Linked by Scot Hacker on Mon 17th Dec 2001 17:34 UTC
Features, Office The story of how a BeOS refugee (and not just everyone, but the author of the 'BeOS Bible' book) lost faith in the future of computing, resigned himself to Windows but found himself bored silly, tore out half his hair at the helm of a Linux box, then rediscovered the joy of computing in MacOSX. Scot Hacker will describe his personal adventures with today's operating systems after he was set out to find an alternative to his beloved (but with no apparent future) BeOS. Update: Make sure you read the second part of the article, a rebutal, found here.
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by OpinionBoy on Mon 17th Dec 2001 18:30 UTC

Excellent piece, and always great to hear from Scot Hacker. "Anyone who has ever spent time with BeOS is forever spoiled...". That line really hits home; I'm always booting back into BeOS just to experience it, live it, - enjoy it - again. *sniff*

I'm never buying into Apple though. Doing so would make *me* feel dirty. Their hideous marketing, their userbase, their image....I guess it just isn't me. I have strong aversions to being robbed blind, too. The software and hardware would have to be 5x better than it currently is for me to even consider screwing around with their hardware, the high prices and severe lack of choice (others may disagree with me on this point, but hell, I admit it, I'm spoiled with software and cheap hardware and utmost flexibility when choosing components, and I ain't turning away from it all for OSX). I can understand lots have no interest in what I hold near and dear, though.

Now for zealots of all shapes and sizes to dissect Scot's article and rip it to shreds. OS discussion always brings with it lively debate, name-calling and abuse. In light of this, I'm preparing for some cheap entertainment ;)

by stew on Mon 17th Dec 2001 18:41 UTC

Good article. It really reflects most of my thoughts, too. In fact, I was already thinking of submitting a similar article to OSNews, but well, Scott made it first and he made it better.

BeOS speed
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Dec 2001 18:41 UTC

>"Anyone who has ever spent time with BeOS is forever spoiled...". That line really hits home;

Exactly!!! When I wrote that piece on MacOSX some months ago, writting that I was not happy with the speed of 10.1, I was flamed, badly, by the MacOS lovers. But the above sentence REALLY explains why I was *expecting* "more" from MacOSX. If Apple wants me to switch, it will have to have the speed of BeOS. Why? Because this is what I am looking for! I am indeed spoiled by BeOS' highly responsive UI. I wish all OSes were as nicely optimized in this particular feature. ;)

Damn you, Scot Hacker.
by Adam Scheinberg on Mon 17th Dec 2001 18:48 UTC

Damn you, Scot Hacker. I am looking at the balance of my savings account and already imagining it with about 3000 dollars less. OS X seems to be the start of a dream come true - the solid Unix underpinnings with a user friendly interface. By OS X1, or whatever it's called, I bet I own a Mac.

I have used the BeOS for some time, but I agree, it now feels ancient and worthless because most of my PC-time is spent writing for and surfing the web. Thanks a lot Scot, you're breaking me! </sarcasm, if you didn't know>

$3000??
by Don Cox on Mon 17th Dec 2001 19:13 UTC

3000 dollars less?

You will soon spend $10000 on the software if you go for Mac.

That was a very good article.

FreeBSD Compatibility
by Eric Murphy on Mon 17th Dec 2001 20:04 UTC

I'd also like to point out that OS X is FreeBSD (3.2 I think) compatible. This is very important for porting UNIX applications to work on Mac OS X, because it gives a frame of reference to what apps were compatible with in the past, and how they compare to how OS X is designed. If your UNIX app compiled and ran on FreeBSD, it should also work in MacOS X.

*sigh*
by Chris Herborth on Mon 17th Dec 2001 20:13 UTC

Bravo Scot, excellent, well-balanced article!

This sort-of makes me wish I had the ~ $4300 Cdn I'd need to buy a "reasonable" bare-bones G4 box (since I can get RAM and disk MUCH cheaper than the Apple Store). I also think of OS X as the best desktop OS out there. It's just a pity it won't run on any of my hardware, even my Mac (a UMAX s900 dp180 clone, may I be cast out of the Land of Jobs forevermore).

I'm so sick of things not working in x86 land. Even something as basic as cut-n-paste is a total mishmash in Linux (also running Mandrake; 8.1, using KDE ask my desktop), and Windows is so bloody fragile... yeah, I'm running 98SE, but I "can't" upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP. My boxes are dual-processor, and I have SoundBlaster Live! cards; Creative has been unable to write SMP-safe drivers for their own hardware, despite Be's and Lunix's success in this area. And besides, I'm not convinced that 2000 or XP would solve any of my problems without introducing a myriad of new ones to contend with; most of my current problems are driver-related, since I mostly use my home computers for playing games these days.

I used my main x86 box all Friday afternoon (worked at home), no problems. Turn it on Sunday... oh look, Windows goes black instead of showing me the desktop. Cute. I don't have to time to screw with this crap, AGAIN, since the same thing happened a couple of weeks ago. Then, I'd re-installed my Radeon video drivers.

This morning, I turned the box on... it won't even give me video for POST. Hooray.

I like to think a Mac would behave better. $4300 Cdn is a lot to test that theory.

And yes, I know you can get "cheaper" iMac systems; I'm a "power user" who does a lot of actual work on his systems, in addition to playing games. I'm not downgrading from a nice 19" monitor to an iMac.

I should just throw out all this crap and invest in a GameCube for interactive entertainment. Dunno what I'll use for email and surfing, but hey, I'm sure I'd cope.

- chrish

That was a...
by delpy on Mon 17th Dec 2001 20:27 UTC

...really good article. I found it really interesting and learned a lot.

On a related note I had a good wander round some techy shops at the weekend and found myself wishing I could afford a Mac, with a nice cinema screen. Those monitors are georgeous. A brief look at OSX left me with the impression that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and that was only OSX.0.3 (or something).

BTW, do any BeOS users know what Scot is referring to RE. that workaround for the ctrl-tab app switching thing? I'd like to be able to switch between the current and the last used apps - like, as he suggests, Windows or Linux.

Cheers,
Mike

note on costs...
by mac diesel on Mon 17th Dec 2001 20:31 UTC

well, all these prices you guys are throwing around seem a little steep. Granted, spending $3K will get you a dual 800G4 w/ dual video and a superdrive, those who are on budget could easily find them on ebay for much less, I would suggest the AGP or 'Sawtooth' variety of G4 or PowerBook G4 to love on OS X with. Better yet, keep saving, word has it G5s are just around the corner, look for G4 prices to drop pretty fast, even though they seem to sell as many as they (Apple) can make, even at "all those crazy prices". And yes, this was a great article, I used to use Be, I would boot to it from a zip disk and it would run circles around my Mac OS at the time, nice. There is something to this ever-so-asthetically pleasing OS X that makes them all look 'generic' IMHO, maybe it's the vector graphic PDF based quartz display, but elegant has new meaning.

a few points ...
by Michel Clasquin on Mon 17th Dec 2001 20:59 UTC

Interesting to read a review of OSX that doesn't include the obligatory comparison to Windows Xtra Pricey. But a few small points:

1. "Hey" was the creation of a guy in Hungary, Attila something-or-other. It was never part of BeOS itself AFAIK. Before hey came out, the only way to "script" in BeOS was to use C++ and dig deep into the API. So to compare hey scripting to that in OSX is not really fair.

2. There were a few BeOS apps that didn't play by the rules. I recall Mail-it as having some individual ideas about UI, and there was another mail client that eschewed the standard email store in favour of a shared cache with its own Windows port - sorry, the name escapes me.

3. BeOS also had some really bright ideas, like desktop Replicants, that somehow never caught on with developers. Replicants were like Active Desktop components, only better. But the few that were produced were buggy (there was one, which shall remain nameless, that turned out to be the most effective way to crash BeOS) and as so often in the history of BeOS, we are talking of Unrealised Potential.

4. In the same way, it is doubtful that the average user really ever used the power BFS had, since creating new attributes was basically a command-line affair (later on, there was a utility to do it in a GUI, but by then the end was near). I never did figure out how to make an attribute contain a graphic, though I knew it could be done.

Like Scot, I am a refugee from BeOS. But I ended up running Mandrake-Linux. Load up GIMP, OpenOffice and a lightweight window manager (I favour XFce) and you have all your day-to-day software. At no cost except online charges to your ISP. Journalling filesystems? Three to choose from (though admittedly without the extensible attributes). Yes, it takes a level of effort and dedication, but my Linux desktop works the way I want it to.

Also, the catching-up stage of Linux development is drawing to a close and best-of-breed apps are slowly coming to the fore. IMHO, Galeon is the finest browser available, on any platform. Using anything else is *painful* now. MP3 and video apps? I'll have to give you that one, though Linux has more than enough audio apps for the average user. How relevant video editing is to the average computer user is a debate we can get into some other time ...

Out here in the third world, Apple's hardware (when you can get it) is also ludicrously overpriced compared to the equivalent computing power in a no-name-brand, no-OS-preloaded white box with Taiwanese MB and Singaporean HD that will happily run Linux. Like, between two and three times the price. Of course, Apple can't be held responsible for exchange rates, but it is a factor in buying decisions. If I can buy two, almost three, computers for the price of one, no amount of sensual curves and lickable UI will make up for it.

Furthermore, I have no intention of being held hostage once again by the fortunes of a far-away American corporation. Apple was close to bankruptcy not so long ago and had to be bailed out by Microsoft, remember?

But if Mandrake goes under, I'll just switch to SuSe. Heck, if *every* commercial Linux distro maker goes to the wall, there will still be Debian. In this sense, Linux is immortal. That should be a powerful factor to any ex-BeOS user ...

bloat
by whydah on Mon 17th Dec 2001 21:17 UTC

In all a very useful report from the front, especially for those trying decide which way to go at this choice-filled time.

The reported slowness of OS X, even on a "supercomputer" is certainly disappointing. I do not have much experience with BeOS, but, heck, as Scott describes it the perceived speediness of the system sounds worse than Win95 or 98lite on my 200 mhz machine. Hopefully the optimization has just begun, but I cannot see it being anything but a looooooong process. [BTW, when I fooled around with a BestBuy 1 ghz floor model with XP installed I was appalled by how slowly the shell operated. The lastest version of Explorer must be a beast. Presumably an alternative shell like Litestep can be substituted in as with Win9x.]

The lack of a freeware/cheapware tradition in the Apple community is a big negative for me. I love trying and fooling around with all the stuff that is available for Windows and *nix, seeing if there is an improved experience available over any of the current items in my toolkit. To each his/her own.

Shame about the research
by NoBeForMe on Mon 17th Dec 2001 21:20 UTC

Unfortunately despite being billed (by Scot himself AFAICT) as a personal adventure some parts of this article are obviously just researched rather than experienced, and not very well researched at that ;)

This means that I have to wonder when reading the parts that are obviously written as a literal recounting of actual events whether in fact Scot just made all of it up, and THAT means I might as well stop reading - I can do my own research and get better results, I was along for the personal experience, the little insights that you get when YOU try something rather than reporting what otheres have said.

Scot, when you don't have anything to say about a feature because you didn't try it, or don't understand it, just don't write anything. You're not being paid to fill column inches, so it doesn't matter if the report is artificially "well rounded" by offering guesses or second hand opinion instead of experience.

Re: Shame about the research
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Dec 2001 21:25 UTC

>I have to wonder when reading the parts that are obviously written as a literal recounting of actual events whether in fact Scot just made all of it up

Can you please mention some of these points/parts? Because your comment is unfounded so far, and makes me believe that you made it all up just to create a diversed discussion over here.

Mr. Clasquin...
by mac diesel on Mon 17th Dec 2001 21:26 UTC

For the record, MS bought 500K shares of non voting stock back then, hardly bailing out the company. And for that, as noted in this article, meaning, when you need Office you need Office, we received full support in the way of Office 98 for the Mac, a necessity for the Mac OS to survive (sadly) and helped with MS and the DOJ. Funny thing is, those shares more than doubled in value with the advent of the iMac and then split, yet another wise business move by MS! Apple has 5 Bill. in the bank, I don't see them going under for a few weeks now ;) too bad about 3rd world costs, hopefully things will change, but you can attest to the author's article and a commentor that PC hardware can and will be a total nightmare, and some of us are more concerned with output then tinker/tweaker hyper geek!

damn, you people want macs?
by the doctor on Mon 17th Dec 2001 21:31 UTC

I have a b&w G3 450 i'm looking to get rid of (mail me for details). I know its not a for-sale board, but hey.. i bought it for the same reason you guys are talking about. I basically wanted to check out OS X on my own. I must say I love it, and that people really are going overboard on the speed thing. Its very responsive, though i had to add a bunch of ram to get it there.. it is. At any rate, its really silly, as it boiled down to that i simply couldn't get used to the way the menu bar up top worked. This was my first foray into mac's, so i wasn't quite used to it. While it is an excellent OS, i lost interest.

My BeOS lives on...
by ? on Mon 17th Dec 2001 21:34 UTC

Heck, my BeOS box is not gonna change until something better comes along (~1.5 years, OBOS?). Hopefully I won't get lonely, and if I do there is always BeShare.

Agreement
by Madcow on Mon 17th Dec 2001 21:42 UTC

I was at an Apple store playing with OS-X the other day. I thought the speed was roughy equal to WINXP. Both seem to be a little bogged down in the interface department. OS-X impressed me though, I severely dislike XP interface, but OS-X felt great. And I has always hated the MacOS.

The problem is price. Macs are full of things I down't want and cost way too much. For instance, the Harmon Kardon speaker looks cool and sounds better than any other case speaker, but I am going to use my own speakers. I don't need a DVD writer, which came bundled with high end G4's. I don't want integrated sound, soundblaster thank you. I would also like to choose my own HD, video card, and CD-RW, and I do want more than 4 PCI slots. And isn't it time they went to DDR and a faster bus.

Basically I want a barebones Mac, for about $1000 I can get a barebones Athlon MP 1900 dual setup. Now I don't think it is too much to ask Apple to produce a dual G4 barebones box that is less than double that.

I loved the G4s except for the price, even Sun has much lower prices now. Apple has a near perfect OS, instead of selling it to the Zealots willings to pay for Mac hardware because they love the industrial design or they have been using macs since the 80's. They should aim for the whole market, half the price and 10 times the sales. Apple's market share can be doubled quite easily.

by Anonymous on Mon 17th Dec 2001 22:07 UTC

It's awfully ironic that the Mac bashing Scot talked about is taking place right here in this very thread. I also find it ironic that everyone who has chosen to bash Apple thus far has had their facts seriously twisted. Before opening your traps, do some research.

PNG support in Internet Explorer missing?
by Gibbons Burke on Mon 17th Dec 2001 22:13 UTC

Mr. Hacker mentions the "mysterious" lack of support for PNG (Portable Network Graphic) files in Internet Explorer has one of its two major shortcomings. Actually, PNG support is there in IE, the application is just shy about the fact. Extremely shy. In denial, actually.

To fix IE so that it will display PNG images, open IE's Preferences dialog and go to the File Helpers pane. Click on the "Extension" word at the top of the scrolling list to sort the list by the file extension and then scroll down to ".png". There are two entries that cover PNG files which can be edited with the Change button. Change the pop-up list in the "Handling" section to "View in Browser" from whatever it may be. Voila! Instant PNG support.

I don't know if this pseudo lack of support for PNG is a deliberate political choice on Microsoft's part or simply an oversight. It is possible that they are avoiding support for (and thereby slowing widespread adoption of) a format for which Apple owns at least one patent... but that would be a wild-assed conspiracy minded speculation on my part.

Gibbons Burke

madcow
by wmd on Mon 17th Dec 2001 22:43 UTC

I just wanted to point out to madcow about Mac OS X core audio capabilities.
Almost zero latency. Doug Wyatt is (was) coding midi right into the OS, the new audio and sequencing apps will all use the midi layer, all your intstruments will show automaticly.Just awesome stuff. When Cubase,Motu, Nuendo get their apps into X, it'll be sweet.

Now if your talking soundblaster just for audio input, I hear you there. The mini plug is lacking ,but you can put soundblaster into the G4 also.
OR, mLan will do audio over firewire.Motu has an X 'box' out there already.
The Audio aspect of X is very exciting.


Everything in his "The Bad and The Ugly" totally destroys Mac OS X
for me. I'll put it in simpler terms, the IQ of the OS is measured
by the number of buttons on the mouse. MacOS has 1. Windows 2+wheel,
Unix 3 + wheel. So, Unix/Linux is the smartest.

all is not right in the land of OS
by sweetie on Mon 17th Dec 2001 22:56 UTC

I would suggest that readers go over to http://shacker.livejournal.com/ and check out the "real" face of OS X....there is NO SUCH thing as a PERFECT OS ( BeOS came close...but not! )...


cheers all,

but there is GNU/GNU-Darwin ^^

I hope that it will get developed a bit more...


btw my GNU/linux with Xfree86+DRi and e16 and my usual apps (gimp, licq, mozilla, the other gtk and gnome apps) still make me happyand QNX is getting better too
(actually I'm waiting to test the next QNX release)

There will never be anything like BeOS again
by H-kon on Mon 17th Dec 2001 23:10 UTC

Even though i am posting from WinXP, i find myself being dumbed down and lost in a computer world that just has to be the dark ages. Nothing is exciting anymore. XP is awfully slow on my 1.4Ghz Athlon (Ooh, nice graphs on those benches)

Got 10.1.1 at work, playing with it all day long and to be frank, it's not really that exciting. The "oooooh!" wears of on you after 30 minutes when you are actually going to start doing something.

I do not think i will ever witness something as great as BeOS was, just a shame the potential was lost right at sunset.

Scot - Goot luck whereever you are. Hope you'll jump back in the pool with us once again in the future ;)

HFS+ is 64-bit
by Avi on Mon 17th Dec 2001 23:31 UTC

The HFS+ file system can handle files > 4Gb. If an application cannot, then it needs to be revised to use the new large-file APIs that were introduced back in MacOS 9.

in response to Michel Clasquin
by rain on Mon 17th Dec 2001 23:32 UTC

"1. "Hey" was the creation of a guy in Hungary, Attila something-or-other. It was never part of BeOS itself AFAIK. Before hey came out,
the only way to "script" in BeOS was to use C++ and dig deep into the API. So to compare hey scripting to that in OSX is not really fair."

Hey itself is just an extension to scripting in BeOS. The scripting support comes with the OS.

"2. and there was another
mail client that eschewed the standard email store in favour of a shared cache with its own Windows port - sorry, the name escapes me. "

i.Scribe is the name, and the idea behind it was to make a cross platform(Windows<->BeOS) e-mail client. So it's perfectly understandable that it uses it's own format ;)

"3. BeOS also had some really bright ideas, like desktop Replicants, that somehow never caught on with developers. "

MacOS also had something similar(I don't remember what they called it). But it went away because so few people were actually using it.

"4. In the same way, it is doubtful that the average user really ever used the power BFS had"

Any BeOS user who has ever used BeMail has also experienced the power of BFS. I think the main reason why regular people hasn't bothered trying to use meta data in BFS even more is simply because they aren't used to having it, it's an unfamiliar concept, they are used to having some special software to store and manage all their information. And I think the same goes for replicants.

This article is written very well.

I run BeOS (and W2K) on my P4 and know its advantages and drawbacks. I have run Mac OS X since last March (all versions up to 10.1) and like it. However, it is still incomplete. I think Mac OS X will be my main OS in 2003 or so, on a really fast G5 or G6 machine, and I hope Mac OS X will then have Quartz rendering done by the graphics cards.

