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?
Thread beginning with comment 385069
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[2]: Another Option
by magiconair on Sat 19th Sep 2009 22:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Another Option"
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.


Reply Parent Score: 1

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

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

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

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

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


Edited 2009-09-21 07:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1