Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 18th Sep 2009 18:34 UTC
Mac OS X There are several things which take quite some getting used to when switching from any platform to the Mac. There are things like the universal menubar, the dock, Expose, and many more. One of the things that often leads to confusion for new users is the installation process for applications. Mozilla developer Alexander Limi talks about the problems Mozilla runs into when it comes to Firefox' installation process on the Mac, and a possible solution. Update: A possible solution?
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Another Option
by godawful on Fri 18th Sep 2009 19:13 UTC
godawful
Member since:
2005-06-29

Another option available is for the disk to download and mount, but then the disk will copy the application to the desktop manually, where are user can do whatever they please.. I know a few apps that do this.. prevents the whole "running off the disk image" that I see many new users do.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Another Option
by limi on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:20 UTC in reply to "Another Option"
limi Member since:
2009-09-18

Another option available is for the disk to download and mount, but then the disk will copy the application to the desktop manually, where are user can do whatever they please.. I know a few apps that do this.. prevents the whole "running off the disk image" that I see many new users do.


That's indeed what we're considering. Now that I received some comments from people about the solutions available, we'll probably end up doing a so-called "internet-enabled" disk image that unpacks automatically, and add some logic to detect whether you're running from the downloads folder, and offer an option to help if they want us to move Firefox to the Applications folder and add it to the dock.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Another Option
by cleenwe on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Another Option"
cleenwe Member since:
2007-05-01

That sounds good. Whatever you do, please don't make a normal windows style installer though. When I moved from Windows to Mac one of the things I really liked was not having to use an installer, and just being able to drag and drop stuff where I want it to be. I really don't think windows style installers have a place on the Mac.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Another Option
by magiconair on Sat 19th Sep 2009 22:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Another Option"
magiconair Member since:
2007-01-04

Please,

there is nothing wrong with the app installation process on Mac OS X and there certainly isn't a problem. Sure I actually had to show my parents and my not computer savvy friends *once* how to do it but they got that immediately.

Also don't forget the whole thing about uninstallation. I just drag the app icon into the trash. Having an installer breaks that metaphor big time. I have to find the installer to uninstall the app. What if I have deleted the installer? How do I get rid of it? I think this will confuse people as well.

Apps on Mac OS don't really get installed. They just get copied onto the machine. That is the big difference to Windows and Linux - which I also use on a daily basis. On Linux and Windows the installer spreads the app all over the hard drive and its hard to get rid of if the installer has disappeared (or your /var/cache/apt dir for that matter). On the Mac it is all in one directory or under one icon.

The Adium background shows how it can be done.

The Mac is using a lot of metaphors which are different than Windows and Linux and that is a good thing because once you have realized how simple things can be you wonder why they are so difficult on the other systems.

Frank

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Another Option
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 19th Sep 2009 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Another Option"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Simple question. Which is better and easier:

1) download disk image
-> it gets mounted automatically
2) move application into ~/Applications
3) unmount disk image
4) discard disk image

Or:

1) download zip file
-> it gets unzipped and deleted automatically
2) when launching the application for the first time, a dialog asks if you want it moved to the ~/Applications folder

The first method is as it is done now, and it poses problems for users - don't try to deny them, I see them all the time with the people I introduced to Macs (and I convert a lot of people).

The second method is Gruber's/my proposal. It has none of the problems described above, and still provides all the benefits Mac users are used to.

It's fighting against the tides anyway. More and more applications are now serving their applications in zip files, and in a few years, no one will use disk images anymore.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Another Option
by magiconair on Mon 21st Sep 2009 07:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Another Option"
magiconair Member since:
2007-01-04

Sure, at first your approach sounds easier and cleaner but it has its caveats as well. Deleting downloaded files from the users hard-drive automatically even with the best intentions is a no-no. What if I want to install the application again when I'm offline e.g. sitting in a train? What if I want to download it to give it to a friend on an USB stick because I got a faster internet connection? What if I want to back them up for later user on another computer?