Since when I have added more RAM, giving my Mac 672 MBytes of physical RAM (to be able to run Mac OS X without any page-outs), I enjoy running Mac OS 9.1 more than ever: Not a single OS crash or freeze within one week of virtually constant use. I have used ResEdit to increase RAM allocation by modifying the SIZE resources of all system components (extensions, control panels and faceless background programmes), and all application programmes as well in the Finder. Obviously, this generous RAM allocation prevents software from violating memory-space boundaries in RAM, making a memory-protection scheme like in BeOS, W2K or Mac OS X unnecessary. Mac OS 9.1 is now so fast and crash-free that there is no need to run Mac OS X on my Mac which doesn't support my printer, my graphics card, CD-R toasting on my SCSI burner and numerous other functions I'm used to having available under Mac OS 9.1.

Mirror location for article
by Scot Hacker on Mon 17th Dec 2001 23:35 UTC

OSNews is slowing down a bit under the /. strain, so I've mirrored the article <a href="http://www.birdhouse.org/beos/beos_osx/">here.

I would like to go back to a mac
by GCrain on Mon 17th Dec 2001 23:51 UTC

I actually went out and bought the full MacOSX.1 I thought the $119 I paid was a bargain compared to the what a full non-upgrade price for WinXP would cost. I found a utility that allowed me to install it on my 7300/200 Mac. Very slow, but I love it! I am ready to fork over money for a new mac, but they don't have a machine that suits me. I don't want a n iMac. I want a tower with a G4. I want to spend no more than $1500. The only thing close is a G4 with the EDUCATIONAL discount, at around $1200. Thats a stripped down 533MHz, bare CD-rom, 128 meg machine. I know the G4 is very powerful, but 533?? I can go get a dell 1.4GHz for $999 with no discount with a CD-RW or DVD. I guess I will keep waiting till they have a model more for me. An iBook is almost a better deal. I guess they make up the price on the OS in the hardware. One things for sure... there will be NO .Net, passport, or WinXP product activation in my future !!!
Great article Scot. i enjoyed reading it.

Nitpicks to a good article
by Chris Devers on Mon 17th Dec 2001 23:59 UTC

* Hacker says that you have to learn AppleScript to automate OSX. Not exactly. AppleScript is a rich, robust system, and worth learning, but it's not the only path available to you. Apparently there are hooks for scripting aspects of the OS via good old Perl, and when those Aqua hooks fail you, it's possible to get pretty far down in the BSD layer with any of the old Unix languages that you'd care to use -- Perl, Python, Tcsh, Sh, Sed, Awk, whatever. Not all of these have high level access to applications like Office or Photoshop, but it looks like that's where things are going.

*Cmt+O opens applications from the Finder!? Wow! It drives me nuts that the Enter key renames (yes, that's a lousy decision), and I'd resigned myself to shuffling over to the mouse or, more often, just staying in the Terminal all the time and typing "open /Applications/Foo.app" all the time. Not as slick, but much faster than the mouse. I'll have to remember the Cmd+O thing, that'll save me a lot of time, thanks... ;)

* I don't like it, but I'm betting that the HFS+ filename case respecting / insensitivity is an intractable issue. Apple has already had to patch the installed copy of Apache so that it wouldn't get tripped up by this, and people have had trouble with installations of Perl's LWP library installing a "HEAD" program that clobbered the installed "head" program. You can switch to UFS, but this raises other problems (like for example I guess you can't install Classic applications in that case). I really can't think of a good way forward here -- both UFS and HFS have big problems with OSX, and neither of them is as slick as BFS was. I almost wonder if, rather than keeping the old HFS or adopting the old UFS, if a new layout can be established that respects HFS requirements (forked files, for example), is case sensitive, maintains user/group level file controls, and ideally brings in something like Be's file attributes. That's probably a huge amount of work though, and getting it to be backwards compatible with everything (Classic applications, Carbon & Cocoa applications, and BSD programs) might ultimately be unworkable. Too bad if that's the case, and score another point for the late, great, BFS...


Amiga spoiled it for me....
by Vijay on Tue 18th Dec 2001 00:00 UTC

Hey, sorry to bring it up, but the AmigaOS was what spoiled it for me...

mySQL?
by Devesh on Tue 18th Dec 2001 00:20 UTC

Why the obsession with installing mySQL on every OS you run? mySQL hiccuped several times while I read this article. Worse, it's missing features we should expect in an RDBMS. It would seem that even BFS is better than mySQL as a database. I would be more satisfied with MS SQL Server on Win2k than I would with mySQL on anything. Try Postgres, and be as discriminating with database software as you are with OSes.

Afterthought
by Chris Devers on Tue 18th Dec 2001 00:21 UTC

Sorry for the doublepost -- I got a MySQL error, hit reload, then saw two copies of my post. Lemme guess -- broken PHPnuke-ness?

Anyway...

One interesting aspect of OSX, as noted by http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/newsletters/20011126.html">... over on O'Reilly's site, is that there are now two major cliques of Mac users -- the oldschool folks that are clinging to OS9 and all its trappings, and a new breed of OSX users, many of whom are coming over from alternative systems like Linux & BeOS. The culture of the oldschool Mac users might tend more towards more expensive software, but that's not nearly so much the case for the more recent users, who more often than not are used to free & open source software. Admittedly, a lot of this stuff lives in the Terminal, and that's not what everyone wants, but certainly you can get a huge amount of software for cheap or free.

Hint: install http://fink.sourceforge.net/">Fink packages" rel="nofollow">http://fink.sourceforge.net/pdb/index.php">packages you'd like to have. Not everything is building cleanly (a lot of people are using it, but I can't get Gimp to install), but there are hundreds of applications that will build with a simple "fink install foo" command. Nice.

How come you (the author) didn't try BSD?
by Charlie on Tue 18th Dec 2001 00:34 UTC

Just curious. Since it is <a href="http://www.freebsd.org">free.

great addition to the world of OS X reviews
by john on Tue 18th Dec 2001 00:35 UTC

I have loved getting John Siracusa's take on OS X at ars technica and this article is just as great.... I know how OS X stacks up to several Windows flavors based on daily exposure - it was nice to read about another OS that tries (tried?) to be more.

I have to respond to all of the posts about the cost of Apple hardware. You do get more for your money in many ways. Plug+play has been a staple of the Mac world for years now. Computers last longer and upgrade fairly easy. And, if you don't have to have the top-of-line machine you can get stuff at nice prices - my EOL dual processor G4 450 is a screamer and it was like $1300. This computer won't feel slow for years to come...

Mac OS X and the Windows XP saga :-)
by CattBeMac on Tue 18th Dec 2001 01:08 UTC

Well just wanted to let everyone know that I do have my new Ti-Book G4 and loving it, though I am mad that Apple has now decided to release one with combo drive 2 weeks after I got mine... I complained, but no luck winning their sympathy! Anyways being that some of you know that I work around various computers running various things like Windows, Linux and Solaris. I spent my first day back at work on sunday getting all my network settings and shared drives and printers working seamlessly, I can admit that Apple has made this simple with Mac OS X 10.1!! A few guys I work with are now using Windows XP on their new and/or old laptops and are having some trouble connecting to various printers and/or Linux servers running printers and shared drives, and even the case of properly browsing and accessing our own Windows NT servers, though I am not going to give them grief (though they had sort of chuckled when I said I would get a PowerBook, because they thought I was wasting my time) I am fully connected with all required networking items like shared drives on both the Windows and Unix servers for everything I need, my XP buddies, still working on it and have been since the release of XP. I imagine they will find a fix soon, but I won in this arena of compatibility, I am printing to printers they can't and see shared drives that they can't either. I can admit it felt good at the end of the day!

Scot wrote an excellent article and I have always liked his opinions on things. I miss BeOS as well, but can say that Mac OS X is starting to erase that feeling and I haven't played with BeOS too much lately. I do wish the BeOS community and all involved with the 'Save BeOS' project lots of luck, I can't wait to see some positive results.

Re: Afterthought
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Dec 2001 01:11 UTC

>Sorry for the doublepost -- I got a MySQL error, hit reload, then saw two copies of my post. Lemme guess -- broken PHPnuke-ness?

OSNews is written from scratch to be very lean and fast, it does not use the bloat of both the PHP/Post Nuke engines.
The reason why you got that mySQL error is because we can't change the number of our <PRE>max_connections</PRE> on our mySQL database because it dumbs core for some weird reason if we do (we tried different binaries and versions, but with the same result). So, today, because it is a special day and we have more than http://66.181.171.71/2/42699/6/">120,000 (normally we are about 15-20,000 page views per day), we ran out of bandwidth and mySQL connections. Nothing to worry about really as there is nothing we can do about, neither is a source code or PHP fault, but simply a bandwidth/mysql problem which should go away as the hits will calm down soon.

good to read
by Matt Johnston on Tue 18th Dec 2001 01:13 UTC

Enjoyed the article quite a bit and sympathise with a lot of the points made.

Try AppleScript. You can tie Applescript to shell scripts (and therefore other CLI scripting) and make them cross-launch each other. AppleScript Studio, available as a free download from connect.apple.com puts Applescript almost into the realm of it's own IDE.

There were some more assumptions that I disagreed with but many of them were of the "YMMV" variety so are not worth commenting on.

I tried BeOS back on PPC and enjoyed the fact it was faster than Mac OS 8 on the same hardware. Much more capable. But there were no apps worth talking about and quickly PPC became second string to x86 and I couldn't justify buying an x86 machine just to run BeOS.

I'm a breed of Mac OS user that has dumped the old way. I was Mac OS through and through but as of September I erased my dual boot (my OS9 folders) because frankly I don't need them any more. Mac OS X gives me what I need to do my job - something that Windows 2000 can't manage.

OS X is at the start of it's lifecycle and will do nothing but improve. Where will BE or XP be a year from now ?

by mlk on Tue 18th Dec 2001 01:36 UTC

re: Michel Clasquin ( a few points ... )

like desktop Replicants, that somehow never caught on with developers

The real problem with then, is what do you use 'em for?

In the same way, it is doubtful that the average user really ever used the power BFS had, since creating new attributes was basically a command-line affair

Err, most attr I used were made by the app that created the file ;)

I never did figure out how to make an attribute contain a graphic, though I knew it could be done.

Didn't resedit (or something like that) make attr's, no that made .res files, but you then could use the shipped command line tool to convert it into an attr (I think)

re: tim covell ( Now I am convinced that OS X is NOT my choice )

by the number of buttons on the mouse
Doesn't MacOS support 32? Use the second button as context-menu, and use the scrolly mouse by default? (at lest thats what I've got of MacOS users, still don't (yet) have the pennys to buy a Mac ;) )
Windows intellyMouse has 7 buttons (1st, 2nd, scroll down, scrool up, scroll click, IE: Forward, IE Back)
UNIX supports unlimited, but only really uses 5 (same as defalt for Mac) (UNIX , well solaris, don't know about others, treats a mouse button as a keyboard button)

So, using your MouseButton IQ Windows Users have the highs IQ, there mouses support 7 buttons (with pre-definded actions, UNIX wins if you exclude predefined actions. However I don't know how many mouse buttons Windows supports.)

H-kon (There will never be anything like BeOS again )
I do not think i will ever witness something as great as BeOS was
Alas I fear you are right. I'm still putting my hopes on OBeOS

mlk, wishing he had £2500 for a TiBook.

A bit of an anti-Linux slant. . .
by lsof on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:02 UTC

The main thing that's kept me away from Macs over the years has been the pricetag. For half the price I can get equal CPU and memory performance from x86 iron, and can get stability from one of the *IX flavors (*BSD, Linux, Solaris X86). The second thing is that I was never especially fond of the Mac OS UI. OS/X has drawn me towards the Mac hardware once again.
Though I haven't worked with it myself, I suspect that running an alternative to Aqua on OS/X should be as easy as launching the X server on its own and firing up any of the fine window managers available for the X world. I've seen versions of Enlightenment that look prettier and are far more configurable than Agua. Plus they support multiple virtual desktops.

As I understand it, Darwin is the underlying OS and is itself based on FreeBSD which means there should be a huge range of Open Source applications availble for simple porting to the Mac hardware. It may not be easy, but it should be doable.

To get back to my topic, Mr Hacker seems to have had a bad experience with Linux. I'll agree that package management can be more than a little lacking (I usually compile from source, myself) and that apt-get and the BSD Ports Tree are better solutions than RPM in many case, but overall I've rarely had any issues with the desktop - and I'm not alone. major problems seem to be an exception, not the rule.

Personally, should I have the funds available to acquire a Mac, I'll be more then happy to play and work in the OS/X world - but I'll also have the box tripple booted to LinuxPPC. . .

Some mistakes
by Nicholas Riley on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:09 UTC

Hey Avi :-)

Here's what I sent to Scot, but I figured it'd be useful to post here too.

A few errors that I noticed:

- TinkerTool does not let you adjust the Finder's view font. You
mentioned this several times, but it's simply not true. If only it
were. It may be possible to do this by editing the 'txtr' (text
traits) resources inside the Finder, but I haven't tried. I used a
small 9 point font in OS 9 for my views, and it's really annoying to
have to make my windows gigantic.

- Terminal doesn't remember window sizes because you can create
multiple windows, each of which saves its position (and font, color,
etc.). The interface for this is less than optimal, which is why I'm
writing a replacement. ;)

- The Mac supports the Open Scripting Architecture (OSA), which lets
you use other languages than AppleScript to command Mac applications.
The only currently available one for OS X is JavaScript, but under OS
9 versions of Perl, Python and Tcl, among others, were available; they
should eventually be ported.

JavaScript OSA: <http://www.latenightsw.com/freeware/JavaScriptOSA/>
Tcl OSA component: <http://www.louch.com/>
There are also a number of languages that have been ported to work
with the Objective-C runtime - not exactly scripting, but useful for
rapid application development and testing using Apple's Cocoa
frameworks. These include JavaScript and Tcl (via AAA+ Software's
Joy), AppleScript (with Apple's new AppleScript Studio), and a
Smalltalk derivative called F-Script.

<http://www.aaa-plus.com/>
<http://www.apple.com/applescript/macosx/ascript_studio/>
<http://www.fscript.org/>

- Picture clippings are certainly supported. Try dragging a selected
region out of almost any Mac graphics app (even a Classic one such as
Photoshop), you'll see a picture clipping on the desktop.

- You seem to be a bit confused about the creator code. It does
specify the "preferred app". While I'd like to see a richer method of
representing that application used, such as the bundle IDs that Mac OS
X already provides (e.g. 'com.barebones.bbedit' instead of 'R*ch'). I
don't understand what you mean about the creator being responsible for
'unexpected and undesirable behavior' - it's mainly the presence of
extensions in OS X that I've found responsible for such behavior. I'd
suggest you take a look at how OS 9 did things, with a limited amount
of metadata, and a centralized type database, as well as the
programming interfaces (in particular the Translation Manager). With
the single exception of OS X's ability to immediately present a list
of applications that can open a document, and the ability to override
the creator mapping on a global basis, OS 9's experience (actually, as
fully introduced in 8.5 and unchanged since) was much better. It did
provide a centralized file type panel, with support for mapping
extensions, type/creator, and even translation. It was especially
good in that it provided for plugin translators, which would be
queried if no application was able to open a file, and which could be
materialized as mini-translation applications, and the ability for
applications to specify what they can handle by the actual file
-content-, so the proper metadata could be assigned if it was missing,
instead of relying (as OS X does) on easily-broken name conventions.

Obviously, the BeOS filesystem-merged-with-database model and
extensible metadata is where everyone else is heading (see also
WebDAV), it's very useful, and I can't understand why Apple is going
in the other direction just to maintain an illusion of compatibility
with 30-year-old filesystem designs.

Example nits
by NoBeForMe on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:10 UTC

I'd love to go through and pick out problems but you are being slashdotted so you'll have to make do with what I remember

Scot says BeOS has lots of FS support. Says OS X doesn't. Offers no evidence that he even tried to find out, says he only tried FAT (which worked). Actually Scot was wrong, of course OS X supports other file systems -- it's a BSD!

Scot says MacIE 5.5 can't do PNG. Documentation, OS X users, Web standards agencies disagree. Scot doesn't offer example -> Probably related second hand or half remembered complaints of IE 5.5 on Windows (where alpha is broken)

Scot says BeOS handles files of "many gigabytes", but OS X can't. Offers no example of him trying this. Actually many BeOS users have enormous trouble with files of 2Gb or even smaller due to BFS infelicities, meanwhile Scot's fellow OS X users handle 4+Gb files with no trouble using largefile-capable application software (because it's UNIX)

I got tired of trying to guess which bits of the story were just "polish" and which had to do with Scot's actual experiences. Slashdot apparently loved it though, so something was achieved (I do hope OSNews makes money on hits)

Some mistakes [fixed links]
by Nicholas Riley on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:14 UTC

Sorry, didn't realize this box was HTML. Here are the links from my post above:

http://www.latenightsw.com/freeware/JavaScriptOSA/">JavaScript
http://www.louch.com/>Tcl

<a href="http://www.aaa-plus.com">Joy (JavaScript/Tcl to Objective-C bridge)
http://www.apple.com/applescript/macosx/ascript_studio/">AppleS...
<a href="http://www.fscript.org/">F-Script

There's also a Java to Objective-C bridge, which I probably should have mentioned! It's been around for several years. Since Java is a less dynamic language than those mentioned above, it requires more support in terms of building Java interfaces for Objective-C classes.



macs may be nice but show me the $$$
by AriB on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:20 UTC

Sorry Scot but I'm not going to spend big bucks for an entirely new computer that doesn't run PC apps, is slower and goes backwards as far as file systems is concerned. If I'm missing something in linux and BeOS I can always reboot to Windows. Sure there's virtual pc but it doesn't work for games and you pay more to make your computer slower. I might consider a mac if it came with a card with an athlon or pentium so that I can run PC apps natively but again this costs serious money (if it even existed!) And I would be trading the monopoly of Windows with the monopoly of Apple-you can't get a mac that's not made by Apple and there's a price for that lack of choice.

Amiga spoiled me too!
by Richard on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:28 UTC

Just had to put my two bits in, I also was spoiled by the elegance that the Amiga was. Still have several I kick off every so often to remember what personal computing power is supposed to have been like.

Tried BeOS Pers. Ed. about a year ago. Anyday of the week would I choose it over Winblowz... if it had a future. A shame, really. It, also, was elegant and powerful at the same time, just like the Amiga. Almost bought it but couldn't bring myself to learning dead OS no matter how much I liked it.

I'm writing this on my Mandrake home server. The author is correct about it's stability and utilitarianism. But he's right, just don't ask linux to be a desktop computer, not just yet. New Amiga OS is supposedly xBSD based, guess I'll have to see.

Also have an iMacDV running OS9.2. I love it. I don't have to tinker with it, I don't have to fight with it, I bought it to do video and have made a little extra $change$ using it. I just tell it what to do and it does it! But I never expected to dig into it and tinker with it.

I have played with OSX at work a bit. I like it, and will get it around the time 10.2 is released. I fully expect it to become my OS of choice in about a year or so. (Bring on the apps!)

Currently building Athlon1900 unit - what will be my last Windows Box. Putting ME on it, (place flak here); it runs all 5 of my cards without arguing. I will not continue to put money into M$ marketing Dept. just so they can push an inferior product onto an unsuspecting public. No way - no how - end of story! If I had really known how much I would have to spend on M$ related junk just to keep it "up to date" I would have realized my wallet would have been better off upgrading my 10 year old Amiga!

