How-to: make antiX look like MacOs

Forum Forums General Tips and Tricks How-to: make antiX look like MacOs

  • This topic has 17 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated Aug 13-8:49 pm by madibi.
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      antiX has been getting some new users, this last couple of years. As we all know, antiX is geared towards low or very slow specs machines, usually very old PC’s, but I recently tried to help a Mac laptop user that was trying out our fine OS.
      MacOS interface is a bit different from what PC folks are used to- there are some Linux Distros that try to emulate it, or use similar interface choices.
      For folks wanting to try out an antiX interface more similar to Mac OS, in order to help transition from that system to Linux, here are some tips, that even a newbie user can apply (all you have to do is follow instructions, you don’t have to be an expert using the terminal at all). You can also use this tutorial if you have to work with a MacOS device and want to practice on your antiX PC:

      All these steps are optional, that can be skipped (apply only the ones you want):

      1- Do not show desktop up icons:- antiX desktops interfaces show desktop icons by using one of the included file managers: Rox or Spacefm.
      If you want to use the default desktop without desktop icons:
      – Menu > Desktops… > Select “IceWM” (this removes all desktop icons, saves some RAM too)

      2-Place the (tool)bar on the top section of the screen:
      – Menu > Definitions > Preferences > taskbar > taskbar at top ; then Menu > Definitions > Preferences > save…; Menu > Restart IceWM

      3- Use a MacOS inspired theme:
      3.1– Menu > Definitions/configurations (sorry, I’m using a localized version of antiX, not sure what that says is English, it’s the light blue gears icon) > “themes” > “icenoir” (it has several sizes, pick the one you like best)

      3.2- If you like this theme but would like the window decorations (close, toggle, maximize/minize), to be on the left side of the window:
      -If you want to use a theme that does not matches so closely MacO’s:
      – Menu > Definitions/configurations (sorry, I’m using a localized version of antiX, not sure what that says is English, it’s the light blue gears icon) > “themes” > “Thruth ice” (it has several sizes, pick the one you like best)


      If you like “icenoir” more, you can edit it’s settings in order to place window decorations on the left:
      – Menu > Run > type, without quotation marks “gksu geany /usr/share/icewm/themes/icenoir-3.3-Small/default.theme” – click “close” on the warning that may pop up; enter your password if asked to; click “ok” – the file default.theme is opened for edition. Scroll down to it’s end, enter a new line like with this contents:


      Then save the file and restart Icewm/your session/antiX

      4- If you like a toolbar that does not list all the running applications:
      Menu > control centre > Edit IcewM… > “Preferences” tab > Scroll to the end of the text file and add this new line there:

      Save the text file, restart IceWM- now the toolbar does not list all open windows, you can use the dock to select what window you want to switch to. You loose some functionality – Plank dock only allows you to switch to or close an open window (or pin it to the dock), and nothing more.

      5- If you want a dock, so you have a convenient way to launch your apps:
      -You can install several docks- one very nice and light one is “plank”
      Installing plank: Click Package Manager’s icon (the one that looks like a shopping bag) – search for “plank” (without quotation marks), select it, click “install”
      Launching “plank”- Menu > Run > “plank” > click “Ok” (it can be configured by default to auto hide), so move your mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen to make it pop up.
      Adding plank to your start up, so it runs every time you start your computer:
      Menu > Control Centre > Edit IceWM … > “startup” tab > After the first line add these 2 lines (or only the first if you don’t want to use compton), then save the file and restart your session- Plank should load automatically from now on

      plank &

      5.2- Optionally – if you are have any visual glitches wile running plank, or want it to use transparency and also have some cool animations:
      – Installing “compton” – there are several ways of doing that- it’s faster using the terminal: Menu > Terminal > sudo apt install compton
      But, if you prefer to do it using a GUI: Menu > Applications > system > Synaptic Package Manager > enter “compton” on the search box that pops open you you click the search icon on the upper right, select if for for installation > click “Apply” (the gears icon on the bar on the upper side of synaptic’s window) > Confirm you want to install it, wait for the installation to finish.
      – Launching “compton” – Menu > Run > “compton” > click “Ok”
      – Adding compton to your start up, so it runs every time you start your computer:
      Menu > Control Centre > Edit IceWM … > “startup” tab > and add (without quotation marks) “compton &”, then save the file and restart your session- Compton should load automatically from now on.