I'm all for making things simple but having too much automagic breaks the users expectations. Not all users are the same. People expect that their downloaded files end up on their hard drive and that they stay there unless THEY throw them away. The people I usually help have messy desktops, don't understand a lot of computers but I'm pretty sure they would not be happy if the downloaded file would have just disappeared. "Does that mean that the zip file with the pictures I send will also disappear? How do I prevent that?" I hear them ask...

Second, I don't see the tidal wave of zip packaged applications. Maybe the apps use zip as a transport format in order to get around virus scanners but the apps that I download usually have a .dmg file inside and that's it.

Frank

Edited 2009-09-21 07:50 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Comment by sonic2000gr
by sonic2000gr on Fri 18th Sep 2009 19:23 UTC
sonic2000gr
Member since:
2007-05-20

So the whole point of this is for the user being able to install applications on the Mac without even understanding the basics of his/her new operating system?
Meaning, we actually condone ignorance and set is as the standard for users? OS X is *dead* easy to learn. Spend a few moments and watch a couple of videos (if you don't wish to actually read instruction - seems most people are unable to comprehend written instructions these days, another sad situation) and you will be good to go.
For gods sake you are not asked to install stuff from FreeBSD ports, just drag a blessed icon. If you are not able or willing to learn this, don't buy a computer. Any kind of computer, that is.

Reply Score: 14

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by polaris20 on Fri 18th Sep 2009 19:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

So the whole point of this is for the user being able to install applications on the Mac without even understanding the basics of his/her new operating system?
Meaning, we actually condone ignorance and set is as the standard for users? OS X is *dead* easy to learn. Spend a few moments and watch a couple of videos (if you don't wish to actually read instruction - seems most people are unable to comprehend written instructions these days, another sad situation) and you will be good to go.
For gods sake you are not asked to install stuff from FreeBSD ports, just drag a blessed icon. If you are not able or willing to learn this, don't buy a computer. Any kind of computer, that is.


I agree completely. I can't believe app installation on OS X is an issue, seeing as how it's the easiest of the major 3.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by unoengborg on Fri 18th Sep 2009 19:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by sonic2000gr"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, installing apps on OS-X is very simple indeed, but Apple could still learn a lot from most Linux distros where it usualy is as easy as checking a checkbox.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by theTSF on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
theTSF Member since:
2005-09-27

I never cared for that method. Of Clicking the check box. Because if your app isn't on the list then it is a pain to install it. Apple solutions is a simple and elegant solution. And technically easy. You have a directory containing everything you need to run you copy that directory in an other directory.

The Linux library mean you can only used that distributions "PURE" software. Which means installed closed source application is a No-No or just open source apps that are not really popular that solves that once scratch you need to fix.

The Mac OS allows you really install any app from anywhere.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by unoengborg on Fri 18th Sep 2009 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

First of all, most Linux application actually are on the list so, talking about the ones that are not, are not all that interesting to most Linux users.

Second, the Linux way is not much different from getting an App for your cell phone in Android or Apple App store, exept perhaps that it is not the Linux vender who desides who can add things to the list, like Apple do to their App Store. (One more lesson for Apple to learn).

Nothing prevents software vendors from putting the app on the list, by creating a repository of their own. Then the list could be extended by a simple mouse click in the webbrowser.

The application doesn't need to be open source to make use of this. E.g. Adobe uses this for Flash. You click on a link and a new Adobe repository is added.


Now, consider that most, or perhaps even all Linux distros have much less market share than Apple. This means that very few sofware venders care to port their software to Linux, and even fewer care to create proper install procedures, but Apple would have a much better chance of convince software vendors to use a Linuxlike package manager.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by apoclypse on Fri 18th Sep 2009 23:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Most Linux apps are on the list but it may not be the version you want with this cool new feature you need. Its a common issue and most developers don't bother with repos, or if they do have one setup they are distro specific, and thats where the ease of use goes out the window.

Most developers have gotten smart and support Ubuntu and Fedora since they are the top two distros ( I think?) but what about Debian? What version of Ubuntu or Fedora are you running? Will you be able to install your application in Version 8.04 if the developer only has a repo for version 9.04? If you happen to know how to compile software, are the libs in the repos the right version for the software or are you going to have to go lib hunting. These are extremely common things in Linux.