What make a good OS? Simple, does it do what you want it to, and if it doesn't, how many resources is it going to take to make it do it? I used to work retail computer sales and have saved many people many $$$ asking them that question when they asked me "Do I need to upgrade?" The same applies here. If using a particular OS satisfies your reasoning for using a computer in the first place, then use it.

Overall impressions....
by Larry on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:31 UTC

Overall, I think the article was well written and for the most part correct as long as you ignore just about everything concerning Linux. Why has Linux become the most hated OS of Be users? It confuses me since they've gotten a lot of apps from Linux. Anyways...

Chris Herborth wrote.... "I'm so sick of things not working in x86 land. Even something as basic as cut-n-paste is a total mishmash in Linux (also running Mandrake; 8.1, using KDE ask my desktop), and Windows is so bloody fragile... since I mostly use my home computers for playing games these days. "

I don't even know what to say to this .... You definatly should use Linux if you can't cut~n~paste in KDE. You need better gaming stability in windows? What a quandry. Never met a professional gamer before ... ;)

Michel Clasquin writes... "Using anything else is *painful* now. MP3 and video apps? I'll have to give you that one, though Linux has more than enough audio apps for the average user. How relevant video editing is to the average computer user is a debate we can get into some other time ... "

Video apps are developing nicely too. There is Main Actor and Broadcast 2000 to name a couple. And for the pro's Houdini...

"But if Mandrake goes under, I'll just switch to SuSe. Heck, if *every* commercial Linux distro maker goes to the wall, there will still be Debian. In this sense, Linux is immortal. That should be a powerful factor to any ex-BeOS user ... "

<EG>Are you sure you were a Be user?</EG>

mac diesel... "For the record, MS bought 500K shares of non voting stock back then, hardly bailing out the company..... Funny thing is, those shares more than doubled in value with the advent of the iMac and then split, yet another wise business move by MS!"

Actually, good old MS bought shares w/ the right hand and sold short w/ the left ... they hedged that purchase of Apple shares. Which was probably a better business move considering Apple at the time.

Devesh.... "mySQL hiccuped several times while I read this article. Worse, it's missing features we should expect in an RDBMS. It would seem that even BFS is better than mySQL as a database. I would be more satisfied with MS SQL Server on Win2k than I would with mySQL on anything."

So many lol's in that one. First, I thought you were suggesting they purchase Oracle. Then you kind of imply that BFS is better then MySQL and could take a Slashdotting. And finally, I lol at the idea of MS taking a Slashdot. "Break out the old BSD boxes guys ... them damn ./'ers are a coming again. Someone get one of them BSD geeks on the phone..."

Larry

Good article, but some points...
by omegabit on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:35 UTC

1. Great article and tribute to a great system. BEOS was beautiful and fast, albeit the software was lacking.
<p>
2. Perhaps Offtopic: I hope that Palm opensources BEOS which would really kick it open for software development on a superior graphical architecture, and adopts its BEIA architecture for a StrongARM based alternative. I say this as a 4 year palm/handspring user that has just traded in his 33Mhz 65K Prism for a Sharp SL5000D Linux based StrongARM handheld.
<p>
(I agree with Scott, X is bleacherous and consigns otherwise quality software to an interminable war of usability "standards", to use the term in its loosest possible sense. Nevertheless, I think that one of the competitors will eventually get it right by effectively delivering a "complete" desktop solution. I think KDE will win out in the end for stylistic and strong technical reasons, but I admit that I use a lot of Gnome software because KDE's Office 1.1 is buggy and crashprone, and Gnumeric is way more ready for primetime then KSpread.)
<p>
3. I don't understand Scott's assertion that the "drag to eject" complaint has been cleared up. If one were wiping a CDRW, then fine, but now you are burning a cd image (i.e. permanently archiving a bunch of files) by dragging it to the trash. Than's even more unexpected than ejecting the disk.
<p>
4. Redhat Linux 7.2 is nearly there. It is a matter of two or three releases from the kind of usability that will (for the first time for RH) make Windows look clunky again. Installation is already far better than Windows, and takes about as much time (fifteen minutes) as a Mac Install or even BEOS. (You can probably tell that I am an OS fetishist). Old windows requires 5 to 10 reboots. I had to pull an all-nighter to fix all of "the easiest windows to use ever"'s [XP]piss-poor default choices. Anyone who claims that RH is difficult to install hasn't ever installed any version of windows. And speaking of browsers, Konquerer is as slow as Internet Explorer, but so superior feature wise that I am noticing Konquerer feature ripoffs in IE 6. Even CDRoast (Graphical Gnome CD Burning tool) works better than Adaptec's proprietary CD copying software. The old version would terminally bluescreen any NT or 2000 system. The new version just screws the pooch and destroys the CD if you try to test before you burn. Gee, you would think that would be a feature they might want to actually verify as functional before they burned their CD's.
<p>
5. Don your asbestos suit:
Jean Gassee is completely clueless as to how the market works, and is soley to blame for the collapse of this technically inspired system because he failed to learn any of the lessons which Microsoft and the Opensource community brutally taught its competitors on multiple occasions to which he was a witness. From the proprietary BeBox, to the more expensive PowerPC, to the "appliance market" (read "desperate hype-r-jump"), he has single-handedly managed to be 4-5 years behind the curve of everything that actually is shown to work with consumers. But what can you expect from the man who singlehandedly consigned the Mac to "toy" status in the business world by killing DB4 for the Mac in favor of that glorified flatfile wannabe RDBMS, FileMaker?
<p>
Some background for those who want to flame me as a clueless idiot:
I am a former machead (from Sys7.1) who migrated to...
-> windows, realized all I had been missing (please read before lighting torches).
<li>preemptive multitasking,
<li>cheap hardware,
<li>abundant software.
(deny this and look like an idiot)
<p>
I got sick of M$'s licensing crap and decided to flee Egypt yet again (for personal, not business)->
Redhat Linux (since 4.2). Got sick of it. tried BEOS 4.0/4.5/5.0, like it, but gave up on pathetic browser. Went back to RH Linux 6.2.
Recently I have tried FreeBSD, which I find clean, but too spartan. Returned to RH 7.2, which I love, want to move into the business side of things, and have become a willing and slavish apologist for. I am an OS refugee. I have found the promised land, which is actually filled with that thing called promise.

if productivity is your main requirement...
by dr beno on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:36 UTC

To the people who don't understand why Apple's stuff is more expensive: build quality. Having owned and pounded about 9 or 10 macs over the years (some of them 24/7), I don't remember ever missing a single hour of productivity because of hardware failure. The couple of $100 that you pay extra is quickly forgotten with such a track record, especially in professional settings. (yes, of course some of us have had other experiences with Apple, I know, I know...)

Since BeOS expired...
by David Bruce on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:41 UTC

I'm waiting for Linux to suck less. I have two machines that triple boot Win98, BeOS 5, and Debian unstable. I spend the majority of my time in Debian, aand to be fair most of it is spent doing things that would never even surface in BeOS.

BeOS was the greatest thing to ever appear in desktop computing, period. The rest of the world won't catch up for at least a decade. But life goes on and for now, KDE/Linux offers a great alternative to Microsoft. Within the next five years KDE/Linux will provide everything that MS does for the basic office user for *free*. It still isn't BeOS but Linux is really moving toward being the OS of the masses.

Scripting not limited to AppleScript
by DescSuit on Tue 18th Dec 2001 02:53 UTC

There's something called the OSA (Open Scripting Architecture) that allows other languages to be used to script Apple Applications. Currently Javascript is supported as is I believe Perl or Python. There's also a beta/alpha of Ruby with OSA support as well.

If the scripting language has an OSA library you can send and recieve apple events with it just like in Applescript, except with your favorite syntax ;)

oh give it up allready!
by rain on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:31 UTC

The only reason BeOS is considered a dead OS is because of people saying that it's dead.
Seriously. If your government suddenly quits one day, would you all flee the country or would you stay and try to do something about it?

Personally, I think BeOS is worth one more fight, perhaps even more than one. There is so much that can be done with the system allready as it is, there are a lot of applications that can be developed without BONE or hardware opengl. Sure, it would be hard to get commersial developers to port or make applications for the BeOS, but the same can be said about linux nowdays. Still there is a lot of development going on in the linuxworld, and most of it doesn't depend on the system being further developed.
The community is what keeps alternative operating systems alive, period. And there are still a lot of BeOS users, and yes it's actually getting new users all the time, all we need is to create the apps and keep updating them and they will stick to BeOS. If windows can get by with all it's bugs and badly written code, then BeOS could stay alive with it's few drawbacks, and as time goes by projects like OpenBeOS will be able to keep the OS updated.

Face it, BeOS isn't dead. You are free to move on the other operatingsystems, just don't say that the BeOS is dead, cause it really isn't. All you do by saying that is making other people believe that it's dead. And that's making it a lot harder for those like me who are trying to fight for it's existence. What's the point in that?

take care

The Dildo OS
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:36 UTC

This is a bit offtopic, but the other day http://www.osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=399">we the OSNews stats here in our forums and we saw this browser string for an Operating system called http://66.181.171.71/2/42699/400/?sub_page=9&date=0">"Dildo . Well, I think I have SOLVED the mystery as to which OS that is!! The browser that creates that string is indeed Netscape 2 and 3, and I think that happens under the MacOS 8.x. I was able to distinguish that because today we had more "Dildo Compatible" OSes showing in our stats than any other day and today we also had the same number of Mac users coming in. I think the mystery is solved, and the Netscape employees had fun back then! ;)

by phr0gger on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:37 UTC

quote:"Apple's DiskCopy utility makes it easy to generate bit-perfect copies of hard drives, data CDs, and audio CDs"

I wish. As far as I know there is no verification when grabbing audio tracks, so you are at the mercy of the CD-ROM drive and the cleanliness of your CD. A

Some (gasp) WinXP comparisons
by Chris on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:40 UTC

I tried BeOS several times over the years, never really finding it to be compatible with all the hardware on any machine.

I just wanted to make a few comparisons to WinXP, although I will most likely get flamed for doing so. You mentioned the upcoming SQL based filesystem. Currently, NTFS supports unlimited attributes. While I currently can't add new ones, when I right click on an mp3 file I am presented with the author/title information (copied from the id3 tag, I believe). I *can* sort my mp3s by artist or bitrate in explorer as well, even displaying the files without file names as well.

Also, the digital camera stuff in XP is vastly improved. It supports most cameras and scanners out of the box, and can resize images in the shell to a given size. Any image type can be displayed as a thumbnail. Copying from a camera is painless, and rotating images can be done on the fly. And yes, CD burning is built in, both from data and music files.

Lastly, XP boots to login screen in under 20 seconds. An applications load faster than any other version of windows. And the UI (contrary to MS's claims) is customizable, you just have to tweak it a little (tgtsoft.com).

Just to be clear, I'm not claiming even equivalence with BeOS, which was (and is) an incredible piece of software. I just want to show that Microsoft is slowly moving in the right direction.

By the way, Xp has crashed twice on me, once due to me trying to install an unsupported driver for a smartmedia card reader (a new driver was released a week later and has worked flawlessly) and once due to a bad nVidia driver, also upgraded soon after.

once upon a time....
by AlienSoldier on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:46 UTC

... i was not sure of what OS to use. I came from the Amiga and did not own a PC for a long time because i did have acces to those at the university. There i was mostly using the Sun workstation anyway, letting me a virgin window user in some way. Before university i was used to window 3.1 crash machine, when i was told after that window NT (only that at school) was more stable than win98 i found that comment the most funnier since i was born because i have a NT/98 ratio crash of 1:1.

Now knowing that Microsoft OS are worst with each new release i was really the ass in water when came the time to choose an OS for my research project.

-DOS = dinosaure OS (but still superior in ALL way to ALL other microsoft OS)
-win9X= no-go, because it have nitro stability.
-MacOS9= costly hardware and not much stability and not so good speed
-linux and unix's= hummmm, it was my choice for a bit of time but X is not for me.

Then i thinked BeOS. I did try it, it did meet all my criteria. I started to power user run it, then i found criteria i did not even thinked before.

Now, if i would have to change again i would also go to MacOSX .... but i keep BeOS. When i run OSX (or XP for the matter) i have that emulator reflex to search for the "frame skip" option to make it more fluid. Then you have the hardware requirement of those 2 monster. Knowing that Apple is in a eye candy war with microsoft it does not bode well in that department.

When the ISS did enter in operation i always wondered why they used x486 processor in it. Now that i manage my own big project devellopment i understand that develloping often mean sticking to a platform and use it the way it is now for all the future. BeOS is this for me.

That apply even to those that are not into the science field. Choose the OS you need NOW, not that you will need in 2 year. At the extreme i could say don't choose an OS choose an app (a bit like do not choose a console but choose the game you want to play). I code, so for me the OS is the choice item. By the way, you should all free yourself and start learning to code ... thing are VERY diferrent in that percepctive ie:OS never die.

by AriB on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:47 UTC

dr beno remember the Cube? Macs are expensive because there is no competition. You pay more for a slower computer

Mac's are not worth it - yet
by ICEMAN33 on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:59 UTC

I have at one time had my Mac G3 and a few PC's running BeOS, Linux, Windows of all varieties. I guess I alway use Windows and Linux to get my work done. I was once an avid Mac fan, but no more afetr the fall of the clones the the horrible effort required to run OS 8&9.

I do not have OS X - I have played with Darwin on my G3.

In essence, since my Mac crashes under OS 9 continuously, I felt no need to go any further with Mac products until Macs close the speed and reliability gap, hopefully under OS X. Having used OS X, and having a dual Athlon MP and several other dual processor PC's at my disposal, there is no speed comparison. The anecdotal evidence presented that Windows XP is slow are pointless, but in general Windows 2000 is very stable and very fast given the right hardware. And the comments by some that Apple hardware is somehow "higher quality" better check their facts. Mainstream motherboards are now actually FAR better in terms of components than the quality used by Apple. Case in point - Apple shipped a bunch of PC66 DIMMs as PC100s since they passed Apple's PC100 test. VERY BAD! I have seen shipping G4 boards with soldered wire work arounds. This is NOT quality folks!

I'm sure that if Motorola releases the promised processors as announced by MacOS Rumours I will be interested in the Mac again, but right now that slow G4 processor is NOT equivalent to a 2 GHz P4 - that's just hype. There are a few apps which have Altivec optimization but that obviously does not help when you're waiting for Explorer 5.5 to launch.

I laugh anytime I see people clinging to the Apple dream that somehow their slow processors can use Altivec to make up the difference. Mac users, do the right thing! - demand that Apple fix the MHz problem or you'll leave the platform. They could be running on Athlons NOW - the code was there in NextSTEP but killed by Jobs for some weird reason, so the biggest threat to Apple is now their insane dependence on a dying processor line that is only half heartedly supported by a battered Motorola.

Mac Users - demand performance from Apple!

God, I miss BeOS...
by rancor on Tue 18th Dec 2001 03:59 UTC

Look I'm stuck right now under Linux and Windows, both ugly for different reasons (let the flames begin). BeOS felt SO RIGHT! When I started actually programming BeOS I discovered that there was so much potential in the BeOS API I nearly messed myself.

I miss it so much I could cry.

I must say that OS looks like where I want to be, but all I have are PCs (and one old iMac with a dead DVD), and not enough $$$ for a sweet G4 system to compare to what I have.

Jim Powers

CD Burning under XP
by Matthew on Tue 18th Dec 2001 04:06 UTC

As far as I know CD Burning under XP is under their own cd format readable only to XP.

RE: CD Burning under XP
by ICEMAN33 on Tue 18th Dec 2001 04:18 UTC

CD Burning under XP is the same as every other Windows - you can still use any old tool you used before, or you can burn any CD under the XP tools.

I will note, however, that my XP "natively" burned CD are not as high in quality as CDs burned under Nero or under OS X in comparison. The MP3 to CD converter is buggy under XP and creates a lot of skips and pops in the final CD.

not to nitpick...
by phil on Tue 18th Dec 2001 04:22 UTC

Two points were made that I think were very inaccurate, if somewhat irrelevant:

1. Replace All has a keyboard shortcut in BBedit: command-ctrl-= . Admittedly it doesn't seem to work from the dialogue. While keyboard dialogue navigation in MacOS tends to be a bit underdeveloped or even nonexistent, my opinion remains that Macs have slightly better keyboard shortcuts overall than windows does. Specifically, the most common ones -- save, print, cut, copy, paste behave exactly the same way in every single application. The same cannot be said of windows in my experience.

2. I don't know where you got the impression that Mac IE 5 doesn't do PNG. While imperfect, IE's PNG support on the Mac is a hell of a lot better than it is on windows: it actually does the full alpha transparency which continues to elude IE5 for windows. IE5 for the mac is, in fact, the second-best browser in the world for features and standards-compliance after Mozilla. http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/pngapbr.html#msie-mac" http://www...

Super Cool OS?
by Ron Bannon on Tue 18th Dec 2001 04:55 UTC

I was an early adopter of BeOS and I was a little miffed when Be/Apple dropped the ball. I wanted to move my PowerPC MAC over to BeOS, but was forced to wait for Mac OS X -- I'm glad I waited! Mac OS X is really a very slick OS -- it's what the BeOS was going to become.

I may committing sacrilege posting this here, but as an end user I was never impressed with BeOS. To me, the OS GUI looked plain, and was not as intuitive as I had hoped. And of course I could do just about nothing in the real world with it because quite simply, essentially no software I wanted ran on it. It was fast, but fast at not doing anything I wanted it to do.

Linux was just a pain in the neck. After fighting with it for days, I got it installed, only to discover that it was as if everything written for it was built specifically to be counterintuitive, and visually unappealling.

I ran OS X.1 on a friend's iBook and a couple of weeks later I ditched my tweaked out Windows 2000 PIII 600 384 MB DVD wireless LAN endowed notebook. OS X.1 was simply an epiphany. Gorgeous, intuitive, and I could actually do my work on it. There are some niggling issues of course, but IMO, OS X is the absolute best OS EVER created, with no other OS coming even close.

Some corrections
by Chris Hanson on Tue 18th Dec 2001 05:41 UTC

Just some minor corrections.

* HFS+ supports large files, like BFS. It also has support in the volume format for arbitrary attributes, though I don't know if the API is actually wired up in Mac OS X; it wasn't in Mac OS 9. (A file's data and resource forks are just attributes.) HFS+ will also always be case-insensitive but case-preserving; the volume format is fixed, and can't be changed like that in a backwards-compatible way. But filesystem plug-ins can be written for Mac OS X, so if someone wanted to create a case-sensitive HFS+ (with a different volume type) it shouldn't be too tough.

* Getting long filename support in Carbon applications isn't necessarily difficult, but it is a little tedious because it can mean revising a significant amount of your code for dealing with files.

* BMessages were conceptually based on a technology Apple introduced with System 7 called AppleEvents. The AppleEvent Object Model is a set of conventions used to specify objects and actions within scriptable applications. AppleScript is built around the AEOM, but it's not the only language that can work with it; you can use any language as long as it can call the Apple Event Manager. (Some languages might force you to do this directly, like C, while others might do things like use terminology dictionaries to map between higher-level constructs and AppleEvents that particular applications respond to.)

* Apple has some of the infrastructure for filesystem and network notifications in the Darwin kernel right now. Plus they employ Jordan Hubbard, one of the movers behind FreeBSD, which does have such technology (under the name "kernel queues and events"). I bet this is on their to-do list, though it isn't available now. In the meantime, there are calls in the File Manager and in Cocoa that let you tell the Finder that you've changed an item so it can update. I haven't used them though so I don't know how well they work.

