Turn Your Ubuntu Lucid to Mac OS X

We have previously done so with Ubuntu Hardy and Intrepid. Now, we are back again, this time with Ubuntu Lucid.

Being a long term release, Ubuntu Lucid comes with plenty of design changes that make all our previous Ubuntu to Mac OS X tutorial obsolete. Nevertheless, with a modified Mac4Lin theme and the maturity of the Global Menu, I am now able to make this tutorial a much simpler, quicker and easier one than all its previous iteration. If you are looking to transform your Ubuntu Lucid to Mac OS X, this is also the most complete one around. Continue after the break.

Download the modified Mac4Lin theme (the original Mac4Lin theme is outdated).

Extract it to your Home folder.

Open the MacLin_Install_Mod folder and double click “Mac4Lin_Mod_installer.sh“. When prompted, select “Run in Terminal“.



It will then proceed to change your theme. When it prompts you if you want to install the components that require root access, type ‘y‘ (without the quote)


When it asks you for a choice to select the bootup screen, type ‘0’ (without the quote).


When you see the message “Type any key to continue…“, you should have transformed 80% of your system interface to Mac OS X.

Open a terminal and type the following:

Once done, remove all stuffs from top left panel (Right click on the panel and select “Remove from Panel”).

Right click on the top panel and select Add to Panel. Select Main Menu, follow by the global menu panel applet.

Close the window. Now move the two items (right click and select Move) to the left hand corner and make sure they are side by side.

You should see something like the screenshot below:


There are several dock applications that you can use, but personally I prefer to use Cairo Dock as it is easy to install and configure.

Before you launch the Cairo dock application, remove the bottom panel (right click at the bottom panel and select Delete This Panel).

Cairo dock needs a compositing manager to work, so make sure that your system support Compiz before launching the app.

Only if your system does not support Compiz: You can activate the in-built metacity compositing manager with the command:

Launch Cairo dock (Menu -> Accessories -> Cairo Dock). Make sure to set it to launch everytime you startup your computer.

To change the background of the login screen, simply follow the instruction at the change Ubuntu Lucid login screen tutorial or use Gdm2Setup.


Expo effect is part of the feature in Compiz. You can easily enable the feature in Compiz Config Settings Manager (if you have not installed, click here to install).


Once you have activated the Expo feature, you can press Win + e button to bring up the expo window.


The Dashboard effect can be emulated using Screenlets and Compiz Widget layer.

Install Screenlets and the Compiz Widget layer plugin

Open CompizConfig Settings Manager and activate the Widget layer feature.


Launch Screenlets (Menu -> Applications -> Accessories -> Screenlets) and start the widgets that you want to use. Right click on the widget and select Properties. Go to the Options tab and check the box “Treat as widget”


You can now press F9 to see your widgets in the dashboard.




To uninstall the Mac4Lin theme, simply run the uninstaller in the Mac4Lin_Install_Mod folder.

Double click the Mac4Lin_Mod_Uninstaller.sh. When prompted, select “Run in Terminal”.

You will be asked to log out and login again for the uninstallation to be completed.

Image credit: louisvolant


  1. how to make a “dashboard” launcher in cairo-dock:
    create a file (dashboard.sh) and paste in to it what's below:
    dbus-send –type=method_call –dest=org.freedesktop.compiz /org/freedesktop/compiz/widget/allscreens/toggle_key org.freedesktop.compiz.activate string:'root' int32:`xwininfo -root | grep id: | awk '{ print $4 }'`

    save, then:
    chmod +x dashboard.sh

    in cairo-dock add new launcher and as a 'command to launch a click' paste the path to the file.

  2. With the direction Ubuntu is going, by 10.10 you won't need this HOWTO. It will look like Mac OS X Cr*p by default!

  3. I must admit, Ubuntu is getting prettier and prettier, but it doesn't have to mean that Mac OS X look like “Cr*p”. Each OS has its own distinct point, and I feel that we have to give Mac OS X the credit for setting the standard.

