Last week’s column was basically a rant about things that bothered me about Ubuntu’s GNOME/Linux combination. Besides the usual ‘I do not experience the problems you have, so you must be an anti-GNOME troll!’ and of the course the ever-present ‘How on earth can you complain about Free software!’, it did what is was supposed to do: bring problems under developer’s direct attention (for instance, Evolution’s UI maintainer emailed me, asking for more clarification). Now it’s Apple’s turn. Here is a list of problems I find the most annoying about Apple’s Mac/MacOS.
Note: This week’s Sunday Eve Column is a little early, as I’ll be in Amsterdam tomorrow, watching the first match of my country in the Football World Cup (against the Republic of Serbia/Montenegro).
- The MacOS does not exactly feel fast. It seems as if every action just takes a fraction of a second longer on the Mac than it does on other operating systems– as if the MacOS has a continual hangover. While the situation on the MacBook Pro Apple is loaning me has improved considerably, it’s still not what I want out of my operating system. Other than that, this MacBook Pro has a dual-core 2.0Ghz processor and 2 gigabyte of RAM; so no wonder it feels faster than on other Macs I’ve tried.
- MacOS X is an inconsistent mess. Yes, it really is. Graphically, that is. OSX now has, what, 7 or 8 different themes, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s 6 or 7 too many. Some people say Apple is experimenting with all these themes; that’s fine, but please keep that reserved for testers, and not for people like me who do not like to spend 130 Euros every 18 months on a piece of software that is only getting more inconsistent instead of less. If you like graphical consistency, stick with BeOS/Zeta or GNOME.
- One of my biggest pet peeves: that annoying Google search field in Safari. On Panther (Safari 1.x), you could remove it. In Tiger (Safari 2.0), you cannot. Why, you ask? Beyond me.
- Tiger has some serious issues with… Screen remnants. More often than not, text input fields, whether they be on a webpage or in TextEdit or Mail or whatever, show lines twice when you delete a line, or something similar. Another annoying one is the scroll blob which gets, duplicated, or something; check the screenshot to see what I mean. Panther did not have these problems, but Tiger does– and we’re already at 10.4.6.
- Macs need an indicator LED for HDD activity. It is really annoying when your Mac becomes slow or unresponsive and you have to lay your ear on the keyboard to
seehear whether it is still doing something or not. Screw aesthetics, Apple, and choose functionality over beauty for a change.
- Mail.app is a pointless email client, and I am flabbergasted I still use it every day. The amounts of emails I get and have in all my mailbox folders (about 40000) can bring Mail.app to a grinding halt, especially on PowerPC Macs. Other than that, Mail.app has its own theme (why, for god’s sake?), and lacks a vertical preview pane.
- Where GNOME has an evil taskbar, MacOS X has an evil dock. Yes, it looks cool and all, but it’s a UI nightmare. Instead of having a separate section for taskbar entries and application launchers, the dock has one section which aims to be both, but obviously sucks at doing so. It’s confusing. Seperate the two, and leave the current situation as an option.
- OSX needs a decent uninstaller, supplied with the OS (no, AppZapper does not count, even though it’s a great tool. Something like that should come standard with an OS). You see, Mac people will tell you how easy it is to uninstall applications: just drag to the trash and done. That’s wrong. When you drag an application to the trash, it leaves behind a trail of configuration files and the like all over the OS. Obsessive-compulsive as I am (my directory structure and email rules make little kids cry), I want an application to really be gone when I uninstall it.
- Apple needs to put more effort into backwards compatibility. They currently downright screw over developers (and hence the users) by breaking compatibility so often.
That’s it for Apple. Join me next week for… I don’t know, to be honest; either Explorer or KDE. That is, if there will be a column at all next week (I’m in the middle of a move). Enjoy the World Cup!
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I generally agree with your sentiments, except for the:
Instead of having a separate section for taskbar entries and application launchers, the dock has one section which aims to be both, but obviously sucks at doing so.
I actually like this setup. It goes some way towards removing the restriction between running apps and non-running apps, and makes it so there is a one-stop place to get to your commonly used apps. I’ve got pretty much everything I ever use sitting on the dock, and so if I want to go to Safari, I just click on the Safari icon. I don’t have to care whether its already running or not — I want Safari, I get Safari.
It also helps tie down the idea that an application is an instance. In Winows, you get the metaphor that an application is something that can be instantiated, since it can appear multiple times in the taskbar. I think this metaphor unnecessarily exposes an implementation detail to the user.
When you drag an application to the trash, it leaves behind a trail of configuration files and the like all over the OS.
This is pretty much the same with every operating system. Ever looked under /etc or Application Data? They are usually strewn with files from every application ever installed.