* You say several times that Mac OS X uses Display PostScript or uses PostScript for its imaging. NeXT did just this in NEXTSTEP and OPENSTEP. However, Core Graphics in Mac OS X is based on the PostScript imaging model -- the mathematical model PostScript uses to describe pages -- but it doesn't actually use PostScript internally. It's also not "Display PDF" as some people erroneously describe it; applications don't construct PDF documents and then send them to Core Graphics for display. Since the imaging model is the same it uses PDF as its metafile format, but that's not quite the same thing...

-- Chris

PPC Alternative ...
by -pekr- on Tue 18th Dec 2001 06:24 UTC

As I can read few reactions here re Apple PPC hw, there seem to be the alternative PPC hw available soon, coming from the Amiga land.

It is called Pegasos, and you can find more info abou it here: http://www.bplan-gmbh.de/news/pegasos_e.html

It is supposed to be running MorphOS (Amiga OS compatible PPC clone), and Linux ... not sure about other OSes though ...

Cheers,
-pekr-

this goes out to the folks re-embracing proprietary OSs--specifically the folks who've been doing this for decades.

there doesn't seem to be any historical record for being able to rely on proprietary OSs. this means that whenever your proprietary OS goes titsup.com (either due to being out-foxed by another OS, or because your bottom-line OS provider thinks you need to something better) you get to spend part of your precious life at ground zero with yet another proprietary OS.

maybe you don't realize you might not be alive in the next moment.

wasting your life on one POS after another. cheers!

Graphics
by tink on Tue 18th Dec 2001 06:57 UTC

Great article.
Well, while I look at some of those cheep p.c's on a weekly bases I can't wait for the G5's to come out. I am saving my $.
-My 2 pennies about Apple. They have been responding to all the major OS options wish lists that have been posted in various artices and messege boards which is fantastic.
I will publicly bear all for you to through your stones. I am an Apple Dweeb and diehard. I love the platform to death and have grown up with it through all the ups and downs, And I seriously do prey for it X reach it's potential and provide my dream platform.
Cheers all

Linux + SMP
by N/A on Tue 18th Dec 2001 07:36 UTC

<p>I'm sorry if you had problems with your SMP hardware and Linux. In general
it does work (and well!) in my experience.

<p>Wrt. threads - i personally think the unix way of making processes cheap
and bountiful is better and more scalable (no need for manually
and painstakingly implementing fine grained locking in order to get apps
to run on many cpus).

Yay for OS X , Yay for Be
by Curtis Schofield on Tue 18th Dec 2001 07:40 UTC


I was/am an avid supporter of BeOS. It was a beautiful dream.
I enjoyed the time i spent in it, but like Scott, I ended up moving
back to windows for a while ( I am not a linux user in the least.
I perfer "real" unix based operating systems like Solaris and BSD
for server and unix development ). Windows was a nightmare.. It's much
better than it used to be, but it feels clunky and frustrating to
use.

I was looking at OS X for a long time.. (being a BSDboy it attracted
me in the begining) but never had the finance to commit myself to another
expensive piece of hardware.. Finally this last winter i decided to sell
my Inspiron 4000 and purchase a PowerBook G4 (550).

I instantly fell in love with Apple. What beautiful, elegent hardware...
and inside.. a beautiful elegent Operating system!!

I'm hooked. Vive le difference!

I've already sold any extra PC's i have (that arn't running FreeBSD) and
my PC laptop is on it's way out.. Next summer i'll be replacing my desktop
with a PowerMac.


Curtis..


( And to the Idiot that thinks the number of buttons on a mouse is the measure
of the operating system... That is the most retarded metric i have ever heard
of. For your information you can use a 2 button, or 5 button (MS Mouse) with a
mac. Don't be stupid. Get some Education..)

You can use TAB!
by Stefan on Tue 18th Dec 2001 07:59 UTC

You can change between applications using TAB. And since OS X v10.1 you can also use TAB to navigate between textfields, buttons, etc.!

Bad research, but still a very good article

Some misunderstandings
by Evinyatar on Tue 18th Dec 2001 08:13 UTC

I've only read part of this article but I noticed a few misunderstandings. The fact that Fetch etc cut off the long filenames is that these applications were written originally for the Classic MacOS (pre-X), and had to cut these off otherwise the filename wouldn't be accepted.
And in BBEdit if you hold down the command key for 1 second you will see shortcut keys for most of the buttons in the search dialog. Admitted, this is not a MacOS feature (at least not in Carbon), but it proves that not all of the functionality you see in BeOS has to be built into the OS... It's just a matter of lazy programmers (I admit to be one) that can't be arsed to build all this in just because they are used to using their mouse to get around things. The MacOS does have keyboard navigation around dialogs built into Cocoa however.

Mac OS X Meta Data
by dhi on Tue 18th Dec 2001 08:36 UTC

If you agree that the filesystem should be handled better in Mac OS X then sign thehttp://www.petitiononline.com/osxmd/">petition ....

First I must thank for an excellent article. You raise very good points and make some very cogent observations. Lots of food for thought and insightful revelations in an area fraught with the potential for brute bitter OS ideological conflict.

I raise only a couple of points of personal contention.


>OS X prioritizes Creator code over file type in the application binding >process. Since the document's creator is logically irrelevant to the >determination of the best app to launch the document in, and because it often >results in unexpected and undesirable document launching behavior, and because >more flexible and powerful application binding can be accomplished through file >type-based binding, I find this 100% backwards.

Or not. Posit this:

I have a pile of .html files...


I have some references that I've saved from Netscape (or, as is most likely, OmniWeb), some bookmark .html files, some pages that refrence client-side javascript that will only run in IE 5.5, and some files that I'm editing in Golive, or others I'm editing in BBEdit.


Or I've got some Huge ttxt files that I want to work on in BBEdit, some tiny notes that only require a zippy lightweight app to view.


In each of these cases, files of identical types are directly tied to the app that is appropriate to view them in. This is not 100% backwards, it's 100% contextually viable. The dual mapping of of types+creator gives the most flexible. Creator says "I'm best for this file", type says to the app "yeah, you can read me" This sort of duality makes perfect sense. In the case of things like Photoshop EPS files vs. Illustrator EPS files and Freehand EPS files, the distinction was absolutely CRITICAL, as these variants did not translate well at all.

I'll admit that third party utilities to manipulate creators and type can be either cumbersome and annoying or intuitive and flexible depending on the tool and your required goal, but I'll take my document-centric world, thanks, not a strictly application centric one. Best tool for the job, and the content of the file as well.


If I must, I'll open a file from a dialog, or do a drag-and-drop, but that will be my choice as needs drive.


A panel a'la the file associations controls from MacOS 9 would be welcome here, but that works best as a mode for setting defaults for files that arrive without creator data. The File/Range of Files control of the Get Info panel would be the preferred method of altering associations. Under the most recent iteration of X, the panel makes distinctions between choosing a default app for files with type X, or reassigning a default app for files with creator Y... very handy.


>The same argument applies to launching files and folders from the Finder with >the Enter key. In Mac OS, Enter puts you into rename mode. How often do you >want to rename something compared to how often you want to launch it? In Mac >OS, you need to hit Cmd-O to "open" a file or folder. Why not have the
>most-used action be the default for the Enter key, and the less-used action >(renaming) be a hotkey? (In BeOS, rename is Alt+E).

>Yes, I know that muscle memory is worth a lot, but user testing should make it >easy to see which tasks are performed most often. Common sense dictates mapping >the easiest / most plainly marked keys to those tasks. Or am I missing >something?


Perhaps. There's a lot of psychology involved in fine-tuning the behaviors of on interface (my favorite example is the behavior of a mouse click... it is the mouse-UP that initiates an action, not a mouse-down. It gives the user a chance to escape if they notice they've clicked the wrong choice, which happens way more frequently than we like to admit, especially in button-crowded dialogs). In the mac world one of the biggest concerns in avoiding irreversible actions. One way to do this is to tie that default keystroke to a safe behavior. The big glowing default button usually defaults to the safe choice, not necessarily the most frequent choice. Muscle memory is indeed very powerful, it can also be very destructive. In the case of the finder re-name, well, launching a file is one of those potentially irrevocable or jarring instances if that was not your intent. Launching files and apps should be a very deliberate act. The return key is deeply tied to typing and editing functions, and to committing a user identified change. (A new paragraph, making the big active button save a file for which I've just typed a new name, or committing a recently edited filename in the finder..)

ROFLMAO
by ¿¡!? on Tue 18th Dec 2001 09:09 UTC

Right off let me say this document does not even begin to express my disgust for the people coming on here, saying nothing, and proclaiming 'use bsd!' or 'use linux!'. Besides that is not the point.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all by the # of unix peoplz coming in here saying "NO NO
proprietary sucks! go open source do it now!!" as the article was listed front page on slashdot -
aka 'home for geeky dweebs with some notion of right and wrong' <-- LOL sad but true ;)

Ok that aside, Mr. Hacker (either being a mac newby or wtfever the reason) yes there are some mistakes, but in all your article was good ; if too self-proclaimadly slanted being ex-beos
and everything...

It is on that point that I feel I must speak out, ESPECIALLY with Eugenia (being the hostess lol)
and all other beos devotees posting in response to the article by such a beos fanatic :p
I will refrain from rehashing anything others have said, but basically is this:
beos was fast yeah.. so what exactly was fast? I WILL TELL YOU WHAT WAS FAST about it.
I bought and own 4.5 x86, and downloaded 5. The computer I used is a pentium 233 mmx
with 16MB voodoo 3 pci, sblive! gold, 96MB ram, and 6GB udma/mode2 pio/mode4 hard drive.
Now just WTF IS ALL THIS NONSENSE about running multiple videos + audios and browsing the internet all simultaneously?!?!?!? WHAT A LOAD OF B.S. Sure technically it could do it, but
without sound skipping? Without dropping frames? Without strange threading behaviors?
NO, NO>> NO!

Don't get me wrong - I liked beos, because of it's one-of-a-kind 'Tracker',
most noticably the pop-out folder navigation as discussed in the article (and anyone who has used the beos knows about) and the mentioned tracker add-ons. The tracker was THE #1
unique, blazingly fast and 'cool' thing about beos. Everything else? DUST IN THE WIND.
People talk about it being 'fully multithreaded and task preemptive' blah blah blahhh...
I couldn't even listen to mp3's with SoundPlay (or anything else for that matter) and cruise the
internet, without the sound skipping and strange delays in any of the web browsers available.
I think it's time for people to stop exaggerating the whole speed thing.

That leads me to my second point. Why the hell are all of the open source people copying mickey$oft with their micro$hi7 crapdozer GUI?!?! With every generation of Gnome/KDE comes
more slow of responsiveness, more memory consumption, just plain bloat and buginess! Yeah that's right... they are BUGGY :p Not even to mention the fact they both look crappier as time chigs along. I have used every major vendor's Linux implementation and quite frankly, as I sit here writing this on Linux 2.4.x based system, I can honestly say things are getting worse NOT better. Then there is XFree86/Gaming/GL - no use in any of that since all you zealots using PROPRIETARY NVIDIA products+drivers -- since that is only *real consumer option as far as speed/compatibility. Now just WTF does that show about 'open source'? HUH?!?! Open source is good for somethings.. namely sharing ideas. Beyond that namely making a business of using it on the desktop is only for those being of mental impairment. As far as using those slim 'got nothing' window managers (as I smack you in the head) that is not a REAL desktop - MODERN.

Yes I want icons.

Yes I want to open windows fast.

Yes I want it to look pretty.

Yes I want to use full featured mature programs, not something cobbled together by some amatuer - or worse when the left hand doesn't know WTF the right hand is doing.

Yes I want to be able to do real audio work, and NO everything is crap on linux/bsd except xmms... and I L.O.L. @ U if you suggest using xmms as a studio. Same for video - DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH FOOLS /*\ woop too late.

Yes I want to be able to use NEW TECHNOLOGIES without having to wait YEARS for crappy drivers and half-ass programs to use them.

Yes ... I WANT A MAC >

p.s. If you think forcing a user into compiling an application whether just to install it or to FIX SOME BONEHEADED PROBLEM is the act of a so-called modern operating system - may you rot in hell you half-brained knitwit.

Great Article, Scott (a few suggestions)
by Happy-Hacker on Tue 18th Dec 2001 09:15 UTC

When I first switched to OSX.1 I posted my first impressions to two of the BeOS lists (Scott is dead on about the difference in the user communities, btw). Scott, despite not seeing that post, has hit every single one of the plusses and minuses I covered, and a whole ton besides. If BeOS users want to know what making this change is like, READ SCOTT'S ARTICLE. I agree with him 100% about the ups and the downs and the overal feeling I get using my new(used) mac.

------------

That said, I would like to differ with Scott and say that my blue and white G3/350 does fine with OS/X, and it set me back around $700(us) plus 256mb of RAM plus an Adaptec ultra160 card (why I don't feel the filesystem pain Scott does) and re-using one of the ultra2 drives from my BeOS machine. My really biggest grouse with X - that dvdplayer wasn't supported on non-AGP video hardware - was remedied by a recent software update from Apple, so I can now say it does fine with a clear conscience.

You can also get a g4/450 cube for about $1000 (usd) from the same place I got my g3. http://www.hardcoremac.com. I've bought 2 systems from these folks and never been unhappy.

It bears noting that IMHO alot of what Scott is feeling as slow FS probably comes from crappy IDE. As a SCSI bigot, it never even occured to me to use the IDE bus for anything but CDROM. I didn't in BeOS, and I won't now. Of course, X's poor SCSI support means my old SCSI cd burner doesn't get recognised as a *drive* - they'll probably fix it about the time I can afford a DVD burner, which naturally will be IDE.

It's true, I miss tracker, I miss the FS attributes - all of what Scott said - but at the same time it sure is nice to use an OS with a future.

-Jim Strickland
Former BeOS user.
MacOS X 10.1 (g3/350, 512mb ram ultra2scsi)

yeah, the good old times ...
by pascal on Tue 18th Dec 2001 09:17 UTC

Hell, by now the term "infection" would already suit my contact with BeOS. Sometimes I wish it would be buried ten thousand feets below ground, and everybody would stop talking about it. Cos everytime I read another fine article like this one about it, my heart still starts bleeding, and I remember the good old times when I used to boot BeOS from my old machine and there was a driver for everything and stuff.

BeOS, honor to you, rest in peace!

by AlienSoldier on Tue 18th Dec 2001 09:30 UTC

before talking about BeOS speed problem take at least the decency to compare it on a PC that is 100% working with it. If you have skiping sound under BeOS your sound card is just not well supported.

I got nighmare with linux on my machine but i saw it running really well on many other machine (the only exeption will alway be X, but in a way X is a lot more than it seem).

The Only one that don't merit opinion from many machine is OSX (because it's their own hardware) and windows (because they have all the industry in their bed).

a correction that has probably already been made
by lenox on Tue 18th Dec 2001 09:37 UTC

the author was correct about the long filename issue, but had the reasoning behind it a little muddled. the apps used to transfer the files were carbonized, yes...but this was the reason the names were truncated. carbonization means the app will run in os 9 and 10. os 9 doesn't have long file name support. carbonization is done for compatibility and as an interim-type thing...as we see more and more cocoa apps, this will be a thing of the past.

i had another correction but forgot it. excellent OS comparison, it's all very interesting and well-organized ;)

Wrong question - wrong conclusion
by MacUser on Tue 18th Dec 2001 10:26 UTC

The question you're asking is: How does OS X compare to BeOS ? This is complete nonsense. The question is: How does it compare to OS 8.6/9.1/9.2 (MacOS, that is :-). This is the OS that OS X has to compete against because it is quite simply the OS that is installed on 100% of the Mac's out there today and will be for quite some time. In comparison with these OS'es OS X is a shame. Its GUI is terrible (in comparison), it forces users to fool around with complex, hardly understandable command-line-stuff which i would never even dream of in OS 8.6/9.1/9.2 and the applications on X are a laugh compared to their counterparts on the 'older' OSes (just look at Office). Bring in performance and OS X is a plain joke. Have you even tried OS 9.1 on your machine ? It should quite simply blow you away.
As far as stability is concerned, Mac's have been around for 20 years now and they have obviously been stable enough to get some work done. Otherwise Apple would be dead by now and would have been dead long ago. Yes, i wouldn't use it to do server-stuff, but:
As far as networking and server-related issues are concerned, OS X is definitely technically superior to the older MacOS. The problem is, if somebody wants a server they'll get a server (read: UNIX or LINUX) and not a Mac. Just imagine somebody running an iMac as a server. Give me a break.
I can understand that somebody who's in love with CLI's and shells prefers OS X to the earlier MacOS'es but i don't and 95% of the mac-users out there don't either.

I agree
by Etienne Petitjean on Tue 18th Dec 2001 10:36 UTC

excellent piece !!!!

regarding the current speed of OS X, it is true that common Mac users feel OSX 10.1 is just fast enough... If you know look at the speed of BeOS, you can only be confused !!!!

My big hope is that Apple with push system optimisations forward in the next releases...

When you see the difference between 10.0 and 10.1, it's nearly twice as fast. Even if Moore's law keeps beeing true in the next few years, Apple should really focus on performance and it might have one of the best OS ever released !!!!

And you really think that MacOSX is great...
by RX on Tue 18th Dec 2001 11:04 UTC

Well. I agree that MacoSX is better in many respects as compared to those other
popular OS, but..
I must say, as a 10 years user and admin of Nextstep, the predecessor of
MacOSX, it is quite a disappointing letdown. When I toyed with MacOSX recently, I hardly could believe how much Apple f**d it up....perhaps to please the Mac community, perhaps being afraid to have the gap to other OS too large. However,
to explain such differences to people who don't know, is like explaining sex to a virgin, means: pretty hopeless.

So let me just comment this at hand of one concrete example, the TeX implementation. I have seen so-and-so many users praising TeXShop, so I thought I try it out. Under Nextstep (on a 800Mhz 128MB PC), TeX processes like 50 pages/sec, and I see the result of a change in the source after ca 1/2 sec in the previewer; I can scroll ca 10 pages/sec in the previewer. Under MacOSX (on 733Mhz 512MB G4), it takes ca 10sec to process the source, moreover, due to whatever kind of display-pdf trickery, the fonts are much harder to read, they are kind of blurry and faint. The previewer scrolls perhaps 1 page/sec, and this very choppy. The performance is exactly like on the old Nextstations from 1991, except things are harder to read on the screen; barely useable. So this is the result of the 3+ years of "improving" Nextstep ? Bottomline: I stick to Nextstep for the time being.

This is a typical example. Practically all things are more crude and cumbersome to use. Is it a pleasure, or pain, to scroll through file systems with the new finder ? Well, switching between NS and OSX, I can tell you, it is just pain,
and this just for the speed, and not even to talk about the functionality.
Forgotten is the outstanding, pure perfection of Nextstep. No way that I could join the chorus and praise MacOSX as a great achievement; while this may look so for most, they don't really have any insight into what great software really looks and feels like, because they have never seen it. Even native "cocoa" OSX apps, like Create.app which is immensively useful, do work not as well as under Nextstep in the old days.

I am especially amused about the excitement about "finally porting and running X-windows apps". Yes, indeed, this exactly means giving up the potential for higher standards of software. We are back to a mix of ported programs who all look different, work inconsistently, hardly can communicate which each other. Just the usual mess of linux et al. Some X-eyes to the left, and some X-calendar to the right of the screen, and a few shell windows in the middle, plus some colorful buttons to click upon, that's paradise, is it ?