  4. It looks good,I have air force one shoes learn a recruit!
    Recently,I found an excellent online store, the XX are completely various, good quality and cheap price,it’s worth buying!

  5. Thanks for this, but I found a problem with the installer, but haven't looked into the script to see if there's a quick fix… I always set Chromium as my default browser, but if you don't have FireFox set as default it fails without telling you why. Simple solution is to have FireFox set as default before running the installer.

  6. Great guide, ignore the haters. I love linux and I love OSX (which is a cheap ripoff of UNIX anyhow). This is definitely bookmarked as my friends are sure to have their eyes pop out when they get a peek at this.

  7. Did it install successfully? I have tested it in multiple system and it works fine in all of them.

  8. I hope you are referring to “hat” instead of “hate”. The last thing I want is for people to “hate” me. :p

  9. mine is looking way better if u want a whole semy transparent menu panel got to places home foleder pres control-h and go to .theme and go to mac4lin 1.0 aqua and press on gtk 2.0 then menu menubar and delete the file that says menubar.png and then reapply the theme there u go semy trasparent menubar
    then got to mozilla and apply a better theme then find a better icon of an apple i found one from an actual leopard menubar and lassoed it then made a new icon and replaced all the gnome foot icons in the home folder/.icon/scalable/places you do have to resize it with gimp image editor to agood size around 80×80 pixels

  10. I cannot install the dashboard …

    (oder geben Sie eine Lösung an).
    bjoern@bjoern-desktop:~$ sudo apt-get -f install screenlets compiz-fusion-plugins-extra
    Paketlisten werden gelesen… Fertig
    Abhängigkeitsbaum wird aufgebaut
    Status-Informationen einlesen… Fertig
    screenlets ist schon die neueste Version.
    Probieren Sie »apt-get -f install«, um dies zu korrigieren:
    Die folgenden Pakete haben nicht-erfüllte Abhängigkeiten:
    gnome-applet-globalmenu: Hängt ab: gnome-globalmenu-common soll aber nicht installiert werden
    E: Nicht erfüllte Abhängigkeiten. Versuchen Sie »apt-get -f install« ohne jegliche Pakete (oder geben Sie eine Lösung an).

  11. Hi Damien, first off, these write-ups are GREAT! I am running 10.04 on my laptop and having a slight problem. For some reason the theme is not setting correctly. It's not giving me the Mac OS X look, only the colors, not the proper icons or anything of the sort. When I open my “Appearance” screen it is displaying the following message: “This theme will not look as intended because the required icon theme 'Mac4Lin_icons_v1.0' is not installed.” How do I go about installing this? Thanks in advance.

  12. After you have extracted the file, you should find a theme folder.
    From the Appearance screen, click on Install, navigate to the Theme folder and select the Mac4Lin icons.

  13. Just a question does it include the Firefox plugin for mac look? is there a way for getting the same look chromium?

  14. Hi Damien,

    Great article!!!!!!

    I´ve installed and uninstalled the theme. I would like to reinstall It, altough I got error.

    Could you help me to solve that issue?



  15. Hi there, I installed it successfully and enjoyed the Mac environment for a few days. Then I wanted to roll back to my default ubuntu look and uninstalled the theme. It worked great. But when shutting my computer down, I noticed that the apple logo with a steel background was still there. It also appears right before showing up the login screen. I remember there was an ubuntu logo before activating the mac theme. Please help me remove that screen and go back to default. Otherwise I will have to do a complete reinstall, which is tough for me because mine is a fresh installation; not wubi.

    Please reply as soon as possible.

  16. Nope. You don't need to do a complete reinstall.

    Open a terminal and type:
    sudo update-alternatives –config default.plymouth
    and choose the default splash screen when prompted.

  17. im having an issue loading the global menu, it goes through a bunch of stuff, then it says contine type y=yes or n=no then i hit y and enter, and it says abort, then nothing happens

  18. actually, i figured out what i was doing wrong, but my problem is that the close, maximize and minimize are on the right side still, any way to get them on the left?

  19. This is one of THE best writeups i have found for Ubuntu, and so far everything looks great on my Acer d250 netbook. I didn't think it would handle the extra graphics but so far so good :) I have bookmarked this page and will refer to it often.