For example, Blender2.5 is on the horizon, the repos for 9.04 still have 2.48, the current stable build is version 2.49a. Luckily Blender is self contained and can be downloaded and run without much issues without needing to really install anything since most things are statically linked. Now back to Blender 2.5, before version 9.10 (which isn't even out yet) Blender 2.5 wouldn't even build, the version of scons in the repo is too old. Again, this is very common in Linux. OSX doesn't have these issues, you can get the latest and greatest from developers at all times by going to their site and downloading the package, no lib issues necessary.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by nt_jerkface on Sat 19th Sep 2009 06:14 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

What you're not pointing out is that it's a huge pain in the ass to distribute proprietary software in Linux compared to Windows or OSX. You shouldn't have to make your own repository to distribute a single application, but even if you do there are still distro differences to account for.

The best way to distribute proprietary software in Linux is to create a web app. Otherwise it probably isn't worth the effort.

Linux has been in development for over a decade and yet the iphone has a better game selection. That's because asking a game developer to build in Linux is like asking a bridge engineer to build on sand.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by unoengborg on Sat 19th Sep 2009 17:28 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

What you're not pointing out is that it's a huge pain in the ass to distribute proprietary software in Linux compared to Windows or OSX. You shouldn't have to make your own repository to distribute a single application, but even if you do there are still distro differences to account for.



I don't have to point that out, because this article is not about Linux but about OSX. In OSX Apple have full control of what libraries they use. So applying the Linux repository model in an OSX setting would actually work much better than in Linux.

BTW, whats wrong with creating your own repository? It's an excelent way to provide your users with updates and bug fixes to your application.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by apoclypse on Sat 19th Sep 2009 20:20 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

Did you not read what he said? Every developer would have to setup their on repo and for the most part these are too distro specific to be of any use to someone on an unsupported linux install. You have to have the proper version the distro that the repo supports, not every user knows how to add repos to their system and the whole one click repo add thing doesn't really work in practice. How do i know your repo won't conflict with the ones I already have? Can I trust your repo? How often are you going to update it? What happens to the repo once I update my distro install? These are all things that the repo model hasn;t really addressed unless you happen to be using the official repos for te distro in question.

I love the linux model, I like not having to hunt down dependencies all over the place, it also makes it easy to try new software without much penalty, however its far from perfect and can still be more complex than it has to be.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by clei on Sun 20th Sep 2009 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
clei Member since:
2008-10-04

What you're not pointing out is that it's a huge pain in the ass to distribute proprietary software in Linux compared to Windows or OSX. You shouldn't have to make your own repository to distribute a single application, but even if you do there are still distro differences to account for.

The best way to distribute proprietary software in Linux is to create a web app. Otherwise it probably isn't worth the effort.

Linux has been in development for over a decade and yet the iphone has a better game selection. That's because asking a game developer to build in Linux is like asking a bridge engineer to build on sand.

>
>
Wrong. Reason is that for the most part,Linux users *ARE NOT GAMERS* and have not been for years.The utter garbage that passes for "Gaming" these days isn't that interesting to us.

Reply Score: 0

RE[7]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by apoclypse on Sun 20th Sep 2009 16:55 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

"What you're not pointing out is that it's a huge pain in the ass to distribute proprietary software in Linux compared to Windows or OSX. You shouldn't have to make your own repository to distribute a single application, but even if you do there are still distro differences to account for.

The best way to distribute proprietary software in Linux is to create a web app. Otherwise it probably isn't worth the effort.

Linux has been in development for over a decade and yet the iphone has a better game selection. That's because asking a game developer to build in Linux is like asking a bridge engineer to build on sand.

>
>
Wrong. Reason is that for the most part,Linux users *ARE NOT GAMERS* and have not been for years.The utter garbage that passes for "Gaming" these days isn't that interesting to us.
"

Speak for yourself. I would love to be able to run Starcraft 2 without resorting to something like Wine. Just because you don't like the games out now, don't state your opinion as "ours". There are plenty of games that I would love to play on linux in native form.