Who cares that the Netscape scroll bars, save panels etc are completely different as compared to any other OSX app, that one cannot drag out a image from the browser directly into a drawing program, no trace of "services" ? Yes,
Netscape, Gimp and all those other ported apps look and work as on
any other random platform, which just means that there is no big plus for using OSX (and not Linux, say) in the first place.

Good story, Scot!
by Jace on Tue 18th Dec 2001 11:54 UTC

As a BeOS lover, I am sad to see you leave our BeOS community, Scot. I too was very interested in OSX, but all experiences with it so far have left me feeling that I was stepping backwards again. Back towards the place I'm trying to leave when using BeOS 90% of the time and Windows only 10% of the time.

For those who complain about BeOS's hype being out of control... Yes, occassionally my MP3's skip while browsing the internet in BeOS, but that's because I don't have "realtime audio" enabled (and why the hell would I care if an MP3 skipped on occassion... if I wanted perfect playback on background music I'd use my damn CD player).

BeOS is still the only OS I can tolerate. For the most part, the web sites I cannot reach in BeOS all suck ass anyway (can you say "needless use of Javacrap" and "non-standard HTML?"). At least I don't have to suffer pop-ups all day in Net+...

I'm still waiting for another OS to come along from someone other than MS... something that comes close to the user experience of BeOS. Linux is the still for programmers and geeks and OSX is far too expensive, clumsy and slow. I already own a Windows98 license so if I can't do audio or art in BeOS (despite it being the "media OS" hah hah), then I use Windows at those times anyway. I'm still in BeOS 90% of the time.

This forum entry of mine is pretty pointless, but I wouldn't feel complete if I didn't comment on a Scot Hacker / BeOS article...

Anyone who wants to see BeOS survive, despite the talk of how dead it is, please send a Friendly email, letter and/or phone call to Palm and David Nagel asking them to accept the BeUnited plan!

Case and Fielnames
by Donald Milne on Tue 18th Dec 2001 12:09 UTC

Each to his own I guess, but I dislike case sensitive filenames. I want the FS to store the names as I type them, but not to bother me with the details after that. I'd also want an OS that ran on x86 hardware alongside Windows (for games).

Facinating read though :-)

Scott

I had thought that by now, you would have a proper understanding of a journalled filesystem. You state in the article (I also think you state in the BeOS Bible, I don't want to dig it out!) that the BeOS filesystem is journalled, and, as a result, will not have a data loss if the system is disrupted. This is not guaranteed. At least, not for the regular user data inside of the file. To do so would slow the filesystem down horribly!

What is journalled? Only the meta-data. Perhaps there is actually a filesystem available on a computer that truly does a full journalling of the user data, as well as the meta-data, but BFS (and others that I am aware of, which include NTFS for NT/2000/XP and the ReiserFS for Linux/Unix, etc.) only makes a promise that the meta-data will remain in a consistent state. If you are in the process of copying several hundred megs of data on a journalled filesystem, and you suffer a power glitch (my most common fatal error that will mess up the machine for filesystem writing, though still rare - I try to avoid Win9x) the meta-data will not be left in such a state that there will be blocks committed to more than one file, or blocks that have been marked as used, but not associated with any file, and there will not be a directory entry that points to bogus data. THIS is what a journalling filesystem does. Anyone who misrepresents the strengths and limitations of a journalling filesystem to others is doing them a grave disservice, as they will feel "irrational exuberance" and get a horrible amount of false confidence about the safety of their data.

A good explanation of how a journalling filesystem works is the book "Practical Fule System Design with the Be File System" by Dominic Giampaolo, which goes into pretty good detail on how the BFS actually works, and why it works that way.

I felt I had to set the record straight on this issue, whether or not there are other issues that are incorrect. This one is truly important, and is one I can safely state that I am fully qualified to comment on. I implore you (and anyone else reading this who wishes to describe journalling filesystems to others) to properly explain just what a journalling filesystem truly is and what it can and can't do in real life.

No more Macs for me thank you!
by yc on Tue 18th Dec 2001 12:30 UTC

OS X UI is nice but OS is slow and bulky. I guess I am spoiled by BeOS.

If and when BeOS is cremated by Palm, I will join the evil empire. I will sell my M505 on Ebay and buy a PocketPC device.

For Palm not to either release a desktop BeOS derivative or even license BeOS to BeUnited is outrageous.

ciao
yc

For years I have bemoaned the lack of a decent mainstream OS with a good GUI. Seemed you had to choose one or the other, I have told my students for years. BeOS long intrigued me but everyone in the industry knows there seems to be an inverse correlation between good and popular and--at some break point--some popularity is a prerequisite to productivity.

Lots of comments above about cheap Intel-based machines and parts and Apple's higher prices. But cheap--many manufacturing sources with vanishing margins--will guarantee lots of compatibility issues. The Jesuits used to say, "I'm too poor to buy anything cheap!"

I have been using OS X version 10.1 for several weeks and it is growing on me. OS 9 and earlier, which once looked clean and classic, now appears spartan and uninteresting. Applications quit in 10.1 but the OS itself has not so far. The prospect of a flood of refined Unix applications holds considerable appeal.

Do we at last have a decent OS with a good GUI?

Surprisingly late convert
by Thyl Engelhardt on Tue 18th Dec 2001 13:32 UTC

This is something that always surprises me, and I will never be able to sort out: When having looked for an alternative to MacOS, why didn't Scot (or many many others) consider NEXTSTEP? It had most of what makes up MacOSX today, plus some nice add-ons, and without this sluggish performace. And, contrary to BeOS, it actually worked ;-) (i.e. printed etc.).

When I had my first contact with BeOS, these guys at the Be booth were entirely unable to give me any strong reasons why BeOS should be any better than NEXTSTEP. All they could come up with was why it was superior to MacOS. If more people had chosen NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP around 1993-1995, we could live in a much more modern world of computing now, a world which is now just starting to emerge with the introduction of NEXTSTEP's successor, MacOSX.

Weird world...

Keyboardability ? Yes !
by Mr Du Snob on Tue 18th Dec 2001 13:46 UTC

In fact, taking the Find window of BBEdit to talk about the keyboardability is not a good example. Try to type the COMMAND key of the Macintosh keyboard : you'll see all the keyboard shortcuts for almost all of the controls of the window :-)

Note that many applications and the Finder itself are using keyboard shortcuts. Unlike Windows, they are not shown, because it's ugly ;-) but they are in there. Most of the time, it's the COMMAND key with the first letter of the button's caption.

Cancel is always ESC. Default button is always ENTER, etc. You can move into file-selection dialogs with COMMAND and the arrow keys. When you're in a list, you can type the first letters (or the full name) of a file to select it.

Enjoy keyboard shortcuts ! Try the COMMAND key !

No more Macs for me thank you!
by yc on Tue 18th Dec 2001 13:50 UTC

OS X UI is nice but the desktop OS slow and too bulky. I guess I am spoiled by BeOS.

If and when BeOS is cremated by Palm, I will join the evil empire. I will sell my M505 on Ebay and buy a PocketPC device.

For Palm not to release a desktop BeOS derivative nor even license BeOS to BeUnited is outrageous.

The only hope is that Palm is waiting for the judge to apply MSFT remedies before announcing.

ciao
yc

Yo, MacUser
by WattsM on Tue 18th Dec 2001 15:00 UTC

At risk of being a bit rude, your "wrong question, wrong conclusion" line is moronic. Scot write this from the standpoint of a long-time BeOS user coming to MacOS X. The fact that you are NOT a long-time BeOS user coming to MacOS X does not make his question "wrong." And your assertion that OS X is competing with MacOS 8/9 is, from a business standpoint, stuff and nonsense: only a limited number of MacOS users are going to be able to upgrade to OS X without upgrading their hardware, and indeed, as a company whose hardware is still its biggest revenue driver, Apple doesn't really WANT you to do that. Any pre-G3 Macintosh is sorely out of luck. Apple is primarily competing against Windows XP, in point of fact, because the market that drives their revenues through 2002 and beyond will be the market of consumers replacing their pre-2000 hardware. It's Apple's "job" to convince those consumers to buy Macs, regardless of what hardware they're replacing. OS X is part of that strategy.

Personally I'd have preferred to see a user interface closer to OS 9's, too. Your disgruntlement at Apple's direction, though, isn't a refutation to anything Scot wrote in this article--it's a completely different issue.

by inphernop on Tue 18th Dec 2001 15:10 UTC

Everything in his "The Bad and The Ugly" totally destroys Mac OS X
for me. I'll put it in simpler terms, the IQ of the OS is measured
by the number of buttons on the mouse. MacOS has 1. Windows 2+wheel,
Unix 3 + wheel. So, Unix/Linux is the smartest.


Plug ANY 2-button USB mouse into a Mac running OS X and you get right-click capability. Apple is just steadfast about their mice. No big deal.

Things that should be added !
by Lionel Costa on Tue 18th Dec 2001 15:50 UTC

1) For the quote, in answer to tim covell : I own a 2 years old PowerBook G3 (400MHz) with MacOS X 10.1.1 and ... Without any driver I use a 5 (FIVE) button MS Intellimouse (with wheel !) and all are fuctionnal (so What's for the IQ of my OS ?).

2) There are a lot of things that should be added to this (really good) view of MacOS X.

I am an IT consultant using a Mac surrounded by Win2K colleages. Using MacOS X gives me superior tools because:
- I can connect 2 screens on my Laptop and so have the original 1024x768 screen + external VGA 1280x1024 screen side by side thus I have a terminal, IE, Word, Excel, VirtualPC with Win2K (for Oracle tools), iTunes, BBEdit all open at once.
- I can connect to any NFS/SMB/CIFS/AFP file server.
- I have some of the best developper tools GIVEN by Apple (YES IT'S FREE)!!! And these help me do awesome tools in a matter of minutes.
Just check http://www.stepwise.com/Articles/Technical/TrojanHorse.html.

These developper tools alone requires to be the subject of such an article !!!

Sure, you have to pay a premium price for Apple Hardware but included in that price you have good machines that doesn't feel outdated 1 month after you buy them, a really good OS that doesn't collapse when you do as many things as I do and Apple includes FREE softwares that are really worth the cost (AppleWorks, iTunes, iDVD, iMovie, Developer Tools,...).

In support of Watts M's criticism of MacUser...
by Retro on Tue 18th Dec 2001 16:17 UTC

I have been a Mac-user for about 10 years now, and I agree that his comment is misinformed and moronic. His mentality is at one extreme of all Mac users in the market, and I can't help but wonder if he is making his whole story up.

In any case, he is clearly misinformed if he thinks that, to use Mac OS X, you have to use the command line. It is simply not true. And actually I wouldn't mind one bit having an iMac be a webserver. Heck, people still use SE/30s as web servers. It gets the job done (of course, depending on your needs).

I thought the article was very interesting and informative. As one who has always preferred Macs at home, but never having used BeOS, its good to hear that more people are becoming interested in the Mac OS. I don't think any OS can be everything to everybody. Certainly there are some things lacking about OS X as compared to BeOS, but there are advantages. I would like to (on the behalf of all Mac users everywhere) welcome any BeOS users into our Mac community. Hopefully in time we can live up to the high standards that Be created. :-)

The ignorance that lives
by Scott on Tue 18th Dec 2001 16:19 UTC

Having read the article and many of the comments I'm amazed at the lack of knowledge exhibited by so many of the contributors. From not knowing anything about the Apple system to believing that Microsoft rescued Apple from bankruptcy, the misinformation came from all points.

I'm a Mac user from '86 on and also use Linux, Windoze, and have used Unix. I chose a Mac because it's a tool that helps me get work done. Yes, the lack of protected memory, preemptive multitasking, etc., was frustrating but has been remedied by OS X. OS X is not finished, just as Linux, Unix, and Windoze are not complete. What is does have is the ability for the average user to have a great, useful OS without major difficulties. This can't be said about Linux and Windoze.

Just a few points t some of the "smart" contributors:

1. Lack of a multi-button mouse. I run a four button trackball. Have for years. So what's the problem?

2. Stability is not a major concern. Along with OS X I run OS 9 and it rarely crashes while running 24/7. My employer does the same, even with OS 8 and earlier. If you install the upgrades to your apps you very rarely have problems. BTW, my employer still has SE/30s that run 24/7 without crashing. OS X runs 24/7 with no problems.

3. Cost of Apple? If you look at comparably equipped machines I don't believe it's such a big deal. I'm not talking about building one from scratch, we've built those for <$500 but that never includes a monitor or an OS. I've also seen the "quality"of the PC world. I used to buy for the US Navy and remember PCs out of the box with failure rates of 33 percent. I've never seen Apple have similar problems. I'm not a wirehead and don't care to build computers. Why should I have to build a tool? Frankly I don't give a shit if you don't want to spend the money and want to crawl around inside the box. I don't and it doesn't make me any less a computer person then you.

4. Apps? Tell me what I can't do. Yes, you have more of a given app but many are crap to look at a worse to use. Look at all the apps and source that became available with the release of OS X. Yes, they will require some work to build but it's there in the same way it's there for Linux and Unix.Games? See next paragraph.

Finally, I was at Macworld when the BeOS was introduced and was blown away. The crowd in front of the booth was 20 deep and I really believed it was going to be a great alternative to what was on the scene. Unfortunately it did not pan out and I stuck with Apple. I won't use Microsoft for ethical reasons and I won't buy a PC, as so many do, to play games. A Playstation is cheaper. I moved away from Linux because, while it's a great OS, it didn't offer a GUI that was significantly better to warrant a change. It's interface (not the OS!), to me, is just another windoze clone.

OS X is going to have a great future and I believe I'll stay with it. I've also discovered Cocoa and believe it can be a great programming environment.

Thanks, again, Scott for the great article. To those that can see what OS X really is, warts and all, welcome. To those who just want to dis it because it's Apple - get a life.

Amiga spoiled me too- feng shui
by sasa persic on Tue 18th Dec 2001 16:47 UTC

It is because Amiga OS has best 'feng shui' of all OS-es.

Re: Scott
by bkakes on Tue 18th Dec 2001 17:29 UTC

I agree that there's a lot of ignorance regarding Apple coming from the PC world, but there's also a ton of ignorance from Mac fans aimed at PCs. Regardless, I felt the need to reply to a few of your points.


"What is does have is the ability for the average user to have a great, useful OS without major difficulties. This can't be said about Linux and Windoze."

I like OS X quite a bit, but by a strictly technical and feature-for-feature comparison (i.e. "Microsoft's being evil" not factoring in), Windows XP is better than OS X by quite a bit. In a few years OS X will have matured and this may no longer be the case, but for now it's just the way it is.

(I don't feel the need to fully get into it right now, but WinXP has a great kernel, support for many more technologies, has a task-centric design, has great networking [OS X's Samba, for example, is horribly broken], runs much more smoothly, etc.)


"If you install the upgrades to your apps you very rarely have problems."

My experiences have been different from yours. My mom's iMac at school freezes multiple times per day, and my iBook at work this summer froze over 15 times in one afternoon. It's certainly possible to get Mac OS 9 running ok, but it requires a ton of effort and a "don't touch it now or you might break it" kind of discipline. OS X certainly changes this, however, which is a wonderful thing.


"3. Cost of Apple? If you look at comparably equipped machines I don't believe it's such a big deal."

Right now, Fry's has a complete Sony 1.7 GHz or so system (sans Monitor) for $1000. This comes with DVD drive, CD-RW, speakers...you name it. The simple fact is that Macs cost a lot more, and this is especially true when buying add-ons (an SBLive for the Mac is roughly $150 the last I checked, and about $80 for the PC).


"I used to buy for the US Navy and remember PCs out of the box with failure rates of 33 percent."

How can you possibly make a generalization like this? You think Dell, Compaq, HP, IBM, and Sony are selling products with 33 percent failure rates? Wake up.


"I've never seen Apple have similar problems."

Apple hardware is generally of good quality, but it has its problems like any other company's. All three of my friends who had 292 MHz black powerbooks had their motherboards fried by overheating. Remember the bad notch on the TI's DVD drive? Or the iBook's sometimes floppy keyboard? How about the QuickSilver's speaker hissing? Check out Macintouch or similar sites after new Apple hardware is released and you'll usually see a host of problems. Admittedly, most of them tend to be minor complaints, but to generalize about PC hardware while ignoring Apple's problems is, well...


"Why should I have to build a tool?"

Umm, there are many, many PC makers who will sell you a pre-built PC if you'd like. Some of the lesser-knowns are such small companies as HP, IBM, Dell, Compaq, Gateway, and Sony.


"I don't and it doesn't make me any less a computer person then you."

I don't recall a single person here making the argument that it does. Where did this come from?


"Apps? Tell me what I can't do."

Morpheus and Kazaa come most readily to mind. And how about an AIM client that isn't really slow (and I mean an official AIM client, so I can check users' away messages, which third-party clients can't do).

This isn't to say that the Mac has a dearth of applications, but you make too much of a generalization in the other direction.


"many are crap to look at a worse to use"

Another fun generalization which can't be backed up (ok, sure, lots are crap, but lots are great, just like for any system). ICQ for the Mac is one example of a program that was horrible for years while the Windows version was great (that the Windows version has since degenerated is besides the point).


"A Playstation is cheaper."

Definitely. Different kinds of games, though...certain games work better on consoles, certain games work better on computers. However, this attempts to overlook one important point: with the PC I bought for less money than you paid for your Mac, I can play games on it without *needing* a PlayStation. I don't have to, sure, but I *can*. You might as well say, "Sure, the Mac has iMovie, but I can just use a VCR to edit my movies, so it's no big deal that the PC doesn't have it."


"To those who just want to dis it because it's Apple - get a life."

You're certainly right. However, in your post you do the opposite; you insult things (seemingly) just because they're not made by Apple. Kind of hypocritical.

Brings back fond memories
by Mike on Tue 18th Dec 2001 17:57 UTC

Great article Scot! Very well written and thorough, without any bias one way or the other- just facts the way it should be.
I'm a long time avid Mac user, but for a short while I dabbled with BeOS and was very, very impressed. I have fond memories that came back to me while I was using it. I agree that Mac OS X still leaves much to be desired, at least in the performance department. I remember using early builds of BeOS on an old Mac (when it worked on them), botted from OS image on a Zip drive that were lightning fast!! That same Mac would not not even run Mac OS X now, and if it could, would be as slow as mollasses!! I think anyone that has even used BeOS for a short while like myself can understand the pain at having to give it up. As you state, when you've got to get real work done, you just do what you have to. Glad to see that you've made the jump to the Mac (although I wish for your sake, you could have stayed with BeOS, since that was your preference), rather than Windows. It's an exciting time to be a Mac user right now, because there is a lot of change happening, and only good things can come from this- you'll see.

Newton has similar mindset
by mikele on Tue 18th Dec 2001 18:01 UTC

I'm not a programmer, but there are some interesting things to see in the description of BeOS and its file system. It's like on the Newton, it seems, in that the data is just there, to be used as YOU see fit, (or some good programmer does), and not be bound to a single application. The whole thing floats, you don't even realize that you are using a computer with an operating system. Slick. (I refer here to the MP2000 and MP2100, not the earlier versions, though NOS2.0 in general was great once the hardware caught up to it.)

Meaning that it has the same properties that BeOS (which I used a bit) had: Anyone who has used it is simply spoiled.

Thanks for a great article!

What OS X has in common with Windows
by anthrodoc on Tue 18th Dec 2001 18:21 UTC

Why can't I move to OS X? Sure, it's the prettiest interface ever, solid, powerful, usable, consistent. But as someone who fed the MS gravy train for a long time (starting somewhere around DOS 3.2) I've had it with proprietary operating systems and endless upgrade cycles -- disadvantages OS X and Windows share. (And at least with Windows you aren't locked into one hardware manufacturer.)