    • so the managers walking past don’t complain that they spent all that money on iMacs just for you to run linux on it :-)

      • Also to mess with your mac-obsessed boss. She’s going to freak out when she sees “mac” on an hp.

  20. The default installation of Ubuntu Lucid has the close, maximize and minimize buttons on the left, how did you get it landed on the right?

  21. i found a way to fix this

    1: press alt-F4 <- this bring the run dialog

    2: type gconf-editor

    3: go to appsmetacitygeneral

    4: theres a option called button_layout

    5: change the value to close,maximize,minimize:menu , the word menu should be last not first

    hope this helps.

    • Alt-f4? Seriously? I sure hope you’re joking.
      The rest of this works. Just open terminal manually.

  22. Hi, I cant get the global applet and I´m not sure whether it will directly change to the apple logo or not.. so please help me

  23. I’ve seen all your previous Ubuntu to Mac posts as well. Small question: Is this your main operating system or do you actually use OS X and use Ubuntu in a VM or something ?

    • To answer your question, I don’t have a primary OS. I use Windows 7, Ubuntu or Mac OSX depending on the article that I am writing. I also run VM for quick testing.

  24. I’m still about to install Ubuntu temporarily on this machine, and mostly because this is a P4 2.26 with a Riva TNT2 (c’mon, I do have video, at least), and I’m waiting for my laptop to come back from repairing, I won’t install it FOR WHILE…

    But the fact is the screenshots really impressed me and later I will install it on this Ubuntu’s Gnome, when I transfer the HD back to the laptop.

    I’ve read through the article and comments, but… do you already know if this will also work as you described, on 10.10? I know 10.04 could be a better option (for being a LTS), but as I already have 10.10 on my hands…

    • Most of the things should work in Ubuntu 10.10. The only thing I am not sure of is the Global Menu. I have not tested it in Ubuntu 10.10 yet.

  25. works good on Linux Mint 10 GNOME … but the taskbar still shows “Menu” in place of “Desktok” everything else is fine

  26. the global menu aptget doesnt work anymore, i tried it and i dont have it in my add option

  27. i could not done Global Menu plz help me….it shows not effect rather i cant find global menu panel applet below main menu

  28. Nice tutorial.
    Anyway, does anyone have the trick to transform my complete setup to the other users on this computer?

      • My leak of experience – tryed, but copying in gnome/nautlius did not work. how do I “sudo-copy” a whole directory including subfolders and files?

  29. hey i had to delete my top panel once.Since then the new panel looks weird?The global menu and some widgets are darker than the panel.tried reinstalling mac4lin mod but same thing.(thanks in advance this write up is great)

  30. Sorry gotta add the screenshot :P(notice the top left part.wasn’t like that b4-it used to be seamless)

  31. I had my 32-bit Lucid setup like this. I just rebuilt my system and installed 64-bit Lucid. Would I have any problems running this with the new setup? My video card is an XFX GeForce 9400GT: PV-T94G-YAJG. It is running great with Lucid.

    • I didn’t test it on 64 bit system and i don’t have a 64 bit system to test with, so I can’t answer your question whether it will work on 64-bit Lucid or not.

  32. When trying to load the gnome-globalmenu the command below can’t locate the package. is the command correct?

    sudo apt-get install gnome-globalmenu

    $ sudo apt-get install gnome-globalmenu
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    E: Unable to locate package gnome-globalmenu

  33. I tried it on a hp pavillion dv7 1130us that dualboots win7 pro 64bit and ubuntu 10.04 i386 and all of the internal changes worked beautifully. However, the startup manager won’t let me change the upsplash or splash screen. I know it can be done as I did it manually about a year ago though I don’t remember how. Do you know any reason why it would do that? Or how about a workaround?

    • Silly me. I was using the old versions of this post. I recently changed version from 32 to 64 bit and then followed this tutorial and everything worked perfectly. Thanks millions for this guide. Now I can really mess with my mac-nut of a boss. :-)

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