      6- Launching applications:
      If you are a Mac Os user, you probably are used to just clicking icons on the dock/desktop – you can do that if you installed a dock on antiX (see point 5.)
      But, how to launch apps that are not on the dock?
      -Use app-select (Menu > App select) – like “spotlight”, this application allows you to type your app’s name/description to find it. Click the app’s icon to start it. Once the app is running, you can click it’s icon on the dock to “pin” it there.
      If you don’t type anything in app-select’s search box it acts kind of like “launchpad”, showing a alphabetical list of icon apps that you click click to run- but it’s a scrollable vertical list- not a full screen list of apps, scrollable horizontally…
      You can add launchers that behave more like “launchpad”:
      -Try the very basic one, included, out of the box in antiX:
      Menu > Run > “yad –icons –read-dir=/usr/share/applications –fullscreen –sort-by-name –undecorated –single-click –skip-taskbar”
      It’s a full screen list of app icons, that you can click to start the one you want:
      Pro’s: it’a available out of the box. It’s fast
      Con’s: There’s no icon to start it; it does not allow to search for apps; it scrolls vertically; apps are not really in 100% alphabecial order; if you have an app with a very large icon, it shows up oversized; it’s ugly (out of the box)

      Other choices: nwg-launchers
      Download and Install nwg-launchers .deb file for your system (32/64 bits) and then Menu > Run > nwggrid

      Pro’s: looks great, allows you to search for icons, it’s easy to install- just download the deb file for your system (32/64 bits), click the downloaded file to install it. Once installed: Menu > run > nwggrid
      Con’s: hard to add to the dock; on a slow system, it takes about 2 seconds to load (that’s not much, but it’s an inconvinient, if you keep using it all day long to launch apps); it scroll horizontally; It’s seems to be only in english (not hard to use, only the search field comes up in english)

      Tip: To be able to add nwggrid to the dock/desktop/toolbar, you have to create it’s desktop icon. Follow this steps:
      Menu > Run > “gksu geany /usr/share/applications/launchpad.desktop”

      On the empty text file that pops up enter this lines and save the file:

      [Desktop Entry]

      You can now launch this pseudo “launchpad” and/or add it to your dock

      Launch app’s from the Applications folder, it works much like Mac’s “Finder”:
      -Launch SpaceFm file manager (Menu > Applications > system > SpaceFM) and navigate to /usr/share/applications
      Right click any app and choose to launch it
      You can add a “Applications” bookmark, that shows up on the left of the file manager window: SpaceFM’s Menu > Bookmarks > Make sure that “Show bookmarks” is ticked > Add bookmark
      You can add SpaceFM to your dock, so you can start it faster/launch apps faster.
      You can type your app’s name to select it an then run it. Once it’s running, you can pin it to your dock to start it faster.

      7- Taskswitcher – if you want a task switcher similar to the one MacOs provides:
      Install “Skippy-xd”, available under antiX’s Package Installer
      To run it: Menu > Run > “skippy-xd”
      You can add a keyboard hot key to launch skippy-xd (search the Forum for it) If you want to add it’s icon to the dock/toolbar/desktop, you’ll have to create a .desktop file for skippy-xd (once more, search the Forum/Internet on how to create .desktop files)

      8- antiX’s (Icewm) menu for MacOS users:
      Menu > Control Center – acts a bit like Mac’s “system preferences”
      Menu > Exit – allows you to suspend / hibernate/ lock / turn off your computer /etc – much like the corresponding Mac’s menu entries
      Menu > Recent files – lets you access recently used files – much like Mac’s “Recent” menu entry
      Menu > kill – acts much like Mac’s “terminate…” menu entry
      Menu > Aplications > system > Package Installer – acts like a small “App store” for antiX. To manage all packages available in the Debian Repository use “Synaptic package manager”
      Menu > Control Center > “Hardware” tab > “I” icon > “full info” – provides information about your system


      Available docs:

      plank – – available via package installer and via synaptic package manager, using default reposirories

      tint2- available via package installer and via synaptic package manager, using default repositories – very configurable, but complex to configure

      cairodock – available via synaptic package manager, using default reposirories. You can download themes from inside the dock itself- there’s a “MacOs” like theme.

      simdock – available via appimage file:
      If works without glitchs, and without instalation, but is not very easy to use- to pin some applications, you have to manually select the app’s icon, name and command (tip: use the applications folder on your file manager to search for the app’s executable file and icon)
      Also, it does not auto-hide, it does not allow to close the app from the dock, only open/switch to apps…

      latte-dock – available via synaptic package manager, using default reposirories, installs many kde dependencies [untested]

      dockbarx – available via [untested]

      docky – [untested]

      Possible Bugs:
      I noticed that in my antiX 19.3 ,64 bits, running nvidea video drivers, in icewm and fluxbox desktops, when using Compton or xcompgr compositors, both plank and cairo docks “reserved” space for their icons- this means that, even when those docks are hiding, you can’t click on the part of an app’s window that overlaps the maximum height of the docs (i.e the full size of the icon and it’s description)
      This does not seem to happen when using simdock (it does not auto-hide) nor tint2, on icewm or fluxbox.