Linux gaming will never change until the driver situation is resolved. There are too many issues with 3d hardware and x.org isn't helping any. People want a platform, if you want Linux gaming to improve you need to be very specific to users what they need. Most Linux users don't want this, they want to drop linux on a toaster and expect it to run Quake 3.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by tyrione on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Yes, installing apps on OS-X is very simple indeed, but Apple could still learn a lot from most Linux distros where it usualy is as easy as checking a checkbox.


My primary dev box is Debian Sid since 2000. Apt-Get/Dpkg and more routinely puke on policy changes and much more.

The brain dead solution for Apple creating a bundle where Firefox keeps all dylibs from 3rd parties is straight forward.

Now Firefox could request Apple to include more 3rd party libs they have build depends against. How far they get would probably depend on how far Firefox moves to using Cocoa's AppKit/Foundation Kits.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by Babi Asu on Sat 19th Sep 2009 04:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
Babi Asu Member since:
2006-02-11

+ I want to install "Gobli gobli" application on Linux. Which check box should I click?
- That application is suck because it's not GPL.
+ That's not the point. I want to install that application!
- Well, first you must create a petition to the creator to make it GPL. After the application become GPL, you will see the check box for installing the application 5 years later.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by ivaniclixx on Sat 19th Sep 2009 11:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
ivaniclixx Member since:
2008-07-14

Yes, that's true, but considering the typical dependencies problems derived from having all the shared libraries, etc. maybe in Mac Os X It'd fit better another system like the one used in PC-BSD where all the packages are statically compiled.

Sorry for my bad English.

Edited 2009-09-19 11:48 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by nt_jerkface on Sat 19th Sep 2009 06:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by sonic2000gr"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I agree completely. I can't believe app installation on OS X is an issue, seeing as how it's the easiest of the major 3.


How is it easier than Windows?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by sigzero on Sat 19th Sep 2009 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by sonic2000gr"
sigzero Member since:
2006-01-03

You are correct. I don't see how it could "safely" get any easier. Installation is something Apple certainly got right.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by darknexus on Mon 21st Sep 2009 00:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, if you think that moving an app to the trash gets rid of it entirely, you're mistaken. Many files often get left behind, from preference files (harmless really) to system services and/or preference pains (a lot more troublesome if the app isn't around). And, what about those pkg installers? You know, the ones that throw files all over the place? There's no real simple way to get rid of an app you've installed by that method and, worse, they're should be as it wouldn't take much work for Apple to implement a system that monitors everything a pkg does and would allow it to be undone.
Apple certainly got the installation process about as close to perfect as it's ever likely to get on an open system, I'm not disputing that. But the process of removing an app on OS X is absolutely painful, and I say that as a full-time OS X user and a mostly satisfied one at that. It's an area that Apple really should focus their efforts on solving, not that most uninstallers on Windows do a much better job of removing an app than just dragging it to the trash does. *NIX is the only system that really has removing software down pat, but then again that's only for software in the repos or ports tree (or otherwise controlled by the package manager) (anything else and you're on your own worse than in OS X).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by tyrione on Fri 18th Sep 2009 19:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Agreed.

However, this is all just a smoke screen from Mozilla.

The true crux of their complaint resides here:


The final installation flow should look like this:
Start the Firefox download.
When the download is complete, the disk image will mount automatically (if they were using Safari), and the Firefox installer runs.
The install procedure continues similar to how it happens on Windows.
As the last step of the process, the installer lets you set Firefox as the default browser, and start the application immediately. We have seen users forget that they just installed Firefox if you don’t let them start it at the end of the process, and make that the default choice.


In short, they want Firefox to take charge of the Web Experience automagically.

Reply Score: 3

Same as we do on any other platform
by limi on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by sonic2000gr"
limi Member since:
2009-09-18

That's an unfair assessment of what I wrote. It says "lets", not "will".

We will never just silently set the browser — in fact, we have that as one of our core principles.

What that paragraph means is that we'll give you an option to set your default browser.

