Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 18th Sep 2009 18:34 UTC
Mac OS X There are several things which take quite some getting used to when switching from any platform to the Mac. There are things like the universal menubar, the dock, Expose, and many more. One of the things that often leads to confusion for new users is the installation process for applications. Mozilla developer Alexander Limi talks about the problems Mozilla runs into when it comes to Firefox' installation process on the Mac, and a possible solution. Update: A possible solution?
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RE: Another Option
by limi on Fri 18th Sep 2009 20:20 UTC in reply to "Another Option"
Member since:

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

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

Reply Parent Score: 1

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Adium background shows how it can be done.

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


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

Simple question. Which is better and easier:

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


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

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

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

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

Reply Parent Score: 1