"What we have done so far with PCs is not natural" -- Craig Mundie, Microsoft.

Six things I dig about Jaguar

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.

6. 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!

Anyway, Milk 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.

5. 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.

4. 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.

3. 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.

2. 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.

1. Security. 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 '90s.

Lynx-enhanced by <peter at taronga.com> (Peter da Silva)