In Ten things I dig about Panther James Duncan Davidson enthuses about
the changes in Panther, Mac OS X 10.3. Panther was officially
released a couple days ago as I write this, and I think I'll put a
little something up about things that Jaguar already does right
that I'm not sure Panther is improving on. Starting with the flash
that's hidden behind the scenes in Jaguar
and working back towards a non-feature that I think is more important
than anything obvious.
||Themes. Old Aqua is too garish. Panther's new look is too dark
for me, too metal. Mac OS X has support for Themes, just as every
version of Mac OS since 8.something has, except Apple decided
that the look of the OS was an important part of its branding, and
didn't let anyone actually use it.
Luckily, other people unleashed themes in classic Mac OS with
kaleidoscope and in OS X with a plethora of tools. And it's really
nice to be able to change the WHOLE look of the OS, including
third-party apps, without having to wait for developers to switch
to the new toolkit the way you have to in Windows.
The only fly in the ointment are the apps that don't use the GUI and just
fake it, because they want to do their own theming. Wrong place, guys. Let
the OS handle the details of the look and don't get in my way.
The three biggest villains here are Mozilla, Quicktime Player, and iTunes.
Two out of the three are Apple products... hey, Apple, you need to get
your app people to pay attention to what your OS people are doing!
makes New Aqua look almost as tacky as Old Aqua by comparison, and I'm
definitely not going to upgrade until Max Rudberg updates Milk for Panther.
||Virtual desktops, thanks to third-party tools that let me use
features Apple doesn't feel like I'm smart enough to take
advantage of. It's a matter of organization: Expose is like
a lot of things in Mac OS, it's organized around programs. I work
on documents, and put windows associated with each document or
object I'm working on in the same virtual desktop. It never gets a
chance to get cluttered.
||PDF rendering is handled by the OS. I read PDF in Safari, thanks
to yet another nifty third party app, and it's plenty fast. I just
can't convince LaunchServices to let me *permanently* associate PDF
with Safari... Apple doesn't seem to like it if you fiddle
with the "This file isn't known to open in this app, so I'll gray
it out" settings. But I never use Preview or Acrobat Reader, I don't
see the point... the OS has PDF rendering built in, why do I need
a special app for it? And why do I need to care is Preview is faster
in Panther, it's just another app I don't need in the first place.
||It's UNIX, it handles things in the background without my needing
to have desktop apps chewing up cycles on them over and over again.
Threading in mail? I already get that, and it works in every app I
use to read mail. How do I do that? UNIX, remember... I just fetch
my mail and feed it to a local newsgroup, and read it with a
newsreader. The only time I see Mail.app is when I'm replying.
||Finder. It's not perfect, but it's a straightforward extension
of the preactical Finder from OS 9, and it doesn't need redesign,
just a bit of tweaking.
Finder isn't the center of my life, it's just a really useful tool
I've been using effectively under OS 9 and OS X... and dramatically
changing it into a Windows Explorer workalike is not something I'm
looking forward to.
First, of course, it's in Metal.
Second, where's the win? He writes "Not having to go click-click-click
to navigate a new Finder window from the boot disk to the home
folder will save me thousands of clicks a year."
Hey, man, just drag your home folder into the dock. Old Finder is
a tool you can use any way you want. New Finder looks more like a
tool you have to use the way Apple wants. That's fine, unless you
happen to Think Different.
Real security in an environment where you have to deal with
untrusted objects (HTML documents, active content, and so on)
depends on the principle of least privilege, which says that
a component in a system has no more capabilities than it needs to
do the job it has to do.
I like not having an integrated central HTML-and-HTTP tool in
every program, because having one library that is willing to perform
arbitrary actions on behalf of a document, and at the same time willing
to follow a link to any document anywhere, well that's just asking
for someone to find a way to put an untrustworthy object in a place
where it expects to fund a trustworthy one.
I'm really worried about Webkit: I hope this isn't
exactly what it sounds like, because this sounds like the disasterous
Microsoft HTML Control, the source of 90% of the viruses and worms
on Windows. I sincerely hope Apple doesn't make the same
mistake of having Webkit handle URL resolution for both trusted
and untrusted domains instead of calling
back to the application using it to do the job, or we're going to
watch OS X fall into the same smelly creek Windows landed in during the