How-To Geek

How to Make Ubuntu Linux Look Like Mac OS X

We’ve already shown you how to customize your Ubuntu installation and make it look like Windows 7, and now we’re back to show you how to turn Linux into a Mac OS X lookalike in just a couple of minutes.

To accomplish this, we’re going to use Macbuntu, an open-source program designed to transform the Linux theme into a Mac OS X environment. Although Macbuntu is dedicated to Ubuntu Linux OS, it could be used in other OS based on Debian/GTK.

Installing Macbuntu

First, grab a copy from the project’s page at SourceForge. Once downloaded, right-click the file and press Extract Here.

When extracted open the extracted folder. You’ll find a file named “”. You guessed it, it’s the installation script. Now double-click it and choose Run in Terminal.

A terminal window should pop up now which looks pretty much like this:

Nothing interesting here so we’ll just press y and hit enter. Afterwards, the installation will begin with a few questions you need to answer.

You can choose whatever answer you want or if you don’t know what to do, just hit enter without any letter to choose the default choice. During installation, it may need to download some packages from the internet so please choose yes when asked. Now installation is done, you will be offered to download Mac OS X themes for FireFox, Thunderbird, and Chrome. If you want to, you can choose yes and browser window will open showing you where to download them. The theme links are provided in the end of this article. Your Ubuntu should have started to look a bit like Mac by now. Last thing to do is restarting. You will be asked to restart, so please choose yes.

After restarting you’ll find out that you Ubuntu box looks almost identical to Mac OSX. The boot screen has changed, login screen, desktop, panels, icons, bottom dock, and even the mouse cursor has been changed. Have fun with your new Mac OSX. You can always use a different them without uninstalling Macbuntu. Just right-click on your desktop, click change desktop back ground from the context menu, a window will pop up, choose the themes tab and change the theme.

Uninstalling Macbuntu

If you don’t like Macbuntu or you feel like you don’t want it anymore you can revert your Ubuntu to default state. In the archive you downloaded and extracted there is the file “” double-click it and choose run in terminal. Continue with the instructions within the terminal window to complete the uninstallation.

Macbuntu homepage

Omar Hafiz is a geeky Linux user who loves customizing Ubuntu to fit his personal style. Whether it's the login screen or his Gnome panels, he's got them tweaked to perfection.

  • Published 03/28/11

Comments (41)

  1. Hatryst

    Simply loving this transformation series !!

  2. Johnny

    can’t wait to get home to try this out! #winning

  3. Cambo

    Link to the wallpaper please!!! (Mac under Ubuntu)

  4. Omar Hafiz

    @Cambo – The wallpaper is included in the installation package but here’s the link:

  5. ABC

    No need to reboot. Restarting X does the trick.
    If not enabled, do Preferences > Keyboard > Layout tab > Options > Check box under “key sequence to kill the X server” twirl.

  6. efg

    @Omar Hafiz
    I’m pretty sure Cambo was referring to the picture under the guide’s title.

  7. Cambo

    @efg and Omar

    Exactly. First pic (Ubuntu peeling away to the MAC skin).

    Looks like another Omar creation though.

  8. akbozo

    i’m not sure why so many people are thrilled to use ubuntu if only it looked like mac, or windows or whatever other os is available. maybe someone could explain that. or, a real novel idea would be an article explaining how to make mac or windows PERFORM as well as ubuntu. the primary reason i use ubuntu is performance. i can find plenty of ways to customize my desktop to my liking without it looking, acting or performing like windows or mac.

  9. Pete

    The crashed for me. Now I have half Mac half Ubuntu theme and the usual ways of changing the theme don’t work.

    Is there a way to return the theme to the fresh ubuntu install?

  10. icedmoon

    So cool, it’s Linux base vs Unix base…even commands are pretty much the same.
    can’t wait to install it.

  11. anon

    Why ubuntu should look like Windows / Mac? It’s LINUX it’s not windows or mac! If you want Windows, buy it. If you want Mac buy it!

  12. Frank Duffey

    I never get5 tired of Linux thre are so many different things to do and paly around with I am using a dual boot wubi install with windows 7 but I am thinking about using Natty or Ubuntu 10.10 for my main os I just have to figure out how to remove windows and install ubuntu as my main OS. I am tired of windows and all the con-fig problems I have been a A+ Certified Technician for over 20 years and seen Windows from 3.1 to the Windows 7 release I have run Windows NT Server which was my favourite but nothing even comes close to Linux in any form that I have seen so far.

  13. andy

    I have been using Macbuntu for a while now and liking it everyday…If you install it correctly you really get that feel of using the mac os. Now why do I do it? It’s because the Mac cost an arm & leg and even if I make it look like Windows you still can’t beat Free! The main thing is that it really works! No question just buying the Mac, everybody wants that. If you can afford it then knock yourself out otherwise you got nothing to lose if you get it for Free…

  14. Mustafa

    Do we have anything similar for Fedora?????

