Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.
There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.
Mac OS X is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.
Apple VoiceOver is a screen-reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device.
VoiceOver is proprietary software and not available for Linux. We recommend the best free and open source alternatives.
Orca is a flexible, and extensible screen reader that provides access to the graphical desktop via speech and refreshable braille.
Orca works with applications and toolkits that support the Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI).
The Liblouis software suite provides an open-source braille translator, back-translator and formatter for a large number of languages and braille codes.
It is a set of libraries designed for use in any of a number of applications, both free and commercial.
It is written in C so that it does not require a runtime environment and hence can be used in applications written in high-level languages such as Java and Python.
Liblouis is based on the translation routines in the BRLTTY screenreader.
BRLTTY gives a braille user access to the text consoles of a Linux/Unix system. It runs as a background process (daemon) which operates a refreshable braille display, and can be started very early in the system boot sequence. It enables a braille user, therefore, to easily independently handle aspects of system administration such as single user mode entry, file system recovery, and boot problem analysis. It even greatly eases such routine tasks as logging in.
Emacspeak is billed as a complete audio desktop. It is a speech interface that allows visually impaired users to interact independently and efficiently with the computer. Technically it’s not a screen-reader.
Odilia is in a very early stage of development. We’ll be monitoring its progress.
All articles in this series:
|Alternatives to Apple's Products
|Activity Monitor displays a variety of resources in use on a system in real time. These include processes, disk activity, memory usage, and more to provide a sort of dashboard.
|Archive Utility creates and decompresses .zip files and other compressed files. It provides several options for you to have more control over file compression and expansion on Mac.
|Audio MIDI Setup is a utility to describe the configuration of your MIDI devices. There’s a default configuration already created, but you can set up your own.
|Automator is a utility which lets you create custom workflows to perform both simple and complex tasks, such as renaming files in a folder.
|Bluetooth File Exchange is a utility to view the Public folder on the device, retrieve files from the device, and send files to the device.
|Bonjour is an implementation of zero-configuration networking; technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution.
|Books is an e-book reading and store application. It primarily receives EPUB content from the Apple Books store, but users can also add their own EPUB and Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
|Boot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac which lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility also guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning.
|Calculator lets users perform basic arithmetic calculations with the standard calculator. With the scientific calculator you can also perform exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions.
|Calendar is a personal calendar app supporting multiple accounts, colour code work, family and personal events, event support, as well as calendar invitations.
|Chess is a traditional chess game played on a well rendered board with a set of realistic 3-D pieces. It's actually a Unix-based chess program, Sjeng.
|ColorSync Utility is a tool that lets you change a device’s colour profile. When you install devices, such as cameras, displays or printers, a colour profile containing the colour capabilities and limits for each device is created.
|Compressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application with support for common formats.
|Console is a system utility which collects log messages that are generated from your computer and connected devices. The output lets users check performance issues and resolve problems.
|Contacts is a computerized address book included with the Apple operating systems iOS, iPadOS and macOS. It includes cloud synchronization capabilities.
|Dictionary is a small utility that lets users easily get definitions of words and phrases from a variety of sources.
|Digital Color Meter lets you find the colour value of a colour on your screen.
|DiskImageMounter is a utility that takes care of disk volume images. It supports a variety of image formats including CDR and ISO images.
|Disk Utility is a system utility for performing disk and disk volume-related tasks on macOS.
|FaceTime is a videotelephony product for making video and audio calls. FaceTime forces many to stay locked into a proprietary world.
|FileMaker is a relational database application with a graphical user interface and good security features.
|Final Cut Pro is a series of non-linear video editing software programs. Log and transfer video, edit, process the video, and output to a wide variety of formats.
|Font Book is a font manager which lets you organise fonts into collections and libraries to quickly access those fonts you use all the time.
|Freeform is a digital whiteboarding application. The app is designed to encourage brainstorming and enable real-time collaboration between users, with support for FaceTime and iCloud syncing.
|GarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for creating music and podcasts offering a complete sound library.
|Grapher creates 2D and 3D graphs from simple and complex equations. It includes a variety of samples ranging from differential equations to 3D-rendered Toroids and Lorenz attractors.
|Help Viewer is a WebKit based HTML viewer for macOS aimed at displaying help files and other documentation.
|Image Capture lets you transfer images and video clips to a Mac from a camera, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or other device that has a camera.
|Keychain Access is an app that stores your passwords and account information, and reduces the number of passwords you have to remember and manage.
|KeyNote is a simple and elegant presentation software that's part of the iWork productivity suite.
|Launchpad is a central location where you can view all your apps and easily open them.
|Logic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer providing software instruments, audio effects and recording facilities for music synthesis.
|Mail is a simple email client offering the ability to send, receive, and view email with good organizing capabilities.
|MainStage is a music application designed for use in live performance. This software lets you run a live rig. Transform your keyboard, guitar, or vocal performance with an enormous collection of plug-ins and sounds.
|Maps is a web mapping service that's available in over 200 regions around the world offering curated guides.
|Messages is instant messaging software for sending messages, images, videos, and documents. There's location data and stickers.
|Motion creates and edits motion graphics, titling for video production and film production, and 2D and 3D compositing for visual effects.
|News is a news aggregator application that helps you to stay up to date with news and information.
|Notes is a notetaking app designed to jot down quick thoughts or to save longer notes filled with checklists, images, web links, scanned documents, handwritten notes, or sketches.
|Numbers is a spreadsheet application which uses a free-form “canvas” approach that demotes tables to one of many different media types placed on a page.
|Pages is a word processor that's part of the iWork productivity suite. It's marketed as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents.
|Photo Booth takes photos and videos with an iSight camera. iSight is a brand name used by Apple to refer to cameras on various devices.
|Photos is a photo management and editing application. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums.
|Preview is more than just an image viewer. The software provides a full set of markup tools. And it's a PDF editor.
|Reminders is a task management program that allows users to create lists and set notifications.
|Safari is a graphical web browser which uses the WebKit and Nitro engines. It's the default web browser for Macintosh computers.
|Screenshot lets you take a screenshot of the entire screen, a portion of it, or an open window.
|Screen Sharing allows you to remotely access an Apple desktop system environment.
|Script Editor is a code editor that lets you create powerful scripts, tools and even apps. You can create scripts to perform repetitive tasks, automate complex workflows, and control apps or even the system.
|Shazam identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing a new song not knowing the identity of the artist.
|Shortcuts is a visual scripting application which allows users to create macros for executing specific tasks on their device(s).
|Stickies is a small utility that lets users keep notes, lists and pictures in sticky notes on the desktop.
|Stocks lets you view stock quotes, interactive historical data charts and current breaking business news.
|System Information provides a system report containing detailed information about a Mac including its hardware specifications, networking interfaces, and installed software.
|Terminal provides a command line interface to control the UNIX-based operating system that lurks below macOS.
|TextEdit is a basic word processor and text editor. It can open documents created in other word processing apps and can create HTML documents.
|Time Machine is a built-in backup feature to back up your personal data automatically, including apps, music, photos, emails and documents.
|Voice Memos is an audio recording app. It's designed to save recordings of sound with built-in or attached microphones for later playback. It also provides basic editing functionality.
|VoiceOver is a screen-reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device.
|Xcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging. It supports source code for many programming languages including Swift, C, C++, Python, Ruby and more.