As for the sentence you highlighted, that's a different problem — if you don't start the application, some people forget that they downloaded it in the first place.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by sultanqasim on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:48 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

I agree. Catering to lazy idiots makes the operating system suck.

The current way is much better: just drag and drop. I don't want a stupid wizard wasting my time with extra clicks and dumping files around everywhere.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by Kroc on Sat 19th Sep 2009 06:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by sonic2000gr"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

You’re missing the point. It’s not about YOU, YOUR computer, the way YOU like to do things. You’re a privileged snob, smart enough to know how to drag things to an application directory, stop telling us you know that, WE KNOW TOO.

The article is about regular users who do not know that you have to drag the app out of the disk image and it is hindering Firefox adoption on the Mac.

You would make a bloody awful software developer if all you ever care about is yourself.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by CrLf on Sat 19th Sep 2009 13:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
CrLf Member since:
2006-01-03

Regular users must know at least the basics. A all-purpose computer is a complex machine and that can never be completely hidden from the user. Users should be willing to learn something, or they shouldn't be using computers at all. A toaster can have just one button, a computer can't.

Unfortunately, that's just it: most people are all but computer illiterate and unwilling to learn. Any "computer guy" feels this every day, as people confront them with the same *simple* questions again and again, while the "computer guy" tries to teach them again and again.

Making software dumber is not the same as making it better for end users. Actually, most attempts at making software more user friendly for the really technological impaired either fails completely, or makes it worse across the board.

The install process on the Mac could be better (actually, it's the uninstall process that's lacking), but going around saying that the concept of moving an application out of the simple container is too much for the users ever understanding shows just what the problem really is.

That's why I just stopped evangelizing software (any software) for everyone but my peers. I don't care if they use Firefox or IE, Windows or Linux or MS Office or OpenOffice, simply because if they are unwilling to learn something new, I'm not willing to show them a better way of doing things.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by sultanqasim on Sat 19th Sep 2009 15:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

I agree 100%; computers are complex machines and people should spend the 5-10 minutes learning how to use them when they get one. I miss the old CLI days when you were forced to read the manual to know how to operate the computer. Back then, only sufficiently competent users used them, and they did far fewer stupid things with their computers.

I also agree that it is the uninstall process that needs improvement; it really is lacking. For simple drag and drop apps, it's easy - just drag into the trash. The preference files don't really do any harm. However, with apps that need a wizard for installing, things get messy, really messy. Some apps ship with a single purpose uninstaller app - that's bad because:
1. There is no centralized uninstall program. I have to hunt down the uninstaller just for the one app.
2. I usually delete the .dmg for the app after installing, so the uninstaller is usually deleted after installing.

But that's not all; some applications install with a wizard, dump big files all over the file system, and then don't provide an uninstaller. Even many Apple applications do this, but I can live with that because the apps are usually high quality, and I keep them. In Tiger, I used to get by by doing a spotlight search of the app's name and deleting all the files that were part of the application that were found. Then in Leopard, they made it even worse: they made spotlight not search the system and library directories where all the junk hides. Ugh...

<rant>
Example: It took me 1.5 hours to uninstall the Piece-of-**** application called adobe reader that my cousin had installed. It dumped files everywhere - in about 20 different directories, and I had to find them manually - by looking at every directory on my mac, one by one. Yup, I had to do that. And when I was done, Safari refused to show PDFs!!! Adobe had made safari look for the Reader plugin that I deleted, and Safari couldn't find it. So then, I had to reinstall Adobe Reader, start it up, find the hidden preference pane in its messy preferences dialog, and set preview as the PDF reader for safari. And then I had to relocate all the twentyish folders and delete the crap once more. That experience left me fuming.
</rant>

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by CrLf on Sat 19th Sep 2009 19:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by sonic2000gr"
CrLf Member since:
2006-01-03

Preference files don't do any harm, but any respectable uninstaller should clean up all traces of the application, not leave junk behind (in the specific case of user preferences, it can ask to delete them or keep them).

This is the main reason I really dislike trying out applications just for the sake of it (on all platforms, but especially on the Mac), I don't want to install something to try for 5 minutes and then keep garbage around forever, or having to spend a while doing "mdfind"s and "locate"s on the command line to find all of it.