      • This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by PPC.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by PPC.


        man fluxbox excerpt:

               fluxbox manages the following layers (from highest to lowest):
               •   Above Dock
               •   Dock
               •   Top
               •   Normal
               •   Bottom
               •   Desktop
               Windows on a higher layer will always appear above those on a lower one.
               These layers can be used on application windows, the slit or the toolbar.
               You can assign applications to a certain layer by specifying it in the
               ‘apps’ file or through the WindowMenu.

        man fluxbox-apps
        explains how to specify which layer your “dock-like” program window will be assigned to. You can target windows by window name or by various other properties.


          @PPC Very nice writup. And I do love to tweak my UI.

          confirmed antiX frugaler, since 2019


            En este mundo de GNU/Linux, todo se puede … Siempre y cuando hagas algo diferente …



              Pero aplicado a Openbox en ambas imágenes … Plank, imágen superior … Tint2, imágen inferior.


                @userzero: very nice indeed- the main thing missing from my how-to is how to get the application’s menu to show up on the toolbar. You adapted the procedure from that youtube video to openbox- does it also apply to any of the window managers that come pre-installed in antiX? Can you post a step by step how-to?

                I tried, in this “how-to” to make it as simple as possible, so even a newbie can try this. Also, I tried to make it so you have to install the least possible number of applications (to get the end result, the only essential application is a dock, like “Plank”/”cairo-dock”. To make it easier to find and launch applications, for Mac users, I also recommended installing and using nwg-launchers and using it as “pseudo launchpad”. The desktop file I showed how to create also works with the yad command, but the end result is not as nice- it’s not 100% ordered and not searchable).

                @Skidoo- thanks for the tip- but since this “bug” only happens in auto-hidding the docks, when using also a compositor (like compton), I think it’s not really a general window manager “layer” configuration problem- if it was, that would also happen when not using a compositor, right? Do you think it’s something wrong with the compositor’s layer configuration? Or maybe a bug with my nvidia driver?

                Anyway – I’m probably not investing more time in this “how-to”- since I did all the work, I just wanted to put it here, so anyone can apply any of the tips according to their own personal needs- the only change I can considered making is applying that application menu in the toolbar, that userzero has.

                There are some nice tips for general use:

                – like a fast way to create a .desktop file that can be put to many uses- just replace the icon, name and application to be executed to the one you want.
                – Using the file manager (in my example) to find and start applications is also sometimes very handy- if you use an icon view, it works almost like “launchpad”, without having to install anything…
                – Also, using nwg-launchers – it’s not really my kind of thing, I’m too used to the menu and rofi/app-select, but it can be handy for folks too used to their mobile devices- it’s basically how android phones list and launch all installed applications- young people, only used to mobile devices (without much experience with computers, even windows) can find it confusing, having to deal with menu categories simply to launch an application.


                • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by PPC.

                  My new theme comes with a MAC oriented setup. I only created that for medium size, but it wouldn’t be difficult to make it available in the other sizes if people wanted it.

                  Daily driver distro


                    My new theme comes with a MAC oriented setup. I only created that for medium size, but it wouldn’t be difficult to make it available in the other sizes if people wanted it.

                    Hi, Bob, what theme is that, so I can try it out? It is available on antiX 19.3? I thought I checked out all included icewm themes…


                      It is in Bullseye.

                      The medium sized one is here:

                      The thread it was in is here:

                      I haven’t seen or worked on a MAC since the late 1980’s, so not familiar with what it should look/feel like, but if I knew which other settings to change, we could try having the theme change other settings as well that would give it a MAC like look.

