monitor and then use the device as a pseudo-desktop.
The first Dex dock came out over a year ago and was designed to be used with Samsung smartphones. Users could plug their device into the dock, connect it to a monitor, pair a keyboard and a mouse, and use the setup as they would a full desktop PC. The system ran a version of Android that Samsung modified to better suit a desktop UI, which included a lock screen and a task bar area with app icons. Dex on the Galaxy Tab S4 works just like this, with a couple of extra features that leverage the power of a tablet.
When connected to a monitor, both the big screen and the tablet’s screen can be used simultaneously. In a short demo, Samsung showed how the device supports up to 20 open windows at once and how features like split screen and drag-and-drop can be used just as they would on a desktop PC. Users can launch Dex when not connected to a monitor as well, and that produces the same modified Android UI on the tablet’s 10.5-inch, 2560×1600 Super AMOLED display.
Samsung claims users can launch any Android app while using Dex, but it’s unclear how many are truly Dex-optimized to fit a larger screen and make use of keyboard shortcuts. Big players, including Google, Adobe, and Microsoft, signed up to support Dex back when the software was still new, and more developers have been optimizing their Android apps for Chrome OS devices as Google’s browser-based operating system has gained popularity. Undoubtedly, more Android apps can be used comfortably on desktop-sized screens than when Dex originally launched.
In addition to Dex, the Tab S4 supports signature Samsung features like Air Command, translate, off-screen memos, and live message. Originally confined to Galaxy Note devices, live message lets users create gifs of themselves and decorate them with pen drawings before sending them in a message to friends and family. Samsung redesigned the S Pen that accompanies the Tab S4 to be easier to hold in your hand and more like a traditional pencil, but even with those changes it still doesn’t require charging. We’ll have to test it further to determine how much better it is than the previous stylus.
The Tab S4 is slightly bigger than the Tab S3 with its 10.5-inch display, and it runs on a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of memory, and up to 64GB of internal storage with space for up to 400GB with the use of a microSD card. It has a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing camera while supporting 4K video recording at 30fps, and inside are four speakers tuned by AKG.
Samsung added a lot of heft to the Tab S4’s battery—the company claims the 7,300mAh battery can support up to 16 hours of video playback. On paper, it’s a solid improvement from the Tab S3’s 6,000mAh battery, so we’re interested in putting it through our battery tests to see if Samsung’s estimates hold up.
The Galaxy name is synonymous with Android, but the decision to make yet another Android tablet is a curious one. Android tablets are being left in the dust as Chrome OS infiltrates the tablet scene. It’s possible that Samsung will consider making a Chrome OS tablet in the future—but the Galaxy Tab S4 supports Android and Android only, unlike the company’s Galaxy Book of yesteryear that came in Android and Windows varieties.
The Galaxy Tab S4 will be available August 10 starting at $649 for the Wi-Fi version. Samsung will also sell an LTE version of the tablet through Verizon, but starting price for that model hasn’t been disclosed yet. The Book Cover Keyboard for the Tab S4 costs $149.
ASUS ZENBOOK S VS. DELL XPS 13
After years of Windows manufacturers striving to create viable notebook challengers to the extremely thin and light Apple MacBook, they’ve finally succeeded. Today, you can find some excellent Windows 10 notebooks that are both small and superior, offering great performance, build quality, and battery life without compromise.
The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best examples, and it’s been our favorite 13-inch notebook for some time now. Asus just recently introduced its newest competitor, the ZenBook S, which hopes to leverage some innovative technology to take on the class leader. Can the ZenBook S dethrone the XPS 13?
Dell’s XPS 13 received a significant update in early 2018, shaving off some millimeters from both the bezels and the chassis. The result? It’s now pretty much the smallest 13.3-inch notebook around, and thanks to some new materials — like Gore insulation — it still manages to perform without melting down.
It’s also a great looking design, with a new white and rose gold color scheme that adds some style to an otherwise conservative look. The new version uses a woven texture material in the palmrests and keyboard deck that offers a luxuriant feel.