Sure, Linux isn't perfect. But it improves daily. Just between RedHat 7.0 and 7.2 there are appreciable (and appreciated) differences. (I even have that transparent terminal window Scot seems to find so important.) And there are at least PLANS to address the difficulties cited in Scot's article. Linux does what I need today. For me, it's quick and solid. Is it as pretty as OS X -- nope. Am I beholden, locked-in, joined at the wallet to one hardware maker, or one OS company? Nope.

As for Be OS, who knows what Palm might do with it? Maybe there's a surprise coming (how about a super-fast, super-thin laptop/Internet appliance with 20 hours of battery life and seamless Palm syncing?). But moaning about its loss on the desktop seems a little odd nowadays, with so many decent alternatives. It's like complaining there's not enough good literature written in Esperanto. True, but it's a problem most of us can ignore.

1) You spend you time ripping on *linux, like Mac OS X, but never seem to have actually TRIED FreeBSD. Why?

2) You mention da gassy frenchman and Steve Sakoman yet forget what Steve brought to the party - his newton experience. The small environment of PDA's is what gets you speed and small executables.

Re: No mention of FreeBSD.
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Dec 2001 19:18 UTC

>1) You spend you time ripping on *linux, like Mac OS X, but never seem to have actually TRIED FreeBSD. Why?

FreeBSD is much more hard-core unix than Linux is (this is of course a good thing, I like FreeBSD). Scot however, is not after a hard core unix, is looking for a flexible desktop (that has some unix or posix functionality underneath) to do his day-to-day job. FreeBSD is not suitable for what Scot needs for his everyday *desktop*. And don't try to convience us otherwise that FreeBSD is an excellent desktop, because even the FreeBSD guys and even the book I have here it clearly states that FreeBSD is aiming the server market, it simply does not care about the desktop and X. Scot is working a lot with video editing, doing some fancy stuff with video editing. Except IRIX, no other 'real' unix can do what MacOSX (or Windows) can about professioanl video edititng. So, while IRIX is very expensive and its software even more expensive, the choice is bettween MacOSX and Windows. And if you read the article, he clearly states why he did not like Windows. Therefore, the only thing that's left for him is MacOSX.
Not everyone has the same needs in the desktop, but I fully understand Scot in his choice knowing his likes and dislikes in a desktop.
I installed FreeBSD the other day over here and I am overly impressed, but it remains a unix (and a very good one). I am not going to pretend that its suitable for a desktop, because for MY needs, is not. But FreeBSD makes an excellent server, an excellent firewall, and so on. But desktop? Not even Linux is a great desktop for me. I just don't like X and I don't like all these windowing environments that each one has its own look and feel with no consistency between them. Each tool is good for a specific job, not for all jobs. FreeBSD is a GOOD unix (with all the good and bad things a unix brings). And it ends there.

Expensive Machines + Linux....
by Larry White on Tue 18th Dec 2001 19:22 UTC

IMHO (what a joke ;-)) Apple's desktops are obscenely priced, but that is not their desirable hardware - the Ti book is the machine to buy, and it fares quite well with the competition...

As far as Apple going under, who cares? You can load Linux on a Ti book too. But, seriously if a box lasts me two years, that is all I want... Computers are commodities, in two years max, I buy another one.

My undervalued $0.02 CAD.

Problems with the Creator attribute?
by Travis Butler on Tue 18th Dec 2001 19:48 UTC

While I think much of this article makes sense, he completely misses the boat on OS X's application binding philosophy. It is a mess, but a mess for precisely the opposite reason -- it doesn't respect the Type/Creator information <EM>enough</EM>.

The overarching problem is that there are many extremely common file types -- TEXT, JPEG, TIFF, HTML, and more -- that can be read natively in more than one application... where those different applications can do very different things with the files, making it advantageous to open some files of that type in one application, and other files of that type in a second application, <STRONG>by default</STRONG>.

Take one of my standard examples: a natural-media painting application like Fractal Design's Painter, vs. Photoshop. Both work with TIFF files -- but Photoshop does a far better job than Painter when working with scanned images, while Painter excels at natural-media effects that are clunky in Photoshop. Doesn't it make sense to open TIFF scans in Photoshop by default, and TIFF paintings in Painter by default?

Yet this isn't possible in a system that only pays attention to the file type, with one default application to handle each file type. OS X does let you specify a preferred application manually, on a file-by-file basis, and it's thus possible to manually create the above behavior -- but only with a lot of tedious mucking about.

The only other way to handle this with just file types is to make scanned image TIFFs a different file type than painting TIFFs... which is just silly, since the underlying format is identical. In normal use, this method eliminates most of the reasons for using a standard file format in the first place! (What's the point in the application saving it in TIFF format if the OS file typing doesn't let other TIFF-reading applications recognize it as a TIFF file? You can manually override the OS file typing, but if you're always doing this, why bother to have the OS do file typing in the first place?)

Compare the behavior in classic MacOS: Use a Photoshop scanner plug-in to capture the image, save it, it's given the Photoshop Creator signature and will open automatically in Photoshop from now on. Start an original painting in Painter, save it, it's given the Painter Creator signature and will open in Painter by default.

HTML files are an even better example in many ways. HTML files are really just plain text files with formatting codes, and should be recognized as such by any text editor... but if you only use the brain-dead .htm file extension to classify it as an HTML file, text editors will have to either ignore or special-case it to recognize it. MIME types let you give an additional layer of definition, so that a file can be recognized as both types... but that still doesn't fix the problem where you want to open some files of that type in one application and others in another. Web pages you save for later reading/reference would preferably open in a web browser, web pages you're editing would preferably open in your HTML editor... but again, you can't do that if you're only relying on file type, unless you do something ridiculous and define them as two separate file types, despite containing identical data formats.

To sum up: file type metadata should only be used to describe the format of data in a file -- not to play Mickey-Mouse games about what application should be used when you try to open a file. The preferred application for opening a particular file is an independent piece of data from the file's type, and should be stored separately. Every application should set this information when it saves a file; file-transfer applications like web browsers and FTP software can use a system-wide default list, native applications can use their own information or specify another application instead, according to the user's preferences. The OS could be set to ignore this information when handling application binding, for those who want a single application to open all files of a given type -- but this information <STRONG>needs</STRONG> to be there for those who want to be able to open files of the same type in different applications by default, as we've been able to do with classic MacOS since 1984.

macbashing hacker
by mwine on Tue 18th Dec 2001 19:50 UTC

Awww. That's OK. Even the "mac faithful" bash some aspect of Apple from time to time.

To rebutt a previous comment about spending 10,000 dollars on software if you buy apple, uh,.. Don't think so. You, of course, can if you wish ;-)

by Voline on Tue 18th Dec 2001 19:56 UTC

Just for the record: I’m using a an XLR8 two-button plus scroll wheel mouse on my mac right now. Right button set to give contextual menus like in Windoze (or control+click on Macs), scroll wheel works well. The mouse was $25. No big deal.

Nice article, Scott. I hope Apple adopts a lot from the BeOS File System for lather versions of OS >X.

Converting to BeOS...
by Nick on Tue 18th Dec 2001 20:09 UTC

As a Macuser who's worked with windows for more than six years, I can only agree with almost any word of this article. I once tried the BeOS myself, rather out of curiosity rather then out of real need. Unfortunatly, I found it to be incompatible to my graphics card and thus I had no choice but to delete it from my harddrive.

Now that I've read this article I'm really sad to see that all the great inventions and features of the BeOS which I didn't even know about are exactly what I want to see in Mac OS X. But I won't. That's why I deeply regret not being able to use Be OS as my operating system of choice since the author pointed out many disadvantages of the OS (mainly hardware incompatibility - I'd simply like to avoid having to throw away my two G3 PowerBooks but also sub standard webbrowsers) which make it almost unusuable for me.

As I've previously stated, I've been working with windows for a long while. After all that time, I found that I'd no longer go on working with a system that couldn't be farer away from the "promised land" type of OS that I was searching for. I tested Linux but declared it unusuable (at least for me) within the first week. So I went out and bought a Mac, hoping to find what I'd been searching for. At first, it seemed like I did. I was absolutely happy with what OS 9 could offer in terms of user experience, ease of use and flexibility. Stability on the other hand, was a different subject - I never liked this topic being talked about in the vicinity of windows-users since OS 9 was way worse than its reputation of an almost absolutely "crash-resisting" system.

Now that OS X is out, I find myself very very sceptic towards the system. I've had it on my harddrive three or four times since Apple released it (even tested the newest 10.1.1 version) but always wiped it out shortly after playing around with it a little. It simply does not satisfy me. I have to admit that it's beatiful (in some ways - I'm one of those who prefer the platinum-look of OS 9 over the aqua-look of OS X) and has major advantages over windows which is why I'm still a macuser. But after reading this text that showed me how much more (and less) the Be OS can do, this makes me wonder whether there'll ever be a system I'd really like to use.

I'd love to have a system that is exactly like the BeOS: booting up fast, being fast, small and stable, having rich media-capabilities. And it really hurts to see that the BeOS which could have been this system is almost dead now (Bought by sony who're only interested in the BeIA technologies if I'm not mistaken?) and thus no longer an alternative.

Damnit, I didn't even know I was still seriously searching for an alternative before reading this text...

Why haven't I EVER heard similar comments about SGI MIPSs, Sun UltraSPARCs, DEC Alphas (good ol' times...), et cetera?

Bad excuses, as always. Fine, you're not locked to a single hardware vendor, you have the choice of getting similar components from a myriad of vendors. Great. Smart, huh? Still, you're only choosing what will drive your Pentium/Athlon iron. Impressive, huh?

And I can't understand the Creative Labs zealots. Their cards *suck*. Do yourself a favor and get some Voyetra Turtle Beach products.

Why are you being so picky about Apple hardware? You have quality parts (and they ARE replaceable in case of manufacturing problems), you can buy other vendor's RAM, and the same goes to graphic cards, sound cards, video capture/TV tuners, joystick/pads, professional MIDI HW, Firewire drives and DV cams, USB web/cams, removable drives... The list goes on. Lots of these are possible without 3rd-party add-ons. You GET what you're paying for.

But, personally, I'm looking forward to PowerMac G5 64-bit, with HyperTransport bus (or this other technology Motorola is developing), DDR RAM and 4th generation 3D card. I don't care if it's expensive, it's going to be my desktop machine for the upcoming decade anyway.

Mac OS X can't be compared to BeOS. Unfortunately, their models are simply different. But remember, Mac OS X's underpinnings is nothing but a slightly modified FreeBSD 3.2. Jordan Hubbard is now at Apple. Things WILL change. For the better.

Minor update to last comment...
by Travis Butler on Tue 18th Dec 2001 20:17 UTC

One minor clarification of behavior under classic MacOS:

> Compare the behavior in classic MacOS: Use a Photoshop scanner plug-in
> to capture the image, save it, it's given the Photoshop Creator
> signature and will open automatically in Photoshop from now on. Start
> an original painting in Painter, save it, it's given the Painter
> Creator signature and will open in Painter by default.

Or, for a case where you change the preferred application: Want a pencil sketch as the basis of a Painter painting? Scan a pencil sketch in Photoshop, save it as a TIFF file, it's given the Photoshop Creator signature. Now go into Painter, and go to Open -- because its file type is TIFF, that file shows in Painter's Open dialog. Open the file, do some work on turning it into a painting, choose Save As -- and the file is now saved with Painter's Creator signature, and will open in Painter by default. Simple and clean.

Where are my translators?
by stew on Tue 18th Dec 2001 20:41 UTC

This is a question I ask myself on every OS except AmigaOS and BeOS. Why was no one else smart enough to pick up that flexible concept? Together with smart filetyping a la BeOS it'd be an excellent addition to OS X.

Tit for Tat!
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Dec 2001 20:52 UTC

>>I've had it with proprietary operating systems and endless upgrade cycles -- disadvantages OS X and Windows share. (And at least with Windows you aren't locked into one hardware manufacturer.) <<

No... your just locked in with one software manufacturer :-)

When buying a PC (unless you build your own) you get Windows, unless you buy from IBM, who is on the Linux kick at the moment!

This goes both ways!

by the doctor on Tue 18th Dec 2001 21:35 UTC

this article is very interesting, however, the 50 out of 110 posts that contain "Windoze" instead of "Windows" is not. Whats with that anyway? Just for that, i'm going to start calling "Linux", "L33tnux" instead. ;)

BeOS may you rest in peace and pull a jesus sometime soon.

DNS/network issues at boot
by pecos bill on Tue 18th Dec 2001 21:42 UTC

OX X v10.1.1 has problems with the network when everything is not working perfectly. If the DNS goes down or your network settings are not valid yet you have an ethernet link, you will have to sit through a lot of time-outs. BUT, the simple solution around this is to unplug your network connection. If it can't see a link, it doesn't try to use that network. This is only a problem at system boot and any time you try to authenticate (log in, clicking a lock icon, etc). Hope this helps.

by johnG on Tue 18th Dec 2001 21:58 UTC

A really good read:
http://bang.dhs.org/be/beginning.html

Note that it's pre-OSX though.

MInor Quibble with article: NOT locked
by pecos bill on Tue 18th Dec 2001 22:15 UTC

On Page 7, the caption to the iTunes photo states that you are locked to a MP3 player (iTunes). That's totally untrue. Anything (CLI/GUI) that can execute on the box can play music. This is proven by the image on page 4. You have Audion running, which is an MP3 player as well.

I do find it scary that Apple is following in MS footsteps by bundling applications with the OS that potentially could hurt competition and selection. They're doing so with iTunes, iDVD, and iMovie. One could look at it is as a must in order to compete with what Microsoft is doing, though.

Just as a note, AppleScript is just one language that complies with Apple's Open Scripting Architecture (OSA). You can plug in other languages, and now that OS X is out, I'd expect more languages be adapted to work. You should also be able to mix and match languages and syntax to some extent.

One example is the JavaScript OSA component from Late Night Software (www.latenightsw.com). Also, UserLand Frontier (with its UserTalk language; www.userland.com) can run on Mac OS X now, as well. I know Apple has put some effort into Tcl/Tk, but I don't know if that will work as an OSA component. I expect more to follow these examples.

OSA-compliant languages send Apple events to applications to command/control them. This sounds similar to the situation in BeOS with BMessages, although I only used BeOS in passing. Apple events can be sent locally on a system, or remotely over AppleTalk or TCP/IP networks (assuming you've enable the appropriate network sharing features; they're not on by default).

Take a look at the "osascript" and "osalang" commands in OS X's Terminal.app; they have man pages, too.

File systems supported
by Jeremy Reichman on Tue 18th Dec 2001 22:28 UTC

Looking through the kernel extensions for the supported file systems (/System/Extensions/), I can reasonably say that OS X 10.1.1 supports:

- CD digital audio (CDDA)
- MS-DOS (which I guess we can assume is FAT16 and/or FAT32)
- SMB
- WebDAV

I'll assume that HFS, HFS+, ISO 9660, UFS, AFP (Apple Filing Protocol, for network share points) are supported elsewhere in the OS. Because they have all worked for me, or reportedly worked for others.

Sherlock searches and indexing
by Jeremy Reichman on Tue 18th Dec 2001 22:37 UTC

Up through Mac OS 9.x, Sherlock would only index the drive if it needed to search the contents of files. I'm not sure if this is still the case in Sherlock 3 in Mac OS X, but it stands to reason. Prior to OS X, Sherlock could be told to do on a schedule -- but never in idle time, sadly.

In Mac OS 9, Sherlock could find any type of file: you could search by creator code (which despite Scot's dislike, is useful to people), file type, or any number of other file system flags. This is still somewhat true in OS X, but doesn't return results as reliably, in my experience. If you were searching solely by filename extension, you could search for files whose names end in a certain extension. All of these require a custom search, which became harder to perform (less apparent in the GUI) when Apple switched to the brushed-aluminum look for Sherlock 2.

Custom searches could be performed on the creator code and file type meta data (among others) by dragging an example file into the custom search window. The example file's attributes would be used, but could be modified (or turned off/on) before you actually performed the search.

Those search criteria (custom or otherwise) could be saved in the older versions of Sherlock and peformed again later. This feature is still in Sherlock 3 in OS X.

Sherlock has limited abilities to search through contents of files. This allowed text searches through data forks before, and thus did limited text searches on some kinds of files (like MS Word). PDFs could also be indexed, but apparently only up through the PDF 1.1. or 1.2 spec.

Earlier versions of Mac OS X reportedly had an iTunes-like search box in the Finder windows. Since iTunes and Mail share this, and I use it a lot, I'd love to see it return to the Finder for quicker searches on the contents of a particular window.

Hey, OpinonBoy
by pecos bill on Tue 18th Dec 2001 23:51 UTC

Please clarify:
Their hideous marketing, their userbase, their image

Such as?

As for the article, I'm glad I've finally made it to the hard critique section. As a fan of the Mac, the adoption of the Windows extensions and lack of decent metadata is infuriating. I think the metaphorical mud is more akin to shit. I also agree with the application binding though I like having the option to send certain files (like html) to the creator and drag and drop them onto other applications (like a browser). I agree that I don't want a classic app getting in my face when I receive files from someone else, though.

What if Palm announces a PalmDesktop OS next year?
by yc on Wed 19th Dec 2001 00:14 UTC

Are BeOS developers/refugees really suppose to flock to the Mac or Windows?
Windows Perhaps but not the Mac. A PalmDesktop OS is more likely to run on x86 than on PowerMacs (IMHO)

Considering how Microsoft is challenging Palm in the Handheld/Enterprise market, does it not make sense for Palm to avoid getting distracted by the desktop until it secures it's crown jewel handheld OS market?

1. Note that since MSFT remedies are not yet in effect, OEMs would still not Be able to install a PalmDesktop OS on x86.

2. Even if Palm was working on a desktop OS (which I don't think they are) Would it Be wise to announce it? As it would make them look as if they are not focused on their crown jewel handheld market. How would Wall Street feel about that?

3. What if in February, after securing the crown jewel handheld OS they announce a PalmDesktop OS as a development platform for the handheld OS? Considering that Microsoft remedies may Be in effect by let's say end of March, would it not make sense for Palm to then probe OEMs to see if there is interest in licensing a PalmDesktop OS?

Thoughts?

ciao
yc

DAVE doesn't drop 'dotfiles'
by Randy Boring on Wed 19th Dec 2001 00:27 UTC

you (rightly) complain:
>I love the Samba connectivity in OS X, but am frustrated that the Finder creates .dotfiles in every directory it
>touches on the remote SMB host. This, unfortunately, puts OS X users in the uncomfortable position of not being
>able to use their Macs on work and school networks without littering the directory listings for others on the
>same network. And I've seen posts from more than one user complaining that their sysadmins wouldn't allow
>them to continue using OS X's SMB tools if they couldn't get this fixed. So far, I haven't seen a fix posted anywhere.
>Let's hope one is forthcoming.

There is. Thursby Software has released DAVE 3.1 for Mac OS X. It doesn't drop dotfiles all over the place. It supports long filenames and large (>2GB) files. It's easy to use, and you can connect to more than one share at a time.

Yes, I work for Thursby, but that doesn't make the product any worse.