And that acrobat reader reference really hits home for me... I installed it in the first week after getting a Mac, and one year later I'm still finding files it left behind...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by sonic2000gr
by yvesdandoy on Sun 20th Sep 2009 13:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by sonic2000gr"
yvesdandoy Member since:
2006-12-22

totally agree !!!

The current system is perfect.
You cannot do it easier.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by Jon Dough on Sat 19th Sep 2009 13:08 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
Jon Dough Member since:
2005-11-30

So the whole point of this is for the user being able to install applications on the Mac without even understanding the basics of his/her new operating system?
Meaning, we actually condone ignorance and set is as the standard for users?


Yes, that is the point. For the overwhelming majority of people, a computer is a tool they use to help them accomplish a task. Apple has done an excellent job catering to their needs in trying to make their products something that "just works."

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by pjafrombbay on Sat 19th Sep 2009 13:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
pjafrombbay Member since:
2005-07-31

So the whole point of this is for the user being able to install applications on the Mac without even understanding the basics of his/her new operating system? Meaning, we actually condone ignorance and set is as the standard for users?...


It amazes me why folks bother to reply like this. If you have nothing to contribute then its probably best not to say anything. These discussions can actually help folks, particularly those trying to learn a bit more about their PC. A response like this just puts them off.

--PJA

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by sonic2000gr
by clei on Sun 20th Sep 2009 12:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by sonic2000gr"
clei Member since:
2008-10-04

So the whole point of this is for the user being able to install applications on the Mac without even understanding the basics of his/her new operating system?
Meaning, we actually condone ignorance and set is as the standard for users? OS X is *dead* easy to learn. Spend a few moments and watch a couple of videos (if you don't wish to actually read instruction - seems most people are unable to comprehend written instructions these days, another sad situation) and you will be good to go.
For gods sake you are not asked to install stuff from FreeBSD ports, just drag a blessed icon. If you are not able or willing to learn this, don't buy a computer. Any kind of computer, that is.

>
>
And some people wonder why the general reaction by people who actually use Linux to this kind of nonsense by Thom and the rest of his ilk is to tell them to get lost.

Reply Score: 1

Why is this Apple's Fault?
by tjmcgee on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:04 UTC
tjmcgee
Member since:
2009-09-18

This is kind of a ridiculous article, enough to prompt me to post for the first time. A lot of applications are distributed with installers..
Also Apple hasn't forced anyone to distribute via a disk image. If Mozzilla thinks this is confusing to users then they should offer an installer, they need to decide it's worth the investment and make it. There are plenty of bad things you could legitimately say about apple but this is really a stretch. Maybe the argument could be that Apple should provide a better framework for creating installers, I'd listen to that argument.

"What’s interesting is that Apple are aware of this problem, and even added a warning that shows up when you try to run an application from the disk image:"

Limi completely misses the point about that warning dialog. It's purpose is to alert you that you are running an application that you downloaded off of the internet.

"Quick, spot the problem! It doesn’t actually tell you anything about why it’s a bad idea to run stuff from a disk image"


They didn't mention it's a bad idea because they don't care where you run the app from. That's the point of having a portable application format, it can run from anywhere in your system.

The dialog is to let you know that it might not be a safe program. Did he actually even bother to read it? If you download an app to your desktop or downloads folder, or even if you drag it from the disk image to your applications folder you will see this dialog the first time you open the app, it's a warning that the app might not be safe.
The line that shows it as running from a disk image is just so that you have a little more contextual information.

Edited 2009-09-18 20:19 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Why is this Apple's Fault?
by adinas on Tue 22nd Sep 2009 12:27 UTC in reply to "Why is this Apple's Fault?"
adinas Member since:
2005-08-17

"Limi completely misses the point about that warning dialog. It's purpose is to alert you that you are running an application that you downloaded off of the internet."

The fact that the author didn't understand the dialog is all the proof needed to indicate the dialog sucks

Reply Score: 1

Make it work like 1-Click on SuSE
by lunarcloud on Fri 18th Sep 2009 21:14 UTC
lunarcloud
Member since:
2008-04-28

Seriously. One button "install" and it downloads, decompresses, and moves the app to Applications.

