Make your Pop!_OS (Ubuntu Linux) shortcut key experience more like Mac OS


Meta Mac

Enables a Mac OS-like shortcut key experience on Pop!_OS (and most Ubuntu-based Linux distros).


Download or git clone this repository, then run ./

cd meta-mac-main
# edit settings/udevmon.yaml and replace the DEVICE LINK with
# your own keyboard device link, then:

Note that this depends on interception's udevmon systemd service, which is installed automatically.

Which Shortcut Keys?

  • For cut/copy/paste key combos, translate to special clipboard keys:

    • Cut: Command-X -> KEY_CUT
    • Copy: Command-C -> KEY_COPY
    • Paste: Command-V -> KEY_PASTE
  • For window switching, let key combos pass through:

    • Switch: Command-Tab -> Meta-Tab
  • The remaning Command-* key combos are translated to Ctrl-*, e.g.

    • Close Window: Command-W -> Ctrl-W
    • New Tab: Command-T -> Ctrl-T
    • Bold: Command-B -> Ctrl-B
    • Italics: Command-I -> Ctrl-I
    • etc.



If I'm honest, the biggest discomfort I have with Linux shortcut keys is the mismatch between the terminal's idea of copy-paste (Ctrl+Shift+C/Ctrl+Shift+V) and everything else in Linux (Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V). And Linux isn't alone--Windows, too, has a weird relationship with copy/paste when it comes to the command shell. Only on the Mac have I experienced the sensible default that Command-C will copy to the clipboard, and Command-V will paste, regardless of which app is running.

But why stop there? If many of us have experience with Mac OS, and if we have the ability to make customizations in Linux (and boy, do we!) then why not make Pop!_OS as comfortable as possible?

On a personal note, I've lived and worked on a Mac for the past 15 years, and while I still admire Apple's technical and design capability, our values have slowly been drifting apart over the years. Apple is no longer the underdog, and it's clear that it doesn't need to design for developers any more.

I'm very excited to joining the free culture movement once again via my first laptop and Pop!_OS. I've written META Mac in the hope that it will ease the transition for others along this path as well.


  • Consider global copy/paste shortcut key combination over single-key:
    • Cut: Shift + Delete
    • Copy: Ctrl + Insert
    • Paste: Shift + Insert
  • Fix that holding meta and hitting a clipboard key followed by a non-clipboard key (e.g. 'z' to undo) requires letting go of meta key first.
  • Is there a way to make Command+Click work?


Thanks to Francisco Lopes' interception and deafmute's interception-tools debian package.

  • swap/2 method is now called swapm/2 in keyd v2.4.2

    swap/2 method is now called swapm/2 in keyd v2.4.2

    This config produces a parse exception upon lauch of keyd v2.4.2 The reason: keyd switched to hungarion notation. Thus swap/2 method needs to be renamed to swapm/2.

    opened by cblock 1
  • Switch functionality of option+key?

    Switch functionality of option+key?

    Not much of an issue rather a request. After unsuccessfully battling with Kinto I found your solution to key remapping and it works like a charm. The only thing I'm missing right now are two things:

    opt+q = @ opt+left/right = next word

    I'd do it myself but I'm quite new to Linux and Keyd so I thought of sharing this with you as it may also improve on your desired end product.

    Thanks so much for meta-mac!

    opened by soype 3
  • meta can now be safely overloaded

    meta can now be safely overloaded

    As of 076a186 in keyd the meta key can now safely be used as both the overlay key and a layer activation key.

    so gsettings set org.gnome.mutter overlay-key '' should no longer necessary.

    opened by rvaiya 2
  • Identify keyboard type before swapping modifier keys

    Identify keyboard type before swapping modifier keys

    The keyboard remapper that I normally use to get macOS keyboard shortcuts in Linux ( by Ben Reaves) has a procedure in the installer that asks for you to press the key 2nd to left of the space bar. This allows the install script to identify whether you are on a PC keyboard (Super/Win key code), an Apple keyboard (Option key code), a Chromebook keyboard, or an IBM keyboard with no with no Super/Win key. The Kinto GUI also lets you change the keyboard type on the fly, for when you need to switch physical keyboards.

    I tried to test Meta Mac on a 2007 white MacBook3,1 which of course has an actual Apple keyboard with the Command key in the "correct" place for Mac keyboard shortcuts. This doesn't work well with Meta Mac because (I assume) it's currently only designed to turn a PC keyboard into behaving like a Mac keyboard, by swapping the Control key with the Alt key.

    For Meta Mac to work for people who run Linux on actual Macs (I've got Ubuntu 21.10 on this MacBook), and for those who use Apple external keyboards connected to PC laptops, or for Chromebook users running Linux and other scenarios, you'll need to provide a way to specify or identify the type of keyboard the user is on, and a way to change the keyboard type if necessary.

    opened by RedBearAK 11
  • Implement uninstall script or uninstall argument

    Implement uninstall script or uninstall argument

    Please implement a proper uninstall procedure either as a separate script or just an argument that can be passed to the install script to initiate a full uninstall/disabling of Meta Mac.

    opened by RedBearAK 1
  • v0.2.0(Nov 20, 2021)

    We've switched the underlying key remapping service from interception to keyd.

    This switch allows us more flexibility and less overhead--rather than customizing C code, we can customize configuration files. It also gives you more power--you can use our config files as-is, or tweak them yourself.

    Source code(tar.gz)
    Source code(zip)
  • v0.1.0(Nov 14, 2021)

Duane Johnson
Artist, inventor, software engineer, hardware hacker, founder of Make Salt Lake and Relm.US, Inc.
Duane Johnson
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