It’s that time again. What time? Oh, a Linux advocate is out with a tour de force on why Mac OS X annoys him. Strangely enough it doesn’t start with a “Linux is teh roxxorz. MACsX not run on cheap-ass PC” which is the usual refrain. No, Chris is a little more discerning.
While being a PHP coder, Chris admits he’s not a power user, instead restricting himself to four apps. His web browser, his email client, his instant messenger and the GNOME terminal. To be honest, my apps would be Safari, Mail, iChat and Terminal. I do use the others (Address Book, iCal, iTunes) but they’re more background than the rest. I use TextEdit too but only for reading documents as the alpha-blended semi-transparent black-with-green-text Terminal I use is perhaps not the best for reading large amounts of text. It just looks sexy!
I. Chris disagrees about the menu bar location in spite of usability studies. Being an Linux geek and not a Mac OS X geek he’s missing out one major point – the speed at which Mac geeks work. Now, I’ll put money on a Linux geek against a Mac geek when it comes to Terminal but I’ve seldom seen anyone beat a Mac geek for general work due to the consistent keyboard shortcuts and the benefits of being able to hit an infinitely tall target (the menu bar) when mousing around. Much quicker than the general “orbiting” of a target that a window-attached-menubar causes.
II. Chris confuses closing “windows” with closing “applications”. I’m actually glad that Mac OS X has this distinction but then Linux is faster at spawning processes than Mac OS X so I guess it’s okay for every window of Firefox to have it’s own process. I’m a little stumped why he describes Apple-Q as being “dangerous” as there is NOTHING dangerous about it. It’s just as dangerous as closing a window in Linux. In fact, less so because it will CONSISTENTLY ask to save data if data has been modified. So he has a hundred processes running? So what? I have 65 running and most of them are invisible to the casual user being system daemons. I don’t see his point here and I think his argument is very muddled.
III. Maximising is broken? Chris misses the point here and betrays his Windows heritage. Linux should have an extra button to allow him to maximise to content just like Mac OS X. There’s no point in filling a screen with white space (or grey space) around your data. In a document-centric approach, maximising to the content makes a lot more sense. He claims it’ll make him accidentally bring other apps forward when he clicks on them. My answer – he needs more mousing practise and maybe the top-of-the-screen menu bar would be a good addition to his workflow.
IV. For a smart guy, he really tests the limits. Apple-Tab switches applications not documents. If I minimise a document it’s because I’m not working on it. It takes enough time for a document to come out of the dock that it’s not an instant thing. Working with several open windows as well as the desire to create new windows easily and quickly makes this a worthwhile addition. Again he’s expecting it to work like Linux and hasn’t taken the time to actually work with it in a real situation. He’s ripe for Unsanity to come out with a load of crashdump-causing mini apps just to replicate behaviour from his old operating system. And he’s not being consistent. When you use a app-switcher on Linux and Windows, it doesn’t automatically take all minimised windows out of the task bar and put them up on screen. Why would it!!!!!
V. On my laptop keyboard I see Function, Control, Alt and Command. This is one more than a desktop keyboard which has Control, Alt, Command simply due to the constraints of using a laptop and not a full extended keyboard. As a result, this is really a nonsensical annoyance. As for right-click? Use the right button of your mouse?
VI. Okay, he’s definitely using a laptop because these keys are definitely on a desktop keyboard. Now, I’d like him to show me a generic PC laptop which has dedicated keys like this. My last PC laptop, a DULL Latitude, had multiple functions littered around the right hand side of the keyboard meaning that I had to hit Function-Delete to get a proper Delete. But this is still a criticism of Mac OS X? I’m guessing here but I think this guy uses a desktop PC for his Linux use and a Mac laptop. It’s the only explanation.
VII. Aha! He only has one 12″ desktop which he gripes about. Chris – seriously, when you buy a 12″ laptop, then you get a 12″ desktop. Think about it. There are third party solutions for multiple desktops – why not go and use one! Multiple desktops are a third party add-on for Linux as well, remember. You can’t very well apply double-standards and then gripe about it. Oh, well, maybe you can….
VIII. “The Linux clock kicks your clock’s ass”. Okayyy, taking this with a pinch of salt because on my machine right now I see the clock on my top menu bar and I see the date and month on my dock (in iCal). There are also third party clocks out there which will either replace the one in the menu bar or provide a floating clock. Again – this is another “I have a gripe but as I am applying double standards I can’t really complain”. Linux has a clock, yes…very similar to the Mac OS X one.
intelmac:~ mj$ date Mon Feb 13 08:56:55 GMT 2006
IX. iPhoto, even in the 06 version, is STILL a little sluggish but then there’s nothing I’ve ever seen on Windows or Linux to even compare to it. One helpful friend suggested I use The GIMP. I gave him a mouthful of expletives.
X. Safari sucks? Oh this is based on keyboarding around a web page. I think that it’s time he grabbed a copy The Missing Manual for Mac OS X before spouting again.
The problem with this sort of thing is that it’s the wrong forum. Some of the comments address this sort of thing but the last time I saw it being addressed properly was when two MAc geeks attended their local Linux User Group. The Linux geeks were crowding around the two Mac laptops with questions and there were gasps of awe as well. The thing that blew them away, strangely enough, was Romeo/Salling Clicker. When we left, there was a little group of Linux Alpha geeks crowded round one terminal furiously writing code to get their bluetooth adapters working….
See – that’s how to resolve these things. With beer and pizza, free WiFi and a projector. And some laughing.
There are some things I like about GNOME/KDE. But the disadvantages outweigh the advantages every time. Which is why I use Mac OS X.