I'm a beginner in learning Linux. I know that there are many different distributions of Linux including Ubuntu. I consider Mac OS as a distribution of Linux, is that right? My goal in learning Linux is just to be able to connect to server with my mac to do cloud computing.

Here is my problem: I've found very useful videos on youtube teaching how to use Linux (commands in Linux) with Ubuntu distribution. I'm testing what I've learned with my Mac through the terminal. Not surprisingly, many commands in Ubuntu do not work on the Mac.

  • What should I do?
  • Is this a good strategy to learn Ubuntu? or instead I should learn commands in terminal?
  • Is there anyway to install package so that Ubuntu commands work in mac?

Would you guys help me and guide me what to do?

  • 2
    OSX is not Linux, it is a flavor of UNIX. However, both Ubuntu (which is a Linux) and OSX (which is a UNIX) use the same shell, bash, so most commands you find will work on both systems. However nothing you learn by using the OSX interface will be applicable to Linux, most terminal commands will be, but nothing graphical. – terdon Jul 3 '13 at 19:52

This is very much like everything in life. You learn by doing. A virtual machine running is probably going to be your quickest way to getting access to Ubuntu. You can find instructions for getting VirtualBox on Mac OSX here:

You'll definitely need 4-8GB of RAM and you may only want to allocate a minimal amount of RAM to the VM running Ubuntu 512MB - 1024MB should be more than adequate. There are a treasure trove of tutorials on setting up Linux on VirtualBox so I won't repeat it here.

Additionally you can gain access to a lot of the GNU tools through the MacPorts project.

The MacPorts Project is an open-source community initiative to design an easy-to-use system for compiling, installing, and upgrading either command-line, X11 or Aqua based open-source software on the Mac OS X operating system.

You can use Homebrew as a package manager for installation MacPorts packages onto your Mac as well.

Going the MacPorts & Homebrew route will probably get you 90%+ of the way to what having an Ubuntu box would give you in terms of getting experience with the GNU & Unix tools.

Finally you might want to take a look at this thread over on the Apple StackExchange site, titled: Is there any alternative to MacPorts?.

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Use VirtualBox to install a guest Ubuntu so that you can learn. Mac OSX has many of the same unix/posix commands, but differences will confuse you as a beginner.

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  • Hi @sudopunk, Thanks for your help. Is there any other solution? seems like too much work to install VirtualBox and Ubuntu. Specially for a beginner like me, it's scary that a small mistake might lead to data loss on my hard drive while installing Ubuntu ! – Sam Jul 3 '13 at 17:53
  • 2
    @Sam, if you install virtualbox, you install Ubuntu inside. Physically the Ubuntu environment will reside inside one huge file (a few GB) on the MAC, and you will not be able to mix Mac and Ubuntu files. – vinnief Jul 3 '13 at 18:13

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