                      Daily driver distro


                        @Bobc – thanks for the quick reply – I tested your theme- it looks very good, but on my not 1024 X 7XX screen parts of the window decorations are a bit too oversized! I think I offered feedback on that, when I tested a21…
                        I may even consider using your theme, when I’m on icewm- my current desktop is still my fluxbox/ tint2 / rofi costom setup, that I’ve been using for some months now, without any problems. It’s fast even on my crappy netbook, and looks just perfect for me (it’s the Windows 10 inspired desktop I posted before – I stopped deveoping it when I went on my hiatus- I have to roll out the installer that solves the bug of window overlaping the toolbar

                        @Skidoo: last night I checked on line – many people report problems with compositors and window managers (nothing specific to icewm that I could dig up)- depending on the way the window manager processes windows, the compositor treats some windows without focus just like they were in focus- thats exactly what compton does to “autohidding” docks on icewm – it acts just like the dock is drawn on screen, when it’s hidding, stopping the user from clicking on the window that’s on screen.
                        I tested some tips, even running compton without it’s config file but I found no way around that “bug” and I’m not wiling to invest any more time on that- plank, without composition runs just fine, as long as you take the care to click on the lowest part of it’s icons (clicking in the icon’s image can cause some visual glitches)



                          PPC, on that screen resolution, Medium is going to be pretty large, I think. You could post a picture showing the problem. I fixed some issues with sizes of pieces of the themes but maybe didn’t catch them all.

                          Daily driver distro


                            Hi! For those that tried to use my How-to and use the “icenoire” theme with buttons on the right side of the window, I somehow messed up my config file. It’s better that you follow my original steps, back up icenoire config file and then replace it one that has window icons on the left side:

                            – Backing up the theme’s config file:
                            Menu > Terminal >
                            sudo cp /usr/share/icewm/themes/icenoir-3.3-Small/default.theme /usr/share/icewm/themes/icenoir-3.3-Small/default.theme.BACKUP

                            – Using ThruthIce config file in icenoir’s theme (that places window decorations of the left side of the window):

                            sudo cp "/usr/share/icewm/themes/Truth ice-1.0-Small/default.theme" /usr/share/icewm/themes/icenoir-3.3-Small/default.theme

                            restart your icewm desktop: your “round” window buttons are on the left side of your windows.

                            Extra tip: While searching for another subject I realized that antiX’s Package manager already provides a very nice “Spotlight” replacement- install “synapse”.
                            Run it. Search for what you want (executable file or any other kind of file)
                            Press ctrl + space bar to open the search window.

                            synapse runs on the background. If you no longer need it, right click it’s icon on the system tray and choose “exit”, to save up some RAM

                            Synapse also works as a calculator: enter, for example: “2+2”, and it gives you the answer! 🙂

                            Now, with the right icewm theme, a dock, nwggrid and synapse, most MacOS users will feel right at home (if you want a toolbar that really mimics Mac’s toolbar, try to follow the youtube link userzero posted- I did not invest time on that, nor probably will).



                              Here is a screenshot of the new theme in medium MAC mode on bullseye in 1024×768. I don’t see any problems with the components not matching up.


                              Daily driver distro


                                dear PPC, thank you very much for your article.
                                When searching to make Antix look like MacOs, I have a goal:
                                1. to install a theme similar to Mac (done),
                                2. to have the “3 round buttons”, I don’t mind if in the left or on the right side,
                                3. to have a working dock that when I hover the icons, they magnify.

                                1st problem:
                                In case I follow your tutorial (Icewm + Icenoir), with 3 different pc with various hw, in case I use Plank dock I fall in the bug of the rectangular area where I cannot click with my mouse ==> according to my needs this is NOT a solution

                                2nd problem:
                                In case I follow your tutorial (Icewm + Icenoir) and instead of Plank I try to use Tint2, I don’t know how to magnify the icons dimentions when hovering with the mouse ==> this is not enaugh similar to MacOs (according to my taste)

                                3th problem:
                                I tried a different solution, with Jwm + Plank. In this case I dont have the bug that you mentioned, par contre I dont know how to have the “three round buttons” like MacOs has ==> this solution is the closest to my needs, also if it is still far from my optimal result.

                                Can you please give me your advice in order to solve at least one of the 3 above mentioned problems, so that at the end we can have an Antix really similar to MacOs (and better to use).

                                Many thx in advance


                                  I’m using a costumized fluxbox setup now, but I’ll try to help you out:

                                  1st problem- Did you try installing a compositor (like “compton”) and see if the dock then works correctly?
                                  Also- try Cairodock- it’s the one that can be configured to look more like macos’s bar- you can download that config file from inside cairodocl itself

                                  2nd problem- I use tint2, but I think that it can’t be configured to magnify an icon when your mouse pointer hovers above it… (I took a look at

                                  3rd problem- I think JWM does not have that many themes available, so, probably there’s none similar to MAcOs available.

                                  My advice? Try cairodock + a compositior (like compton) and you’ll probably end up whit a very macos like UI…


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