Reply Score: 1

Global Updater
by Stratoukos on Fri 18th Sep 2009 21:29 UTC
Stratoukos
Member since:
2009-02-11

Although I think that the installation process in OS X is pretty good I definitely agree that the virtual disk concept is alien to inexperienced users. When explaining what a dmg is to a new mac user I always say something like "the dmg is like a usb stick and when you double click it it's like you're plugging it in".

As for the installer launching by itself I am strongly against it. I don't want my computer doing things I didn't specifically asked it to do.

Reply Score: 2

Similar approaches & observation
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 18th Sep 2009 21:33 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

Haiku & BeOS use a similar approach to the "classic" MacOS: you download a zip file, unzip it, then move the app/folder wherever you want. There's one frequently-used trick: including a symlink in the zip file, with a name like "[folder] - drop [filename] here". It's always surprised me that the same approach isn't used in OS X - it's not as slick as a background depicting dragging the file to the Applications folder, but probably easier for new users to understand.

And is it just me, or are the text labels for the icons in that Adium screenshot not aligned with their backgrounds (two middle icons)?

Reply Score: 4

Vacuous drivel
by Tony Swash on Fri 18th Sep 2009 22:59 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I have rarely read such vacuous drivel.

This whole story can be summarised as this:

a) We didn't write a propers installer for Firefox using the standard installer package available for Mac developers (and used by thousands of other developers for their apps).

b) As a result some of our users got a bit confused and didn't do things properly.

c) We may have use a proper Mac installer in future.

d) Lets whine for bit about how this is somehow Apple's fault.

Come on guys - start writing some real news about operating systems with some - whats the right word? - content!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Anon9
by Anon9 on Fri 18th Sep 2009 23:06 UTC
Anon9
Member since:
2008-06-30

You mean ... Mac apps don't normally come with installers. I thought Mac was supposed to be more usable than Windows.

I have very little experience with Macs; so this little piece of information surprised me. Mounting/copying and stuff are things very foreign to a lot of casual computer users I know.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Anon9
by rhy7s on Sat 19th Sep 2009 06:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by Anon9"
rhy7s Member since:
2008-08-04

That is similar to my experience. I know plenty of people on both Mac OS and Windows who are still totally flummoxed by the concept of files and folders—let alone anything like copying, moving, aliases or shortcuts, etc.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by apoclypse
by apoclypse on Fri 18th Sep 2009 23:14 UTC
apoclypse
Member since:
2007-02-17

This is a rather silly article. There is absolutely nothing wrong with how OSX installs software on the MAc. I don't want the installer to ask me if I want to make Firefox default. You can leave that crap on Windows, I know how to make it default. However Firefox is so slow compared to Safari I just I just moved to Safari full time anyway.

Either way don't fix what isn't broken. When you first download the package from the internet (assuming you are using safari), the dmg mounts automatically mounts unless otherwise specified and if a user is too stupid to read "drag here", then they don;t deserve a computer in the first place. Basically your article reads like you want the installer to work like it does on windows. OSX is not windows, its install process is much simpler and easier to manage.

Reply Score: 3

So let me see...
by mrhasbean on Sat 19th Sep 2009 00:26 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

There is a VERY simple method of creating a Disk Image that will automount on download, copy the installer package to the same folder the dmg was downloaded to, unmount the dmg, then run an installer - the very same installer that has been on the Mac for eons, yet this is somehow complicated?

The drag and drop installers are an option. They do not have to offer their products like that. I agree that some people new to the Mac don't understand this concept - and frankly it has nothing to do with virtual volumes - it has everything to do with the fact that people are not used to simply copying an application into a folder to install it, because on other platforms it is practically unheard of for anything other than a tinpot utility.

The simplified process is already there - it's just up to Firefox to use it...

Reply Score: 3

pjafrombbay
Member since:
2005-07-31

IMHO almost all platforms could do with their application installation processes being improved; especially Linux.