  15. superfahd

    Why why why?!?

    Why would any one want to ruin a perfectly good OS like that? And to make it look like the worst one on the bunch (IMO)

  16. abrarey

    I agree with superfahd…

  17. uttaradhaka

    Awesome stuff

  18. cam2644

    With such flexibility on Ubuntu with design I agree with others that there seems little point in mimicking other less imaginative systems

  19. ubuntubrian

    Well that was a big mistake! Some parts of Macbuntu didn’t work, like the dock, so I tried uninstalling. In Macbuntu my key layout was changed, unbeknownst to me, so I can’t even use my password to uninstall in a terminal! I logged in as su to a terminal and tried to run the uninstall script and I get the following. What do I do??:

    ubuntu# sh ‘/home/ubuntu/.macbuntu/10.10-2.3/’
    [: 40: x86_64: unexpected operator

    Macbuntu – Mac OS X Transformation Pack

    Deinstallation script

    This script will slide back to default Ubuntu desktop
    all Macbuntu-10.10 components will be removed permanently

    Checking Ubuntu version…

    Checking currently installed version of Macbuntu-10.10…
    Failed. The script is not able to determine what version is currently installed

  20. ubuntubrian

    I found out how to really uninstall run this command:

    ~/.macbuntu/$(cat ~/.macbuntu/current)/

    I didn’t snap that my desktop would loose all of my settings, apps in the panel, etc.-bummer!! Stay with your Ubuntu desktop and just customize it with some Mac themes…

  21. Omar Hafiz

    @ Cambo – Here it is:

    @ Pete – use this command to revert to fresh ubuntu look. “rm -rf .gnome .gnome2 .gconf .gconfd .metacity”

  22. Omar Hafiz

    @ Mustafa – I’ll see what I can do about Fedora.

  23. Ozi

    Just wondering where Macbuntu goes when Ubuntu goes Unity? :)

  24. Pete

    @Omar – Thanks, that worked.

  25. John Chorley

    Nice little tip there.

  26. 1roxtar


  27. Tom

    Lol I would hate to have my Ubuntu look like a Macintosh >_<

  28. Dean

    ok for all those complaining that we want a windows or mac feel to our ubuntu is just dumb. that is the beauty of ubuntu, making it the way which ever user is going to use it and makes it comfortable to use more power to you so stop the bitching and let people make there computer the way they want to and can’t wait to install this

  29. ParsiKade

    I tried to run the using terminal, the terminal windows opens and then, it’s closed after a second or less! Any ideas?

  30. Omar Hafiz

    @ ParsiKade – Open a terminal window, then navigate to the “” file and type: “./” without the quotes but note the period at the beginning of the command, you have to type it.

  31. Armando


    You should understand that we do it because we want the beauty of Mac and the perfomance of Ubuntu.

    @Omar Hafiz

    Thank you.

  32. boroth

    sorry for my English.
    Excuss me, I dont know why i cant download Macbuntu 10.10?
    Now i used Ubuntu 11.04. Thanks before hand.

  33. Omar Hafiz

    @ Boroth – Download it from this link:
    The installing procedure is different for Ubuntu 11.04.
    1- Download then extract
    2- Navigate to the extracted folder in the terminal.
    3- use this command to begin installation: ./ force

  34. x86 master

    My ubnuntu doesnt have an option to run the in terminal and ive tried to browse for it and still doesnt show up. i even ran manually using sudo and then the file path but doesnt work. some one help me with this so i can run the file in terminal

  35. JFS

    Is “sad” but 11.10 an later cannot make this hapend, Gnome the old “make like to Mc” in v3.x is no more (for now and if oyu not have a 3D-opengl capable card)

    and the new OSX Lion make this theme “outdated” in color cheme

  36. Shane

    Anon is totally right. Why would you want to make one OS look like another? He’s right, just buy it if you really want it.

  37. Kerry

    So is all this just cosmetic? In other words just a theme for Ubuntu?

  38. Demonkunga

    I can’t seem to get this uninstalled….

    ~/.macbuntu/10.10-2.3$ ./ force

    Macbuntu – Mac OS X Transformation Pack

    Deinstallation script

    This script will slide back to default Ubuntu desktop
    all Macbuntu-10.10 components will be removed permanently

    Checking currently installed version of Macbuntu-10.10…
    Failed. The script is not able to determine what version is currently installed

  39. Demonkunga

    I ended up doing
    rm -rf .gnome .gnome2 .gconf .gconfd .metacity
    and restarting. That fixed it. Though I kinda wish the actual uninstall would work.

  40. Demonkunga

    Everything on the login screen, is still using the Mac theme. Damn. D:

  41. Madhan

    hi i tried this..but it is not open in terminal…then what can i do..

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