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

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

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

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

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

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

Reply Parent Score: 3

sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

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

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

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

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

Reply Parent Score: 3

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

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

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

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

Reply Parent Score: 2