The best system that I have seen is that used by PC-BSD - the PBI (Pc-Bsd Installer or Push-Button Installer) process -- see http://www.pcbsd.org/content/view/20/26/ for details.

PBI is both a file format and an installation process (like *.deb in Debian based distributions). What I particularly like about it is that each application is stored (completely) in its own directory. Applications don't (seem) to rely on shared libraries (as with Linux) or "System" directory files (as with Windows).

PBI strikes me as a very simple but effective application installation (and un-installation) process.

Regards,
Peter

Reply Score: 2

Using installer is stupid
by funny_irony on Sat 19th Sep 2009 07:24 UTC
funny_irony
Member since:
2007-03-07

Back in the old days, when you need to install a new application. You just need to drag and drop the folder that contains the application program and library files to your hard disk.

To remove this application, you just need to select the folder and press the delete button on your keyboard.

That is the most user friendly way to install and uninstall an application.

Then some stupid idiots feel that an installer is required to put the files in their correct place so that the application can work properly. This cause alot of problem when the application cannot be uninstall properly and leave behind junks in the system and cause the system to be unstable.

Reply Score: 2

Installer
by memson on Sun 20th Sep 2009 11:06 UTC
memson
Member since:
2006-01-01

The MacOS X developer tools allow you to create Installer.app install packages - that work exactly like the Windows installer style "wizard" installation process. Why not just use these? I don't get why this is an issue? It seems like another "solution is search of a problem.."

Reply Score: 2

There is NOTHING wrong with it!
by Datatracer on Sun 20th Sep 2009 18:37 UTC
Datatracer
Member since:
2009-09-20

Macs have the easiest install in the world! Most of the applications I download have a window that pops up with the application on the left, and an arrow pointing to a shortcut of the Applications folder on the right. DUH? Looks pretty cut and dry about what it's suggesting I do! Larger applications have installers because they have to put various files in locations other than the Applications folder, but if all apps on a Mac start using the "Windows method" of installation, I would be pissed!

Honestly, if people are too stupid to grasp the already simple drag and drop install concept, how are they going to get the *really abstract* stuff? They shouldn't be using a computer in the first place. It's a matter of educating people about what is going on, not simplifying an already super simple process for the lowest common denominator of people who's mental capacity is just above mild retardation. I really don't understand the camp that thinks a computer should behave like an ATM machine with a "Press Here Dummy" interface.

Annoyed.

Reply Score: 1

Zip are not a solution
by _xmv on Mon 21st Sep 2009 11:35 UTC
_xmv
Member since:
2008-12-09

The whole point of using disk images is to be portable. Zip is not portable over MacOSX because it still uses things like resource forks, and extended attributes that are only stored on a disk image.

There's no good solution i can think of, beside a centralized installer (like appstore, or more commonly on computers, apt-get, etc).

The other "bad" solutions involve eg:

a) mounting the disk image, and proposing to copy the app automatically with a disable button (like, when u insert a blank cd or a camera you know ?) then cleaning up the whole disk image

b) invent a whole new archive format, like zip, or reuse stuffit, that can store all attributes and resources

c) invent a new application binary format or loader, basically, a kind of self-contained archive (like self extracting zip) but that look like the app. so you basically download "firefox.app" which is a solid "zip-like" file, and you put it anywhere you like. at first run it self-unpack on place.

c-bis) same thing without self-unpack, just a unified compressed binary format representing the current.app format (running as compressed which is a bit what snow leopard does, but without the unified format that allow keeping resources/attributes on any filesystem)

d) of course, the installer, at least everyone understands it

Reply Score: 1

RE: Zip are not a solution
by bogomipz on Mon 21st Sep 2009 20:15 UTC in reply to "Zip are not a solution"
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

Zip files support extended attributes just fine. The format was used for distributing BeOS applications nearly 15 years ago.

Reply Score: 2

Not understanding the issue?
by Windows Sucks on Mon 21st Sep 2009 16:30 UTC
Windows Sucks
Member since:
2005-11-10

If Apple provides the tools for Devs to use a more Windows like installer process then why not just use those and that be that?

Reply Score: 2