Rxstep takes issue with lackingareas of Mac OS X. The lack of an Advanced button and the lack of supported GUI theming.
OS X has no advanced button. There’s no way for professionals – for developers and admins – to get beyond the confines of the tilded user home area and see what’s really going on in the file system or the network using tools available from Apple.
Professionals assigned OS X have no recourse except to take to the command line – and this with a company renowned (infamous) for how it’s eschewed the command line all these years.
The problem here is the definition of “Advanced”. Are we talking about the mythical pwer user? Mac Professionals? Mac OS X SysAdmins? Seasoned UNIX Hackers? Fusty old NeXTStep types? How do you even begin to cater for all of these groups?
You do what Apple did. You create an interface that is simple, subtle and shallow for the 80% of users and for the remaining 20% you expose the command line and create kick ass developer tools. My frustration with Windows is that the GUI tools are simply stupid with windows that cannot be resized in table view dialogs and theres no obvious way to expose that information in the command line (like I’m going to relearn DOS in 2007!) My frustration with Linux is that it’s engineered piecemeal and feels disconnected – one minute I’m safe in GUI-land and the next minute I’m in advanced GUI designed by the developer who didn’t think to ask anyone if it looked like ass.
It’s obvious OS X users want the opportunity to customise the look and feel of their systems; not being permitted to do so ‘legally’ means they will resort to ‘illegal’ approaches. And history shows they’ll use these illegal approaches if that’s all that’s available.
It’s obvious to me, as someone who meets a lot of Mac users and Mac OS X installs, that theming is a 20% solution. The tools are there for people who want them. And the providers of these tools provide the warranty (i.e. nothing).
It’s frustrating enough trying to explain to someone who’s 70% blind how to do this or click that when the dock can be moved to three sides of the screen. If they could move the top menu as well it would be an absolute nightmare.
It’s not that I disagree with the sentiment. I just think there’s bigger fish to fry than “Advanced” buttons and themes. They need to work on the bugs, they need to fix security holes. Maybe theming will become important in 2037?
Apple is trying to be all things to all people. Whereas Linux GUI interfaces attempt to cater to small subsections of the population with the unhelpful suggestion that you can change the Window Manager to suit. That’s not a solution for anyone other than the 0.2% of the population which can be bothered. Similarly the Windows interface is designed for Windows users and the absolute horlicks they made with the almost simultaneous release of Office 2007 and Vista and the completely different UI paradigms for both. Ribbons? What’s that you say?
Apple’s approach is not going to please everyone but that’s why they ship the extra tools. It’s why the BSD subsystem is no longer optional. Previous to Mac OS X 10.0 shipping there was debate about whether Apple would ship the system with Terminal.app or whetherit would be a developer-only option. Apple is walking the fine line betwene providing a UI that my mum can use and providing a UI for the Alpha Geeks.