Thoughts on OS X

After using OS X for the past six months I’ve kept mentally jotting down random thoughts.

1. Apple, update your dev tools. Your GDB and GCC are ancient and buggy (almost four years old)!

2. Off-topic: Why do some Apple users get so whiny about Firefox missing unnoticeable UI aspects? Safari looks completely out of place on Windows.

3. OS X usually just works. The UI is infinitely better than Linux (which doesn’t say a lot) – it’s great to have a Unixy OS with a pleasing UI.

4. Functionality for Home/End is horrible and broken. Fix it.

5. Spaces rocks. On Windows I need multiple monitors; on Mac I only need one.

6. Macbook keyboards are crap, crap, crap. Half the keys I use frequently are missing. I realize other people might not use these, and I realize there are key combinations you can use instead. This creates yet another disparity I have to learn, which is odd as the disparity is between Mac products.

7. Macbook mouse button is crap too. Why do I need two hands, and three fingers to right click, when the button is clearly big enough to at least give the user option for one side to be biased toward right clicking?

8. Macbook crappiness: why is there no pointing stick? Fitts Law — repositioning hands to move between clicking and typing is a pain.

9. Macbook continued: are there nuclear reactions going on in the left back corner? It burns.

10. Dock is far more useful than the Windows taskbar, though I miss an overall applications listing. Someone should combine the best of both worlds.

11. Thank god for macports.

12. There are places where the one-menu-bar doesn’t play out nicely. Closing the system prefs window, for example, leaves the application open – with no easy way (if there is one at all) to bring it back up. But re-launching the app doesn’t bring up the window, so you are stuck with a useless menu bar until you Cmd+Q.

13. Why the hell do I get constantly bugged to update iTunes and QuickTime and to reboot the whole machine from these updates which I don’t care about?

14. OS X needs to learn how to multitask. One app thrashing one core will grind my system to a halt. This doesn’t happen on Windows.

15. OS X takes forever to let an app crash. Even a simple shell program will sit and pause for 5-10 seconds. Need a way to disable the crash reporter entirely? And forget about Firefox – can take 5 minutes for a debug version to die.

16. Speaking of which, it’s easy to get programs into an unkillable state. It’s like you need a “kill -s 666” to uber-kill processes that are zombied. Processes being analyzed by the crash reporter seem to fall into this category. Very annoying.

17. Where is mspaint for OS X?

18. I really like stickies. Though, why can’t I move them from one space to another?

19. iChat is pretty nice.

20. Terminal is surprisingly awesome. The Gnome and KDE terminals feel really bad in comparison.

21. The two-finger-scroll on Macbook touchpads is amazing. I keep trying to use it on my Thinkpad and quickly realize how much I miss it.

22. I have yet to find a use for the dashboard. Maybe if there’s a way to put arbitrary apps on it I’d use it.

23. What’s with Every time I click “Erase all deleted messages” or “Erase all junk,” absolutely nothing happens.

24. Why does installing OS X make you sit through a 15 second “introduction” that’s just the world “Welcome” flying around in a bunch of random languages?

25. The security model is a lot more usable than Vista’s UAC (which, by the way, I like for the most part). Where is Vista’s “keychain?” Maybe Microsoft thinks it’d be exploited too easily.

Overall I really enjoy using OS X. If only Valve bothered porting their server software! I don’t think I’ll buy a Macbook though. As a touch typist (and perhaps related, a developer) the input mechanisms are too awkward.

31 thoughts on “Thoughts on OS X

  1. AlicanC

    Thanks for not losing your objectivity. People usually have lots of prejudices about Apple software and hardware.

  2. BlueRaja

    I’ve always hated the feel of the mac keyboards. If I ever got a mac, I think I’d have to buy a real keyboard to replace the one that comes with it.

    Someday, I’ll come for you, Das Keyboard… someday…

  3. dvander Post author

    I’ve got a Das Keyboard (the old one), perhaps not worth the large price but I like it. It’s the right balance of tactile response and I no longer look at the keys (or, if I do, it’s just to see relative positions).

  4. yuhong

    “Apple, update your dev tools. Your GDB and GCC are ancient and buggy (almost four years old)!”
    Apple is moving toward LLVM, partly because of GPLv3 (which is another mess altogether. Clue: it is related to the iPhone).

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