Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th May 2010 10:03 UTC, submitted by robertson
BeOS & Derivatives Two news items about alternative operating system news in a row? What is this, Christmas? In any case, the Haiku project, the darling of OSNews (hey it's okay now), has released its second alpha release. This new stable development release contains some serious improvements over the first alpha.
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RE[4]: Making progresses, but...
by Neolander on Tue 11th May 2010 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Making progresses, but..."
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On the old AthlonXP 2800 that I use for Haiku and BeOS (not exactly a powerhouse machine), the mouse cursor is visible for maybe 2-3 seconds before the desktop appears.

Okay, so it's just a Virtualbox-specific bug (on my Athlon64 3000+, with ~500 MB of virtual RAM and 64MB of virtual video ram, it takes around 20-30 seconds to fully load desktop + deskbar + tracker).

Not sure I see the utility to moving it elsewhere on the Window (on the left or right sides, the text label would become vertical - and therefore much harder to read quickly).

No, what I'm talking about is using tabs on the left and right side but with horizontal labels. If you wonder why this may be useful, compare how much apps the deskbar with default settings (vertical list of horizontal buttons) can show with how much it can show when it's put at the bottom of the desktop. This would allow much more tabs to be put on the side of a window. Currently, you can put 3-4 tabs side by side as a maximum, with tabs on the left or on the right, you could make ~10-tabs windows easily.

I'm fairly certain that someone released an input_server plugin to implement Alt-drag a few years back, but sadly I can't remember the name.

It seems to have been integrated (see previous pages in discussion), sadly someone thought that Ctl+Alt+Click was smarter in meantime...

"1/I get tired of seeing "mount" menus everywhere.

"Everywhere"? By my count, the "Mount" menu exists in exactly one place: Tracker's right-click menu.
Right click on desktop + Deskbar menu. I thought I had seen more, though. IMO, it should be in only one place, or, even more nice, not appear in menus unless an option is set somewhere...

"Is mounting and unmounting really such an important task ?

Sure, if you have multiple drives/partitions, or regularly insert & unplug removable media.
Problem is that manual drive mounting is a geek-only feature. Normal users don't manually mount/umount their partitions everyday, they just have them mounted automagically as needed and unmount them through a right-click menu. As an example, Windows automatically mounts drives/partitions, why some linux desktops do not but show an icon for the unmounted drive/partitions and mounts them automatically when you want to access them. I prefer the second option myself : it's not resource-intensive, it works without the need of going through some manual mounting (and hence learning about mounting), and it's easily discoverable too...

"Moreover, icons in folders are a mess as soon as you stop using list view, just like in older releases of Mac OS...

Alt+K (Ctl+Shift+K does not work, so I suppose that's what you meant) still leads to messy results, just like mac OS classic.
1/It does not reorganizes the icons on a grid, it wastes space everywhere...
2/...and hence icons finally get out of the window, leading to the need of scrolling or resizing the window.
Random example of both :

That "problem" is a side-effect of a intentional feature: namely, the way that Tracker preserves folder window size & display settings. But yeah it would be nice to have an "Apply to all folders" option.

Yeah, or a way to disable per-folder display settings, like in Windows XP.

There are 2 keyboard shortcuts & 1 modifier that make that issue trivially-easy to avoid.

Ctrl-Opt-Up: open parent folder & close current folder
Ctrl-Opt-Down: open selected sub-folder and close current folder, double-clicking a folder with Option (Win-key) held down accomplishes the same thing.

This still means that spatial browsing is not the preferred way of browsing files : you have to learn some keyboard shortcuts or play with preferences in order to do otherwise.

My problem is with having this used as a default setting. But then, as you said...

Spatial file management has been the default in BeOS/Haiku since long before the term "spatial file management" was even coined. Given that most current Haiku users probably former BeOS users, that default makes sense.

Actually, that argument, while perfectly valid, is one of the things that make me less enthusiastic about Haiku than as usual : in the end, wouldn't bearing the BeOS legacy have the same effect on it as the one bearing the DOS legacy has had on Windows for a very long time ?

Maybe that will change in the future, but even then I still think there's a benefit to exposing new users to a file management approach they may not be familiar with. Sure, some will hate it and immediately change to single-window mode (which takes all of 5 seconds). But there will also be people who come to prefer "spatial mode" and appreciate having been introduced to it (speaking as a spatial file management "convert" who used to prefer 2-pane/single-window file managers).

Maybe, though ergonomically-wise it's generally better to make people use the knowledge which comes from using other OSs, in order to reduce learning pain. However, you're right that applying this principle everywhere is bad for innovation. I dislike spatial browsing because of my love for big hierarchies in file storage, but it may be better in the long run.
That's a design choice which I, and many potential users, happen not to like. Let's see how well it'll perform in the future ^^

True, but a good API can enable/ease the development of software that DOES improve everyday user experience.

Only if you can make usability-aware devs use it, which requires more usability in the whole OS first ;) That's a chicken and egg dilemma, isn't it ?

Edited 2010-05-11 16:50 UTC

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