-Randy

Ha
by becky sharp on Wed 19th Dec 2001 03:50 UTC

OS X sounds great, but i can't afford the hardware to go with it, alot of people can't these days, simple economics. and don't talk to me about iMacs, i hate thier small screens, and they're barely upgradeble. maybe if they ever release their OS for PC hardware i'll buy it, but i wouldn't count on them ever releasing it. which is a pity, they'd be able to actually compete with M$ for once rather than just be in the mere nich market that they are now.

I'm a new Mac owner too.
by Captain Haddock on Wed 19th Dec 2001 04:50 UTC

Reading the article reminded me of when I was first exposed to Mac OS X and got excited that it had things that I miss from my Amiga.
I had two Amigas from the late '80s until 3 years ago when I got an iMac. It was nice to have a large selection of software to choose from that was still being supported. But it didn't multi-task as well and I couldn't do cool things like run the Workbench (Finder) in french or Spanish for awhile just to be neat. It used extensions instead of libraries that had to be launched at bootup. Also I and most Amigans I knew were running a 3rd party "Dock", an idea taken from NeXT.
OS X had these things I missed. Pre-emptive multitasking, on the fly language switching, libraries instead of extensions, a dock, and most importantly a company that actually cared enough to market it unlike Commodore.
I mentioned my excitement about these aspects to my Mac friends and they didn't see why anyone would want those things. I think I still am the only one I know out of my friends who is running OS X. I think by next year they'll have switched though. Not for the reasons that I did though.
It is slow. AmigaDOS seemed only a bit slower in some respects at 14Mhz as this 333Mhz iMac. Here's hoping that the next update is faster.

BFS: File System as database
by Paul on Wed 19th Dec 2001 05:18 UTC

The file system on ANY OS is really a database. It just took Be to realize it!

I'm a MacOS 9.1 user, waiting for the right time to migrate to X. But the metadata capabilities of BeOS have me screaming! Do you realize the possibilities of BFS-type structures?

I hate EVERY address book I've ever used. Why? Because I'm stuck with using the addresses in that one app. What's the point? My address book should be integrated into my filesystem. All apps can use the various attributes in ways I decide. Same with email. And my MP3s, searchable by new fields I create, in any app? Sweet!

Then there's the next step. OS-level support for XNS - http://www.xns.org/ I would NEVER have to update a friends address again! I'm waiting.

BFS: File System as database
by Paul on Wed 19th Dec 2001 05:18 UTC

The file system on ANY OS is really a database. It just took Be to realize it!

I'm a MacOS 9.1 user, waiting for the right time to migrate to X. But the metadata capabilities of BeOS have me screaming! Do you realize the possibilities of BFS-type structures?

I hate EVERY address book I've ever used. Why? Because I'm stuck with using the addresses in that one app. What's the point? My address book should be integrated into my filesystem. All apps can use the various attributes in ways I decide. Same with email. And my MP3s, searchable by new fields I create, in any app? Sweet!

Then there's the next step. OS-level support for XNS - http://www.xns.org/ I would NEVER have to update a friends address again! I'm waiting.

My $.02
by Mystic TaCo (aka [fungi]) on Wed 19th Dec 2001 06:46 UTC

<u>The Beef; My $.02</u>

A couple weeks ago my lone Apple friend finally upgraded his iMac to OS X. To put it simply, I was *stunned* by the UI. I am a big UI freak, and I always have been.

I grew up on the desktop. Our first GUI machine was an Atari 520st. Man, that was the coolest; you could click on folders and they would open... radical. That was also my first exposure to: drag the floppy to the trash to eject. Then it was on up the line. Next machine was a IIsi, my dad got a IIci at work, then my friend got a Quadra 700. Now THAT was a *rockin* machine. Anyway, this continued all the way up to my final machine, a UMAX S900/180 (604e).

It came with OS 8.5, bundled on the UMAX install CD (since the MacOS cd wouldn't boot in my computer due to lack of hardware support). This was my first real play-around machine. It had MkLinux, BeOS PR1, OS 8.5, and I even tried to get LinuxPPC installed (though it didn't work right, XServer didn't like my 4MB frame buffer).

Then Apple dropped support for my machine. I can't tell you how upset that made me. I left the platform in search of alternatives: SunOS, Solaris, HP-UX, IRIX, OpenBSD, NetBSD, ... the list continues. All this time I was running BeOS on my home machine, but I didn't have ISDN (and there was no DSL or Cable), so I spent most of my time at the University. I loved using Be. It was fast, easy to use, and all around had good karma. Then Be dumped me too. They went off to the x86, and then lots of the new cool little apps weren't available for the Mac version anymore. At that point I pretty much dumped my computer. I was heartbroken.

In the mean time, I use Windows at work, and from time to time encounter some alternative os or another. To be honest, the world of computer using had turned bland to me. Sure, you could get a box to do what you needed it to do, but it just wasn't fun anymore.

Then my friend Chris installed OS X. Now I have a new mission, I must get an OSX capable laptop! I agree 100% with Scot Hacker's view of OS X; it is the corporately funded and supported alternative to BeOS that I have been waiting for for all these years. It has the elegant feel of Be, coupled with the can't do without power of a Unix box. Sure there are areas to improve upon, but with the foundation Apple is working from, I don't see how they can go anywhere but up (speaking from an engineering standpoint, not a marketing standpoint; I've seen them mess that up to often).

Well, that's all I really wanted to say. If you are interested, I also have some feedback from other posts below.

<u>Responses:</u>
I've never used an OS that was as keyboardable as Windows, and have never understood why it's so hard for other OSes to catch up with Windows here.

Actually, this is a big requirement for Windows. It turns out that one of Microsoft's largest customers requires this functionality for accesibility of the physically handicapped.


OpinionBoy


Doing so would make *me* feel dirty. Their hideous marketing, their userbase, their image....I guess it just isn't me ...->... but hell, I admit it, I'm spoiled with software and cheap hardware and utmost flexibility when choosing components, and I ain't turning away from it all for OSX


I believe I remember that you are a pretty anti-Microsoft guy right? Who do you think made it possible for you to have such a wide variety of cheap hardware available for the x86? And yet after all that you still feel cleaner using the x86 hardware than the Apple hardware?


mac diesel

I would boot to it from a zip disk and it would run circles around my Mac OS at the time, nice.


Oooooh yeah! I remember that. That was the best! BeOS was a SCREAMER on my Umax S900/180 (604e).

Michel Clasquin
Apple was close to bankruptcy not so long ago and had to be bailed out by Microsoft, remember?


This is ludicrous. Microsoft gave Apple $150M. Apple is a 8B/yr company. That is a 5.3% boost, hardly the difference between bankrupcy and success. Apple is 1/2 as large as Microsoft, the largest software company in the world; and they sold more computers than any other single computer seller in the world last XMas season. Get your numbers straight before you start spouting about the financial demise of Fortune 500 companies.

tim covell
Everything in his "The Bad and The Ugly" totally destroys Mac OS X
for me. I'll put it in simpler terms, the IQ of the OS is measured
by the number of buttons on the mouse. MacOS has 1. Windows 2+wheel,
Unix 3 + wheel. So, Unix/Linux is the smartest.


Where do you folks get your ideas? My trackball on my XP machine has browser back, browser forward, left, middle, right, and wheel. Does that make it superior to your Unix machine?? Apple needs to start shipping macs with at least 2 buttons, no argument there; but the button count has *<u>nothing</u>* to do with the quality of the operating system. Jeesh. BTW: my 5 button + wheel mouse will work on MacOS too (os X driver still in development).

I know this was already said, but I thought in this case we could use a reiteration.

lsof

As I understand it, Darwin is the underlying OS and is itself based on FreeBSD...


FreeBSD is an x86 thing. Darwin is decidedly NOT based on FreeBSD. The core of OSX is based on the sources for the Berkley Standard Distribution of Unix though, just like FreeBSD. I assume this is what you mean. And yes, there should be lots of OpenSource code that will compile and run on OSX without a tremendous amount of effort.

AriB
I might consider a mac if it came with a card with an athlon or pentium so that I can run PC apps natively but again this costs serious money (if it even existed!)


<a href="http://www.orangemicro.com/opc660.html">Discontinued...</a&g... but no reason to think there might not be an alternative soon (or now!).

Richard

Putting ME on it, (place flak here);


Flak, Flak, Flak; no really. ME is slow, and very very buggy. Give XP a go. If you think it is too pricey, send me an email and I'll see what I can do. I can't guarantee the same level of device support, but it will be MUCH more stable.

rain

If windows can get by with all it's bugs and badly written code...


How can you be so sure it is badly written? Have you seen it?

AlienSoldier

before talking about BeOS speed problem take at least the decency to compare it on a PC that is 100% working with it. If you have skiping sound under BeOS your sound card is just not well supported.


Why? People don't seem to be willing to do this with WinXP.

RX And you really think that MacOSX is great...

Thanks for your comment. I don't think many of us have experience directly with NeXT; and it is always valuable to have a comparison of numbers.

Lionel Costa
- I can connect 2 screens on my Laptop and so have the original 1024x768 screen + external VGA 1280x1024 screen side by side thus I have a terminal, IE, Word, Excel, VirtualPC with Win2K (for Oracle tools), iTunes, BBEdit all open at once.
...
- I have some of the best developper tools GIVEN by Apple (YES IT'S FREE)!!! And these help me do awesome tools in a matter of minutes.


Win2K/XP does this too. The reason your friends can't do it on their laptops is that their graphics cards do not support it. The best kept secret at Microsoft: internal Microsoft employees all use multi-mon support in Win2K/XP to have 2 or 3 monitors on their desktop machines. In fact, I'm even using multi-mon on my home machine.

As for the dev tools, both the Windows and .NET SDKs are available online at http://www.msdn.microsoft.com.

home + end is easier?
by Sin on Wed 19th Dec 2001 08:38 UTC

I'm sorry S. Hacker, but I don't agree with your complaint about home+end at all.
As long as you're going to adopt the o.s. you may as well... err LOL
I find it so much easier just moving a finger to option and hitting left/right since my right hand is already on the arrows - plus it doubly make more since then moving the right hand and looking to find home or end and then moving it again and having to look for the arrows. Also it makes more sense to have home and end function as they do since they are right next to the pageup/pagedown; typically what you would use and when you would need them if you are using those buttons. In the end it improves productivity anyway.

Any Mac users still here?
by Pouier on Wed 19th Dec 2001 12:50 UTC

If there are any Mac OS X users still here, please could you answer these questions:

1] Judging by the comments on this messageboard, some Mac users didn't know about pressing COMMAND and O to open a file, as Scot has pointed out in his article. So I am wondering... does Mac OS X ship with a printed manual that details all this stuff, or does it have an online manual in .pdf for example, or worst case senario - do you have to figure it all out by yourself, using articles and stuff on the internet?

2] How are apps installed? In Windows, when installing programs, they spray .dll files all over the place, and leave files in the Windows and System directory. I think I read that with the Mac, all the data for an app is in one file - so for example, when installing an App, it is just one icon, and you copy it to where-ever you want, and you just click on the icon to run it. And if you want to uninstall it, you just delete the icon. Is this right? I think it is called application bundling or something?

3] Is it possible to install Mac OS X without DVD and iTunes and all the other software that Apple bundles with it? And, if I by a computer with Mac OS X preinstalled, is there a way to 'uninstall' these apps? Is there an 'Add/Remove' Control Panel like in Windows?

4] I'm not sure that I understood fully Scots comments about application 'linking' - opening files in the apps they are created with, instead of one app for one filetype. I like the way Windows and BeOS do this - but judging from the comments above, it seems some people prefer the way it is now. Is there a way of 'turing this off', and having all files of a certain type open in a certain app, regardless of what they were created in?

Thanks for your help!

by johnG on Wed 19th Dec 2001 14:38 UTC

Wow, this thread really filled up with comments fast...

One thing that I haven't heard mentioned much though is programming OSX. From what I understand, if you want to create gui apps for OSX, it's objective-C. Supposedly there's java support too but I don't know how complete that support is for Cocoa. Erm.. yeah, I guess you could use straight C too. But no C++.

I use some C++ at work. I'm pretty good at it and I like it well enough. I learned java a little while back because it looked so pure, and (in my naivete) I thought it would be a/the-next great language for desktop apps. Ahem. So now I'm supposed to take Apple's word for it and spend my evenings learning objective-C and Cocoa? Pull another "java" as-it-were? I'll pass, thanks.

I've been a Macintosh fan since 1984 when Macs were first introduced. I've always enjoy a reasoned comparison of the Mac to any platform. Personally my favorite OS is OpenVMS (it ain't no desktop OS!) which I still currently administor serveral Alpha boxes. I also have been thrust into NT/2K management. It's just hard to have fun with MS stuff. It gets the job done and we have many NT/2K servers that I manage and have no stability problems whatsoever. Rumors of NT/2K stability problems are highly over-rated. I'd put the stability of our Win boxes up anyday against Linux or unix or even OpenVMS (they would lose against OpenVMS but just barely). I would never put NT/2K up against any platform for security however. However, there is a lot to gripe about too but I won't get into that here.

Even though I'm an "IT professional" (wince) I choose to run Mac OS at home. Alway have and probably always will. I slave over computers all day I don't want to have to do that at home too! I want something that just works. And the Mac has always filled that bill for me. I've never remember wanting to do anything with the Mac OS that I couldn't do. I'm not saying nothing else works it just that the Mac has always been 90% pleasure to use. The only other platform that beats it IMO is OpenVMS it's always been a 99% pleasure to use as a server OS.

I put PPC-Linux on my Mac once. But I could tell that it wasn't for me. Although I've used unix boxes in the past I've never managed one and was scared to death about security (ironic huh? or should I say laughavle given that I manage win boxes.) It's just that I felt insecure because I'm totally ignorant of managing unix boxes not that I see any deficiencies.

I must say I love Mac OS X 10.1 and look forward to learning much more about unix-like OSes because of it. It'll be a plus for me all around.

Re: Any Mac users still here?, and Re: johnG
by meianoite on Wed 19th Dec 2001 15:21 UTC

Pouier
"If there are any Mac OS X users still here, please could you answer these questions:
1] Judging by the comments on this messageboard, some Mac users didn't know about pressing COMMAND and O to open a file, as Scot has pointed out in his article. So I am wondering... does Mac OS X ship with a printed manual that details all this stuff, or does it have an online manual in .pdf for example, or worst case senario - do you have to figure it all out by yourself, using articles and stuff on the internet?"

I have no idea. I don't own Mac OS X, I only saw it running on a friend's machine.

"2] How are apps installed? In Windows, when installing programs, they spray .dll files all over the place, and leave files in the Windows and System directory. I think I read that with the Mac, all the data for an app is in one file - so for example, when installing an App, it is just one icon, and you copy it to where-ever you want, and you just click on the icon to run it. And if you want to uninstall it, you just delete the icon. Is this right? I think it is called application bundling or something?"

This is indeed true on Mac OS X. Mac OS 9 introduced the "application packages", which is nothing but a folder (directory) containing an alias to the main application and a special status bit. When you double click this package, the application is launched and accesses its data contained in the package. You can look what's inside if you go to the command line, but the GUI hides these internals from the "joe" user. Thank God =)

"3] Is it possible to install Mac OS X without DVD and iTunes and all the other software that Apple bundles with it? And, if I by a computer with Mac OS X preinstalled, is there a way to 'uninstall' these apps? Is there an 'Add/Remove' Control Panel like in Windows?"

I think you can choose what to install (I'm not sure), and of course you can uninstall these: Trash them.

"4] I'm not sure that I understood fully Scots comments about application 'linking' - opening files in the apps they are created with, instead of one app for one filetype. I like the way Windows and BeOS do this - but judging from the comments above, it seems some people prefer the way it is now. Is there a way of 'turing this off', and having all files of a certain type open in a certain app, regardless of what they were created in?"

This was already discussed in this very own messageboard.

"Thanks for your help!"

N/P =)

johnG:
"Wow, this thread really filled up with comments fast..."

Indeed...

"One thing that I haven't heard mentioned much though is programming OSX. From what I understand, if you want to create gui apps for OSX, it's objective-C. Supposedly there's java support too but I don't know how complete that support is for Cocoa. Erm.. yeah, I guess you could use straight C too. But no C++."

Not true. The compiler is no other than our beloved GCC. Maybe (and this is a BIG maybe, because again I have no extensive Mac OS X experience) the Interface Builder doesn't make C++ code, but you surely can program in C++. If not using Apple's tools, by using Metrowerks tools.

"I use some C++ at work. I'm pretty good at it and I like it well enough. I learned java a little while back because it looked so pure, and (in my naivete) I thought it would be a/the-next great language for desktop apps. Ahem. So now I'm supposed to take Apple's word for it and spend my evenings learning objective-C and Cocoa? Pull another "java" as-it-were? I'll pass, thanks."

Objective-C is MUCH older than Java, and, IMHO, just as easy (and "pure"). Objective-C was one of the BEST things about NeXTSTEP. Cocoa is pretty intuitive as well. Anyway, it won't hurt to learn another programming language, specially a good, elegant, simple and powerful one.

Just my 2 pennies.

RE: Any Mac users still here?
by MacMike on Wed 19th Dec 2001 15:48 UTC

[/i]1] Judging by the comments on this messageboard, some Mac users didn't know about pressing COMMAND and O to open a file, as Scot has pointed out in his article. So I am wondering... does Mac OS X ship with a printed manual that details all this stuff, or does it have an online manual in .pdf for example, or worst case senario - do you have to figure it all out by yourself, using articles and stuff on the internet?[/i]

The Mac doesn't come and has never came with printed material that was worth what Apple paid to have it printed. There are of course lots of stuff available on web sites to fit the bill.

[/i]2] How are apps installed? In Windows, when installing programs, they spray .dll files all over the place, and leave files in the Windows and System directory. I think I read that with the Mac, all the data for an app is in one file - so for example, when installing an App, it is just one icon, and you copy it to where-ever you want, and you just click on the icon to run it. And if you want to uninstall it, you just delete the icon. Is this right? I think it is called application bundling or something?[/i]

It varies. Usually there are installers such as Installer VISE that vendors write scripts for. But there are some apps you can just drag over to where ever you want. The entire MS suite of software is like this. Just drag it from CD and launch it. If you delete any critical part of the MS stuff it will reinstall it when you launch the app the next time. That feature costs a little disk space however. Many many apps are just a single icon and you can treat them just a any other file when copying to your machine or deleting them. You can delete any application just by dragging it to the trash and it won't affect the stability of your machine. No DLLs but there are library files that some apps install into the system folder and if you delete those willy nilly you'll probably render your app unstable or useless. MS self repairing apps excluded of course.

[/i]3] Is it possible to install Mac OS X without DVD and iTunes and all the other software that Apple bundles with it? And, if I by a computer with Mac OS X preinstalled, is there a way to 'uninstall' these apps? Is there an 'Add/Remove' Control Panel like in Windows?[/i]

Mac OS 10.1 comes with iDVD and iTunes. Just drag them to the trash and your done. But why would you want to do this if you have enough disk space? I guess because you have other apps that do what you like better?

[/i]4] I'm not sure that I understood fully Scots comments about application 'linking' - opening files in the apps they are created with, instead of one app for one filetype. I like the way Windows and BeOS do this - but judging from the comments above, it seems some people prefer the way it is now. Is there a way of 'turing this off', and having all files of a certain type open in a certain app, regardless of what they were created in?[/i]

The Mac OS keeps what is called a "Desktop Database." It's hidden from view and it stores two signatures for every file on the system. Both signatures are up to 4 charters long and case sensitive. The first signature is the file "Type" such as application, text document, jpeg file and on and on the list could go. The second signature is the "Creator" and it is the unique signature of the application that created the document. Whenever you try to open a document just by double-clicking it or using the command-O keyboard shortcut it will look in its desktop db for the application that contains that signature and lauch that application and then use interprocess communication to tell that application to open the document that you requested. The same is true if you tell the OS to print a document. It looks up the application, launches it, tells it to open the document, then tells it to print the document. If the application is already open just sends that app the appropriate messages. In Mac OS you cannot have more than one instance of an app.