The Asus ZenBook S is the company’s newest thin and light notebook, and it’s a chip off the same block in its aesthetics. It sports that usual ZenBook concentric swirls and dark blue color scheme — Burgundy Red is also an option — in an all-aluminum build that Asus subjected to MIL-STD-810G testing for durability. It shows, with a chassis that’s nearly impervious to bends and twists.
Asus also took a different tack than Dell to keep heat away from your skin. Where the XPS 13 uses the aforementioned Gore insulation, the ZenBook S simply props the keyboard up at a 5.5 degree angle with its ErgoLift hinge, and it works as intended.
Both notebooks offer relatively shallow keyboards that still manage to provide snappy, precise typing experiences, along with Microsoft Precision touchpads that work as well as any you’ll find on a Windows notebook. And both machines use accurate fingerprint readers for Windows 10 Hello support, although the XPS 13 can also log you in via facial recognition.
Overall, we found the ZenBook S to have a slightly favorable build, keyboard, and overall aesthetic.
Both the XPS 13 and the ZenBook S can be equipped with fast and efficient 8th-generation Intel Core CPUs. Unsurprisingly, they both provided acceptable performance. We tested both with the Core i7-8550U, and the XPS 13 managed to keep its processor running at full speed for longer than the Asus in our video encoding test thanks to its better thermals. Because of their fast PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs), though, these two tiny notebooks were both storage speedsters that can feed the system with data at a fast clip.
We tested the ZenBook S with its 4K UHD display (3,840 x 2,160 or 331 PPI), and we found it offers average color gamut for premium notebooks today — which is to say, good but not great. Dell equipped with XPS 13 with a 4K UHD option that offers a wider color gamut than the ZenBook S but slightly less contrast. Both are excellent displays, perfect for Netflix-watching and for displaying sharp text and graphics.
You can configure either notebook with a Full HD display (1,920 x 1,080 or 167 PPI) as well, although Asus offers this display only with a lesser Core i5-8250U CPU. Meanwhile, Dell drops the touch display on the lower resolution panel.
The Dell XPS 13 is a thin notebook at 0.45 inches — and thanks to its ultra-thin bezels, it’s also diminutive in its other dimensions. In fact, it’s the smallest 13.3-inch notebook on the market if you consider its depth and width. It’s a dense little notebook, though, coming in at 2.68 pounds — that’s not exactly heavy, but it’s not as light as some other thin-and-light machines.
For example, the ZenBook S comes in at 2.2 pounds, which is considerably lighter. However, its bezels are a bit bigger in all dimensions — although it keeps the webcam above the display, unlike the XPS 13 with its up-the-nose videoconferencing — and it’s not as thin at 0.51 inches. It’s quibbling at this point, but all of that makes the Asus just slightly less tiny.
Where the XPS 13 wins out, though, is in battery life. In all of our tests, including an aggressive web benchmark, web browsing, and looping a local video, the Dell lasted considerably longer than the Asus. That’s thanks to a slightly larger battery but also some efficiency magic on Dell’s part.
You won’t mind slipping either of these thin and light notebooks in your backpack, but you’ll be less tempted to carry your power adapter along if you’re toting the XPS 13around with you.
DELL’S XPS 13 RETAINS ITS TOP SPOT
Dell has priced the XPS 13 at an extra premium, coming in at $2,100 for a Core i7-8550U, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 4K display. You can go as low as $1,000 for a Core i5-8250U, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a Full HD non-touch display, with several options that let you mix and match processors, RAM, storage, and displays.
Asus is more limited in its configurations. You can choose our review setup, a Core i7-8550U, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 4K display for $1,500. Or you can select a Core i5-8250U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a Full HD display for $1,200. We do wish that Asus would offer more options, such as its faster configuration with a more battery-friendly display.
In the end, we liked both of the notebooks quite a lot, and we consider them among the best little notebooks money can buy. The Dell XPS 13 wins out, though, for providing better performance and better battery life in such a tiny chassis.
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