[/i]Thanks for your help![/i]

You're welcome!

by johnG on Wed 19th Dec 2001 19:22 UTC

meianoite:
> The compiler is no other than our beloved GCC. Maybe (and this is a BIG
> maybe, because again I have no extensive Mac OS X experience) the Interface
> Builder doesn't make C++ code, but you surely can program in C++. If not
> using Apple's tools, by using Metrowerks tools.

Interesting. I wonder though if you can make use of Cocoa from within your c++ source...(?)

Is Metrowerks providing a way to do this?

> Anyway, it won't hurt to learn another programming language, specially a
> good, elegant, simple and powerful one.

Not so sure about that one tho. It would take me away from learning more c++ and (considering my tiny brain) likely make me lose some familiarity with c++ in the process. Also, many larger opensource projects I'd like to soon contribute to are all done in c++.

I don't particularly like the argument (that others, elsewhere, have made), "oh relax, it's just another programming language and another api (Cocoa) -- a good programmer can pick them up rather quickly". It takes time ( == $ ) to get up to speed on the platform, the dev tools (unless you're using the gnu tools on OSX), the mailing lists & message boards. It takes $ to get the new hardware. It's a bit of a "mind-set" shift if you ask me.

And besides those immediate costs, what if Steve Jobs decides to have a "focus shift"? Apple will, of course, do whatever it thinks will increase its stockholders return on investment (man, I heard JLG say stuff like that so many times it makes me want to barf). Does that include making life good for OSX developers? Making it easier to multi-boot? Continuing support for open standards? Well, I'm getting into territory I'm not too familiar with so I'll stop now. ;)

Scott, thanks for your great write-up of your experiences with OS X. It may be enough to convince me to fork over the dough and join the future... and then again, it may not... at least not yet. For I am in that group of vocal naysayers, not because the underbelly is Unix, but because I, like millions of other Mac users, didn't get an invite to the party: our hardware isn't fast enough to run the resource hog that has been sent out to the world. It goes back to your first and foremost complaint about OS X, namely that performance and efficiency are barely acceptable, even on supercomputer hardware. Mac users went through this once before, when Apple made the switch to PowerPC, and I'm not happy to be essentially strong-armed into replacing a perfectly functional piece of hardware. Hardware that in fact Apple said could be updated when I bought it!! It was a selling feature. Paraphrasing what you said, it's galling knowing that an efficient OS could make use of the hardware on 75% of the Mac desktops around the world today.

And because the software follows the OS, I also get to pay for upgrades of every significant application I own. The annoyance and arrogance of this is so great that a dyed-in-the-wool Mac fan like myself, a Mac owner since the days of a Mac Plus, has been considering whether to chuck it all and go Windows. I mean, if I have to buy it all over again from the ground up, why not just submit to the dominant paradigm?

by johnG on Wed 19th Dec 2001 21:47 UTC

Ok, sorry to clog up this place with all my posts but I just had to comment on Kurt's message.

Kurt,
Remember: Apple is a harware company -- that's their bread and butter.
It is currently in their best financial interests to make OSX fairly
fast, but no faster. Not for the time being anyway.

See, that way, folks like you are supposed to say, "Geez, my old G3 just isn't cutting it. I need one of those new spiffy G4's to run OSX!" Boom. Profit for Apple -- the stockholders go wild.

Then, n months from now, after they've gotten their current G3/OS9 customer base to buy the new hardware for OSX, they can *then* start putting engineers to the task of speeding up the OS. You may even be allowed to shut off some of the eye candy at this point to speed the system up. (It's, of course, currently not allowed.)

Then, by improving the speed, all the mac magazine articles can say, "Wow! Look at the amazing gains in performance OSX is making lately! You MS XP people really need to upgrade (from XP to OSX) now!".

Now comes the 2nd inflow of G4 (5?) customers -- converts from XP. Boom. Again the stockholders are making money.

I love it when a plan comes together.
---Hannibal Smith

by Matthew on Wed 19th Dec 2001 21:59 UTC

"and not just everyone, but the author of the 'BeOS Bible' book"

Don't you mean "and not just anyone, but the author of the 'BeOS Bible' book"?

Re: Matthew
by Eugenia on Wed 19th Dec 2001 22:44 UTC

>Don't you mean "and not just anyone, but the author of the 'BeOS Bible' book"?

Probably. ;)

The world was not ready for BeOS
by Rocky on Wed 19th Dec 2001 23:34 UTC

I consider myself to be close to OS independent, in lack of a better word.
I'm comfortable in any Windows environment, be it 95/98, 2K or XP.
I can sit down in front of just about any flavour of Unix/Linux and within minutes take full use of the power and speed of the command line interface.
I feel confident in the "classic" MacOS environment, from MacOS 7.5.6 and up to the latest version of 9.
I have started to explore and take pleasure in the new MacOS X. It will probably take a few more months before I can consider myself as confident in OS X as I am in most of the other OS's, but Im getting there.
This is probably a sideeffect of my job as a combined techsupport, network technician and Unix admin. I work in a very mixed environment, and encounter all platforms on a daily basis. I just have to know my way around in all of them.

Still, none of the above mentioned will ever be able to compare to BeOS.
In BeOS, I had the easy of use from windows, the slick and fast GUI from Mac, the command line power from Unix/Linux...all combined into one superb OS.
If I could choose the best bits and parts from every OS I have ever worked with and combine it, the result would probably be very similar to what BeOS is (was).
I blame the failure of BeOS not on Be, but on the rest of the world. How users of computers all over the world can let such a truly amazing piece of software silently fade away is beyond me.
Born decades before its time, the world simply wasnt ready for BeOS.

BeOS/MacOS X user
by ChrisPy on Thu 20th Dec 2001 01:23 UTC

I'm still wishing that GoBe would release a Mac OS X version of productive along with their Linux app. It just seems like the ultimate app for me to share between my BeBox (still my main computer) and my laptop (iBook MacOS X). Scot, maybe you can help me convince them about the Mac OS X market =)...probably just kidding myself but oh well.

One thing that I miss from the MacOS X UI is a "right click-move to back" feature. I hate having to go to the dock, right clicking and finding the window title in the pop-up...sigh.

I too found the the speeds in MacOS X 10.1 less then mind blowing. But I'm sure they'll further increase speed as these updates filter out.

Using BeOS is still a real treat even if it doesn't have a modern browser. Most sites I visit are less bells and whistles anyway. I see a bright future for BeOS in my house for many many years without big industry support. It works...it isn't consistently inconsistent, and needs to be patched every month like windows, so I'm happy.

We'll see how some of these initiatives filter out to save BeOS with BlueOS OpenBeOS and BeUnited's effort with obtaining a license from Palm...all efforts are commendable.

I really can relate to your BeOS perspective of MacOS X. It really is the closest thing to what I'm used to. I plan to use both OSes for many years from now =)

Chris

Good documentation
by Adam Masri on Thu 20th Dec 2001 05:10 UTC

If you're really interested in learning more about the internal structure of OS X, I highly recommend Apple's PDF docs.

http://developer.apple.com/techpubs/macosx/Essentials/devessentials...

Check out the System Overview and GUI PDFs. These will give you a great conceptual overview of OS X and how it works.

Responding to an earlier question about how applications are installed in X, the most common way is an application "package." This is simply a directory with the suffix ".app"; the suffix is hidden in the Finder. Therefore, the application "Mail" would show up as a directory named "Mail.app" in tcsh. Application bundles are cool because everything for the app gets installed in that one directory. When it's time to get rid of the app, the user can simply throw the application package (a single icon in the Finder) into the Trash, and instantly throw away everything associated with that application. Much simpler for the user to deal with. This and many other things are discussed in the aforementioned PDFs. Enjoy.

- Adam

by mlk on Thu 20th Dec 2001 06:29 UTC

This is simply a directory with the suffix ".app"
Yuck!, could'nt they of done something like
MIME-type: application/application-directory
(or have MacOS does it, 2x 4char's or what ever. As that is UGLY!)

navigating folders in the finder (osX)
by bec on Thu 20th Dec 2001 06:48 UTC

in the "Miscellaneous Moans and Groans" section, there was a gripe about only being able to open folders in the finder using command-o? Not true. there is also command-arrow combinations, which are more flexible than "enter key opens folder". the up arrow opens the parent folder, down arrow opens the selected folder (or file, for that matter). option-command-downarrow opens the child folder and closes the one you were just in (option key... hold and click hides apps). in list view, the right arrow expands the file (lists it's children, indented, in the current window), and the left arrow disappears the list again. this functionality has been around since at least mac os 7.1 (= and I am only glad it has been carried upwards. I guess I can see how its not something people would find serendipidously.

Cost of Apple
by Robert on Thu 20th Dec 2001 21:16 UTC

Well, it was a good article. For what it's worth to those who post on the high price of Apple hardware; I just bought a PowerMac 7200/120, 64mb RAM, Zip Drive, 4GB HDD for $20. I haven't worked on Macs since my Color Classic and web-server LCII, so I need to see what upgrade options are available. Any advice all?

Keyboard navigation, unfinished OS, speed
by pecos bill on Fri 21st Dec 2001 00:10 UTC

bec stated: "I guess I can see how its not something people would find serendipidously..." referring to keyboard shortcuts. This isn't something Apple has kept secret. I'm on OS 8.6 at work :-P so I can't verify this. But, it should work, I hope. Switch to the Finder and select MacOS Help (cmd-?) and type in keyboard shortcuts. You will (hopefully) be presented with all this and a lot more. Sadly, when Apple shipped v10.0.0 of OS X, help was extremely spartan and missing key info. I think they've improved it since, but still have a long way to go.

As was said elsewhere, this OS is unfinished/incomplete. Heck, the CEO of Apple, old what's his name, said so too. It also needs a lot more speed optimization. I was glad to read that NextStep/OpenStep were fast on slower hardware. That gives me hope that X can be fast some day. It seems to me the PDF engine called Quartz is where the majority of the slowdown is (followed by HD access).

bad code & multiple monitors
by pecos bill on Fri 21st Dec 2001 00:26 UTC

How can you be sure [WIndows} is badly written? Have you seen it

When I have to completely reload my NT machine from scratch and set everything up TWICE, I'd call that badly written. OS X isn't great either, but I have had problems with it that a reinstall over existing fixed in no time. The clincher with that is I did nothing after the install finished and it worked just fine. No app reloads, no recreation of anything. I could never even say that of Classic MacOS. Unfortunately, there are cases where an erase/install is required but even in those cases, everything only needs to be copied back to work. No registry to reconstruct.

2-3 monitors on [Microsoft's] desktop machines
Welcome to 1986. (The Mac II & SE introduced multi-montor support where the only limitation was the number of video cards you could put in.)

Cool Name, Mystic

Keyboard shortcuts, C++, Linking
by pecos bill on Fri 21st Dec 2001 00:58 UTC

S Hacker
home vs cmd-arrow
I have to disagree with you Scot and chime in about a well written article and lament the near loss of BeOS. There's one advantage to having it the way it is not already mentioned. If you are navigating around a text field, it is very handy to have different keys work with the arrows. The arrow hand doesn't have to move to switch from navigating via lines (cmd or ctrl) to navigating by words (opt). As for BeOS, like another I tried it out and barely got it working on my Mac before Apple pulled the plug. I was stunned at how quick it was. I would have bought it if I didn't feel I was dumping my entire investment to buy all new software. And, BFS metadata is the penultimate. OS X Sux and I hope Apple changes it.

John G
So now I'm supposed to take Apple's word for it and spend my evenings learning objective-C and Cocoa?
FWIW, it has been said that a C++ programmer could learn ObjC in about a day or less (3 hours). That does NOT include the different frameworks and other ways of doing things, though so no telling what kind of investment you would make. I would hope you would ask around if the interest ever arises. I've read/seen/heard that coding in the Cocoa environment is outstanding as it is fully OOP and a LOT has been done for you.

Pouier
I'm not sure that I understood fully Scots comments about application 'linking' - opening files in the apps they are created with, instead of one app for one filetype. [...] Is there a way of 'turing this off', and having all files of a certain type open in a certain app, regardless of what they were created in?
The simple point is, how are files linked to applications. When you double click, the OS has to know what program deals with that file and other files. As to how OS X handles it, in theory you can always override the linking to an application by dragging the file onto another application's icon or an alias of an application. If the application can deal with that file type, it will highlight. If you have a folder of aliases to all apps (or they are all in one folder), you can find out what apps will open a type of file very easily. Unfortunately, it is buggy and some apps won't indicate they can open something when they can. There is a provision in Show info to change what app opens a file type on a single file basis or all files for a type. Scot is right on that it should be in preferences, not Show Info. There is so much that OS X could be doing if MIME types were used instead of the dreck it has now. BeOS/BFS sounded great (were there known cases of BFS corruption and was it fixed?).

OS X definately has too many bugs, too, IMO. Rumors have it Apple is reducing the fury to release and is spending more time testing their code now.

Scripting in MacOS
by john on Fri 21st Dec 2001 16:07 UTC

I didn't feel like wading through all of the posts to see if anyone had already mentioned it, but the scriptability of Mac applications is not limited to AppleScript. Apps open their features to scripting through OSA, the Open Scripting Architecture. Any scripting language which can (either natively or through a plugin) access this layer can script the app. Userland software's Frontier is an excellent example. As someone else pointed out, many of the more standard cross platform scripting languages can also be used with varying degrees of success.

Cmd-O/Manual etc.
by john on Fri 21st Dec 2001 16:22 UTC

Several people have mentioned not knowing that Cmd-O opened things and wondered if there were a manual. I saw that several people mentioned that there wasn't and never had been a good manual. While that is not entirely true (some of the first manuals/tutorial apps were fantastic), if you want a good manual you will definitely need to spring for one at your local bookstore.

However, much of the mac is designed so that things are easily enough discoverable and are designed so that you learn as you go along. For instance, all keyboard shortcuts are listed to the right of their menu items. Some other things are not quite so obvious and require either years of mac use (so that you saw the feature introduced) or tip boards/books. One such feature that Scot would probably really enjoy is that all (well designed) mac programs actually _do_ have keyboard accesible buttons. Hold down the command key and you will see the keyboard shortcut displayed on the button. And one very useful keyboard command which works exactly like Ctrl-C is Cmd-. I don't know why apple changed that with the original mac (since apple-IIs used ctrl-c) but it is very ingrained in long time mac users fingers.

Programming Cocoa
by Hank on Fri 21st Dec 2001 17:40 UTC

I'm a Java/C++ programmer who is in the process of learning Cocoa. I've stated this in the past, but figure I'd bring it up here again. I absolutely love Objective-C and the Interface Builder. I'm also especially appreciative of the fact that I can write my Cocoa code in Java if I so choose. The integration between the two has been rather seamless. I haven't written a full-fledge application yet. That is coming shortly, time permitting. However I find the Cocoa/InterfaceBuilder development system to be one of the cleanest GUI building tools I've seen.

I thought mac adicts were bad
by sphilipr on Sat 22nd Dec 2001 07:12 UTC

I am a long time Mac user, I've never used BeOS and cannot and will not just roll over and get buggered by Microsoft. So I must be the guy that several of you keep refering to-that typical sad mac user.

I use a mac 15 hours a day, professionaly, I make art, graphics and web sites on it. I don't really care about 90% the things Scott talks about because it's a machine, there to do a job and because I use it so much how well it does the job really matters. Yes I could use a break on all that power I invested in but Mores Law was invented by a man who owned a Chip company and what else do you think financed the go-go 90's if it wasn't all of us upgrading out hardware every 2 years.

I hate OS X so far, I implemented it on the first day it was out and I'm still using OS 9. Apart from real world software being totally absent from it until recently it is fraught with imperfections. Real world imperfections like no support for my 3rd party ADB card, no support for my color calibration system, no support for my font management software. Because I have a non standard configuration I can't even get on line with it let alone do anything so stupid as to download 35MB of files with a modem.

What really grates with it and what I am gobsmacked at Scott and seemingly everyone elses complete myopia is its rigidity in comparison wirth earlier system releases. You just can't customise it properly. For many years as Apple trotted out one lame idea after another such as the launcher or the keychain but it was possible to turn the things off and ignore them. What remained was some great ideas like the control strip and the detachable application menu and a system you could set up any way you wanted. Not with OS X. Were stuck with the dock, the home and the keychain. Screw the lickable GUI how about a usable GUI.

I work in a room by myself and no one ever uses my machine but me why do I need a password and a login. For you windows users it has always been emblematic of the paranoic charade of security that evelopes your system but on the Mac who needs it? Now I have to dial in to Apple to get my upgrades. Thanks guys that's my time you're wasting while you take a look at the contents of my hard drive. For those who think I just contradicted myself you think a password's going to stop them?

The idrive just like the icards is a purile and idiotic idea. I don't want to store my files on line if I want mobility I'll buy a laptop. The new icons are irritatingly cutesy and juvenile who the hell has a need for a favourites folder?

C'mon Apple and c'mon the rest of you stop wishing for the perfect OS (and sighing for the one that died) get on with agitating for a real OS that lives in the real world. I'd gladly give up the aqua appearence—I'm all for elegance but that could actually be over-designed—for something that is fast, efficient, stable and above all customisable because I know what my needs are and frankly Apple doesn't.

Scot's no Genius
by MachOmega on Thu 27th Dec 2001 01:32 UTC

While I respect Scot, I remember having a drawn-out e-mail exchange with him regarding Be's move to Internet appliances and he didn't seem particularly sage-like; in fact, he pretty much dissed me after I completely outlined how other high-profile failures in the IA department (Compaq, 3com, etc.) had pretty much sealed the fate of Be and that Internet appliances would flop. It's good to see contrition at some level, but the guy totally lost his objectivity when it came to reporting on BeOS. He's a great cheerleader, but he's no journalist.

As for Jean-Louis Gassee, his arrogance is legendary and I believe that was one of the keys to Be's ultimate failure. If he takes over Palm, I'd recommend liquidating your stock ASAP. Remember, this is the guy who stated that Microsoft's GUI would NEVER catch up to Apple's. Many of JLG's assessments of the computer industry read like a bad comedy act.

Yes, BeOS was great, so was the Amiga, but...
by Roger on Tue 1st Jan 2002 07:59 UTC

I tried BeOS on an x86, it was great. It was everything I wish Windows was, and more. And years back a great computer was introduced, called the Amgia. It had (or has) fasst preemptive mulitasking, and introduced the concept of mulitmedia. Either BeOS or the Amiga should have become the standard... except... all the perfomance in the world means nothing if I can't get the application I want or don't have much of a choice. So it is back to Mac or Windows.

by the way, I am writing this on a cheap Win 98 machine, yet the multitasking works fine for all I need, and I go months between system crashes (but I run fairly standard apps). If Windows can do this, I suspect OS X has the potential of being a killer OS in a few years..

Save two great OSes !!!
by Marco Radossevich on Thu 3rd Jan 2002 13:52 UTC

These are two petitions to force the releasing of their source code:

1. http://www.petitiononline.com/OS24FREE/

2. http://www.petitiononline.com/beosos/

Read carefully and sign them.
If you can, please, try to involve anyone u can... friends, parents...
We want reach at least 100,000 signs.

Thanks a lot!